November 2015                                                               Newsletter Signup >
Hi Friends,

It is hard to believe it's already November and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. We have a tradition in my family on Thanksgiving, we go around the table and we all say what we are thankful for. It's a great time to reflect on the past year, acknowledge each other and express our thankfulness for all we've been given. My kids are in college now but they know what awaits them when they come home for this holiday and I look forward to hearing about what they are grateful for as well as to share with them what I am grateful for.

Cohen Family
The JCC is my second home; it has been for over 25 years and I want to start this tradition here as I am so thankful for so many things.

I am thankful that my passion has become my career and  I'm thankful for this exciting challenge that I look forward to every day.

I am thankful for my fabulous team of trainers and instructors who put up with all the changes that needed to be made so we could improve the fitness department and create a program that we can all be very proud of.

I am thankful for all my co-workers who have over and over again shown what a team is all about.  Also, for all in the administrative offices upstairs who put up with this New Jersey girl who barges into their offices demanding work be done immediately and knowing that I can count on them.

I am thankful for my co-workers in Sports and Fitness who I now consider friends and especially for my boss Paul for his unending support.

I am thankful for the people who've known me for over 25 years, who have been my mentors and who always make me feel know who you are.
I am thankful for my committee members who have been my soldiers.  I couldn't ask for a better committee.

I am thankful to all the members at the J who support and make the JCC a place like no other. Of course, I am thankful for my unbelievably loyal clients who have taught me just what that word means. You are all so valued and I am profoundly grateful to each and every one of you.

As a way of showing my appreciation, I would like to extend this special offer:
For new Personal training clients - 6 one hour sessions for $199

For existing Personal training clients - Buy 10 one hour sessions and get one for free.  Buy 20 one hour sessions and get two for free.
Fitness Coupon

As an extra bonus, this month is dedicated to you, our members. Look for our thank you treats and freebies around the fitness center.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Robyn Cohen
What is Pilates?

Before we answer "what is Pilates" lets answer the question "who was Pilates"?  Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880 to parents of Greek ancestry.  As a child, he suffered from a number of ailments including rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever.  His life therefore became a dedication to health and wellness of the body, mind and spirit.  While he was interned in England during WWI as a German National while touring as a circus performer, he started working with injured soldiers.  This was the birth of the Pilates Method (originally called Contrology) as we know it today.

In 1926, Joseph Pilates immigrated to the U.S. On the ship to NYC he met his future wife Clara.  Clara was a nurse and had a great influence on him regarding health.  Joseph and Clara opened their first Body Contrology studio on 8th Ave in Manhattan.  They quickly became known in the dance community helping to  rehab injured dancers.  From there Pilates fame spread to include a broad spectrum of students.  They kept their studio until his death in 1967 at age 87.  Joseph used to say that he was 50 years ahead of his time.  Given the current popularity and profundity of the Pilates Method, I would say his comment was most prescient.

In order to better understand what Pilates is, let's build a framework of some "core" Pilates principles.  Joseph was fond of quoting "it is the mind itself which builds the body."  The mind/body is critical to understanding the depths of the work.  When the mind is continually integrated with movement, there is  a greater development of concentration and neuromuscular connection.  Each exercise demands full attention to the complexity of what is happening to the body.
Breathing is another principle that is, literally, key  to life. Breathing improves circulation, helps oxygenate the muscle tissue and helps relieve muscle tension.  We begin to feel each movement as a dance with our breath. The movement then becomes more fluid, free and connected. Try any exercise holding your breath or with minimal breath. Now try it with a deep, focused breath. Which one feels better?

How often do you go to a gym and see someone haphazardly, or worse, incorrectly doing an exercise? This leads me to another Pilates principle: precision. When we are precise and slow with a movement we are taking a joint to its full, safe range of movement. We are making sure the muscles and bones are balanced and that the body is properly aligned. We are focusing on quality of movement rather than quantity of movement.

Have you ever heard someone say "we are as healthy as our spines"? This is a wise statement leading me to my last, but not least, of our Pilates principles. I will always remember my master teacher, Michele Larsson say "Always teach the four food groups of the spine". They are flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation. This Pilates principle is based on axial elongation of the spine. Through a host of "core" muscles, we are able to prevent some of the ageing spinal challenges such as kyphosis and scoliosis. A healthy, balanced spine is truly a gateway to a healthier life.

There is so much more to say about Pilates! The spectrum of Karina's and my clients is so wide. They range from young people, to fitness-minded, post-rehab patients and from privates to groups and have made our jobs here at the JCC a real joy.  We work on both the mat and machines allowing for a broad vocabulary in which to best facilitate our clients' needs. Every day, through Pilates, we are helping people along the road to health and wellness with a more attuned body/mind connection.

