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Working out with a friend keeps you accountable, motivates you to push harder, and makes it fun (seriously, watch the last video)! Next time you and your #fitfam hit the gym, try some of these moves:
Have a friend interested in Healthworks? Send them a free pass!
And just for fun…
See more from our group fitness instructors and try a class today!
From Claudia R., February Fit Girl
I have been a member at Healthworks since the summer of 2014, and spent countless months with an underused membership at other health clubs in Boston. My sessions at the gym would consist of a dreaded, mediocre 30 minute elliptical workout, and 10 minutes on the various weight machines. I didn’t monitor my progress, didn’t increase intensity, and low and behold… also didn’t see any results.
In the fall of 2015, I decided that I needed to make a change. My energy level was low, my weight was high, and I felt more out of shape than ever, in my late-20s. I joined a Drop10 team at Healthworks Back Bay and started to focus in on nutrition and a structured program. As I struggled through the first workout, I knew I had an uphill climb…. but it didn’t kill me! So I returned week after week. After the holiday season, I finally felt confident enough to join a teamTRAIN season. I linked up with Melissa and that is when everything started to click…
With Melissa’s inspiring words, positive motivation and booty-kicking workouts (seriously she’s amazing!!) , I found my stride. I really focused in on what I put on my plate each meal, and started to seek out fitness opportunities that made me happy. I found myself trying new classes at Healthworks and other fitness studios in the area that made working out fun (which I never thought was possible!). I started seeing results, and it felt amazing! Being able to accomplish my goals with other strong women by my side was such an important part of my journey (I even got my mother in on mix, attending a Turkey Day teamTRAIN)! Nine months and almost 40 pounds later, I feel and look my best. I’ve always been happy, but now I am healthy and happy! As I approach my 30th birthday, I have finally fallen in love with fitness, in my own way. All it took was a group of AWESOME ladies by my side, cheering me on the whole way! I have learned that a fit life is not a destination, but a journey, and I have so much more ahead of me.
Essential Additions to Your Fitness Routine
Creating a fit and healthy lifestyle can sometimes feel like it’s all or nothing. We’re in the mindset that in order to achieve results, we must push ourselves everyday or we won’t see change. While it’s true pushing yourself and challenging your body will force it to adapt the harder, faster, more approach is not the always the recipe for success. In order to achieve the changes you’re after, rest and recovery is absolutely necessary.
By allowing yourself one or two rest days a week, you give your body the time and ability to repair muscles, joints, and ligaments. This is especially important if you do a lot of high-impact training. Not taking any rest days can result in overtraining, leading to injury, fatigue, and decreased immunity. The amount of rest time differs from person to person and varies based on the intensity of your exercise. If you do vigorous workouts that involve a lot of strength training, it may be best to allow two or three days a week of rest in order for your muscles to repair and strengthen. If you’re more of a light or moderate exerciser, one day a week should be sufficient.
Photo from www.bloglovin.com
Great! Mandatory couch time? Not quite. It’s important to realize that a rest day isn’t an excuse to not move at all. A rest day might be an opportunity to try a different form of exercise, such as a yoga class or Pilates reformers. If you mainly focus on strength training, maybe take a spin class. It might be as simple as walking to meet your friends for coffee opposed to driving or taking public transformation. Some form of movement is good, just make sure it feels good for your body.
You can also speed up your recovery time by making some changes in your post-workout habits. If you’re sore, try foam rolling, assisted stretching, or massage in order to release knots, reduce stiffness, and encourage muscle repair. Getting a good night’s sleep, drinking a lot of water, and consuming protein after your workout can also help reduce soreness.
Rest days are an important and often overlooked part of a healthy fitness routine. Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to take a day off when you need to. You’ll come back stronger and more ready to work than before!
From Kayla Mehr
Level 3 Healthworks Back Bay Personal Trainer
You may have noticed that many gyms have recently switched to synthetic turf flooring. What’s up with this fake grass some ask? Mimicking the feel of natural grass/fields these synthetic turf floorings have been proven to be beneficial for a few different reasons.
