I Sweat For a Cure with New Balance Lace Up 365

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Last month, I was invited by the lovely folks at New Balance to participate in the launch of their Lace Up 365 program to celebrate their 25th anniversary of their partnership with Susan G Komen.

To honor those who have been affected by breast cancer, Lace Up 365 was born so supporters could dedicate their workouts to breast cancer survivors (featured on New Balance’s site daily) simply by hash-tagging #LaceUp365.

And to kick off this fabulous, feel-good campaign, New Balance invited bloggers to participate in some of the newest & hottest workouts all around the city of Boston: Barry’s Bootcamp, November Project, The Handle Bar and Yoga at NB Fitness. Sweating it out for a good cause? I’m IN!

Before the event, I was sent a pair of pink New Balance sneaks, a pair of pants and some shirts with the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure logo. I absolutely love my super-bright pink sneaks, which I wear proudly & think of someone to dedicate my workout to every time I sport ’em!

Each event started with a special gathering where we heard from a New Balance representative, as well as the beautiful & inspiring stories of a few survivors! We were also given little goodie bags with essentials like much-needed water, a face towel and some nutrition bars. From there, we were off to the workouts!

I was lucky enough to join for both Barry’s Bootcamp  and The Handle Bar.

Class Recaps

Barry’s Bootcamp

The first class I took was at Barry’s Bootcamp, and I was thrilled to join as they just opened in Boston! I had only taken one class here before, and was excited to take it with one of the studio managers, Dustin, himself. I knew I was in for a treat aka. a super sweaty, challenging class. And Dustin definitely delivered!

Just to paint the picture for you all: when you walk into the room, the lights are dark with club-like lighting and the music is blaring. On this special event, however, we were lucky to have a DJ dropping the beats for the 60-minute class. You then shuffle around the room to either hop on a treadmill or snag your space on the floor. But don’t worry, it doesn’t matter too much, because you alternate positions throughout the class (roughly 30 minutes on each in 15 minute increments)!

I started on the floor i.e. strength training. Before the class began, Dustin had us dedicate the class to someone we know who has been affected by cancer. Immediately, I dedicated mine to my beloved Grandma Carol (who passed away a few years ago) and it was ON!

On the floor portion of class, we did a mix of lunges, deadlifts, chest-presses, dumbbell curls, push ups, planks and all that good stuff! Let’s just say, I was certainly feeling the burn. As for the treadmill, it’s not anything like running on a treadmill at the gym! From jogs to full out sprints (think: double digits), hills to flat roads, the workout was anything but boring. Let’s just say: I was drenched in sweat. But the strength training portion was definitely more challenging for me personally, since as I runner I was more conditioned for the tread.

Overall, I highly recommend Barry’s if you want a killer full-body workout (with fabulous coach-like instructors cheering you on) in just 60 minutes of your time! It’s so worth it.

The Handle Bar

I’ve been to The Handle Bar a few times, and the main perks that stand out to me is a. their super friendly vibe b. their fabulous, cheerful instructors and c. their music.

Not once have I gone to a class there & been dissapointed. It’s the worst when you take spin and the music stinks or the instructor is less-than-motivating. Bummer. Not at The Handle Bar! I also love their clean, chic look and welcoming vibe which is important to me as a customer.

This class was extra-special since I got to take it with the owner, Jess, for my first time! Not only is Jess super cute & spunky, but she’s super motivating and plays killer music to boot. Score.

Read my full review of The Handle Bar indoor cycling studio here!

Sending a giant bear hug & a huge thank you to New Balance & Susan G Komen for putting together these events and making this campaign come to life! I encourage all of you to participate in this campaign, by dedicate your daily workouts to a survivor or someone special in your life. Use hashtag #LaceUp365 to participate!

Raising The Bar (and Sweating it Out) at Boston’s Newest Spin Studio: The Handle Bar

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Spinning has quickly become one of my favorite exercises of late. Why’s that, you ask? Well of course I love a good, sweat-inducing, body-sculpting workout, but that’s not the main reason why I’ve fallen in love with spin. What really put me head over heels is the way it makes me feel. There’s nothing like 45+ juicy minutes of straight-up adrenaline mixed with loud beats pumping through the speakers to get you motivated!

