PEAC Health and Fitness is hosting a “College Day” on Monday, May 20th. There are so many special things going on this day, you don’t want to miss it! First off, simply wear your college shirt and you’ll get a prize AND be entered into a raffle to win the whole summer for free!
Open to the public, bring a guest for free!
This event is open to the public so anyone can stop in to check the facility out! Whether you’ve been a member for a long time and want to bring some family or friends or you’ve never been and have been thinking about joining, come try out our facility for free!
Happy Hour, Games, Prizes, and Zumba!
Happy Hour starts at 5pm thanks to our friends at River Horse Brewery. There will be food, drinks, games and prizes for everyone to enjoy. Then, at 6:30pm join Juni for a free Zumba class that’s open to all!
Join for only $20!
If you are not currently a member, sign up by the end of the day on the 20th for just $20 and pay nothing for the rest of the month! (Regular membership rate will resume on June 1st).
See you there!
On May 9th PEAC will be hosting a 5K to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey. We are so excited for this event as it’s sure to be a fun time but will also benefit an amazing organization!
About Special Olympics New Jersey:
Special Olympics New Jersey began in the early 1950’s and 1960’s when Eunice Kennedy Shriver saw how unjustly those with intellectual disabilities were treated. She saw that many children with disabilities had no place to play and decided to take action. She held a summer day camp in her own backyard for young people with disabilities. The goal was to learn what these kids could do in sports and other activities- not to dwell on what they could not do.
The now global movement was given wings by individuals who sought to expand Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s vision into their own backyard. Formal Programming in NJ began in 1969, when six participants from the Bayonne Recreation department and twelve participants from E.R. Johnstone training center in Bordentown represented NJ at the Eastern Regional Special Olympics at The University of Maryland. It was evident after that event that much improvement was needed. The athletes from the Garden State had few uniforms, little equipment and their training was lacking.
Fast forward fifty years and you will find that New Jersey has become one of the premier Special Olympics programs in the world and a leader in the Unified Sports and Young Athletes programs, as well as their own Camp Shriver that takes place each summer.
(info taken from https://www.sonj.org/about/history/)
How you can help:
PEAC’s 5k, taking place May 9th, is set to benefit this amazing organization. Make sure you sign up to help support this wonderful organization! If running a full 5k sounds pretty daunting to you, we also have a 1 mile “Fun Run” you can take part in instead . That way you can still partake in this wonderful event and help us support this great organization!
Sign up here: https://raceroster.com/events/2019/23018/peac-5k-in-may
Do your health a favor and head to your local Farmer’s Market!
Spring is finally here and with that comes the blooming of all the many beautiful plants and flowers but also many of your favorite fruits and vegetables! If you haven’t made a trip to your local farmers market you might want to consider making it part of your routine this spring and summer. It could be one of the best decisions you make for your health, the environment and your local economy.
Farm Fresh produce
Buying from your local farmers market allows you access to the freshest produce you can get your hands on. Usually the produce from your local farmer’s market is grown within a 100-mile radius from the market meaning the produce you're buying was more than likely picked fresh that morning at the optimal ripeness. Produce you find in your local grocery store is often transported thousands of miles and sometimes is gassed in transit to ripen it faster. Sometimes it is covered in chemicals or waxes for a more favorable appearance.
Eat with the seasons, reconnect with the Earth
Many scientists and nutritionists suggest that it is best to “eat with the seasons”. When you eat fruits and vegetables that are seasonally available you can better reconnect with the natural cycles of the planet. Human beings have lived off the earth like this for thousands of years until we started refrigeration practices and industrial farming in modern times. It makes intuitive sense as lighter, sweeter fruits are available in the spring and summer while heartier vegetables provide more sustenance during the winter months. There are great benefits to eating items grown in the local ecosystem. For example, consuming local honey can help combat seasonal allergies as your body consumes and adjusts to the local pollen that went into making it, instead of fighting it off when you might inhale it or expose your skin to it. If you want your favorite fruits and veggies to last longer than they are seasonally available, consider stocking up on them and making yummy jams or pickling them!
