Tips For Toned Arms & Tight Abs

By: Robert Matasich

We all know that reaching your goals takes hard work, commitment, and the right mindset. To add to that you should make sure to take starting measurements so you have something concrete to work towards. Also, follow these five easy tips to help you reach your goals for stronger, toned arms and a defined core.

Tip #1 Exercise your arms at all angles

Don’t do the same old exercises expecting a different result, that’s insanity. Try new exercises and choose exercises that will challenge your muscles from various angles. Here is a sample arm workout using exercises from all different angles:

A1: Close Grip Bench Press, 3×8-10

A2: EZ-Bar Reverse Curl, 3×8-10

B1: DB Hammer Curl, seated w/60degree angle 3×10-12

B2: DB Triceps Extensions, lying flat 3×10-12

C1: Kneeling Zottman Curl, 3×12-15

C2: Overhead Triceps Ext, seated 3×12-15

Tip #2 Train your arms with shorter rest intervals

Because the arms are a smaller muscle group and require less motor unit recruitment they recover faster. For example, you will recover faster between sets of biceps curls than sets of squats. This also forces you to work your arms harder because they are not fully recovered between sets. So if you normally rest 60 seconds between sets of arm exercises, rest only 30 to 45 seconds, and if you rest 2 minutes, rest 1 minute. This will help you save time in the gym.

Tip #3 Use the most “bang for your buck” exercises

Favor exercises that use the most muscle; this means use free weights over machines. So instead of doing Triceps Cable Press-downs do Dips or Close Grip Bench Press to work the triceps, do squats over leg extensions. This is especially important when you have less time to work-out because you get more work done in less time; this tip goes right in line with tip #2.

Tip #4 The fridge is where you will find your “6-pack” of abs

Nutrition is what everybody knows they need to do better. A few cookies here and extra slice of bread there and before you know it your body-fat goes up and your goal of getting tight abs seems farther out of reach. One simple rule to apply if you are struggling is to make sure that your meals consist of only carbs/protein OR fat/protein. Try to minimize the amount of fat/carbs combined in a meal. I did this before a powerlifting meet and dropped 5 pounds in a week. If you need more help with your nutrition come to the Y and talk to our trainers to get you started. Right now we have the upcoming Fast Food Fat Loss 8-week program designed to help you make fat loss happen anywhere!

Tip #5 Do sprint (anerobic) intervals to burn belly fat

The first reason to favor intervals over steady-state cardio (same pace throughout workout) is that it takes less time; no more than 20 minutes is required to produce results! Research shows that a 15-week sprint interval cycling program produced over 5 pounds of fat loss in women, most of the fat lost was in the legs and belly. Sprints improve your hormone response for greater belly fat loss. Growth hormone and adiponectin, both important hormones in fat burning, are released in greater amounts during sprints over steady-state aerobic exercise.

If you are tired of working out and dieting without making improvements then come to the Y and sign up for my 6-week Arms & Abs workout program where I will guide you through these 5 tips. It starts July 9th at 9:00 a.m. and runs every Tuesday /Thursday thereafter from 9:15 to 9:30 a.m., followed by a free 30 minute cycling interval class.

Meet Margaret Larson, Personal Trainer at the Olean-Bradford Area YMCA

By: Justin McLaughlin, intern at the Olean-Bradford Area YMCA

Last week I got the chance to sit down and talk with Margaret Larson , one of the personal trainers at the YMCA. When I first approached her she was diligently attending to her morning training session. This first impression displayed a hard-working, motivated and dedicated personal trainer that loves what she does. After asking her a number of questions (and stealing a few minutes away from her busy schedule) I was able to learn a little bit more about one of the newer members of the YMCA community .

Having started as a personal trainer six months ago, Margaret is one of the newest members of the staff at the YMCA. She currently teaches total training classes, spin classes and lifestyle classes while splitting time between the Bradford and Olean facilities. When I asked her about some of the challenges of her new position, she mentioned the spin classes as the most difficult to master. Considering that spin is something that can be taught in a variety of styles and methods, she found it difficult to teach without much experience. Making the transition from an enthusiastic student to the one leading the class is something that she was able to embrace during her first few months at the Y.

