January Newsletter 2018


Did You Know

By Shari Gianini

Did you know that the new outdoor fitness area is open? TRX equipment, spin bikes, rowing machines, self-powered treadmills and weight equipment, take your workout from inside to outdoors, for the ultimate fitness experience.


GM Letter

imgDear Members,
Welcome to the New Year! It is that time of year where most of us have committed to resolutions that are often related to weight loss or living a healthier lifestyle. The only problem is that over 80% of our New Year’s resolutions fail! I would like to suggest you take a different approach to those long-term New Year’s resolutions that pertain to a healthier lifestyle, by replacing them with 30-day/30minute exercise challenges.

These short-term fitness challenges are becoming more and more popular for a number of reasons. One, they are generally simple challenges, which make them easier to achieve your goal. Second, the idea of a monthly fresh start is appealing to many people. Third, 30 days is about how long it takes to form a habit, which means if you make it to the end you are likely to continue with some sort of exercise routine. Finally, these 30-day challenges tend to be very motivational, providing people with a lot of satisfaction as participants track their results. Many of these challenges are also done with multiple participants, which provides additional motivation to help participants complete the challenge.

If you are not currently doing cardiovascular exercise and want to improve your endurance, I would suggest you keep your challenge simple. Try something as simple as running/walking for a minimum of 30 minutes for 30 days straight. Start slow and build weekly. In week 1 it could be a combination of walking and jogging. In week 2, you can decrease the walking and increase the jogging. In week 3, move to a combination of jogging and running. Week 4 can be all running, but add in once a week interval workouts, where you run fast for short periods and then recover at slower speeds.

For those of you already exercising, it may be time to shake up your routine with a combination of cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training for 30 days. This approach is to mix it up with a variety of cardio, strength and flexibility training in order to improve in areas that you are not normally focused on. The idea is to cycle through resistance training, cardiovascular training, and flexibility exercises by focusing on different disciplines each day, while also mixing up the duration and intensity levels.
This might look something like this

Monday: Strength training (medium intensity with lower weights and higher repetitions)
Tuesday: Cardiovascular exercise such as running (high intensity with intervals)
Wednesday: Flexibility training (Yoga class)
Thursday: Strength training (high intensity with higher weights and lower repetitions)
Friday: Cardiovascular exercise (medium intensity) combined with core strength exercises.
Saturday: Flexibility training (Yoga class)
Sunday: Cardiovascular training (low intensity, longer duration)

The goal of these challenges is to commit to something for a month, with the hopes of it turning into a consistent habit or to take to your next level of fitness. Anything is possible and everyone can do this, so let’s get started! Pick your start date and mark it on your calendar. Choose a challenge. Enlist a friend or family member to do the challenge with you. Track your progress and attain your goal.

If you have little or no experience designing a program or have an existing routine but want to shake it up, let us help. Starting on Monday the 15th at 6:30pm Peter will lead classes on developing well-rounded fitness programs geared towards 30 challenges. Don’t let another year of failed resolutions slip by. Classes will be held on the 15th, 22nd and 29th and are free. We hope to see you there, and look forward to being a vital partner in helping you achieve your health and wellness goals in 2018!

Have a Healthy Day,
John Sutcliffe
General Manager


Member of the Month

Ronie Sy-Facunda: A 360 ° Approach to Health & Wellness
By Anna Griffin


Westlake Athletic Club member, Ronie Sy-Facunda, has been a fulltime member since 2011, having previously been in and out since the ‘90’s as his work took him around the world. Initially, he joined WAC for the tennis courts, but upon his return his focus was the gym and pool.

It was beloved, past Front Desk Manager, Carrie Baumgartner, who coaxed Ronie back to tennis, enrolling him to join her mixed USTA league as she didn't have enough male players in her team. It had been eight years since he had played competitive tennis, but he comments that she was relentless!

“That was a good thing because this last minute, hodge podge winter group ended up winning the whole competition, and we went on to play sectionals! It was so much fun competing against the top players in Southern California. We decided to do it again the following year, won and went to sectionals a second time! I was hooked after this and decided to join the full tennis membership.”

As a result of Carrie’s persistence, Ronie now plays tennis four times a week, and captains a men's 4.0 team while also belonging to two mixed teams (7.0 and 8.0). “I love the competition and camaraderie with my WAC team mates,” he says.


“I really enjoy playing in the Thursday night men's doubles league, Monday night singles, and Wednesday night mixed. Playing in the league not only improves my game, it also gives me a chance to get to know the members who are into tennis.”

But it’s not all about tennis for Ronie, who is also an avid swimmer and fan of the Fitness Center and Technogym equipment. His wife, Barbara, recently joined WAC inspired by his passion for health and fitness, in particular his love of tennis. She now regularly attends yoga classes and tennis clinics.

“Barbara and I played tennis before we had kids, about 21 years ago. Now that we're empty nesters, she's back playing the sport again and is quite addicted now. Last week she played more than I did!”


Ronie and Barbara’s sons, JP and Christopher are both in college, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to a love of fitness.

