#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!

Who raised the bar in June?

Marcus Springer!

At The Handle Bar, we hope to provide our riders with a place to achieve their fitness goals and constantly improve by raising the bar higher. For some, raising the bar might mean just showing up to class two times in the same week, and for others it could mean reaching weight loss or other fitness goals. No matter how high you set the bar for yourself, we hope that each ride makes you stronger, both physically and mentally. To honor our riders’ commitment to improvement, we choose one rider every month who has made some serious progress towards achieving whatever goals he or she has been working towards, whether goal setting was a conscious choice or it just “happened”.
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This month, (for the first time ever!) we are proud to announce that rider Marcus Springer has really raised the bar! Marcus is totally new to spinning and has hit the ground running. In just about a month, he has lost ten pounds and is well on his way to achieving his ultimate fitness and weight loss goals. Did we mention that Marcus has two young boys–one of whom, a newborn–and runs two companies. Talk about staying focused on fitness while making time for family and other responsibilities. We are so excited for Marcus and are happy to be a part of his fitness journey. Congrats, Marcus!

So, Marcus…

How did your journey with indoor cycling begin?

I started spinning when The Handle Bar opened. I had never done it before and was curious.  I found it pretty hard at first but after the fifth time I was able to keep up with the resistance etc. Now I love it. I am addicted and getting noticeably stronger.

How have you been able to juggle accomplishing your fitness goals and spending time with family (including the new baby!)?
I only go first thing in the morning.  I take the 6 and 6:15am classes during the week and the 8:30 class on Saturday and the take Sunday off.  That schedule works well for all concerned…The newborn is basically up every three hours so I just have to roll with it. :). I try to go six times a week. I have missed a couple of times but am able to keep to that schedule pretty well.

[How] has The Handle Bar helped you in accomplishing your goals?

I was rapidly becoming an overweight slug so I was looking for an activity that I could do in the morning that was a group activity in order to get fit and lose weight.  The gym doesn’t really work that way and spinning is ideal.  Since I started I have lost 10 pounds of my goal to get a 1 in front of my weight for the first time in 15 years…20 more to go… Goal is to get to 195 lbs by Thanksgiving.

Do you have a favorite/hardest class at The Handle Bar?
So far I like all the classes. Elise, Tim and Meg are all really good. Those are the ones that stand out in my mind.
What is your favorite music to Spin to? 
I don’t really have a favorite. Whatever they play I kind of ride in to the music.  It is really a lot of fun. The 45 minutes passes by pretty quickly now.
What are your thoughts on using bike shoes?
Bike shoes are critical to spinning in my mind as you have to pull the pedal up as well as push it down which you wouldn’t be able to do without bike shoes.
 
“I think The Handle Bar is a great addition to the Macallen building complex.  It makes it so easy for me to achieve my goals of getting fit and weight loss.  I generally go to the gym after spinning to do free weights for a half hour. After all that I can be back in my apartment by 7:30 to make breakfast for the boys and get the day going.  I have two companies of my own that I run in addition to the two boys. In order to do that you absolutely have to be fit or you’re screwed.  The Handle Bar is definitely the answer for me!”
See you in the saddle, Marcus!

Friends who sweat together stay fit together, longer

So you’ve decided to workout on a regular basis. And you mean it this time. No excuses, no postponing until tomorrow. Your journey starts today. That’s great news. However, as many of us have experienced, it is so much easier said than done. For some, a week of working out consistently can snowball into months of regular exercise and healthy eating habits. But for others—a.k.a., most of us—one week of consistency equals three more weeks of sporadic exercise, one too many “cheat” meals, and the inevitable fall from the bandwagon. This cycle continues, leaving us wondering how some people manage to hang on and make it past the proverbial hump, incorporating exercise and proper nutrition as part of their lifestyle—for life. It’s a puzzling sequence, but if you can find a motivational tool (aside from your unbending willpower, of course) from the start, you’ll be twice as likely to stick with it for the long run—even through those bitter Boston winters.

