Sweat away that cabin fever!

bike-in-the-snowSnowed in? Cabin fever already have you feeling stir crazy? Well, don’t fret! We’re hosting a Juno ride tonight at 5pm in our Southie studio for all of our riders who live within walking distance and can safely get to and from the studio. We’re all about getting our sweat on, even though the snow is piling up outside. But remember, safety first, HBers!

Can’t leave your home safely but still want to get your sweat on? Try this at-home tabata style training workout that’ll leave you sweaty and ready for your next HB ride…or to start shoveling:

Circuit 1 (4 minutes):

  • 20 second mountain climbers
  • 10 second rest
  • 20 second squat jumps
  • 10 second rest
  • Keep repeating until the 4 minutes are up!

Circuit 2 (4 minutes):

  • 20 second jumping jacks
  • 10 second rest
  • 20 second spider style elbow taps (assume high plank position, alternate tapping your left knee to left elbow and right knee to right elbow)
  • 10 second rest
  • Keep repeating until the 4 minutes are up!

Circuit 3 (4 minutes):

  • 20 seconds speed skaters
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds burpees
  • 10 seconds rest
  • Keep repeating until the 4 minutes are up!

Circuit 4 (4 minutes): 

  • 20 seconds jump rope (with or without actual jump rope)
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds split squats (jumping lunges, alternating legs)
  • 10 seconds rest
  • Keep repeating until the 4 minutes are up!

Repeat the entire workout 1 time through for a serious calorie and fat burn – all in less than 35 minutes!

Before you start that at-home workout or head out to the HB, put on a pot of this hearty Kale and Potato Soup (assuming you stocked up on Kale, just like those smart New Yorkers did pre-blizzard, causing a city-wide shortage of kale). But on the real, this soup is a perfect post-workout blizzard meal because ingredients can easily be substituted (spinach for kale, turkey for chicken, etc.) and it’s packed chock-full of protein and hearty veggies.

Kale and Potato Soup with Turkey Sausage (recipe courtesy of skinnytaste.com)
Servings: 6 • Size: 1 2/3 cups
Calories: 232 Fat: 4 g Carb: 31 g Fiber: 5.5 g Protein: 19 g Sugar: 3 g
Sodium: 647 mg (varies by brand of broth used)

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz reduced fat Italian chicken or turkey sausage
  • 8 cups (1/2 batch) kale, stems removed, leaves shredded
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water 
  • 3 medium red potatoes, peeled diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 pinch dried red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  • In a large Dutch oven or pot, cook sausage over medium-low heat. Turn and cook until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from pot, let cool and cut into thin slices.
  • Add oil to pot, add onions and carrots; cook on medium until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  • Add broth, water and black pepper, bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add cooked sausage, potatoes, red pepper flakes and bring back to a simmer. Cook covered for about 4 minutes. Add kale and bring back to a simmer. 
  • Cook partially covered until the potatoes and kale are cooked, about 5-6 minutes. Adjust salt if needed.

Hopefully we’ll be back in the saddle all day tomorrow, but for the most up to date info, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay safe, stay warm, stay sweaty! 

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Bar-re hop with us this Sunday!

Cross-training. Muscle confusion. Variety. Whatever you want to call it, switching up your workout is key to seeing the results you want and to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At The HB, we firmly believe in the power of and results from riding 3-5 times a week, but we also know that it’s important to change up our workouts and constantly keep our muscles guessing. A ride at The HB will torch calories and strengthen arms, but we cannot stress the importance of adding a complementary workout (or two!) during the week. Barre, yoga, and weight training are all workouts that lengthen and build muscle, respectively, and are the perfect complement to all the calories burned from tapping it back and partying with us at The HB.

barre hopFor us, the value of cross training is undeniable. That’s why we’re so excited to co-host the first ever Bar-re hop, this Sunday, January 25th. We are joining forces with Simply Barre in South Boston to bring our exercise enthusiasts a workout double header where you can get your cardio fix in a 60-minute cycling class and then work to lengthen and tone your body in a 60-minute barre class. Class participants who sign up for the Bar-re Hop will choose which workout they do first and after the class, they will walk the .02 miles to the next studio for their second workout of the day.

