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Battle of the Bars hits fundraising record

By Josh Shannon

This year’s Battle of the Bars fundraiser raised a record $14,400 for the Newark Police Department K-9 unit, almost double last year’s total.

The event, held Friday evening at the University of Delaware’s Courtyard Marriott hotel, featured eight downtown bars facing off in a friendly competition to see which one could raise the most money for charity. All tips and drink sales benefited the K-9 fund, which is entirely funded by public support.

For the third year in a row, Taverna raised the most money ($3,666) and took home the Paco Cup, a trophy named after NPD’s first K-9, who died in 2012.

The event also included music by James and Matt Acoustic and a dunk tank featuring Mayor Polly Sierer, NPD Deputy Chief Kevin Feeney and several other notable Newarkers.


Healthy Newark: Small changes can result in big fitness results

By Nic DeCaire

After working in the health profession for the past 18 years, I have come to that realization that most people would just rather be unhealthy.

It’s not because they haven’t tried or don’t want to be healthy — it’s simply easier to be unhealthy. Society has made it acceptable.

Don’t believe me? Look around.

Delaware ranks 13th in the nation for its adult obesity rate, according to the “State of Obesity” report released last year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health. Nearly one-third of the population is classified as obese.

I’m not on my soapbox to make people feel ashamed. My goal is to motivate people to live a healthier life.

So what does healthy look like? It’s not just the model on the magazine cover with six-pack abs and no hint of cellulite.
Healthy can be as simple as moving more and eating less. Maybe it’s trying to get off a certain type of medication. It might mean drinking more water. The idea is there’s no single definition of what healthy is or should be.

The great part is that you are in charge of what it means to be healthy in your own life. And if you could make small changes to your daily routine that could make you healthier, would you?

I am talking about changes so small that they won’t impact or inconvenience your life in the least. I imagine almost everyone would say, “yes.”

There’s no time to start like today. Here are some simple ways to start creating a healthier lifestyle.

1. Replace one of your caloric drinks with water.

Undoubtedly you’ve heard this advice before, but it works especially if you are always twisting off the lid of another sugar-sweetened drink. Depending on its size, a bottle of juice or soda has about 150 calories in it. Replace one with a glass of water, and you can save yourself almost 55,000 calories per year. That change alone could have you dropping 10 to 15 pounds.

2. Walk to get your mail.

Do you drive to get your mail? Be honest. If you walked to get your mail six days a week and your driveway is at least 40 feet long, you would be walking about an extra 25,000 steps per year. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but perhaps that change creates a domino effect. Soon after, you could start walking around your neighborhood after dinner.

3. Take the stairs.

How often do you stand waiting for the elevator when you could have taken the stairs to the second floor? Often, we do it out of habit or because others are waiting as well. Next time there is a line at the elevator, ask someone to take the stairs with you. Again, that small step could encourage someone else to add a twist to their own health routine.

Would these simple changes inconvenience your daily life? Think you could incorporate them? I hope so.

You that you can still enjoy your favorite foods, drink your favorite beer, and watch television and still get big results. You just need to start making small changes in order for it to happen.

Let’s change Newark.

Nic DeCaire is the owner of Fusion Fitness Center on Main Street. He writes a monthly column for the Newark Post.


Learn to say no to protect your health, quality of life

By Nic DeCaire, Special to The News Journal

It’s probably one of the hardest things I have to do. Not because it’s physically demanding or something that I never learned.

Usually it’s just because I don’t know how.

I’m talking about saying “no.”

I’ve struggled with this most of my adult life. Honestly, I like the feeling I get by helping others. There’s a pleasure in seeing a smile on a person’s face, hearing a “thank you” or other kind words. But there also are feel-good chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin released in my body after I help someone. It is an amazing feeling, almost addictive feeling – who wouldn’t want to feel that way all the time?

Throughout my business career, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting amazing people and working with incredible organizations. Getting involved in the community is one of the most rewarding accomplishments for me as a small business owner.

But it has also taken a toll on my body. I’m sure many of you can relate.

Years ago, I said yes to everything – mostly because I was trying to get my name in the community but also because I didn’t want to upset anyone. I was younger. I didn’t feel stress.