Beneficial for the environment
Not only is buying local produce best for your body but it also is better for the environment. When you choose produce that is grown locally you’re preventing more fuel emissions from entering the atmosphere by preventing long term transport and choosing less packaging. Industrial farming is harder on the land and depletes the soil more quickly of it’s natural resources. It also uses more harsh chemicals and pesticides that can do a lot of harm to our precious soils in the long term.
Stimulate your local economy
When you buy from local farmers you can make an impact on your local economy! Farmers tend to be your neighbors and when you support their business, they can further spend their profits in the local economy.
Best value for the best quality
Produce from your local farm is much better quality than what you’ll find in your local grocery store. It usually costs about the same as produce you’ll find there too. It is by far the best value for your money. You get much better quality produce (oftentimes it is organic) with all of the expected nutrients without having to pay astronomically more (like you do at the grocery store for organic produce).
Box Share Programs with local Farms (we offer this here at PEAC!)
Here at PEAC we participate in a box share program with Honey Brook Organic Farm. Box share members receive an assortment of seasonal, fresh vegetables, fruits (including strawberries and blueberries) and herbs once a week during the harvest season in exchange for a small membership fee. We serve as a drop-off location for the farm so members who sign-up can pick up their produce here at PEAC. You can sign up through their website to take part in this awesome initiative! Get all of the benefits of farm fresh produce and pick up your box of produce when you come in for your workout with us! Click here to learn more.
Make the better choice for your health, the environment and your community this spring/summer! Make sure to check in with your local farmer’s market for information on what’s available seasonally and don’t forget to bring your own bag to cut down on unnecessary waste!
It’s almost that time of year again! The holidays, gifts, snow, and most importantly the FOOD. Although this time of year is meant for getting together and giving out gifts and enjoying time with family, it doesn’t mean we skip out on the gym and lose out on the 11 months of hard work we all have been putting in. Daylight savings time has ended and the late night gym sessions are harder and harder to go to. It’s easy to let things go at the end of the year, relax, and let the ones who really want to attain their goals actually reach them; while also having a majority of the crowd set the same new years resolutions year after year. Time is not on our sides as schedules start to get more and more packed. SO WHAT DO WE DO? Here are 4 tips to help you maintain the hard work you’ve put in and continue killing your goals leading to next year without spilling over this holiday year again!
1. FRIENDS: This is the time to call on your friends. Even if you usually exercise alone, you may need someone to help keep you motivated. Many studies have shown that social support helps keep people active.
2. GET A TRAINER: What better way then to hire someone who will motivate, inspire, and push your limits in the gym during this time of year. It’s also harder to back out of a gym day when you are paying for the session so that will give you even more incentive to get up and get to the gym.
3. GYM ALTERNATIVES: You may think you have this whole gym thing down, but the darkness in the morning and the early evening’s can break even the best gym-lover’s routine up. Use what you have learned in the gym and try to work out at home with weights or even doing body weight exercises at home can help maintain the hard work put in.
4. QUALITY > QUANTITY: Decreasing the number of days you exercise doesn’t hurt if you maintain the same intensity and time. An example would be doing an hour of low intensity interval training as apposed to 10 minutes of high intensity interval training. At the end of the day, it’s about how many calories were burned.
Harvest Chicken Casserole
Cook Time: 1 hr | Servings: 6 - 8 | Source: Delish.com
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish
2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (or meat from rotisserie chicken)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
6 c. cooked wild rice
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9"-x-13" baking dish with oil. In a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. (if using rotisserie chicken skip to next step below) Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and cook until golden and cooked through, 8 minutes per side. Let rest 10 minutes, then cut into 1" pieces. Heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onion, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts and season with thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add broth, bring to a simmer, and cook, covered, 5 minutes. Stir in cooked rice, chicken, and cranberries. Transfer mixture to baking dish, top with almonds, and bake 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Kale-Turkey Rice Bowl
Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 25 min | Difficulty: Easy | Servings Yields 4 | Source: Foodnetwork.com
1 bunch cilantro, tough stems removed
1 jalapeno pepper, halved (remove seeds for less heat)
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound 93 percent lean ground turkey
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 pound red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 5-ounce package chopped kale (about 6 cups packed)
2 1/2 cups cooked white or brown rice
Puree all but 3 tablespoons cilantro with 1/2 cup water, the jalapeno, almonds and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water, the pureed cilantro mixture, the potatoes and kale. Cover and bring to a boil, then uncover and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and serve over the rice. Top with the reserved cilantro.
