You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2010.

I’m a long time fan of personal training. 

As a bride, training with the late  Hungarian Olympic runner, Maria Kovacs, I  lost 12 inches in 6 weeks. 

As a mother of toddlers,  I trained with Radu Teodorescu, Cindy Crawford’s trainer,  who taught me to ‘be fit where you are.’ 

In my 40’s, I trained with Mike Lalor, the Montreal Canadiens, Stanley Cup-winning defenseman, who prepared me for a wild ride, dogsledding in the Canadian Rockies.  

And finally,  I trained with Shay Pastick, Healthworks‘ own Level 3 trainer and physical therapist who led me to realize that all my accumulated injuries and issues were a poor excuse for not working out.  

So there’s no misunderstanding,  I’m not a descendant of Jack LaLanne (though my  earliest memories of physical fitness do date that far back).  I am a woman in my fifties with a few extra pounds, a muffin top, not much cartilage left in my knees and a bad case of tennis elbow.  Dr. Oz says my “real age “ is a couple of years younger, but I’m no athlete and have my share of trouble remembering my vitamins. 

Finding an alternative 

With the economic free fall and three college tuitions looming, individual  personal training was no longer part of the personal care budget. It’s little wonder many top fitness experts pointed to group personal training as one of the hottest trends for 2010. In search of an affordable alternative, I found Cody Harter’s  “Lose It to Win it  Boot Camp.”   

What is boot camp?  

Boot camps, in general, are no-nonsense, intense group training sessions.  Modeled after soldiers’ physical training, workouts are fun, intense, varied, and a great way to burn lots of calories. They are remarkably efficient, giving participants of all ages a full body workout in just 50 minutes 

In fact, Cody Harter’s six year stint as a Marine is evident in everything from his intense preparation to his no goofing around attitude.  This is serious business.   People take these intense measures because they want results.  Cody delivers. 

How it works   

You’ll find us somewhere around Route 9 in the early hours most Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  You’ll see ten  to fourteen ladies of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities, likely lugging  25 pound body  bars through the back roads of Chestnut Hill.  We’re counting off lunges, squats, push ups and jumping jacks.  You might even see the dreaded 12 kilo green kettlebell passed around between team members, a cruel reminder of what it’s like to lug around any additional weight.   There’s homework too.   Add in a minimum of five additional intense cardio workouts each week… grueling calorie burning combinations of step mill, elliptical, arc trainer, and treadmill.  Already spinning, swimming, hiking  or walking as part of a personal fitness regime?  It doesn’t count. Cody claims those activities are just part of living an active lifestyle.  This is different.  This makes you hungry and sore.   It also makes you sleep like a baby. 

No workout is ever the same as the one before, so boredom is never a problem.  That is  frequently a very good thing.   As a boot camp member , I now expect that I’ll do plenty of things I don’t think I can, and  plenty of things I don’t really want to.   But most of all, I am amazed at the things I can do.   And, after ten weeks of this, I know that as long as I  stay focused and give it my all, I’ll be okay…maybe better than okay. 

Raining again? No problem... bootcamp moves inside. These ladies are smiling because their workout is over and they just burned 600 calories. Don’t they look fabulous?! (Note the dreaded green kettleball, bottom left).

Are you up for the challenge?

Cody Harter’s “Lose It to Win It Boot Camp” concludes its current six week session, on April 1. Plans are to extend the sessions for an unprecedented third consecutive run with a fitting theme of “Performance Fitness.”  The six week, 12 session  program begins April  13,  meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 am – 8:00 am and costs $209.00 for Healthworks members. At just shy of  $18.00 a session, it’s a great alternative to individualized personal training.  Non-members are welcome at a fee of  $270.00.  To book your space or for more information, contact Healthworks Chestnut Hill at  617-383-6100.   Book your space on line. Or try a special demonstration class on  Thursday, April  8 at 7:00 am for $10.00 (pre-registration required).  

Hope to see you there! 

Roberta B. 

 Roberta Balder has been a Healthworks member since 2005.  As a mid- career marketing manager and social media anthropologist she enjoys helping small businesses grow their market share using digital media.  Roberta muses about her experiences using new media in her blog.