Now with more responsibilities at work, home and in the community, I can feel the tension in my shoulders. I really need to get a massage but I can’t seem to find the time. I know I can’t be at work, at a meeting and at my daughter’s dance recital, but somehow – like many others – I still try.

One of the most important things we have is time. It is sacred, and if you give too much away it can be damaging to your health.

That’s right – always saying, “Yes,” can put you in an early grave.

Stress can lead to headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems and anxiety, to name a few. And I am not immune.

In the last year I started another company that’s kept me even busier than I previously was. I have noticed that my fitness and health has moved to the sidelines. If it is a choice between doing pushups or a proposal, usually the proposal wins. I have to feed my family right?

I preach to people that you don’t need hours to exercise in order to be healthy. So why don’t I listen to my own advice?

Most of the time it’s because I am stressed about the next project and I think that I don’t have enough time to put on my workout clothes and then get changed again for my next appointment. Pretty lame excuse, huh?

That lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression.

And as if having two children who don’t like to sleep through the night isn’t enough, having too much on my plate has led me to even more sleepless nights. I find myself staying up late writing, planning for the week or working on business strategies. Four or five hours of uninterrupted sleep is something to dream about these days.

I know that I should be getting six to eight hours every night, but there is so much to do and not enough time in the day. Lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.

So I’m trying to say no more often. When I’m asked to help and know it’s going to be too much for me, I’m trying to use one of these responses instead:

• I’m not able to at this time, but please think of me in the future.

• I can’t fit anything else in my schedule, but when it frees up we can we talk about it again.

• Honestly, I can’t take on anything more if I’m going to continue giving you my best. Thanks for understanding.

I’m working on it. I have to remind myself that saying no isn’t because I want to be mean or not help people. Rather, it’s because I understand that if I’m not healthy, if I don’t take time for myself, then I can’t play at the best of my ability.

As you evaluate your own schedule, figure out just how much time you can dedicate to helping others. Also make sure you are working with organizations and people you feel passionate about.

The next time you are faced with having to say “no,” just remember that if you continue to keep saying “yes,” you might not be around to help anyone in the future.

Nic DeCaire, owner of Fusion Fitness Center in Newark, has been training clients for more than a decade.

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Game of Squats: turn TV time into a workout

By Jen Rini | The News Journal | June 28, 2015

Ever feel like swapping a beer and popcorn for a dumbbell during a “Game of Thrones” marathon?

We know: The short answer is probably not. And especially not after the season five finale two weeks ago.

As satisfying as it is to binge-watch your favorite television show, studies have shown the more physical activity we can pack in the day the better.

One study reported by the New York Times looked what happened if people got more than the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week for people between the ages of 21 and 98.

Researchers found that people lived longer and had lower rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer if they increased their activity three to five times the recommended average. That’s about 450 minutes a week. Breaking it down, that would be about an hour and a half of physical activity five days a week.

It can be difficult to fit in that in between work, family and leisure, but making it fun can help achieve it.

We asked Delaware-area fitness experts in the community to show routines inspired by popular TV shows. All are less than a half hour. Maybe they’ll inspire you to think of some of your own to complement the essence of your favorite show.

Orange is the New Black

You come back from prison ripped, right? At least that is what Piper Chapman, lead of the Netflix drama “Orange is the New Black” wanted as a bonus when she was sentenced to 15 months in a woman’s prison in New York for transporting drug money for an old girlfriend.

Instead of pumping iron every day, though, she faced awkward interactions with her ex, lots of fights and had to get creative with shower shoes.

At least she could run on the prison’s track to blow off some steam in a couple episodes.

If you’re a fan of OITNB, you’ll know that the incarcerated ladies have limited space in their bunks, which makes working out tough.

But all you really need is 6 square feet of space, a chair and your body to feel some burn, said Jessica Lewis, a nutrition consultant and tai chi instructor with the Hockessin Chiropractic Centre. Lewis created “The 6 Square Feet Workout,” copywrited in 2007, specifically for incarcerated women at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in New Castle.

It combines cardiovascular and strength-training exercises to get your muscles moving even in a tight space. It’s something that Piper, Red and even Pennsatucky could try. And you can too.

“Why can’t anybody do this?” Lewis said. “You can just move your body.”