Pumpkin Polenta with Vegetables
Prep Time: 10 min | Cook Time: 30 min | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: Yields 4 | Source: Foodnetwork.com
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered (about 4 cups)
1 pound cubed peeled butternut squash (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces), plus shaved parmesan, for topping
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash with the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer. Bake until tender and browned, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 4 cups water, the milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the polenta. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until creamy, about 6 minutes. Whisk in the pumpkin. Cook, whisking, until warmed through, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan, butter and sage; season with salt. Top each serving with the roasted vegetables and shaved parmesan; drizzle with olive oil.
Spice-Roasted Salmon with Roasted Cauliflower
Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Servings: 4 | Source: cookinglight.com
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups cauliflower florets
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 (4 1/2-oz.) skin-on salmon fillets (about 1 in. thick)
4 lemon wedges
Preheat oven to 450°F.Combine olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Add cauliflower florets; toss well to coat. Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; bake at 450°F for 18 to 20 minutes or until cauliflower is browned and tender. Combine the cauliflower mixture, cilantro, raisins, and lemon juice in a bowl; toss gently to combine. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F.Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, coriander, and allspice in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture evenly over fillets. Arrange fillets, skin side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; bake at 400°F for 10 minutes or until done. Serve with cauliflower mixture and lemon wedges.
We are extremely proud to have hosted our Second Annual PEAC Performance Games this past Saturday, November 3rd right here at PEAC!
PEAC Performance Games is a competition and fundraiser all in one. Our members work hard to raise money for UrbanPromise Trenton, an amazing organization helping our local youth. UrbanPromise Trenton helps develop disadvantaged inner-city kids spiritually, personally, physically, and educationally. They offer free after-school programs, summer camps, and focus heavily on empowering women as well. We are excited to say we were able to raise $2100 for UrbanPromise Trenton through this year's PEAC Performance Games!
What are these games you speak of?
This year's PEAC Performance Games consisted of 10 different events that lasted four minutes each. The events ranged from plate pushing, tire flipping, shuttle runs, alligators, track laps, sled pulls, burpees, sit ups, rowing and more. Contestants competed in teams of four as they hit the turf, basketball courts, stairs, and track.
Our winning team included Martha Castro, Chris Silva, Dan Auslander & Jenna Strauss. CONGRATS GUYS!
A SPECIAL THANKS TO EVERYBODY WHO PARTICIPATED!
Meet Jen Baldassari, a Group Exercise Instructor here at PEAC. Jen currently teaches both yoga and PUMP classes multiple times a week - but her talent doesn't stop there! Jen also teaches our summer campers yoga every week all summer long! Since we just can't seem to get enough of her, we decided to sit down with Jen and pick her brain!
What is your fitness background?
I started going to the gym when I was in college and have been working out several times a week ever since. Even while living overseas in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, I always found gyms and yoga studios everywhere I went. In fact, the first Body Pump class I ever took—back in 2006—was in Greek! I’ve been practicing yoga more than 15 years and now I love teaching yoga to both adults and kids, including preschoolers. When I had my daughter six years ago, I got a jogging stroller and that’s when I got into running and running races.
If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?
Honey mustard because I’m a little sweet and a little tart ;)
If we looked in your refrigerator right now, what would we find?
I have three little kids, so sadly leftover mac and cheese and pizza! But my own go-to foods are peanut butter, Greek yogurt, and fruit.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role?
When I asked my friends, they said Jennifer Lawrence or Jennifer Garner. (So maybe it’s just the name?)
What is your least favorite exercise?
Crunches – I prefer isometric abdominal exercises
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
I’m a marathon runner, so I’d have to go with gazelle!
Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks?
Dunkin Donuts for sure, although I do love a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte this time of year!
What are 5 songs from your favorite workout playlist?
