Life Lately: Fitness, Food, and Fun

Hi all! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Mine was so relaxing and reminded me why I someday might want a job where I don’t work every single weekend. Throughout the school year I work almost every Saturday and sometimes Sunday, so for the last couple of weeks go have the entire weekends off I feel like a new human!

With Will and I both off, we were able to spend the entire weekend just doing whatever we wanted (which never happens). We went to the extremely interesting Brimfield Antique Fair with a good friend — we’ve been antiquing lately looking for some unique decor for our new porch, and we had some great finds this weekend! I was also able to go see Pitch Perfect 2 (Loved it — Fat Amy is hilarious as always!) and spent yesterday afternoon lounging with some great friends and their most beautiful baby boy. We spent the afternoon just lounging around on Castle Island, a little beachy oasis right here in Boston, and it was just such a perfect afternoon — I wish we could do that all the time!

Don’t you love it when a weekend is so relaxing it feels like a mini vacation? And now, on to the usual Life Lately topics:

Workouts Lately

My workouts lately have been fabulous, I’m not going to lie. I’ve got myself in a pretty good routine of spin 1-2 times per week (once at Turnstyle cycle and once on my own at the gym), lifting 2-3/week, and running 1-2x/week. My typical week lately has looked something like this:

Sunday: Run, 4-5 miles

Monday: Spin @ Turnstyle Cycle

Tuesday: Light run and full body lift

Wednesday: Stadiums

Thursday: Off

Friday: Full body lift

Saturday Off

It’s kind of a lot of cardio for me, but I’m really loving Spin lately, and I always find myself doing more cardio in the summer anyway — better weather means I just want to be outside as much as possible! There are certainly variations, and some weeks I lift more than others, but as I mentioned recently, I’ve really kind of found peace with not lifting all the time.

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I’ve finally come to the realization that fitness is not all-or-nothing in one category, that it’s ok (and fun!) to incorporate different forms of fitness into your routine. I’m not a running fanatic, but I do enjoy it a couple of times per week, so hey! I’ll keep it up until I no longer enjoy it. Life is too short to just do what you think you’re “supposed to” do. You’ve gotta do what makes you happy and what makes you feel good (while still being a responsible adult, eh?)

Food Lately:

For some reason recently I’ve been obsessed with falafel and hummus. Put the word “mediterranean” in front of anything on a menu and I’ll likely order it! I’ve been making a lot of mediterranean salads at home with spinach, bell peppers, feta, hummus, and falafel (pre-made from Whole Foods), and that has been my go-to lunch lately.

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Is it any surprise that I’ve also been craving ice cream like nobody’s business? I guess that just comes with the changing of the seasons, but self control is in full effect these days! If I had ice cream every time I wanted it, things wouldn’t be too pretty right about now. :)

Snacks that I’ve been loving lately are Picky Bars. I found these through a friend on Instagram and decided to give it a go. I really love most of the flavors I’ve tried — my favorites by far are the “Cookie Doughpness” and “All In Almonds”. They are a date base but still have a little bit of sweetener added, and that I don’t love, but all in all they’re a great on-the-go snack and perfect for my more active days. Add in the fact that they get delivered to my doorstep once a month, and I’m sold!

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Life In General Lately:

All in all, life has been pretty darn great lately. My busy time at work has completely come to a halt, giving me more time to focus on just enjoying life for a little while. We’ve been to a couple of really amazing weddings lately for some wonderful friends of ours, and I  recently hosted the super fun NBGNO event here in Boston.

And now, something I’ve been excited about for months is finally here — our trip to the West Coast! We’re leaving tomorrow for Portland, OR and San Francisco, and I can not wait. I’ve wanted to go to both of these cities forever, it’s going to be a great trip. If you’re from either of those areas, please let me know some killer food suggestions! I’m sure we’ll be spending the good majority of our trip eating, per usual, so we’re open to lots of good suggestions. Follow me on Instagram (stephdrondeau) for the good eats and awesome sights of the trip.

