Tag Archives: science

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.”