Whatever It Takes - Imagine Dragons
I Love Me – Meghan Trainor
Thunder – Imagine Dragons
Born this Way – Lady Gaga
And anything by Avicii or David Guetta
We sat down with one of our group exercise instructors, Carol Saggiomo, to learn more about the benefits of her Drum's Alive class.
What is Drum's Alive?
Drums Alive joins the dynamic movements of aerobic dance with the pulsating rhythms of the drum. It is a unique sensory/motor program that is designed to give the mind and body instant feedback through continuous movement and rhythmical flow. It is a program that utilizes “whole brain – whole body” thinking by developing sensory motor reflexes and kinesthetic awareness. The physiological and psychological benefits are numerous including those found in traditional forms of aerobic fitness. Drumming has also been found to improve and increase the neurological connection between the two brain hemispheres, stimulating alpha brain wave activity which can lead to higher levels of concentration, sensory/motor improvement, and an overall sense of well being.
The goal of Drums Alive is to improve lives physically, psychologically, and socially, through a unique sensory motor drumming program involving drumsticks, an exercise ball, and music. Drums Alive can be done at all levels and all ages; from ages 4 – 104!
What drew you to Drums Alive?
About 6 years ago, I took Drums Alive with my two daughters at a wellness resort. Prior to this, I had no idea what the class was. After my first class, I left feeling completely invigorated and accomplished! I noticed that I had the “rush” that came from other workouts I had done… but there was more to it. I felt cognitively connected in class. This class required 100% of my focus, which shed off my prior stress of the day. For 1 hour, I thought of nothing but mastering these intricate rhythms.
Being a music educator for 20 years, I began to incorporate Drums Alive in my music classes with my students. Further on down the road, I began to choreograph new routines to new songs and presented this fitness idea to PEAC’s Group Exercise director, Megan Price. She and I decided to give this unique exercise program a try at PEAC.
What are the benefits of Drums Alive?
Here is some of the feedback I have gotten from my clients who now have incorporated this mind-body workout in their weekly routine at PEAC:
One of Carol's newest students, Sabine Kastner, is a research scientist at Princeton University. She has conducted research on the cognitive and physical benefits of Drum's Alive.
"Cognitive networks for memory, attention, or language set up intrinsic rhythms that help to coordinate information flow throughout the networks. I think that drumming and the rhythmic movements during our exercises in the Drums Alive class help us strengthen these cognitive rhythms." - Sabine Kastner, MD.
Nothing makes us happier than celebrating member success stories. Seeing regulars around the club day after day is already a treat - but to see them get the results they work so hard for is really something special. This week we met up with Jude, a longtime member of PEAC, who has lost 104 lbs since January.
Tell me a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Jude Martin-Cianfano. I have three beautiful children and have been happily married for 25 years. I ‘m the Director of Events and Membership for the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce.
How long have you been a member at PEAC?
I joined PEAC back in 1997. I was living in Hamilton when I first joined, but would make the commute to PEAC (which was then PAC) because none of my local gyms came close to comparing. Eventually I moved to Pennington and was here almost every day until 2012 when I sustained a knee injury.
Tell me a little bit more about your fitness journey.
My weight has always fluctuated. For me it’s genetic – my mother died of obesity at age 36 weighing 350 lbs. My father currently weighs 650 lbs. Needless to say; I am consciously trying to break that pattern. When I hurt my knee, I had to get cortisone shots which unfortunately caused me to gain weight. Once it began to heal, I started to get back into my fitness routine. At that point I had also been looking for a metabolic doctor to help me with my weight loss. I ended up finding Dr. Chung at Capital Health through another member right here at PEAC.
How has your metabolic doctor helped you?
It was through Dr. Chung that I began the New Direction meal plan. After undergoing various tests, I was put on a meal plan that was customized to my body and lifestyle. My meal plan required me to eat a bar for breakfast, a bowl of soup for lunch, a shake for a snack, and a cooked meal for dinner. I was also told to consume 150 ounces of water a day. On top of following this plan religiously, I learned a lot more about my body through Dr. Chung. She taught me that my water retention was a huge factor affecting my weight fluctuation. Certain foods (chickpeas, sweet potatoes, black beans, etc) were causing my body to retain a lot of water weight. When I started this meal plan, the first 27 lbs that I lost was entirely water weight. When I started this program in January of this year, the first available appointment they had for me happened to fall on the anniversary of my mother’s passing. I knew this new direction I was taking was meant to be. By the first week of April I had lost 50 lbs – and best believe I rewarded myself with a Skinnygirl martini.