                Thanks for tuning in again, Scott Meyers, Pilates Instructor

Trainer Tip of the Month

Rachel with her adorable baby
New moms put so much pressure on themselves to "lose that baby weight". Let me tell you something that no one told me: your body is forever changed, just like your life, and by first accepting that into your heart you might find some love and compassion for your new body.

You were pregnant for 10 months. Ten months of sustaining and growing a new person! How amazing is that? Now your little one is on the outside and the work has really just begun!  Maybe you're breastfeeding and maybe not, you still need to feed, diaper and comfort your babe and on top of all that recover from labor.

Now you have to find time to workout? That might be the last thing on your mind, but from one mom to another, finding that hour each day saved my sanity. I took a good 8 weeks after my birth to recover. I started with some long walks (with my babe) and slowly started adding exercises between like lunges, squats and pushups.

This way not only do you get a great workout but pushing the stroller and constantly moving helped sooth my little one into the sweet sounds of SLEEP! A workout and a sleeping baby? Sign me up!

Start three times a week and pick 5 exercises to rotate through in between your walk (and maybe eventually run). Repeat those exercises 3 times. Now we are sweating! In no time you will feel like a new, more present mom. Just like you love your new baby, find the love for yourself, as well you deserve it!

New mom and Certified Personal Trainer, Rachel Jacobson

Exercise of the Month

It is important for pregnant women to work their core. You may think you can hid behind your baby belly but truth be told, it will come to haunt you after the birth. A great exercise for pregnant women is getting on all fours with a neutral spine (natural curve in lower back and abs engaged) tucking your toes and lifting your knees off the ground an inch or two. Hold this for 30 seconds at a time. Do 3-4 repetitions. If you feel your back you might be releasing your abs so make sure to always engage your center the entire time your knees are raised.

Fitness Calendar

Alice Waters'  Spicy Broccoli Rabe

Here's the Waters recipe from  Chez Panisse CafĂ© Cookbook . Most home cooks will be intrigued by the way she separates the cooking of the rabe itself from releasing the aromatic qualities of the garlic and red pepper via a separate step, then combining all at the end.

Serves 4 to 6


3 bunches broccoli raab, about 2 pounds
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Red pepper flakes
Red wine vinegar


Wash the broccoli raab and chop the leaves and sprouts coarsely. Heat a large sautĂ© pan and coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Add the broccoli raab, season with salt, and cook over high heat, tossing frequently, until the raab starts to brown a little. Reduce the heat, add a splash of water, and cook until tender, stirring frequently. When the raab is cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside. While the pan is still hot add a drizzle of olive oil, the garlic, and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes; warm briefly. Add the cooked raab, a splash of red wine vinegar, and toss. Correct the seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature. Variation: add pounded anchovy and/or chopped olives to the cooked broccoli raab. Serve at room temperature as part of an antipasto platter. 

Ask the Trainer

What is that new piece of Equipment in the Fitness Center?
Have you noticed the new piece of equipment mounted on the fitness center wall? Have you asked yourself what is that? Looks different. Where's the weight stack?  What's that thing on the floor next to it?

Gravity Exercise Machine
I'd like to introduce you to our new Keiser  Infinity Trainer. It is a pneumatic exercise machine which means it uses compressed air. That thing on the floor is a cylinder with compressed air.

When you move a barbell or a stack of weights, inertia, acceleration and other factors can cause the amount of force on the body to change at various points throughout the movement. For example. If you are doing a chest press and you push the weight fast for the first part of the move, the bar will become lighter, during the second of the motion due to momentum.

By comparison, when you use pneumatic resistance, no matter how fast  you  move, the resistance stays the same. So, athletes can train closer to the speed they would perform at conditioning the muscles to fire faster. Also, since you are not lifting a weight stack, there is less stress on the joints then you would get when starting and stopping a traditional weight movement.  Measurable feedback is also available. The Keiser machine displays a power output corresponding to each rep.  The machine will also count your reps.

Changing the weights on this machine, couldn't be easier. All you do is push a button. Resistance is also available in more precise increments, down to the ounce.

Please feel free to ask a trainer or a fitness attendant for help if you are interested in learning more. If you are looking to change up your workout or just add some variety, this machine can help you accomplish that.

Question answered by Robyn Cohen

See video demonstration of equipment below:

Monday - Thursday:  6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Friday:  6:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday:  8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday:  8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

PHONE:  858.362.1337

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