Thus far, I’ve been taking classes at Recycle Studio which I adore for their top-notch teachers and comfortable, boutique feel. (Take Christina’s class…she’ll make you sweat ’til the very end) But unfortunately there aren’t many other spin studios around the Boston area, especially for those who don’t live right in the city.

That’s why I was super excited for the opening of The Handle Bar, the city’s newest spin studio located in South Boston (right off Broadway Station on the Red Line.) And I was lucky enough to be invited to try the class with up to 10 of my friends (spin shoe rental included.) SCORE!

While The Handle Bar isn’t right in Downtown Boston, it’s just a quick 10 minute trip from Park Street Station, making it super easy for commuters to get to class. Upon walking in, I was amazed by beautiful decor and great attention to detail. It definitely wasn’t your typical gym ambience; rather is was warm, inviting, edgy and hip. You know, it sort of makes you want to sit down and stay a while.

[earplugs & hair ties on the house!]

Not to mention, the owner Jess is an absolute sweetheart and just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the out! We had met once before, and she quickly ran over to give me a big hug and greet the group. Not only does Jess manage the studio, but she totally walks to talk too as one of their talented instructors.

After being greeted, we filled out some quick waivers (easy, peasy) and then were asked for our shoe size to get our spin shoes. I had never spun with actual clip-on spin shoes (that clip into the bike pedals) as I usually just wear my clunky running shoes that slip in. But these bikes were high-tech, not to mention brand new. So we had to get geared up properly!

When I walked into the studio, I was in awe. With 30 bikes, large mirrors and squeaky-clean, brand new equipment, I had never seen anything quite like it. It was spacious, open and just plain innovative. It got me even more excited to get my ride on!

Jess and our spin teacher Ch’ien walked around the room to help everyone get their bikes set up, and Ch’ien introduced himself and explained the workout. Then the lights went off, the shades were closed and it was time to get the party started!

I really enjoyed Ch’ien’s class, as he mixed in his own style making it different than your typical spin class. He teaches on a scale of 1 to 4 zone, 4 being in his own words: “You want to punch me in the face.” I absolutely loved his energy, loud music (with lots of club-style remixes and even a little Spice Girls thrown in) and overall style of teaching. Definitely kept the crowd moving their legs (and entertained with his bursts of humor!)

The added arm workouts — utilizing a weighted bar — differentiates The Handle Bar from other spin classes too. Plus, it gives your arms a killer burn as you spin your little legs away!

I will certainly be back for more, and can’t wait to give the other instructors a try too! I’ve been told they’ve all got their own unique style and bring something different to the table, er, handle bar each & every class.

Want to see what The Handle Bar is all about for yourself? View their full schedule here to sign up for a class! Single classes are $20 plus a $2 shoe rental.

Sweat, Smile & Dance Your Butt Off: Try Zumba at The Z Spot Boston

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I try to live a pretty balanced life (as much as I can). I eat clean foods that make my body feel really good, but also indulge in the occasional burger and the more-than-occasional glass of red wine with dark chocolate. I love running & signing  up for local races, but I also enjoy going on long walks with The Boy or my girlfriends just to catch up. I’m known to ask a million questions and “talk too much,” but I’m also a really great friend and a darn god listener. I’m not a “vegetarian” nor am I a “meat-eater.” I adore the fast-paced, buzzing city-living in Boston, but my roots are back home on our family’s lake-house in CT. I’m a little bit of everything… the best of both worlds.

sweetgreen, the super-sweet company I work for here in Boston (if you don’t know of ’em yet you need to visit their site ASAP), believes in this concept of balance but also takes it one step further. They say that true greatness happens when passion and purpose intersect. Passion x Purpose. Passion meets purpose.  My list includes writing x inspiring others, connecting x making people feel better, eating clean x feeling energized, learning x growing and love x happiness.

