Tag Archives: fitness

Strong Reads for Fitness Fans

Click image above to view the entire set on Flickr.

Click image above to view the entire set on Flickr.

Health and fitness is one of the most blogged-about topics on the Web, with input and expert advice coming in from a myriad of sources. As a fitness enthusiast, I find this to be a great step toward encouraging others to live a healthy lifestyle and get active.

At the same time, however, this overload of information can be confusing and discouraging for many readers, especially those who are new to fitness and just starting to begin a healthy lifestyle. While some blogs will tell you to eat protein bars and lift weights, others swear by cardio and a carb-free lifestyle or a meatless diet supplemented with plenty of core-work. It is no wonder people are clueless when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.

There is no doubt that there are some uneducated health and fitness bloggers out there, but that pales in comparison to some of the great ones. I tracked down two very different health and fitness bloggers who have each made a unique impact in the Boston blogging world.

Rachele Pojednic’s science-backed blog, Strong Process, is one of the most well researched, informative blogs on health and fitness based in Boston. Pojednic uses scientific research to back every post, boiling the information down into layman’s terms, making Strong Process a great read even for fitness novices.

Emily Susen’s blog Sleep, Eat, Gym, Repeat, is an experiential-based fitness blog, where Susen (along with her co-blogger Erica Burnham write about their journeys to living healthy lifestyles. She has blogged about everything from a full-time career switch into fitness to “cheat days” when she skips a workout and enjoys dessert. An emphasis on honesty in blogging is what Susen strives for in every post.

While Pojednic and Susen have different opinions on the best ways to go about living a healthy and active lifestyle, they have a lot more in common than one would think. The two bloggers are great friends, working together at a small indoor cycling studio in the South End, Recycle Studio.

“We trade tips, both in person and back and forth through blog posts,” said Susen. Both bloggers agree that the ultimate goal for each of their blogs is the same: the desire to educate and help people truly enjoy fitness.

Katie Barrett, 21, is a Northeastern student majoring in Health Sciences and a student athlete who takes cycling classes with both Pojednic and Susen. “Their styles of teaching are so different from one and other,” Barrett said, “and unsurprisingly, so are their blogs.”

Barrett reads both blogs on a regular basis and has even been inspired to start her own. Her blog, Spinach and Spandex, is “a work in progress,” she explained. “As a health science major, I am really excited to delve into some nutrition based content. So far I’ve posted a few healthy recipes and people have really enjoyed them.”

Pojednic is currently completing her Ph.D. in exercise physiology and nutrition at Tufts University, working in Tufts’ Nutrition, Exercise, Physiology & Sarcopenia (NEPS) Lab. There she spends time training participants on their cardiovascular and muscular strength and then takes their blood and muscle samples down to the lab to look at the physiological processes that occur and change as an effect of their training.

Before starting at Tufts, Pojednic worked as a personal trainer for many Division I rowing and hockey teams in the Boston area.

“This was where I actually started blogging on Strong Process, almost seven years ago,” she explained. “I starting using the blog as a way for the athletes to track their process, look at team updates and get additional training tips, and that’s when people really started reading. When I started at Tufts, I updated with additional nutrition information and it’s really taken off.”

Strong Process has four categories — Move, Eat, Drink and Rest — and Pojednic updates the blog every two weeks, making sure her posts are well thought out and deeply researched before publishing. “The goal is to hopefully start disseminating some scientifically based information about science and nutrition that way,” she said.

“I blog to share my journey, to show that living a healthy lifestyle isn’t unrealistic,” explained Emily Susen of her blog, Sleep, Eat, Gym, Repeat. While many women in their mid-twenties would rather spend their mornings sleeping-in, Susen has recently made a lifestyle switch into fitness full-time.

About a month ago, Susen went from a career in advertising to becoming a full-time personal trainer and a daily 5 a.m. alarm-clock. When talking about her switch to full-time fitness, Susen explained it simply: “Fitness just makes me feel good. Our bodies were not designed to be sedentary — they’re designed to move!”

And move she does. Susen teamed up with her best friend and workout partner, Erica Burnham, to start their blog in July 2011. “We started following the Paleo Diet, and thought it would be a fun way to keep ourselves in line and to also do research about the diet,” said Susen.

SEGR began to pick up steam, and Susen was contacted by FitFluential, an organization that bring in fitness bloggers from around the country to help promote a fitness culture and encourage everyone to live a healthier lifestyle.

“Through FitFluential I have had the opportunity to work with several fitness brands, like Reebok, to do product and workout reviews,” Susen explained.