Here are a few top benefits of working out on turf flooring:
1. Softer surface and cushioning to reduce chances of impact related injuries.
2. Challenges and strengthens the tiny muscles in our feet and ankles that are difficult to activate on a stable surface.
3. Offers more versatility and options for functional total body workouts.
Try this fun lower body turf workout!
Conduct 3 rounds of the following:
15 Walking lunges each leg
15 Lateral shuffles each direction
15 Single leg deadlifts each leg
15 Squat jumps
15 High knees each leg
Want more workouts? Our trainers can customize any workout to fit your goals! Try a training session today!
Our very own level 4 Master Trainer and Pilates Instructor, Phyl London, has brought you a full-body workout that strengthens from the inside out! Grab your little one and start sweating!
Phyl London was voted one of Boston’s top 25 favorite Instructors by MoveWith #Spark25. Her Mommy and Baby workout was voted top 10 on YouTube!
Here are 6 exercises to target your arms! Check out the “helpful links” if you need a visual!
1. Supine Dumbbell Pullovers with Leg Extension – 3 sets, 15 reps // What it works: Abs, arms, hips
*Only extend arms and legs as far as you can while keeping your lower back glued to the ground for maximum engagement.
(Helpful Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r687q0UiwKw)
2. Pushups – 3 sets, 15 reps // What it works: Shoulders, back
*Plain and simple, these are one of the best pushing exercises you can do. Avoid locking the elbows, and don’t allow your back to sway. Keep your bum loose and slightly higher than the rest of your body. Modify by keeping knees on the ground, or by placing your hands on a bench. Wherever you are, be sure to stack shoulders directly above your wrists.
(Helpful Link: http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/pushups)
3. Tricep Dips – 3 sets, 15 reps // What it works: Back of arms
*Keep your bum close to the bench, and move from the elbow first, not the shoulder, and keep fingers facing forward. Think about squeezing a ball between your elbows behind you.
(Helpful Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0326dy_-CzM)
4. Bent Over Lateral Raises – 3 sets, 15 reps // What it works: Shoulders, back
*Keep the shoulders drawn down away from the ears, and keep your back flat or even slightly arched – try not to slump forward!
(Helpful Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttvfGg9d76c)
5. Dumbbell Curls – 3 sets, 15 reps ( each side) // What it works: Front of arms
*Pause for a moment and the top of each repetition and focus on squeezing your biceps as hard as you can.
6. Dead Hang – 3 reps of max hold // What it works: Forearms
*Grip the bar as hard as you can, and try to relax everything in your body other than your grip. This will lengthen your spine and stretch the associated muscles helping to improve posture.
(Helpful Link: http://www.fitstream.com/exercises/dead-hang-a6039)
Looking for a program specific to your fitness level and goals? Find your trainer and get started today!
*How does it work?
*Does it hurt?
*Is there something in the needles?
*How many needles do you use in one treatment?
The goal of Acupuncture is to get your body to a place of balance. Acupuncture uses the needling of acupoints to open up blockages within the body to allows blood and qi (your vital fore, that moves all things) to flow in the most optimal way. In doing so, this will prevent disease and cure or ease the symptoms of other diseases. Disease in this sense is the absence of health, ANYTHING affecting your health.
*Client’s responses to treatments have included:
*Improvement in their conditions
*Sense of floating out of the treatment room (i.e. extreme relaxation)
*Improved body and self awareness
There are a variety of sensations that may be experienced during an acupuncture treatment. These sensations may include, warmth, coolness, numbness, tingling, heaviness, electrical sensation, and yes, even pain. Although, the pain does not remain after the puncture has been made and should resolve after about 1 to 3 seconds.
There is nothing in the needles. They are stainless steel and ALL ONE TIME USE. All needles are disposed of after each treatment. Acupuncture treatments are specialized to each individual’s concerns (i.e. problem areas or health concerns), so in one treatment the amount of needles may vary depending on the person’s comfort level and what is being treated.
Treatments can range from 25 minutes to 90 minutes. Acupuncture is typically done in a series of treatments. The results you want may not be seen in one treatment. However, you should feel a difference in one treatment and a shift in your condition within four to five treatments.
