Spice Up Your At Home Workouts!

by: John Kecman, Fitness & Personal Training Director


Struggling with your at home workouts? Are boredom and monotony killing your motivation? Here are a few ways in which you can spice up your home workouts without having to think to hard.

  1. Play with Tempo Reps—The speed at which we normally complete a given exercise is an underrated variable you should tap into, regardless of whether you have a full home gym, or are only using your own body weight. If it takes you 10 seconds to do 10 pushups try a four second negative and a one second pause at the bottom and see how you feel after completing 10 reps. I can guarantee you will not miss your gym equipment nearly as much if you add some tempos to your home workouts.


  1. Add Weight—You may not have access to your usual machines, dumbells, a barbell, but I’m sure you can find various objects around your house to hold to make your bodyweight exercises more difficult. Go ahead and scout around your house to find suitable heavy objects to carry, lift, or press. This is a chance to get a little creative with your resistance, and as I can attest after messing around with lifting, and carrying a fire hydrant, those awkward, and oblong heavy objects are a lot harder to move than your standard barbell.


  1. Add a Time Cap, or Add Time Sets—Two other options will make you hate your at home workouts, in the best way possible, and in the same way you might have hated your trainer in the gym. The first option is adding a time cap to any given exercise or circuit. Try to see how many rounds you can make it through of 10 squats, 10 sit ups, and 10 pushups in 10 minutes would be an example. You can also do the timed sets as an option. Try 30 seconds of squats, then sit ups, followed by pushups, and add rounds as you build your work capacity.

There are many different ways in which you can fight boredom at home and Covid-19 related mental fatigue with fitness. Try to implement these concepts to your workouts if you have not already. There are far more to play around with, so get up and go do something. You’ll thank me when you’re done.


Member Spotlight: Marlie Brill

Throughout the “stay at home order” I have been routinely checking on my clients to make sure they are staying on track with their fitness goals. I noted in a recent conversation with Marlie that I could see in our social media exchanges that she has really kept up with her fitness goals and looked slimmer than when we last met in March. Here’s what Marlie shared about her process and progress.


What was your motivation?

In January of 2019, I broke my foot. The break was worse than the doctor thought, and I ended up in a walking boot for 18 weeks. The walking boot hurt my foot, my hips, and my back. The break was not due to any trauma, I was walking through the grocery store when it happened. My weight was the main factor for the break. I felt “broken” for months, and I hated it.

I couldn’t play with my kids, I couldn’t exercise, I couldn’t even walk up and down stairs. I decided when the boot came off, I would commit to losing weight; I was too young to feel that “broken” all the time.

I started with my diet on June 1, 2019, because my foot wasn’t completely healed. By November, I had lost 40 pounds, and I was feeling much better! December was a busy month for me with holidays, my birthday, and lots of work travel. I took December off and resumed in January after the holidays and celebrations.

In January, I got back to it, and worked to lose the 4 pounds I had gained over the holidays (better than the normal 10-12 that I gain in that month). I was on track and back in the gym. Then the pandemic started shortly afterwards. When we had to go into quarantine, and shelter at home, I made a commitment to myself that I would not use it as an excuse to eat and drink anything I wanted. I purchased only healthy food from the grocery store and I committed to drinking NO alcohol during the quarantine.

As much as I dislike being stuck in the house, not being able to attend social events, work events, or go out to restaurants whenever I want, the “stay” has actually made this much easier for me. Since quarantine started, I have lost an additional 13 pounds, and I plan to keep going.


 Did you have a goal?

I don’t have a specific goal in mind. I still have weight to lose, and I just keep saying that when I get to a point where I am happy, I will know it.


What’s been the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me has been staying motivated during the shelter at home orders. There are days when I just want to blow off my new healthy habits, and just stress eat whatever I can find in the house. I find reminding myself that this is not a diet, but a complete change in my lifestyle, has helped. I know it’s a process, and I am committed to sticking to it and losing the rest of the weight I want to lose.

Marlie Before (Left), Marlie After (Right)

Fit ‘N 5 + Bonus Workout

By: Heather Williams, Group Exercise Director

Here are five exercises to add to your routine. This program is a great stand alone or a wonderful compliment
pre Yoga or post bike/run/walk.