What do you attribute your weight loss success to?
Dr. Chung has absolutely had a tremendous impact on my weight loss, but I also have PEAC to thank. The community and staff here have been incredibly supportive of me throughout my journey. The group exercise classes in particular have been awesome for me. I can safely say I am addicted to barre classes – so much that I attend three every week! I also love the Jump & Pump and TBC classes. Tamica’s class had me a bit nervous in the beginning. Seeing how hard she worked the class intimidated me. However, I eventually bit the bullet and ended up loving it. The group exercise program here is truly awesome. The classes are challenging but allow me to go at my own pace. I got to a point where I was taking three classes on Saturdays on top of my regular weekly routine!
Would you recommend PEAC to other people?
Absolutely - I’ve been a member since 1997 for a reason! The community here has been more than supportive. Megan, the Group Exercise Coordinator, Kara, the Director of Operations, and Doug, the General Manager, have been my BIGGEST cheerleaders. They knew about my weight loss goals and would check up on me anytime I passed them in the gym. I can still remember the day I exceeded my 100 lb weight loss goal. It was September 22nd and everyone was so excited for me. One time I was even stopped in the parking lot by a member who recognized me from around the club just to tell me how great I looked. Talk about making someone’s day! Overall PEAC has been an incredible experience for me. The facility, employees, and community feel really make it unique. I also really admire PEAC’s involvement with the local community. Part of my job at Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce is to connect small businesses so that they can support each other locally. Needless to say I recognize that effort when I see it – and I see it at PEAC!
So what now?
It has now been ten months since I’ve started the New Direction meal plan and my new fitness routine here at PEAC. I have lost a total of 104 lbs and could not be happier. I highly recommend Dr. Chung at Capital Health and PEAC’s group exercise program to anybody who is struggling to see results!
We are incredibly proud of our strong Tai Chi community here at PEAC. There are so many benefits to this practice that are often overlooked. It can also be an intimidating class to try - but it doesn't have to be!
According to Jane E. Brody, a journalist for The New York Times, Tai Chi is described as:
See what one of our master Tai Chi instructors here at PEAC, Michael Wiley, has to say about it!
How were you introduced to Tai Chi?
Michael: I had always been intrigued when watching groups practice Tai Chi (before I knew what it was) in the early morning hours in downtown NYC as I began my work day. Having been raised by parents who practiced yoga most of their adult lives, I was aware of the importance of controlling your breath, balance, and slow stretching movements. Therefore, when I joined PEAC about ten years ago and met Eliza Hammer, I immediately became a student in her Tai Chi class. I realized the close connection between yoga & Tai Chi and continued in Eliza’s class until she left PEAC. At that point I joined the Tai Chi class that Terri Layton was starting up, and that led to several years and many hours of practicing Tai Chi with Terri.
What is your experience with Tai Chi?
Michael: In addition to my practice at PEAC, I began training at Shaolin Academy of Kung Fu (now Dao Concepts) where I earned my 1st Degree Black Sash in the art of Tai Chi Chuan. My weekly training there, as well as several workshops, has provided me with certifications in several Yang Style Tai Chi forms up to & including the 108 Step Traditional Yang Style - Complete Form. Certifications also include 18 & 32 Step Fan Form, and 32 Step Sword Form.
What is one thing about Tai Chi you think is important for people to know?
Michael: Tai Chi practice involves slow, purposeful movements, as you work on increasing your breathing capacity; results include improved body alignment, balance, and posture. In time you may even begin to experience increased confidence, composure, and contentment.
What might you say to somebody who is hesitant to try Tai Chi?
Michael: PEAC offers a class on Monday with Terri, and my three classes are on Friday. Come join one of our classes - no reason to hesitate - no experience necessary. We have the most welcoming Tai Chi community here at PEAC - just show up & the rest will fall into place.