These product and workout reviews are the basis of Susen’s blogging. “I’m very honest in my posts- I talk about when I eat bad food, when I slip up in workouts, when I fall off the bandwagon,” she explained. “I think readers appreciate honesty, and I want to inspire others to get in shape or to continue to be healthy and active.”

Both Pojednic and Susen agree on one thing when it comes to encouraging others to start a fitness routine of their own — to find something you love. “There was a really interesting article in the New York Times that found, through research, that people will exercise more if they enjoy what they are doing,” said Pojednic. Susen agreed completely, adding, “Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, Paleo, a yogi, a CrossFitter — whatever, just do things and eat things that make you feel good.”

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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.

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!

Travel Lightly

This is FANTASTIC. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced that they are building their flagship fitness-themed hotel in New York City. IGH, parent company of Holiday Inn, has chosen Manhattan because of its high traveler turnaround and because of the city’s enthusiasm for fitness.

Even Hotels, as the fitness chain will be called, will have excess indoor & outdoor eating and exercise space and fitness walls and exercise balls in every room. Additionally, gym clothing and shoes to rent from the hotel and a quick laundry turnaround for those sweaty unmentionables.

Everything down to the room service menus will have a focus on fitness – organic, fresh meals in every hotel.

It’s rare that I would stay in a hotel when visiting New York, I’m usually crashing on a friend’s couch, but this might just be worth checking out. There is nothing more frustrating than going on a trip and having to plan time into your day to workout and fit your sneakers in your carry-on. If your temporary home is surrounding you with opportunities to workout and eat heathy, it becomes a no excuses trip. Pure awesomeness. Keep up the good work IHG, can’t wait to hear more.

Check out the USA Today article for more details on Even Hotels.

Photo courtesy of LVLights and Mimar Sinan (respectively) under Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved. 

Snapshot: Northeastern Women’s Club Lacrosse

NU Women's Club Lacrosse

Click the image above to see all the shots from the team’s practice on Sunday morning.

I stopped by Carter Field on Columbus Avenue on Sunday morning to sit in on the Northeastern Women’s Club Lacrosse team. They are NU’s only women’s lacrosse program, the school hasn’t had a varsity team in over a decade. While lacrosse is typically a spring sport, the team still participates in “Fall Ball” every fall semester.

This weekend they dedicated practice to introducing new players to the playbook and preparing for their first game. The team will take on Brown University’s club lacrosse team this coming Saturday, October 13 in Providence, RI.

Coach Kerry Thompson is a Northeastern graduate and NU Women’s Lacrosse alumnus. She played on the team for three years while pursuing her Business Administration undergraduate degree. It is her first year coaching the team and expects a great upcoming season for the team. “We have a lot of old and new talent,” she explained. “One of the best parts of transitioning from player to coach is that I know how the team operates; where each players strengths are. Even though I am on the sidelines, I have a pretty good idea of how the girls are feeling on the field.”

Brittany O’Rourke is a 4th year physical therapy student and one of the team’s three captains. “Because of co-op and study-abroad, I am the only captain who is in Boston for the fall semester,” O’Rourke explained. “It puts a lot of responsibility on me to pull the team together on the field and direct the new players, but it’s completely worth it. Seeing a team come together and develop a fluidity on the field is our goal for the fall semester.”

I followed the team through warm-ups, shooting drills, white board talks, and scrimmaging. Even early on a Sunday morning the team was wide-awake, focused and looking towards their first game. “Fall ball sets a precedent for the entire season,” explained sophomore attack-man, Halley Fisher. “Our fall season last year was intense, but it prepared us all that much more for the spring.”

Fit 2.0 – When Tech and Fitness Collide

There is a pretty common misconception that technology is going to be the demise of fitness, and this isn’t surprising in the least. Plenty of people (myself included) are guilty of complaining about not having time to workout, but then spend hours on Facebook, playing video games and online shopping. While some forms of technology may be our workout anti-christ, others are only here to help…. meet the FitBit Zip.

This little quarter-sized wireless activity tracker is one of the best fitness tracking devices I’ve seen. It records your steps taken, miles traveled and calories burned; reporting back to your web-based app or IOS app on your iPhone.

One of the best parts – it is completely wireless, there is no need to worry about syncing or updating. The data and graphics look clean and simple to read.

I am definitely interested in trying this one out, the price point isn’t too high either, starting at around $60. I will be interested to see how FitBit Zip holds up against bigger competitors such as Nike FuelBand and Striiv.

Here is a Wired Mag review on FitBit Zip which includes all the tech specs on the tracker.