by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

fresh mixed vegetable salad studio shots

fresh mixed vegetable salad studio shots

Salad…the word alone makes you think “healthy,” right?   However, there are both bad ways to build one–and decidedly good ones.  Here is a guideline to creating the healthiest salad feast:

The Best
Crunchy veggies!  They make you feel full, and the very act of chewing them actually helps you enjoy eating your meal more.  Most important vegetables are high in fiber and vitamins.

  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Bell pepper


But don’t stop there… including a source of lean protein to your salad completes a meal, containing the amino acids you need to build and maintain muscle.

  • Chicken breast
  • Tuna
  • White fish
  • Egg whites


The Worst
The funny thing about salad bars is that they usually have temptations that are creamy, high in fat, or just empty, nutrition-wise, all of which can send your otherwise-healthy salad into the calorie stratosphere.  Nuts, cheese, and dried cranberries can make a salad really fun to eat, but they can add calories too- it’s OK to add them- only in true moderation. The veggies and protein are the stars of the meal. Here are the toppings packed with sodium and sugar to avoid (or at least not totally pile on):

  • Wontons
  • Tortilla strips
  • Fried chicken
  • Croutons
  • Pasta
  • Dried fruits
  • Bacon
  • Starchy veggies (like corn niblets or potatoes)



by annejosephson


gym parents

  1. I love my child so much it hurts. It makes me a little irrational.  Please bare with me.  Be gentle.  My heart is walking around outside of me, and I entrust it to you.  I am not asking for a free pass, just a little empathy.
  2. And of course, I want you to love my child too.  I realize you have many kids to love, but let’s admit it…mine is really awesome.
  3. Despite what my actions might suggest, I want to be a good parent.  I really do.  So much so that I am prone to making mistakes because I over think things.  I need your help in guiding me on how to be the best support for my child-athlete.  If you think I am doing something that isn’t good for my child (like watching every practice or constantly bailing her out when she leaves her gym bag at home), communicate that with me.  I am all for help from the village.
  4.  I need more information.  I don’t understand things and that make me anxious.  I need to understand how kids move up.  I need to understand how to explain to my child what she needs to do to move on with her friends or to know that she won’t be so I can explain that to her.  When I don’t have information from you, I rely on other parents, the internet or I make things up myself.  We both know that this is hardly a good thing…
  5. Because remember: I don’t speak gymnastics.  To me a giant is a character in a fairy tale.  Kip is a guy with top siders and a country club membership.  And don’t get me started on Tsukahara or Yurchenko… Then, once I think I have the hang of what the levels all mean, things change, and I am confused again.  Is level 6 easier than level 5 or is that just my imagination?
  6.  Just because I ask you a question, does not mean I am questioning your competence.  I genuinely don’t understand things and need clarification.  Please try not to be defensive.  I am working hard to assume good faith and hope you will assume the same in me.
  7.  Big surprises freak me out.  They freak everyone out.  If my child isn’t going to move up or is missing a major skill she needs for competition, please tell me in time for me to prepare her or better yet help her achieve her goal.  I know that delivering bad news is not fun for you, but if you tell me in advance I can maybe do something about it.  And if bad news is unavoidable, be sensitive in how you deliver bad news but tell me the truth.  In private, please.

Gym Mom

  1. Please understand we are juggling a variety of commitments and that means sometimes we might be late or even miss practice.  I understand that gymnastics is your career and it makes it harder for you to do your job if my child isn’t in the gym.  But occasionally a sibling’s first communion or grandma’s 90th birthday will fall on a day of practice or even a meet.  And, once a year we travel to visit family and once another time we will actually scape enough cash together to go on a vacation.  Sometimes the carpool falls through and I cannot get her little brother from soccer at 5pm and be on the other side of town to drop her at practice at the same exact time.  We accept any logical consequences that arise because of her absence from the gym and will do our best to notify you in advance, but please do not take your anger or disappointment out on her.
  2. You are the expert on the sport and my child as an athlete, but I am the expert on my child.  Please know that I will always defer to you on what to teach my child, but I can provide insight to you on who she is.  For instance, if one of my children says she’s not feeling well, I might take it with a grain of salt.  If my other who has never missed a day of school in her life and never gets sick says that, I am certain its true.  Let’s work together to share what we know so we can best understand her.
  3. If you have a chance, can you encourage my kid to read, straighten our her room and be nice to her parents and siblings?  You see, you have a magical influence over my child.  She worships you and wants you to be proud of her.  You are her role model.  And I am grateful for that and am happy to bring you Starbucks whenever you need a caffeine boost.


