Category: News

“This club is amazing… I’m a big fan of the weight room, the staff, the club members, and the steam room. I’ve met some incredibly friendly and welcoming people here. Want a protein smoothie on your way out? Here you go.

The bar attached to the facility for those who want to unwind after a long day and catch a game. Very cool. They also offer free fitness tests to measure some key body metrics so you can track your progress, includes body fat, strength, flexibility, cardiovascular, and blood pressure.

I’ve been to many gyms around the country and have never had that offered to me for free before. With that on top of the high-level fitness advice, they give you afterward, as a customer, that tells me they actually care about my health (instead of just the bottom line). Seriously cannot be more satisfied with this gym 

 Well done Worcester Fitness! Thank you for everything!” John Dinovella

John thank you so much for this incredible review! It means a TON to us.

More importantly, we are thrilled that you are getting results and enjoying it!

Interested in leaving a review for Worcester Fitness? Click this link and THANK YOU! > https://goo.gl/maps/XwR4hh7wG5F2

“Worcester Fitness is hands down one of the best gym experiences I have ever had! I started at Worcester Fitness when my boyfriend signed an employment contract in Worcester. I was extremely sad to go once my boyfriend signed elsewhere.

All of the staff and members are so friendly, making me feel so welcome as I knew no one in Worcester prior to moving there. I am big on group fitness and Andy’s spin classes are second to none! I also loved Tracey’s Muscle and Cardio Express classes.

Get a membership at Worcester Fitness, you won’t regret it! I miss it every day.”

Jenna Einarson, via Google Reviews

*Thank you SO MUCH Jenna Einarson for your kind words about Worcester Fitness! We loved having you at the club and hope to see you if you come back to Worcester for a visit!

Interested in leaving a review for Worcester Fitness? Click this link and THANK YOU! > https://goo.gl/maps/XwR4hh7wG5F2

We all have bodies. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Infants, as new as they are to the world, are keenly aware of their bodies. Over time they learn to control their body parts, figure out how to move through the environment with purpose, and come to understand the myriad of sensory signals their brains are receiving from the body every moment. As we emerge from those first couple of years, we boldly charge forward and face whatever life brings us.

Fast forward 60 years or so - years of growth, injury, and repair to that once infant body. Older bodies will endure any number of stresses and traumas over the years in addition to the normal aging process. Some of the effects of aging are a bit worrisome. Aside from the physical issues like impaired balance, reduced flexibility, and slowed reflexes, there is the potential for increased risk of cognitive dysfunction and depression. Another uncomfortable and unglamorous part of getting older is increased social isolation due to either the loss of independence or the act of outliving friends and family. A consequence of this isolation is touch deprivation. These are all real things, and they all present unique challenges for people.

The process of aging hits everyone differently and with respect to the resources they have to cope with it. There are two rather large points to be made in light of this. One, that no one is exempt. We will all get older, we will all experience stress and trauma, and we will forever be altered by it. And two, that there is nothing inherently bad about this process. This is not something that needs to be “fixed” or “corrected” in any way. What we can all do, however, is to stack the deck in our favor and maybe “optimize” this journey we are all on.

Perhaps one of the most interesting findings in massage research in the older population is the positive effect it has on balance. Falls come with higher risk the older and frailer our bodies are. Massage has been shown to have a stabilizing effect on static and dynamic balance, which helps to limit the likelihood of falling. One study showed that simply experiencing regular touch may have a positive effect on preserving, or at least slowing the loss, of sensory input as we age. This points to the possibility that regularly receiving massage could have a greatly beneficial influence on balance, posture, motor control, and stability!

Massage therapy offers these possibilities without drugs, without needles, and with limited side effects. Although there are no guarantees of any of these results, there are no results at all without trying. Head on over to our front desk and ask to schedule an appointment with one of our fantastic massage therapists. We are all going to age, but we have some say on how we do it. Let’s keep our bodies moving!

Worcester Fitness is extremely proud to be voted 2018 Best Health Club by readers of the Worcester Business Journal.

This honor is especially awesome because we share it with EVERYONE in Worcester Fitness Nation! Without you, it's just a gym...WITH you we are MORE THAN A GYM!

Thank you all!