And don’t forget to check out the Group Fitness tab above. If you’re in the area, I’d love to have you join me for a Rondeau Group Fitness workout (or two, or all summer long!).

Alrighty kids, what’s going on in your life right now? Any good suggestions for Portland or San Francisco?

Exciting Announcement: Summer Bootcamp Series

I have some super exciting news for you all!

This is something that I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of years… and thinking… and thinking…

Finally I decided that it was time to stop thinking and time to start DOING!

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So this summer, I will begin a series of small-group bootcamp style training sessions here in Jamaica Plain. Boston residents, and JP in particular, this is for YOU. The health and fitness community in JP is thriving — every nice day there are throngs of people out walking and jogging on the trails around Franklin Park and Jamaica Pond. But beyond that, there isn’t a ton here in JP in terms of fitness studios or classes.

RGF classes will take place in Franklin Park, but we may venture to other areas of JP from time to time as well. Stay tuned for a Facebook Page for Rondeau Group Fitness, as this will be the main way to stay in touch about class changes, group challenges, and also a place to build a community for those who attend.

Sessions will be Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 6:30 AM. We will begin on Tuesday June 2, and will go throughout the summer. Get ready for fun workouts with high energy, utilizing the beautiful outdoor spaces of Franklin Park! There are stairs, there are hills, there is plenty of field space — and we’ll be using all of it.

For more details, please click on the Group Fitness tab above, or click HERE.

To register for June sessions, please click HERE.

Can’t wait to see you there!!

Interested? Have questions? Leave them in the comments below or feel free to send me an email at itrainthereforeieat [at] gmail [dot] com.

Recap: New Balance Girls Night Out – Shake It Up

As I mentioned last week, I was asked a while ago to host the most recent New Balance Girls Night Out event here in Boston. This event took place on Thursday evening, and I must say, it was incredible.

I arrived at the store at 5, quickly checked out the bikes being set up across the street in Copley Square (more on that in a bit), and headed into the store. Much to my surprise, I was greeted by a massive sign out front and there was my name, smack dab in the middle of it! I may have loved that sign so much that I kind of wanted to take it home, but alas, I knew Will probably wouldn’t be too happy with a 6 foot tall sign taking up residence in our living room. (What a party pooper, huh?)

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Ok, back to the night. Having gone to a few NBGNO events in the past, I knew what to expect. Being the host though, it was a whole different ball game — we were on a pretty tight schedule and I wanted to make sure that the ladies in attendance had the best time possible! I was super excited to have home friends, Boston friends, work friends, and blog friends in attendance, and was ecstatic to be able to share the night with them. I welcomed the girls first and gave them a little bit of a rundown about what NBGNO is all about. If you’re not familiar, you can read about it more in my previous posts here, here, and here. Basically, Girls Night Out is a new kind of ladies night out, one that brings together fun and fitness with the emerging fitness trends today.

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The theme of this particular event was Shake It Up — with the underlying theme of using dance and music to help motivate and shake up your fitness routine. Each GNO event begins with a workout, which always consists of a run as well as an alternative workout. The alternative workout this time may have just been the best one yet — A spin session in Copley Square with the famed Aly Raymer (New Balance Ambassador and lead spin instructor at B/Spoke studios here in Boston). Aly is famous for providing a “dance party on a bike” in her classes, and boy did she deliver at Girls Night Out!

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Aly CRUSHING it in Copley Square 

A group of girls headed out for a run through Beacon Hill, which I heard was amazing but also TOUGH. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience Aly’s dance party on a bike though, so I stuck with the spin group for the workout portion. Unfortunately, once we got out there and started getting everyone set up, we realized that we were one bike short. I was already feeling pretty spoiled as the host of the event so I gave my bike to another participant so that she could experience this awesome workout. It was too late for me to leave with the run group, but have no fear, I spent the whole time just dancing around the bikes to the live beats being dropped by the incredible DJ Brek.One. Seriously, whether you were on the bike or off, Copley Square turned into a dance party like no other.

