CornerStone Blog

Stay Healthy By Boosting Your Immunity

Immunity is a BIG topic right now! At Cornerstone, we continue to encourage members to wash hands regularly and wipe down gym equipment before and after use.   But what can you do beyond the gym walls to help?  The Cornerstone Wellness Team put together a few Immunity-Boosting Tips to help today and EVERY DAY to boost your resistance!


Moderate levels of exercise don’t just lead to general good health. Exercise may contribute more directly to the immune response by enabling healthy circulation. Your immune response will be more efficient thanks to that good circulation! With that said, DON’T OVERDO IT! If your exercise sessions bring your body to exhaustion, it can hinder the immune response.


We all have it! Whether it’s work demands, family obligations, or the environmental toxins that surround us, we are constantly putting stress on our bodies. The real question is – how do we deal with it? It can be as simple as a walk outside in the sunshine or something new, like a mindfulness practice but recognizing, acknowledging and responding to your stress can help keep stress hormones – which suppress immune response – to a minimum.


Sleep is imperative to restoring your body’s immune function. Lack of sleep can affect stress hormones and alter hunger hormones, which can in turn cause you to eat less healthy foods.


The most controllable source of inflammation is your diet. Cut out highly processed foods, meat, sugar, alcohol, and vegetable oils.


Deficiencies in specific vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and selenium, can hinder your first line of defense against germs. Check out the list below for some suggestions to boost your immunity:

  • This one is a given but foods high in vitamin C: Citrus foods like oranges, grapefruit, lemon and limes; kiwis, apples, berries, spinach and bell peppers
  • Almonds: with big supplies of Vitamin E, this antioxidant fights off free radicals in the body
  • Sweet Potatoes: High in B vitamins and the antioxidant, Vitamin A
  • Pumpkin Seeds: these little dynamos are high in Zinc
  • Fish: Yellowfin tuna, sardines, oysters, clams, halibut, shrimp, salmon, and crab all have good levels of selenium; Don’t eat meat? Try Brazil Nuts instead!
  • Garlic: Garlic has antiviral compounds that help in fighting off infection
  • Spices: They don’t just spice up your life, they add to it! Ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, oregano and turmeric. Pro tip- eat turmeric with black pepper to increase absorption!
  • Dark Leafy Greens: Dark leafy greens are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet, and adding more to your diet will provide you with a host of health benefits. Dark leafy greens have
  • vitamin C, iron, folate, and vitamin A as well as many other beneficial vitamins and minerals.

The Wellness Team at Cornerstone is available to guide you to resources at Cornerstone that will help with nutrition, stress-management, exercise and wellbeing. Stop by the service desk in your home club to set up a complimentary appointment.

This February, LOVE your heart!

February is traditionally the month for love and all things heart related. February is also American Heart Month which reminds us to take good care of our hearts and focus on our heart health. Did you know cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease – that is over 800,000 people in the U.S. alone.

Are you at risk?

Cardiovascular disease is the term used to encompass all types of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels. Heart disease and the related diseases that go with it can happen at any age. High rates of obesity and high blood pressure among younger people (35-64) are putting them at risk for heart disease earlier in life. Are you at risk? Do you know what the top leading risk factors are? Half of all Americans have at least one risk factor. 

The three main risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Other conditions and risk factors that increase your risk include: obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating patterns. Luckily, there is a lot you can do to start living a heart healthy lifestyle. Think GO RED.

G: GET your numbers.

Go to your doctor and have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked.

O: OWN your lifestyle!

Start exercising. You should exercise 30-45 minutes each day and at least 2 of those days should be strengthening exercises. Change your eating habits. Start to eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meat. Limit foods that are high in saturated fats and sodium as well as foods that are high in sugar/ other sweeteners. Stop smoking. The chemicals in tobacco harm our hearts and blood vessels. Pick a date to quit, tell your family and friends and quit together or ask for support. Schedule regular well appointments with your doctor. It’s your life…. OWN it!

R: RECOGNIZE your risk!

We all think it won’t happen to us!


Yourself, your family and others! Teach the importance of a healthy lifestyle!

D: DON’T be silent!

Tell everyone that heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in America and make sure those you love are informed so they can make the best choices for their health!