Margaret also cited keeping things new for class members and challenging them adequately as intricacies that she’s had to learn as a personal trainer. Finding the proper balance for each session or class is difficult as she must challenge each individual while trying not to overwhelm them. It is also important to change routines and exercises so that people don’t lose interest from one session to the next.

Despite the challenges and adjustments that Margaret’s new position required, the majority of our discussion focused on the facets of personal training that she enjoys the most. When I inquired about her favorite aspects of her new job, Margaret replied: “ all of the unique people that you get to meet and their personalities in terms of how they go about their workouts. ” She continued by highlighting the regular improvements that people make as something that is really fun to see. These improvements are both physical and mental as Margaret stated that her favorite moments occur “when you can make someone realize that they’re stronger than they had previously thought.”

Throughout the course of her six month journey as a personal trainer, Margaret’s students were not the only ones learning and growing. Margaret referred to personal training as “ a job that you’re going to learn at everyday ” and expressed her appreciation for the other trainers and staff at the YMCA in helping her during this process. In reference to those that have helped her along the way she stated “ I love working with people with different knowledge that can make me better at what I do. ” For Margaret each day is an opportunity to better both the individuals that she works with as well as herself. It is this mentality that has allowed Margaret to quickly adapt to her new position at the YMCA and one that will allow her to ply her trade for many years to come.

For more information about the YMCA, its staff or the personal training that is being offered visit our website or call (716) 373-2400. Also, if you have any recommendations for a future blog post or wish to share your own Y story feel free to share in the comments!

A Mother’s Perspective: Family Prime Time at the YMCA

Pictured: Julie Pacheco and her two children, Lucas and Miguel

Pictured: Julie Pacheco and her two children, Lucas and Miguel

By Justin McLaughlin, intern at the Olean-Bradford Area YMCA

The time of year is approaching when mothers across the world are honored and celebrated by their children and loved ones. With this in mind, seeking out some of the mother’s stories at the YMCA seemed like an appropriate and timely endeavor. Given that the YMCA is an organization that caters toward families, mothers and their children are frequent users of the YMCA’s facilities.

In particular, Family Prime Time is a program that makes it possible for mothers and children to simultaneously enjoy the YMCA’s benefits. Mothers are able to place their children under the supervision of trained YMCA caretakers while they pursue their own fitness and exercise interests. Last week I was given the opportunity to observe this service  in action and to sit down and speak with some of the mothers that utilize it on a daily basis.

The first mother that I had a chance to speak with was Molly Boutillette, a long time YMCA member that has been using the Family Prime Time service for the past six years. When I asked Molly about her experience with Family Prime Time she replied “I’d rate it an A+. The staff is excellent, kind and they’re really great with your kids.” My inquiry about her kid’s experience with the program revealed a similar appreciation as she stated “They ask to go. So that for me says it all.” As I discussed the ins and outs of Molly’s YMCA experiences with her I began to understand how much Family Prime Time really makes a difference for parents and their children. This conclusion was most evident from the final question that I asked her regarding the aspect of Family Prime Time that she appreciates most: “Prime Time has been my lifesaver. Having little kids, I’d never be able to work out otherwise.”

While interviewing other mothers at the Y there seemed to be a general consensus, Family Prime Time is very much appreciated by the parents and children that utilize it. Rachel Schreiber was the next mother than I had the opportunity to ask about her experience with Prime Time. A mother of three, Rachel has been using this childcare service for the past three years. A common theme continued to develop in the comments that I recorded as she described her experience “It’s been really good. My kids choose to go there. They enjoy having the option to choose between the Family Prime Time room and going to the pool.” Aside from offering her children autonomy, Rachel reiterated the program’s main advantage “It lets me workout. I couldn’t come four days a week if it wasn’t for (Family) Prime Time.”

My final interview was with Julie Pacheco and her two young boys Lucas and Miguel. While Julie did most of the talking, her children’s evident joy in being at the YMCA was a true testament to the feedback that Family Prime Time receives. Julie informed me that her youngest child has been attending Prime Time since he was able to walk and expressed her own appreciation for the service “The staff are very personal. They know my kids by name and are always glad to see them.” It’s this personal and friendly nature that makes the YMCA’s childcare service such an attractive option for parents.