And when it comes to working out for me it’s sweaty workouts x having a blast. After all, what’s the point in exercising if you aren’t having a little bit of fun along the way? I can’t think of a better workout that leaves you dripping in sweat and with a smile on your face than Zumba, the dance-inspired workout craze. So when some of the sweetgreen team was up visiting Boston from DC, I knew I just had to take them to The Z Spot Zumba.

The Z Spot, located at 121 E. Berkeley Street in the South End, offers a number of both weekday and weekend classes alike. I love its boutique feel, and generous sized, bright fitness room with plenty of natural lighting. I took my first class there a few weeks ago with the lovely Nicole D (I posted a pic here) and simply had a blast. Ladies, I think I am going to be hooked!

I didn’t really know what to expect going into it, as it’s been a few years since I’ve taken Zumba but it was just a fun as I remembered. For those who are “awkward”, clumsy or have no rhythm whatsoever, no worries as that’s totally me too. But fortunately Nicole did a great job of encouraging us to listen to our bodies and move to the music (even if that means making up your own moves!) Plus, Nicole made it super fun for the whole group with her energetic voice and words (well, shouts) of encouragement. Every time you look up she’s up there radiating her permanent grin right back at you!

During class, I noticed a chalkboard in the studio, where students can write down positive notes regarding what they took away from class. Totally up my alley! It was so neat to read different comments from those who are just getting back into working out to a woman who used Zumba to heal from a rough breakup. No matter where you are coming from, one thing is certain: you leave the class feeling better about yourself. And what’s not to love about that?

So what did the sweetgreen crew think of this wild, sweaty dance fest?

They absolutely loved it, of course! The team was super inspired by Nicole’s contagious energy and had a blast moving to the music & getting their Zumba on. Even the dudes couldn’t stop talking about it! I’m telling you – Zumba really is for anyone and everyone!

Schedule your first class at The Z Spot Zumba today! P.S. Boston ladies – sweetgreen will be opening their doors next week on Boylston St in the Back Bay. If you love to eat good, local organic food that actually tastes good, you’re sure to fall in love as I have!

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A Lover of Life, Barre, Cheese & Everything in Between

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Good evening ladies! Hope you all had a nice day. I’m feeling real good as I just got home from a sweaty spin class/ meeting with the ever-so-energetic Ali Balsassare at Equinox. I’m beginning to love evening exercises more than I thought, though I’m still a morning person at heart.

Alright, let’s get to it; it’s time for another week of Healthy Chicks in the Community. Remember how last week I mentioned that Jess had an equally awesome twin sister? Well, I thought it’d be fitting to feature her amazing twin (in fact, they are actually triplets) on the blog this week. I’m thrilled to introduce you to the Jolene, whose writing literally gives me chills, or makes me tear up every. single. time. By the way, she truly has one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever witnessed. I’ll let Jo take it from here…

NAME/AGE:  Jolene Bonina, age: 33

BLOG/TWITTER (If Applicable): Blog: Determined To Be: http://determineduncensored.com/ Twitter: jobo_determined

CURRENT CITY:  Andover, Mass.

PHOTO TAKEN:  This is one of my favorite pics with M (it’s a toss up, location takes the cake on this one!), in our favorite town in Sonoma County – Healdsburg. It’s at one of our favorite wineries, Thumbprint, as we practice our faux ‘wine snob’ faces. I think we do a pretty good job here, no?

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK:  By day, I manage PR and social media for a tech company in Southern California, working from home, which I’ve realized is my ideal way of working. I get so much done, stay out of the office politics and have the flexibility do my passion…as by night (and early morning!), I teach barre classes at barre n9ne studio in Andover and love, love, love it. Every single class is just an amazing experience, helping clients reach their fitness goals and really challenge them, and just seeing sweaty, happy faces, makes me equally as happy!

