Author Archive

Help RCSC Trainer Raise NMO Awareness

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, RCSC News

Craig-200x300Today’s Post comes from Rock Creek Sports Club Trainer Craig Klein.

You ever notice that people care more about you than you care for yourself? I feel it and see it each and every day, but it is a struggle to accept.

I have NMO (neuromyelitis optica), an incurable autoimmune disease. This is a recent diagnosis that will remain raw for some time, but a sense of debt and enormous gratitude drive me to focus on raising awareness and organizing a charity event with Rock Creek Sports Club.

The “Guthy-Jackson Foundation” ( has been a resource for myself and friends. I haven’t met another person with NMO or their primary caregiver, but I will.

From June 18-21, I will raise awareness and share information on NMO through Rock Creek Sports Club’s generous support. Fitness Classes, bake sales and educational material will all be available. All proceeds will go to “Guthy-Jackson Foundation” with specific times to follow – so stay tuned.

The best compliment you can offer me is to learn more, ask questions.

RCSC is joining the fun of Red Nose Fund Day!

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, RCSC News

RND15_FundraisingForRND_Logo_V4Wear a Red Nose purchased from Walgreen’s next Thursday, May 21, and you will be eligible to win:

  •  A package of 1-month membership, 1-hour Personal Training and 30-minutes Pilates Reformer!

Guests will be free all day!

Red Nose Day is a campaign dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty by simply having fun and making people laugh. The inaugural Red Nose Day will be held in the US on May 21st, 2015. People across the country will come together to have fun and raise funds and awareness. The day’s events will culminate in a three-hour entertainment TV special on NBC featuring the country’s favorite comedians, musicians and Hollywood stars—it’s a show not to be missed! The TV special will showcase top comedy and entertainment live and in pre-recorded segments. It will also highlight the issues for which Red Nose Day is fundraising. Viewers will be encouraged to make donations by phone, and online.

To learn more about the Red Nose Fund Day click on this link to a segment from the Today show. Be inspired to help lift children from poverty.

Video: The Hidden Risks of Sitting Down

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

Sitting down for brief periods can help us recover from stress or recuperate from exercise. But nowadays, our lifestyles make us sit much more than we move around. Are our bodies built for such a sedentary existence? Murat Dalkilinç investigates the hidden risks of sitting down.

View the Full Lesson on –

Rowing 101

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, RCSC News, Wellness Bites

11136192_994011767284512_3833975141116541603_oIf you follow us on Facebook, you know how excited we were to introduce two new Concept 2 Rowers to the gym, earlier this month!  For those of you are not familiar with rowers, or haven’t thought about adding them into your regimen, we’re here now to tell you about all of their amazing benefits!

Cardiovascular Benefits

Rowing actually has similar cardiovascular benefits as running. It keeps the heart rate elevated and increases breath volume, pumping oxygen to or muscles to keep them functioning.  So over time, you’ll find that your endurance increases, meaning you’ll be able to stay active for a longer period of time.

Strength Benefits

Where do we begin?!  Rowing is a full body exercise where you’re engaging your arms, your legs, your core, and your back.  In both directions, you face resistance, so you are consistently building strength.

Low Impact

Rowing is often recommended as a great cardiovascular workout for those who can’t run (for example:  due to some sort of injury) because of all of its benefits mentioned above, without the impact. Because your feet remain locked into place on the pads, and your hands wrapped around the handle, there’s less pressure on your joints.  As long as you are using proper technique of course, but more on that in a bit.


We know that many of you are very hard workers and sometimes that means your at your desk and hunched over a keyboard much longer than you should, or want to be. Like we stated earlier, rowing is a FULL body exercise, and that includes all engaging in a lot of those back muscles that don’t get utilized as often, or in the way that should. As you build strength,  over time you may start to  notice you’ll be able to remain sitting up correctly in that office chair for longer! Again, this is also all about using the proper technique. See below.

Getting Started

First things first, if you haven’t used a rower before, please tell the front desk that you would like to learn more, and we’ll find a trainer who can show you some tips on proper form. We’ve also included a video below as a primer (or a refresher for some of you). Form is very important!

Self-Care Strategy Session with Dr. Jattu Senesie

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, RCSC News


Do you wish you had more time in your schedule to take care of yourself? Do you feel your life needs to be different but unsure how to make the necessary changes?

