Fit Family: the Serenyis

cuteDSC_4696Steve and Christy Serenyis joined GATC ten years ago, just a few months after they were married. Christy: When we moved south of Denver I wanted a good club with some intense classes. I picked GATC primarily because of the class options. We didn’t have children when we first joined, but I had heard the GATC kids programs were really good. I did the Outdoor Fit classes and loved them. A group of five or six of us really bonded last year. We wanted to keep working out really hard so we joined Boxing Babes. Now our group has grown and we participate in PWRFIT with Brandon. I like a teacher that pushes me. PWRFIT has great music and Brandon works us really hard. For Barre, it is the same thing. Christine or Chrissy are both great teachers with some really good high energy flow music.

Steve comes three times a week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and focuses on the weight room and maybe some stair-master work. Christy: The staff in the Kids’ Club is special. They are so understanding and forgiving to the moms when we are tired and dropping off our kids quickly. Not that they know us, it is as simple as opening the door, the kids run in and you run away. I have witnessed crying kids and crying moms with the staff saying “We got this, just go” and I have assured other mothers “they will find you if there is a problem.”

Christy and Steve also speak highly of Little Lobbers instructor, Lisa Thomas. They feel that Lisa is good at engaging even challenging kids. She loves them even when they have bad days as kids do. If Christy wasn’t there at the end of Little Lobbers, Lisa knew she was in a class and took her child back to the Kids Club.

Nine-year old Anna just joined the Greenwood Tiger Shark swim team, but also plays tennis and soccer. Anna likes school (third grade) and is great at everything. MarcuteDSC_4737shall is seven and in second grade. He is an excellent reader, well above his age group. He participated in Little Lobbers with Lisa and has taken Stroke School. Harrison is five and has done a lot here at the club. He is in his third year of Little Lobbers with Lisa. He loves everything and Trish has helped him be really good at swimming.

MacKenzie is the youngest at two and a half. She loves Kids’ Club and taking swim lessons with Trish too. Christy: I often think of my mother’s regret. She wishes now that she had taken time for her own needs while raising children. I tell my friends, take just one hour; your kids will be fine. My husband sees that because I work out, I am a lot happier. I know Steve is happier because he works out and we want our children to find happiness and be healthy too. I like the community here. Since GATC is smaller, a lot of us recognize each other. I think the community creates more respect for each other – it is cleaner, neater and friendlier. I tell people to come here all the time!

Greenwood – A Welcoming Home Base

Chris Dilg, owner and CEO of McNevin, considers Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club to be a “touchstone” in his life for nearly 25 years – a welcoming home base through the highs and lows of life.

Gene Bressler, Dean atimg_2082_chrissmall CU Denver, first introduced me to Greenwood after my divorce. Gene said, “You’re getting slobby! I’m your good friend, I have a place for you, you need to come with me.” I’ve been at Greenwood ever since.

Everybody here makes you feel like family; they may not know your name but they know your face at any hour of day or night. From Francisco and Willie in the men’s locker room all the way up to Paula, I always feel welcome by the staff here at Greenwood.

As a student of design, there are few places I feel at home. The club’s design and staff’s friendliness make it easy.  Even the physical design of the club is thoughtful; I’ve been through two locker room updates and this last one is incredible!

I’m focused when I come to the club – my goal is to get in, get what I need, and get back out.  And I still appreciate the staff greeting me and asking, ‘do you need anything?’ The customer service training they provide for staff is top notch.

Chris has many fond memories and appreciation for the family benefits he’s received over the years:

My son and stepdaughter grew up here while Jackie and I worked out. Greenwood helped keep our kids busy – they were always active. I never had to worry about leaving the kids in the class, or about safety with the staff.  When I took Austin for swimming lessons, the staff made sure he got into his trunks, got what he needed for the day’s lesson and got back upstairs.  I never had to worry about any of the details…where else can you find that?

Chris laughs while talking about his different uses of the Club:
Depending on the stage of my career, I’ve used the Club differently.  There have been times I wasn’t here frequently and other periods of time I was here all the time. Sometimes I did the “executive workout” of steam-sauna with an occasional massage.  In a different time, I was a treadmill fanatic. The Club and staff have been here for whatever I needed.

Born in Chicago, Chris moved to Lakewood at the age of 12.  He attended Bear Creek High, graduated from UC Boulder with a degree in environmental and started working at McNevin, his family’s company.

I started in the warehouse, moved into shipping and receiving, went into pump building and worked my way all the up.  Dad was severe and thorough. Eventually I bought the business from my father and will be celebrating my 34th year at McNevin this August.

