Nili’s Workouts…meet her trainer!

glennaGlenna

Nili’s (Our amazing preschool teacher) workouts have been led by our equally amazing Personal trainer Glenna. As the preschool year is coming to a close, I asked Glenna what 3 exercises she recommends that everyone can incorperate into their workouts. Here below are Glenna’s top 3!

1. Some sort of “pull up type/like” exercise. This could be an assisted pull up using the super band or a body weight row using the TRX or Maxrack bar or, yes, an actual pull up.

2. Some kind of squat or lunge exercise-there are too many examples to name here but to name a few: goblet squats, sit down stand up, back squats and walking lunges.

3. Finally, most everyone could benefit from doing a “stick up” or “T-stand” against a wall as follows: lean with your back to the wall raise the arms to shoulder height and bend the elbow up at 90 degrees with palms facing out. Like a stick up. Press every part of the arm and hand against the wall, wrists, fingers, everything and hold for 30 seconds check for parts that are coming off the wall. Lifting the hips off the wall will make this more moderate.

Today is the last day of preschool! We will miss all of our wonderful teachers and students, and look forward to fall 2014! Have a great summer everyone!

Working out with Nili (OMG QHCBTG)

Here's Nili!
Here’s Nili!
OMG! QHCBTG!
Oh My Gosh! Quads,Hammies,Calves,Biceps,Triceps& Glutes!

This weeks trainings hit every single inch of my body and it hurts so good! As The burn intensified as I lunged “around the world” (doing a set of lunges forward, side and back) with Glenna, my mind became at ease.

It was in that moment that I really realized the importance of working out. I understood the obvious reasons, but in this moment It became clear that my mind has a lot going on in it and sometimes I can’t turn it off. This usually occurs right around 10pm when I’m preparing for sleep. When I do these full body workouts with Glenna, this not only physically exhausts me, it mentally exhausts me. THIS is the combination I have been searching for.

After our training session yesterday, I think my endorphins were on overdrive and Glenna and I sat for a second to confirm our training schedule. We started chatting and I learned some fun facts about Glenna. She was a teacher herself, and I instantly I started to think about the children I teach and how I strive to be a role model for them and their families on many levels, especially health and wellness.

Each year it is a teaching goal/strategy of mine to physically/cognitively challenge each child who enters our preschool. Again, the obvious physical challenges of kicking a ball in the gum or sliding down the slide on the roof are easy ways to target physical challenge, but the big question is, how to present activities that challenge both the physical and the cognitive? I have challenged myself over the years to research and experiment with this inquiry, and have found small doses of success. As with most things in life, more answers led to more questions, the next lesson to be learned or the next goal reached.

By participating in full body trainings, I am now able to understand more of what exactly I am seeking for the students in my classroom. It is one of my teaching strategies and my philosophy, that if a child is physically and cognitively challenged, they are then able to understand and control their bodies, brains and actions. If a child is connected to their body, they are able to connect deeper to learning and build more meaningful relationships. It’s been amazing to fully experience what I want for my students, and find out how well it works! The science behind early childhood fascinates me and I feel grateful that I am in a profession I am passionate about.

Enough reading! Go challenge your mind and body!

Nili Talis is one of our beloved preschool teachers who had an epiphany about what it might take to truly be at her best.

In January, each preschool teacher at the 14th Street Y was given the opportunity to participate in “the passion project.” The idea behind this project was to motivate, inspire and connect each teacher with the feeling of passion. It was up to each individual to define their passion. When we found out that Nili would pursue her passion for health and wellness with us, we asked her to share her workouts with us, in the hopes that it might inspire a passion for health in others.

Working Out With Nili

Nili Talis is one of our beloved preschool teachers who had an epiphany about what it might take  to truly be at her best. 

In January,  each preschool teacher at the 14th Street Y was given the opportunity to participate in “the passion project.”  The idea behind this project was to motivate, inspire and connect each of us with the feeling of passion.  It was up to each individual to define their passion.   When we found out that Nili would pursue her passion for health and wellness with us, we asked her to share her workouts with us, in the hopes that it might inspire a passion for health in others.

-14th Street Y

My adrenaline shot up to the sky after this opportunity was presented to me.   After the proposal paper was in my hand, my energy dropped to the ground.

Passion!? Oh No, who has time for passion? A list of all of the things I need to accomplish before June raced through my head. I need to pass four different state teacher certification exams, write a thesis, complete 2 more graduate school courses, spend time with my family and teach! How would I ever fit a passion project into my life?

I took a month to ponder the possibilities, I could learn to play the ukulele, scuba dive, speak a different language or even improve upon my mind reading skills.  All of these sounded interesting, but nothing ignited the passion within me.  Just as I was about to return the form and decide I didn’t have time for this project, it hit me.  When do I feel the most passionate? When I am at my best.