“JP and Chris come to the club when they're home on breaks. They both are swimmers and water polo players, and they use the pool a lot. Sometimes, people find it strange to see JP treading water with a 5-gallon water jug over his head when he's training.”

“We've always been focused on health and sports as a family. Both my boys competed in aquatics in High School. JP plays polo for California Baptist University and Chris swims on the club team at Loyola Marymount. I believe health and wellness not only improves your physical life, but your mental and emotional wellbeing as well.”


With an authentic appreciation and clear understanding of the benefits of a health-focused lifestyle, Ronie’s passion is infectious.

“I've heard people say that sports is a microcosm of life. Tennis is fun but hard on my back and knees. Swimming and strength training seem to rebuild my body and rejuvenates me for the next match. The preparation you put into your training translates to favorable outcomes during competition. Last Saturday, we had a USTA match against North Ranch Country Club, I played doubles with Rick Butler. Our match was a seesaw affair; we lost the first set in a tiebreaker, won the second and right before we played the super tie-breaker (in lieu of the 3rd set), I looked around at all the people watching and could feel the tension so thick in the air. I whispered to Rick that this felt like a sectionals match and this is why we play USTA. He smiled back, his lack of a verbal response told me he was nervous, but so was everyone else. We took an early lead but then lost it and found ourselves down a couple of match points at 6-9. We then managed to pull in 6 winners to win the match 6-7, 6-4, 1-0 (12-10).

Tennis is clearly his first love, and has impacted his life as much off the courts as it has on.

“Playing tennis taught me how important preparation is. Such as when and how much to practice - enough to have good muscle memory for those hard serves, but not too much to avoid injuries. Also, I’ve learned what I should I eat and when, it also taught me tenacity, to never give up even though sometimes it looks like the situation is so bad and it's hopeless. However the biggest lesson tennis has taught me, was how to deal with people. There will be players better than you and ones that are not as good; there are players who are very quiet and ones who yell and scream, and throw their racket during a match. Through these experiences, tennis taught me to always be supportive to my partners, and always be encouraging especially when the going gets tough. There's no point in yelling at your partner when he/she makes a mistake like I've seen other pairs do, as it only makes it worse. This patience and encouragement is important to emulate in real life, towards your kids, your family and work.”

Ronie’s inspiring, 360° commitment to wellness, makes us feel honored that he chooses WAC as his home for fitness. With many options available, he continues to be a devoted member as his loyalty reaches beyond our facilities, touching him on a personal level.

“The thing that makes WAC special is the people. The staff is great, and two of my best mixed partners work at the Front Desk. The members I know are super friendly too, and we all share the same passion for tennis.”


With the New Year upon us, Ronie is already focused on his fitness goals.

“I'd like to lose a few pounds and go back to my weight last year. I want to continue working on hitting a stronger forehand, and would like to get my wife, Barbara, playing mixed doubles with me too.”

If you see Ronie or Barbara around the club, reach out and say hello. In the meantime from all of the staff here at WAC, Ronie, the feeling is mutual! We are thrilled and grateful that you continue to choose us as your wellness partner, and we look forward to watching you in action in 2018!


Tennis Stuff

Match Finder

Steve Hamburger and Bill Ries are looking for USTA or self rated 3.5 players for doubles and mixed doubles. The group plays 8:30 am several mornings a week. Steve and Bill maintain an e-mail listing and help coordinate the matches. If interested please e-mail Steve at [email protected].
Howard Perlstein is also looking for 3.5 players to play at 8:30 am several mornings a week. You can contact him at [email protected].

Video clip from Chris Dudeck, Co-Director at WAC

Video clip from Calle Hansen, Co-Director at WAC


Tennis Tip

This Side of 50 on the Tennis Court – Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions
By Karl Akkerman

img img

Well there goes 2017 . . . And 2018 is going to be a very good year! Every year many people make one or two New Year’s Resolutions. There are many classic resolutions and some interesting ones too. I looked up the 10 most popular resolutions for 2018, and oddly, 8 out of 10 don’t apply to us here at WAC. Here they are:

  1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends. If we do any more of that we ALL are going to have to move in with the Dotzler’s!
  2. Fit in Fitness. They are singing to the choir here folks . . . Here at WAC, many of us are on one or two in-house leagues and at least one USTA team. We go to tennis clinics and socials, and play with friends. Many go to Holly’s fitness classes or work out with Peter on top of all this. For example Ron Sy-Facunda swims over 2,000 yards a couple times a week, on top of all the tennis he does.
  3. Tame the Bulge. This applies to most of us because we have been partying from Thanksgiving through New Years. But because of #2 above, this should work itself out by the end of March no problem!
  4. Quit Smoking. Ha. Definitely does not apply to us!
  5. Enjoy life more. 2017 brought retirements, empty nests, grandchildren, and many deep friendships. It seems like someone is always on vacation and those vacations are over the top. 2018 hopefully will be more of the same. Every month I hear someone say, “Work is getting in the way of my playing tennis.” Now that is the right attitude for enjoying life!
  6. Quick Drinking. Well that one ain’t happening!
  7. Get out of debt. Most of us see the light at the end of the tunnel coming fast (we just hope it is not the proverbial train). I must say though to say, “Get out of Debt,” almost sounds Un-American. But again, I don’t think this applies to WAC members. We are financially responsible people.
  8. Learn something new. We all have strived to do this. It is usually something like a drop shot, a new second serve, or a really confident overhead. Just come to my Sunday clinic and you will learn a new “Shot of the Day” at every clinic.
  9. Help Others. Our club members are some of the most generous folks I know. Our club works to support cancer research, provides relief for folks in weather related catastrophes over the world, and when one of us has lost a parent or loved one or has experienced severe illness, we all reach out and send out some much need love and condolences.
  10. Be yourself. Again, I can say pretty confidently, that WAC members are genuine about who they are. Yes we are similar in that we share a love of the game, yet we are each unique in many ways. But we accept each other for who we are, and the time together is what we all look forward to at the end of each workday or on the weekend. I have known most of you for more than three years and can only say, “Please don’t any of you change who you are … continue being the wonderful people that you are.”

So don’t feel so bad if you don’t make any New Year’s resolutions because
WAC members already have achieved 8 out of the 10 most common resolutions without even trying.

But for those who just can’t resist making resolutions, I asked a few folks what their New Year’s Resolutions were and here are some samples. Can you guess who made them?

• Sleep at least 7 hours a night.
• Be a better person.
• Hit a stronger forehand.
• Work harder at my game in my comeback from injury.
• More comedy.
• Do more restorative yoga.
• Unite with family to deal with parents’ dementia.
• Stay out of hospitals.
• Remember to write 2018 and not 2017.
• Attend at least one of the Grand Slams.

Nancy and I wish you a wonderful 2018, and we know it will be a wonderful year just because of who you are.

See you on the courts,
Karl with a K


Tennis News

By Christa Nonnemaker

Adult Tennis
In-House Leagues

The Fall 2017 In-House League Season has come to a close, and all enjoyed a great time and competitive matches. In-house leagues including morning and evening leagues and singles and doubles. In-house leagues are a great way for newer members to meet other players and for all members to reconnect with fellow members and participate in challenging matches while having a great time! If you are interested in joining the Winter 2018 season please contact Shari Gianini at [email protected].

Congratulations to all the winners of the Fall 2017 season!

Monday AM Ladies: Michelle Sabbagh & Lisa Shepard


Monday Men's Singles: William Morris


Tuesday PM Ladies: Kim Tavasoli & Yvonne Sabato


Wednesday Mixed – Flight A: Curt Cutting & Karen Walker


Wednesday Mixed – Flight B: Paul & Lisa Bedigian


Thursday Men: Ronie Syfacunda & Jesus Herranz


Thursday Mixed – Beth Bearer and David Gordon


Junior Tennis

The Winter Break tennis camp between December 26th and January 5th had participants working on conditioning, improving their skills and having fun every day!


Upcoming events at WAC include the VCJTA Open Tournament from January 13th -15th, 2018 as well as the VCJTA Novice Tournament February 24th – 26th, 2018. VCJTA is the Ventura County Junior Tennis Association and these tournaments are round-robin tournaments, which allow players to experience more matches against a greater variety of players than in USTA tournaments.



Junior Team Tennis (JTT) Sectionals were held the weekend of January 6th and 7th in Palm Desert/Indian Wells, and the WAC JTT 12u team was invited to participate, as they were the first place team in the 12u flight from Ventura County.

The spring season of Junior Team Tennis will start in early March. Registration for JTT will begin in late January. New JTT players need to participate in an assessment to ensure that they are match play ready. Information about registration and assessments will be available through emails from the Junior Tennis Program. If you’d like to receive more information about Junior Team Tennis or other junior programs, contact Christa Nonnemaker at [email protected].


12u WAC JTT Team WAC at Fall 2017 Sectionals


Fitness Stuff

Video Fitness Tip from Holly Butler – Waist Workout on the Yoga Wall


Video Fitness Tip from Katie Whittaker
Double Cable Row Series in the Outdoor Fitness Center

Video Fitness Tip from Patti Markowitz – Abdominal Crunch on the Bozu Ball


Training Tip

The 30-Day Challenge: Strength & Resistance
By Peter Loncto


2018!!! Already??? What happened to good old 2017? This past year has seen a lot of changes here at WAC ... The new outdoor deck and social areas (including the service bar for club wide events), the tennis court resurfacing, and most importantly, the all-new outdoor fitness area. The Fitness Center has doubled in size as it extends to the outdoors, and the selection of TRX and Matrix equipment now allows you a wide range of options to maintain and improve your overall wellness.

Now that the New Year is here, it’s time to get started! In John’s message this month he proposes breaking those fitness resolutions into a series of 30-day challenges . . . A great way to begin turning those resolutions into real solutions!