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The girls on the bikes worked it, Aly was absolutely amazing, and the views were incredible. I felt so lucky to be a part of such an awesome event — and judging by the crowd we drew, it looked like a lot of other people wanted to be a part of it too!

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Once the workouts were over, we headed back to the New Balance store to continue with the event. Back in the store, we were hydrated by Essentia Water, the leading alkaline balanced and electrolyte infused water on the market. There were also some delicious cocktails, as well as smoothies from Thirst Juice Co., which is a local smoothie and juice bar here in Boston. The smoothies were out of this world, and I can’t wait to get my butt on down to Thirst sometime soon to try some different flavors!

Once everyone was back and settled from the run and spin workouts, Aly and I got to share a little bit with the crowd about what Shake It Up means to us. Aly spoke about shaking up your fitness routine, as well as your location. She talked to the crowd about traveling somewhere warm during the winter to get out of your winter rut and jumpstart your fitness. I can’t say that’s a bad idea — don’t we all wish we could escape every winter?

When I stood up, I talked about “shaking things up” in terms of trying new things and getting outside of your comfort zone. I briefly told the girls about my recent transformation from someone who is in the weight room 100% of the time, to someone who still enjoys lifting immensely, but who also has begun to enjoy running and spin. Last year, I pushed myself extremely far outside of my comfort zone by signing up to run the Falmouth Road Race, a 7 mile race in August. It terrified me and couldn’t be further from what I was used to doing — that is squatting and deadlifting in a power rack. But I took on the challenge because I knew that I was in a rut and needed to “shake things up”. I ended up loving the race, and honestly would love to run it again this year. I’ve found a new appreciation for running, and more recently for spinning.

It’s been interesting to watch myself go through this transformation. Honestly, if you’d told me 2 years ago that I’d be running and spinning regularly, I would have laughed in  your face. At the time, those things seemed like a waste of time for me, the weight room was the only part of training that was important. Now, I really treasure the variety in my training, and feel better mentally and physically than I have in years.

The important thing, and my main point on Thursday night, was that it’s ok to take yourself out of the little box that you’ve put yourself into. Before, I was a weight lifter. Now, I’m a weight lifting, running, spinning fitness enthusiast, and I’ve found the right balance for me at this time in my life. It’s ok to shake things up, and it’s ok (and encouraged!) to try new things every once in a while.

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This is one of my favorite pics because it makes me giggle — could we look any sassier? 

After our mini-speeches, the night continued with Brek.One spinning the beats, a little bit of dance floor action, and more tasty food, smoothies and cocktails. One other great feature of the night was the Instaprint station that New Balance had set up. Just by using the #NBGNO hashtag, Instagram photos would be printed out immediately in the store, so that you could take them home at the end of the night! This was very cool, also something that I think would be PERFECT at a wedding.

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The night finished up with the Swag “bag” giveaway, which were actually Swag Cups this time! The girls were lucky to head out with an NBGNO shaker cup that was filled with treats such as ear buds, a class pass to B/Spoke studios, a flash drive playlist from the amazing Brek.One, and some other awesome goodies. The ladies of this Girls Night Out lucked out, if you ask me!

Honestly, I can’t express how happy I was to be part of such a wonderful event. I am a huge believer in Girls Night Out and everything it stands for, so to be able to play a part and hopefully help the crowd have a great time that night was incredible. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the next GNO event, and if you’re in Boston, maybe I’ll see you there! I would also like to give a huge thank you to New Balance for inviting me to host, and also to Aly for providing such a kick ass workout with such amazing energy.

For more pictures, check out the entire gallery HERE. There are some awesome pics!!

Readers: How do you shake up your workout routine? Does music and dance play any role in your fitness program, and how does it motivate you?

Disclaimer: I was compensated for hosting this event, and was also provided items from the New Balance spring and summer collection through my affiliation with Girls Night Out. As always, all opinions are my own. 

