(em)Power Hour

Okay – so I’d been hearing a lot of buzz about The Studio Empower for a while now – a LOT of bloggers I know had the opportunity to try them out (and then host awesome giveaways….more on that later!) so I’d seen a little bit about the Newton Centre-based hotspot before Blog and Tweet Boston announced they were holding a blogger event there. So I jumped at the change to challenge myself with something different.

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I mean – I was coming off of vacation…it was needed. So I hopped on the T on a Saturday morning and joined Shelby, Kerrie, Lucie, and Janelle at a 10 a.m. class with Bobby to sweat it out.

Annnnd sweat it out I did. Not pretty. haha

No – you’re not blasting yourself with traditional cardio, but you are seriously upping your heart rate and you  work muscles you didn’t even know you had with controlled, sustained movement on their Megaformer machines. Controlled is key…getting the hang of the machine is a half the battle! They’re really good at making sure you’re using the machines correctly and safely…minimizing chance of injury – which is always, ya know, good.

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We worked arms, abs, glutes, legs….and man, by the end of the 45 minute workout I was spent….and drenched! From the beginner to the advanced, this class is for anyone, any level. Everything can be adjusted, and it’s really cool to see the difference in moves, coordination, weights – as you grow stronger.

Grow stronger? How would I know this – it was a just one class right? Well – I was lucky enough to find out after this class that I actually won a free month with them from Jen’s giveaway!! It’s a quick T-ride from my current apartment so getting there is a breeze for me (half the battle)! I’ve been to now a total of 3 classes this week (in addition to the free blogger class) and I’m loving it. I’ll be honest, some stuff is a little tough being tall on the machine…but I can always move to the floor if I’m too long for certain moves (plaaaanks). I can feel myself getting stronger – even after just three classes – and I will be using this free month to my full-advantage before I move!

I’m hooked and I’d highly recommend you try it out! If you’re near Newton – classes are small and the instructors are fantastic. Super supportive and really have your best interest (and safety) at heart.

So now you know my newest addiction. What’s your current fitness obsession?

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Ultimate Bootcamp kicked my…

So – I’ve come a long way.

I have never been a runner. Correction. I had never been a runner. Ask 7th grade me how much I loved Cross Country and you would have heard crickets. I think a part of this might have been due to comparing myself to people who had been running for ages…on top of being too hard on myself…and well, in 7th grade…but still. I’ve had breathing issues since birth…legit… and my knees have just always sucked. Regardless. Here I am…now, a runner. Not a great runner. But a runner nonetheless. 7th grade me would’ve laughed at the fact that I’m currently signed up for two 10ks. Woops. Haha

However, I took part in a bootcamp a couple of weekends ago that reminded me…that while I’ve come a long way…I’ve go a long way to go. And that’s not a bad thing.

I had the opportunity to take part in an hour-long bootcamp-style workout on the Boston Common with a bunch of other bloggers through Ultimate Bootcamp. Let me put this out there in advance…I knew it would kick my ass going in.

We met with Kim – our trainer – in the Common, and she immediately got us moving. Running. Check. I can do this. Doing a couple of laps around the Common – weaving our way around tourists – I felt good. Then…somewhere between the sprinting, jumping jacks and the squats…yeah. My body revolted.

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Let me say this. I kept going. I did the sprints, the jumping jacks, the squats, the squat jumps, the curls, the presses, the mountain climbers…..just slower…and sometimes not as many, and when I couldn’t do things…I walked, jogged, paced…whatever you want to call it.

Maybe it was the heat. Maybe I hadn’t eaten enough. Maybe I hadn’t had enough water beforehand. Maybe I was just that out of shape. Plain and simple, my body wasn’t quite ready for it all…or at least for all of it at once. I struggled. A lot.

But Kim was awesome. She kept me moving, but didn’t push. There was no – I don’t care if you throw up, just keep going.  She got it.

While I wasn’t a freaking rockstar, I really enjoyed my experience…it showed me how far I’ve still got to go…and the competitor in me wants to be better.  And it was fun…despite my own issues…I still had a smile on my face.

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PROOF. SMILE. (I’m far right…bright orange)

So just like how I was never a runner…I was never a bootcamper…but who’s to say that I won’t be?

Did Ultimate Bootcamp kick my ass? Yes. Handily.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Check out more on Ultimate Bootcamp on their site – if you’re in Massachusetts/Greater Boston area…chances are there’s one near you! You can try one workout for free, too. Seriously…do it …challenge yourself!

Check them out on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Have you ever taken part of a bootcamp workout? What was your experience like?

Photos courtesy of Ultimate Bootcamp.

Addicted

Okay, I’m addicted.

Like, seriously.

I mean – I know, I hop…skip…jump…full-force into most new things…and then maaaybe some of them fizzle, but after my experience at the Wellness by the Water retreat, I knew  this was the real deal.