There’s still room to get your sweat on and hop from Bar to Barre with us on Sunday in the 2:15pm early session Handle Bar class taught by owner of The Handle Bar, Jessica Bashelor. Tickets are 35$ and all participants will receive a co-branded HB and Simply Barre tote. All participants will also receive a 20% discount on retail merchandise at both The HB and Simply Barre.

See you at the Bar(re) this weekend!

To track or not to track?

By Falon Sweeney

ActivityTrackerJust yesterday as my barre class was beginning, looking around the room, I counted at least seven of my 20 fellow classmates with some sort of fitness tracker, smart watch, or heart rate monitor strapped to their wrists. Since when did we decide to become so hyper aware and obsessive about our bodies’ energy expenditure – even in a 50-minute barre class where the object is not necessarily to torch calories, but to tone, lengthen, and strengthen our muscles to fatigue? Recently, more than ever, it feels as though the fitness industry is pushing the need for these activity trackers, but the question is – do we really need all the data that these trackers provide?

Now, I’d be a walking hypocrite if I told you I thought these activity trackers were totally bogus, because, anyone who knows me even remotely well would tell you that my FitBit and I are practically inseparable. Yeah, I even wear it out to the bar and I’m not ashamed. Gotta log all those dance moves, ya dig?

So yeah, you could say my FitBit is my guilty pleasure. There’s something about knowing my sleep patterns, how many steps it takes me to get to class, or my average resting heart rate, all with one tap on the wrist that really just gets me going. To some, it sounds ridiculous, but to other data-whores and avid goal setters like myself, it literally does help us sleep better at night, knowing the best window of time to wake up in the morning to avoid grogginess. Oh, and did I mention you can challenge any of your friends that have a FitBit to a little healthy competition? Ideal for all my fellow competitive folks out there…

I could talk all day about how much I loooooove my FitBit and how it instantly syncs with My FitnessPal, and how awesome it is that I can see in real time how many calories I’m burning; however, not without acknowledging that it is a little strange knowing all these hard numbers about my body’s performance, when in reality, our bodies don’t even know what a calorie is. Yep, that’s right; a calorie is just a measure of energy determined by science. Our bodies really only know the difference between hungry and full, healthy and sick, and tired and well-rested. However, modern technology has allowed us the opportunity to optimize our health and athletic performance, all based on a few numbers. That’s pretty cool. Now, I’m not saying that running out to the nearest City Sports or Best Buy and buying one of these devices will revolutionize your fitness routine or be a quick-fix to weight loss, because it certainly is not. But, if you have even been remotely curious about how active you really are, sitting in that cubicle from 9-5, an activity tracker will tell you just that; and, it’s a sure fire way to motivate yourself to get up and move more.

  1. FitBit vs. Jawbone? FitBit all the way. I got my first FitBit during summer 2013 but the band broke (womp womp). I carried around the little piece that fits inside the band for a whole two weeks before it was lost and gone forever. I took a little hiatus from the trackers and used a step counter on my iPhone, but it just was not the same. I caved and went for the Jawbone UP because it was on sale and, to be honest, I didn’t love it. It served its purpose, but having to constantly plug it into my headphone jack instead of it automatically updating via bluetooth was definitely an inconvenience. But as soon as the FitBit Charge HR ($150) was released, I ditched my Jawbone and am totally satisfied. There’s no removable piece to lose – you just plug in the band to charge it, about every five days. Jawbone makes a similar version, The UP3, but for $180. Long story short, if you’re going to make the investment and want the HR technology, go for the FitBIt.
  2. Do I really need real time HR monitoring? The heart rate technology is definitely cool, and eliminates the need to wear a separate HR monitor and strap. But if barre, pilates, and yoga are your activities of choice, you probably don’t need it. But, if you’re a HB regular and are curious about how hard you’re actually working and if you could see more results by pushing just a little bit harder – consider it. Sometimes just seeing that little number pop up on my wrist is enough to make me tap it back just a little bit farther. The HR technology is also great because it makes your daily calorie burn more accurate.
  3. Are there any other brands worth considering? I’ve never tried the Nike FuelBand or any other brands, but from personal experience and doing my research, FitBit and Jawbone are for sure the top two contenders. If you use another brand of tracker, let us know your experience in the comments!