 There are endless ways to get motivated without even flexing your willpower muscles. Honestly, a few of my favorite motivators come from late-night Pintrest browsing. You could create a “fit-spiration” bulletin board, invest in some new kicks to show off at the gym (or maybe a pair of bike shoes?!), or buy a pack of spin classes or a gym membership with an expiration date so that you’ll be sure not to waste your money. But just like money can’t buy happiness, it can’t always buy motivation, either.

The best motivation I’ve yet to find comes from friends—a few of whom I barely knew before becoming a fitness fanatic, and others who have been by my side for years. Whether you introduce yourself to a fellow rider during class or drag your couch-potato roommate to sweat with you, I can almost guarantee it will be harder for either of you to lose your motivation when you don’t go it alone, for a few reasons:

Accountability—It’s rude to cancel last minute, but we always seem to cancel on ourselves. When you have a date to sweat with yourself and someone else, you’ll be way less likely to cancel, especially when that fit image you’ve been chasing is on the line. 

You’ll have more fun—If you’re making fitness an integral part of your lifestyle, you have to make it fun, or else you’ll eventually get bored. #Workhard with a friend and you can #playhard later!

 Spend time with the friend who’s always M.I.A.—We all have those friends whom we never see because they are just too busy. But chances are, if they’re into fitness, they won’t skip a workout. So sweat together a few times a week and your long lost friend could soon be your new bestie.

Celebrate your successes and sweat away your failures—With a few setbacks, you’ve kicked those stubborn ten pounds! Congrats! Now go celebrate with your fitness buddy—after you have a kickass workout together, of course : )

 

At The Handle Bar, we never sweat alone. That’s why we have an ongoing promotion that allows you to bring a “date” that has never ridden with us for free!

See you—and your friends—in the saddle!

I’m Hooked: My Transition to Bike Shoes

By: Falon Sweeney

One of the things that sets The Handle Bar apart from other spin classes and studios is our strong encouragement of “clipping in,” or the use of bike shoes during your ride. Initially, I was a little apprehensive about using bike shoes. At other spin classes, I didn’t understand why people wore them, but one thing was for sure, it was usually the experienced riders that had their own pair. I often thought, “Nah, I’m not THAT into spinning, where I’d drop $50-$100 on a pair of shoes that looked a little silly and could only be used for one type of exercise”. I never had the chance to rent them and I had always thought that they were more for road cycling. Only the really intense riders wore them, right? Wrong.

I clipped in for the first time on Monday at The Handle Bar. By the end of the warm up, I finally understood why so many riders wear bike shoes. From the moment I started pedaling, I felt more connected to the bike and my ride as a whole than I ever had before. I was able to concentrate my energy through my leg muscles, rather than my joints to get a much more efficient, not to mention, safe workout. I could focus on the energy I was expending and direct it exactly how I wanted it, with minimal energy wasted. I’m now realizing that the spin workouts I used to do in regular running sneakers were not challenging my leg muscles nearly enough. I found that I was using my feet and knees to do the work, rather than the muscles throughout my entire leg. After just a few days of clipping in, my legs are more sore than they have ever been from a spin workout. I can’t help but feel like I’ve been missing out all this time, but all I know is that I can’t wait to see the long-term results of using bike shoes.

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If you’re having trouble believing that clipping in could make all the difference, think about it like this: If you’ve done yoga, you know that it would be pretty difficult to practice with socks on. You’d find it hard ground yourself and really connect with your mat. It’s the same thing with spinning. Regular sneakers act as a barrier between our body and our bike. But bike shoes help to bridge that gap and help connect us to our ride, making the workout all the more enjoyable and rewarding. I find myself better able to just let go and let the music carry me through the ride.

If you’re a beginner, you’re in luck. You don’t have to waste years spinning in regular sneakers to finally figure out that bike shoes will transform your ride. From the start you will experience the additional power, safety, efficiency, and muscle balance that clipping in provides.

At The Handle Bar, we give riders the option to rent shoes for two dollars, but we encourage you to buy your own pair. They’re a great investment and pay for themselves in just a few months. If you need advice on which shoes are the best for you, feel free to reach out to any of our instructors.

Don’t forget to come out this weekend for our grand opening! There will be prizes, giveaways, and freebees from our sponsors. If you weren’t able to reserve a spot, still stop in to check out the studio and take advantage of our Grand Opening 25% off special!