Sign up for a Self-Care Strategy Session with Dr. Jattu Senesie, Thursday, April 23, 6-7pm. This event is limited to 10 participants so sign up early. Make the $15 payment to via Paypal to secure your spot.


Going to the Gym a Chore? Try “Temptation Bundling”

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

temptationWe have all heard that a great way to keep working toward your goals, is to reward yourself for some of the small milestones along the way. For example, you want to lose 15 pounds, so at 5 pounds, you’ll buy yourself new running shoes, and  at 10 pounds, treat yourself to massage, etc.  We all have days though, where those goals seem far away, and we need some sort of immediate gratification as a little extra push to get our butts moving.   For those days, we suggest possibly “temptation bundling.”

Temptation bundling is basically pairing something you’d rather not do, with something that you could consider a guilty pleasure.  For example, Wharton professor and researcher Katherine Milkman, told, she knew she needed to go to the gym more, so she allowed herself to listen to “less-than-scholarly” audiobooks, only while she was working out. Soon she she was the gym 5 days a week!

(CONFESSION: We totally admit, that we sometimes use our treadmill time to catch up on some Real Housewives.)

The article goes on to talk about how you can use this method for other tasks, such as catching up on work emails while getting a pedicure, and you can read about it here.

So we want to know – do you use temptation bundling as a way of going to the gym? What’s your guilty pleasure?  Tell us in the comments! 


Identical Twin Study: What Happens When We Stop Working Out?

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

men-311210_640Trying to figure out how exercise directly effects the body and brain, can often times be a timely and costly feat. However, scientists in Finland have found a way around this, by studying identical twins — and the results are eye-opening to say the least!

As the New York Times explains:

To prove that exercise directly causes a change in people’s bodies, scientists must mount randomized controlled trials, during which one group of people works out while a control group does not. But these experiments are complicated and costly and, even in the best circumstances, cannot control for volunteers’ genetics and backgrounds.

And genetics and upbringing matter when it comes to exercise. Genes affect our innate endurance capacity, how well we respond to different types of exercise, and whether we enjoy working out at all. Childhood environment also influences all of this, muddying the results of even well-conducted exercise experiments.

In this study researchers were able to find 10 sets of identical male twins (so they have the same DNA make-up) who were raised together (so they had similar upbringing) whose workout habits similar when they were younger, but diverged as the years went on. Another interesting factor – the twins’ still had similar dietary habits, it was only their exercise routines that diverged.


  • The sedentary twins hand lower endurance capacities, higher body fat percentages and signs of insulin resistance.
  • Plus, the active twins had “significantly more grey matter than the sedentary twins, especially in areas of the brain involved in motor control and coordination.”

And this was only a after a few years!

Read the New York Times article here: One Twin Exercises, the Other Doesn’t

Like it Hot? Good News – It May Increase Your Metabolism

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

1280px-Large_CayenneEarlier this month, at the Biophysical Society Meeting in Baltimore, researchers from the University of Wyoming announced that capsaicin — the chief ingredient in chilli peppers – may help boost metabolism.

In a statement, Vivek Krishnan, a graduate student involved in the study explained that in our bodies there are white fat cells, which store energy, and brown fat cells, which serve as a themogenic machinery to burn stored fat. When we eat too many calories, and don’t engage in enough physical activity, there’s an imbalance in our metabolism that leads to obesity.

In a study, the researchers found that dietary capsaicin significantly increased the “metabolic activity and energy expenditure in wild type mice fed a high-fat diet.” So basically, even when the mice were fed a high-fat diet, the capsaicin kept them from gaining weight.

However – this doesn’t mean it’s time to start munching on a handful of chili peppers! This is a preliminary study and it was only a study undertaken in mice, but it is a starting point for researchers who said their long-term goal is to possibly develop a natural dietary supplement to prevent obesity.

“We envision a nanoparticle-based sustained-release formulation of capsaicin, which is currently under development in our laboratory,” added researchers. “In turn, this will advance a novel dietary supplement-based approach to prevent and treat one of the life-threatening diseases, obesity and its associated complications — in humans.

Meet Dr. Michael Manyak: RCSC Member, World Explorer and Author of New Safety Travel Guide – Lizard Bites and Street Riots

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Member Highlights

Manyak.HeadshotHere’s an interesting fact to get your day started — more people have been to outer space than have been to the Titanic. Even more interesting, one of those deep-sea explorers just happens to work out with you right here at Rock Creek Sports Club!