NUMBER ONE PASSION: Honestly? barre n9ne. It is such a ‘homegrown’ unique and original community of clients that are just fiercely dedicated, devoted, and determined to reach their fitness goals. Whether it be a 60 day challenge, a ‘moms bounce back’ program for new moms, or the everyday client who just wants to tone up and feel better about themselves, these clients – this family – is seriously amazing and I am so proud to be a part of it, and a walking ‘example’ of how this approach just works.

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: I feel my healthiest self every single day. No joke. I live by the mantra ‘smarter, not harder’ with my workouts, staying active daily, teaching at the studio, and fitting in runs or an occasional spin, when my schedule allows, and eating in a wholesome ‘real foods’ way. No food is off-limits, but I know my limits. I know what fuels me, and what satisfies me, and what does not, and it feels like the ‘magic bullet’ to happy and healthiness.

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: I love my wine. Really and truly. I enjoy every glass, and I definitely have it several times a week, no apologies there. And it’s good for your heart, so it’s truly a win/win, isn’t it?

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: kabocha!! My latest obsession. I.love.that.squash. coffee. Oatmeal. Not necessarily in that order 😉

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: wine. or pizza. Or both, together, for the ultimate combination!

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: this is a tough one. It is a toss up between a super sweaty and intense barre class or a super sweaty and intense run. But the run must be outdoors for it to truly feel amazing. There is nothing better!


MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: For me, the last two years have been such a journey about intuitiveness and mindfulness and learning what my body needs to stay satisfied physically but also mentally. You truly need both to be able to live and sustain a healthy, fit, and happy lifestyle, in my opinion. It shouldn’t be work, but it takes work to get there, to get to that point where you trust yourself and your body, but know that once you do? It’s totally worth it. Because there’s no sense living a life where you can’t eat the food you like, or live up to an image of ‘perfection’ on tv. There is no such thing. Strive for excellence, and not perfection…it’s a much happier life!…

Healthy Chicks in the Community: An Almost Thirty, Quinoa-Loving New Mom

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Good evening ladies! Hope you all had a great day, and are now taking some time to shut down and relax. You deserve it, after all. Be sure to check out my post from earlier today recapping a fun sports bra fitting event I attended last night at New Balance. But tonight I’m here to bring you this week’s feature for Healthy Chicks in the Community, who’s actually a cousin of The Boy, and someone I admire greatly for her dedication to inner happiness and wellness. I’ll let Marybeth take it from here…

NAME/AGE: Marybeth Ferreira… Soon to be 30 🙂

CURRENT CITY: outside of Worcester

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: Outpatient Mental Health Clinician, specializing in children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities

NUMBER ONE PASSION: Do I have to choose one? 🙂

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: Active, eating well, GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP, and finding balance in all of my roles

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: I like to bake fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies and sample the batter!… and skip parts of workouts I don’t prefer… on occasion

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: olive oil, quinoa, and organic chicken broth

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: brain numbing reality tv… I’m ashamed…



MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: I believe that health is at it’s best when it’s approached holistically. That being said, start little by little, step by step. I used to be that girl that could live on take out, and I mean the unhealthiest of healthy, rarely exercise, and put other people’s emotional needs before my own. I’ve learned that holistic health is a process, and patience is the key. Each day just try, then some things become new habits, and those can be built upon. With all the changes that we swear to make regarding our bodies, I really want chicks to not forget that how you feel and think are HUGE factors, and you need to be nurtured and loved…by yourself 🙂…

Bra Fitting for a Cause with New Balance in Boston’s Back Bay

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Good afternoon ladies! Hope you’re all off to a healthy, happy Thursday. Random question for you: Do you know your ideal sports bra size? If you’re not quite sure how to answer the question, I was right there with you. Plus, apparently 70% of women don’t know their appropriate bra size!

So when I was invited to New Balance’s Bra Fitting for a Cause yesterday evening, I was quite intrigued. To celebrate the launch of their new NBPSYCHE Sports Bra Collection, New Balance hosted an event at their Boylston St. store, offering free bra fittings to attendees. Plus, for every woman who got fitted, they donated $10 to MA’s Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Upon arriving, I was given a ticket with a number to hold my place in line. (It also doubled as a raffle ticket!) As I waited for my “bra consultation,” I sipped on some white wine, nibbled on a couple apps (I really liked the mini crostini with goat cheese and eggplant) and mingled with some of the other ladies.

