More Than Just a Trophy

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A big personal goal that I set for the MAC Tennis Academy program from its very beginning is that above any trophy or good results, the  program would always focus first on the development of the athlete as a person. A child that has respect for his or her peers, for the environment, and for the rest of the people around them is going to be a child with a better chance of maximizing his or her potential as an athlete. Beyond all of that, a kid who is respectful, but also grateful for the opportunity to train at an awesome place like the MAC and be surrounded by incredible people day in and day out, is what the program reinforces all the time.

During the past few months, the entire MAC program, and a many people from our general membership, donated a bunch of used rackets, bags, clothes, and shoes. In recent weeks, one of our long time students, Jennifer Riester and most of her immediate family, did a tennis trip to Cali Colombia (South America). This was NOT the usual trip for someone training in the academy: a national or international tournament. This trip was about service and gratefulness. Jennifer and her family took all of the donations and spent an entire week teaching tennis, English and spreading the equipment to less privileged kids who love the sport and who look to the sport to give them a chance for a better future.

The entire experience was so impactful that it inspired us to think of new ways to help. The lives of those kids were touched positively forever by the generosity of our program and the love, care and good lessons that the Riesters provided. Their trip was about supporting those kids’ dreams and possibilities without expecting anything in return. A big Thank you to the entire Riester family for taking a leadership position to manifest our gratefulness for being a part of this beautiful sport and incredible community.

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Written By: 
Francisco Montoya
MAC Tennis Academy Director
fmontoya@mactennis.com

Taking Women’s Health to Heart

I recently attended a continuing education webinar with one of my medical guru’s Dr. Cynthia Geyer. Dr Geyer is the medical director at Canyon Ranch, she is triple board certified in functional, lifestyle and internal medicine; she is also on the team of Food as Medicine faculty at Kripalu where I received my certification as a Food as Medicine Coach.

Dr. Geyer and her team have done extensive research on heart disease and women and what they have discovered is that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women over 50. One third of women over 50 will die of a heart attack or stroke. These statics are alarming however; lifestyle and exercise can greatly reduce this risk.

It is important to be aware of the risk factors such as family history, obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, stress and the western diet. Women who have frequent migraines and suffer from Raynaud’s disease also have an increased risk of a cardiac event. You can evaluate your risk at www.goredforwomen.org

35 % of US adults and 50% of those over 60 meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome which increases your risk of diabetes, heart attack or stroke. So what can we do?

80% of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes may be preventable by leading a healthy lifestyle.

What constitutes a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, proper body composition, no smoking, low alcohol intake, eating whole foods, proper sleep and keeping stress levels low. Sadly, only 2% of the US population meets this criteria.

Dr Geyer and her team have looked at a number of different studies on lifestyle and heart health.The INTERHEART Study looked at psychosocial stress levels across 52 different countries.What they discovered is that our emotions and stress levels are reflected in our heart rhythms. When we are frustrated or stressed, our heart rhythms are short and jagged, when we are in a deep state of appreciation, our heart rhythms are long, supple and smooth, like a wave.

Nutrition plays a key role in women’s heart health, Dr Geyer recommends the Mediterranean diet as a sustainable plan. Eat foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, polyphenols, folate, vitamins C and E. Late night eating increases the risk of obesity by 50%, try to have your last meal of the day at least 3-4 hours before you go to bed. If you must eat late, eat light.

Proper sleep is extremely important for heart health, try to create a sanctuary for sleep, turn of all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime, develop a meditation practice if you have difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Exercise with a friend or in a group. Djembe drumming, which is a low to moderate form of exercise ; lowers stress and anxiety.  Interestingly, when drumming in a circle or in a group, everyone’s heart rhythms synchronize.

Your Mac team is here for you offering fitness, wellness, group exercise, massage and acupuncture. Together we can assist you with your lifestyle and fitness goals.

 

Written By:
Marlene Dickinson
Holistic Wellness Coach/Director of Wellness
BA Psychology/Sports Nutrition/Food as Medicine
mdickinson@macathletics.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable Bliss

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Are you dreading your next plate of steamed broccoli, salad or that pan of roasted vegetables that just is not cutting it for you anymore?  Let me take you on a culinary experience that will forever change your relationship with vegetables.

I cannot take any credit for what I am about to share but I can tell you that you will be incredibly happy that you took the time to read this blog. I have spent a great deal of time at Kripalu, a meditation and retreat center in the Berkshire Mountains. It was there that I first had a truly blissful experience with vegetables and I can attribute my experience to one small scoop of the Kripalu house salad dressing! I could not believe all of the flavors that I was experiencing and the way it enhanced both my salad and broccoli.

After dinner, I ran to the bookstore to buy the cookbook and discovered that not only was the salad dressing delicious but it was also full of so many vitamins and health benefits. This one little scoop of dressing is packed with protein and is a great sources of calcium, omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin e and antioxidants. Healthwise, it lowers cholesterol, boosts heart health, improves immune function, reduces inflammation, prevents wrinkles, lowers blood pressure and acts as a liver detox. Who knew!

So here it is, your passage to vegetable bliss – Enjoy!