If you are not already warmed up: Warm up with supported Mountain Climbers



  1. Front Loaded/Goblet Squat
  2. Supported Push Up
  3. Bent Over Row
  4. Bicep Curls
  5. Tricep Dips


Option 1:

  • Perform a circuit of four sets
  • First Set start with 20 to 25 reps
  • Decrease each following set by five reps


Option 2: Perform four sets of each exercise before moving on to the next exercise


Ways to Stem the Tide of Losing Your Gym Gains

By: John Kecman, Fitness  Director


Here a few things you can do to help yourself keep your gym earned gains. Nobody wants to be forced out of the gym, but here are a few nutrition tips that may help in preserving the muscle you’ve had worked so hard to gain.


  1. Maintain calories or energy intake.
    Eating to maintain helps preserve muscle, but eating too much breaks it down.


  1. Even out your protein distribution across your meals, eat antioxidative, and anti inflammatory foods. Olive oil, leafy greens, walnuts, and berries/assorted other fruits are all good choices of the latter.


  1. Take creatine.
    Creatine certainly has benefits to those who are resistance training, but studies have shown that it can also help maintain muscle mass in times of in activity.


  1. Meet protein requirements daily, and perhaps consider amino acids in between meals, like leucine.
    So, if you were taking 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2046 lbs) day continue doing so. Cut carbs based on your activity level.


NEW: Personal Training Packages – The More You Train, the More You Save

NEW Personal Training Rates Effective January 2020

Beginning Wednesday, January 15th we will be changing and expanding our personal training packages. The new package structure will allow you to maximize your personal training sessions, improve your fitness level and reach your goals.

Our 4 session package is a great introductory package for the client looking to jump start their fitness plan and/or the client new to working with a trainer. Our 8 and 12 session packages will allow the client to train to 3-4 times a week with their trainer with a greater focus on the key components of fitness: endurance, strength and flexibility.

There is a vast amount of research that states training muscle groups more frequently will lead to more progress in terms of both strength and muscle size or muscle hypertrophy.  A Men’s Health article published in April of this year states “After training a muscle, protein synthesis is raised for anywhere between 36 to 48 hours, then it drops back to normal. And if you’ve been lifting for many years, the rise is over a lot more quickly.” This means that no matter how trained you are, and how much you do with any given muscle group, the muscle-building effect of any given workout stops after a maximum of 48 hours.  So if you are only training a group of muscles one day a week you are substantially capping your progress. You may ask “so what if training more frequently builds more muscle, why should I care if I just want to lose weight? Well, if building more muscle increases your daily energy expenditure, even when you don’t make it to the gym, then having more muscle is actually the best long term solution in terms of training for weight loss.

For most people, with the exception of sport-specific/strength sport-related goals, three total body resistance training sessions a week is the best path to achieving any fitness goal.  So whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or get stronger, training frequency is key in reaching your fitness goals. Our new packages are designed to help you reach your goals.



Our new Personal Training Packages are designed to incentivize AHC members to work harder, more frequently, and more effectively to reach their fitness goals. Each package (4 sessions, 8 sessions and 12 sessions) is designed to be completed within one month of initiating training and is renewed on a monthly (4-week) basis unless a written request is submitted prior to the next monthly billing period.


Trainer Unavailable 

In the event your trainer is unavailable (illness/injury/vacation) for any length of time, the member can either use those sessions with another trainer or make-up the sessions with their trainer upon their return.


Illness/Injury/Vacation/Travel Leave

If you are unavailable (due to illness/injury/vacation) and unable to use your packaged training sessions, your trainer must be notified. Once capable, your remaining sessions must be completed within the original package time frame. For example: if you purchase an  8 session package (2 per week for 4 weeks) and 4 had been completed in the 2 weeks prior to you getting the flu, then once you were well enough to return to training you would have 2 additional weeks to complete the remaining 4 sessions in your package.

If you plan to take a vacation/travel which affects your ability to complete all of your Personal Training Package Sessions in the normal time frame you are able to place a hold on your training. You must notify your trainer prior to your travel of your return date and schedule your remaining sessions in advance.