One of the major obstacles for beginners is putting together a well-paced, whole body, strength and resistance workout. Starting on Monday, January 15th, I will be offering an hour long instructional class geared toward the strength and resistance component of your 30-day challenge. Class will begin at
6:30pm and the emphasis will be on proper form, technique, and breathing, to help you develop good habits in a safe and effective environment.

The class will be held every Monday at 6:30 pm in the fitness center, and will be geared to those with little or no gym experience, as well as those members who already take advantage of the facilities, but could use a change of routine. All are welcome and the price is right... it’s free!

Let’s start 2018 off right! Don’t let another year go by. You will be amazed at how good you feel! I look forward to seeing you in the gym!


Establishing Your 2018 Goals
By Logan Franks


It’s 2018, and you’re determined that this is the year you do amazing things in the sport of triathlon, or diet, or life in general! I’m sure you had issues with obtaining those New Year goals in 2017, 2016, 2015, and pretty much every year before that. I’m guilty of it myself. When I turned 30, I told myself that I was going to run every day, until I turned 31. When I was 30 and two days old, I missed a run and so began the downward spiral of my athletic career. After I missed that run, I stopped running for about 2 weeks. The issue was, I set a goal so high that I was doomed for failure. I didn’t really have a reason for running everyday and I didn’t really have a number of miles that I promised myself, I would run. It was a vague goal with no long term or short-term goals associated with it. It was also, pretty much impossible.

When you decide to set a goal, there are a few things you should think about:

  1. Am I being realistic (Is my goal calculated and obtainable)?
  2. What are my short-term goals (Maybe reassess your goal at month 2 and 4)?
  3. What is my long-term goal (Lets think 6-12 months out)?

Let’s run through a scenario regarding improper and proper goal setting:

Scenario (Bad Goal Setting)
Kevin walks into the cycling studio and says: “Coach Logan, it’s the New Year and I will be at every morning Computrainer class you have. Also, I want to get my 20 minute time trial to 300 watts.”
Coach Logan: “Kevin, where did you come up with 300w?”
Kevin: “I don’t know, it’s a round number and it’s high. My 20 minute time trial is 150 watts right now.”

Kevin might not get to “every” cycling class. He works full-time and has three kids. Let’s make the goal to get to most classes, but not to get discouraged if he misses one due to work or family life. If he comes to more classes than he’s been coming to, we’ve improved and that’s a perk! Now, I don’t doubt that Kevin can double his 20 minute time trial watts, but, I do believe that picking 300 watts, because it sounded good, might not be the best approach. I’ll keep that goal for now, but we might need to reassess, later in the year. I think it’s important to know that, short-term goals and long-term goals can change. It’s important to have a specific goal but it’s also important to be realistic. If you’re taking steps forward, you’re winning! I would recommend that Kevin make 300 watts his long-term goal. Let’s plan to hit that mark in 12 months. While talking to Kevin, I would recommend that every two months, we perform a 20 minute time trial. We will have specific short-term goals every two months.

Short-term goals:
• 2 months: 175w
• 4 months: 200w
• 6 months: 225w
• 8 months: 250w
• 10 months: 275w
• 12 months: 300w

So, we’ve gone through our list. We’ve developed a realistic and calculated goal. We’ve developed both, short-term, and long-term goals. The last thing we need to do is, write it down. A thought can be easily erased, but a goal that is written down and put somewhere visible will be a constant reminder of the task at hand. Maybe put it on the wine fridge or espresso machine? If you’re anything like me, you’ll see those goals about 10 times a day!

Happy New Year and happy training,
Coach Logan

Wellness Tip

Dash To A Healthier You
By Anna Griffin


Now almost halfway through the first month of the New Year, many of us are busy making changes, and embracing new habits in a bid to improve ourselves, and our lives. One of the first areas most of us address in setting new goals and resolutions is our health, whether it be taking better care of ourselves or pushing our wellness goals to new heights. Within that conversation, there will no doubt be an inquiry into our food habits . . . Where would we like to lose a few pounds? What should we eliminate from our diet to reach our desired goals? What do we need to incorporate into our daily meal plans for best overall health?


If you’re not blessed to have a nutritionist or personal trainer on call, your source of information might be tips from friends, something seen on TV, or learned from the Internet. Like a lot of industry nowadays, diet is subjected to what’s “trending,” and it can therefore be hard to decipher which best route to follow when basing our choices on popular culture versus proven, education-backed advice from healthcare professionals. We are often bombarded by what celebrities are eating, which range in extremes from high-fat and carbohydrate-free, such as Paleo and keto, to strict plant-based vegan, or zero sugar, as just three examples.

Just in time for our New Year's lifestyle changes, U.S. health officials have revealed the best and worst diets to choose, eliminating the confusion with proven research and scientific fact.

The DASH diet reigns supreme for the eighth year in a row with its emphasis on vegetables and whole grains, and low intake of red meat, sweets, and sugary drinks, according to the annual ranking of 38 diets by the National Institutes of Health. It has also been voted as the No. 1 “Best Diet Overall” by U.S. News & World Report.