by Anne Josephson reprinted from Jag Gym Blog

Gym Parents1

  1. Successful sports parents know their role. They are the parent. They are neither the athlete nor the coach.
  2. Successful sports parents know to watch their pronouns.   “We” do not have a meet this weekend, and “we” are not trying to go elite.
  3. Successful sports parents know to keep their eye on the big picture. A bad meet or bad season is feedback toward the larger goal.
  4. Successful sports parents know to respect their child’s coach. Even when they disagree.
  5. Successful sports parents know not relinquish their role as parent to the coach. Parents retain responsibility for their child’s health and well-being.
  6. Successful sports parents know to value their child-the-child more than their child-the-athlete.
  7. Successful sports parents know to make sure their child leads a balanced life. Their sport is important but so is their education, their family and friend time, downtime.
  8. Successful sports parents know how to be appropriately involved in their child’s sport.   They are supportive but not intrusive.
  9. Successful sports parents know to be the soft place for their child to land.
  10. Successful sports parents know when to allow their athlete to struggle and when to intervene.
  11. Successful sports parents know how to work out their own stress regarding their child’s Being a parent is not easy. Being a sport parent makes it that much more complicated.
  12. Successful sports parents know to take responsibility for their own choices regarding time, money and energy expended on behalf of their child athlete. They do not expect an Return            On Investment for their kids’ efforts. They do not make kids feel guilty for the financial choices that they as parents make.
  13. Successful sports parents know how to balance high level training needs and the needs of the other members of the family. The elite athlete child cannot take precedence over the other kids.
  14. Successful sports parents know how to enjoy their child’s time in sports. Sports are fun for children and that joy should bring pleasure to the parents as well.
  15. Successful sports parents know not to offer quitting as the solution to every difficulty their athlete encounters.
  16. Successful sports parents know to remain open to the option of their athlete moving on from the sport.
  17. Successful sports parents know how to behave in the car after practice.
  18. Successful sports parents know how to celebrate their child no matter the result of any individual meet.
  19. Successful sports parents know not to live vicariously through their children.
  20. Successful sports parents know to let their child’s coach give coaching feedback.
  21. Successful sports parents know to let their child be responsible for her own work.
  22. Successful sports parents know to be wary of advice from other sports parents.
  23. Successful sports parents know to be polite to all officials, staffers, parent volunteers etc.
  24. Successful sports parents know not to engage in psychological games with their athlete. They are the parent, not the amateur psychologist.
  25. Successful sports parents know to limit their negative feedback to their parenting obligations, never to discuss sports difficulties.
  26. Successful sports parents know to use the greatest of all therapeutic tricks: silence. Let there be silence and allow your child to exist in that space or have the space to talk.
  27. Successful sports parents know to let their child and the coach to set the goals.
  28. Successful sports parents know to focus on getting better rather than being “the best”.
  29. Successful sports parents know to have grit. They are willing to commit to a long-term goal.
  30. Successful sports parents love their kids unconditionally and without reservation. They want to have a happy, healthy good relationship with their child long after their child’s sports career ends.



by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

Drink Water

Water makes up about two thirds of who we are, and influences 100 percent of the processes in our body.  That probably explains why we feel better when we’re drinking enough of it.   Here are the top 16 reasons water can benefit your life:

  1. It could aid weight loss.
    2. It powers our warm-weather exercise.
    3. It keeps things moving, digestion-wise.
  2. It helps endurance athletes fight fatigue.
    5. It might protect against some types of cancer.
    6. It can improve mood.
    7. Drinking it may help prevent headaches, naturally.
    8. It keeps our kidneys working.
  3. It energizes us.
    10. Soda water makes healthier cocktails.
    11. It may help keep us alert.
    12. It protects our joints and cartilage.
  4. It takes the edge off of hangovers.
  5. It helps us think more clearly.
  6. It’s been linked to heart health.
  7. It may help relieve congestion.

by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

fitness ftigue woman

Nothing works up a good appetite like an intense sweat session. But does a hard workout give you license to eat whatever you want?  No!!  While you know deep down that indulging in a 600-calorie protein shake can undo all of your hard work, it’s still easy to feel like you’ve earned a treat. However, working out is not a justification to indulge. Don’t forget that running three miles at a 10-minute mile pace only burns about 300 calories—the amount in one doughnut. Research indicates that people underestimate the amount they eat by about 30 to 40 percent. So rewarding yourself with food is a dangerous habit.  Next time you’re pushing yourself through boot camp class, instead of calculating how many scoops of ice cream you’ve “earned,” focus on enjoying the moment, taking satisfaction in a job well done, and treating your body with the love and respect it ftigue

Kids Get Fit1

by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

I think it is safe to say that I am not the only one running out of ideas to keep the kids busy this summer and burn off all their energy.  Let’s face it- Kids need exercise!   When most adults think about exercise, they imagine working out in the gym on a treadmill or lifting weights.  But for kids, exercise means playing and being physically active.  The Kids Performance Fit class is the perfect way to incorporate exercise and fun into your kid’s day- whether your goals are to condition for a fall sport, break the lazy days of summer or just to try something new!    Try a Trial Class today!

The Many Benefits of Exercise

Everyone can benefit from regular exercise. Kids who are active will:

  • have stronger muscles and bones
  • have a leaner body because exercise helps control body fat
  • be less likely to become overweight
  • decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • possibly lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
  • have a better outlook on life

Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges — from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.

The Three Elements of Fitness

If you’ve ever watched kids on a playground, you’ve seen the three elements of fitness in action when they:

  1. run away from the kid who’s “it” (endurance)
  2. cross the monkey bars (strength)
  3. bend down to tie their shoes (flexibility)

Parents should encourage their kids to do a variety of activities so that they can work on all three elements.

Kid Fit2

Endurance is developed when kids regularly engage in aerobic activity. During aerobic exercise, the heart beats faster and a person breathes harder. When done regularly and for extended periods of time, aerobic activity strengthens the heart and improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells.

Improving strength doesn’t have to mean lifting weights.    Push-ups, stomach crunches, pull-ups, and other exercises help tone and strengthen muscles.

Stretching exercises help improve flexibility, allowing muscles and joints to bend and move easily through their full range of motion. Kids look for opportunities every day to stretch when they try to get a toy just out of reach, practice a split, or do a cartwheel.

Kids Performance Fit Classes are offered Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30pm