“More than product alone” is our motto. Our work is service-oriented, with technical equipment engineered and built to order. We assist customers in setting up computer program regulations or with coupler alignments – whatever is needed.  We also run ownership training, engineering classes and serviceman classes. If the project scope gets beyond our capabilities, we bring in someone from one of the companies we represent. If a contractor needs a pump, there’s a 90% chance we have it in stock or have the parts to build one in an hour.  No one else in the area can do that.

If you are drinking water at Mile High Stadium, it went through one of our pumps. Our pumps also power the water for infield heating system. In addition, McNevin pumps provide the heat exchanges for the pool here at Greenwood. We do a lot of landmark work, including milestone projects like the RTD redevelopment of Union Station and the Z-block development.

Greenwood continues to be a home base for Chris through life’s ups and dfallgatc2owns. Despite health issues and hospitalization in the last year, Chris has stayed active through the support of friends, family and the community he’s built at Greenwood. “These days Greenwood serves as a base for my slow rehabilitation back to good health. Mind over matter – I’m doing this with the support of Greenwood and the people surrounding me!”

Break Patterns of Habitual Inactivity for a Healthy Lifestyle

dsc_1208Patricia McKenna was born and raised in LA. Graduating with a Journalism degree, her first job was as an on-camera reporter with an NBC affiliate.  She realized she preferred being behind the scenes, went back to school for a Masters in Art, then got an opportunity to work for Turner Broadcasting as an art director. Later her role shifted to a director and producer of commercials and features.
Twenty years ago she moved to Highlands Ranch with her husband, a SEC lawyer.  Today Tricia works at a branding and marketing agency downtown.
Her husband Steve, and children Jack, Chance and Grace, are very healthy and active. They work out regularly and enjoy time at the pool.  Last July, Tricia got a phone call from Sheri, GATC Member Coach. Sheri had noticed that even though Tricia’s husband and kids were active at Greenwood, she had not been coming.
“Sheri graciously invited me to come in and visit with her. We talked about my goals, why I wanted to lose weight and an action plan.  I am not a joiner, not one who participates in big classes or does weight watchers or talks about feelings. It is just not part of my DNA. Sheri said, ‘Let me give you a program to do three to four times a week.’ She suggested, ’Put it in your calendar – put it in writing and commit to it.’ That really helped!
I just decided to take this time for myself and I have come almost every day since.
It is true that you get the bug! I remember one day the club closed in the afternoon during a snowstorm. I had this moment of-Oh my gosh! I am not going to work out today and I don’t know how I feel about this!
It is amazing how in your 40’s you can slowly acquire weight and how much harder it is to lose it then it was in my 20’s, but I have managed to lose 40 pounds. There were plenty of reasons to not make it work, but I did. I had to work against habitual inactivity. The more sedentary I had become, the more it seemed like an incredible effort to get back in the groove. There adsc_1242re no easy ways to do it. I don’t think there is a staff member here who isn’t silently encouraging me. Just by their cheerful smiles as they greet me, I feel part of this community.  This is one of the reasons I really like it here. I appreciate the quiet encouragement, the diversity at Greenwood, the beautiful environment and state of the art equipment. In many ways, GATC is understated and that delights me.  I pay a reasonable amount to have a lovely place to work out, where my children feel safe and I am part of a community that values working out as a way of life. I feel as though I belong here.
For anyone who is struggling or stuck like I was, I want you to know there is no right or wrong way. Every single day do something.  Tomorrow, do a little more for a little bit longer. You will be pleasantly surprised if you make the mental decision-you want this for yourself.”

Brittany Warly, How Cross-Training inspired this Champion

Brittany Warly is just one example that membership at Greenwood can lead to great things. On April 22, she helped her team, University of Colorado Boulder Triathlon Team, win their seventh consecutive national title and won her first individual USA Triathlon national title. She qualified for the World University Championships and will be representing the USA this August in Switzerland.

Tbritwarly5he 23 year old GATC member has even bigger plans as a professional athlete. She will train with the elite team PEAK Multisport at the US Olympic Training Center. Warly has been training under the guidance of Ken Axford (2015 USAT Development Coach of the Year) since she first started the sport four years ago. Her first elite race will be the CAMTRI U23 Sprint Championships in Des Moines on July 9.