So, what is holding you back? Ready for a shift? Try acupuncture at Healthworks today!
April Nieves, MAOM, Lic. Ac. Healthworks-Back Bay
Are you one of the many people who made a resolution to hit the gym more? You’re not alone. New Year’s resolutions to get healthy, whether that’s by improving nutrition or exercising more, have become increasingly popular. Yet come February, many people lose their ambition to enhance their wellbeing. Don’t let that be you! Check out these four ways to stay motivated and stick to your fitness goals.
Make a Plan
The first strategy to maintaining your resolution is one that most people don’t do: make a plan. Your plan should revolve around SMART goals, meaning it should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. For example, “I want to run a marathon” is a poor goal because it does not align with the SMART motto. A better goal would be, “By March 31st, I want to be able to run three miles.” This goal is specific, you can measure your progress, you can attain the goal with a solid plan, it’s realistic to accomplish in three months, and you’re giving yourself time to achieve it.
Next, get an old fashioned notebook and pen and write it down. What will you do each week to get to this goal? How many minutes will you need to train? What classes will you attend? What pound weights do you need to lift? By writing down these details, you are more likely to hold yourself accountable because you’re not just winging it. You have planned time into your day to work out and you’ve written down the details of your workout. This creates less excuses and makes you more likely to stick with your plan to accomplish your resolution.
Alright ladies, listen up. Lifting weights will NOT make you bulky. One of the greatest obstacles women run into when trying to lose weight is the plateau. If you are only doing cardio, you will reach this plateau where no more weight is coming off. The solution? Weight lifting.
With weight training, you continue to burn calories up to 24 hours after you lift, as opposed to cardio where you only burn calories when you’re moving. Weight training creates muscle tone and will help shed those final pounds.
Mix it Up
Ever not gone to the gym because the thought of running on the treadmill for 30 minutes sounded excruciatingly boring? We’ve all experienced some degree of gym boredom. And when that happens, it can be huge barrier to accomplishing fitness goals.
The best way to counteract this is to mix it up, every single day. Do some cardio machines one day, run outside the next, lift some weights, do some yoga, etc. Trying new classes is another way to keep things interesting, especially because you may discover a new method of exercise that you love! By doing different types of exercise, you also prevent your body from adapting to something for too long, allowing for constant change and results.
Move Past the Bad Days
One morning you were so exhausted, you hit snooze and skipped the gym. Maybe you indulged in too many treats at a party. But guess what? That’s ok!
We’re human, we’re not perfect, and we make mistakes. Don’t let your resolutions prevent you from living a happy and positive life. If you skip the gym one day, don’t beat yourself up about it or feel guilty. But just because you skipped one day, doesn’t mean you should skip the next. Get back on the horse and keep going.
Every morning is a fresh start. Every moment is a chance to change your life and improve your health. What are you waiting for?
From Corrine M., Dec. Fit Girl –
For years, I struggled with an eating disorder, which landed me in the hospital for a little over a month and afterwards, an intensive treatment center. I struggled with not only my eating, but with myself as well. I never thought that I was good enough in any aspect of my life, whether that was at school, socially, or in physical appearance. My exercise also got out of control, and at one point I was working out for 3-4 hours every day, usually doing some form of cardio. When I was at my worst, I had to stop running and I could barely go on short walks without becoming tired. I couldn’t concentrate on more than a sentence at a time, and my body was slowly collapsing on itself. I remained in a bubble, where all I thought about was food and how much I hated myself. My mental health also suffered as well, and I became majorly depressed and extremely anxious. I had multiple panic attacks a day and was so weak and depressed that I could barely move my limbs to get out of bed. I wanted to die. I couldn’t believe that life could be this painful. It was like a demon of epic proportions had taken over my body and brain, and it was taking everything I had. I had no idea how it had gotten this bad, and I didn’t even recognize myself inside or out. My eyes were sunken in, my hair was falling out, and I looked grey-pale all over.
