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If you had asked me a few years ago what I thought about the Tufts 10K for Women, I would have told you that it’s annoying that they close of Memorial Drive on Columbus Day and you can’t get around Boston where you want to.  But last year, as I started pushing myself to run more and I found new challenges to take on, I registered for the race.  (Well, I convinced my friend to register for the race, was too chicken to actually register myself, and then had to pay the late entry fee when I got there because I couldn’t let her do it alone when it was my idea in the first place.)

Today was my second time running this race and I have to say, it’s amazing and inspiring.  It is not only extremely well-organized and planned out, but it is just fun.  I love their slogan – Start strong; finish stronger.  I love the route from the Boston Common through Back Bay, down Memorial Drive, across the Longfellow Bridge and back down Mass. Ave.  But I also love being surrounded by 7000 other women doing the same thing that I’m doing.

I never really think about being surrounded by strong, healthy women and how much that pushes me to continue on my own fitness journey, but today I was struck by the camaraderie that comes with sharing goals and common celebration.  Around mile 5, when I hit a slump, a woman in a green tank top came up beside me and said, “Come on, you can do it.”  She was right; I could.  That was the little push I needed to get me past my (mostly mental) wall and to the finish line.

I certainly didn’t set any personal records today, but I did accomplish a goal and I reminded myself what I need to do to keep at it.  Here’s hoping that while I keep going in my weight-loss journey, I keep getting the little pushes that I need to remind me that I can do it.  Thanks to that girl in the green top, if you happen to see this – I’m going to keep you in mind next time I’m feeling too lazy to pack my gym bag, make a healthy dinner, or treat myself well.


I woke up this morning feeling a little groggy.  The past week has been brutal.  Despite it being a short week, I was exhausted by Wednesday and looked forward to the weekend. Though I felt a little unmotivated (to say the least!) about working out, I got up this Saturday morning and dragged my butt over to Healthworks for Build and BURN with Regan C. I came in a little sleepy but jumped on the treadmill anyway.  After warming up, we started out working on sprints.  The sprints looked something like this:

 –          Recovery speed for 30 seconds
 –          65% of full out sprint speed for one minute
 –          Recovery speed for 30 seconds
 –          75% of full out sprint speed for one minute
 –          Recovery speed for 30 seconds
 –          90% of full out sprint speed for one minute

 For strength, we did a circuit of strength moves, performing each exercise for one minute:

–          Plank with alternating arm row
–          Mountain climbers
–          Bosu balance with core twist
–          Resistance squat for inner thighs
–          Backward lunge with shoulder press

From here we went on to hills, starting from a 1% incline, slowly up the hill to a 7% and then back down to 1%.  In this exercise we increased the incline while trying to maintain the same speed. After the hill, we went back to the gym floor to complete the strength circuit again.  Then we returned to the treadmill for one last hill with a full out sprint down hill at the end.  We followed up the running with some core work (variations of planks). The entire time we exercised, Regan was very attentive wanting to know how we were feeling and how we were doing. 

A BURN class in session

To my surprise, I felt energized after the workout.  Another member agreed with me saying that we felt better after the workout compared to how we felt walking in that morning. I left the class feeling refreshed and energized and in a way well rested.  After completing the class, I was ready to take on a long Saturday filled with errands and going out with friends.

 – Kate

What do you do to make yourself feel more energized?

Even though it’s the New Year, the cold weather in Boston makes it difficult for me to motivate myself myself to the gym– even a really nice gym like Healthworks! As a morning exerciser, I’m faced with freezing cold temperatures and zero sunlight, so, not surprisingly, my body is a tad lethargic first thing in the morning. Most mornings, however, the thought of a pre-workout snack typically encourages me to get my butt out of bed. I guess, food really motivates me!

When it comes eating before the gym, I have my usual go-to snacks, but ever since I started working at NuVal, I’ve become much more conscious of what I put into my body. NuVal helps me make better decisions about the foods I eat.

What is NuVal, you ask? NuVal is a Nutritional Scoring System (based right outside Boston) that does the nutritional heavy lifting for you. The NuVal System scores food on a scale of 1-100. NuVal helps you see – at a glance – the nutritional value of the food you buy. The higher the NuVal Score, the better the nutrition. It’s that simple. Now, you can compare overall nutrition the same way you compare price. You can even compare apples and oranges.

So, what does this mean when it comes to exercise? Basically, NuVal Scores summarize nutritional information into one simple number between 1 and 100, which helps me pick more nutritious choices for my pre-workout snack.

Here are just a few “trade-ups” that I’ve made to my morning snacks:

Go-To Snack: Toasted Arnold Country Wheat (NuVal score: 28) with Teddie Super Chunky (NuVal score: 38) smeared on top.

Trade-Up: Toasted Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin (NuVal score: 37) with Teddie Smooth UnSalted (NuVal score: 49) smeared on top.

Go-To Snack: Stonyfield French Vanilla yogurt (NuVal score: 39) with Kashi Go Lean Crunch (Nuval score: 33) mixed in

Trade-Up: Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt (NuVal score: 91) with Kashi 7 Whole Grain Cereal Puffs (Nuval score: 90) mixed in

Go-To Snack: Luna Sunrise Vanilla Almond Bar (Nuval score: 27)

Trade-Up: Larabar Cherry Pie (Nuval score: 40)

NuVal isn’t available in the Boston area yet, but hopefully, it will be soon. If you would like to see the NuVal system in your grocery store, you can suggest it here.