Busy, busy, busy! Between work, social engagements, teaching yoga, and doing some freelance work, I’ve definitely been stretched for time lately. Plus the gorgeous weather of last week had me longing to ditch all of my responsibilities and just enjoy the sun. Sometimes I feel like it’s easier to be responsible when the weather is more dismal, at least in these early months of Spring, when the longer daylight hours and warmer temps feel so new and exciting…These distractions and duties have unfortunately kept me away from Healthworks and away from blog writing for about a week! I’m excited to start off this new week feeling re-set – looking forward to doing some running, Zumba, and maybe checking out a Body Pump class, which I have yet to try. I’m also determined to get back on track with healthy eating, which took a bit of a detour over the past week. Tonight I’m making one of my favorite Spring/Summer salads – Jicama citrus – to go along with some homemade black bean burgers.

Jicama looks like a giant turnip, and underneath its brown skin is a white, juicy, crunchy flesh that is slightly sweet. I experimented with it a few weeks ago and came up with a super-simple salad recipe that makes a great side dish for any Southwestern-inspired menu. Add some avocado for a more filling salad to eat on its own.


Jicama Citrus Salad

1 small jicama, peeled and julienned

2 peeled and sectioned oranges – I used the Cara Cara which is especially bright and flavorful

½ red onion, diced

2 tbps olive oil

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp juice reserved from the oranges

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cumin

Combine the jicama, sectioned oranges, and onion in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, juice, and spices. Pour dressing into the larger bowl and mix well.

This salad tastes good right away, and even better after it has marinated in the juices for a day or two. Enjoy in the sunshine!

– Jean

I was feeling particularly nostalgic this weekend, and decided to look over some old photos. I dug up pictures of myself from when I was a little girl (so cute), and then an awkward high school student (everybody has a phase, I’m sure), and then a really fat college student. Oh boy, was I surprised at what I actually looked like. I’ve always struggled with my weight, and although I was always aware that I was very heavy – well, it’s funny how I normalized my self-image. Yes, I knew I was overweight, but sometimes I would think, “it’s not that bad.” I got used to being a certain way, and I think that’s why it was so hard to really make changes in my life.

The truth is that it really was that bad. I’ve kept track of the number of pounds I’ve lost this year (70-ish) and the sizes in clothing I’ve gone down (4 or 5) – and I know that I am much more active. Somehow, though, I still think of myself as the weight I was last year, and before. Looking at those pictures, though, I realized just how far I’ve come. I look and feel so different.

Body image is a strange beast. I have perceived myself differently throughout my life, often depending on how nice my hair looks or if I put on make-up that morning. Sometimes I have felt trapped inside my body and incapable of liking the way I looked and felt. Taking control, though, has made a world of difference to the way I perceive myself. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I still have a ways to go (I say that a lot, but it’s true). The changes in my self-confidence have been incredible, though, and I know other people have noticed it. I never would have said, before last year, that I love my body. And now I catch myself saying it all the time, especially after a half marathon or a particularly intense workout.

Getting here has certainly been a journey – life is a journey, as they say – and it’s amazing to step back and just think about the distances I’ve traveled since I started to really care about myself.

– Hannah

In the last blog I said that I was going to attend my first class and report back. Well I’m happy to say that the Zumba class was the most fun I’ve had doing anything that could be called exercise. I sweated and smiled for a whole hour–certainly a first for me. The class was taught by Iliana whose energy is positively contagious. Her manner and the Latin beat would make even the most confirmed couch potato get up and move. I also very much enjoyed her friendly open manner. We all wore name tags and she definitely fostered a real feeling of community in the class.

Most importantly I could do it. I lasted for the whole hour. Each of the approximately 10 songs we danced to had about 4 different moves, that weren’t difficult to learn and with plenty of repetition, I was (mostly) able to keep up. Some of the steps were quite quick, so sometimes I did three steps to her four, but I still got a good workout.

I had my heart rate monitor on and glanced at it from time to time. It was mostly about 130–good enough for me–especially since it stayed up there for an hour. I am now busy looking for other dance type classes. I realize I’ve found my niche. I’m going to dance myself thin. I’m so happy to have a fun alternative to the dreaded elliptical and treadmill. I won’t give up the stepmill. Even though I hate it, you get a lot of bang for your buck on that one. I highly recommend Iliana’s class at Back Bay on Thursdays at 9:30 am.

I’m off to Florida to see my mom tomorrow morning. All on my own–no doctor, no trainer, no gym–we’ll see how I do. (Of course, I will have my mom who at 84 is still hopeful that I will lose weight!