While waiting (and snapping pics) I also ran into two other lovely bloggers: Elizabeth from On Tap for Today and Tina from Carrots ‘N’ Cake so it was nice to catch up for a little bit before I was rushed off to my fitting.

I must say, New Balance did a great job with making us ladies feel comfortable and well-informed. The woman who did my fitting thoroughly explained the whole process, including why it’s important to know your bra size. Who knew that having that perfect fit can help prevent falling straps, that annoying shoulder-digging, and even chaffing? Being a runner, I was especially intrigued! Plus, all the bras are designed for the active woman, taking into account sweat management, breathability, comfort, convenience, style and class!

After taking my measurements, I was given two custom-fit bras chosen specially for me based on my size. We had some good laughs, since I wasn’t exactly an easy contestant (small boobs & waist but big ribs and broader shoulders), in turn throwing off my measurements. But with a few quick questions and  adjustments, they were able to find my perfect fit.

I loved the feel of the bras: super soft, comfy, and snug to my body but not in a “too tight” way. It felt like they were made for me, something I’ve never experienced with a sports bra. I’m usually the kind of girl that just buys a size small in whatever color or type that’s available and calls it a day! While I liked both of the sports bras I tried on, I was a sucker for the Fabulous Framer II in medium.

The Airy Racer felt great, but since it was a little bit lose in the shoulder area, the woman recommended I try it on again in a 32 B, versus the 34 A I tried on originally. Who knew bra sizes could be so complex? The best part is that the NBPSYCHE line offers 9 different styles, including 2, 3, and 4-way motion control, so that every lady can find “the one.”

Big thank you to New Balance for putting on a fun & informative event. I’ll definitely think twice next time I’m shopping for a new sports bra!

Do you know your sports bra size? Have you ever given it any thought? What’s the #1 thing you look for in a bra, be it comfort, look, feel or something else?

Try Something New: Pure Barre with Blog & Tweet Boston (Plus a Powerful Message of the Day)

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I’m a huge fan of trying new workouts, challenging yourself and most importantly finding that exercise that makes you shine (you know, makes you feel beautiful, strong and confident in your body!) After all, that’s what FitFluential means to me.

So when I was invited by Jen and Kerrie from Blog & Tweet Boston to attend a complimentary class a Pure Barre Boston yesterday afternoon, I jumped on the opportunity! While I have taken barre-style classes before through Core Fusion at Exhale Spa, I have  never tried Pure Barre so I was excited to see what was in store!

Pure Barre recently opened their new Boston studio at 350 Newbury Street, which is a prime location for anything & everything fitness and health if I do say so myself. (Side note: sweetgreen will be located just a walk away right by Copley Station, scheduled to launch in June. Boston foodie & fitness peeps, I know you are going to fall in love. You can read all about my new job at sweetgreen here!)

The first thing I noticed upon walking in was the beautiful space: clean, fresh with lots of natural light. Plus, they have lockers and keys available to students, so you don’t have to lug around a clunky lock or worry about stollen goods (huge plus)!

Before class, I chatted it up with some fellow bloggers (new & old). Most of us were new to Pure Barre so we knew we’d be in for a serious sweat sesh! As we were waiting for class to begin, the lovely instructor Fiona went around to shake everyone’s hand and introduce herself. I loved her energy and personal approach, making everyone feel comfortable and pumped for class to start. The studio owner Lauren was also there to take class with us, and help with corrections, which was a nice treat!

The Pure Barre Scoop

Class was an hour long, with loud fast-paced music blasting throughout. Let’s just say, Fiona gave us a killer workout, with pretty much nonstop movement for the entire 60 minutes. I totally felt the burn especially in my abs and thighs, and still do (in a good way)!

We worked everything from arms and butt to thighs and abs, moving from the floor to the mat to the bar. I loved the fast-paced, energetic approach, as I didn’t get bored once!