I can say, I love yoga.

 

via @celesteplattkankel

Me, Jen and Janine via @celesteplattkankel

Yes, I know that my first real class was only like…a couple of weeks ago.

I didn’t say I was a prodigy …

…or overly flexible (my hamstrings are probably the world’s tightest…oy…).

Via @thepurplegiraffej9

Via @thepurplegiraffej9

I fall out of poses over…and over.

Scan the room to see what other people are doing when I have no clue…

Go back into child’s pose.

Shake like a leaf at times.

But I love it.

I’ve started going to the classes offered at my gym, and leave each looking forward to the next.

Yoga is something I’ve tried on and off…by myself  in my living room… for years now. It took an awesome class (thanks, Kendall!) to get me hooked – what’s your latest obsession?

Wellness by the Water: Reset & Refresh

So this weekend was full of firsts.

I went to my first ever (First #1) wellness retreat – Wellness by the Water Retreat – held at the gorgeous Lenox Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve walked by the hotel, but this was my first time venturing inside…and not only was it gorgeous, but the staff was so incredibly nice!

Let me back up a little…the best place to start is from the beginning, right?

So, I woke up bright and early, got dressed and prepped myself for a day of meeting new people, boot camp, yoga, spa/wellness treatments and all sorts of other goodies. I left my house early (you never know with the T) and ended up arriving in Copley about 20 minutes ahead of time. Still a little sleepy, I grabbed a tiny, iced coffee at Starbucks and sat down for a minute before heading over to the Lenox.

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At the hotel, I was directed up the stairs, and I could hear the familiar buzzing of people meeting, laughing and catching up. I looked around for anyone I might know, but didn’t see any familiar faces, so I dropped my stuff off, and went to check in. One of the first people I met was Celeste. So sweet! She got me checked in, and then I settled into the Dome Room with 30-40 other ladies.

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morning meeting

Everyone was excited to be there and the energy in the room (considering it was 9am) was awesome. I ended up next to Janine from The Purple Giraffe, who happened to grow up in the town next to me in NH aaand her husband is my friend Dan’s stepbrother (didn’t find that out til after the event) – small world!!. The lovely Erin from Creative Soul in Motion, joined us! I was so excited to see her – it’d been since our October meet up in Cambridge – too long! Meg and Carolyn rounded out our little section in the center of the room.

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Kendall and Celeste kicked off the event, and we dove right into boot camp run by Celeste. I’d never done anything like it before (First #2), and boyyyy did it kick my butt – in the best way possible, of course. Planks, squats, kicks, jumping jacks, crunches, resistance, punches…we did it all. I definitely feel all those squats today. #hurtsogood I’m going to have to visit Celeste soon, and get my butt back into shape.

Via @thepurplegiraffej9

Via @thepurplegiraffej9

After boot camp, Kendall led us in some vinyasa yoga. Again, I’d never taken a yoga class before (First #3) – annnd I can now say I’m officially hooked. I never realized that I have a tendency to just be…tense…even when I stretched I think I tensed-up. I loved the expression of letting your body “melt” into positions… awesome visual direction, and totally worked for me. As someone with some of the tightest hamstrings ever…I was surprised at my own flexibility at points.

Via @thepurplegiraffej9

Via @thepurplegiraffej9

via @celesteplattkankel

via @celesteplattkankel

We all met for lunch at CityTable, which is connected to the Lenox – where Kendall talked about nutrition and how to deal with cravings and what causes them. Lunch was delicious – take a look.

via @thepurplegiraffej9

via @thepurplegiraffej9

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After lunch, we had the opportunity to meet with a  TON of awesome vendors. I tried everything from Organic Chocolate to smoothies and awesome juice from e.t.c. Juicery. After some time spent milling around and getting to try a bunch of cool products – it was time for our afternoon sessions to begin.

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I had – Dance Fitness (First #4), Reiki with Christy, Heart Forgiveness with Shawna (First #5) and Accupuncture/Accupressure with Denise (First #6).

All of them were great experience – I learned how to salsa, merengue and cha cha, had a fabulously relaxing Reiki session with Christy, learned about Heart Forgiveness/Holistic Health from Shawna, and “learned” that my shoulders are tiiiight aka I sit at a desk/ I’ve got too many stressors in my life (no surprise on my end!) and I could use a good massage from Denise – she was awesome, and the acupressure points she used on my shoulders/arms felt awesome!

We rounded out the day with a yin yoga session with Sophie – who came in from New York. She was the sweetest thing, and it was fun to pile into the hallway and stretch-it-out one last time before leaving.

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I ended the day having tried new things, met some awesome people, and walked away with a ton of swag! Love.
Thanks again, Kendall and Celeste. It was an amazingly positive experience – and worth every penny, people! I’m already signed up for their next session, which is tentatively scheduled for May. I say, put some time away mid-month… now – and be on the lookout for registration!