From the category archives:

Boston

Review: The Handle Bar

by agirlandhermutt on June 3, 2014

I’m not a fan of going out of my way to work out. My gym is less than a mile down the street from my house. Pure Barre is LITERALLY on the way home from work. The pool for my swim lesson is even on the way home. When looking at various boutique fitness classes, this is one of my deciding factors in whether or not I will continue to go. I mean, I enjoy Soul Cycle, but it is out in the middle of nowhere. Yes, I consider Chestnut Hill the middle of nowhere. Heh. When The Handle Bar contacted me to see if I was interested in trying out their new location, I was curious. Then I realized that the new location was just down the street from where I work! Boom. I’m in!

My first visit was the second week they were open. They offered me a complimentary class for myself and a friend. Obviously, I brought along my spinning partner-in-crime, Megan.

The Handle Bar’s original location is down in South Boston, which is a bit of a hike for me. The new location though is smack dab in the center of Fenway, right on Boylston St.

The bright and welcoming check-in space of The Handle Bar offers hair ties, ear plugs, and a cute little retail area. I love those water bottles!

One thing I noticed about The Handle Bar right away. There are no lockers. Just cubbies. I’m really uncomfortable with this. Yes, there is someone at the desk, but Fenway is a super busy area and there are quite a few people congregating around the cubbies during class. Not a fan of this openness. And if you are thinking that I don’t trust my fellow spinners…you got that right! I should note that I expressed my dislike of no lockers to the BF and he just shrugged as he shoved his stuff into the cubby. Apparently this is not a big deal to everyone. I’ve seen an iphone be stolen right out of someone’s bag during Zumba. That just ain’t right folks! My suggestion…keep your valuables at home or near you.

No special gear is required for class except you must wear clip-in shoes. You can bring your own (SPD compatible) or rent a pair for $2.

Folks, if you have never clipped in for a spinning class, get on it. The experience is totally different and takes the workout to a new level.

I arrived just in time for class, which is super annoying. I prefer to give myself about 10-15 minutes to get to the studio, put my things away, adjust my seat, etc. Instead, I just ran in, threw my bag in the cubby and tried to get on a bike. I felt all kinds of flustered!

Whenever I have the option of sitting on the side of the instructor or in front of her, I opt for the front. Unfortunately, I was running late so I got a side seat in the 35 seat studio. It felt like the speaker was in my ear and I couldn’t hear a word the instructor said. I have had this same issue at other spinning studios so this is not unique to The Handle Bar.

Also, at The Handle Bar there are no reserved bikes. First come, first serve!

The class got started and the music was pumping! The Handle Bar is really into choreography. Each song was perfectly designed to have moves that matched with the beat perfectly. The instructor gave a quick little overview of what she was going to do for each song as it was getting started. I’ve never had that done before but with since there were quite a few moves ,I liked that they gave a heads up. I’ve now taken 4 different classes and I can tell you that they all pretty much work the same way. Lots of combos with tap backs, crunches and push-ups. I feel like there are people who either HATE all the different moves with a passion and just want to ride or those that really enjoy it in every class. I am definitely a choreography person. Well, except for crunches. I think those are dumb.

Near the end of the class, one song is reserved for arm weights. Attached to each bike is weighted bar to use. That bar is light but it can start to burn after holding it up for 4-5 minutes. Burn baby, burn!

After that initial class I went on my own 3 other times. Once for a “Bar Fight” which is when two instructors teach and trade-off with different types of music and 2 regular classes. I like that The Handle Bar often has these themed type of classes.

Every class had bangin’ music and the lights changed from blue to red for each song. It was like being in a club back in my college days! I was probably just as sweaty too. ;)

The Pros:
-Location, location, location! This is the perfect spot to get in a ride before, during or after work.

-Schedule. They have plenty of classes for those that are morning folks and those that prefer to workout in the afternoon. They even have a “Recess” ride at 10am on Tues & Thurs that is just $10! In addition to the regular 45 min class, they also offer a few 60 min classes on the weekend in case you wanted to get in a long ride.

-Price. Classes are priced reasonably at $20/class. I had to stop myself from laughing when I typed reasonable and $20, but compared to a $30 a class at other studios…well, reasonable is the right word.

Your first class is just $10. Monthly Unlimited is $175 and you can get your first month unlimited for just $100. Not too shabby!

-Instructors. I’ve tried several instructors and every single one of them has seemed to genuinely love teaching! I’ve tried a few but my fave so far has been Lena. Her energy could be felt throughout the whole class! The music they each picked complimented the classes perfectly too.