Fast forward to today, where I am double majoring in nursing and health science at MCPHS University, and I am happy and healthy again. I am getting my nursing assistant certification on weekends, and am nourishing my body with healthy food. I have never felt better in my life, both mentally and physically. How did this happen? A lot of hard work and support, and…lifting. When I discovered the iron, I found an outlet for my anxiety while doing something that makes me feel powerful and confident. There is nothing like accomplishing a new max weight or trying a new lifting workout. Lifting has given me the confidence and the go ahead to become confident in my abilities to achieve wonderful things and it has enabled me to start loving my mind and my body again. I have realized that I am enough, just the way that I am. I don’t need to starve myself to feel pretty, I love my muscles and think that they are beautiful. There are some days where I cannot lift as much as I may want to due to being tired, etc. but this gives me the opportunity to listen to my body and respect its needs, something that I would never have done before. I now look forward to working out, and it is not something that I dread. I have found what empowers me, and I feel blessed to say this, because I never thought that I would get to say those words in my life.
There is an instructor at Healthworks, Maya who teaches the Tuesday evening Sculpt Yoga class. She is very positive and is in school like I am, and seeing someone who also has a packed schedule remain so upbeat and energetic is inspirational for me and I’m sure many other people. Maya often tells us that we are always stronger than we think. This has become my mantra, both in and out of the gym. Whatever comes my way, I know that I can handle it with strength and grace, and with the silent confidence that I carry with me throughout my day.
Healthworks has helped me in many ways, one of which is seeing that women can be strong when we are all together. Women who go to the gym are strong, confident people, and when we all work out in the same environment, it is a wonderful thing. I would certainly love to see more women lift since as it has helped me so much. I firmly believe that there is no better way to fight weakness than with strength.
From Ashley Markwood
If you’re feeling a little hungover with holiday cheer – I’ve got the perfect workout for you! I know … the LAST thing you want to think about is working out, but I promise it’ll make you feel better to sneak in a quick sweat sesh!
Remember a few Fit Friday’s ago we talked about staying fit this holiday season? Well, this past week I had my first workout with a personal trainer at Healthworks! My main goal is to avoid a “mom butt” and actually GAIN more muscle in my booty. My trainer (Hannah) went for it with my program and needless to say, it worked because the soreness is real! She had me using heavier weights than I’m used to in order to increase muscle mass.
Here are 8 moves you can do to wake up your booty!
1. Donkey kicks
2. Walking lunges (with weight)
3. Curtsy Squat
4. Glute bridges
5. Squat with a lateral kick
6. Deadlift with weight
From Amber H., Nov. Fit Girl –
I struggled with my weight all through college. I would diet every few months and lose weight and then gain it back a few months later. Right after I graduated, I realized that I was the heaviest that I had ever been. My family has a history of high blood pressure and diabetes, and I decided that I could not put my heath on hold. Being a goal-oriented person, the first thing I did was register for a half marathon in New Orleans. The most I had ever run was 10 miles when I was 14 years old and I cried through a large portion of it. But I needed to put my money where my mouth was and decided a 13.1-mile run was the perfect motivator to get in shape. The second thing I did was join Healthworks.
At Healthworks, I started working with Aoife, who has been one of the greatest champions of my training. Aoife showed me that there was more to the gym than the treadmill and elliptical. Aoife had me join a group of three other women who helped keep me motivated. I also joined teamFuel with Rachel who taught me that I didn’t need to diet to lose weight. Instead, I needed to be aware of the things that I was eating and how those foods were affecting my body. She helped me create strategies to keep on track with healthy eating like only having one starch per meal and reading a menu beforehand so that I don’t give into unhealthy temptations when I get to the restaurant.
This past February, I ran the entire half marathon in New Orleans with my family. It was satisfying to have the best finishing time in the group as well as be the only person who would walk the next day. A few weeks after I finished my first race, I signed up for my next half marathon in Brooklyn. While the Brooklyn course was not as flat (the last three miles were an incline), I was able to shave 13 minutes off my overall time.
I could not have done any of this without the help of Aoife, Rachel, and my training buddies at Healthworks. Thanks to them, I am working on my next goal – running a full marathon.