So, there you have it, HBers – insider insight from an activity-tracking junkie! Whether you decide to hop on the tracking bandwagon or not, try not to take it too seriously. When we say everything in moderation, fitness tracking is no exception. Don’t let a few numbers take the fun out of your workouts, because at the end of the day, enjoying your workout is the most important part. See you in the saddle, with or without that FitBit!

Resolution reflections: 10 days in

Welcome 2015, and welcome sub-zero temps. The New Year is in full swing, and so is winter – whether we like it or not. Hopefully, by now your so-called “holiday hangover” has worn off and you’re back into your regular (or newly-resolved!) routine. For so many of us, the first week of January is an opportunity to begin anew and leave the past in the past. For others of us, it’s just one of the 52 weeks in a year – and a cold one, at that. So whether you’ve revamped your lifestyle and routine, made a small resolution, totally given up on your resolution, or made no resolution at all, let it be enough. Resolve to be happy with wherever you are today, and the rest will fall into place.

20150109-104548.jpgDuring this time of year, especially, it is easy to get caught up with all the “what-ifs” and the “shoulds,” and to forget about where we are in the present moment. We tend to commit to unrealistic resolutions like “workout every single day,” “go gluten-free,” or “lose 15 pounds”. Sure, these are all very ambitious resolutions, and for those who are able to stick with them, I commend you. But for those of us who find it difficult to juggle such large-scale changes with our families, work, school, and social lives, it’s time to give ourselves a break and opt for something a little more realistic that has the potential to have an even greater positive effect. When we think large-scale about what we can do to improve ourselves and our lives, it becomes easy to forget our strengths and the achievements we’ve made thus far. That, I believe, is why New Years Resolutions have such a fleeting legacy. We get so worried about sticking to some change we promised ourselves we’d make (…post New Years Day brunch, that is) that we forget to take into account whether it’s actually making us happy at the end of the day, or if it’s just one more thing to tack onto our already unending to-do lists.

That’s why I am such a staunch supporter of making small, achievable changes that leave us ultimately happier and able to better enjoy our lives. So whether it’s committing to three HB rides per week, flossing daily, drinking more water, or calling Mom more often – whatever it is – it is enough to make a positive change in your life, based on the sole fact that you decide it will. We think that self-betterment and finding “true happiness” comes from sweeping, unrealistic lifestyle changes, when really, all it takes is a little logical reasoning to figure out exactly what kind of small change you need to make. And good news, people, these changes can be made any day – no matter January 1st or July 1st.

So, if you’ve already broken your New Years Resolution or never even got around to making one, I challenge you to use today as an opportunity to make one small change that will leave you fulfilled at the end of the day. Reflect on all the good that already exists in your life and see what little thing you can either add or take away to leave you feeling even a little more satisfied when your head hits the pillow tonight.

We’ll see you in the saddle, HBers! Stay warm!

Who raised the bar in December?

Leigh Foster!

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This month, we are so excited to highlight a HBer who is driven – both on and off the bike – to pursuing her goals and dreams. Leigh co-owns Nella Pasta, a specialty handcrafted pasta company based in Boston. Leigh’s idea behind Nella Pasta was to create something a bit healthier and cleaner than the average pasta, using locally and sustainably sourced ingredients when possible. You can buy any of Nella Pasta’s 8 varieties of ravioli right here in Southie at American Provisions, at select Whole Foods locations , and a variety of other retailers! We are inspired by Leigh’s drive and creativity, and are so excited to support another woman-owned small business in our growing HB community. Congrats, Leigh!