That was my aha moment:  I needed to focus on me in order to be the best graduate student, educator, wife and Mother.  The best way I know how to do this is to lead a healthy lifestyle.  Over the years I have gone in and out of focusing on being the best me.  And currently with my plate overflowing, working out has been put in the freezer…until now!  The focus of my passion project would be to begin a workout routine with a trainer at the Y to ignite my desire for a heathy lifestyle and to be the best me possible.

Here's Nili!
Here’s Nili!

FIRST WORKOUT:  “Oh no here goes something!”

As I slowly make my approach over to my Personal Trainer Glenna and begin what I had been calling a “tuchas whooping”.

I kept telling myself I need this more now than ever.  Life has taken over my hours in each day.  I love my life and wife,  don’t get me wrong, and working out has become a hobby I participate in on occasion.

Glenna was kind, gentle, intelligent, positive and focused.  As she conducted her initial physical test on me we started to talk about my goals and vision for our training sessions.

I told her that growing up I was always on a sports team and really never had to worry about working out. I want to bring back that type of training that uses all natural body weight training. I wasn’t interested in treadmills or other large equipment.

Glenna’s knowledge and confidence quickly eased my mind and we jumped into the training session.  She opened up a tiny bag filled with a few bands.  We used these bands in a variety of way that worked every single muscle in my body.  As I was doing the reps I kept thinking, “This isn’t so bad, I’ve got this!”

I also questioned if I was working hard enough?  After our first session Glenna and I hugged and said see you next week.  I left feeling really good but still asked myself did I work hard enough? I continued on with my busy day and got home around 8pm that night.  After I completed our family night-time rituals, I went to sit on the couch to read a book.  After about an hour of sitting, I wanted to get a drink and then BOOM it hit me!  I COULDNT MOVE A SINGLE MUSCLE!  As I stood up half way I started to laugh “I guess I did work hard enough!”

And it felt awesome!  This is the feeling I’ve missed.  Every inch of my inside and out was physically and mentally challenged and I wanted more!

-Nili Talis

Interested in working out like this?  Try Glenna’s FREE Fitness Intensive this Saturday, May 11th at 12:00PM  PRIMAL MOVES.

 

Our Community Composting Program

Are you composting with us yet?

In March, we began our Community Composting Pilot to help busy urban dwellers like you keep food waste out of the landfill.  It’s easy to do!  Just collect your food waste at home (even meat and dairy is eligible for this program) and bring it to the Y.  Once you’re here, you can weigh it and text the amount to track your diversion rate.  Each text enters you into a raffle to win great things from our community.  April’s raffle prize is a $50 gift certificate from Northern Spy , an amazing restauraunt that uses local, fresh and seasonal foods.

Our goal is to sign up 150 households, and  divert 1 ton of food waste from the landfill by EARTH DAY!  (that’s 4/22/13)

Have you signed up to compost with us?  Just email Camille_Diamond@14StreetY.org to get started.  Keep food out of the landfill, send it back to the earth, and complete the food cycle!

For more information, visit www.14StreetY.org/compost

Our Gymnasium: From Drab to Fab

We hope you’ve had a chance to play or take class on our new Basketball Court!  Your support has been invaluable during its renovation.  Since you didn’t get to see the process over the last few weeks, we wanted to share some pictures of the gym’s journey from drab to fab!

Our Gymnasium: From Drab to Fab

Here is our beloved old basketball court. It served us for 16 years with many fabulous games, classes and fun. But change was needed! And since we were changing….

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Why not get the best?  Our new gym has a shiny new wood floor (state-of-the-art!) fresh paint, and repaired ceiling.

Here’s what you didn’t see:

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The new floor on its way in!

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Wood prepped and ready to paint.

panorama

Painting almost complete!

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And ready to go.

Here’s to many more years of legendary play!  Thank you, 14th Street Y community for your patience and commitment to this important project.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

New Arrival!

New Arrival!

Last week our newest ‘bundles of joy’ –our new floor– arrived in bundles of beautiful wood. Today, these bundles have been installed and set beautifully in the gymnasium! We’re right on track for a mid February re-opening. Stay tuned for more updates!

Pretzels and the People- A Story From Our Afterschool Program

All around the world, people are embracing a commitment towards a greener, more sustainable planet. Even in the United States, where climate change skeptics have often derailed the conversation with cries of false science and a nefarious liberal agenda, recent extreme weather events like the summer droughts, raging fires, and hurricane Sandy are causing people across party lines to sit up and take note. But what does it mean for our Jewish community—individuals, institutions, movements, etc.—to truly embrace a commitment to tikkun olam and start repairing the world? With many of our natural resources exploited, wildlife populations threatened, and an ever-growing sense of futility in the face of a dire yet abstract crisis, where should we even start?

