Handle Bar Instructors’ Favorite Skincare Products

Serious amounts of sweat call for a *serious* skincare routine. Here, HB instructors—who are no strangers to two- and sometimes three-a-day sessions on the saddle—share how they clean up before, after, and in between classes. Pick up their fave products to give your skin (and hair!) a little TLC.

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Words with Weight: Sarah M

Our instructors share their favorite words to live by on and off the bike.

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and forgiving heart, one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”

So this quote is a little on the softer side of what usually catches my attention. I’m more of a tough love kind of person, but I really like this one for a few reasons.

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Introducing HB Rider of the Month – Heather Martin

Heather Martin Rider of the Month


As an active member of our #HBFam, Heather is a true inspiration to everyone she meets. Not only does she embody the HB spirit, but she is killing #HBSummerShare this year…see some of her #HBSummerShare posts here. Heather has even started to document her own weight loss journey on inspiring Instagram account @Journey_to_fierceandfit. We totally recommend you follow her journey, Heather is doing amazing! As Cara described Heather she said “She rode her first double last month, and has just been kicking ass, always high energy in class and overall positive vibes in the studio.” That is some high praise from Cara! We are just so happy to award you Rider of the Month, Congrats Heather!
1.Everyone has their own unique fitness journey. Rumor has it you’ve even started your own fitness Instagram account? What has your journey been like with spinning?

I started spinning at The Handle Bar Fenway location in August 2014.  I loved the energy of the music and motivation from the instructors to push beyond my limits. In January 2015, I began my fitness journey and The Handle Bar team has been positive and supportive every step of the way. I started and have maintained to take at least five to six classes per week. My stamina, skills and confidence in my riding began to skyrocket and I couldn’t get enough of the high I felt in class!  During this time, I started to record my fitness journey and progress on my Instagram account, @Journey_to_fierceandfit.  I have connected with people from all over the country on fitness, wellness and weight loss. This community keeps me motivated and inspired to reach my fitness and nutrition goals.
2. Tell us an unknown fact about yourself.

I sang at Carnegie Hall, performing with my concert choir!
3.What did you do for fitness prior to joining the studio? Besides cycling, what other activities do you do to keep fit?

Prior to cycling, I was a competitive hip hop dancer. I discovered I would exercise if the workout was music driven which is why I became a committed Zumba girl. I have recently tried boxing classes and would like to continue with that a few times a month to mix my workouts up.  Training at The Handle Bar has made for an easy transition to be a road cyclist.  In the summer, I paddle board, kayak, and swim to get my tan and fitness on!
4. What other communities are you a part of in Boston? Social groups, volunteering, athletics, hobbies?

I have been able to raise awareness and contribute to various charitable organizations through running 5K road races. These events keep me on track with my fitness goals while helping others.
5. What goals has The Handle Bar helped you achieve?

Fitness/Weight Loss Goals: Since February, I have lost 30 pounds! I have improved my stamina, my mental attitude towards fitness, and to challenge myself to spin harder in every class.

Other Achievements: The HB has increased my self confidence, helped stay committed to a healthy lifestyle, and connect to a social group that makes fitness and self improvement a priority.
6. What’s your favorite way to end a long week?

First, a 6:00 PM ride at The Handle Bar Fenway to spin away the work week. Then dinner and drinks with friends at a restaurant that none of us have been to before. The goal of the group for the summer is to never to meet up at the same place twice!
7. What words do you live by?

“Believe you can and you are halfway there” – Teddy Roosevelt


Thank you Heather for letting us find out more about you and we will be sure to follow your journey on Instagram! Keep up the great work and we are inspired by you everyday.

Do you have someone you would like to nominate for Rider of the Month? Reach out to us, email, twitter (@the_handle_bar), Facebook message us and tell us why this person deserves the praise 🙂

As always, see you in the saddle!

by amy frankenthaler

#HBSummerShare 2015: Commit to a Summer Worth Sharing

by amy frankenthaler

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Have you signed up for #HBSummershare yet? If Not Now? When? #HBSummerShare starts June 1st, you have only a couple more days to take advantage of this fantastic deal: $400 for 10 weeks of UNLIMITED riding. How will you #raisethebar this summer?

We were able to reach out to four of our awesome HBriders that both won #HBSummerShare last summer Alisun Kovach, Dayna Isley, Becky Anzalone and Nicole Castillo. Thanks again ladies for sharing your experiences with us, we love our #HBFam! We had them reflect on their experience last summer with HBSummerShare:

 

1)What inspired you to sign up for #HBSummerShare last summer?