In December a landmark paper from Harvard University found the diet is the best cure for high blood pressure - the world's most chronic health condition - and in turn triggers weight loss and improves mental health.


Researchers funded by NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) designed the DASH Diet (short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). As well as helping to lower your blood pressure, it can help you lose weight, reduce your diabetes risk and improve your overall health. It focuses on what you can eat: plenty of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole (versus refined) grains and lean protein, especially poultry and fish.

‘DASH is not a fad diet, but a healthy eating plan that supports long-term lifestyle changes,’ the authors wrote in the U.S. News & World Report analysis.

Registered dietitian Abbey Sharp says the findings are no surprise - and should encourage people to avoid restrictive 'cleanse' diets, which ultimately tend to lead to weight gain.

'The DASH and Mediterranean diet are consistently ranked as number one because they don't completely eliminate any foods,' Sharp, said.


'They are well balanced, and easy to follow because they include a wide variety of satiating and delicious foods, including red wine, and are also backed up by an extensive amount of research to support their significant impact on heart health.’

Meanwhile the highly restrictive keto and Whole30 diets are considered the least safe and effective.

'The keto and Whole30 diets, in contrast, are incredibly restrictive.

'While restriction may lead to quick weight loss, anything restrictive has a tendency to backfire in the long run and lead to rebound weight gain.'

The ketogenic diet - favored by the likes of Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian - eliminates carbs, cuts down on most protein, and ramps up one's fat intake.

The Whole30 diet involves cutting out sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy for 30 days.

Sharp explains the things that those diets eliminate, with the exception of sugar and alcohol in Whole30, are crucial for our health.


'Both diets cut out really nutritious foods like pulses, some fruits and vegetables and whole grains, all of which are celebrated on the DASH and Mediterranean diet for their role in reducing the risk of disease and promoting satiety,' Sharp said.

It was initially created as a method to prevent and treat high blood pressure, but the diet also has proven highly effective in lowering blood cholesterol, and has been taken up as a weight loss method.

'The consistent high rankings of DASH over the years bode well for the way the diet is received and adopted, not just by health professionals, but also by the public at large,' said Janet de Jesus, registered dietitian and program officer at NHLBI's Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science.

'This is especially gratifying now that new research underscores the significant blood-pressure lowering effects of a reduced intake of sodium in combination with the DASH diet.'

Previous research has shown that people who follow the DASH diet may be able to reduce their blood pressure by a few points in just two weeks. Over time, their systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) could drop by eight to 14 points, which significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to the researchers, the diet can be enhanced further if it is combined with a low sodium diet. A study funded by the same unit of more than 400 adults with prehypertension, or stage 1 high blood pressure, found that the combination of a low-salt diet with DASH substantially lowers systolic blood pressure.

According to de Jesus, the results were striking: the biggest drops in blood pressure were seen in the people who started out with the highest levels.

'An interesting aspect of the DASH diet is that the effects are greater in people with hypertension or higher blood pressure at baseline, which is comparable to anti-hypertensive medications,' said the study's first author Dr Stephen Juraschek, an adjunct assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University.

'Our results add to the evidence that dietary interventions can be as effective as – or more effective than – antihypertensive drugs in those at highest risk for high blood pressure, and should be a routine first-line treatment option for such individuals.'

Meal options and recipes for the DASH diet are easily found on the web, and there are several cookbooks available such as The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook: Over 150 Fresh and Delicious Recipes to Speed Weight Loss, Lower Blood Pressure, and Prevent Diabetes, by Marla Heller, MS RD, and best-selling cookbook writer, Rick Rodgers ($17.95, Amazon.com)


Websites such as EatingWell (www.Eatingwell.com) also offer tasty meal ideas and recipes, such as Strawberry Parfait, Smoky Black Bean Soup, Creamy Mustard Chicken, Curried Pork Chops with Roasted Apples & Leeks, and Orange Sesame Shrimp Salad, to name a few.

Here’s a delicious yet low calorie, high fiber, heart-healthy take on a family favorite, that is sure to please everyone around your dinner table.

Spaghetti With Quick Meat Sauce


Instead of opening a jar of sauce, try this easy spaghetti with meat sauce on a weeknight, serving with steamed broccoli for additional nutritional value. This recipe makes enough for eight servings. If you're serving only four for dinner, cook eight ounces of spaghetti and freeze the leftover sauce for dinner another time.


• 1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
• 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 1 large carrot, finely chopped
• 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (basil and oregano)
• 1 pound lean (90% or leaner) ground beef
• 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
• ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and Italian seasoning; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Increase heat to high. Stir in tomatoes and cook until thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in parsley and salt. Serve the sauce over the pasta, sprinkle with cheese, sit back and enjoy!

Buon appetito!


Healthy Travel

Luxury Wellness Vacations to Jumpstart Your 2018
By Anna Griffin


If the New Year has you ready for a health reboot, now is a great time to consider taking it beyond the fitness center and tennis courts at home, and creating a new intention for travel in 2018.