While this program’s sole purpose is to afford parents the time to workout, it seems that its positive effect on children and their parents is more far reaching than that. Mothers are able to drop their kids off knowing that they will be cared for and given an enjoyable experience to look forward to. Without Family Prime Time these hard working parents would be unable to include fitness in their busy schedules. At a time when mothers are recognized for their sacrifices and dedication as parents, shedding light on a program that does them a favor was a worthy Mother’s Day venture.

For more information about Family Prime Time or any of the other programs offered by the YMCA visit our website or call (716) 373-2400.

Olean Family YMCA to Host its Annual Healthy Kids Day

By Justin McLaughlin, Intern at the Olean-Bradford Area YMCA

On Saturday, April 27th the Olean Family YMCA will host the 2013 edition of its annual Healthy Kids Day . This initiative is free and open to the public and serves as a tool to promote healthy lifestyles and well being for local youth. The event will feature fun and recreational activities for children as well as opportunities for interested parents to get involved.

With the activities starting at 1:00PM, children will have access to a slider & bounce house (outside-weather permitting), a climbing wall and face painting. The swimming pool will also be open for free swim and various pool games. In terms of adult involvement, interested individuals may participate in the EIRP ( Early Identification & Recognition Program ) Race/ Walk to take place from 12:00PM – 1:00PM. Also, an informational Health and Wellness Fair will be taking place throughout the entirety of the event. The fair will feature local agencies and service providers offering information on healthier lifestyles, personal well being, and building a stronger community for children.

Healthy Kids Day is an excellent opportunity for families to get involved and to help support local youth development. For more information about this event or the other programs offered by the YMCA visit our website or call (716) 373-2400.

Meet Dave Shults, the YMCA’s 2012 Volunteer of the Year


Front: Dick & Linda Matthews
Back L-R: Sophie McCabe (Y Youth Volunteer of the Year), Patricia Magnano, Sally Nenno, Mike Nenno, Tony Evans, Dave Shults (Y Volunteer of the Year), Betsy Cashing and Rosemary Warner (Child Care staff award).

By Justin McLaughlin, intern at the Olean-Bradford Area YMCA

This past week I had a chance to sit down and talk with Dave Shults , the 2012 YMCA Volunteer of the Year . While he is a well-known figure within the YMCA community, some people may not be entirely aware of his story or the extent to which he helps to make the YMCA a better place. Given that this blog is meant to serve as a medium for discussing  the YMCA and its members, Dave’s story seemed like a great place to start.

During my talk with Dave I had a chance to inquire about his time as a YMCA member and the ways in which his experience has changed over the years. Having been a member since 1989, Dave has been coming to the Olean YMCA on a regular basis (5 days a week) for more than two decades. His early involvement consisted of participating in evening workouts after finishing up his day at work. After spending many years at the YMCA’s former location on South Union Street, his involvement would develop greatly following his retirement and the Y’s move to its current location.

With more free time and a new state of the art facility at his disposal, Dave’s role at the YMCA became much larger. Starting out as a member of a workout group, Dave was soon asked to help teach others due to his dedication and evident passion. This marked the beginning of his volunteerism and honorable contributions to the YMCA. When I asked Dave what his favorite part about helping with the workout groups was, he answered: “The people in the class, that’s the best part. Interacting with them and seeing them improve.” It’s this attitude that has led Dave to become one of the most recognizable volunteers within the YMCA’s community. As he discussed his role as an assistant coach for the workout groups, the pride and satisfaction that he gains from helping others was evident. Whether it be seeing someone’s form improve for an exercise or hearing about a member’s progress in battling their aches and pains, Dave’s support and effort make a difference.

These days Dave is a staple at the YMCA’s facility in Olean. He continues to participate in weekly workout groups, enjoys programs such as kickboxing and aerobics, and likes the YMCA’s variety of exercise equipment. He also expressed his appreciation for the Y’s facility upgrades such as the improved aquatics center, indoor track, and larger gymnasium in comparison to the former YMCA location. Despite these improvements, Dave’s greatest satisfaction doesn’t come in the form of a particular facility feature or piece of equipment. For Dave, the real pleasure lies in helping his fellow members discover the same satisfaction that he has found throughout the course of his long relationship with the YMCA. Having had the chance to get to know Dave and learn about his story, I think I can speak for everyone at the Y in stating that I hope this is a relationship that continues for many years to come.