My Name Is Stephanie and I Have Beyonce Knees

Almost every girl I know has a part of their body that they don’t like, or at least a part of their body that they consistently wish would change. For some it’s a constant desire to have smaller thighs, perhaps a flatter stomach or perkier back side.

As for me, the one thing that always tormented me growing up was not one of these obvious choices. In fact, when you hear it, you may laugh, because it really does seem pretty funny.

My knees.

Sure, I always wanted smaller thighs when I was younger, and there was a while when I wondered if my butt would ever be considered “normal”. But these things I learned to embrace and love, and I have grown to find them beautiful over time. And then there are my knees.

Knees, you ask? Who even looks at knees? Well, I’ll tell you. An insecure little girl with mildly chubby legs, and genetics that have given her mildly chubby knees. I’m not kidding you when I say that I spent a good part of my youth looking at the knees of my classmates, wondering why I didn’t have bony little kneecaps instead of the marshmallow fluff that seemed to settle around my legs.

You see, I may have been a little chubby at times, but I was never “fat” growing up. I was the same size as a lot of my friends, but still, they had pointy little knees and I had what I thought looked like pincushions. (I know this makes me sound like a crazy person, but stay with me here.)

It wasn’t until the end of high school/beginning of college that I began to find some peace with my little pudgy knees. Enter: Destiny’s Child. Now, what does a late 90s girl band have to do with my chubby little knees?

Two words: Queen Bey.

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[Image Source]

It was around this time that I started watching Destiny’s Child videos (remember when videos were cool?), and realized that this beautiful woman, this amazing goddess called Beyonce Knowles had “fat” knees too. Here she was, reminding all of us that we weren’t ready for her jelly, yet she wasn’t perfect. She wasn’t the image of long, thin legs that everyone at the time said was perfect.  Yet she was, and still is, revered as one of the most beautiful women on this planet. And whether you agree with that or not (but I mean, lets be real, there’s really no question there), it’s pretty apparent that that is the perception. Beyonce, although not model-thin, is beautiful.

It was at that very moment that my knees stopped being fat. Instead, they became my Beyonce knees. I kid you not when I say it was the first time that I realized that legs that looked like mine could be considered beautiful. That knees don’t have to be bony and knobby, and that a little extra cushioning on your legs is not a curse after all. Because Beyonce had fat* knees too. And Beyonce was is a goddess.

Now I’m in my 30’s, and you know what? I still have Beyonce knees. No matter how thin I’ve gotten over the years, and more recently how muscular, the shape and appearance of my knees has not changed. Yes, my legs have changed over time, but I still do not have, and will never have, “skinny” bony knees. The simple fact of this is because it’s all about genetics, and that’s just how my legs were made.

Some people have longer, thinner legs. Some people have shorter, muscular legs. Some people have naturally well defined calf muscles and some people have match sticks for legs. The shape of your body, for the most part, is determined by genetics. Sure, you can manipulate it somewhat with diet and weight training, but for the most part, your body type and shape sticks with you for life. I will never have long thin legs, but I will always have a relatively small waist, just as long as I keep my health and body composition in check. It’s just the way I’m built.

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My Beyonce knees in all their glory. 

I have friends who have naturally slender legs (and skinny knees of course), who gain weight mostly around their midsection. Again, it’s just the way they’re built, and that’s not something we can change.

So if a flaw is something that is inherent to us, something that we can’t change, is it really a flaw? Or is it just part of who we are as humans, part of what makes us so beautiful and interesting as creatures? Next time you find yourself criticizing something in the mirror, take a second and turn those thoughts into something positive. I don’t have “fat knees”, I have Beyonce Knees. And they are fierce, because Queen Bey would have it no other way**.

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[Image Source]

Stop picking apart your body when most of it is determined by genetics. Stop looking at the tiny bit of flesh you have on your upper arms and wishing it away; stop looking at your upper thighs and wishing a visible gap between them. You were built a certain way, and you can manipulate it, but you can’t totally change it (without going to drastic and often unsafe measures).

