YMCA of Greater Louisville

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

…Especially if it’s a beautiful woman with legs as long as the Mississippi River, or a tall, dark, handsome gentleman. I’m thinking Ryan Gosling, y’all. Breaking up means change, and who really likes change? We’re humans and we thrive off repetition, a schedule, a plan. Okay, maybe I’m just talking about myself here, but think of all the things we plan in our lives; our weekends, our meals, our work day, meetings, parties, etc.

One of the hardest breakups is saying goodbye to soda. I imagine the scenario going something like this: “It’s not you, it’s me. Your ingredients are breaking down my bones, your coloring is artificial, and if you were all natural you’d be as green as Shrek. I’m not Princess Fiona here. I need something REAL. I’m not (artificially) sugar coating it (pun intended), it just isn’t working anymore.”

Switching to real life mode, you can’t call that an illegitimate breakup, folks. The United States ranks first among countries in soft drink consumption. The average per-person consumption of soft drinks is in excess of 270 quarts per year, or about 5 quarts per week (2 cans of soda per day!). Soft drinks have long been known to decrease calcium levels and increase phosphate levels in the blood. When phosphate levels are high and calcium levels are low is when calcium is pulled out of the bones, and over time, contribute to brittle or weak bones which are easily broken. This is what we call osteoporosis.

According to the Nutrition Research Center, the following is what happens to your body within one hour of drinking a can of regular soda:

10 minutes in: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system, which is 100% of your recommended daily intake (this is ONE can of soda, people… one can). You’d normally vomit from such high sugar intake, but the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor.


20 minutes in: blood sugar skyrockets. Your pancreas attempts to maximize insulin production in order to turn high levels of sugar into fat.

40 minutes in: as your body finishes absorbing the caffeine, your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your liver pumps more sugar into the bloodstream. Adenosine receptors in your brain are blocked by preventing you from feeling how tired you may actually be (hence the so-called “energy boost” you think you get from the soda you’re drinking).

45 minutes in: your body increases dopamine production, causing you to feel pleasure and adding to the addictiveness of the beverage. This physical neuro response works the exact same way it would if you were consuming heroin.

<60 minutes in: the phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium, and zinc in your lower intestine, which boosts your metabolism a bit further. High doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners compound this effect, increasing the urinary excretion of calcium. The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play (which is what causes the “I HAVE to go to the bathroom NOW!” feeling).

>60 minutes in: the sugar crash begins. This is where you begin to get irritable and feel sluggish.

Another soda, anyone?


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Guest post by our Southeast Family YMCA Executive Director!

Wow, January is over now. What an amazing experience working at a Y is for the month of January. The volume of people in and out of our facility is tremendous with new folks joining and other members committing to life changes.

What a wonderful opportunity our new and old members present to us. The YMCA of Greater Louisville has 3894 over 8000 people that are now part of our family. Those people chose to join this YMCA, chose to trust us with the responsibility to help them accomplish a change or improvement in their life. Let’s face it, everyone has a reason for joining or continuing to be a member of the YMCA. If you are joining you have a need or dissatisfaction that you think the YMCA can help you solve. For each of our staff and volunteers the responsibility of being that “solution” is very important to us.

We go about that in a variety of ways:

– We continue to be told via both surveys and anecdotal comments that we have the friendliest staff around and that is not an accident. We do want the environment here to be friendly, welcoming and genuinely supportive. But it is not just a staff thing, our members have in large part created that as well. Watching new folks embraced and adopted into the group is gratifying to see; it reflects the environment here.

– We are following up in writing, electronically and on the phone with all of our new members to check on the progress they are making. Also, we are encouraging each new member to have an individual appointment with a member of our staff team in an area they are interested in such as: aquatics, wellness, group exercise or family programming. These meetings will help set realistic goals and help our staff do a better job of following up in a personal and meaningful way. We really do want to help every one of our member achieve and succeed.

– New member survey’s and member satisfaction survey’s are a tool we really rely on to learn how people feel about the experience and what we can do better to help our members reach their individual measures of success.

Hopefully we can see continued success and many of our newest members will be with us for a long period of time and what we do the YMCA can help them.


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It’s simple: Be Still

I had no idea two years ago how my life would be completely changed by learning how to simply ‘be still’.

 I am by nature a pretty optimistic and lean more towards the happy-go-lucky type personality. So why was it that I suddenly felt upset, disconnected and grouchy all the time? What in my life was out of order and more importantly – how do I fix it?  There was this constant nagging that something was wrong, not physically wrong but something very deep inside of me knew something was off and it needed me to pay attention. I can describe it best by saying I felt I was in a snow globe and someone had given me and my life a good shake. And there were all these images, feelings, thoughts, words, dreams, beliefs that were in constant swirling motion around me but none of them made enough sense for me to reach out to them and grasp and say YES – this is what I need, this is what I want, this is what will fix my “problem”.

 Day after day I felt like I lived in this swirling snow globe. Nothing about it resembled what was my formally simple, calm and happy life. So what is it then? Why can’t I make it stop? Why was it needing all of my attention? Why was it constantly on my mind? What is this nagging feeling that I needed to change?

It turns out it was my spirit talking to me. But I had to learn to be still to hear her message.