Withdrawal Due to Continuing Illness or Injury

If you have a medical issue or injury that prevents you from continuing your Personal Training, a doctor’s note that explicitly states the reason for your discontinuation of Personal Training is required for a pro-rated refund.


Our 24-hour cancellation policy is still in effect with our new Personal Training Packages.

WFPB = Whole Foods Planet-Based

By: Dmitry Tepper, AHC Personal Trainer


There is a prevalent myth with regards to sports nutrition, especially with male athletes. It’s so popular that most people actually believe it and what is even worse – they follow it. I was one of these people most of my life, both following generally accepted by strength athletes diet and preaching it to others. Just a couple of years ago I took time to actually research the topic that seemed so apparent to me and all the sudden, I realized that what I knew about nutrition in general and sports nutrition in particular, cannot be further from the truth. Well, I can’t say that I accepted my new truth right away, without trying it myself, but the scientific evidence was there and I decided to give it a shot. There are two very different types of people when it comes to radically changing one’s diet. First, most common type prefers slow transition, substituting foods step by step, one meal a day, one day a week, slowly ramping it up. I’m the exact opposite of that, I am a big fan of the “cold turkey” approach to pretty much everything, so one morning I threw away almost everything that was in my fridge, everything that didn’t fit my new views on
nutrition. I spent several hours figuring out the new menu for the week and went grocery shopping.


While embarking on this journey I didn’t share my new way of eating habits, even with my close friends because I knew exactly what their reaction would be. I decided to prove superiority of my new diet first. After just a couple of month it was crystal clear that this was the way to go. My energy levels went up, recovery times got shorter, I was putting muscle on and getting stronger. Then I decided to open up to my friends. I wasn’t surprised by their first reaction: “Are you crazy, man?”, “Aren’t you afraid to loose strength?”, “How are you still able to lift?” and many other questions along these lines. I didn’t blame them, I was exactly like them just a couple months ago. These days, they all realize that what I am doing isn’t wrong, but it is actually superior to the conventional sports nutrition.


Are you still in the dark about what type of diet I’m on? Best diet even for most serious competing strength athletes like myself? It’s actually
pretty simple – exclude all animal products, eat clean plant based whole foods only. Unlike the word “vegan” that has nothing to do with diet actually, WFPB or Whole Foods Plant-Based describes it all. This is the healthiest way to eat no matter what your activity level and type is. It will give you the most energy to push through the most grueling workout. It will keep internal inflammation down and help you recover from workouts and injuries much faster. It will keep your weight down and your arteries unclogged and dilated. It will make you a better athlete, period.


Not convinced yet? Watch the new documentary “The Game Changers” on Netflix, you will be surprised that some of the best athletes in the world share my views: Arnold Shwarzeneger, James Wilks, Lewis Hamilton, Patric Baboumian, Morgan Mitchel, Kendrick Farris to name a few. It changed my life forever!

Member Spotlight: Family Time is Fun Time! September 2019

By: Elliott Datlow


Alex and Yoli were searching for a place where they had activities for the whole family, and it seems as though they struck GOLD! While trying to figure out what their family could do to stay active, Alex received a marketing pamphlet in the snail-mail. The new facility offering so much enticed him to come for a visit, and the rest is history!

It isn’t tough to spot the Barresi family. Pick a day and you will usually find them smiling while being active at The Club! “What we love about AHC is the family atmosphere, our entire family has fun while we work out,” explains Yoli. Yoli adds “Nico (age 6) learned to Swim with the AHC swim instructors. Lucas (age 4) has come a long way since watching his older brother while sitting on the side of the pool!” This summer both kids have been fixtures in the summer camp, Nico has been a star in Champion’s Camp while Lucas is the social butterfly of Kids Kamp.

During the Fall and Winter season, both kids keep their activity level up. Six-year-old Nico has been working hard on his tennis game during the Junior Development clinic, where he has been learning proper technique with Coaches Julien and Elliott. Nico now has advanced up to orange ball tennis, where he has recently rallied over 100 balls in a row! In fact, his game stepped up so much that Dad bought him a new racket last week — Nico was so excited that the new racket was invited to a slumber party and spent the night in bed with Nico. This coming Fall season Nico is upping his tennis time by participating in our All-Stars tennis clinics twice a week.
Having fun in USTA tennis competitions are not far away!

