Final Project: A profile on Rachele Pojednic

For my final project I will be doing a profile piece on Rachele Pojednic, a Northeastern alum and all-around Boston-fitness guru. Rachele is involved in every aspect of exercise; coxswain for the Northeastern Alumni Rowing Team, spinning instructor at Recycle Studio and has worked as a strength and conditioning coach for Northeastern, Boston University, MIT and the Thayer Academy. Rachele is a committed November Project tribe member, as well as a road biker, runner and a lover of all winter sports.

Photo courtesy of Rachele Pojednic and Strong Process.

So she’s fit, but does she know anything? 1000x yes. Rachele graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Cardiopulmonary and Exercise Science. She holds two Masters Degrees, an M.S. in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition & Exercise Physiology from Tufts University and an M.Ed in Physical Education and Coaching from Boston University. Rachele is in the process of completing her Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition & Exercise Physiology PhD at Tufts University.

Onto Rachele’s online work… she has started a blog, Strong Process, which focuses on spotlighting endeavors in health and fitness. She posts everything from the importance of rest to the best types of cardio training to the truth behind trend dieting. She is active on her blog’s Twitter handle @strongprocess where she Tweets and Retweets a lot of great information and reputable sources.

Basically, Rachele knows a lot. Her blog is making every reader a little bit smarter, quicker and healthier. You can guarantee that you will never find her unhappily sweating it out on a treadmill in the gym- this girl is always doing something different. I am excited to get started speaking with Rachele about her insights and work in the fitness world.


Monday Madness

Here are a few songs that have been playing in my head throughout another Manic Monday. A little bit of house music to make it feel like the weekend never ended. Disclaimer: these will be stuck in your head for the rest of the week.

Don’t You Worry Child — Swedish House Mafia

Sweet Nothing –  Calvin Harris and Florence Welsh

Superlove – Avicii and Lenny Kravitz

Ass-Kicking Workout + KickAss Cupcakes

Work hard, play hard. When we got the assignment to go review a dessert restaurant in Boston, I was beyond excited. I chose to review Kickass Cupcakes, a cupcake bakery (and food truck!) based out of Somerville, Mass. Instead of venturing out to the Somerville location, I chose to review their cupcake truck.

The truck rotates throughout the week to different Boston neighborhoods and I visited the truck this past Saturday around 11:15am (cupcakes for breakfast?) at their Clarendon Street parking location, which is open from 11am-2:45pm on Saturdays. If you’re looking for the truck, it is parked right in front of 220 Clarendon Street, between Newbury and Boylston. The fact that the truck is bright red and covered in pictures of cupcakes makes it pretty easy to spot too. Cupcakes range from $3-$6 depending on the type of cupcake, which is a totally fair price and lower than a lot of other shops. To get to this location via MBTA take the Green Line to the Copley Square stop.

I spoke with Lauren MacLean, a fifth year Northeastern Student who was in line behind me. She was picking up a few cupcakes for friends who were visiting her in the city. “Kickass are definitely my favorite brand in Boston,” she said. “My go to is red velvet every time.”

I wouldn’t exactly say that cupcakes are part of a healthy and balanced diet, however Kickass Cupcakes has a lot of really redeeming qualities that made it my first choice for a review.

  1. Not just cupcakes | Gluten free cupcakes for any Paleo dieters, fruit and yogurt and treats for your dog!
  2. Fresh baked and all natural | KAC bakes small batches every morning and uses all natural ingredients. No hydrogenated oils, trans fats, preservatives, artificial flavors or shortening.
  3. Local business | I would much rather stop by the KAC truck and support a start-up style company than go to a bigger chain like Georgetown Cupcakes.

I decided to get my workout in before my cupcake eating, so after an early-morning spin class (with a few extra sets of sprints) I was ready to try them out. I decided to go with two kinds of KAC cupcakes, the Yo Cupcake! and the Cookie Dough Cupcake.

Yo Cupcake!
I decided to go with KAC’s healthiest option, a handmade granola cup filled with fresh fruit and homemade non-fat yogurt… it was awesome. I felt like I was having a snack, not a heavy dessert. The fruit was fresh and sweet, yet the granola was still crisp. I liked that the yogurt was unflavored; it was light, tart and a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the blueberries and raspberries. My only complaint was that this was not an on-the-go cupcake. I had to sit down with a plate and a spoon to really dig into it. The presentation was great until I started eating and it began to fall apart. Overall: amazing, healthy and only $4!