– Cheryl

This is the second week in a row that I have had family in town visiting so I’ve been very busy showing them (my cousin, Will and his girlfriend, Kellie) around Boston.  We have had a lot of fun celebrating Spring and St. Patrick’s Day but it hasn’t left much time to get workouts in.

I remedied this yesterday by taking advantage of the beautiful weather we are currently having in the Boston area.  I woke up in the morning and decided to take my running shoes (shorts, shirt, socks and underwear, too!)  in to work with me.   My office is located between Faneuil Hall and the Financial District and I often see coworkers coming in from the gym or a run,  so I thought, “Why not me, too?”

I get an hour for lunch so I quickly changed and then hit the streets.   I started down State Street and then followed the Rose Kennedy Greenway toward the Fort Point Channel.  The Greenway is beautiful with loads of outdoor sculptures and plenty of seats for relaxing and enjoying the sunshine (I highly recommend!).  It seemed everyone, from businessmen to tourist groups, was outside.

As I continued on, I turned left onto the Seaport Boulevard and ran all the way down to the end of the port,  seeing the places that remind me of better weather days – Fan Pier, the Barking Crab and the Bank of America Pavilion.   Summer seems so close!

Once I reached the Pavilion, I decided it was time to turn back because I still needed time to stretch and shower.  The run back seemed to go by more quickly but this may have been due to the fact that I wasn’t ready to go inside and the beautiful Boston skyline was also a great distraction.  Running into the shade of the skyscrapers,  I headed to Post Office Square to cool down and stretch with time to spare.

It felt so good to get this workout in during the workday.  The sunshine and a solid half hour run energized me and I felt a sense of accomplishment.  With the forecast looking good for the weekend as well,  hopefully I will turn this one-time experience into a habit.

What do you look forward to doing on a warm weather day?

– Kate

I had a pretty tough weekend. I promise I won’t go into detail here – suffice it to say that two very emotional things happened. Added to all the stresses of school and work, I can honestly say that I did not react well.

The old me would want to sit around and eat ice cream and watch tv. And to tell you the truth, I still partly want to do that. What’s interesting, though, is my next reaction, which is to just move my body and sweat it out. Following one day of Chinese food consumption, I found myself really wanting to get up and go. I sang really loudly and danced in the car as much as I could (this involves a lot of snapping and leg slapping) on the way to work, which didn’t give me the satisfaction I was looking for. And then, this afternoon the sky was blue and the sun was out.

And I ran.

It felt so good to be outside. It felt even better to be working out, relieving some of my frustrations by pounding them into the cement. Each step I took, I felt like yelling “HA!”

Sometimes, it feels really good to feel sad, if you know what I mean. Other times, though, it feels so much better to do something positive, to take care of my body and get some of my stress out. Today was a better day – and it certainly helps that the rain has stopped!

– Hannah

The scale has been pretty slow to respond lately, so I’ve been looking for other ways to measure my progress. One of the most exciting happened this week when I went shoe shopping. For the past twenty years I have been wearing wide shoes. In fact, for the past ten, I’ve had to get WW. This severely limited my choice of style. Lots of pretty shoes are only made for people with M width feet. Well, I’m happy to report that a few days ago, I bought four pairs of cute, medium-width shoes!

I also fit into size 16s—not all 16s—some pants are still too tight, but I’m probably only about a month away.

And then there’s the airplane seatbelt….

Those of you who have never been severely overweight may not realize that it is possible to be able to fit in an airplane seat but not be able to cinch the seat belt. I made this embarrassing discovery on an Air France flight to Paris several years ago. I was traveling with a friend who convinced me I had to admit my problem to the flight attendant.  I finally did—deciding that a psychological harm I might suffer by asking for help was nothing compared to the physical harm that I might experience in the case of a rough landing. The kind flight attendant seeing my consternation, surreptitiously handed me a seatbelt extender and I buckled myself in. Realizing that it was unlikely that I would be significantly thinner after a week in Paris and so would likely need that device again, I slipped it into my purse and have carried it on every flight since. Sometimes, I’ve needed it. Sometimes I haven’t.

I usually need it on  flights outside the US—I always needed to use it on domestic carriers in Mexico and Nigeria and sometimes on KLM. However, I have never used it on a US flight. I guess that says something about the average waist size  of Americans.

At any rate, the news is that I now easily fit into the seatbelt. In fact, when I pulled it tight,  I had about seven inches left over!

Just goes to show you that you can measure progress in lots of ways.