If you have any questions about NuVal, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

CNN posted an article last week entitled “Is the fat acceptance movement bad for our health?” which I found interesting and wanted to share. One of the questions posed by the article is “Can you be fat and fit?” I bet the author of the book I read in high school health class “Fit or Fat” would argue a resounding NO, though that series has changed over two decades.

The CNN article reminds me that BMI is not the only way to define healthy, though it is often relied upon as a standard. Since many women struggle with “yo-yo” weight loss and gain over their lifetime, I wonder how that impacts one’s body compared to just being somewhat overweight – but at a steady weight – for a long period of time. Additionally, one important part of the article I noticed is that the medical community does not have “solutions” for obesity:

“Where else in medicine do we offer a solution — dieting — that is going to fail and then point to the end user and say, ‘You are weak-willed; you don’t have enough willpower’?” Read the rest of this entry »

I wasn’t sure I was going to make any resolutions this year. I failed pretty miserably at the ones I set for myself last year. So I decided to make some basic ones for this year and to try not to get down on myself if I do not follow them to the letter. What is important is that I do try and make changes every day to live a better, healthier life.

2010 Resolutions

  1. Continue to go to the gym regularly. Do not beat myself up over not going, especially if I am sick or in pain. Try to get a minimum of three good workouts in as I do feel better when I am working out.
  2. Try one new class or activity a month.
  3. Run the Timlin 5k on 6/19/10.
  4. Lose a minimum of twenty pounds.
  5. Eat healthier foods that are less processed and incorporate more fruits and vegetables.

So the five things I have chosen should not be difficult to incorporate into my current lifestyle, thus allowing me to be successful with my resolutions. And this time next year I certainly should be pleased with my results!


Do you make resolutions? If so, share in the comments!

New Year’s resolutions are obviously a very important aspect of health clubs, as most common resolutions have to do with losing weight, sticking to an exercise program, etc. In my experience, this means large crowds flocking to the gym in the beginning of January, and then eventually petering out by mid-February. I read recently that only 20% of people actually end up keeping their resolutions!

So the good news is that consistent gym-goers will probably see attendance return to normal in about a month or so.

The bad news, of course, is for those 80% of people who end up making resolutions without sticking to them. If you are serious about making an improvement in your life, now can be a great, motivating time to make a commitment.

The old advice about sticking to resolutions is true – start small. Really, really, small, in my opinion. The only New Year’s resolution that I ever actually stuck with was Read the rest of this entry »

This past week I tested out Jakki’s Bootcamp Blast. Though my morning started way, way early, I did pick up a new workout technique.

I learned about add-ons and after trying them, I think they are a great way to change up an exercise and work more muscle groups.

An add-on defines itself. You start with one exercise and then add on another and another.

Here’s a good and simple one to try:

1- Inch worm (walk hands from feet out to a plank and then walk hands back to feet) repeat 5-7x

2- Inch worm and push up, add on a push up at the plank stage of your inch worm and then walk hands back (repeat 5-7x)

3- Inch worm, push up, add on T-pose by staying in plank position and raising one arm toward the ceiling, creating a T shape with your body, switch arms and return to plank and inch back (repeat 5-7x)

4- Inch worm, push up, T-pose and then add on a burpee by jumping forward in your plank and then into the air, then jump back into plank and walk hands back (repeat 5-7x)


Do you have an add-on exercise that you like to do?

As I’m sure you all have noticed, the weather is definitely acting more like winter lately. Normally I’m very happy to be outside, preferring to spend my lunch break on a long walk than indoors in the cafeteria, but lately it’s been getting brutal! Now, more than any other time of year, it is so important to make it to the gym and raise your body temperature and get your circulation moving. I find that I automatically tense up when I’m walking around in the cold, which makes me feel tired and uninterested in exercising. I motivate myself by remembering that I will feel ten times better after a workout, even if it’s a short run or a gentle yoga class. Plus, exercise is a proven way to raise your mood and reduce anxiety levels – something that you can need more of in the winter, especially if you suffer from Season Affective Disorder (SAD).

In addition to making sure that I get moving every day in some way, I’ve also been making some healthier versions of wintertime comfort food. Because probably the best thing about winter (in my opinion) is how good it feels once you’re warm inside. The other night I trimmed the fat from a Shepard’s Pie recipe with really good results. Read the rest of this entry »

Since I joined Healthworks, I have taken advantage of the wide variety of classes that are offered. Since September I have had the opportunity to take BodyPump twice. I enjoyed it, but it hasn’t been a priority.

I know the benefits of weight training. A higher metabolism, a more toned body, and stronger bones are just a few benefits and I know that I need to incorporate it more into my workouts. So, when a friend asked me to come along with her to the new BodyPump 72 in Brookline Tuesday night, I readily agreed.

It was just what I needed. Read the rest of this entry »

As a way for new members to get better acquainted with Healthworks, the club provides something called the Unstoppable Pass.

Complete the activities on your pass and get a Healthworks T-shirt and water bottle. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

So, what are the activities? Well there are eight total tasks to complete.

Here is what you must do to get your shirt and water bottle:

Healthworks 24/7

Set up an account online with Healthworks 24/7. It’s easy to do and has lots of great resources. You can take a health assessment and use a special nutrition and workout tool to track the food you eat and even find a work out buddy.

Two (2) Personal Training Intro Sessions

Complete two intro sessions with a trainer. This is a great way to learn about the personal training program and get to know the trainers. In these sessions you set up your goals and learn to use machines and other equipment found on the gym floor. Read the rest of this entry »

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