Start with a five minute stretching warm-up doing heel stretches against the wall, marching in place, side leg swings and lunges to stretch your hips and legs. Then get to the nitty-gritty with a series of 10 movements. You don’t need any props like kettlebells or dumbbells. Repeat each movement as much as you can for about a minute, Lewis said. Here are some examples:

Squats: “Squatting can be as simple as rising from a chair,” she said. Use your thigh muscles instead of your knees to lift yourself up and press your weight into your heels. Then you can try the move without a chair. If you are feeling exceptionally limber try the “prisoner squat.” Face a wall and place arms out so it looks like you are a referee making a touchdown motion with your hands near your ears. Then squat as low as you can, pushing into your heels.

Hip bridges: These exercises activate the hip muscles and gluts. Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet facing the floor. Push your pelvis up and squeeze your bum muscles together. Increase the burn by dropping your pelvis slightly, not to the floor, and bringing it back up. You can try the move with your stabilized on a chair and still do the same squeeze and lift.

Outer hip raises: Start on the floor on your right side, legs on top of one another. Bend your right elbow so your head rests in your right hand. Flex your left foot out so your toe is pointed toward your nose and lift the leg as high as you can, keeping the legs straight. Repeat on the other side. You will feel the muscles in your outer thigh and glutes tensing up.

Door lean arm rows: Keep your arm straight and shoulder width and hold the edge of the door frame. Bend your arm slightly, so you lean into the door and feel a stretch in your bicep and triceps arm muscles.

Supine fly: This exercise works the chest and arm muscles. The arms are about 15 pounds each, Lewis said. Sit in a chair and try raising both arms straight up so they are even with your shoulders. You can hold the position or move the arms slightly up and down.

Game of Thrones

Play the show’s instrumental theme song in your head as you are going through this workout and channel your favorite character. Pretend you’re with Arya in Braavos mastering the art of assassination. Or up your pseudo-swordfighting skills so they are on par with Bronn and Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer.

You can use household items for some of these kick-boxing inspired exercises, says Jack Murphy, owner of Jack’s Gym in Newark.

Grab a broom, baseball bat, dumbbell or any hardback copy of George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” book series, which inspired the show.

The workout is quick, Murphy said, about 15 minutes from start to finish. So you can repeat it a few times during an episode.

Ride the dragon: Start in a squat position with your knees bent, pushing your weight into your heels. Go full-on Queen of Dragons and stretch your arms out in front of you like you like you are gripping a dragon’s scales. Your legs will feel the burn, but to maximize the movement twist from left to right from your core to strengthen the abdominal muscles. “It’s working everything,” Murphy said. Hold the position for about two minutes (or build up to that).

Kingslayer: Work on your king assassination skills with this one. You’ll also need some props. Use a baseball bat or broom handle. Hold the object over your head and then swing it to the left 100 times. Switch sides and do 100 more reps. Then try bringing the object from behind your back to the front over your head another 100 times. You will feel the triceps and back muscles working as you swing the object from back to front.

White Walker stab: In addition to dragon and knights, the series also has battle scenes with crazy, fast multiplying zombies. They can only be killed with dragon glass or Valerian steel. Use a dumbbell as your dragon glass, or a can of soup. Get in a straight position standing up, with your knees slightly bent. Punch with the dumbbell forward straight, or twist your arm slightly toward you as you punch for added burn. Do 100 strikes on each arm. “The Night’s Watch will be training with this next season,” joked Sean Strauss, a kickboxer who demonstrated the moves.

Kick Tyrion: This move is named for Tyrion, a character on “Game of Thrones”, who is from one of the most elite families in the Kingdom. He is a dwarf and therefore the butt of many jokes. Many people on the show want to give him a swift kick due to his sarcastic tongue. For this move, get down on your hands and knees and keep your back straight. Then kick one leg out to the side, trying to keep it straight with your foot either flexed or pointed. Hold for 15 or 20 seconds. Repeat eight to 10 times on each side.

Rise of White Walkers: Like any good zombie, these creatures rise from the dead. To emulate them, start by laying on your back. Try to stand up without using your hands. Tighten your core and adjust your legs to stand. Do at least 10 to 20 of those in a row.