Everyone has their own unique fitness journey. What has your experience/journey been like with indoor cycling? I was so excited when the sign first went up at the Handle Bar. I’m not a gym person and there were only so many classes you could take in the area so I knew I would want to try out spinning.  When I found out that the owner was a fellow women-owned business owner, I was even more excited to check it out. Spinning at the Handle Bar has that addictive quality that keeps you coming back again and again. I love the instructors, music, and that the class never gets old– you can always add more resistance, improve your form, etc.

nellaTell us about your small business and entrepreneurial experience. I am the Co-Owner of a specialty pasta company, Nella Pasta, based right here in Boston. Many people have a terrifying fear of pasta, but we make our ravioli a healthier option than most by using the finest ingredients possible with a 50/50 cheese to vegetable ratio and a part whole grain dough. We currently have a line of 8 made fresh, sold frozen ravioli varieties that start with vegetables sourced locally and in season when possible and complement them with creative and unexpected “clean” (meaning no additives or preservatives) ingredients like specialty cheeses, herbs, nuts and dried fruits. The ravioli cook in 4 minutes straight from the freezer and do not require a sauce, just a bit of olive oil and/or butter (if you live in Southie, you can find us in the freezer section at American Provisions, otherwise try your local specialty store or Whole Foods).
We’re so happy to be a part of the thriving small business network in Boston. When we can pair food and exercise? Perfect!

Besides cycling, what other activities do you do to stay fit? Yoga, running and walking with my dog.

Tell us an unknown fact about yourself. I’m always early, to a fault.

Why do you come to ride at the Handle Bar? For starters, see above. Being in the food business, its a prerequisite to LOVE food. The Handle Bar is a great way to get my heart pumping and work up a sweat every day. I love the energy in Handle Bar classes. The instructors have an amazing way of getting you pumped and keeping your energy high during class, which stays with you throughout the day.

What did you do for fitness prior to joining the studio? I have a dance background so I used to take a lot of ballet and barre classes. I’ve also never had an actual gym membership so I’m always walking and running. 

What goals has The Handle Bar helped you achieve? When I first came to Handle Bar, I thought the instructors must be robots for how fast they could move their legs. I can finally keep up and catch every beat (most of the time!) which makes the class a lot more challenging and fun. Like I mentioned before, I’ve never liked going to the gym so I often walked as exercise. The Handle Bar makes me realize that I’m capable of a lot more and pushes me to work harder and run, add intervals, etc. 

What drives you more – working out solo or with a friend? Depends. I always love bringing friends to class or going for a walk or run, but I will say I sometimes love zoning out solo. Lately, my sister and I call each other on runs. People certainly give you strange looks for seemingly talking to yourself, but it makes a run go by quickly and we’re able to catch up.

What’s your favorite way to end a long week? Doing something outside– a hike, long walk, something to vary up the weekly routine, going out to eat, wine and sweatpants?!

If you were able to choose the playlist for one class, what artists/songs would you include? I love the new Bruno Mars song, lots of throw backs… (sidenote: I loved the Christmas Eve ride. I’m still listening to Christmas Music)  and will likely continue through January)

What motivates you? Progress and getting stronger (let’s be serious, pasta).

What words do you live by? As Julia Child wrote, “People who love to eat are always the best people”

Unplug & be present this holiday season

bhciagghRight about now, you’re probably face-deep in Christmas shopping, or like so many of us, you might not have even started your holiday shopping. Either way, you’re probably stressin’. Relax! You’ve still got four days before Santa arrives. But before you hit the mall or take to Newbury street, take a second to breathe – unplug, relax, close your eyes, if only for a few minutes.

What do I mean by that first one? Unplug. It’s an idea I know we’ve all heard of, but gets very little actual practice, in large part by no fault of our own. We are constantly surrounded and overstimulated with technology and are living in a world that makes it hard to function without our iPhones glued to our hands at all times. Really, when was the last time you shut off your phone “just because” or left it at home? Probably a while ago. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in work emails, Facebook, or our Twitter feeds that we miss what’s going on around us – real conversations, laughter, and scenery - all so much more real than poorly-filtered photos on our Instagram feeds. More than I’d like to admit, I find myself refreshing my newsfeed while I’m sitting on the metro, despite the fact that I don’t even have service. But I’m definitely not alone; just the other day, I hurried up the left side of the escalator with my headphones blasting – tuning out the world around me – past dimly lit, zombie-like faces glued to their iPhones. And that’s when it hit me. I felt like I was part of one of those UpWorthy videos that explicitly tell us how doomed we are if we don’t just look up. That was a wake up call, for sure.

unplugSo in these next four days of holiday mayhem – and well into the new year – I encourage you to be mindful of the time you spend with your head down and your nose in your phone. Next time you find your thumb apathetically scrolling through your newsfeed, click the off button, look up, and breathe in the world around you