Good News – Chocolate Has Benefits!

We’ve all heard that we should eat more fruits and vegetables. But, who among us wouldn’t like to hear “eat more chocolate”? Sounds too good to be true, right? But nutrition science is happily revealing that chocolate can, in fact, be good for you!

Eating 1 to 2 ounces of chocolate every day may result in some major health benefits. But, it’s important to choose the right kind of chocolate – make sure you choose dark chocolate with at least 70% or more cacao/cocoa content. The darker the chocolate, the higher amount of key vitamins and minerals like magnesium, manganese, fiber, iron, copper, selenium, phosphorus and potassium.

Improved Blood Flow

The flavanols found in dark chocolate help arteries relax, improving blood flow and preventing clots.

Lower Risk Of Heart Disease

The compounds in dark chocolate reduce LDL (low density lipoprotein - otherwise known as “bad cholesterol”) and support cardiovascular health by lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

Cognitive Function

Researchers have found that chocolate increases blood flow to the brain.

Diabetes Prevention

Studies have revealed that people who ate about 3 ounces of dark chocolate a day for 15 days lowered their insulin resistance significantly.

Stress Reduction

Dark chocolate produces stress busting endorphins.

Fights Fatigue

Dark chocolate enhances the actions of neurotransmitters in your brain, like serotonin, to help regulate your mood and sleep.

Good for Teeth

Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been proved to harden tooth enamel and cocoa butter covers teeth with a protective coating, which impedes bacteria growth.

Improved Gastrointestinal Flora

Dark chocolate is a probiotic food.

Athletic Performance

Findings published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggest that a little dark chocolate might boost oxygen availability during fitness training.  The scientists believe that the success of dark chocolate in this case is that it contains flavonols known as epicatechins, which enhance the release of nitric oxide in the body.

This Valentine’s Day, don’t hesitate to buy your loved one a box of chocolates – just make sure they are dark chocolates.  When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it a great choice for a treat (after you’ve eaten a meal of healthy protein and good veggies and fruit of course)!

Start The New Year Off The SMART Way

Whether you believe in creating New Years Resolutions or not, the beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on the previous year and create goals and intentions for the next year.  Creating new goals is a great way to grow and to challenge yourself, but how do we go about actually achieving these goals? We are constantly creating New Year’s Resolutions and then joking about how we never follow through with them.  Statistically, more than 80% of New Year’s Resolutions never come to fruition, most attempts being lost come the second week of February. So what can be done differently so that your goals do not fall by the wayside like so many others?  I would like to suggest two changes: how you go about setting your goal, and how you go about setting your mindset to achieve said goal.

Could there be a specific formula in creating a goal that can put it at better odds of coming to fruition?  Don’t we set goals all the time?  Must we really have a lesson on creating a goal? We have all been met with an overwhelming desire to eat healthier, move more, drink more water, get more sleep – do we really need to learn how to create a goal?  While these are all excellent ideas, there are a lot of pieces missing. A system for creating clear goals with actionable steps to achieve them is summed up in the mnemonic SMART. 


Specific – Drink more water, eat healthier, exercise more.  These are great, but what they lack is specificity.  What exactly does it mean to “eat healthier”? When will you know if you have actually “exercised more”?  Up your goal setting game by making your objective very specific. For example, consider the examples of eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.  This goal is far more specific as opposed to “eat healthier”. Alongside the actual WHAT of the goal, you can consider the specifics of WHEN you will take the steps to achieve this goal (every meal, I will eat a serving of vegetables), WHERE this action will take place, and WHY this goal is important to you (I feel better when I include more fresh produce in my diet). 

Measurable – Once you have created your specific goal, now is the time to figure out how you will track your progress through measurement.  How will you know you have achieved your goal? Let us consider the above goal again of eating more fruits and vegetables. Rather than vaguely defining “more fruits and vegetables”, be specific and state that you  will aim to eat 5 servings.  By adding a specific measurement, you can assess where you are now (perhaps you only eat 1 serving every day), what your next steps could be (aim to eat 2 servings), and you will be able to know exactly when you have successfully achieved your goal.