Becky Anzalone: I signed up #HBSummerShare last summer as a way to hold me accountable for my workout routine. I find it hard in the summer months to keep up with a consistent routine with the lure of outdoor patio drinking.  I already found myself spinning a few nights a week so it made sense (as well as the cost-savings of being able to have an unlimited pass to spin classes).

Nicole Castillo:I was training for a half-marathon, and I wanted to step up my game. Spinning made a huge difference, because I am able to achieve a much harder cardio doing it than running. Also, the competition was just so fun! And pretty much I’ll do anything for free swag. 🙂

Alisun Kovach: I never participated in any kind of challenge before, I thought the #HBSummerShare sounded really fun, and seemed like a great way to prioritize working out during the summer. Plus the potential to win a free month of unlimited riding and a free shirt had me sold!

Dayna Isley: I ran my first half marathon in May last year. Running, as it turns out, is not my favorite. I needed a change, and #HBSummerShare seemed like a good challenge.

2)Describe your experience. What was the best part about #HBSummerShare last year?

Becky Anzalone:I am so glad I participated last year! One of my good friends also did it with me, so we could both motivate each other and use it as an excuse to see each other more often.  I also loved having the board up on display – talk about accountability! It was also a great way to see how you were stacking up versus other riders. The competitive element was really motivating! I also really enjoyed the social media aspect and tagging my instagram pics and tweets with the #HBsummershare.  It’s a great way to stay connected with other HB riders/instructors.

Nicole Castillo: It was incredible! A friend (Valerie Abeille) and I did it — she was at Fenway and I was at Southie and we could watch each others’ progress on the leaderboard. It was hard at times to stick with it because I would “fall behind” when I went on vacation. But, knowing I had a goal to reach, got me to hit spin at times when I normally would just skip it… like before I got on the airplane for a summer vacation, or early in the morning after a late night out.

Alisun Kovach: Participating in the #HBSummerShare was awesome. Since I was at the studio so much, I got to meet a lot of new people and was able to get to know the girls who work there too (love them all!). I also loved that you got points not only for going to classes, but also for posting on instagram (truth be told, I didn’t have an insta account until the challenge started, and now I can’t get enough of it). It was fun walking around and finding random things that would remind you of the HB, and therefore remind you to get your butt to class, and like I said, prioritize working out, even when all you really wanted to do was lay at the beach all day.

Dayna Isley: I had been spinning some at the Handle Bar in Southie since it opened, but #HBSummerShare really kicked things up. I learned that I could spin a lot–even in the morning!–and really love it.  By the end of summer, I could even make it through both sets of arms in Elise’s hour of power Saturday classes. I felt stronger and had fun in the process.

3) Are you signed up for #HBSummerShare this summer? If so, what are you looking forward to most?

Becky Anzalone: I signed up for my second #HBsummershare for this summer and I can’t wait until it starts.  I am excited to have an unlimited pass to ride all summer long and stay motivated by all the amazing riders at the Handle Bar  (I have a couple friends who I plan on riding with this summer as well!). I’ve tried other spin studios over the years across the city, but the sense of community at Handle Bar, is part of what keeps me coming back.  #HBSummerShare is a prime example of why I love spinning at the Handle Bar.

Nicole Castillo: I’m not… because I have the VIP membership… or I totally would! I am still going to hashtag and post. The Handlebar ladies of twitter are already in full force. I’m excited to join them. I’m at @niccastillo1017 I’m all about the social media engagement. Last year, I did a top 10 things I learned from #HBSummerShare. Let’s see what I come up with this year. 🙂

Alisun Kovach: I haven’t decided if I’m singing up yet, but I would really like to win a beach towel, so I probably will!

Dayna Isley: I signed up for #HBSummerShare again because it was so motivating and fun last year. Because I like spin, I know I’ll stick with it; and if I ever feel like slacking, the challenge will keep me motivated. It’s also a great deal when you break it down. Bring on June 1!

An Instagram posted by Becky last summer for #HBSummerShare. A great example of the hashtag social media challenge in action.

An Instagram posted by Becky last summer for #HBSummerShare. A great example of the hashtag social media challenge in action.


If you still aren’t convinced, we’ve put together a list of the top reasons to participate in #HBSummerShare.