If you find unplugging difficult for you – as I certainly have – there are a few ways to make it a bit easier:

  1. Strike up a conversation with friends/family/loved ones about the idea of unplugging. Guaranteed you’ll all want to leave your phones aside after talking it through.
  2. Exercise. Whether its a run, a ride at the HB, or even a brisk walk with the fam post Christmas dinner, getting those endorphins flowing will make you feel alive.
  3. Create a “no phones” rule when you’re out to dinner or drinks with friends. You’ll be amazed by the added amount of laughs and good vibes you’ll get when you aren’t talking about your washed up high school classmates that pop up on your news feed. So, put your phones in the middle of the table, and the first one to touch her phone buys the first round of drinks! 
  4. Don’t text/email/Facebook/Tweet while driving. Not only is it dangerous, but it seriously takes away from your “me” time in the morning or evening. Use that time wisely – think, plan, dream; do anything but live vicariously through your FB feed.
  5. Write someone a handwritten note instead of a text. When we write something in pen, it gives a sense of permanence and promotes us to really think things through. Not only that, but nowadays, anything handwritten is 10 million times more sincere than a quick text or email.
  6. Meet somebody new. Whether its the rider on the bike next to you at The HB, a stranger in the elevator, or the person sitting next to you on the T, strike up a convo! Say hi, give them a compliment, or simply wish them a Merry Christmas. ‘Tis the season, isn’t it?
  7. People watch. I know, I know, it sounds creepy, but seriously, taking in the presence of others gives us the sense that we’re actually living, breathing humans surrounded by other living, breathing humans. It develops our sense of empathy and understanding, and broadens our horizons to the kinds of situations that actually exist. One of my favorite places to “people watch” is at the airport. So if you’re traveling this holiday, look up and witness the joy, love, and even heartache that comes with people coming and going. Yep, just like in Love Actually

41Unplugging and being present, if even just for a few minutes, has the ability to make you feel a little more human and a little less zombie-like. So while you’re waiting in long lines, traveling, or sitting in traffic, breathe in your surroundings. They might just be a little bit cooler than what your ten million Facebook friends are doing ;)

Alright, HBer’s, good luck with your holiday shopping! We’ll see you in the saddle – sans iPhone!

Gear up to give back – Sleigh Ride 2014

By Falon Sweeney

santaDuring the holiday season, it’s almost just as easy to forget about the duty we have to give back to our community as it is to “let ourselves go”. We often let the idea that we need to give the perfect gift, throw the perfect holiday party, or see every single in-law or high school friend, throw us off track into Grinch territory. But in reality, these ideas don’t really matter all that much. They don’t matter at all, really. Sure, we all want to be thoughtful and to make sure every thing is just right - from decorations, gift wrapping, and Christmas Day dinner. But what if we took all the energy we spend on trying to make things perfect on being thoughtful while actually making a difference in someone’s life. Instead of soaking up the compliments on your exquisite gift wrapping skills or how well you can wrap lights around a tree, what if you put the same energy towards giving to others who might not have any presents underneath their tree? I know, I know, this just screams the age-old Christmas adage’tis better to give than to receive. But despite its tired corniness, it remains true.

Making someone’s day, week, and in so many cases, year, is much more rewarding than spending hundreds of dollars on decorations and gifts that get packed away in the attic or stuffed in a closet after the snow melts. So this holiday season – even if you plan on hosting a holiday party or getting your S/O the BEST gift ever – I challenge you to give back. Whether you buy someone on the street a hot meal, volunteer at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen, or donate to a cause you believe in, it all counts. Not only will it make things easier on someone else, but it will get you to exercise the empathy and compassion that often go missing during the holiday season.

122210_toys_for_tots_bannerAt The Handle Bar, we believe so strongly in giving back to our community, as it is you – yes, each and every one of you – that keeps our wheels spinning. We would be nothing without our network of amazing riders. So spread the love and good energy! And if you’re strapped for time or energy this holiday season, join us for our Sleigh Ride on Thursday December 18th, where you can get your giving – and your sweat! – in, all at once. In the spirit of holiday giving, we encourage riders to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the event as a donation to Toys for Tots, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program that collects and distributes toys as holiday gifts to less fortunate children in the community. In exchange for their generosity, The Handle Bar will gift riders with a $25.00 gift card to the studio, which can be used for a future class.