 After explaining my snow globe angst to two very dear friends, they kindly encouraged me to take a trip to The Abbey of Gethsemani in Bardstown, Kentucky.  For four days and three nights I was in silence, alone with only myself. Forced to hear my inner voice, my spirit, and the truth of my life I had obviously been ignoring for some time. The truth I had been ignoring was showing up in my human experience as anger and bitterness. I couldn’t hide or run from this nagging feeling that I needed to make a big change. That was truly the beginning of my, what I know now, as my spiritual journey.

 Many people get turned off by the simple thought of being spiritual or finding a spiritual path. Like somehow even trying to comprehend that we all have a spiritual instinct is some type of voodoo practice. It’s not. It is simply recognizing that we are all connected to the energy of all creation. We are a part of it and it is always a part of us. It is simply knowing we are more than our mind and body.

 Even the YMCA recognizes that we need to build a healthy spirit, mind and body.

 Turns out I had the body and mind part in good working order but the spirit was lacking. I had no idea two years ago, even after being in church my whole life, that learning about my spiritualty would forever change my life. Now I  recognize there is a true difference in being a religious person and being on a spiritual path.

 Most of us go through life fighting and swimming against our human experiences instead of relaxing into the mystery of life as its happening. The spiritual instinct that we all have allows us to move through life knowing that no matter what is happening in your human experience that we will be all right.

 A spiritual path is the most grounded and awakening path you can ever pursue in your life. Spirit isn’t “out there”…it is  in you. Understanding that everything that is happening in your life is happening as a spiritual moment, not just what it looks like on the surface, but what it is beneath the surface – there is always something bigger, deeper, richer going on that helps you grow into yourself. Grow into who you were meant to be. Grow and be connected to the spirit, the spiritual being that you really are who is simply having a human experience.

 And all because I learned to be still and listen. Now, I can be in my snow globe with all my images, feelings, thoughts, words, dreams and beliefs but I am able to watch as they all settle and land into their perfect place. Just as it should be. Without effort and with full faith that is it all happening as it should. Who knew my answer would be so simple.

  Be still my friends, be still. 


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“It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Life”

It’s that time of year!  We’ve all noticed that our gyms are busier than usual.  Our facilities are packed with new members who are looking to start a healthy lifestyle. I speak to many members who are looking to hit the gym hard and drop those pounds as quick as possible.  It is important to remember that when starting your workout regimen that you keep your mood positive.  I can tell you first hand that it is hard not to discouraged when you work out hard all week and then see that you have only dropped a pound or two when you weigh in.  STAY POSITIVE!  It’s not all about losing the pounds, it’s about creating an active lifestyle.  The hardest part is getting started! So grab a friend, and a bottle of water and get moving!  It’s time to start a new, healthier you!  Check out the Y’s website to see how we can better assist you!


Shedding pounds, gaining confidence

Some people look to famous people and historical figures for inspiration, and while I’m definitely one of those people who can dig a good quote from Gandhi or Einstein, I feel more personally moved by the everyday people I actually interact with, and the YMCA Weight Loss program highlights that point perfectly.

Since September, I’ve had the great privilege of facilitating the YMCA Weight Loss group at our Southwest branch and have met some wonderful people through this program. One member who always brightens up our Monday evening class is Lisa Garrett. Lisa started the program at the Southwest Y back in October and has since lost about 30 pounds! Being witness to Lisa’s weight loss journey has been such a treat for me–I thought it was only fair to let everyone else in on how awesome this lady is. So, let’s hear a little from her.

Why did you join the YMCA Weight Loss program? I was ready for a change. I was sick of feeling unhealthy and was frustrated about not being happy with myself. There was no one who could change that but me. I didn’t think about it too much; I just jumped in.

What positive changes have you experienced since joining the program? My self-confidence is amazing! I’m happier, more outgoing. I feel more young at heart. I used to be the one waiting on things to happen, now I’m more of a go-getter.

What do you enjoy most about the program? The overall sense of support and well-being everyone has for each other. Having a sounding board. The support has definitely been the best part of the program.

What advice would you give someone wanting to lose weight? Don’t over-think it; just jump in and do it, then there’s less time to talk yourself out of it. Sometimes the first step is the hardest, but remember that you are worth it. Making a lifestyle change like this is hard, but it is so, so worth it.

So, like Lisa says, it’s hard work, but it is so worth it.

If you want to learn more about the YMCA Weight Loss program, contact our Weight Loss Coordinator, Erin Brown, at 502 314 1613 or at yweightloss@ymcalouisville.org.

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INTRODUCING….Brad Longazel!! An exercise physiologist with his Masters from the University of Louisville, Brad has come on board as our new Association Youth Wellness Coordinator. Splitting his time between the Y’s youth obesity initiatives and the University of Louisville’s Health for Life Clinic, Brad will be helping the youth of our community live happier, healthier lives.

With his IPod blaring We Were Promised Jet Packs, Brad is an avid fitness enthusiast with a passion for weight lifting.

We recently sat down with Brad and asked him to get personal with us! Check out how it went!

What is your favorite comedy?: The Hangover

What is your favorite place to eat?: Qdoba

What is your favorite place to shop?: Amazon.com

Where is the coolest place you have ever visited?: Venice, Italy

What is your biggest pet peeve?:  People not saying thank you after you hold the door

What are you the worst at?: Cooking

What is your favorite pass time?: Weight lifting

What are you most excited about when it comes to your new job?: New challenges

Please help us in welcoming Brad to our Y community!