Top Five Reasons to Join #HBSummerShare 2015:

  1. Stay in Shape and Motivated all Summer long with a Steal of a Deal                       Each studio will track those participating in the riding competition. It’s officially bikini season, we have to keep that beach body we worked so hard to get! Can’t give up now, keep that beach body all summer long with #HBSummerShare. Ten weeks of unlimited riding for just $400 lets you stay in shape and save for those amazing summer adventures.
  2. #HBFam + #HBCommunity Support (Forever and Always <3)                                Join the #HBFam this summer not only in the saddle, but whereever your summer adventures take you! Simply, by tagging #HBSummerShare in a Facebook post, Instagram or tweet, your #HBFam will be right there with you. We, also, encourage you to make some new #HBSummerShare 2015 friends and meet up both on AND off the saddle. This is strongly encouraged in any and all challenges this summer..after all…“You CAN Spin With Us” 🙂
  3. Adjusted Summer Schedule- Just for YOU                                                         We know you’re busy, its summer, its warm…you want to be on the beach. We have tailored our weekend schedules to accommodate just that. Please take a look at your home studio’s schedules because weekend times have been added and changed for the summer effective this weekend. All the more reason to squeeze in a ride or two with your unlimited #HBSummerShare package.
  4. Prizes (Who doesn’t like prizes?)                                                                          We like prizes! If you participate in the riding competition and ride 45 times in 10 weeks…that’s just 4-5 times per week…you win a beautiful #HBSummerShare 2015 beach towel. Think of all those at the beach or pool envious of that gorgeous towel you EARNED. The top four rides will win FURTHER unlimited riding packages.                                                                              If you participate in the hashtag/social media competition, you have a chance to win a prize EVERY week of the competition. Each week, our favorite hashtagged post will be announced and the winner will receive a gift from 1 of our favorite local spots. The sponsor and prize will be announced at the start of each week, and to get you started  – here’s what we have for our first 4 weeks of the competition:

    Week 1 Prize: Handle Bar embroidered Backpack or duffle (of your choice)

    Week 2 Prize: A tasty gift from a tasty place! $50 to Tasty Burger

    Week 3 Prize: Feeling feisty? Post to win $50 to Loco Taqueria and Oyster Bar in Southie!

    Week 4 Prize:  A Perky Gift from our new Fenway neighbor! Pavement Coffee $50 gift card

                                     More prizes to be released next week!

  5. Competition                                                                                                                                             Challenge your friends, family, neighbors, mailman, new and old HB friends and more importantly YOURSELF to ride more, ride stronger, ride proud. Share the link to this blog with anyone you want to see sitting on that saddle next to you.                                                                                                                           This is your summer, your time to shine, to kick ass, so take charge! The summer of you is waiting…so grab a #HBSummershare package and watch yourself transform in just 10 weeks. The challenge starts June 1st, so act fast.

Click here to purchase your #HBSummerShare 2015 purchase.

Once the #HBSummerShare kicks off on June 1st, we’ll be following your progress riding AND sharing your Instagrams/tweets to keep you motivated and on track all summer long. Be sure to tag #HBSummerShare in your posts!

Tweet at us when and why you chose to sign up for #HBSummerShare to @The_Handle_Bar for twitter AND instagram!  Doing the #HBSummerShare for the second year in a row? We want to hear from you too, share your experiences just like Alisun, Dayna, Becky and Nicole. We may just share some on and before the #HBSummerShare kickoff June 1st.

As always, see you in the saddle!

The new LEADERBOOK for #HBSummerShare2015! Keep track of your progress and competition!

The new LEADERBOOK for #HBSummerShare 2015! Keep track of your progress and competition!

The Happiness Project

By Falon Sweeney

I’ve done it again. I finished my first summer pleasure read before midsummer! Last year, it was It Starts With Food, by Dale and Melissa Hartwig. This year? The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. Two completely different titles, but both incredibly inspiring in their own ways.

the happiness project bookI picked up The Happiness Project from a friend on my abroad program and couldn’t put it down until I was, well, done. It’s a fairly short (200 something pages), easy read about one woman’s journey to consciously be happier. Her “Happiness Project” is a year long series of resolutions, broken down by month. Each month has a theme or subject (her marriage, work, parenthood, friendship, and happiness, among others), and within each theme she makes several specific resolutions to guide her to be happier and more mindful with respect to each month’s theme. At the beginning of the book, Rubin explains her methodology – her “Resolutions Chart”, her “Secrets of Adulthood” (my favorites: “Do good, feel good,” “If you’re not failing you’re not trying hard enough,” and “Bring a sweater”). She also establishes her “12 Commandments” to help remind her how exactly she wants to grow throughout the year. A few of my favorites from her commandments: “Be Gretchen”, “Act the way I want to feel”, “Do it now,” and “There is only love“. Rubin’s witty charm, funny anecdotes, and strategically weaved in scientific “happiness facts” combine for the perfect self-reflective read.