 – Cheryl

How do you measure your weight loss success?

I am newly obsessed with Nutella.  For those of you who are not familiar with the product, it is comprised of three main ingredients: hazelnuts, skim milk and cocoa.  Think chocolate peanut butter and multiply the delicious factor by 1,000.  

Two tablespoons have 200 calories, 11 grams of fat (3.5 grams of saturated fat), and 3 grams of protein — plus there are no artificial colors or preservatives.   The only thing I am not super keen on is the sugar content — it is the first ingredient listed which means there is a lot, 21 g per serving.  However, I consider Nutella to be a tasty treat — so don’t be concerned — as long as you are eating it in moderation.  

How should you eat Nutella, you may ask?  Well, it’s a delicious spread on just about anything, bananas, berries, crumpets, crepes and the list just keeps going.  Just be sure to measure it out — two tablespoons is a lot more than you think.  When I’m craving something delicious but don’t want to go overboard, 99.9% of the time Nutella hits the spot!

– Nicole

Check out Nicole’s blog for more nutrition tips and ideas for healthy eating!

I’ve been so lax about writing here.  I’ve recently been subbing for a class full-time and I have been very busy.  Also working all day long teaching, running around and trying to keep on top of all the work has left me exhausted.  I’ve been managing to get to spinning a few times per week but still I know it isn’t’ enough.  I know that working out more will help manage the stress and keep me energized but by the time I get home at 3 pm I’m beat.  When 6 rolls around, the last thing I want to do is change and go to the gym.  In fact there are some evenings when I’ve been in bed by 5 or 6 pm, I’ve been so worn out!   How do you manage work/workout stress and planning and finding ways to fit it in? 

I’ve also been doing some reading and research about healthy eating as of late, and I cannot believe how expensive it is to eat well.  When the time comes to do groceries on my tight budget, I’m lucky if I have ten dollars a week to cover food for the week.  Having lots of food allergies doesn’t help; and I am limited in certain things I can eat and buy (I have nut, soy, and pea allergies) which make it hard to follow healthy eating plans outlined in women’s health magazines like Self and Shape, as well as diet plans like South Beach.  Not being able to have nuts or soy makes it hard.  I also face a challenge when it comes to protein as I do not eat red meat or pork.  The added challenge is financial and needing to make each dollar count. 

– Cindy

How do you manage healthy eating on a strict budget?  Do you also face food allergies or limitations in your life?

This weekend I got a new tiara – and ran my personal best time in the Disney Princess Half Marathon, cutting out 15 minutes from my last race. Everything about this experience was wonderful, from spending time with my team, to Cinderella and Jasmine and Belle along the course, to my friends cheering me on at the end. It was truly wonderful.

The Disney Princess Half Marathon was full of pink, sparkle, and magic. I think that’s what Disney is so good at – creating an experience. I honestly couldn’t help but feel the magic of this weekend, everything was so perfectly set up and beautiful. The race was full of whimsy. I ran the entire race wearing a tiara, a pink, sparkle skirt over my running tights, and sparkly fairy dust in my hair. And I felt beautiful, too!

The course itself was set up to be fun. We ran through Epcot and the Magic Kingdom, and then all around Disney property before making our way back to Epcot. There were fireworks at the starting line, before each corral, which was a really exciting way to start. Water stops occurred at about each mile, and in between each water stop was some exciting form of entertainment, including a band (which played Journey as I ran by), characters in costume, exhibits (hello, Pirates of the Caribbean ship), drum lines, and a gospel choir at the very end. As I ran through Cinderella’s castle, trumpeters on the balcony majestically announced my arrival. The best part was the very end, where my friends from university were waiting to cheer me across the finish line. They even made me a sign!

Now that I’ve run two half marathons this year, I know that I can do anything. This race was all about feeling empowered as a woman – empowered to train hard and achieve a feat of extreme difficulty, to believe in the astonishing power of my physical ability, to love my body, to make changes in my life and to really live the way I want. As much as Disney World is a constructed experience, there is one thing that transfers back into reality, and that is: if you really want something, and you practice and dream, anything is possible. I am a woman who has come unbelievable distances this year – and I don’t just mean miles – and who has many more steps to take. And just knowing that I can accomplish what I set out to do, well, that is enough to take me just about anywhere. It’s easy to doubt and question, but all it takes is a moment like this to remind me just how strong I can be.

– Hannah