New Year’s Resolutions: Best Kept Secret

Mike Hines, General Manager

After more than 20 years involved in the Fitness industry, I have heard every New Year’s resolution when it relates to weight loss and fitness. Every year, I listen to these resolutions with renewed hope and optimism that these goals will be met and exceeded. Unfortunately, these goals have not been met year after year. Only 8% of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve those goals. With our busy lives, it is easy to become overwhelmed and rationalize that there are more important activities than your fitness goals. The fact is you have many reasons to get healthy, as one of our members said “Having children and hectic lives are the reasons, not the excuse, to take care of yourself”, “When you take care of yourself, you are taking care of everyone else”. Who doesn’t want more energy, better sleep, prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, and arthritis, relieve stress, improve your mood and overall feel better. When you feel better, have more energy, you have more time to reach other goals in your life. So now that we realize that we need to do more to improve our health and we are ready to make a resolution, how do we stick to it?
What if I told you that one simple decision would make you more likely to follow through with a fitness resolution? In fact, it is so simple that I am surprised more people don’t do it.
Ready for the answer? Find a workout partner.

That’s right, pick a friend, a co-worker, significant other, or family member and quit quitting your resolutions! Research shows that you are three times more likely to meet your goals if you are accountable to someone else. It is easy to talk yourself out of a work out, but is it so easy to disappoint your friend? Undoubtedly, a work out partner can help with motivation, accountability, and most importantly, make the workout more fun. Better yet, make ways to celebrate your successes. When you and your workout partner reach a milestone, reward yourselves with a night out, a movie, or any fun stress free event. Suddenly, these New Year’s resolutions are starting to sound like fun!
Start right now, pick up the phone and call someone to make a commitment to help each other stick with your resolutions. Likewise, if you are the one that can easily remain on track with your goals, find someone that you can help. What better gift to give someone than the motivation to reach their fitness goals?
Most of us know how challenging it can be to make lasting changes. Having a workout buddy can help make these changes easier.
So the answer is easy: make the commitment, find a friend, and get started!

Big Vanilla has many options to help you on your journey to better health including our 90 Day Challenge. We make life better!
Check out all of our programs at
Happy New Year and Happy New You!

Break the Caffeine Addiction by Eating for Natural Energy

Americans are addicted to caffeine. With a Starbucks on every corner and a Red Bull in every store, we have become dependent on the little jolt to get us through the day. The longer term effects of caffeine, however, are not as pleasant as the temporary buzz it gives us.

Too much caffeine can produce insomnia (which can lead to adrenal fatigue and present a much bigger issue), muscle tension, mood swings, and can damage digestion and nutrient absorption. It can also raise blood pressure, increase anxiety and depression, and cause irregular heartbeats.

Here’s the good news: Breaking the addiction and overcoming the withdrawal symptoms will take the body only 7-12 days. More good news…there are plenty of caffeine-free options to boost your energy naturally, without the use of any stimulants!

Vitamin B12
B12 (Cobalamin) is found in cage free eggs, organic meats and wild caught fish, and it can boost energy and increase the metabolism and elevate mood. Vegans and vegetarians can supplement with high-quality vitamins or liquid form.

Chia Seeds
This complete protein is rich in fiber, iron, calcium, and potassium, as well as Omegas 3 and 6, antioxidants, and vitamin C. When soaked in water or almond milk, the seeds will absorb the liquid and create a thick, gel-like substance, making a delicious pudding! Try adding a tablespoon to your morning smoothie or oatmeal for an added boost of fiber and energy.

Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV can be used for so many things, one being to skyrocket energy with its high amino acid and potassium content. Working as a metabolism booster, it helps with nutrient absorption and digestion to give the body lasting energy without any side effects. Add a tablespoon or two into a glass of water whenever you need a little pick-me-up. Be sure to choose unprocessed, unfiltered vinegar.

Matcha Tea
Matcha is known to boost energy, burn fat, fight cancer, and increase concentration. One cup of matcha tea has the nutritional value equivalent to 10 cups of green tea – 137 times more antioxidants!
Try this recipe to replace your morning cup of coffee:

Vanilla Matcha Latte
Bring 1-1/4 cup of non-dairy milk to a slight boil in a sauce pan and whisk to create froth. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 tsp of matcha powder with 1/4 cup of water and then add to heated milk. Stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and Stevia Leaf sweetener, and whisk until fully combined. Pour in your mug and enjoy!

For more tips and recipes, visit or join in on nutrition events with Casey at Big Vanilla Athletic Club,!

Casey2Casey Jones, Holistic Health Practitioner at Big Vanilla, provides the following services; Nutritional Counseling, Cooking Classes (Group & Private), Grocery Shopping Tours, Meal Planning & Prepping, Pantry Makeovers Seminars, Events, Parties, & More!


Big Vanilla and the Kiwanis Club working together for the community, “Kids Helping Kids”.