Getting away from our daily norm can be the perfect jumpstart to a new exercise or wellness plan, setting up good habits and new goals to follow, and perhaps even learning a new activity that you might not have tried before. Additionally, you get a chance to see new vistas and explore a new destination (and possibly culture) at the same time.

Many hotels, resorts, and destinations now offer wellness packages, as travel and fitness merge, allowing travelers to try new forms of exercise, do a detox or cleanse, practice meditation and yoga, or do specific activities such as Muay Thai, Paddle Boarding, Surfing, or Beach Cross Fit. These vacations can set you on a different course from what can be too common during travel — lots of restaurant splurges and not enough activity, in addition to inspiring an improved you upon your return home.

There are lots of exciting destinations when designing your health-inspired vacation, both here in the U.S. and around the world. Here are five resorts that combine luxury travel with world-class wellness, to jumpstart our fitness goals in 2018 and beyond!

Be Well in Cancun, Mexico


Leave all of your previous thoughts of Cancun behind, as you pull up to the gate of the luxurious, award-winning NIZUC Resort & Spa. Offering a three-day “Be Well” package that balances exercise with relaxation and clean eating, the experience includes yoga, meditation, paddle boarding, stretching workshops, personal training, massages, hydrotherapy and fresh juices daily.

The 5-star resort also offers six restaurants and 274 luxurious suites and private villas, set in 29 acres of lush, tropical gardens facing the Caribbean Sea. Exercise offerings include kettle ball challenge, snorkeling, paddle boarding, boot camp, and tennis clinics. With the first world-class, ESPA-branded spa in the Mexican Caribbean, reflection pools, hydrotherapy facilities, and a meditation garden, rejuvenation awaits your weary muscles after an invigorating workout.

A Healthy Getaway in Hilton Head, South Carolina


Hilton Head Health (H3) invites us to escape to beautiful Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, by offering visitors a holistic program that incorporates healthy eating, fitness, mindfulness and wellness education. Guests can try their three or four day, all-inclusive Healthy Getaway retreat with spa, fitness, healthy eating and wellness activities, to clear their minds, nourish their souls, and kick-start a healthy eating and exercise routine.

Besides being a golfer and tennis players’ paradise, H3 boasts up to 50 different exercise options, including multiple aqua activities (aerobics, interval and resistance training, Zumba, and calisthenics), cycling, boot camps, Barre, cardio boxing, yoga, hip hop dance, kayaking, Pilates, martial arts, swimming, salsa, and TRX, to name a few. When in need of a little relaxation and post-TRX massage, the luxurious Indigo Spa offers custom services that will help you on your path to inner peace.

Delicious yet healthy meals come courtesy of True Restaurant, an elegant, fine-dining experience with an exciting, multi-cultural menu. While tasty and diverse, each dish also meets the guidelines of the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Diabetes Association.

Train For A Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii


Just northeast of Kekaha Kai State Park, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is one of the most luxurious resorts on the Big Island, and an epicenter of wellness. Featuring five-star, authentic, Hawaiian bungalow accommodations, breath-taking ocean and volcanic cliff views, saltwater and freshwater swimming pools, eight tennis courts, golf, a world-class, open air spa, and three diverse, fine dining establishments, it’s also the home of a Triathlon Camp, led by six-time Hawaii Ironman winner and coach Dave Scott, and takes place several times yearly.

Running clinics for triathletes of all abilities and fitness levels, the five-day programs include personalized coaching through every facet of a triathlon, including swim, bike, run, nutrition, strength and flexibility. The coaching is personalized with video analysis, phone consultations prior to arriving at camp, and a post-camp personalized training program. The package also includes group meals and a welcome gift of triathlon apparel, shoes and gear.

The resort offers a 15,000-square-foot fitness center with cardio and resistance training machines, and an extensive list of fitness classes. Complimentary volleyball, basketball and daily fitness walks are also available, and two of their eight tennis courts are lit for night play.

In Four Seasons’ style, menu options are sophisticated yet diverse, with Italian, American and Asian fare offered, and dining available poolside, on the beach, under the stars, or on the 18th green of the golf course. Mahalo.

Outdoors Action in Washington, Texas


The Inn at Dos Brisas is an idyllic getaway situated among the rolling meadows of the eastern foothills of Texas Hill Country, within a short drive from Houston or Austin. A Relais & Chateaux luxury inn, brimming with character and charm, the nine-room ranch sits on 313 acres of tranquil meadows and offers all the features for an action-packed, outdoors wellness retreat.

When it’s time to be active, there is a diverse group of activities, including horseback riding, tennis, golf, cycling, trail running, yoga, swimming, carriage rides, clay target shooting and fishing. When it’s time to relax, there are massage services, walks in the Rose Garden, organic gardening lessons, wine tasting, and star gazing to calm your mind, body and soul.

The Inn’s renowned restaurant and wine cellar is the only Forbes five-star dining experience in the state, featuring produce fresh from their extensive organic gardens and greenhouse. Recognized with the Relais & Châteaux distinction of fine dining, the award-winning restaurant offers a menu that blends a vegetable-centric focus, using organic ingredients with a creative Texas flair. Impeccable service and 7,000-bottle wine cellar has earned it a “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator magazine.