Because once we find peace with ourselves, that’s when the real change begins to happen. Once you can learn to appreciate your body for what it is and what it does instead of dwelling on every perceived flaw, that’s when you can truly see the beauty in yourself. I could go around my entire life hating my legs, hating my knees, constantly trying new diet schemes and exercise plans to get the bony knees I wanted as a kid. But instead, I have learned to embrace and appreciate my legs for what they are.

If you’re constantly chasing something that can never possibly happen (such as the “perfect” body), how can you expect to be happy, I mean truly happy, ever? I feel like women are on a constant hunt for perfect body parts when they have everything they need already, within themselves. Look in the mirror and find a way to love what you see, even if you see some things that you want to improve.

Because as the Queen herself would say: You are fierce, and you are flawless. 

*In the .0000000000001% chance that Beyonce would actually read this, I just want to be clear that I mean absolutely no insult by saying that she has “fat” knees. Thick knees. Is that a thing? Ok then. You know what I mean.

**I also want to add in that I’m exponentially disappointed by the recent allegations that Bey photoshopped some pictures of her on a yacht to give herself a thigh gap (although, I think the knees were left untouched, so there’s that). Maybe she does need to read this post after all.

HUGE Blog Announcement: New Balance Girls Night Out

Hello friends! Today on the blog I have a HUGE announcement that I have been dying to tell you all! I’ll give you 2 hints:

1. New Balance

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2. Girls Night Out

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[All photos in this post except for the first and last are courtesy of NBGNO]

Do you get it yet? Let’s start out with clue number one. I’ve been fortunate to have an amazing partnership with New Balance for the past couple of years. Not only do I love their apparel and shoe lines, but I love the company as a whole. As a Boston based company, they are very engaged in the local community, and it’s been wonderful to see how much they’ve inspired and contributed to the Boston fitness community over the years.

I’ve been fortunate to work with New Balance for several different blog events and campaigns, including the LaceUp365 campaign promoting the fight against breast cancer, teamed up with them to run the Falmouth Road Race, and have most recently been lucky enough to be a part of their product collaboration with Kate Spade Saturday.

But my absolute favorite events that I’ve been a part of are the new series that NB began last year. It’s called Girls Night Out (here’s where we get to that second clue), and it’s the new kind of night out, complete with fitness, healthy snacks, cocktails, and fun. I was able to make it to a couple of these last year in May and August, and I had in incredible time at each one. They are a great way to combine fun and fitness, all while surrounding yourself with inspirational women. Before we talk more about NBGNO, here’s where we get to my super exciting news:

New Balance reached out a couple of weeks ago to invite me to host their upcoming Boston GNO event on May 7!

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this, and how excited I am to get to see some of YOU, my readers at the event!

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Now, let’s talk details:

When and where is this awesome event? 

Thursday, May 7th at 6 pm at the New Balance store on Boylston St (Copley Square) in Boston.

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What will happen at this awesome event? 

NBGNO events always start with a kick-ass workout. This month, there will be a 3.6 mile fun-run, as well as a spin workout led by the amazing Aly Raymer. Rumor has it that this spin workout will take place IN Copley Square, with a live DJ as music. Dance party on a bike in the park? Count me in!!

Following whichever workout you choose, everyone will convene back at the store for some delicious healthy snacks, cocktails, swag bags, a few thoughts from Aly and myself, and more fun stuff that I’m so excited for. Are you getting excited yet?? The theme for this particular event is “Shake It Up”, and we’ll be shaking things up with dance infused fitness and a whole lot of fun! I’m honored to be hosting the event alongside Aly, who is a force to be reckoned with in the Boston fitness world.

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How do I get into this awesome event? It’s super easy. For more details and to register, just head on over to www.nbgirlsnightout.com (<< Or click HERE), click on Events, scroll on down to the Boston event, and register!

But be warned: These events have filled up very quickly in the past — we’re talking a couple of hours here. So if you want to get your sweat on in Copley Sq, head out for a run around the city, get an awesome NB Swag Bag, and/or mingle with some of the raddest fit chicks that this city has to offer, make sure you register ASAP.