Brittany and her three sisters practically grew up at Greenwood. David Solsberg and Dorothy Warly created opportunities for all of their daughters to explore a variety of athletics at Greenwood. At age 4, the triplets (Alexa, Brittany, Caroline) could be found on the tennis courts with Peggy Bernardis, while the eldest Danielle was pursuing musical theater and the arts.

I discovered my love for fitness at Greenwood. My parents gave each of us unlimited opportunities to discover our passion for a sport. We learned how to swim and play tennis. We did kick boxing, Tae Kwon Do and britwarly4participated in many Kid’s Club activities. Yoga was something I picked up in high school and as I got older I learned to appreciate it more and more. I still practice in the midst of my competitive training schedule.

The fire and love of competitive training and workouts captured Brittany more than any of her other sisters. As a teenager (with the support of her mother traveling with her) she moved to Palm Springs, California to be part of a prestigious tennis academy run by Jose Higueras (former French Open semifinalist), followed by a move to Florida to train with the Hungarian federation national coach, Nandor Veres. For more about Brittany’s challenges in this phase of her life you can read this Rise and Grind article online.

Brittany returned home to Colorado while still in high school. She says: “As I grew older, I started to question what my real motivations [for playing tennis] were and I began to feel the desire of living a normal teenage life.” Exhausted from traveling to tournaments week after week while being a full-time student at Cherry Creek High School, she came down with mononucleosis.

While recovering from mono, Greenwood was the most positive part of my day. I did yoga during this time, a little swimming and had my introduction to triathlon training. I always felt better when I left GATC. The people at the club are like family to me. I would see the same people there on a daily basis, which was comforting.

My good friend Sonja Wieck and Jessica Vitcenda, (a mother of a HS Classmate) took me under their wing and introduced me to the Masters swimming group.  I was in the slowest lane at first, but now I am in one of the fastest lanes. I felt so included even though most of the Masters swimmers were adults. The coaches were so willing to help me. That summer I competed in Stroke and Stride, Aquaman (a 750m swim and 5K run). I used this for cross training for tennis. I did my first triathlon shortly after and was hooked.

Brittany started college with a Division I tennis scholarship at Santa Clara University, but tennis just wasn’t where her heart was anymore. She switched to CU Boulder to finish her Mechanical Engineering degree while competing with the collegiate triathlon team. Competing for the CU Boulder Triathlon Team was by far the most positive experience in my collegiate career and I am so glad I made the choice to transfer. My best friends to this day come from that team. We are competitive, but we uplift each other.
brittany_warly3
Why did she select engineering?  I was always good at math and science. It seemed the perfect route for me as a type A, hard worker. We sisters all were at the top of our class – Alexa in civil engineering and applied math, Caroline in bio and chemical engineering. My older sister Danielle is a lawyer in Grand Junction. It is safe to say that my family is pretty darn academic.

Greenwood is still my GoTo training gym in the Denver area. When I used to come home from school on the weekends at CU Boulder I would work out at GATC.  Now I come to GATC when I come home from Colorado Springs. Mike Keirns, head physical therapist at GATC, has known me since I was 11 or 12. When I had a bad bike accident last July, Mike was the first doctor I approached. He knows me well and knew what my body could withstand; he gave me hope that I would recover fully and get back to competing. Now I am in my first pro-season, training around four hours/day.  I enjoy yoga, playing the piano and singing.  I also love writing and I have gotten a lot of encouragement and interest on my blog posts .

Brittany recognizes the support of her parents and sisters for her unusual teenage years. My mother practically had a full-time job traveling with me, even spending holidays on the road with me. My father (a radiologist) and sisters supported both my mother and me in making my training and competing possible.

There is no secret pill. There are days when I don’t want to train and I need to remind myself of the bigger picture; I am doing this sport because I love it and I enjoy meeting new people. I am a very social person and I have found my love with the endurance sports family; I feel I fit right into this community. Everyday I am proving to myself I am stronger. I can withstand more than I ever think. It is honest hard work seeking the next improvement always that encourages me to keep pushing. When I hit those moments in training or in a race when time ceases to exist and I’m “in the zone”, it is a spiritual experience that makes this all worth it. Fitness has really been the most balancing force in my life, and for that I am truly grateful.

Stay in touch by following Brittany on her ongoing journey through her blog, or social media Instagram: @bwarly,
 Twitter: @brittanywarly3.