I found it easy to relate to Rubin, as I love to make lists and set goals, and I am always trying to maximize my happiness. Happiness is a funny thing, in that we all seem to be searching for it like it’s some big epiphany we’ll have one day when we get that big promotion, find our soulmate, or buy our dream house. But what occurred to me while reading Gretchen’s musings on happiness, is that it is entirely possible to be 100% happy, right here, right now, in this moment. Regardless of your car, your job, your friends, or your significant other. Basically, happiness is something that comes from within and that shouldn’t be relative to anything else but yourself. From the outside, it looks like a tall order, but take it from me – after reading this book and doing a bit of self reflecting, it really isn’t all that hard to be happy. Taking into account gratefulness, kindness, mindfulness, positivity, attitude, and the power of small changes, Rubin portrays happiness as something well within reach for every single one of us, if we could only open ourselves up to it. Making small, but crucial changes to our daily habits and mindsets and the way we treat ourselves and the people in our lives proves key to finding happiness. 

While reading, I kept a list of my own resolutions, commandments, and other inspiring ideas scribbled on a JetBlue napkin. My number one commandment? Let go of destination happiness. Among others: Be here now, Show up, Stop complaining, and of course, Be Falon.

Rubin recommends and gives detailed instructions on how to conduct your own Happiness Project. Personally, I probably won’t embark on my own formal project, but reading about Gretchen’s experience has inspired me to be mindful and has already helped me feel happier in the present moment. In addition to her book, Gretchen updates her Happiness Blog daily. For book information and for guidelines on how to conduct your own Happiness Project, see her website here.

6a00d8341c5aa953ef0162ffffa2f0970dWhether you decide to read the book, create your own Happiness Project, or do none of the above, remember the piece of advice that Rubin offers at the beginning of the novel: “The days are long but the years are short”.

Make your days worthwhile, HBer’s!

A city, a studio, a community

By Falon Sweeney

There are two things in this world I enjoy more than anything else: traveling and fitness. However, the ease with which the two go together is pretty variable from place to place. Some places (mostly in the US), it’s super easy to fit in your daily sweat; and others, it can be a bit more difficult—like when I tried to go running in Ecuador and got chased by a few vicious dogs. That made me sweat. But no matter what, I try my best to stay active and explore how others incorporate fitness or just general activity into their daily lives.

In the past year I’ve had the chance to explore the fitness scepicstitchnes in Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. I can say with confidence—no matter how fit Forbes ranks us—that Boston is the most “fit” for fitness. The charisma of this city makes it so easy to be active whether you love it or you hate it. We can walk almost everywhere and have some of the most scenic running and cycling routes. We are the home of the most popular marathon in the country. But most of all, we have the best sense of community I’ve yet to come across. We are #BostonStrong and we have been for much longer than a mere four months.

Outside of New England, Bostonians have a reputation of being abrasive and unwelcoming—something about our harsh accents and great driving skills. But just like one can’t actually park his car in Harvard yard, one can’t condemn our sense of community, either. We’ve got each other’s back no matter in time of tragedy or just daily life.

Boston’s group exercise scene is a growing community within a community. It’s an awesome mix of inspiration, support, and sweat. At The Handle Bar we are constantly building our community and welcoming riders old and new to come join our party. Bring a friend, or two, or five and see what we’re all about. Whether you come for one of our Glo-cycle class (August 29!) or a casual ride during your lunch break, we can guarantee you’ll have a blast—and manage to get a great workout in.

See you in the saddle–we’ve got your back!

Take Positivity for a Spin

I think it’s safe to say that we all want to be happy.

We all have our own idea of what happiness is and one day—if we’re not already there, of course—we’ll get there. We all have dreams and aspirations and are working hard to make them all a reality. But, sometimes we get stuck. 6cdb3c989a9e977b154fd48c031a5da0We all hit the occasional speed bump, and sometimes these setbacks can really stand in the way of our progress. What if I were to contend that the size and duration of such setbacks are products of our mindset not only in times of adversity, but at all times? Could a positive attitude make all the difference?

I say, it could. Now, this is not to say that you have to be peppy and upbeat shout-it-from-a-mountaintop positive all day, every day. It’s actually the exact opposite. It’s more about who you are on the inside, rather than the outside. It’s entirely possible to give off positive vibes without even uttering a word. You might think that you’re just not that kind of person – that it’s just not in your DNA to be happy everyday. But even the most pessimistic of us all can easily turn things around. If you train yourself daily to see the bright side, regardless of the situation—good, bad, big, or small—you will find it even easier to be happy every single day. You’ll be able to experience happiness daily. Instead of happiness serving as your ultimate goal, you’ll be able to use your happiness and positive attitude as a means to achieve whatever personal or professional goals you might have. And the best part? This happiness and positivity will shine through you onto those around you. Bettering the world begins with bettering yourself. 🙂