Kripalu House Salad Dressing

Combine all ingredients and blend – Makes 2 cups

  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup tamari
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  •  1/3 cup sesame tahini
  • 1/2  tablespoon dry mustard
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Pinch cayenne
  • ½ cup water

 

Written By:
Marlene Dickinson
Director of Wellness
Holistic Wellness Coach
Food as Medicine Coach

Gymazing! is the Ultimate Place to Let Those Little Brains Develop!

“The people that work there are so kind. My kids love going there.
I wouldn’t be able to go to the gym without those amazing people!!”
-Amy K.

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GYMAZING! – Where we learn our 1-2-3’s, A-B-C’s and Do-Re-Mi’s! From music with sign language, to dance parties and Spanish classes, Gymazing! at MAC is a great place to let your little one’s brains develop. We help activate fine motor skills by making messes with glitter, paint and crafts, jumping our sillies out in Gym Jam and using our imaginations to the sky’s limits. When they need, we curl up in the reading nook for a little quiet time and a good book. We also have plenty of infant swings for napping! At MAC, we not only want to challenge the adult on our fitness floor, but our kids in Gymazing as well. We want to make sure their time with us is engaging, imaginative and FUN!

Early Childhood News says: “Specific tasks related to social development occur in early childhood, just like developmental tasks occur in cognitive growth. The term social refers to a relationship or interaction between two or more people, who by definition respond to each other and influence each other’s behavior. Socialization is an important process in child development. Stated simply, it is the process whereby individuals, especially children, become functioning members of a particular group and take on the values, behaviors, and beliefs of the group’s other members. Although the process begins shortly after birth and continues into adulthood, the age of early childhood is a crucial period of socialization. How children are disciplined, how they respond to this discipline, and how they develop independent behavior are all connected to the process in which socialization occurs.”

We strive to create a space where children can come to learn something new and have fun doing it… but most importantly we value the friendships that are created and the laughs that are shared!

“Most children begin receiving formal education during kindergarten. Recent scientific research has proven that learning and mental development begin immediately after birth. During the first three years of a child’s life, essential brain and neural development occurs.”
Written by Becton Loveless for Education Corner

Come see what all the FUN is about! We are open 7 days per week, all day!
MON-THURS: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
FRI: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM + Movie Night (5:30 PM – 8:00 PM)
SAT/SUN: 8:00 AM – Noon

*With a youth membership, your child can use Gymazing for up to two hours per day

 

BLOG WRITTEN BY:
Marion Hopping
Manager – Gymazing! at MAC
978-526-8900 x211
gymazing@macathletics.com

Kick Those Winter Blues with Some #SelfCare

Looking for something to combat the winter blues? Whether you’re struggling with recurrent colds, low energy or seasonal depression, our practitioners can help you feel your best!

 

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Acupuncture offers an effective (and relaxing!) way to combat some of winter’s most troublesome symptoms. By rebalancing the body’s own energy, regular acupuncture works to boost immunity, strengthen digestion, reduce stress, and can also be tailored to treat specific symptoms, such as muscle aches and pains, sinus headaches, and chronic fatigue. Acupuncture works best when done regularly, or as part of your ongoing health regimen (proper diet, exercise, massage, adequate rest).

 

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Did you know that regular massage therapy sessions can keep your immune system heightened?  Massage therapy increases lymph flow which fights off infections and bacteria, boosting your immune system during the cold and flu season.  If that’s not enough, easing muscle tension and low back pain (from all that shoveling) will help you maintain an active lifestyle all winter long.

 

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Stay warm with cupping therapy.  As our blood rushes to the core of our bodies to protect our organs during the cold winter months, cupping can help keep you feeling warm by stimulating blood flow and alleviating muscle tension.  Placing cups on the neck, upper back and shoulders is recommended to ward off cold and flu symptoms, sinus and upper respiratory infections and coughing.

 

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Is dull winter skin becoming a drag?  Cold climate can be tough on the skin, lack of humidity and cold wind can be extremely drying.  Avoid the temptation of washing in very hot water, lukewarm is preferred and use a humidifier at home to put moisture in the air. Gently exfoliate weekly and be sure to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated daily to protect against environmental damage.  SPF daily is a must!  Our estheticians recommend a facial every 4-6 weeks to deeply clean and nourish your skin.

View our extensive MAC Spa menu HERE!

 

Written by:
Jackie Conrad
jconrad@macathletics.com
978-526-8900 x259

Yoga Only Works if You Show Up

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There was a post I saw on Instagram that said, “Yoga only works if you show up.” I loved it, I reposted it, and now I’m going to blog about it because it couldn’t be more true. Sure, the practice of yoga has been around for years and years and years, but its popularity has grown immensely over the last decade or two. Many of you have shown up and jumped on this amazing bandwagon, and others of you may still be skeptical, although you’ve probably heard many speak its praises. Those of you who haven’t tried yoga may have told yourself, “I’m not flexible enough,” or “I don’t have the patience for that,” or, “I just need a real workout. One that makes me sweat.” Hmmmm. Let’s break some of this down, shall we? For those who are challenged in the flexibility department, consider this; yoga is an excellent practice to gain just that! It is also great for muscle strength, maintaining your metabolism, losing weight, and for cardio health. But you have to show up. You have to try. You have to keep coming back. There are many different styles of yoga, so if you are looking for a sweaty workout, consider a power or a “vinyasa flow.’ These classes are vigorous and can be challenging, you will definitely break a sweat, and most are geared toward all-levels. Do you know why? The instructors want you to show up and love it! They want you to reap all the benefits of the practice even if it’s your very first class. Sure, there might be a few minutes of quiet breathing and you might hear an “Ommm” or two, but the more you show up, the more you will understand the reasons behind those components of yoga too. Think calming the mind as one.