Achievable – We are all pretty familiar with the saying “Your eyes were bigger than your stomach” with regard to food. Well, this same idiom can be used with regard to setting a new objective.  It is certainly a worthy goal to want to run a marathon, but if running isn’t part of your normal exercise routine yet, aiming for a more achievable goal like running a 5k will set you up for greater success.  Goals will probably stretch your ability, in fact we often do the most growing by being in uncomfortable situations, but they shouldn’t be so out of reach that they become impossible.

Relevant – Why would achieving this goal be important to you?  How could this add to your life? Answering this question can help keep you going when you might want to otherwise give up.  Other questions to ask yourself to find out if this is the right goal for you right now could be: Does this goal align with the other values in my life?  Does this goal match the effort that I am willing and able to give? If you answer yes to these questions, then you are well on your way toward success.

Time-bound – Finally your goal should have a deadline to help keep you on track and focused.  What steps do you need to take today, this week, this month to get closer to your deadline?  When we don’t create a deadline for ourselves, it is easy to let other actions take priority.


So you have created your goal with the SMART principles, now what?  What else can you do to set yourself up for success? Maybe you have created goals that follow SMART and you still weren’t able to succeed.  What gives? The truth is that with change comes a lot of discomfort, and we as humans don’t really like to be in uncomfortable situations. Unless we address our mindset and environmental structures that are constantly acting against us, we might still struggle to succeed, even with a super specific and measurable plan.  But fear not, here are some ideas to consider:

Think small – start breaking your goal down into the smallest means possible.  Will this take longer?  Perhaps. Will this be more sustainable and more beneficial?  Absolutely.  As stated before, we don’t like being uncomfortable.  However, overcoming mild discomfort lights up the reward centers in our brain and propels us forward.  As you continue overcome small obstacles, your brain will start saying, “I like this”, and you will be motivated to keep going.

Keep your commitments to yourself – If you make a commitment with a friend, you generally would hold yourself to it, right?  We don’t often make lunch plans with people and then constantly cancel on them. Why not? Because we care about these people and respect their time, and additionally we all know after a while of continuing to do this, people might not want to make plans with you.  So consider this goal as a commitment to yourself that you will keep because you value yourself and this is certainly worth the effort. YOU are worth the effort.

Set up your environment for success – Identify things in your daily life that are constantly battling your efforts.  Perhaps you wish to eliminate processed snacks from your diet, but that bag of chips in your cupboard is constantly laughing at you and looking to derail your progress.  Perhaps you are trying to limit your fast food intake, but the golden arches are calling your name as you drive home from work absolutely ravenous. Don’t approach these challenges as something you must endure, rather use this as information to create a plan to make this easier on yourself.  Don’t bring things into your environment that don’t serve you. Set up your kitchen so that it will aid in your success, if this is applicable; only bring home foods that put you closer to your goal and throw out what sets you back. Pack healthy snacks if you find yourself constantly battling hunger at 4:00pm. 

Build your support team – there is strength in numbers, and along with the personal pressures that you might find yourself battling, we are constantly inundated with societal influences and pressures that might not be beneficial to you.  Create a team to help you carry out this objective or that will encourage you toward the finish. Speak to your partner about dietary changes you would like to make so that they can either do this alongside of you, or at the very least, be aware of the changes you are making for yourself.  Consider making a weekly walking date with a friend to keep you accountable with movement. You shouldn’t have to do this alone, and people like to be there for others in support. Who knows, perhaps the people in your life also want to make changes, and you vocalizing yours might be the springboard they need to take steps in their lives.  Sometimes we never really know the positive effects our actions may make on those who observe them. 

Now that we have provided you with some steps to create a path for success, go forth and conquer!  If you still need help with creating your goals and establishing a plan for success, reach out to one of your wellness coaches.  There is a team of wellness coaches at each Cornerstone location that is excited to hear about your goals and would love to help you in achieving them!    

Surviving The Holidays

If you’re like me, you hear the word holidays and you initially get this excited feeling remembering all the great things that the holidays bring – fun music, beautiful decorations, smiles from the kids and a warm, cozy feeling while you spend time with family and friends. 

Warrington Wellness Coach Kim Stone and her family at Cliff Walk in Newport, RI.

