The HB Transformation Challenge

The Challenge is back once again: Three guys, eight weeks, and a whole lot of rides. We’d like you to meet our three Handle Bar gentlemen this year, who have made a commitment to themselves to transform and raise the bar. Each of them has made specific goals to stick to from now until April 1. Keep your eyes peeled for each of them in classes on the regular! Continue reading

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

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.

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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!


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!


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!

Weight Loss Weigh-In… 2 weeks down

Our 3 challengers in a 6 week weight-loss battle are hard at work. With 2 weeks behind them and over 30 pounds lost between them, we thought we’d check in with their progress.


Jeff Black after 2 weeks of the challenge and 14 pounds lost!

Jeff Black after 2 weeks of the challenge and 14 pounds lost!

Name: Jeffery Black

Age: 24

Height: 6’2″

Starting Weight: 228

Current Weight: 214

End Weight goal: 208 lbs (20 lbs total loss)

Current rides/week: 5

Goal rides/week: 4-5

What has been the most challenging part of these past 2 weeks?

The most challenging part over the first two weeks was watching what I was eating. The adjustment to eating healthier takes a little more planning and attention but its getting easier. I haven’t had Tasty Burger in over two weeks too, soI think I’m doing alright!

What has worked for you so far?
What has worked for me is having a partner to go with and getting set in a routine. Sean and myself have been keeping each other accountable, and it gives you extra motivation to push yourself a little harder. Plus everyone, from the desk staff to all the instructors, have been super friendly and welcoming, which makes it fun to come in as often as I can.
Sean 2 weeks into the challenge and 13 pounds lost!

Sean 2 weeks into the challenge and 13 pounds lost!

Name: Sean Fracalossi

Age: 28

Height: 6’3″

Starting Weight: 263

Current Weight: 250 (13 pounds lost)

End weight goal: 243

Current rides/week: 4

Goal rides/week: 5

Tell us about your week… what has been difficult, what has worked for you?

A little over two weeks in and I am feeling pretty good! Working out has been fun, Jeff and I have been using the buddy system, which has helped in keeping us on track. I think we’ve spun like 12 times so far with some lifting thrown in there. However, I will say that the challenge isn’t so much working out as much as it is eating right. In fact, I’d say its pretty much all about eating right. These first 12 pounds dropped off with the only significant fluctuation coming the weekend of Marathon Monday. I love beers and burgers and pizza, which like to keep me company for a prolonged period of time after indulging. First let’s tackle breakfast. Like everything else, I prefer a sausage, egg, and cheese on a plain bagel to start the day. Had to throw those out, which is a total bummer. Moved to using the Magic Bullet at my office to make smoothies with apples, bananas, plain yogurt, and honey. It’s tasty, don’t get me wrong, but my 10AM my stomach is yelling and screaming. Then to lunch. Salads. Maybe if I am feeling dangerous, through some grilled chicken or turkey in there. Lots of fruits and vegetables. Dinner is usually pretty diverse, with lots of greens and lean meats. Not too bad! If you will humor me here, I’d like to describe my fantasy meal for therapeutic purposes. I am presently envisioning a double bacon cheeseburger with Gorgonzola add jalapenos from Tasty Burger. I’d supplement it with a 50/50 and potentially a Butta Burger if I was feeling frisky. Thanks for your patience, I needed that. Anyway, The next couple weeks will be more of the same, with some challenges given the great weather and the impending grill season. Wish me luck. 242, here we come!’

Shane at 2 weeks into the challenge and 6 pounds lost!

Shane at 2 weeks into the challenge and 6 pounds lost!

Name: Shane Kilgerman

Age: 28

Height: 5’10”

Starting Weight: 220

Current Weight: 213 (6 pounds lost)

End weight goal: 200 lbs

Current rides/week: 6

Goal rides/week: 5

What has been the most challenging part of these past 2 weeks?

I’ve been struggling with eating at night. I eat a nice big breakfast to push me through the morning hours, followed by a medium-sized lunch. Without fail though, come dinnertime, it’s pretty late and I end up overeating. I need to do a better job at either eating dinner a little earlier in the evening or get into the habit of having smaller portions. Having a big meal right before bed cannot be a good thing.
What has worked for you so far?
I’m crushing Handle Bar workouts. I’ve been forcing myself to get up super early and it’s starting to pay dividends. I’ve taken 13 classes in 14 days, 9 of which were at 6am or 7am. I get a great, sweaty workout in when I’m otherwise normally hours away from even getting out of bed. And the instructors possess and deploy such positive energy and vibes that there’s simply no better way to start the day. One other thing I’m proud of is my meal prep. It’s hard to make healthy meals every single day so I’ve grown accustomed to making my lunches for the entire week in one sitting. It’s advantageous on many fronts, one of which is that it makes me more aware about what I’m consuming and putting into my body.
These guys are kicking’ ass and taking names – check out this summary of their progress. Pretty amazing! Keep riding and keep sweating guys
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#Transform – 3 HB guys take on a spin-fueled weight loss challenge!