Cookie Dough Cupcake
My “dessert” cupcake was a vanilla cupcake with a cookie dough center, topped with vanilla icing and a chocolate drizzle. Yes, this was amazing. Yes, I ate the entire thing. The cake tasted fresh baked and although it was vanilla, it was still bursting with flavor. The cookie dough on the inside was amazing, a very welcome surprise to a cupcake that looked pretty simple on the outside. My personal preference would have been to have chocolate icing on top, but this was absolutely delicious, and surprisingly pretty easy to eat. I did have to use a fork and knife though. Once again a great cupcake, it did leave me really full, this cupcake is not for the faint of heart. Only, $3 and a fun twist on a traditional cupcake.

Overall Kickass Cupcakes are asskickingly awesome. Go try them out at their Somerville shop or find the truck. Truck locations and times are listed on their website.

View all my photos on Flickr.

Mapping as Journalism

Maps are a huge resource that I would say are underused by journalists when reporting a story. I believe they can be seen as a tool journalists can and should use, but when given enough detail, can be the story themselves.

I know that I conceptualize ideas and concepts best visually, which is where maps come into play in my understanding of a story. Visuals can help eliminate confusion on the end of the reader, especially when  a story is referencing multiple locations or if a reader is unfamiliar with the location the story is based around. Within my beat of fitness, there are a ton of great examples of how maps can be used to tell a story.

One example of a full story developing within a map comes from the 2008 Tour de France map, showcasing the stages of the race. This map was constructed and published by the New York Times and works as its own story. The map advances through the 2,212 miles and 21 stages of the Tour, linking to related articles and photographs.

My next map, also fitness related, comes from and was created in a similar style to the Tour de France map. It is completely interactive, mapping the 26 miles along the course of the 2012 Boston Marathon. One of the best features of this map is the zoom option that brings up a scaled in version of the mile marker that shows elevation and the path of the road. There is also a section  that features the expected arrival times of the elite racers at each mile marker. It is one of the most thought out and user-friendly race maps that I have seen, and I really enjoyed using it back in April on the day of the race.

The last map I found that really struck my interest is an interactive, historical map of San Francisco. The creators of the Old SF map, stockpiled dozens of photographs from 1850 – 2000 of different areas of San Francisco. They then plotted the photographs on a map of the city (using Google Maps) and tagged them by date. There is a slider at the top of the map, allowing you to choose the rage of years you would like to view photographs of. While this map does tell a story of the history of San Francisco and how the city has changed through photographs and captions, it does give a complete story. It would be a perfect supplement to a story about the architectural developments or urban transportation changes in the city.

Overall, I think that mapping can be seen as journalism, it all depends on the information a reader is looking for and the volume of information provided by a map. As online journalism grows and non-traditional forms of media are used to tell a story, I believe that mapping will continue to be seen as an extremely valuable tool for journalists and bloggers.



November: New Month, New Challenges

November 1. The start of a new month leads to new challenges, new goals and new achievements. I have set a lot of goals for myself this month, including a few fitness goals…

  1. Run More.I have been caught up in “SpinCity” as I like to call it- taking and teaching cycle classes 8-10 times a week.

    Photo courtesy of lululemon Athletica under Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

    While spinning is a full body workout and a great way to build endurance and strengthen muscles, variety is key. I have been longing for a good long run on the Charles or a sunrise run through the middle of sleepy Boston, but haven’t “found the time” to make it happen.
    For myself, sticking to a good running routine will not happen unless I am training for something. While I don’t know what my next race will be, I do know what I am training for in the future. If I am logisticallyable to get to Vancouver next August, I will be training to run the lululemon SeaWheeze half marathon. I will hopefully be crossing off a new city and a new race in one weekend.

  2. New Music. I have been slacking in finding new music for my cycle classes, and I feel myself (and my class) becoming bored with the same old songs. I will be plugged in this month, headphones on my walks to work and class, blasting Spotify, Pandora, 8Tracks and anything else I can get my ears on.
  3. Strength Train. I have lost a lot of muscle that I had built up when I used to lift and I’m ready to get it back. Nothing crazy, maybe twice a week after a spin class (or long run!), but enough to start seeing some results.

It’s a loaded list, but there is no point of setting easily obtainable goals. We’ll see how it goes!

Halloworkout Part I: Halloween Ride at Recycle Studio

Halloween for most means candy, costumes and pumpkins. Halloween for spin addicts at Recycle Studio means cycling.. in costume.

Photo courtesy of Emily Susen.

This morning at Recycle Studio, Boston’s first all-cycling studio located in the South End, we put on our spin-friendly costumes and got sweaty. Christina rocked back-to-back classes, Madonna themed followed by an all-out Halloween themed ride. We were decked out in tutus, ’80s gear and leotards and ready to ride.

Every sprint earning us some candy corn; every hill climb to be rewarded with a pumpkin beer. That’s the way we roll at Recycle.. waking up, pumping up and dressing up.

Up next: Halloween workout (or party) music in “Halloworkout Part II”