His name is Dr. Michael J. Manyak , and he is a professor of Urology, Engineering, Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine at The George Washington University; and the Executive Director for Global Medical Affairs for the urology products of GlaxoSmithKline.

In short, Dr. Manyak is a physician who specializes in urology and what is known as expedition medicine, or remote travel and wilderness medicine. This has allowed him to join teams of explorers all over the world on a number of adventures and his incredible stories don’t end at the collecting relics from Titanic.

For example:
• He served as a medical officer aboard the Norwegian icebreaker MV Polar Star for an expedition to Antarctica.
• He was part of a team that uncovered early human footprints in Tanzania.
• He helped a group of scientists who used DNA samples to identify a new species of highly endangered wild camels in the Gobi Desert.
• He and his son helped excavate early human artifacts and animal fossils with the Smithsonian Human Origins program at the edge of the Rift Valley in Olorgesailie, Kenya.
• He was part of the first scientific dive at Lake Khosvgol in Mongolia, the second largest lake in Asia.


(Click Here to Here to Read About Dr. Manyak’s Expeditions and See More Photos)

This is the kind of guy you would want to take travel tips from right? Well you’re in luck! Dr. Manyak, along with two of his colleagues and fellow world travel experts, Rear Admiral Joyce M. Johnson, DO, USPHS (ret) and Warren J. Young, recently published Lizards Bites and Street Riots , which covers every sort of precaution you should possibly take or may have to take when touring abroad.


Dr. Manyak told us the idea for the book came to him while he was writing a chapter for his textbook on expedition and wilderness medicine. “I wanted to provide guidance and help to anyone that travels,” he said. “It was a labor of love.”

packinglistThe book is proving valuable for those who travel, including Dr. Robert Gates, former US Secretary, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and president of the Boy Scouts of America.

“This relevant resource for travelers combines two intersecting components of travel today, health, and safety. The up to date information makes for a great travel companion to help you sort out problems on the road and protect your security.” Dr. Gates said, according to Lizards Bites & Street Riots website. “Whether traveling for business or pleasure, on a Scouting adventure or an expedition, stow this in your carry-on luggage!”

So now one of the important questions for us at Rock Creek Sports Club — how does one so obviously very busy, find time to work out?

“You have to make time or it gets away from you.” Dr. Manyak, a member at RCSC for about 10 years, said, adding with all the traveling and work he has to do, it’s important for him to stay in reasonable shape. “On average I train four days a week, doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) for about 30 minutes. Hard, quick workouts.”

For more information about Dr. Manyak’s adventures check out his website at You can read more about his book, Lizard Bites & Street Riots at

NYT: How Exercise Keeps Us Young

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

spin-500-The reasons why we get older, and why are bodies change the way they do, for the most part, is still kind of a mystery. However, a new study shows how exercise can significantly slow down a number of the common symptoms of aging.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, scientists have had some problems distinguishing what kinds of affects getting older has on our bodies, from those of a sedentary lifestyle, because many older adults are more sedentary than younger adults.

Researchers from King’s College London and the University of Birmingham in England, decided to solve this problem by gathering a group of adults aged 55-79, who were considered “serious recreational bikers” – thereby removing inactivity as a factor.

They then tested the following:

  • Endurance Capacity
  • Muscular Mass and Strength
  • Balance
  • Memory Function
  • Bone Density
  • Reflexes

In addition, they also conducted a Up and Go test, which measures how long it it takes to get up from a chair, without using his or her arms, briskly walks about 10 feet, turns, walks back and sits down again.

The results are pretty amazing!

Compared to supposedly normal benchmarks of aging, these bikers had results much closer to that of younger people, than people of their own age. In fact, “even the oldest cyclists had younger people’s levels of balance, reflexes, metabolic health and memory ability.” Oh – and that chair test – the oldest participants averaged 2 seconds faster than what’s considered normal for their age, and 4 seconds faster than those considered frail.

Of course, some results did show that age alone did have some results on reduced endurance and strength.

All in all though, we have to say these results really show how being active can have some seriously positive benefits as you get older! More reason to keep moving and to keep coming into Rock Creek Sports Club!