I also really liked Fiona and Lauren’s genuine care for their students, encouraging us to hold a little longer (or sink a little lower) and correcting our posture. This was especially helpful during the glutes work on the bar, as I totally needed a hip adjustment. We were also constantly reminded to tuck, a super important part of the workout to really get as much as you can out of it. The instructors definitely know their stuff, which is important to me as a first-timer!

I’d definitely recommend Pure Barre for anyone who wants a real challenge, and likes a group fitness atmosphere in a non-intimidating setting. It’s also great for those looking for results, as the barre method has been known to tone and sculpt the body and really work your core.

[me with superstar instructor Fiona! Photo credit: Jess, Little Miss Runshine]

Many thanks to Pure Barre Boston and Blog & Tweet Boston for putting this fabulous event together. Feel free to email me or comment if you have any questions regarding the workout, as I’m always here for honest feedback and advice!

P.S. Here’s my message of the day that I’d like you all to reflect upon, which also happens to be a tweet I posted earlier today!

Have you ever tried Pure Barre? What was your experience like? How can you celebrate and encourage other women?

Healthy Chicks in the Community Week 7: A Fun Foodie Who Likes Her Cocktails Strong & Her Workouts Sweaty

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Good afternoon Healthy Chicks! Today’s spotlight on Healthy Chicks in the Community is a twenty-something lady who loves her cocktails strong and her bread hot & fresh straight from the oven. I’ve actually had the honor of meeting Caitlin in person at a local coffee shop in Connecticut and she’s just as sweet as she sounds on paper. I’ll let Caitlin take it away from here!

NAME/AGE: Caitlin Croswell / 23

BLOG/TWITTER: www.caitplusate.com / caitplusate on twitter

CURRENT CITY: Glastonbury, CT

PHOTO TAKEN: On the Lawn at Castle Hill in Newport, RI…a recommendation I got from a fellow blogger Tina, author of one of my first blogs I ever found – Carrots N Cake!

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: I work full-time in the sales department of a small engineering and manufacturing firm…while fulfilling my passion for blogging on the side!NUMBER ONE PASSION: Spreading love and happiness

NUMBER ONE PASSION: Making others feel confident, and less hard on themselves!

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: Eating the foods I crave (which means not depriving myself when those cravings aren’t necessarily for “clean food”) and doing the workouts I enjoy (aka not running…even though it seems at times like “all the bloggers” are doing it!

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: Make that ALWAYS have a glass of wine or a cocktail with dinner!

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: I rarely cook if you can believe it (perk of living at home with mom) but I’ve always gotta have my cutting board, a nice sharp knife for cutting veggies and/or fruit, and reusable containers to pack my lunches for work!

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: Probably cocktails…I love a strong drink!

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: I’m in love with choreographed Step classes!

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: BREAD. Warm, crusty, white, fresh from the oven please.

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: Health is way more than just the physical, chicks. Being “skinny” isn’t worth it if you’re miserable – trust me, I know. I’ve been in recovery from an eating disorder for two years now and at my lowest weight I was far from happy – and STILL wanted my body to look different. Now whenever I feel tempted to abuse my body by overexercising or restricting I remind myself of that fact, that doing those things does not bring happiness, and in truth my happiest self is a girl who trusts in her love for healthy eats, her passion for fun fitness, and her enjoyment of the cocktails and sweets of life too 🙂

If you’d like to be featured as one of my Healthy Chicks in the Community, or know someone who you want to make blush, email me for more deets. And remember, if you aren’t feeling your healthiest self or are struggling to make positive changes, shoot me an email anytime to schedule your FREE 15-minute info session / sign up for one of my health coaching programs.

Athleta’s Fitness & Fashion Event on Newbury

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Last night, I was invited to attend “New Year, NEW YOU!” a fitness-inspired fashion event at Athleta on Newbury Street. Since I love fitness and fashion (well, when it comes to my workout gear) I was IN.