Sun’s out guns out. Spring is in the air and Summer is around the corner. For many of us, the cold weather stunts our fitness goals and makes it difficult to stay motivated. A few 65 degree days and a looming Memorial Day Weekend are some surefire fuel to get that butt into shape.

Three Handle Bar regulars have decided to take their goals to the next level and begin a 6-week Transformation Challenge, with a focus on weight loss and replacing fat with muscle. And what better way to spark some motivation than publicizing their challenge on our blog for thousands to see?! Sounds like a recipe for some great beach bods..

Jeff, Sean, and Shane take on a 6 week HB driven, weight-loss challenge!

Jeff, Sean, and Shane take on a 6 week HB driven, weight-loss challenge!

They’re beginning their challenge THIS week and it will wrap up on Memorial Day with a final weigh-in and celebration! I’ll be keeping you posted on their progress throughout their challenge. We’ll post their progress in pounds, in pics, and in their triumphs and struggles as the weeks wear on.

Meet the team:

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Name: Jeffery Black

Age: 24

Height: 6’2″

Current Weight: 228

Weight loss goal: 20 lbs

Current rides/week: 2

Goal rides/week: 4-5

Jeff is entering this challenge to not only lose weight, but take on a more active and healthy lifestyle. This type of commitment is what will make his weight-loss permanent, and won’t lead to a quick gain when the challenge is complete. His goal is to lose 20 pounds, but more importantly to get back in the habit of 4-5 workouts per week and a regular diet of nutritious foods.

What is your fitness background?  I played sports throughout high school and most of my time in college, so my routine has been weight training oriented. Since graduating and now working full-time I’ve begun running a bit more, and have taken up cycling at The HB. I also try and get to the YMCA to do some lifting or use the pool when I have the time. 

How do you plan to reach your goals? I hope to accomplish this by packing in as much physical activity as I can into my day, and to start eating healthier. Anybody who knows me knows that I love ordering out food and am the munchie king so that will something I’ll be cutting back on. I think that getting into the Handle Bar as much as possible and being more conscious about what and how much I am eating will do the trick!

What is your plan for Week 1? Getting to the Handlebar as much as possible! I plan on trying to get to as many morning classes as I can this week and leave the evening for other (hopefully outdoor) activities as this weather starts getting better. 

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Name: Sean Fracalossi

Age: 28

Height: 6’3″

Current Weight: 262

Weight loss goal: 15-20 lbs

Current rides/week: 2

Goal rides/week: 5

Sean is entering this challenge to not only lose weight, but to get motivated to make a lifestyle change. He feels that kickstarting his weight loss will have a great impact on his lifestyle choices across the board. Starting the day with a workout will lead to healthier choices throughout the day, and he hopes that starting the summer with a weight-loss challenge will lead to a year of healthy choices. 

What is your fitness background?  I played sports competitively throughout high school and college. I love to be outdoors, riding bikes, playing with my dog, snowboarding, whatever. Staying fit has been tough! I spin a few times a week with some light lifting thrown in there. 

How do you plan to reach your goals? So I realize for myself that when I am most active, I eat the healthiest. That being said, I feel my key is to be in the studio at least 4x per week while being outside as much as possible.

What is your plan for Week 1? Ride Monday night with my friend and fellow weigh-loss challenge participant Jeff Black! From there simply do my best to enjoy this beautiful weather with my dog, Brett.


Name: Shane Kilgerman 

Age: 28

Height: 5’10”

Current Weight: 219

Weight loss goal: 15-20 lbs

Current rides/week: 1-2

Goal rides/week: 5

This winter Shane got off track on nutrition and has been a self described ‘caloric monster’ throughout most of it. Because of the recently added weight he feels a little more lethargic than usual, and is looking to kick-start his metabolism and have more energy! He also want to trim down so he’s not putting as much pressure on his knees when running.

