6 Week Transformation Challenge – The Big Reveal

Just to recap: Three Handle Bar regulars (Jeff, Sean and Shane) decided to take their fitness goals to the next level and begin a 6-week Transformation Challenge with the Handle Bar. Their main focus was on both weight loss and replacing fat with muscle. Its been 6 weeks, let’s see how they did! #HBtransform

Sean quite impressed with his weight loss journey.

Sean quite impressed with his weight loss journey.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 12.55.38 PM


Jeff's Six Week #HBTransformation. First picture is week 1 and the third is week 6!

Jeff’s Six Week #HBTransformation. First picture is week 1 and the third is week 6!

JEFF:

1) How do you feel?

I feel fantastic! Not going to lie, my legs were really sore for the last week but I think this is the best shape I’ve been in the past few years and overall I feel great.

2) What was your favorite thing about the past 6 weeks? Your least favorite?

My favorite thing about the past 6 weeks was seeing myself progress. I could feel myself getting better as a rider, and seeing/feeling the results was great motivation. My least favorite part was probably getting myself up for the rooster riders but once I got to the studio I was happy I did it!

3) What changes have you made that you plan to stick with?

I plan to stick in the routine of making it to as many of the morning rides a week that I can. I found its a nice way to wake up and kick start the day.

4) How has your riding changed? Do you plan to continue riding as much as you did throughout the challenge?

I think I’ve become a stronger rider for sure. I’ve found myself being able to ride and sprint through parts of songs that I definitely could not at the beginning of the challenge. I hope to make it in at least 3-4 times a week for sure!

5) Any tips to someone looking to reach a goal like yours?

I would say its important to find yourself a routine, and stick to it. Once I got through the first few weeks, it was much easier not only to consistently be in the studio or at the gym, but also on the diet front as well.


Sean's Six Week #HBTransformation. First picture is week 1 and the third is week 6!

Sean’s Six Week #HBTransformation. First picture is week 1 and the third is week 6!

SEAN:

1) How do you feel?

Great! I feel light! Before the challenge I’d feel a bit sluggish, think a perpetual post-thanksgiving lull.

2) What was your favorite thing about the past 6 weeks? Your least favorite?

Favorite think had to be weigh-in day. Seeing the pounds fall off was really a treat! Worst part I would say to be weigh-in day. I would undoubtedly overindulge over the weekend, and would frantically be fasting and working out, sometimes 5 times between Sunday night and Tuesday morning.

3) What changes have you made that you plan to stick with?

Portion control. The first couple weeks eating small would legit make me angry. I’d see what I was getting for meals and be like ‘F@%king crap, this sucks.’ Sure enough though, as the weeks rolled on, I began to be more and more content eating small and eating clean.

4) How has your riding changed? Do you plan to continue riding as much as you did throughout the challenge?

My riding has gotten much better. Long stints out of the saddle had been really difficult for me in the past, now I feel a level of strength with which I can charge through those hard parts. With the HB Summer Share I can imagine i’ll try to get in there at least 4 days a week, maybe more!

5) Any tips to someone looking to reach a goal like yours?

COMMIT! Just do it! It will suck at first, you’ll be tired, you’ll be hungry, but I’d urge you to be strong and wait it out. Nothing felt better than watching the weight fall off week after week.


Shane's Six Week #HBTransformation. First picture is week 1 and the third is week 6!

Shane’s Six Week #HBTransformation. First picture is week 1 and the third is week 6!

1) How do you feel?

I feel great! I feel like I can move mountains now! I have more energy overall and a definite recognizable pep in my step!

2) What was your favorite thing about the past 6 weeks? Your least favorite?

There are so many positives and not a whole heck of a lot of negatives. Waking up in the early morning hours was actually a godsend. I’ve been starting my day HOURS earlier than I used to and because of that I’ve become a more productive person overall. That has to be my favorite thing. The obvious benefits of exercising are perks too: reinforcing positive vibes both mentally and physically, being more aerodynamic when I’m cutting and slashing towards the basketball hoop for an easy 2, and getting to connect and bond with fellow HB riders are strong candidates for my favorite thing throughout this challenge

3) What changes have you made that you plan to stick with?

Starting the day off right. I used to either consume half my daily caloric intake in breakfast alone or skip the meal altogether, both of which have disastrous consequences.

I’m more conscious about what I decide to put in my mouth. I’m no longer a vacuum cleaner, maybe more like a hand held Dirt Devil.

4) How has your riding changed? Do you plan to continue riding as much as you did throughout the challenge?

Prior to the challenge I rode rather sparingly. I’m hooked now so you’ll be sure to see me locked into the pedals more often. My riding has changed because I’m definitely more in sync with the music and it makes for a more pleasurable ride. Nothing is worse then being out in 3 only to look around and see everyone else is in the saddle doing tricep presses. Did I just black out?

5) Any tips to someone looking to reach a goal like yours?

You can do it! And even after 6 weeks of consistently riding I don’t feel burnt out in the slightest, so get after it! Also, take a bunch of different classes. Spinning is not universal. Instructors bring their own unique flare to the platform and it’s been fun switching up which instructor I wanted to ride with. I suggest to give everyone a shot and it’ll definitely keep you coming back for more.


What a fantastic job guys! All three of you have shown such dedication and hard work, a great example for us all. We hope you continue your journey and to see you jamming out in the HB saddle soon!

#HBSummerShare 2015: Commit to a Summer Worth Sharing

by amy frankenthaler

1

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!

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.