Fit Family

When Tony and Natalie Plant first joined Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club two years ago, “the best part of your day” seemed a rather large promise.
Not anymore.
“I think it is true! We are here almost every day and even had Dylan’s birthday party here.  It is a home away from home.  We hFavorite 2ave gotten to know members slowly over two years and now we know many people.  It is nice to see other parents by the pool or other members in class, to know them on a first name basis and wave “hello” as we walk in the door. It is all very welcoming.”
It is natural for Natalie and Tony to incorporate fitness as a family. In the 15 years they have been married, working out and a healthy lifestyle has been part of their lives.
“Fitness is important – when we don’t work out we feel yucky. We need it emotionally and physically.  We also want to be in good shape and live a long time.  We eat well too and cook together as a family.”
Prior to joining GATC two years ago, they were members at Lifetime Fitness and CORE power yoga.  Natalie was pregnant with her second child when they started their search for a new fitness home.
“I thought I really needed something great to get back in shape.  Greenwood has everything we were getting from two locations.  There is also more of a family and community vibe here.  We just like the atmosphere and energy here.
Dylan (5) wants to come to his tennis lessons with Coach Lisa and basketball lessons with Coach Brian. He asks to come to YAC; the staff members that supervise know Dylan and he knows them.  He feels wanted there and that is important. Both Dylan and Jameson (18 months) take swim lessons, Jameson with her father.”
When asked why Dylan likes basketball, Natalie said: “Coach Brian has a way of talking to them.  He doesn’t treat them like babies.  Coach Brian treats Dylan like he is really playing basketball.”
Tony’s work in commercial insurance  takes him out of town 1-4 days a week, but GATC is often the last stop on the  way to the airport and first stop on the  way home.
With Dylan and Jameson in good hands, Natalie can focus on taking care oFavoritef herself. Yoga classes are her favorite but Natalie also participates in Indoor Cycling, cardio, weights and tennis lessons. Tony mainly utilizes the weights, cardio and yoga. The pool is a family favorite all summer long!
They have so many good things to say about so many staff members. For Natalie, “Amy (Baker) really inspires me with how much she is (successfully) juggling as a mom herself. She is here all the time, teaching, working out.  I look up to that. Lana is also a great example and she feels like a friend to me now. She inspires me to get here more.”
“We want our kids to grow up here.  In addition to school and our Highlands Ranch neighborhood, we want to have GATC as one of the communities where they have friends.”

Member Success Stories – Marlene Anderson Polmear

Marlene PolmearMarlene is like a kid these days – fully jazzed about her new fitness goals and accomplishments.

According to Marlene, “last December I had an epiphany.  I started watching others who were making real changes in their body and observed what they were doing. I was in a rut and didn’t even realize it! I had been working out consistently for years, but did the same machines – cross trainer or Stairmaster. I was not pushing myself. My workouts were more like — doing my time. I was sweating but I wasn’t doing interval training, using a personal trainer or doing enough variety of exercise and I had plateaued. I connected the dots for myself and thought, I can do this.”

Marlene saw the announcement for the Personal Fitness Challenge starting in January. Marlene thinks she was one of the last people to sign-up because she was so fearful of getting out there, doing something different, even facing the scales and being weighed. “I was a fat kid and my weight has fluctuated as an adult reaching a high of 172 pounds,” said Marlene.

Marlene2DSC_8617Marlene also said that the season timing of the Personal Fitness Challenge was perfect, The post-holiday slump often derailed by best intentions and I knew I needed to get off my routine– I needed to become more social and break out of the mold I had created and challenge myself!

According to Marlene, “It was time for change. At some level I think we all know that, it is just a matter of facing it, recognizing it and doing something about it. It far exceeded my expectations!”

During the first week of January’s personal fitness challenge, Marlene thought she could do more and hired Rob as a personal trainer.   Matt, Sarah, Alex and Rob are wonderful – never taking excuses and pushing me.

Marlene said, “I didn’t realize I loved to be pushed.  They said do this and I would do it and try for an A+ feeling. The whole experience superseded my expectations. I have discovered so many new things about myself.  I had to get off my one machine – being in a rut.  Getting outside my comfort zone and taking on this challenge shook up a lot – for the better.  I am happier, more creative, more energized in all areas of my life. I never knew Power Fit class with Joe was so much fun. I LOVE the classes in the Small Group Training Room.  I am with very fit men and women and I push myself harder.”

Marlene had dropped 10 more pounds during the challenge and won the award for the greatest improvement in bench-press.  This was her first time to win anything athletically! Plus she expanded her community and met many new, like-minded people.  Connecting with younger people also inspired her. Participating also took away the stigma of age, pre-existing conditions and fear.

MarleneInBodyDSC_8766According to Marlene, “at age 61 I can start over, start fresh, begin again!”