RCSC Member Shares Her 85-Pound Loss Success Story in Bethesda Magazine

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Member Highlights

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 6.58.31 PMWe are so lucky to have so many amazing members here at Rock Creek Sports Club! Not a day goes by where we are not inspired by all of the hard work and dedication we see from all of you here in the gym. 

One those members is Jackie Judd, who recently shared her success story Bethesda Magazine.  As she neared her 60th birthday, Jackie decided she needed to make some changes, and with the help of Rock Creek Sports Club and Personal Trainer and Health Coach Jean Simons, she lost 85 pounds and found a new healthy lifestyle.

“Weekly nutrition sessions with Jean were candid assessments of what had gone right and wrong. She listened without judging, while reminding me that a setback did not have to be permanent. I will also confess that fear became a great motivator. The idea of reaching my 61st birthday still overweight scared me. Success motivated me, too. Feeling less winded during workouts and seeing changes in my body undoubtedly kept me going.”

Read Jackie’s Full Story Here

We also talked to Jackie’s trainer, Jean, to ask her what factors she attributes to Jackie’s success, and lessons we can take away from her story.

RCSC: What is it like to work with Jackie?
Jean: It has been wonderful working with Jackie. When I first met her, she made it clear that she was ready to make difficult but meaningful changes to improve her health. She just needed some guidance and support. She also understood that I was not going to wag my finger at her like a drill sergeant on the “Biggest Loser”. She knew it was up to her to set her own goals based on her personal challenges and her specific health needs.

RCSC: What do you think some of the main reasons she was able to succeed in reaching her goals?

  • She did not want to follow a fad diet or extreme fitness program. She knew that she would not see results right away, but she wanted a program that she could sustain for life. 
  • She was ready to learn about herself – her food triggers, habits, reasons she had not moved her body much — and make significant changes in what she ate, how much she moved, her sleep habits, and her stressors.
  • She was ready to accept help in getting to her goals.
  • She used her husband and friends as support
  • She made a big commitment, financially and emotionally – she met with me twice/week to plan food and to do personal training.
  • She learned to cook and eat real food
  • She stuck to exercising 5 times/week or so

RCSC: Are there any important lessons we/women/older adults can learn from Jackie?

  • Focus more on how you feel than how you look. When you embark on a new eating and fitness plan, think about how much more energy you will have and how strong you will become rather than what the scale says. I encourage my clients to appreciate what their bodies can DO and not dwell on extra fat or sagging skin.
  • Women really can get stronger at any age, even if they have never exercised before or are suffering from old injuries or arthritis and other joint pain.
  • Midlife challenges are real: hot-flashes, weight gain, hormonal changes, joint issues; stress, sleep problems, and more. But it is also a great time to focus on yourself.
  • It is extremely helpful to have a positive support system of family, friends, and experts.
  • View this as changing for life, not a quick fix 

Capitol Communicator Features RCSC Member Debra Silimeo

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Member Highlights, RCSC News

Photo from Capitol Communicator

Here at Rock Creek Sports Club we love to share news about all the of the amazing accomplishments of our members, both inside and outside the gym!

Just recently,  Debra Silimeo, member since 2002, was profiled in the e-magazine Capitol Communicator for her outstanding achievements in the communications field and as the executive vice president at Hager Sharp in Washington, D.C..

In addition to her full time job, Debra adds that she is also  a member of the DC Chamber of Commerce, has served on the board and is a member of the Leadership Greater Washington, is on the National Press Club’s Speakers Committee, serves on the Washington Women in Public Relations, and co-chairs the Girl Scouts’ Women’s Advisory Council.

WOW, that is mouthful!  So how does Debra find time to stay fit? 

“I make Saturday morning my must-do “appointment” for myself, and work in exercise other times whenever I can,” Debra tells us.  “It is a challenge, for sure, but I love to do it, always feel better afterward. I truly would not be able to keep up with my work and volunteer schedule if I didn’t exercise. It’s the best way to hit the ‘recharge’ button!”

To hit that “recharge button” Debra says she has to have her weekly spinning fix, and loves to do just about any exercise on a BOSU ball. Plus, she says she’s also a fan of our Zumba, yoga, and Presidential Arms classes, free weights, and hiking.

“I think that trying new things keeps it fun and interesting,” she explains.  “So thanks, Rock Creek, for consistently introducing new things.”