This Father’s Day, set the bar higher; give Dad the gift he really wants

By: Falon Sweeney

Father’s Day is on the horizon and approaching swiftly. If you haven’t secured a pair of Bruins Stanley Cup Finals tickets for Dad – relax; you’ve got a few days left to get him something just as good (well…maybe not quite). We all know how tired he must be of receiving the same tie in a different shade or a different brand of grilling tools each year. So here are a few new ideas that’ll help keep Pops healthy and happy, whether he’s a fitness guy or not.

The FitBit Flex
For the tech savvy guy – The first thing on his list may not be arm candy, but this sleek, man-friendly activity tracker does more than just count steps and calories burned—it also tracks hours and quality of sleep. It can even fitbit be programmed to let Dad know when he’s been sedentary for too long. For just $99 this activity wirelessly syncs to iPhones 4S and higher, as well as a few Android models (and to Mac and PC). There are similar gadgets on the market (Jawbone Up, Nike FuelBand, etc.), but this is by far the most discreet model with wireless syncing and sleep tracking — the most bang for your buck, if you will. If you don’t think you can swing the bracelet version, you can purchase the One model—an earlier, pocket-sized version that has many of the same features for the same price.
(For details: http://www.fitbit.com/flex)

Cycling Shoes
If the Dad in your life is an avid cyclist or is even just getting started, you may want to help him improve the results of his rides by investing in a pair of cycling shoes. Wearing these special shoes help to improve form to prevent injury, and make sure that the feet aren’t doing all the work and that the legs get an adequate workout. Shoes are always hard to shop for, so it’s best to make sure he’s tried on a pair before or that you at least know his shoe size. At The Handle Bar, our bikes are compatible with SPD cleats, which are easy to find in most cycling or sporting good stores and usually range in price from $70-$200.

Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf or The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
Worried that Dad’s love of bacon might be impairing his health? Pick up either of these books, which describe the Paleo or “Primal” lifestyle—basically, the caveman lifestyle for dummies. It could help him switch from Big Mac to grass-fed burgers in no time and get his health on track with new, healthy eating habits that could stick for the rest of his lifetime, without having to sacrifice the food he loves—including bacon. Because what guy wouldn’t want to eat like a caveman? ($14-$20 on Amazon)

Beer Home Brew Kit
Most Dads love to splurge a bit and end the day with a cold one. If yours is the do-it-yourself type, why not give him the added satisfaction of knowing that he brewed it himself. You can find home brew kits online, or even more conveniently, at a participating Whole Foods Markets. Most kits range in price from $30-120.

The Handle Bar Multiple Class Packages
Whether a newbie rider or seasoned vet, Dad will be sure to enjoy a refreshing class (or 5) at The Handle Bar. Classes come in packages of 5, 10, 20, and 40, starting at $95. See our website for more details at http://www.handlebarcycling.com

Of course, if you and Dad aren’t into gift giving, why not come out to one of our classes this weekend and spend some quality time together in the saddle? Often times, fitness is most rewarding when done with a buddy. So grab Dad and head on over to The Handle Bar for a cycling class you won’t soon forget.

Seven steps to make this summer your season of success

By: Falon Sweeney

Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone and we’ve endured 2013’s first heat wave. I think it’s safe to say that summer is here to stay. Summer serves as a time to refresh and renew. As a student I spend the majority of my time bogged down by coursework, multiple jobs, trying to fit in workouts whenever I can, and my social life. Free moments are few and far between, and admittedly, I don’t check in with myself as often as I should.

But the season of sun gives me a chance to come up for air and check in with myself to make sure I’m on track to be my best self, both physically and mentally. It’s a time when I’m able to make lifestyle changes and actually follow through with them—unlike nearly every New Year’s resolution I’ve failed to keep. Something about the warm air and lush vegetation almost begs me to better myself, unlike the abrasive winter mornings that sometimes deter me from lacing up and making that dreaded three-block trek to the gym. It seems like every summer I make some sort of lifestyle change that, in one way or another, seems to stick. Last summer I went gluten free and committed to clean eating and regular exercise. This habit stuck throughout the most chaotic school year of my life and I’ve remained my happiest and healthiest self.