Lucas can always be spotted—just look for the biggest smile! Last year he spent his tennis court time in the Young Stars tennis class, where he can rally with the red tennis balls. Lucas has fun on the tennis court, but also does not want to miss out on playing with the Childminding staff or Kids Yoga. Lucas is a very busy 4-year-old with a bright future on the tennis court!

Alex is doing his best to stay ahead of Nico and Lucas on the tennis court. The team in the Tennis Department does its best to keep Alex busy. His recent activities include Battle of the Ages, Men’s Tennis Ladder, Tuesday Night High-Performance Drills, Tuesday Night Singles Match play, and fine-tuning his strokes on the Club’s ball machine. Alex’s great attitude on the tennis court has made him a very popular tennis partner on the court.

Yoli found her place at Aspen Hill Club through her love of music and dance, “I came to work out with Alex but I was too distracted by Zumba” she said. Since that day two years ago, she finds time for herself during Zumba classes. While the boys are busy playing tennis and swimming, she definitely has been able to find her “Me Time.” In fact, she looks forward to Sunday mornings when the boys (with Dad) are playing tennis on the ball machine and she does Zumba.

On average the Barresi family is at The Club at least five days a week. They have found an incredible variety of activities at The Club, which helps keep everything fresh and fun. While the kids are having fun with their wide range of activities, it’s great to know that experts agree that this approach is best for the young Barresi athletes: “Most sport scientists and professional organizations advocate early diversification in sport” (BEST PRACTICE FOR YOUTH SPORT BY ROBIN VEALEY & MELISSA CHASE). These kids certainly are getting it all at the Aspen Hill Club!

Yoli and Alex — we are so happy that your family has found a home with us at The Club! The positive energy that your family brings is contagious to the members and the staff that surround you. It has been phenomenal getting to know you two and the kids, and we are excited about the model your family sets in motivating other
families to be active and healthy.


Strength Training: A One Stop Shop for Your Fitness Needs

By: John Kecman, Fitness and Personal Training Director


Are you trying to “tone up” a bit? Are you doing lots of reps with lightweight? Is this working? There is no singular method of training that makes you “tone.” The concept of toning is a false construct. You can change your body composition by building muscle or preserving muscle as you lose fat. Muscles do not get soft and you cannot train fat.

Doing high rep exercises and very light weights alone will not help body composition. Eventually, you plateau and there will be no visible change. Modifying your rep ranges and weights used makes all the difference. Lifting moderate to heavy weights with compound movements is by far the most efficient way to either build muscle or preserve it while losing fat.

If you are trying to crunch and triceps extension your fat into muscle stop wasting your time. Fat loss is systemic. The body will not take fat from a given muscle you are training and turn it into muscle. You cannot spot reduce fat. Hypertrophy or growth of muscles is a systemic process that heavily involves the endocrine system. The best exercises that produce the greatest increases in muscle size are squats and deadlifts.

Are you spending excessive amounts of time running on a hamster wheel so you don’t get bulky from the other side of the gym? If your concern is that you may turn into the hulk and rip through your clothes spontaneously after picking up a few weights let me assure you there is a 0% chance of that happening. Women do not have enough testosterone to build giant muscles and men won’t get bulky without a diet to match long hours at the gym. Testosterone is an important hormone for both men and women and this is increased through resistance training. Decreases in testosterone that come with age correlate with a loss of bone density and an increase in fat. I think we can all agree those aren’t the results anyone desires. By adding 3-4 pounds of muscle to your body you can increase your daily energy expenditure by 200-300 calories.

In combination with diet, cardiovascular exercise and resistance training using systematic planning and periodization will change body composition for anyone. Talk to one of our trainers about how you might be about to get the desired body composition change you are looking for.