Growing up in Iowa on a farm, Marlene was not encouraged to exercise.  Several of her relatives struggled with heart and health issues with a shortened life.  Not Marlene! A healthy active lifestyle was something she had to create for herself.
Marlene, her husband Rick and children Mike and wife, Stephanie, Marcus, Madeline and Lexi have always been a fitness family.  In fact, Rick and Marlene met when they joined Denver Sporting Club as singles in the eighties and not too long after, became marriage number 13 at that club. In 1987, they became Charter Members at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club.  Marlene was pregnant with their first child at the time.

Marlene shares how Greenwood has meant different things throughout the years to her:

  • When the kids were little they would stay in Kids’ Club which gave her my hour of peace
  • Her husband Rick would take them in the evening to swim and Marlene could have her quiet time at home. Rick and the kids have many fond memories of that time together, jumping in the pool, exercising, playing basketball
  • When her kids were on sports teams, they would use GATC to supplement their workouts

Marlene’s kids are now out on their own, but they still enjoy coming here when they come home to visit

Marlene’s attitude is her family health history is not going to get her; she is POWERFIT GROUP 2DSC_8623going to get it! Marlene says, “I sometimes see people here struggling and I hope they stick with it. I changed my habits and eating and pecked away at it – slow and steady.  Not only with exercise but giving up sugar one day at a time. I got down to 110.  If I can do it, anyone can do it!”

 

Marlene has had her own interior design firm since 1981. One of the residences that she designs will be featured soon in Colorado Expression Magazine.

Marlene also says, “I consider it a really good day if I have connected with all six family members and I work at that.  I also enjoy reading and going to the art museum but my time at GATC, is my core, my grounding.  I get away from business and at the same time have my best ideas while working out.  The endorphins are in overdrive and I get this creative burst.
I see myself and my body, as a sculpture. I am able to sculpt it to what I want. I want to be active and fit.”

What is Marlene’s next challenge?

Marlene says, “I bench-pressed 100 pounds and now my goal is 110. Rob is helping me build upper-body strength. I have never been able to do a pull-up and I did it for the first time last week in PowerFit class.  I just couldn’t believe it. This week I did TWO pull-ups! It is only just the beginning.”

Are you ready to start working out? Visit GreenwoodGuestPass.com to receive a three day pass!

Sara Emmons – It’s never too late to learn something new!

On April 2-3, Sara Emmons, 73, represented Greenwood in the State Masters swimming competition in seven individual events. SaraEvansMastersAccumulating 71 points with her five first place and three second place finishes, Sara helped GATC Masters earn the title of State Champions! Sara, who visited Greenwood three years ago knew right away that this was the club for her.
Sara is not new to challenge. Born in Washington DC during WWII, she has lived and worked in many US locations. Her professional career began in the footsteps of her journalist father, who covered the Roosevelt years for the Washington Post. Immediately after college she wrote feature articles for daily newspapers.  Her career took a few turns; including, a stint as Seaman in the Navy, where she met her husband; administrative and corporate PR work while raising children; and now, full-circle, Sara works part-time from home, editing articles written by members of an International Association.
Sara started swimming in her 40s, but has accelerated and improved since first experiencing the Masters program at GATC. “The Masters here are so fast. I didn’t want to be so slow, as if I was the snail swimming with sharks, it wasn’t fair to hold up the works!”
While many people might be intimidated and give up, she didn’t. Sara, with Crystal’s encouragement, started lessons with Jeanette, then added a class with Cama Jo. Their guidance has helped Sara improve her stroke technique and speed.

 

GATC Masters Swim Team

Greenwood Masters Swim Team 2016 State Short Course Champions

“The staff is so nice and knowledgeable. I just can’t quit talking about how they raised my confidence level and helped me perfect the strokes. They are so encouraging, you might go in the pool thinking you can’t do anything, but by the time you are out, you think you can do everything!”
Sara now swims with the Masters once a week, and works with Masters Coach, Greg.  “Others see my improvement too; swimmers who have known me since I started here, comment about my improvement. My coaches tell me I learn quickly, but I think I am just doing what I am told.”
“Because I have seen progress and gained confidence, I have no thought of ever quitting. I enjoy it so much. My desire to keep going is fed by that encouragement. Now I want to win!”
It would be easy to settle into a solitary routine, since Sara works from home with international colleagues. Being part of the Greenwood community and swimming breaks up that temptation. While her recent growth and success in swimming may be the most inspiring part of her life right now, she is also active in with the Women of the Word group at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church.