Then reality sets in, and you realize it’s not quite the Norman Rockwell moment you have pictured in your head.  Stress and anxiety begin to set in just thinking about everything that needs to get done and the conversation in your head starts to go something like this: 

“Did I actually say that I wanted to host this year?  I must have been on crack when I said that.”

“How many days are left until the new year?  Crap!  I haven’t even started working on my resolutions from THIS year yet.”

“How am I going to stay on track with healthy eating when people keep bringing in such yummy cookies?  I mean I don’t want to be rude and not eat ANY of them with all the blood, sweat and tears that went into making them.  I’ll just have one or maybe two.  Well this third one was stuck to the second so that really only counts as one, right?”

“When am I going to find time to get shopping done let alone workout?  Ugh!”

Trying to juggle it all on a daily basis as a mom is pretty exhausting.  Now,  throw in the chaos of the holidays and I go into straight up survival mode.  This usually means falling back into old habits where exercising and eating healthy fall to the bottom of the priority list, but I am determined that this year will be different.  So how do you manage to survive the holidays and stay on track with your health?

  • Bring Something to the Party – Not only will your host be happy that you’ve brought a delicious dish, but you’ll also have food that can help keep you on track with your health goals. Try this Faux Cookie Dough Dip.  This recipe is a definite crowd pleaser for all ages.
  • Get Plenty of Sleep – Lack of sleep can lead to mood swings, decreased productivity, lowered immune function and sleep shopping (you know when you are so tired and you purchase items online that you have no recollection of actually purchasing the next day like a giant blow up unicorn sprinkler…no regrets). Getting enough sleep each night will ensure that you are your best self for the holidays and also prevent you from biting everyone’s heads off.  Trust me, your family and probably your co-workers will appreciate it.
  • Be Mindful – Did you know that diet and exercise are only 50% of the equation to weight loss? In addition to diet and exercise, you need to make sure you are moving (more on that below) and that you have a positive mindset.  Mindfulness practices such as meditation or yoga require no special training or ability and they have been scientifically proven to improve physical health, reduce anxiety and enhance happiness.
  • Keep Moving – It’s great to exercise, but it’s even better to make sure you are staying active and moving throughout the day. What’s the difference?  Exercise is a type of movement with a distinct goal – burn fat, build muscle, get faster, get stronger or train longer.  Movement is just what you do when you are living life.  We are built to move.  Go for a stroll and go shopping at Peddler’s Village, take the stairs instead of the escalator at the mall or simply go for a walk with the dog or your family (whichever one you enjoy more).  Aim for 10,000 steps per day which equals about 2 hours of movement.
  • Give Yourself Grace – Hey, it’s the holidays. It’s crazy for everyone.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Now is not the time to get all judgy on yourself about not having the perfect health routine.  You may indulge a little bit more or your workout routine may be slightly off this season, but don’t stress yourself out.  Chronic stress can actually be harmful to your health and forces your body to pile on fat especially around the middle.  Give yourself permission to be kind to yourself and give yourself some grace. 
  • Get Support – Are you feeling overwhelmed and need some guidance on your fitness goals? You are not alone on this journey.  We are here to help you.  Make a free appointment with a wellness coach.  That’s what we’re here for – to help support you in your goals towards better health.  You can schedule your appointment at any time by calling your preferred club location.
    Doylestown – 215.794.3700; New Hope – 215.862.2200; Warrington – 215.918.5900

How To Eat Healthy When Dining Out

As we enter into the holiday season, you may find yourself not only partaking in holiday cheer at home, but dining out more than usual as well.  Americans already dine away from home nearly three times more than they did in the 1970’s and this increases during the holiday season.  I ask clients not be a statistic during the holidays. The average weight gain between Halloween and New Year’s is 7 pounds.  One of the ways you can avoid this and start the New Year off a bit healthier is to practice “dining out techniques” that will allow you to enjoy yourself without feeling uncomfortable or unhealthy.

Like anything else, following “healthy” dining out techniques gets easier with practice. See how many you can implement not only during the holiday season, but all year round.

Prepare for success. Pick the restaurant based on your research and know where you can get fresh, healthy, lower calorie, low fat meals.