Whether your goal is to train for a half marathon, transform your diet, succeed in the saddle, or to simply sweat more, here are a few tips to help those habits stick long after the sun sets and the temperature drops:

Set a clear goal

You’re making a lifestyle change for a reason. Either you aren’t satisfied with the way things are or you think they could improve in some way. Whatever you’re striving for, make it measurable. Write down your goal somewhere you can see it daily so that potential doubts or negative thoughts won’t overcome whatever change you opted to make during your aha! moment.

Be realistic

Often times this is where we mess up the most in goal setting. We try to commit to seven days at the gym, when in reality we have families, friends, and other responsibilities that make such a goal an impossible feat. Be honest with yourself. Reach for the stars 150%. But if you know your body can’t take the wear-and-tear of marathon training, opt for something just as impressive but in a way that works well with what you know won’t be detrimental to your health. Push your limits, but be smart about it.

Strive for small victories—they add up quicker than you’d think!

Progress comes with constantly being better than you were the day before. So if that means exercising for just one more minute than you did yesterday, let it be. Be proud of your progress and build on it daily.

Believe in the change you’re making

You are your own worst enemy. If you can convince yourself of the change you’re making, you’ve more than likely won half the battle. Learn to love the burn and before you know it, you’ll be able to tolerate—maybe even love—what used to seem impossible.

Leave room for error

It is OK, I repeat, OK to slip up every now and then. We’re human, remember? Just recognize when you slip up and move on. Many of my downfalls in trying to form habits have come from trying to make too many changes all at once and being far too strict about them. Don’t be so hard on yourself that you aren’t happy at the end of the day. So keep those negative thoughts at bay and humor yourself.

Be accountable

If you want the world to know the fitness journey you’re embarking on, don’t be afraid to tell your friends and family, or even your twitter feed what you plan to do and the progress you make. If you’d rather keep it personal, write your goal down in a journal or on a sticky note and keep track of both your accomplishments and downfalls.

Reward yourself

Because you chose a measurable goal, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come from where you started. Whether you’ve improved a lot or a little, you’ve made at least some progress, and that’s a cause for celebration.

Believe it. Be it. Raise your standards. Raise the bar.

Heart rate monitor; is it for you?

By: Falon Sweeney

Could wearing a heart rate monitor take your workout to the next level?

Whether you’ve taken only a few spin classes or you’ve logged some serious hours in the saddle, you’ve undoubtedly realized much of what a spin workout has to offer—it’s a great alternative to high-impact exercises like running, you love having the ability to tailor the workout to your own personal needs, and you end each class drenched in sweat. The list goes on. But do you ever wonder at what point your body goes from working hard to hardly working? For some of us, using our rate of perceived exertion (the scale used to approximate how hard you’re working) to measure our sweat is good enough. But for others who are seeking to know more about their body’s performance, a great option is to wear a heart rate monitor.

After I had been spinning consistently for a few months, I got to the point where I wanted to take the guesswork my workouts. One thing was for certain—I’d sweat like a dog—but I wanted to know what part of the ride worked me the hardest. Was it the hills, sprints, or jumps, or did they work me all the same? I also wanted to know my physical limits so that I could better decipher whether it was it my mind or my body craving during that final sprint set. Bottom line, I wanted to know how hard I was working so that I could push my workout to the next level and get as much out of my sixty minutes in saddle as I could. What’s more, I’m a skeptic—I never trust readings on cardio machines or the average calories burned for any activity. I needed something to quantify my results while improving my fitness. After doing a fair amount of research, I decided on the Polar FT4. I wanted something simple and easy to use that would give me an accurate reading of my heart rate and calories burned. I’ve worn it during nearly all of my workouts for five months and counting and I can honestly say it is one of the best fitness investments I’ve made.

Of course, wearing a heart rate monitor is only one way to improve your personal fitness, as it keeps you in the know about your body during a workout. Improvement is difficult to quantify and can only truly be measured by the way you feel physically and mentally. So heart rate monitor or not, do continue to challenge yourself and keep your intensity moving with the flow of the class and the beat of the music. Remember that it’s not only about a little number on your wrist, but how far you’ve come since yesterday.

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