The Sleigh  Ride will be lead by Cara Tramontozzi, a huge believer in giving back to the community and a huge believer in the Toys for Tots program. “Toys for Tots represents the truth that every child is cared for… and so awesome!  These children need the hope and happiness for a brighter future— and the gestures behind toys for tots can help build this.  So, its not just the gift that is important, but this power of kindness… and sending the love to all these kiddo’s during this crazy holiday season!  To take part in this Sleigh Ride is a Christmas STEAL (stealing in a good way I suppose!),” says Cara.

Immediately following the Sleigh Ride, riders will be treated to a DAVIDsTEA sampling bar, where they can try exclusive teas from the brand’s holiday 2014 collection, like the Sugar Plum Forest, a hydrating Rooibos and Sleigh Ride, an herbal medley featuring apple, candied papaya, hibiscus blossoms and more. A tea guide will be on hand to teach riders how to properly steep loose leaf tea and share coupons that can be redeemed at a one of DAVIDsTEA’s Boston-area locations.

In the spirit of giving, see you in the saddle!

6 Reasons you need The Handle Bar this holiday season

 

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Are you frazzled yet? Are you running around like crazy? Are you dragging at the end of each day? Is working out at the bottom of your to do list and the first thing that gets scrapped? I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed this time of year, and even easier to let your workouts slip, but if you’re anything like me you need The Handle Bar more than ever during the holidays. Why you ask? Well here are a few quick reasons.

Some much needed me time. ​​​​​​​​​
December is jam packed for most of us. Family gatherings, office holiday parties, friend gift swaps, and general forced merriment, it can feel like almost every minute of our “free time” is spoken for. What’s a gal (or guy) to do? Sign up for a few classes right now, right this very minute. Now you have some scheduled me time, and the perfect excuse to decline the next stupid ugly sweater invite you get. “Sorry, I can’t, I have class.”

The perfect stress reliever.​​​​​​​​
It’s generally accepted that the holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year. Family, friends, shopping, all the stuff that’s supposed to be fun can drive you up the wall when you try to cram it into a three week period. If you don’t let off a little steam regularly you’re bound to explode, so let off that steam at The Handle Bar and leave class feeling like a million bucks, or at least relieved of the urge to strangle everyone.

Your first line of defense against looking like Frosty the Snowman.​
Sugar cookies, cheeseballs, gingerbread men, Christmas goose, figgy pudding – whatever the heck you eat at holiday parties – do you know where it ends up? On your bum, if you’re not careful! Classes at The Handle Bar are a great total body workout combining both cardio and strength training so it’s a great way to combat the dreaded holiday spread. Santa should have the only belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly. Get on that resolution early.​​​​​​​​​ Why wait for New Year’s to get in better shape? Start upping your fitness game at The Handle Bar now. It will only make sticking to your New Year’s Resolution easier.

Get in the holiday spirit.​​​​​​​​​​
The Handle Bar is doing some holiday themed rides, which might be just what you need if you’re feeling a little Grinchy. Keep your eyes peeled for details on the upcoming Sleigh Ride, a holiday themed ride and Toys for Tots toy drive. Get in the spirit, get in shape, and help those less fortunate, it’s a win/win/win.

Start a new tradition.​​​​​​​​​
Roughly 98.75% percent of our holiday shenanigans involve stuffing our faces, so why not start a new holiday tradition? Get together with some likeminded friends and family and take a class (or two) at The Handle Bar and follow up with a fitness themed Yankee Swap. And if you want to head to brunch after class for some face stuffing, I won’t judge you.
Do you have your own reasons for needing The Handle Bar during the holidays? Do you need to ride to keep your sanity or are you more concerned about keeping the holiday pounds at bay? Let us know!