Look up the menu and nutritional data before you go. Knowing what you are going to order before you get there will help.

If you know you are going out to eat, don’t skip other meals, but eat less to prepare for your restaurant meal. Shakes can be a “decision-free” meal option.

Have a high-fiber snack before you go to curb your hunger. Try something like an apple, carrots, low-sodium vegetable soup, Triscuits.

Decide in advance what you will splurge on and what you can do without.

If you drink alcohol, keep to wine or light beer. No sugary drinks. You may want to skip fruit during the day. Alternate drinks with water or sparkling water.

Put off ordering a drink until you have food in your belly. If you drink on an empty belly, you’re likely to forget about your intentions to eat healthy and rack up 1,000 calories.

Skip the bread and chips. This could be 300-500 calories before you get to your meal.

Share apps. Make sure there is something for you. Try shrimp cocktail, edamame, veggies, mussels marinara.  No potato skins or Buffalo Wings (approx. 200-250 calories/piece)!

Order salad dressing on thr side, or just use plain oil and vinegar. Go light on the oil. No Ceasar dressing!

Consider ordering off an appetizer and a side dish instead of a full entree.

If you order a main entree, you may need to divide your meal in half (on the plate) immediately. It is extra important to pay attention to serving sizes when eating out.

Split an entrée with a friend or loved one.

Don’t let people push you into eating things that are bad for you. Be proud to be an example of eating healthy. You may encourage someone else.

Main Course – think broiled, boiled, baked, steamed or grilled. Not crispy, sautéed, au gratin or fried.

Remember that the leaner a protein in its natural state, the more calories and fat when fried. No fish-n-chips.

If you are stumped, order grilled protein and a double order of steamed vegetables.

Enjoy your company. People often lose site that they are dining out to enjoy the company of friends and family. Make that the priority instead of your meal. However, you should still order something that you will enjoy. Be satiated by multiple senses – vision, sight and taste.

Opt for fresh berries or fruit salad for dessert. To opt out of dessert, order a warm beverage to keep your hands busy while others enjoy their desserts. You will be less likely to pick at the high calorie, high fat desserts that others have ordered.


Lastly, keep in mind that healthful eating in not about being “perfect”. If you get carried away, hopefully on really good food that you can’t get all of the time, don’t sweat it. One night of over-indulgence won’t rack up lots of pounds. Just be sure to get back on track the next day.

Cheryl Watkins, CHHC, Nutrition & Wellness Counselor, Doylestown.

*Members, did you know that you can schedule a free wellness appointment at any time?  Get fitness and nutrition tips, a review of your current program, a free Inbody Analysis – or just great conversation!  Call or stop by member services at any location to check availability.

Injuries Can Have An Upside

There’s no predicting when injury will occur.

It happened in about half a second. My knee extended too far forward in a lunge and I felt a little tug in my calf that quickly gave way to a feeling very like a ‘charlie-horse.’

Almost an hour later when I went to walk out of class, I knew it was much more than a cramp. Later that afternoon, a doctor in the urgent care told me that I likely had torn my calf. A subsequent MRI showed ‘longitudinal tears in the medial head of the left gastrocnemius.’

Even with this relatively minor injury, I was looking at almost 4 weeks out of classes. Anyone who knows me will realize that this is a HUGE blow, and likely more of a shock to my body than the actual initial injury (I teach or participate in 10+ classes a week . . .) .  I’d be lying if I didn’t have some moments of panic.

Michael, post-recovery, teaching Group Active in New Hope

Injuries can create fear, doubt and other negative thinking.

“Will I gain weight? Will I instantaneously become less fit? Will my class participants be OK?”    I’m not necessarily saying those moments of panic were rooted in reality. But they were there!  I could have (and have in the past,) let an injury get me down. I could have let what I CAN’T do lead the way. I could have said “well, you can’t spin so working out isn’t possible.”

I am lucky, though, to have access to a great group of fitness professionals, and after talking to a few of them, this injury started to become less of a setback and more of an opportunity. I decided to be my own Wellness Coach and navigate my way to something positive.

Injury can be an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.