House of Cards

“House of Cards” fanatics know lead character Francis Underwood is all about the games. The political drama tells the story of the rise of power couple Francis and Claire Underwood. Played charmingly deviously by Kevin Spacey, Francis will do anything to rise up the political chain. Literally anything.

Take a cue from the show, and turn your workout into a game. All you need is your body and deck of cards, says Nic DeCaire, owner of Fusion Fitness in Newark.

Each of the four suits represents a different exercise and the number on the cards represents a different number of reps. The workout begins when you flip the first card over and ends when you finish the last card. Or whenever you want to be done, DeCaire said.

“It’s going to keep things interesting,” he said.

You never know what is coming next. Face cards represent 10 repetitions; aces are 20 reps. One tip: shuffle cards really well before you begin.

“It gets you out of your comfort zone,” DeCaire said.

He recommends these exercises to start, but you can swap in whatever exercise you’d like to challenge yourself with. Do as many as the card says.

Diamonds/Squat jumps: Bend your knees to get into a squat position with your weight in your heels. Then jump straight up and land with your knees bent in the same position.

Hearts/Pushups: Get down in a plank position, with your hands shoulder distance apart on the balls of your feet. Drop your hips so they are even with your back. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and slowly bend your elbows. Keep your elbows glued to your side. Then push back up. Repeat.

Spades/Double knee grabs: Start by sitting on your bum with your legs bent in front of you slightly raised. Straighten the legs out and keep your abdominal muscles tight. When you bring your legs back in grab your knees.

Clubs/Mountain Climbers: Again, start in that plank position on your hands and feet with the back straight. Keeping that straight line, move your knee forward into a lunge position. Then switch and do the same lunge with the other leg. Alternating back and forth will give you a full-body workout.

Jen Rini can be reach at (302) 324-2386 or Follow @JenRini on Twitter.

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Remember to use Rotary’s Four Way Test in sales

Guest Writer | Nic DeCaire | Guest Columnist

When it comes to professions that suffer from a lack of trust from consumers, the fitness industry has to rank near the top – next to car salesmen of course.

This probably is attributed to high-pressure sales tactics and hard closing techniques used over the years by these industries. I am sure that most of you are familiar with, “If you buy now I can give you a great deal, but tomorrow I can’t.”

These tactics make no sense to me as a business owner. Most customers recognize when they are being played — they know the price really isn’t going to change in 24 hours.

If a customer comes into your business, the last thing they want is a high-pressured salesperson trying to hard sell them something. Using these sales tactics usually runs customers right out the door.

Only, the loss of a sale isn’t the end of it – these days, social media gives unhappy customers a platform to shout their displeasure to anyone who will listen. We all have seen it and “liked” it.

Back when I had a little more free time before the birth of my two children, I was a member of the Newark Morning Rotary Club. I met lots of great community members and also heard some amazing speakers.

Rotary clubs have what is called the “Four Way Test.” It’s a moral code applicable to all of us. And I believe it’s a great way to make business decisions. It challenges you to make a decision looking at more than what’s at stake in the moment. It offers the potential to help guide your business in the day-to-day and long-term.

The Four Way Test goes something like this:

1. Is it the truth?

2. Is it fair to all concerned?

3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Truth – When making a sale, did you tell the consumer the truth or did you tell them what they wanted to hear? Like your mother told you, never tell a lie.

Fair – Did you sell the customer more than what they needed? Did you honor the warranty? Did they feel good about the purchase? No matter what business you are in, you want to make sure you are fair with prices and services. Happy customers are repeat customers.

Goodwill – If your business is anything like mine, referrals go a long way. Is the way you run your business going to build long-lasting relationships? I can honestly say some of my best friends now are current and former members of Fusion. They are also my best referrals.

Beneficial – Do all practices of your business help the consumer as well as your business? We are in business to make a profit, but also to help others. Make sure your product and practices are beneficial to both parties involved.

Next time you are in a situation when you are looking to make a quick sale because numbers are down for the month, remember the Four Way Test. It might save your job, reputation and your business.

It is extremely hard to build a good reputation but incredibly easy to destroy it.

Remember: unsatisfied customers tell all their friends about their experience. Satisfied members usually do not tell anyone.

Nic DeCaire is the owner of Fusion Fitness Center in Newark and a member of the DBT40 Class of 2014.

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