Strength Training is Better Than Cardio—It’s Science

By: John Kecman, Personal Training and Fitness Director


Everyone knows how to put one foot in front of the other repetitively, or sit on a stationary bike and pedal. Unless we are talking about high level runners both of the aforementioned aerobic exercises are as simple as I just described. However, no matter your fitness or health goal, strength training is a far more efficient use of your time. I am not saying that walking, running, or using a recumbent bike is useless. These activities will help you expend some energy and improve aerobic capacity, barring that you are progressively working harder across weeks and months. Much is the same with strength training, and if you have the time, and enjoy both your aerobic, and strength workouts, then by all means keep up the good work with both.

For most people time is short and bang for your buck strength training will help you burn calories while you do nothing. Yes you read that correctly, and exercise research backs me up on this. Moreover, there are cardiovascular benefits acquired through strength training as it is a form of interval training. A recent study found that weightlifting had a greater impact on reductions in bodyweight, decrease in blood pressure and fewer incidences of diabetes. The same strength related improvements are also much harder (or impossible) to come by via aerobic exercise. So whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle or strength, “tone” (not really a thing, but I won’t get into that), improve bone density, help with achy or arthritic joints, improve heart health, any other thing  you can think of, resistance training is a better use of your time. If you build 2 or 3 lbs. of muscle you would burn as many calories as a 30-minute aerobic session each day doing nothing. Studies also definitively show that both body weight and body composition are improved more through weightlifting than any cardio workout.

The problem most people have is they have no idea what to do when they cross into the resistance side of the gym. It can be far more complicated than putting one foot in front of the other (walking or running). It also takes time to build muscle and most who start on their own, or even with a trainer, may not see the result they are looking for and become discouraged. It takes between two and eight weeks of consistent and progressive work to build enough muscle to create the physiological improvements I described. Age, gender, and various other factors play a part. You never lose the ability to improve, and if you aren’t where you would like to be, even if you think you know what you are doing, talk to one of our trainers and see how we can help. If you like to work with other people tryout one of our group classes in our new Personal Training Studio. If you have a plumbing issue you call a plumber, if you have an issue with your health or fitness, then we are here to help!


Cross Training Will Be Back in the Fall! Get Ready with these Testimonials!

Cross Training TRX/Reformer Class

Two Master Trainers—Renee and Heather, Two Studios, Two Disciplines

A Cross-Training 60-Minute workout that includes TRX straps, Kettlebell, Fitness Slides and bodyweight HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts followed by the Pilates Reformer Apparatus. This workout will improve balance, core strength and flexibility.

Questions? Want to Register? Please contact Heather at hwilliamsahc@gmail.com


CTR: Cross-Training TRX Reformer Testimonial!

By: Benita Bailey

August 8, 2018, I was involved in a car accident that left me with a broken wrist. As part of my recovery, I have endured hours of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. I was also diagnosed with tennis elbow. I am an avid gym rat and in the last 9 months, I have not been able to do any upper body workouts due to the injury and therapy. In April 2019, I was cleared of diagnostic therapy and began at-home therapy in addition to going to AHC. I decided to try the TRX /Reformer Cross Training Class with Heather Williams and Renee Ridgeway. WOW! This workout has been a saviour to me. I am finally feeling stronger. My shoulders, arms, forearms and back are starting to feel normal again. I would highly recommend this training to anyone who is looking for a BOOST to their normal workout or just wants to try something different. You will NOT be disappointed!

CTR: Cross-Training TRX Reformer Testimonial!

By: Sheila Mathews

I have enjoyed the TRX Cross Training session with Heather and Renee.

The TRX class run by Heather Williams provided an intense 30-minute core and agility session that focused on a full-body workout. It was fast-paced, rotating through different exercises, most of which I have never done before, making it exciting and challenging.

The Pilates class was a nice addition after the TRX class, again, focusing on core, flexibility and stretching, which was welcomed after the TRX class. This was my first exposure to Pilates, which I loved! Renee was patient, starting us with basic moves and moving on to more difficult workouts, involving balls, rings and a Pilates box.

After the one hour combined class, I felt that I had a solid workout and found myself looking forward to the challenges for the following week.

I would highly recommend this class for both beginners and advanced athletes. The instructors are able to manipulate the class exercise to meet the needs of the participants, which is awesome!