How about with a room full of energetic K-5th graders in afterschool at the 14th Street Y in New York City? Let’s start with something tangible and mundane, like that small bag of pretzels we eat for snack. And let’s start with a question: how do those pretzels get to us, and where do they go when we’re done?

Since Oct. 5, the kids, afterschool director Chloe Markowitz, and I have been in hot pursuit of the answer. We know that everything starts with the earth and goes back to the earth in the end. We know that, somewhere in the middle, those earth-products pass through our mouths and hands. And we are beginning to uncover many of the untold stories lying latent inside the cellophane—from the farmers growing wheat to the factories assembling the package, to the landfills and sewage works, and all the pilots, conductors and drivers who earn their wages connecting the dots.

On paper, “sustainability” is incredibly simple and instinctually obvious. All we have to do is live in balance with our natural habitat, avoiding unnecessary damage, and only taking that which can be replenished. In the real world, however, our attempts to live sustainably get caught up in a tangled and complex web of pre-existing, enveloping, and often unsustainable systems.

A bag of pretzels is not just a bag of pretzels. The ingredients represent a farm bill that subsidizes industrial monoculture, highly processed foods, and underpaid, overworked laborers. The bag denotes our dependance on oil for disposable, sanitary packaging, and an underlying assumption that we can afford to waste. Its physical existence and near instant evaporation embodies big rigs lumbering down long stretches of freeway, and delivering gratuitously high asthma rates to New York City’s disenfranchised outer boroughs, where most warehouses, waste transfer stations, and unsightly sewage treatment works are located. Etc., etc., and so forth.

But we are not just the sum of a system. We create and shape our society every day in innumerable actions both pedestrian and profound. Who we vote for, how we spend our money, the ideologies and policies we promote in our companies—almost every engagement with the larger world serves to sustain the status quo or forge a path towards greener pastures.

The key word, however, is “we.” There’s really very little that the average person can do. Even a CEO, who may cast a wider net when she takes her company green, represents only one link in a global chain. Yet those links are all connected, and seven billion average people maintain what already is, even when we can’t see them doing it.

Our after school kids now know that the tables they sit at for snack don’t set themselves up. Sami sets them up. They know that they are warm in the winter because there are radiators. They took pictures when Conrad, the Super, brought them to what he calles “the heart of the building,” turned on the boiler, and pointed out the pipes that carry steam up, up and away. They understand that every plastic wrapper means more waste into the large dumpster Jane showed them out back, and more trips to our out-of-state landfill.

And then Jane opened the compost bin so they could look inside.

We can’t just talk about change; ideas are only one link in the chain. We have to support new paradigms with concrete action. Our afterschool “Green Friday” program is only one piece of the 14th Street Y’s greater commitment to sustainability  under Executive Director Stephen Hazan Arnoff. From a pedagogical perspective, it’s important that our kids can talk about industrial food systems with me, and also taste local produce from the Hazon CSA on Thursdays. From an institutional perspective, it’s critical that their commitment expresses itself holistically—from the way their physical structure is maintained and improved, to the supplies ordered and materials produced, their egagements with stakeholders and the greater community, etc. Otherwise the change itself is not sustainable.

It’s not always obvious or easy. In just one bag of pretzels, we found a whole Pandora’s box. But if there’s one thing the kids have taught me so far, it’s that we can’t see the forest until we’ve seen the trees. If we want to get closer to the earth, we have to know just how far we’ve come from it. Only then, piece by piece, can change begin to ripple from the farmer to the factory, to the front desk, to us, and right back out again.

  The 14th Street Y sang about going GREEN last Spring with this original song by Nathan Tysen

Shawn Shafner is the Founder of The POOP Project and Green Educator for the 14th Street Y Afterschool Program.

Family Fitness from a Friend of the (14th Street Y) Family!

We’re reposting a magnificent blog written by one of our favorite fitness bloggers, Jeannine Trimboli of Real Fit Life.  Jeannine lives in upstate New York, is a mom of 4 and a super example of  how healthy living can fit sustainably into a busy, happy life.   We often feature her workouts on Fitness Tip Tuesday and Workout Wednesdays.

On the day after Hurricane Sandy, Jeannine posted this blog in the Times Union about the 14th Street Y and our Family Fitness Initiatives, a program still very near and dear to our hearts.  In fact, though we missed our planned Nov. 4th Fitness Intensive, Family Track Day, we play on rescheduling it sometime soon!  Meanwhile, get ready for Family Capoeira on Sunday, December 2nd at 2:30PM!

Thanks so much to Jeannine for writing about us and what we’re up to.  We’ll be bringing you more of her fabulous workouts on our Facebook and Twitter pages soon!