Big Vanilla joins forces with the Kiwanis Club of Pasadena/Severna Park in an effort to get “kids helping kids”. This new initiative encourages children with their parents to participate in programs that give back to the community. The projects/activity takes place at Big Vanilla in their Kids Club.

The 1st project was in June. Members of the Kiwanis and Key Club worked with parents and children to make blankets and cards for the Project Linus organization. Blankets went to children in hospitals, shelters, social service agencies, or anywhere that a child might be in need of a “big hug”. All supplies were provided by the Kiwanis Club.
blanket2  blanket1

The next project, Backpack Project, will be on Saturday, July 18, 9:30-11:00am, in the Kids Club. Kids will pack backpacks with school supplies for local Anne Arundel County Elementary School children for the upcoming school year. Once again the supplies are provide by Kiwanis Club.

Big Vanilla Aquatic Swim Team, 11 new swim team records and 7 ribbons!

Big Vanilla Aquatics Swim Team competed in the B Championships over the weekend of March 28-March 29. All athletes made significant time improvements in their events. Nicole Vernon is the new Maryland Swimming B State championship for two events; the 50 freestyle with a time of 28.86Y and the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:21.6Y. She also swam for 5th place in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:05.55Y. Nicole now holds the BVA team record for the 15 and up 100 breaststroke. Madison Whitmore became another Big Vanilla record holder with the 100 breaststroke and the 50 butterfly. She swam the 100 breaststroke in 1:28.58Y and earned a 3rd place ribbon. Her 50 fly time was 35.52Y and a 7th place ribbon. Madison also swam the 100 free and decreased her time by 2.03 seconds. Not to be out done by her teammates, Juliet Gellert swam for a 6th place ribbon in the 50 freestyle with a time of 31.03Y and a 7th place ribbon in the 200 breaststroke at a time of 3:09.98Y. Juliet also swam the 100 back with a time of 1:17.5Y, the 100 freestyle in 1:07.74Y, and the 100 breast in 1:29.17Y. Juliet entered in 5 events and broke 5 Big Vanilla Records. Layla Tiberio made significant improvements and decreased her 200 IM by 15 seconds to 2:58.74Y, earning her a new record. She was not far behind Juliet in the hunt for the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:10.78Y. Layla also swam the 100 fly cutting off 9 seconds for a time of 1:20.78Y. Shannon Brown swam the 50 free for a highly competitive 9th place at 32.05Y. This time earned her a Big Vanilla Team record. She also swam the 100 backstroke and the 50 breaststroke. Swimming for the 10 and under group, Bryn Krasauskis swam the 50 freestyle. She entered the meet at the 57th place and jumped up 37 spots to 20th. Nathan Wangdahl swam the 50 back and the 50 free. Nathan decreased his freestyle by 3 seconds.
These and all of the Big Vanilla swimmers have been working hard and making significant progress over the season. All of their efforts of practice paid off big time last weekend with a total of 11 new Big Vanilla Swim Team records and 7 ribbons.

Big Vanilla Aquatics (BVA) is a year-round competitive swim team that competes in the
Maryland LSC of USA Swimming. BVA’s mission is to provide the very best in competitive swimming opportunities for all athletes at every level. Through hard work and self-discipline, swimmers will work to attain their highest potential. With the addition of an elite swim group under the direction of Coach Jim Roos, BVA offers quality professional coaching and technique instruction for all ages and abilities. If you have any questions, please contact Coach Smail at or Coach Roos at Coach profiles can be viewed on our website at

The Magic Potion for Health and Wellness

Dr. Tyler Kallenbach, Fitness and Wellness Director

In the United States, nearly 50% of its citizens currently suffer from a chronic illness (i.e. cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.). This accounts for nearly 80% of all health care spending-your tax dollars. The number of prescription drugs doubles every decade, and 76% of the US population take prescription drugs every day!

To achieve a life of vitality, it’s important for you to understand a few basic concepts. First, Americans consume 25 million pills per hour every day, yet millions of those same Americans still die every year of chronic illness. This year alone in the United States, a million people will die of heart disease. Is that because those one million people forgot to take their heart disease pills?

No way.

We take more pills than ever before in the history of mankind, and those one million people will, unfortunately, still die. Does this mean that we are sick due to lack of prescription drugs?

Before we go any further, it is absolutely vital that you begin to understand this next concept.

You are not sick due to bad genes.

In fact, less than 3% of all sicknesses can be attributed to an in-born, genetic cause. Even more, a genetic illness is an illness that is defined by the “absence or presence of a particular gene.” In other words, if you have the genes that define that specific genetic illness, you will have the illness 100% of the time.

