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”

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