1986 Celtics vs. 2018 Celtics

Boston Celtics Fitness Challenge

You will be placed on one of two teams, the ‘86 Celtics OR the ’18 Celtics! Every day, you’ll represent your team by picking a new workout at the front desk. Just complete your assigned workout and record your points on the way out of the club. EVERY DAY is a brand new game in this exciting four week season!

Check Facebook and Instagram for final scores every day!

Rules and Regulations

  1. 1 game played every day with the ‘86 Celtics vs. the ‘18 Celtics.
  2. You will be placed on one of the teams and stay on that team for the 4-week season.
  3. Only one workout redeemed each day; classes cannot be saved for later use- must be used same day during that scheduled class time (will not be penalized for picking a new workout if that class is not available)
  4. Options/workouts will be provided at the front desk. Take workout, complete, and return to the desk at the end before leaving. The member services staff will record points for you in the record book!
  5. Please give your best effort. Use the highest resistance, elevation, weights and overall effort that you can for each challenge.
  6. You are allowed to foul 5 times throughout season! (You can place a workout back and pick a new one if you would like but only have 5 opportunities to do so within the 4 weeks).
  7. One of our goals is to expose you to new equipment, classes, routines and challenges that you normally avoid. We are here to help, so please ask someone in a blue shirt to help you achieve your goals.

Here are some of the exercises you’ll be asked to complete when you pull your daily basketball out of the basket.  There will be a wide variety of workouts on the balls to challenge you in many ways over the course of the 4 weeks.

CARDIO

            1 Point Free Throw

  • Treadmill: run or walk 2 miles
  • Stairmill: 10 minutes
  • Elliptical machines: 20 minutes on any elliptical you want
  • Rowing Machine: Row for 15 minutes or 2000 meters

 

            2 Point Basket

  • Treadmill: Intervals with 30 seconds running, 30 seconds walking for 2 miles
  • Stairmill: 15 minutes same speed whole time
  • Elliptical: 20 minutes with crossramp Minimum Level 8, Resistance Minimum Level 5
  • Rowing Machine: Row for 15 minutes or2000m with 1 min comfortable recovery and 20 secs all out full sprint

 

            3 Pointer

  • Treadmill: Incline Intervals with Incline Minimum Level 4 with 45-second run,  45 secs walk, 15-second sprint, repeat for 2 miles
  • Starimill: Changing Level between 4 and 8.  Warm up at 4 for 3 minutes. Every minute increase by 1 Level until you hit Level 8, then decrease every minute back to Level 4, then cool down on Level 4 for 3 minutes. 13 minutes total
  • Elliptical: 20 minutes with crossramp Minimum Level 9, Resistance Minimum Level 5.  Recover for 60 seconds, Go Hard for 30 seconds
  • Rowing Machine: 100m all out, 10 push-ups, 10 bodyweight squats x 10

 

*4 Point Play

(Hitting a 3 pointer, getting fouled, making the Free Throw = 4 points!)

  • 10 Flights on Stairmill immediately followed by 10 pushups immediately followed by .25 mile run on Treadmill followed by 10 bodyweight squats immediately followed by 200 meters on Rowing Machine followed by 10 burpees followed by 30-second plank.

* 4 Point Plays can be turned back in without counting as one of your 5 fouls

* 4 Point Plays  can only be performed 4 weeks contest

Strength

 

            1 Point Free Throw

  • Mini Strength Circuit Room: complete all upper body machines with 12 reps per machine, repeating circuit 3 times using the maximum weights you can handle.
  • Strength Circuit Room: complete all lower body machines with 12 reps per machine, repeating circuit 3 times using the maximum weights you can handle.

 

            2 Point Basket

  • Medium Strength Routine: Lat Pull Downs, Assisted Pull-Ups Push-Ups, 12 reps per exercise, repeating 3 times
  • Mini-Strength Routine: Wall Ball Squats, Alternating Reverse Lunges, Split Squats 12 reps per exercise, repeating 3 times all  holding minimum 10 pound dumbbells

 

3 Pointer

  • Big Strength Routine: 15 Tricep Pull Downs, 15 Push-ups, 15 TRX Rows, 15 TRX Squats  Repeat 3x
  • Big Strength Routine: single leg squat/sit to stand, rear foot elevated split squats, box jumps 3x10 ALL

 

 

Classes

 

1 Point Free Throw

  • Take a class you’ve taken in the previous year for one point. You can only take one class per day, and can’t do a strength or cardio workout the same day as a class and receive score points.