What is your fitness background? I’ve always been active and played soccer growing up and throughout high school but since then I’ve taken up running, ranging from 5K’s to half marathons. I go to the gym a few days a week as well to get more of a core workout. Pickup basketball is a must, too. Watch for the 3-ball!

How do you plan to reach your goals? My diet and workout regimen has gotten so off course that I think I’ll see results fairly quickly. The Handle Bar classes are great ways to jumpstart the day and what’s great is it’s not hard on the knees so I can still pound the pavement too!

What is your plan for Week 1? Hopefully this recent stretch of beautiful weather is a harbinger for what’s to come and I’ve started off on the right foot by shooting some hoops and going for a quick run. I’m dedicated to take more Handle Bar classes which is going to be a great compliment to my new workout routine.

Stay tuned as these guys shed their excess weight and kick start a summer of healthy living! What are your goals this spring? How will The Handle Bar help you reach them?

Still Raising the Bar – Marcus Springer

Marcus Springer was our first ever rider of the month. Now, 9 months later, he’s taken over 150 Handle Bar classes, lost 40 pounds, 6 inches, looks great and feels even better.  Marcus has been one of our most loyal riders, and his inspirational story is one you need to hear! Marcus finds inspiration in his family, where do you find yours?


What are some of the goals you have achieved over the past 9 months?

I joined the Handle Bar with the goal of losing weight and getting fit. After starting, upon the studios opening, I became hooked on spinning. I knew it was for me. The first few weeks were very difficult as I was so out of shape – 236 pounds with a 39 inch waist band!!! My goal was to lose 50 pounds in a year, roughly a pound a week. I am now at 196 pounds with a 33 inch waist – that’s 40 pounds GONE and 6 inches of waist band. I am obviously extremely happy about this, as is my family. I tend to spin pretty much every day with the “rooster rides” and the morning classes on the weekends when we’re in town. There are 12 weeks left to reach my goal of 50 pounds. We’ll see how it goes. I feel great, totally energized, much stronger and no longer get stressed out.


What other kinds of exercise have you been doing to complement your rides at the HB?

I complement the spin rides with a half hour of free weights four days a week, concentrating on strengthening my core in particular. I had lots of back pain before I started all this exercise and it has disappeared. I am much stronger and now can’t miss a day of exercise. I don’t diet at all, I enjoy my food and wine far too much for that. I have never eaten refined sugars or much dairy anyway and have really only done portion control, I keep to a pretty balanced diet. I am also beginning to ride on my road bike now that the snow is melting away. I signed up for the Pan Mass Challenge in August. Should be fun!


Has your music taste evolved while riding with us?

Yes definitely. There are many songs that I really like but don’t know who sings them. I will find out one of these days. I was born in the sixties, so the music that is in my bones are the likes of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead etc. – more old school.


What have been some challenges you’ve faced over the past 9 months?

The biggest one is the weight control. At first it flew off in big chunks, but then it got harder as I became leaner. I would plateau for weeks at a certain weight and I thought I had stalled somehow, but then the weight started dropping again. I imagine it was my body adjusting as I went along. From the outset I didn’t want to do any crazy dieting, so I just kept going along and it has worked! The overall average is still about a pound a week. Losing more than that is unhealthy and unrealistic in my view. I am “Mr. Instant Gratification” so the slow and methodical weight loss has been the hardest thing, but now it is very easy to keep it off as my body has adjusted over time. I have a new mindset.


Has it been difficult to stay in the groove of exercising/cycling?

No, I love it. I’ll do it forever at this point. The benefits are very obvious and far outweigh any other issues that may preclude me doing them. I will always choose exercise/cycling as a first priority. The one thing that I noticed straight away was the disappearance of stress. The spin classes are pretty intense cardio and after each one, my mind is very clear and all my worries that I had were only trivial. You become very Zen after a while.


What has kept you so motivated?

Definitely my family, my two boys and my wife. I will be 50 in June and I want to be there for them as I get older and not incapacitated in any way. Last June, I was definitely on track to being a fat slug on the train to heart attack station. Those days are gone, never to return. Now that the weight is pretty much gone, I can concentrate more on tone and strength and then maintain with regular exercise and a balanced diet – old school – like me.

I would like send a big thank you to all of the awesome instructors that have helped me get to where I am today – Jess, Meg, Elise, Lena, Erin, Ali, Sarah and Rachel. I couldn’t have done it without your motivation and high energy in every class! I will definitely continue to “Raise the Bar”!!

Keep killin’ it Marcus!