The event was hosted by Eventbrite and Athleta, two fabulous community-oriented companies in my book, so unsurprisingly was a huge hit. The evening entailed a sneak peek at Athleta’s new spring line, with local fitness teachers walking around to mingle and show off their beautiful clothes.

When I walked in there was a great crowd of ladies, all looking to have a good time and get their Fitness & Fashion on! After I signed in and chatted with some of the management team, I head over to the apps & drinks table to grab some quick, healthy bites. I filled my plate with a variety of cheese, some toasted pita, hummus and stuffed grape leaves and also snagged a Peach HINT Fizz for a light and tasty treat.

I was so excited to see Melina’s juice (from e.t.c Juicery) being served too! “How cool, I know her!” It’s safe to say her new juice is going to be a hit, as I went up for two cups myself while I was there.

Speaking of familiar names and faces, one of the first fitness models I saw was Kristy, someone I used to work with a while back at one of my first jobs in Boston, and who I ran into again at Ombe (where she now works) a few months ago.

[Kristy (left) posing with two other Athleta Fitness Fashionistas]

I also chatted with some other fabulous ladies along the way, all looking chic in their Athleta-wear.

[The whole group of stylish ladies smiling big!]

[Me & the ever-so-graceful Pilates teacher Swan Lyon]

It was so  nice seeing all of these strong, fit, happy ladies. They’re ALL Healthy Chicks in my book.

And one of my favorite part of the nights: I met President and Co-Founder of Prana Power Yoga Taylor Wells who was there for a book signing featuring her new book Create the Best Life Ever.

We had so much fun chatting about life, positive affirmations, fitness and nutrition. In fact, I was so touched by her words that I even bought her “Create the Best Life Ever” Positive Affirmation cards, which I think will be a wonderful addition for my own practice with yoga and meditation, and to use with my clients during health coaching.

I then went picture-crazy, trying to capture all of my favorite Athleta items & colors:

Overall, it was a wonderful evening filled with inspiring ladies, delicious food (and drinks), and incredible fashion. I also can’t get over how lovely Athleta’s store is, from the lighting to the impeccable layout. If you haven’t stopped in yet, you MUST. Just head on over to 92 Newbury Street, and I promise you’ll be in for a treat.

What’s your go-to fashion style during an exercise? Comfy & casual? Cute & fitted? Colorful or neutrals?Share below! P.S. If you haven’t already done so, please go check out my Healthy Chicks in the Community initiative. I’d love to get as many fabulous ladies involved as possible!

What FitFluential Means to Me: The Inside Scoop from a FitFluential Ambassador

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As I’ve mentioned before here on Healthy Chicks (and as I’m sure you can tell by the badge on the right), I am a proud FitFluential Ambassador. If you haven’t checked out the FitFluential community before, which was founded by Fitness Rockstar Kelly Olexa, I strongly suggest you do so over here.

While FitFluential is packed with an amazing group of like-minded enthusiasts sharing their passion for wellness every hour on the hour, today I wanted to share with you what “FitFluential” means to me. More specifically, my very own definition of living a “healthy lifestyle.”

Discovering an Exercise Routine that Makes you Shine

[Move100 Campaign; Photo Cred: Move100.org]

Just like there is no Perfect Man for every woman, there is no perfect exercise that works for everyone. In fact, I don’t believe in rules or perfection at all.

Some live for CrossFit and Pilates, while others feel their best by doing yoga and running. Some spin 6 days a week, while others enjoy being one with nature and going for long hikes with loved ones.

The point is, it’s not going to work for you unless you enjoy it. Find the exercises that make you shine, and run with it. What gives you a natural high? What makes you feel strong and confident about your body? What moves you?

Remember this can change, as we go through phases throughout our lives. Currently, I’m into yoga (for inner peace and serenity), running (for clarity & sweat) and circuit training (for strength). However, I wouldn’t reccomend this routine for everyone as THE. BEST. EVER. There is no best. Do you. This right here is one of the many reasons I love the FitFluential community so much: everyone brings something different to the table.