A True Path to Wellness in Carlsbad, California


Voted “Top Ten Best Health & Wellness Destination” by USA Today’s Readers Choice 2016, VeraVia is a comprehensive, all-inclusive health and weight-loss resort, spa, and luxury retreat at the world-class “Forbes Five-Star” and “AAA Five-Diamond Rated” Park Hyatt Aviara Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California.

Focusing on all four pillars of health - fitness, nutrition, medical, and wellness – VeraVia offers boutique-sized, weekly programs, creating customized plans for each guest based on their unique health goals. With a holistic body-mind-spirit approach to lasting behavior and lifestyle change, their programs are designed with a wrap around approach to wellness and led by a fully integrated multidisciplinary team of professionals, Vera Via uses a four-step process to help guests achieve their health goals: Revive, rewire, redefine, and renew, and include private, one-on-one personal training, individual nutrition consultations, behavioral counseling and complete medical blood laboratory tests and individual evaluation consultation in each plan. Also included are

There are four plans to choose from – Comprehensive, Foundational, Basic, and Reboot Express. Each plan includes 5-star accommodations, organic, farm-to-table meals and snacks, personalized nutrition plans, personalized comprehensive after-care plans and coaching, a treatment at the Aviara Spa, guided yoga and meditation, and full access to the resort’s amenities, offering guests a true path to wellness.

Meet your Trainers

imgLeticia Willingham 
Leticia Willingham is a certified yoga instructor based in Westlake Village, California. She has led her life down a path of healthy eating and working out for more than twenty years, discovering yoga while trying to help deal with severe anxiety. The results of practicing yoga were dramatic . . . providing the ability to calm the mind, find inner peace, and strengthen the body. Leticia’s 500 hour teaching certification is through YogaWorks in Westlake Village, California; mentored by Lainie Devina.

Leticia believes that everyone can benefit by practicing yoga. She focuses on providing each student, whether they have just been introduced to yoga or have been practicing for years, with insight, encouragement and the opportunity to help guide them on a positive journey and achieve their own personal goals. “I know how amazing the benefits of yoga can be because I have experienced them first hand. Yoga truly changed my life, and I want to provide the opportunity for others to affect positive change in their lives as well.”

imgPatti Markowitz
Patti Markowitz has been helping people stay healthy & fit for over 25 years as a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Aerobics Instructor. Her tenure at the Westlake Athletic Club (WAC) began back in 1993 where she has trained hundreds of members who continue to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle augmented by hours spent building strong bone, muscle, and piece of mind through exercise & resistance-training. Patti believes that when you change bodies you change lives, and that being a Personal Trainer is about much more that just knowing the exercise or routine, it’s about living the lifestyle, and being able to motivate and inspire others to move toward healthier and happier lives.

As one of WAC’s leading Certified Personal Trainers, Patti specializes in designing customized programs in training for strength, weight loss, and functional fitness. Her attitude and presentation makes workouts fun and motivating; never routine, dull or boring. As your trainer, she will take your health & wellness personally, working alongside you to help achieve ALL of your fitness goals.

An accomplished marathon runner, avid swimmer, and someone you will most likely bump into in a Yoga class at the Club, Patti’s attention to her own fitness reflects her commitment to well-being. With your determination and her dedication you can make anything happen.

For an opportunity to train with Patti, you can call her directly at (805) 208-9578, or inquire at the front desk at WAC.
[email protected]

imgKatie Whittaker
Katie specializes in aquatic exercise, yoga, and meditation, as well as in strength, toning and cardiovascular training. She also offers nutrition counseling and weight management. Creator of "Aqua Yoga," she uses water and land exercise to compassionately assist clients both pre and post surgery. Katie is certified in fitness instruction by the National Arthritis Association, the Yoga Alliance, the Aquatic Exercise Association, the American Council on Exercise, and the National Association of Sports Medicine. Katie has guided hundreds of clients to better health for more than 10 years.

[email protected]

imgPeter Loncto
Peter Loncto is a longtime resident of Westlake Village and the newest member of our training staff. As a National Association of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and TRX Suspension Training instructor, he blends his passion and enthusiasm for fitness with his knowledge and experience to motivate and challenge his clients to feel their best.

"When I first met with John Sutcliffe a year ago and he shared his vision of a first rate fitness center, I was excited to have an opportunity to work with my neighbors in our fantastic community. After learning of his commitment to Technogym, I was all in! The Technogym philosophy of Wellness, their unique, elegant Kinesis One stations with an emphasis on adaptive, functional movement, and their unequaled interactive capability place them far out in front of any other traditional gym equipment. Some of you may have seen me in the Fitness Center over the last month, working out and becoming familiar with the literally thousands of movements possible with the Technogym system. Every day I am more impressed with Technogym's versatility and applicability to all levels of fitness. Whether your goal is a better backstroke, more tee-to-green distance, weight loss and toning, or just feeling your best, Technogym offers dozens of programs and the ability to customize a wellness program just for you.