Supposedly, researchers have recently discovered the “hangover gene.” If this is in fact a thing, no one can get a hangover unless they drink alcohol, which is a recognized toxin to the body and is, unfortunately, poisonous. I’m sure you are all familiar with the phrase, “pick your poison.” In theory, a person could go their whole life with this gene and never get a hangover! How cool? However, it is only if we expose ourselves to the stressor of this toxin that we get a hangover. Hangovers are, therefore, lifestyle issues, not genetic issues regardless of the presence of the gene!

Most of us live our lives so genetically incongruent with the requirements of our species, and we are completely unaware of it! This is why you are sick. For the most part, it’s subconscious and automatic programming from commercials, societal norms, mirrored behavior etc. that began to take place within you long before you were ever given a fighting chance. It’s easy to pass the buck to your genes, but resist the temptation. Become aware of your lifestyle choices, own them, and make the change.

There’s power and enlightenment in taking personal responsibility for the decisions you make. It is our hope in 2015 that you become confident and empowered to transform not only your life, but the lives of those around you. Don’t fall victim to a society that makes a profit at your expense. Take ownership of your life. It is in fact, your life. You only get one chance, and no one can live it but you. Visit Big Vanilla’s website,, for more information on our W.E.L.L program for a healthier you in 2015.

TylerfinalDr. Tyler Kallenbach joins Big Vanilla as Fitness and Wellness Director. Tyler graduated with a Doctorate of Chiropractic from Life University in Atlanta, GA, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Allied Health from UCF. Tyler specializes in wellness, fitness and holistic services. He looks forward to using his knowledge and background in nutrition and wellness to establish a health revolution throughout our community.

Know Your ABC’s for a Pain-Free Holiday Season

Tis the season to be jolly! Unless you are in pain, that is. If you are like most Americans this Holiday Season, you will be walking the malls, shopping for groceries, hauling heavy bags, and preparing yummy meals only to wake up the next day to feel the pain. This year, you can add more joy and energy to the Season and less pain by knowing and applying the ABC’s of quality body movement, which are Alignment, Balance, and Core Strength.

Correct body alignment, or posture, during sitting, standing and walking can add a great deal of energy to your day. To help improve your postural alignment, stand in front of a mirror. Make sure your head is in alignment with your body and not tilted to one side or the other. Your shoulders should be aligned over your hips as you imagine your shoulder blades melting down your back. Your hips should be in alignment over your knees and ankles. And, your spine should have a natural curve. Try and maintain this posture throughout your day.

Balance is something we can lose over time, but we can always gain it back. Without good balance, you have a greater risk of falling and injury. To improve your balance, try standing on one leg for 30 seconds, then the other. Once you have mastered that, try moving your arms or closing your eyes while standing on one leg. Please make sure to have someone assist you in this for obvious safety reasons!

Core strength is essential for endurance throughout your day. Every movement comes from your central core, which is located in the area below the base of the ribcage and above the line across the hip-bones. If you have poor posture or a bad back, chances are that your core needs strengthening.

To strengthen the core, pull in and up in the abdominal area as if you were putting on a tight pair of pants. Now, ease off of the contraction about 70% until you are at the point you can easily maintain the contraction at all times, whether you are standing still, walking, exercising, working, or relaxing in your comfy chair. The muscles of the core are stabilizer muscles which need gentle endurance work to strengthen.

Practicing the ABC’s of Quality Movement in a warm-water pool is a great way to start. The buoyancy of the water supports and uplifts your spine and prevents you from falling. And, the water’s viscosity provides the perfect medium for core and muscle-balanced strengthening. My clients love the warmth of the pool, and the safety and stability it provides as they learn to apply the ABC’s of quality movement.
Practice the ABC’s and put them into play this Holiday Season. May this Holiday Season be your most jolly and joyful ever!

Linda Phillips, Aquatic Personal Trainer and Rehab/Wellness Specialist at Big Vanilla.
To learn more about warm-water fitness and wellness programs, visit

Day 8: The Finish Line!! Ventura to Santa Monica

60 miles and 1,700 feet later….
We made it.
525 miles, 8 days, 3 flat tires, 1 crash (Mason), 1 million dollars for The Arthritis Foundation!
I actually rode my last 15 miles with a rear flat tire at 20 mph but nothing could stop us at that point!
Thanks to everyone for all of the amazing support and words of encouragement! Malibusign

Day 7: Buellton to Ventura

89.4 miles, 3,500 feet
CCC 2014 is coming to a close. What an extraordinary week of riding, fundraising, raising awareness, and new and old friendships. I’m so happy that Mason and I could be a part of what was certainly a ride of a lifetime.

Day 5: San Simeon to Pismo Beach

A quiet and foggy morning. We pass through Morro Bay, a quaint fishing town and reach Los Osos where we pick up a tailwind all the way to San Luis Obispo.

We finally reached the best rest stop of the week at Wally’s Bicycle Works, a great bicycle shop and bicycle museum. Wally and his family have made it a tradition to make tomales with rice and beans and good salsa’s for all the CCC riders and staff.
Now that’s a burrito if you ask me!