**UPDATE: This event is now full. But don’t worry — there will be more of these throughout the summer, so stay tuned for more to come! 

Ok, I’m registered and I’m PUMPED. Tell me more about NB Girls Night Out!

Girls Night Out was created by New Balance to help women come together and re-define what it means to have a night out on the town. Combining fitness, health, community and fun, these events are anything but your typical happy hour. With events currently planned in Boston, New York and Philly with more locations to come, NBGNO is paving the way in fusing women’s fitness and social lives into one. Now, head on over to register before it’s too late — you don’t have much time! NB Steph2

Can’t wait to see you there!! 

Who will be joining me on Thursday May 7? 

Review: Turnstyle Cycle

Living in Boston, there are 9379* fitness studios available. Whatever you’re into — whether it’s Barre, Cross Fit, or yoga, or spin, you can find whatever you want, usually within walking distance of wherever it is that you’re coming from.

If you’re a long time reader, you’ll probably notice that I’m not generally one to frequent group classes or fitness studios. Not because I have anything against them, but because I work out at my gym for free, and I have a hard time justifying the high cost of some studios when I know that money could be used elsewhere. That, and I’ve honestly always really liked working out alone. Trust me, I’m not one of those gabbers who chats away between sets. I get in the zone and get my work done, and that’s that!

Recently though, I was offered some classes at Turnstyle Cycle, a studio in Cambridge where my friend Caroline teaches. The funny thing is that she had no idea I had been offered these classes, and was surprised when I showed up! Anyway, I had wanted to try the studio for a while after seeing a lot of Caroline’s posts on social media.(<< Check out Turnstyle’s Instagram page for some awesome shots of their classes and more!)

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So I made my way over to Cambridge for the first time one Sunday morning. Caroline greeted me and gave me a quick tour, taking the time to introduce me to the bikes that they use there: RealRyders. These are not your ordinary spin bikes, as they actually move on an axis, which takes some getting used to. They move side to side with your natural movement, feeling much more like a road bike than a traditional stationary spin bike. These bad boys force you to keep your core engaged for the entire workout, lest you end up wobbling around like an idiot the whole time (see: my first class).

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Caroline and I before my first class! Can you see the fear in my eyes?

They say it takes 2-3 classes to get used to the bikes and really get a smooth ride, and boy are they right! My first class I was a wobbling mess, and my entire body was fatigued at the end from trying to stabilize the bike. But the truth is, although I may not have had a smooth ride or looked anything like a pro, I absolutely loved it.

The actual spin studio is small, but has a great feel to it. Each bike is close to it’s neighbor, but not too close, and they’re all angled to face the instructor, forming a semi-circle around him/her. It’s a set up that made me feel very connected with the class, yet still allowing me to have my own workout experience in the midst of many others.  When the lights go down and pretty much the only light is coming from the instructors stand, you know it’s go time. The music is bumping, the playlists are on-point, and you’re a sweaty, smiley mess before you know it.

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Caroline ready to go! She doesn’t even know I took this picture…how creepy am I? 

During my few times there, I was able to take classes with both Caroline and Laura. They were both amazing, and each time I left there with more energy than when I went in. And I’m not just saying this because I’m friends with Caroline — truly even if I didn’t know her, I would sign up to take her classes as often as possible. She’s that good. Both of these girls have incredible energy, they know how to motivate and excite without being annoying (come on, we all know instructors who annoy), and they made me excited to get to class. I can’t speak for the other instructors there because the classes that fit into my schedule were always taught by these two, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that they’re all pretty awesome.

And back to the wobbly bikes for a minute — after the first class, I was honestly wondering if I’d ever “get it”, because I felt like the only person in there who’s bike was wobbling out of control. (Seriously, I wish I had video proof for you). But my second time was much more smooth, and as for my third class? Well, it was smooth, it was blissful, and I’ll tell ya it was better than drugs. I left there on such an endorphin high I’m surprised I didn’t go out and cure world hunger.