Instead of focusing on the calories I wouldn’t be burning, I realized I could train in a totally different way. Conversations with my colleague Cameron Crosley (a strength and conditioning trainer) resurfaced in my mind and the plan started to take shape. I have a tremendous amount of cardio endurance, but training cardio consistently can limit one’s ability to build muscle. Without that cardio for a few weeks, I could really dial in a hypertrophic training plan, especially for my upper body.

In addition, I had to look at my diet to make sure it matched this training pattern, supporting muscle growth in addition to fueling (and not over-fueling) my daily activities. While this is something I am always conscious of, a back-to-square-one approach can be both refreshing and eye opening to bad habits that we have allowed to creep into our daily life.

And, of course, friends always come through! My fellow instructor, Beth Pacitti, teaches a WATERinMOTION aqua aerobics class in Warrington and, fully aware that I’d be fiending for some cardio, made me literally dive into aqua fitness!

The disruption hasn’t been easy but it’s been helped along, not only by my colleagues at Cornerstone, but also by the members! Because I didn’t let my injury keep me benched, my workouts are accompanied with well-wishes and smiles! It’s more than enough to make me work harder outside of my comfort zone.

Michael in the ‘always welcoming’ New Hope Wellness Office

As a Wellness Coach, I meet with members almost every day who are dealing with an injury or a setback. By showing up, they’ve made the decision to make a change! It’s my job to connect them to the resources they need for success! Our Wellness program isn’t just for when you join! Wellness at Cornerstone is a resource for all of our members who experience or desire a change! As a true fitness community, we all have the opportunity to contribute to each other’s success. I’m thankful that the community was behind me as I dealt with my own injury, and you should know that the entire Wellness team is behind YOU as well!

Schedule a free appointment with any of our wellness coaches at any time by calling your preferred club location.

Meet one of Cornerstone Doylestown’s seriously strong, and seriously decent, lifters.

Meathead. Lunk head. These are just a few of the pejorative terms used to describe weight lifters.  For many people, the perception of serious weight lifters is based almost entirely on old-fashioned stereotypes – a sense that they are narcissistic gym rats who grunt and groan their way through the fitness floor annoying others by dropping heavy weights and monopolizing certain pieces of equipment. The fact is – weight lifters get a bad rap.  They are no more likely to be rude, inconsiderate of others or full of themselves than any other group of fitness club members – be they long distance runners, soccer players or the casual gym goer.

Connor O'Hanlon

Recently, I sat down with Connor O’Hanlon, one of a group of dedicated weight lifters at our Doylestown location and walked away deeply impressed with this intelligent and serious young man.  Connor graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a Certificate of Real Estate, both from the Smeal College of Business. Currently, he’s a real estate salesperson at J Carroll Molloy and the conveyancer for South Main Closing Services.  He’s also a competitive powerlifter, an Esports Coach at Delaware Valley University and a strength training coach for young people ages 7 through college age.  As if he didn’t have enough on his already full plate, Connor is also running for Township Supervisor in Doylestown.

Connor O'Hanlon

Quite frankly, I was impressed that Connor is able to stick to his fitness routine despite the other demands on this time.  Powerlifting is a serious sport that requires commitment and dedication. Connor competes in the squat, deadlift and bench and trains regularly to remain competitive.   But, as a seasoned athlete (he played football in high school and started competing in powerlifting as a sophomore in college), he’s used to making time for working out. 

Serious Equipment for Serious Lifters

I asked Connor why he chose to train at Cornerstone.  One reason, according to Connor, is that our Doylestown location has made a commitment to serious lifters by investing in the equipment they require to train – specifically brand new power bars, specialized plates that are calibrated to the precise weights required by competitive lifters and a weightlifting platform that softens the sound when weights are dropped after a lift.

Connor preparing to lift in competition.

Camraderie and Support

The second big reason is the camaraderie and support that he’s found among a group of other like-minded serious lifters.  They possess a depth of knowledge that comes with competing that they happily share with each other – and any newcomers who want to learn about power lifting.

Connor at competition.

Connor and his fellow lifters train hard, but respectfully of others, proving that those old stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth.   


Suzanne Is Living Proof That Age Is Only A Number

“I still love to run even though I’m now in my late 70’s”.