I look forward to meeting all of you in the coming months and welcome the chance to assist you in identifying your Wellness goals, and working with you to achieve them. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have. It would be an honor to be part of your Wellness journey.

Holly Butler
Influenced by growing up in Boulder, CO (aka the fittest city in America), Holly Butler has always lead an active lifestyle. As an adult, she was drawn to non-impact fitness, starting with the athleticism of Vinyasa yoga. While practicing yoga she discovered and fell in love with Barre classes and Body Sculpting classes using resistance training. Her 3 daughters were all in school and Holly thought it was the right time to get her certification and go back to work, doing something she loved. Holly spends her “off” time coordinating many school drop-offs, pick-ups and dance carpools for her daughters, being involved in charity work for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, volunteering school, and playing tennis at WAC with her husband. We are pleased that Holly will be teaching the Body Sculpting class on Mondays and Wednesdays at 12:30pm.


imgTamara Goulden
Learning to swim at a very young age, Tamara fell in love with being in the water, playing water polo and swimming competitively with her local Parks & Rec throughout middle school, and competing on the school swim team in high school. Playing on the women’s UCSB water polo team in 1988, Tamara competed in the State Championships, and by teaching swim instruction and aqua fitness, was able to pay for graduate school at LMU, earning her Masters in counseling psychology in 1995. Tamara established her company, Premiere Aquatics, in the early ‘90's in which she uses water as a therapeutic milieu for swim instruction, exercise, personal training, phobia counseling, and injury rehabilitation.  She finds teaching water fitness at WAC a fun and rewarding way to engage with members and see them benefit by this unique type of workout, as she herself is happiest when in the water.

Group Class Schedule

Click here for a pdf of the fitness schedule


Masters Swim

Logan Franks
WAC is pleased to have Logan Franks coach our Masters swim program.

imgLogan Franks served seven years in the Marine Corps infantry. During his enlistment, he raced on the Marine Corps Triathlon team. He was 1 of 6 Marines selected to represent the All Marine Triathlon Team at Armed Forces Triathlon Championships in 2011. Logan also competed as a professional triathlete with a primary focus on long course triathlon. In 2010 he was ranked 52nd in the world for Ironman and he posted the fasted American run split of the day at Ironman world championships, crossing the finish line in 9:02.

Logan was also collegiate runner for the University of Delhi, located in NY. Though he was a fast runner, his success in triathlon was being hindered by his lack of swim knowledge and experience. Knowing this, Logan went to a number of swim clinics and trained under the guidance of some of the best triathlon and swim coaches in the United States. Logan soon became a front pack swimmer, often coming out of the water in the top six of the pro division for Ironman and 70.3 races.

2013, Logan shifted his focus to coaching and put his athletic career on hold. Logan currently owns a military focused triathlon team. He coaches prior service members and active duty military. He also coaches paratriathletes and other wounded vets hoping to compete in the Paralympics. Logan is a Level 2 Masters Swim Coach, and is very approachable, always willing to help anyone on deck. 

imgKevin Lane, Swim Instructor & Coach

Kevin Lane is the Assistant Swim Coach of California Lutheran University Men's and Women's Swim Team. He is also an adjunct instructor at CLU, teaching swimming, and a Masters Swim Coach at Westlake Athletic Club (Certified USMS Level 2).

In addition to coaching, Kevin teaches swimming to all ages and levels here at the WAC. You may have seen him working with students in the pool.

He teaches private one on one lessons as well as groups of two students. His lessons run from 30 mins to an hour, and are for beginners, intermediate, all the way to the competitive student. Kevin has a reputation as a warm and caring instructor who is very intuitive when comes to each individual's needs. With years of experience, he understands how to get the best out of each student at every lesson.

Kevin started swimming and competing at the age of seven. Growing up in Connecticut, he continued to swim through his teen years on the club level, setting many Connecticut State records. He represented Connecticut Swimming as an all-star team member, and traveled and competed against other all-star teams. Moving on to Southern Connecticut State University, a top ten NCAA Division II School, he competed on the national level and set school records in the in the 200 fly and in relays. In his senior year he was elected captain of his team.

After college, Kevin continued to train, compete and coach, eventually winning the Masters One Mile Open Rough Water National Championship for his age group. For over 20 years Kevin has been teaching swimming, coaching on the college, masters and novice level. He has just completed his fifth year of college coaching at CLU.

Kevin brings to the Westlake Athletic Club an enthusiastic love of swimming, with over 20 years of experience as a swim instructor, swim coach and competitor. Kevin looks forward to helping others advance in the water, as they learn how wonderful and positive the swimming experience is. As spring and summer approaches, Kevin encourages all members and families to get out and start a regular exercise program that includes swimming.

Masters Swim Schedule
Mon & Wed 5:30-6:30am Logan
Mon & Wed 12-1 Kevin
Tues & Thur 6-7pm David
Sat 7:15-8:30am Logan