So if you’re nervous to try this because of these bikes, don’t be! You’ll get it, I promise. Trust your body and use your core, and your ride will even out before you know it!

My one regret is that I didn’t have time to try out the TRX classes that the studio also offers, which only means one thing: I have to go back! Yes, you’ve heard that right. My final verdict is that I love this studio so much I’m willing to pay for classes even though I already work out for free, even though I can spin on my own at my gym any time I want (and I do, frequently now), and even though I’m generally the queen-bee of solo workout-artists. The atmosphere is that good, the instructors are that good, and the workout speaks for itself.

So Boston, if you’re in the hunt for a new studio, check out Turnstyle Cycle in Kendall Sq. Just don’t all of you go at once, because I don’t want to be fighting people off for my favorite bike. :)

*Give or take a few. 

Disclaimer: Turnstyle was generous enough to provide me with some free classes, but I was not compensated for this post or any others. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Finding Motivation: Marathon Monday

Yesterday was Marathon Monday, truly one of, if not the best day of the year in Boston. The city comes alive with such energy and love on this day every year, and this has only been amplified since the horrific bombings two years ago.

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Before the rain… getting ready to cheer on the runners from Mile 24!

In my 15 years in Boston, I’ve missed the Marathon only a handful of times due to work. I’ve been a medical volunteer at the finish line, and I’ve cheered my butt off for the runners along the route both at the finish line and a few miles out. Every year, I’m amazed at the perseverance it takes for people to reach these points. How do you run 24 miles and then push yourself to run 2.6 more when your legs are screaming and you’re having pain in places you didn’t even know existed? These are the types of things I may never know, but I love watching it all the same.

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This year’s marathon was a rainy, dreary, chilly day, but this didn’t stop thousands of runners from crossing that finish line. And that is the reason that the people of Boston and visitors from around the world were still out there cheering, still holding signs and ringing cow-bells. Because if these people, after training through the worst winter in history, could run 26.2 in pretty miserable weather — well, we could cheer in that same weather.

And the wonderful thing is that the rain may have soaked the city and every one in it, but it didn’t dampen the spirit of the day in any way. 

Watching a marathon is truly a magical experience if you pay attention. There are people of all ages, all sizes, all skill levels all completing the same goal. The elites are awe-inspiring to watch because of their grace, speed, and efficiency.  But the people at the back of the pack are just as inspiring, because they have put in just as much of a grind to get to that point.

Pushing yourself beyond what you previously thought your body is capable of — that’s inspiring. Running the course in fatigues and combat boots– that’s inspiring. Trekking through the wind, cold, and driving rain to reach your goal? That is inspiring. Pushing someone in a wheelchair who wouldn’t be able to complete that course on their own — that’s beyond inspiring.

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The lead women’s pack at about Mile 24. Love that there is 1/6 feet on the ground here! 

The truth is, even as someone who may never run a marathon in her life (I’ll never say never, but it’s pretty unlikely I’ll admit), watching a marathon is one thing that motivates me the most to be better. It doesn’t even necessarily motivate me to run more, as I’ve found a pretty great balance between running and lifting over the past couple of years. It just acts as a reminder that sometimes there are goals that seem bigger than us, goals that seem insurmountable, that we can reach if we just push beyond our comfort zone.

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One of the lead males. The stride is amazing! 

The marathon is a reminder that we all have a little bit more in us when we feel like we have nothing left. It’s a reminder that heartbreak (hill) is not a reason to stop, but a reason to push further. It’s a reminder that we all can come together for a common goal, in support of each other, and find motivation from thousands of strangers.

And now for my favorite shots of the day…

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Hometown hero Shalane Flanagan… Photo credit here goes to my good friend Todd!

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Meb! Winner of last year’s Marathon. Had a tough race this year but finished with his head and hands held high! 

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Uzo Aduba.. AKA Crazy Eyes from Orange Is The New Black! Yes, I was tracking her, Yes, we screamed her name, and YES, she waved at us :)