The Cons:
-No lockers. I don’t trust people.

-Shoe rental not included. Booooo. I know, I know. It is only $2. But still….

-Volume. The music speakers and the instructors mic are at the exact same level. It makes it really difficult to hear the instructor over the music sometimes. I loved the music, but I would have loved hearing the instructor more sometimes.

-Sometimes a bit too choreographed. For all 4 classes I was in hand position 3/standing almost the entire class. I really like jumps and sprints in the seat so I was definitely missing that from my class. Possibly other instructors have this approach?!

-Personal issue. Whatever cleaning solution they wipe down the bikes with makes the handlebars a little sticky or soapy feeling. I make sure to throw my towel over the whole situation because I can’t stand the feeling of something on my hands. This is definitely a personal issue, but Megan claimed to understand exactly what I was talking about. No one else seems to be bothered by this. Eh. Apparently I’m sensitive.

The Handle Bar is totally worth a try! You can get a great sweat going and an excellent workout in at almost any time of the day. Go take a class before you hit up a Red Sox game and earn that Tasty Burger dinner. <—-That is exactly what I did last week!

Welcome to the neighborhood The Handle Bar!

The Handle Bar
Fenway Studio
1336 Boylston Street
Boston, Ma 02215
857.239.9789

Be sure to check out their social media channels for updates on deals, challenges and other updates!
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*Just a note:  The Handle Bar offered me a complimentary class. I paid for the other 3 classes with my own $$$. As always, opinions are my own. *

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Marathon Monday 2014

by agirlandhermutt on April 22, 2014

It is a GOOD morning! It is officially the day after the Boston Marathon and I can’t go without saying that it feels good to have had such a lovely day yesterday. It felt like a sense of closure (although nothing will ever “fix” or “make right” what happened) for the city. I’m so fortunate that I wasn’t directly affected by the bombing last year. But I also don’t think it is out of line for me to tell you that I felt a sense of insecurity and loss at what happened to the city and the people of my city. Last year was the first year since I moved to Boston that I did NOT attend the marathon. The BF and I watch the runners from mile 25 each and every year. Last year we sat at Mile 27 and had a beer instead. For a while there I had a sense of guilt. I should have been there. Strange, but true. As we sat in our house during lock-down last year, I genuinely felt scared. This year though? This year I felt renewed. The weather was gorgeous. The runners looked great. And I felt healthy. It was a new year.

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The weather was absolutelyfantastic in Boston so the BF and I biked from our house to the marathon. By the end of the day we had biked about 15 miles total which included a pit stop in Harvard Sq for some lunch.

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It felt so good to be a part of the community. Outside and in the sun!

The crowds were out in full force to show their support for the runners. So were the police and security. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood despite the crowds and extra security measures.

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Our usual spot provided some great views of the runners. I get a tear in my eye when I watch these people pass by Mile 25. You can see that they recognize that they “only” have one more mile to go.

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We watched tons of people speed up when they saw the mileage sign. We also saw a few get to their knees and take a break. One man didn’t want to stop so when he dropped to his knees he kept moving with just a little crawl. You could tell he didn’t want any help and just wanted to continue moving forward. The crowds were screaming for him as he stood up and hobbled off towards the finish line. IMG_3708

It was just a really emotional, but beautiful day for the city of Boston. I’m glad I could be a part of it.

Just like last year, when I got home I put a cap to the night by attending my favorite Zumba class. I didn’t run a marathon, but I did work hard yesterday!

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Since it is a short week, my planning for the week is a little off. This is the last week of the 21-day fix so the schedule calls for us to double up on the workouts!

Monday- Biking & Zumba
Tuesday- 21 Day Upper Fix & Cardio (Running to and from gym)
Wednesday- 21-Day Lower Fix & 21-Day Pilates Fix
Thursday- Spinning & 21-Day Total Body Fix
Friday- 21-Day Upper Fix & Zumba
Saturday- 21-Day Dirty 39 & Pilates Fix
Sunday- 21-Day Yoga Fix

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I hope you guys are having a good week! I’m going to enjoy the sunshine and the great outdoors during any free second I have. See ya soon!

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A Week with My Dad…

July 8, 2013

Oh hello! It is almost like I forgot I had a blog here for a minute. I’ve been enjoying life and a visit from my Dad for the past week. There is something about being around my parents that instantly makes me regress to a 12-year-old. This visit was no different. It was nice being […]

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