I’ve been an athlete my entire life. It seems unusual, but I still love to run even though I’m now in my late 70s. I bike and do yoga and I truly believe it keeps me young. Many people are surprised when they find out how old I am but I know it has a lot to do with my commitment to health and fitness. As a mother of three, my children are also athletic and they support and encourage me. One of my daughters has run several marathons and is hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which my older brother ran in his 80’s!

Doylestown member Suzanne Nesi, Personal Trainer Tracey Kling and Suzanne’s daughter Anne Kathryn Bromm.

Setting goals, training and persevering are the keys to success.

This month, my daughter asked me to join her in the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon, and I accepted the challenge. But I knew I needed to be prepared, which is why I asked my Cornerstone Personal Trainer, Tracey Kling, to help me. Tracey was fantastic; she guided me through a training regimen that allowed me to compete in this race. I’m sorry to say that one day while running early in the morning, I misstepped and fell. Luckily, I caught myself, and the injury only affected my hand.  It was serious enough to require a splint and rehabilitation, but Tracey kept me on track and my training wasn’t interrupted.

Support makes a difference!

September 15 (the day of the half-marathon) dawned bright and beautiful but did get hot, and in all honesty, despite my preparation, it was a challenge. It was tempting to quit. But my daughter ran with me and Tracey came to Philadelphia to offer support and encouragement! I’m proud to say I finished first in my age category and I am so very grateful to Tracey for helping me achieve that feat!

Cornerstone has been a huge source of support and friendship and I am very happy to be a member!

Suzanne and her trainer, Tracey, hitting the road.

How Meal Planning Can Help You

Image courtesy of

It seems like once we flip the calendars over to September, not only are we saying goodbye to summer, but we are saying hello to our regular routines and schedules. September means back to school, no more BBQs and parties every weekend, and back to reality. This is what makes September the perfect time to focus on your health. As boring as it sounds, having a routine is what makes most people so successful. When you have a plan, it makes hitting the gym and making healthy food choices so much easier. This is why so many people do weekly meal planning to stay on track. Meal planning keeps you organized, can help you stick to a grocery budget, and can help you make healthier food choices throughout the week.

What Is Meal Planning?

Meal planning means exactly what it sounds like…having a plan for your meals each day. It can be as simple as keeping a list in your head of what you want to make for dinner each night, or it can be as detailed as you writing down what you plan to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.

If you’re new to meal planning, I recommend starting small. Start by planning out your dinners for the week. Dinner tends to be the hardest meal for people because evenings can be so hectic. And if you don’t have a plan, the fast food drive-thru starts to look really appealing.

How To Get Started

Getting started is really easy! Grab a pen and paper and start thinking. If we continue with the dinner example from above, then sit down and write out what you want to have each night for dinner. Then think about the ingredients that you need in order to cook each meal. Check out your kitchen for things you already have on hand, and then write down whatever you will need to buy at the store.

Once you have your grocery list ready, you can shop with confidence knowing that you will have all of the ingredients on hand to stick to your weekly meal plan! Once you have all of your groceries, now you can sit back and relax knowing you have a plan for the week. The key is now making sure you stick to it!

Tips For Success

Having a plan is only helpful if you actually stick to it. I always recommend choosing meals that fit into each night’s schedule. For example,  if Monday nights are crazy in your house, maybe choose a meal that cooks all day in the Crockpot, or a one-pan meal that cooks in the oven while you help your kids with homework. Don’t choose a brand new, complicated recipe for a night that is busy.

With that being said, plan for leftovers! There’s no need to cook every night! If you know there is one night that is pretty slow in your house, make that the night you cook double. Then the next night you don’t even have to worry about cooking.

Once you’ve mastered meal planning your dinners, you can take it to the next level by planning out your other meals too. While meal planning might sound time consuming, it actually helps save you a lot of time during the week! It can also help save you a lot of money by cutting down on the money spent out at restaurants. Give it a try and I bet you’ll be happy with the results!  

Blog courtesy of Morgan Fink, Trainer, Instructor and Wellness Coach in Warrington.

Have questions about fitness or nutrition?  Feel free to make an appointment with the Wellness Coach at your preferred location.  Stop by or call Doylestown (215-794-3700), New Hope (215-862-2200) or Warrington (215-918-5900).