Also, be sure to take risks by trying new classes and different types of exercise, as you may surprise yourself. This morning I took a hot yoga class with a friend at Prana Power Yoga in Central Square and haven’t felt such a sense of bliss in a long time. In the past year, I’ve completed my THIRD half marathon (I can’t believe I’m saying that), PR’d my 5K by over a minute, and took part in the Move100 Initiative.

Setting intentions for yourself is really helpful in reaching your fitness goals as you are doing it for YOU and no one else. Attempt to let go of competition and comparison and challenge yourself. It’s much more fun that way!

Fueling Your Body With Food That Makes You Feel Your Best

Just like my viewpoint on exercise, I feel the same way about how we eat. One diet doesn’t work for everyone! Remember that. While your best friend may do well on a strictly vegan diet, you may thrive on good-quality, organic grass-fed meats. While some may be able to devour the bread bowl like it’s no tomorrow, others (like myself) may have difficulty digesting gluten in large amounts.

While we’re on this topic, I don’t even like the word diet in the first place. To me, healthy living is a lifestyle and something that’s a part of your life 365 days of the year. So you over-indulged in pizza last night or your weight went up two pounds on the scale. When you’re living a healthy lifestyle, those little “slips” start to not matter as much.

In fact, I am so passionate about helping other women overcome a diet-obsessed lifestyle, that I’ve created a unique wellness program for exactly that. I’ve been in there, that place where the scale rules your life, where you stay in from social outings with friends out of fear of the menu, where food is scary and overwhelming. And let me tell you, there is not fun.

In the past few years, I’ve never been in a happier place with myself and my body. And it all started when I stopped dieting and starting living, when I stopped buying fat-free, cardboard tasting, diet-everthing and started eating real food, when I stopped fearing food and began to fall in love with it.

For me, eating well means filling my plates with clean food, local and organic as much as possible but not ALL THE TIME. It means eating a plant-heavy diet (lotsa greens!) with loads of colorful fruits, good quality grains, fish and occasional organic chicken. It means having fun, and not being afraid to make mistakes, in the kitchen! It means recognizing the foods that make me feel crappy (too much gluten, fried food, etc) and loading up on the foods that make me feel fantastic (sauteed greens, quinoa bowls, green smoothies in the Vitamix, homemade soups, sushi + fish).

And of course, there are nights where I drink one too many glasses of red wine or indulge in a little too many cheese & crackers, but that’s OK. Be realistic about it and ask yourself “How Do I feel?”

Communicating + Collaborating

[random run-in with Cait at Daybreak; photo cred: Cait Plus Ate]

This one’s a biggie! I think making relationships with other people (both similar and different to you) is key. I love how everyone in the FitFluential community is so willing to share, connect and spread the love!

It’s so fun discovering different bloggers, attending unique events and taking part in incredible wellness initiatives.

I find such a joy in creating new friendships (both in person & virtually) with amazing women all over the web including some of my old-time Boston faves like Jess from Eat Drink Breathe Sweat (who actually introduced me to FitFluential) to some of my new faves like Heather from For the Love of Kale and Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate. Honestly, these women are amazing and ever-so-inspiring. This whole community is!

Oh, and communicating &  collaborating goes outside the “blogosphere” too. It’s about connecting and networking with people every day to  ignite that inner passion, and potentially create amazing relationships along the way.

Having a Positive Attitude (Most of the Time)

[enjoying some giggles & QT with the boy]

For me, above anything else, healthy living is about your attitude and mindset. Be confident in who you are, walk your talk, fill your life with positivity, take risks, embrace your body, lend a helping hand when you can, and SMILE. I think it’s important not to take life too seriously and to have a little fun with it.

Be sure to make time for the people you love and surround yourself with positive people who bring out the best in you. Drop the envy & jealousy and replace it with admiration & determination. Be the best you that you can possibly be!

SHARING TIME! What does FitFluential mean to you? For fellow FitFluential Ambassadors, share your thoughts here! For others, how is living a “healthy lifestyle” defined according to you? What do you agree or disagree with? Remember there is no right or wrong answer. That’s the beauty of it all.

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