For more information about volunteerism at the YMCA visit our website and feel free to share your personal experiences in the comments!

Ink Young, Y Wellness Director, presented Dave Shults with the 2012 Volunteer of the Year award at the 2013 Salute to Olean.

Ink Young, Y Wellness Director, presented Dave Shults with the 2012 Volunteer of the Year award at the 2013 Salute to Olean.

Register for the YMCA’s Shaping Up for Summer Program!

By Justin McLaughlin, Intern at the Olean-Bradford Area YMCA

Are you still considering your fitness options for this spring? YMCA members have the opportunity to register for this year’s “ Shaping Up for Summer ” program. Starting on April 8th, this program is available for Y members as a way to revamp their fitness and eating habits heading into the summer months. Registration will give participants access to personal trainers, nutrition consulting, group workouts and premier fat loss plans.

Weight loss versus Fat Loss- learn how to lose fat and tone at the Y!

Weight loss versus Fat Loss- learn how to lose fat and tone at the Y!

In terms of specific benefits, participants will receive a meal plan for the duration of the program, exercise schedules and complete protocals. Unlimited weekly group work outs are another integral part of this program with personal trainers that will tailor workouts to meet your individual goals. These group workouts are available at both the Bradford Family YMCA (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00AM, 6:30PM, and Saturdays at 11:00Am) and the Olean Family YMCA (Monday and Wednesdays 6:30PM, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:15AM and 4:30PM, and Saturdays at 11:00AM). Given the variety of scheduled workout times, participants can find a time that suits their schedule and may choose to attend as many sessions as they wish.

The fee for the program is $47 and interested members may sign up by filling out this attached regristration form and returning it to the YMCA. The orientation sessions for the program will take place on Monday, April 8th at 5:30PM (Olean Y) and Wednesday, April 10th at 6:30PM (Bradford Y).

For more information about this program or other programs offered by the YMCA visit or contact Ink Young at (716 701-1330).

Olean-Bradford Area YMCA Introduces New Intern

By Justin McLaughlin, Intern at the Olean-Bradford Area YMCA


My name is Justin McLaughlin and I am a new intern at the YMCA. I am writing this post to introduce myself and to talk about what I’ll be doing with this organization. Before I discuss my new role with the Y I’d like to tell you a little bit more about myself.

image I am originally from Wellsville, New York (foreign territory, I know) and I am currently a grad student at St. Bonaventure. As a summer job I used to serve as a sports instructor (Track, Tennis, Soccer, and Gymnastics) for the Wellsville Recreation Department. Given this background and my current focus on communications in school, I believe that I can contribute to the YMCA in few specific ways.

For the duration of my internship my primary role will be developing the YMCA’s blog . The purpose of this blog is to tell the stories of the YMCA and its members to a greater extent than a traditional website allows. This includes highlighting news, accomplishments and personal stories that we feel the YMCA and the surrounding community would enjoy learning about. As an intern, it will be my job to help tell these stories and to give people a better understanding of what the YMCA and its members are all about. I believe that this is a great opportunity for myself and the YMCA and I am looking forward to working with everyone at this great organization.

If you’d like to learn more about the YMCA and its programs stay tuned for our next blog post or check out the Y’s website for additional information. Also, if you know of any interesting or inspiring YMCA stories that you’d like us to feature feel free to share in the comments!

One Member’s Success Tips

“Begin consistently following a fat-loss plan.  This doesn’t mean that you will be 100% perfect all the time, but try to aim to eat clean 80% of the time.” –Jill Coleman

Some clean eating is better than none.  Try to eat clean, but if you slip up it’s not the end of the world… Just get back on the horse.

Y member Paul (front row, right) and Y Lifestyle workout Group- Getting REAL RESULTS!