From Ashley Markwood
Holiday parties, hot chocolate, sugary treats, and COLD WEATHER; four things that can derail your diet and desire to hit the gym! Many people (including myself) find that during the holiday season, it’s difficult to maintain a solid routine. One little tip to remember is: a short workout is better than no workout at all, so do SOMETHING even if it’s just a 10-15 minute cardio burst! The new year is just around the corner, so don’t wait until January 1st like all those “resolution” people – get into the habit NOW and make exercise part of your daily routine. Trust me, it will be much easier to fend off the dreaded holiday bulge!
Here are 5 ways you can stay in shape this holiday season…
1. Invest in resistance bands/tubes. Don’t let travel be your excuse for lagging behind on your workouts. Resistance bands are easy to pack and won’t take up much space in your suitcase. There’s so much you can do with them, from bicep curls to lunges, you can get a full body workout.
2. Tight on time? Try a circuit workout or intense cardio burst. Customize your own workout; choose 6 exercises to rotate through and push yourself to the max! Tabata is a really intense workout consisting of short cardio bursts and would be a great option if you’ve only got 20-30 minutes. You can find the Tabata workout that I posted here.
3. Sign up for a class at your gym + schedule out 4 weeks. Committing to the same class once a week will give you consistency and an attainable short term goal. Also, if you sign up in advance, you’re more likely to attend! For example, Healthworks offers a Barre class every Monday afternoon – so I would sign up for this coming week and every Monday through the first week of December. It’s a simple way to hold yourself accountable! View Healthworks’ full class schedule.
4. Hire a personal trainer. Maybe you know yourself reallll well and know that you’ll need some extra motivation during these holiday months … hire a personal trainer or find one at your gym! Thankfully, my gym has a bunch of awesome personal trainers and I always see them fully engaged with their clients. It would be a great way to stay on track and get that extra “boost” this season!
5. No gym? No problem. Whether you’re on the road visiting relatives or at home but can’t make the gym, this interval workout can be done right in your living room! Do each exercise for 60 seconds, moving from one to the next without resting. Once you have completed all exercises once, take a 90-second rest. Repeat for a total of 3 times through. *Finish with two 60-second plank holds*
– Jumping Jacks
– Squat Jumps
– Mountain Climbers
I hope everyone has a great weekend!
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month we are sharing an inspiring story from one of our members.
By: Joan D. She a professor and directs a masters program in international development at Brandeis University. Her nickname at Healthworks is ‘The Crusher’.
The first thing that I did when I moved to Boston from New York two years ago was sign up at Healthworks. I loved the idea that it was an all-women’s club, and that it supported the community through activities like free self-defense sessions for women.
But joining was more than finding a simpatico place to work out. For me, as a breast cancer survivor (36 years and counting), staying fit is literally my life. My first activity after surgery and a year of chemo was a walk in Central Park.
I was so weak then that I had to get a ride home – couldn’t finish the walk! I’m nothing if not persistent, though, and after that sobering episode I swam and ran on a regular basis until I regained my strength. I especially loved running and still do, for the freedom and exhilaration it can produce.
Every time I go back to New York I run around the reservoir in Central Park, twice! It’s a great way to celebrate being alive, and remember – just for a short while –when I couldn’t even walk that route.
So I came to Healthworks in good shape but ready for some new challenges. First off I met Jeff Cameron, who has worked with me on strength training in his low-key but deadly effective way. Then I met the inimitable Swan Lyon, and started Pilates classes. Slowly I got stronger (can leg press 140 pounds!) and more flexible (can bend in ways I never could). Pilates has definitely helped me to overcome a perpetually stiff shoulder and limited arm mobility on one side – a leftover from the cancer surgery all those decades ago.
To cap it all off I started Team Train with Swan and Mike McKinney over the summer. Those training sessions have helped me to build stamina, strength and balance through floor exercises, interval training and some great outdoor work. Our team ran a 5k Mudderella race in July and we just did a 3k ‘Tuff Scramblers’ race. (OK, I did break a bone in my foot but it was worth it.)