The 14th Street Y

It seems super appropriate that I write a blog about one of my newly found friends in Manhattan today. Since the storm hit their area so hard they are without power at the moment so I want to wish them and all of their neighbors safety and a speedy recovery. To be really accurate, they found me. Or at least Camille Diamond did. Camille is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y and she reached out to me a while back asking if I would be interested in collaborating on a family fitness campaign.

Camille and her son at Family Yoga

As a mom of four, and fitness professional, who often writes about the importance of making fitness a family affair, I was on board right from the start!

We have so much influence over our kids. The habits we instill in them at a young age carry over into their adult lives. I know my kids understand that healthy eating, fitness, and other self –nurturing habits are topics that I am very passionate about.

The other day, for instance, I decided to get a quick twenty minute workout while my kids were hanging out in the living room. Two of my boys were sitting down playing a video game together, and my daughter was on the couch listening to music. Lying down in the middle of the living room floor I started on my first set of reverse crunches with the physioball. My hips lifted off the ground, my knees and the ball went over my head, and as my spine slowly descended back down to where it started, my 5 year old boy said with excitement: “Whoah, HOW do you DO that?!? Without skipping a beat, my 11 year old son replied. “Sheer strength! And independent woman power”

Now that response made me laugh a lot. It also made me very happy. I want my kids to see me fitting fitness into my life and making it a priority. I also want them to see it as something fun and cool.

Just like us adults, kids are all different. They like different types of activities and sometimes you may have to experiment a little before you hit on something that gets them enthusiastic about fitness.

I love the approach 14th Street Y is using. They are literally experimenting with new programs right now and trying to find out what kinds of parent – child activities are the most successful.

To kick off this venture they held a Family Fit Day last Sunday, October 21st. They had a “Fun, Walk, and Roll” event, rock wall climbing, sparring, fitness contests, and relay races. I also love that the

food provided at the event was equally healthy. Instead of the usual cupcakes and pizza, they provided sushi and gluten free granola.

The 14th Street Y also creates time that specifically caters to families within their facility. They have family swim seven days a week and family basketball court time every Saturday. In addition, they are offering special fitness intensives for families the 1st Sunday of every month. Their first one was Family Yoga on October 7th, from 2:30 – 3:30.

I think all of this is great. Instead of having the kids hang out in a child care room while mom and dad “go work out”, this allows kids to be engaging in fitness activities right along side with them. I think that sends a powerful message to kids.

Fitness is not something we have to wait to participate in “when we are old enough”.

As parents and as communities, we need to be engaging our kids in activities on a regular basis. If you need to get a workout in, great! Take your kid with you! If you don’t think you can get sufficient exercise with a child at your side, then maybe it is time to rethink what you consider REAL exercise.

I know my kids LOVE to have races. They like push up challenges. They also like to watch me lift weights. I also let them lift the weights that are appropriate for their age. Safety first, always!

Kids feel really special when we allow them to see a glimpse into our world and when we make them feel like they are special enough to be a part of it. That in itself can make a huge, positive impact. Not to mention, it does oodles of good for their confidence!

So, if you don’t live close enough to the 14th Street Y, that’s okay! You can make up your own great activities.

Best wishes to the 14th Street Y!  In the future, Camille and I will be happy to share some of what they learn along the way

FAMILY FIT DAY This Sunday October 21st!

Why?  Because Families are busy, but still want to spend time together, build great habits, and model a healthy lifestyle for their kids. 

We’re celebrating our Family Fitness Initaitives with FAMILY FIT DAY  at the 14th Street Y.  Climb a rock wall, play silly sports, run fun relays (gunny sack races, anyone?) and play super soccer stars TOGETHER.  Sponsored by Beyond Sushi (YUM!), East Village Body Works (chair massage for adults!) Tu-Lu’s Bakery (also, YUM!) Gym Source, Web MD (thanks!) and our friends at the wonderful Ciao for Now.

11:00AM-2:00PM.  Hope to see you there!

Family Fitness at the 14th Street Y!

Family Fitness is more important now than ever before.  Like it or not, our kids are on track to be the first generation to have shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.  For this reason, the 14th Street Y is making Family Fitness a priority!

Because we understand that families are busy, we know that combining exercise with fun and being together is the best way to ensure a healthy amount of activity.  With your membership you and your kids can enjoy Family Swim 7 days a week,  Family basketball court time every Saturday,  plus Special fitness intensives for the family the 2nd Sunday of every month.

Join us for our first Family Fitness intensive THIS SUNDAY!  Our goal is to not just create opportunities for families to be FIT TOGETHER, but to create memories for healthy  habits to last a lifetime.

Save the date for our FAMILY FIT DAY event on Sunday, October 21st!  Rock Wall Climbing, great food from Beyond Sushi and Tu-Lu Bakery, plus fun relay and fitness games that you and your kids can do together!  Check  www.14StreetY.org/funwalk for more details!