Y Lifestyle Club Workout Group and Paul (front row, right)

Meet Paul: Y member, 58 years old; manages Whisper Pines Camp

What worked for him : I started training on June 1, 2012 to lose weight and improve my strength, conditioning, and core stability.  I joined the Y Lifestyle Program and learned to train and eat differently. The rest based training workout programs have been very beneficial to me, and I have seen improvements in all of these areas.   My overall conditioning has improved immensely.  I am much stronger and have much better recovery.

I love working out, but have found that nutrition can sometimes be a struggle… I do love my beer! But if I don’t have the junk food around, it’s not a problem.

In the past 6 months I have lost 38 pounds.  I have gone from a size 42 pants to a 38.

Congratulations Paul! and thank you for sharing your success!

3 Tips for Eating for Fat Loss:

  1. Don’t keep trigger foods in the house .  You probably know what your weaknesses are when it comes to food… so don’t buy them.  Out of sight; out of mind.
  2. Stick to the perimeters of the grocery store. This is typically where the fresh foods are found.  Stay away from the nonperishable items: canned soups, premade dinners, potato chips, etc.
  3. Plan for a reward meal. Plan on giving yourself a two hour window once a week to eat whatever you want .  But, don’t just gobble up any stale cookies at the office just for the sake of cheating…make a ritual of enjoying the 1 or 2 things you simply love.  The reward meals help reset key regulatory hormones to ignite a sluggish metabolism, and the rewards also act as a psychological reminder of how bad eating junk can make you feel once you have adopted a clean, consistent nutrition plan

Y Lifestyle Club is starting the next 4 week program on February 4, 2013- This program will target Belly Fat or Cellulite- participants get to choose the program they participate. All the programs come with meal plans, workout programs and Personal Trainer led Group Workouts. You can join ANYTIME! Full information on the program HERE !

Believe That YOU Can Do It!- Meet Cathy Walters

Personal Trainer Sarah Wolcott and Y Member Cathy Walters

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

It’s all about attitude!

Meet Cathy: she has been a nurse for 30 years and an on and off Y member over the years.

Working out has always been a little difficult for Cathy… She has Fibromiology. Cathy started coming back to the Y in May 2012, using the whirlpool and walking.  She decided to join the Fat Loss Lifestyle Programming in June.  Cathy says that she was a little intimidated at first to join the program, but  ”I was sick of having trouble walking and becoming breathless from going up and down the stairs”. So Cathy decided to dive right into the Lifestyle Program.  Having struggled in the past, Cathy was sure she couldn’t lose weight, so she set a goal to lose 5 pounds…Cathy reached her goal and then some .  Since starting the program in June she has lost 38 pounds and 14 inches !

“I felt like I was going to die if I did not start changing,” said Cathy.  “The Y staff has helped me to start living again…Before I started I wasn’t able to breathe and I was in constant pain—I couldn’t even walk up and down my driveway.”

She started by changing her diet very simply—she cut out the cereal.  Since June she has tweaked her diet to include a lot of proteins, fruits, and vegetables, and now she feels totally energized when she goes to her group workouts every week (which she has come to love).  “Coming to the Y and coming to the group workouts help me stay accountable and give me the support I need.  It helps to have a group of others working for the same goals.”   For Cathy, it was just a matter of getting started, “It’s all about changing your attitude and believing you can do it!”

Are you ready to get started?

Here are 3 Tips for a Healthy Attitude to help with Change:

  1. Be positive. Look at your choices in a positive way .  Looking at yourself or your decisions in a negative way puts you in a negative mind set.  If you make a mistake don’t look at it as a slip up, look at as learning experience !
  2. Be realistic. Set realistic goals for yourself.  Take the process one small step at a time.  Don’t change too much at once.  The little steps will add up to one huge leap!
  3. Be proud. No matter the size of your goals be proud when you reach one.  You lost 3 inches this week, but you still have 10 to go?  Celebrate those 3 inches.  Be proud of your accomplishments!  It feels good to feel good about yourself—let your current accomplishments fuel your future success!
If you are looking to get started in 2013 –> Check out the Y Lifestyle Program ! All the support, accountability and info YOU need to be successful! More information HERE !

Healthy Food for Fat Loss does not have to be boring- some of the Y Lifestyle Club Participants get together to share their favorite recipes

Do you have a Y story that you would like to share to help inspire other? E-mail us at