The races were crazy, muddy and fun. Best of all, my trainers and teammates are the most accomplished, caring and team-spirited people one could ever meet. I love being part of our team.
Oh, and by the way I’m going to be 70 years old next year.
From Dawn S., Oct. Fit Girl –
It’s funny how it takes something to so scary in life to make you realize what is really important. I was one of those people that was going through the motions; get up, commute to work, exercise, work some more, commute home, etc. I have always tried to balance play and work. Then I was stopped in my tracks with a routine doctor’s appointment. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2015.
I am an Ironman triathlete, marathoner, collegiate swimmer, personal trainer, mother and wife. The diagnosis re-organized everything in my life. Fitness has always been a huge part of my life. I ate healthy (most of the time) and made exercise a priority. One of the biggest hurdles to get over was the question, “why did this happen to me?”
It has now been over a year since I finished treatments and I’m on the road to recovery. Being fit prior to my diagnosis definitely helped with my recovery. It was hard to exercise consistently at first with all the surgeries, but now that part is over and I feel more like myself. I’m still not where I used to be, but that’s okay.
When something like this happens, you celebrate every little milestone. My daughter will be four in two weeks. I may never do another Ironman, but at least I’ll get to see my daughter grow up.
Healthworks has been very supportive both financially and mentally throughout this long, arduous journey. Working at Healthworks part time while going through treatments helped take my mind off things and relieved some of the burdens that may have arisen at other places of employment. My clients and co-workers are amazing people. They inspire me every day!
Find a Gym with Childcare
By Ashley Markwood
I’ve been nursing a bum knee for a few weeks now and have been missing my trips to the gym BIG TIME. London [my daughter] and I were just starting to get into a groove and she was getting acclimated to the “Kids Club” … so I’m eager to return to our routine! The gym has alway been a great way for me to relieve stress and it makes me feel better about myself overall. I appreciate my workouts EVEN MORE now that I have a baby so …
Here are my top 5 reasons to join a gym with childcare…
1. It’s a great “time killer.” Now before you go judging me about the whole “time killer” thing … hear me out. The days of “mom-ing” are long. Amazing, yes, but long just the same. A little 15- minute road trip, 45-min sweat sesh and an hour of time has passed. You’re welcome.
2. Meet other fit mama’s. I always meet at least one mom when I drop-off or pick-up at the gym. It’s a great way to connect and chances are they’re eager to chat with another mom (you!) too! Sometimes a 5-minute vent session is necessary and who better to dump all of your problems on than a fellow mom who can maybe offer you a bit of advice.
3. Get back in shape, both physically + mentally. Hitting the gym isn’t just to get our hot “pre-baby” bod back. Working out is also scientifically proven to release endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in your brain! It always puts me in a better space mentally and gives me renewed energy for the day!
4. Cheap childcare. Does your gym have a locker room? Spa? TVs + magazines? Sometimes all you need is a short break from the chaos to walk (at a slow pace) on the treadmill, and catch up on some “US Weekly.” Or maybe (just maybe) you want to shower in peace and blow dry your hair for once! I’ve definitely dropped Lo off at the Kids Club and headed straight for the locker rooms! A little refresh time is sometimes all you may need to jumpstart your day, and gym childcare is MUCH cheaper than a babysitter … am I right?!
5. It gets you out of the house. This is a BIG one for me. Sometimes the thought of packing everything Lo needs and schlepping to the gym seems daunting, but I’m ALWAYS (yes, always!) happy that I did. No one (including your baby) likes to be confined to the house or staring at the same four walls all day! Once you’ve hit the gym, grab a coffee and get an errand done – take advantage of being in the outside world. It’s great stimulation for your little one, and you’ll appreciate the time out too!
Here are some photos from the Kids Club at Healthworks, where Lo spends her time! Nina (pictured below) is fantastic with the kiddos! She’s super hands on, energetic, and guess what – I’ve even hired her to babysit London once/week to give me a little break! If you’re a Boston mama – check out Healthworks + see what they offer for childcare!