To “show up” is a loaded phrase. At least it is for me. When someone reminds me to show up, I interpret that to mean show up as the best version of yourself for the role you are given. For me, I need to show up as the best yoga instructor I can be on a given day, or the best mom I can be, or the best wife, etc. We all play so many roles, and if you pause before beginning your time in that role to say, “What does it look like for me to show up as XYZ ?” you bring some intention into it and you strive to be your best. How does this relate to yoga, you ask? By just showing up to class, you have already set an intention to better yourself both physically and spiritually. You have subconsciously told yourself that you are worth that time to work on you. You have shown up for yourself by putting everything else on hold to breath, move, and meditate. By showing up again and again and again, you are acknowledging your self-worth and your commitment to your overall health. Be the best that you can be. Always.

Want to know a secret that most yogis know that you might not? You see and feel the benefits of the practice after you leave the class, not necessarily while you’re in it. Here’s why. When you get a chance to practice yoga, you give yourself permission to drop right into the given moment. Why? Because you might be balancing on one foot, or breathing through a pose you find challenging, or listening intently on what the instructor is saying. You have literally no choice but to be in the moment. It’s amazing. There are few methods of exercise that give you that kind of opportunity, the kind where you aren’t thinking about anything else but what you’re doing right then and there. With the practice of presence in the moment grows the practice of awareness. The more aware you are of yourself, your surroundings, and the people in your life, the more you see those people and things for who and what they truly are. Life has a little more clarity. You begin to let go of things (and maybe even people) that no longer serve you or the life you are trying to live.  You begin to imagine the life you do want to live and you start making choices that support that life. Each time you find yourself on your mat, sure, that practice itself will be different each time, but what will stay consistent is a sense of shedding of layers, of peeling away the things that you don’t need anymore which will lead you to the life you’ve always dreamed of.  JUST SHOW UP!

I would love to answer any questions or concerns you may have at my all-levels Power Yoga classes at MAC, Thursdays 9-10 AM and Sundays 9-10:15 AM

WRITTEN BY:
Alli Pinkin
Yoga Instructor

Movement, Nutrition and Self-Care for Women – An Energy/Mitochondrial Approach

According to Monique Class, the Director at the Center for Women’s Health; the three most common health concerns facing women today is a lack of energy, a lack of motivation and brain fog. Our mitochondria convert the chemical energy from food into ATP, which creates energy for every cell in our body. Monique has several recommendations on how to increase mitochondria production within our bodies.

According to the American Heart Association, sitting is the new smoking. Exercise is one of the best ways to increase mitochondria and consequently increase energy levels. Movement in connection with a group enhances the benefits of exercise!

According to recent research at UCLA, working out with a friend or in on a small group decreases inflammation and increases the production of dopamine, which results in positive genetic expression.  Just 4-5 minutes of interval training releases serotonin and stimulates the endocannabinoid system which reduces stress, combats fatigue and increases brain function! Exercising two time times per week has been proven to decrease both depression and the chances of a cardiac event by 30% and reduces the risk of breast cancer by 20%. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for one of group exercise classes today!

There are also other ways to increase production of the mitochondria within our bodies, examples include following a ketogenic diet, itermittent fasting, taking a curcumin supplement and meditation are all avenues to get there.

Ketones can be transported to the brain and used as an energy source. Ketones also go into the mitochondria which results in an increase in energy and the creation of new mitochondria. Monique stresses that the Ketogenic Diet is not for everyone, if someone is already in an inflammatory state, suffers from an auto-immune disease or is insulin resistant, then the ketogenic diet is not for them. The diet is not intended for long term use, she recommends a maximum of 3-4 weeks.

Interrmittent fasting also increases the production of mitochondria. You can begin by fasting 12 hours from dinner to breakfast, with clear  liquids in the morning, 16 hours from dinner to lunch 2 times per week and then a 24 hour fast once per month. Again, intermittent fasting is not for everyone, so please check with your health care professional before you make any nutritional changes.

In conjunction with exercise, green tea extract, curcumin, resveratrol and meditation also have the same effect as the ketogenic nutrition plan and can offer a long term solution to decrease inflammation, increase energy levels and fight brain fog.

Come and take advantage of our 115 group exercises per week and experience the positive changes in your energy levels!

WRITTEN BY:
Marlene Dickinson
Director of Wellness
Holistic Wellness Coach
BA Psychology/Sports Nutrition
Food as Medicine Coach