Check out the Capitol Communicator Article Here – and don’t forget to say hello next time you see Debra in the gym!

The Sweet Life: What’s good, What’s bad, and a couple of tips

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

Girl eating pastryWe all know too much sugar is a probably a bad thing, and that it can have some pretty serious effects on your health. But do we really know why? Should we avoid all it? And what about the artificial stuff? This month National Institute of Health released an article answering a lot of these questions for us.

The Good:

The NIH explains that our bodies do need one type of sugar – glucose, to survive.

“Glucose is the number one food for the brain, and it’s an extremely important source of fuel throughout the body,” says Dr. Kristina Rother, an NIH pediatrician and expert on sweeteners.

BUT WAIT! Rother further explains there’s no need to add glucose to your diet, because your body can make the glucose it needs by breaking down food molecules like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

The NIH also explains that some of the sugars which are found naturally in foods such as  fruits, vegetables, and milk, can be healthy additions to your diet because of all the extra nutrients and dietary fiber that come along with them.

The Bad

Too much sugar = more calories and all the effects that come with it, such as obesity.

Want to hear something pretty shocking? Fifteen of the calories in the American adult diet come from added sugars. That’s about 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day. You may not even realize how much sugar you are consuming, as it’s hidden in so many different types of food under a different moniker. For instance – go home and check that jar of pasta sauce you just bought. Some of the different names for sugar include:

  • corn sweetener
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • fruit-juice concentrates
  • nectars
  • raw sugar
  • malt syrup
  • maple syrup
  • fructose sweeteners
  • liquid fructose
  • honey
  • molasses
  • anhydrous dextrose,
  • or other words ending in “-ose,” the chemical suffix for sugars.

The Artificial Stuff

Some say good, some say bad, in short – the studies are mixed.

The NIH explains:

People have debated the safety of artificial sweeteners for decades. To date, researchers have found no clear evidence that any artificial sweeteners approved for use in the U.S. cause cancer or other serious health problems in humans.

But can they help with weight loss? Scientific evidence is mixed. Some studies suggest that diet drinks can help you drop pounds in the short term, but weight tends to creep back up over time. Rother and other NIH-funded researchers are now working to better understand the complex effects that artificial sweeteners can have on the human body.

Some Tips from The NIH  for Cutting Added Sugars:

  • Choose water, fat-free milk, or unsweetened tea or coffee instead of sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and fruit drinks.
  • Reduce sugar in recipes. If a recipe says 1 cup, use 2/3 cup.
  • To enhance flavor, add vanilla, cinnamon, or nutmeg.
  • Eat fresh, canned, frozen, and dried fruits without added sugar. Choose fruits canned in their own juice rather than syrup.
  • Use fruits to top foods like cereal and pancakes rather than sugars, syrups, or other sweet toppings.
  • Read the ingredients list to pick food with little or no added sugar.
  • Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose packaged foods with less total sugar.


Words CAN Bring You Down – How to Stop It

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

Take a minute to answer this question honestly: When it comes time to motivating yourself to workout, eat better, and make overall healthier decisions – do you tear yourself down, or build yourself up? recently examined how positive thinking can make all the difference in an article titled “The Reason You Make Unhealthy Choices.”

The author explains:

People often think that they are motivated by self-criticism, but a burgeoning area of research suggests the opposite. Being kind to yourself, as opposed to tearing yourself down, leads to fewer bad feelings and, in turn, healthier actions.

One research example they give is an analysis 15 different studies and discovered a link between self-compassion and four key health-promoting behaviors:

  • Eating better
  • Exercising more
  • Getting more restful sleep
  • and Stressing less.

Conclusion: People who were more self-compassionate, practiced the above habits more often.

So what are some of these ways to practice self-compassion? Another article – 10 Ways to Gear Up for Weight Loss – gives some excellent tips.

  1. Don’t Beat Yourself Up:  We all make mistakes, we all break a rule or two. We’re human! Acknowledge it, move on.
  2. Celebrate Every Success, this includes all the small milestones along the way to your goal.
  3. Don’t Focus Solely on Your Weight – examples improvements in sleep quality, mood, blood pressure, etc. (Check out 5 Reasons to Eat Healthier that Have Nothing to Do with Weight.)
  4. Find positive support – don’t let others tear you down either!
  5. Don’t set unrealistic expectations – just like in number 1, focus on progress.