-Heather Foley

HB 101: A new rider’s guide

By Heather Foley

_DSC1126You did it! You signed up for your first class at The Handle Bar! Whether you purchased a Black Friday package deal or have had a class sitting on your account for a few weeks and have just mustered up the courage to try it out, you just took a huge step in the right direction. You’re probably thinking, “Oh my God, what did I get myself into?” Well, don’t fear, because It’s going to be great, and it’s going to kick your butt, in the best possible way. I know starting a new fitness routine can be daunting, as most of us feel intimidated when going to a new gym, class, or studio. But we can’t let that stop us! It’s going to be tough, but I have a few tips to help you survive your first class at The Handle Bar.

Make sure your bike is set up correctly. Get to class a little early and ask the teacher to help you set up your bike. Nothing will ruin your first class like a bike that’s set with the seat too low or the handlebars too far back.

Focus on your ride. Trust me, no one in your class is looking at you. Everyone is class is way too focused on not dying on their bike to notice if you’re a beat behind or on your left oblique when you should be on your right. Just stay focused on what you’re doing.

Don’t skip out early. I know the second you get off the bike you want to run home and collapse into bed, but please don’t. Stick around and stretch yourself out. You need it and it will feel awesome. Seriously, the stretch is the best part of the class.

Dress the part. In a spin class you’re going to be standing up, sitting down, leaning over, crunching and moving more than you think you will, make sure you wear workout gear that lets you move freely and be comfortable. For example I have a few Lululemon tops I love for strength training but they creep up my back when I spin.

Don’t skimp on resistance. You might be tempted to hold back on the resistance, but listen to your instructor and add resistance as they say. You can always take a little off if you need to, but to get the most of your class you need to give 100% effort.

Your bum is gonna hurt. I’m not talking about your just glutes, but your whole entire butt. During that first class your bum is gonna hurt like you never knew it could hurt. But it will pass, I promise. It will only hurt for your first class or two, then your booty will get used to it :)

If you have any questions about how to prep for your first ride at The HB, do not hesitate to give us a call at either studio! We’re so excited you’re taking the next step of your fitness journey with us, and we can’t wait to tap it back with you! See you in the saddle!

Commit to fit this Thanksgiving

By Falon Sweeney

TurkeyBikeIs it just me, or is the “turkey trot” – you know, the extra-long and intense workout we do on Thanksgiving morning – becoming more important than the Thanksgiving Day feast itself? Okay, okay, maybe not more important, but it certainly is becoming an integral part of the holiday for all. We plan our turkey day workouts to maximize calorie burn and minimize guilt later in the day. If you ask me, it’s kind of a no brainer.

Aside from the big feast, family, and football, Thanksgiving really is about giving thanks. We give thanks to our friends, family, and loved ones, but we often forget to be thankful for ourselves – for our healthy bodies, for showing up, for committing to our health, for life. Whether we’re happy with our physical state or are on a weight loss journey, it is crucial to recognize all that our bodies do for us.

And what better way to say thanks to our bodies than by sweating it out before the big feast? Between cooking, entertaining, and eating, Thanksgiving – and the holiday season in general – can be a time when we fall off track with our diets and exercise routines and slip into a sugar coma. Like clockwork, we wake from this coma right around January 1st. New year, new you, #amiright?

Wrong, actually. This year, I challenge you to stay on track and committed to your health and fitness, despite the temptation of the holiday season. No, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a sugar cookie or an extra helping of stuffing. It just means that you are committed to staying conscious about what you’re putting into your body and how you’re treating it. So many of us – myself included – use the season as an excuse and don’t think twice about scarfing down that 4th cookie. Because we aren’t being intentional about what we put into our bodies, we fall off track, justify, and five pounds later, we’re wondering what happened to that flat stomach we had in September.

Luckily, intention is the only thing we need to prevent the guilt, the self-deprecation, and the post-holiday blues. So, starting tomorrow, make a choice to be intentional. Get up early, stick the turkey in the oven, and hit the saddle for a 75-minute endurance ride at The HB! Then take the rest of the day in stride – remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And don’t forget to indulge in a slice of pie and that well deserved nap, come 4pm.

To top it all off, start your holiday shopping early on Black Friday at The HB. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or a loved one, a package or series of rides at The HB is the perfect way to show your commitment to health – yours and theirs! Use the code BlackFriday25 at checkout and receive 25% off those ride packages for one day only!

See you – and your loved ones – in the saddle!