 

3 Pointer

  • Take a class you haven’t taken in the previous year for three points.

Register today! Click the button below and email Janine McCarthy to register for the Boston Celtics Challenge!

Merry Madness 2018!

By Andy Sharry
Contact ANDY with Questions 
Worcester Fitness is turned into a Merry scavenger race of Midnight Madness in this fun, unique event to benefit our own special charitable fund called Friends Helping Friends.
 
December 7, 2018
10:00PM - 1:00AM
 
What is Friends Helping Friends?
FhF was started in 2017 by several members of Worcester Fitness as a way to show financial and emotional support to two members battling cancer. Now, the fund needs a boost to continue. Funds raised through this event will help us continue to lend a financial hand to those in our Worcester Fitness Family who need it. Our first act of kindness following this event will be to donate money to Planting the Seed's Toy Drive. Throughout the year, we will donate to additional people and causes within our family. 100% of the money raised will be used directly to help those in need.
Teams of 3 participants will compete in 20+ physical and mental challenges set-up all throughout Worcester Fitness!
 
The challenges won’t be revealed until the teams' check-in! Each team will have 90 minutes to complete each task and be signed-off on by MMM referees stationed around the club.
 
The team that finishes all of the challenges first, OR the team finishing the highest number of challenges in the allotted time will be crowned MMM Champion! There will be prizes for the winning team AND for best team costume/theme!
 
Preliminary Schedule (subject to change):

10pm Teams arrive and register for the event. Teams are given the 20+ obstacles on a clip board

1015pm Merry, Midnight Madness Begins!

1145pm Merry, Midnight Madness Ends!

1145-1am Late Night Merry Midnight Madness Party in the Bar with Food, Drinks and Fun!
 
Signs up NOW!
 

Sign up for Merry Midnight Madness

Fitness Challenge

The Right Way to Practice

By Daniella Wittern Bush

I arrive early, as always, giving myself time to roll out my mat, adjust the lighting and the sound system, and open the cabinet of yoga props. Sometimes one or two mats have been strategically placed before I get there; most often there is a slow drift as the class enters the room little by little.

 

Light chatter fills these early moments: a casual conversation with the regulars about the weather, shoulders, and hips, kids young or old, or about books and shows. When new faces appear, I walk over with a set of blocks and a strap to introduce myself, asking their names and inquiring about any salient elements of their movement history and experience with yoga I should know about before class begins.

 

Then I tell the new student about the way I teach: I offer hands-on assists in class. Offer to be the key word, because I know that some people love to be touched, and some people don’t, for all kinds of very good reasons! So along with the blocks and strap, I give each person a little glass stone. If you place the stone on your mat, I know that you welcome hands-on assists; if I don’t see the stone on your mat, I will be happy to support your practice in other ways but will be sure not to touch you.

Worcester Fitness Yoga Instructor

Daniella Wittern Bush - Yoga Instructor

Please Correct Me

The responses I get when people hear about the permission stones is so telling about the state of yoga as it is currently practiced in the US. Almost always I hear a variation of, “Please, correct me! I know I make mistakes all of the time. I can use all of the help I can get!”

(Where in that introduction statement do I ever say anything about corrections? Right, I don’t.)

These comments reflect the widespread and deep-set belief that there is only one right way to practice each pose, and that our bodies can and or should be pulled into that correct shape when they don’t get their on their own. That any other shape we may find ourselves in must be wrong, must require “correction.” And that the teacher is the expert on what your body should be doing, even if this is the first time he/she has ever met you.

 

So this may be surprising to hear, but I don’t offer hands-on touch for the purpose of pulling anyone deeper into a pose or to “fix” their alignment.

Note- This is so widespread and such a problematic misconception that I will be dedicating a whole blog post to it soon! But for now, suffice it to say this: the teacher may be the expert on whatever form of movement practice you are participating in, but you will always be the expert on your own body. Ideally, you and the teacher combine your expertise one-on-one to figure out how to move (the teacher’s expertise) your body (your expertise) best within the movement practice itself, according to a set of predetermined goals. Barring that, in a group class setting, you are still the expert on your body, and should always feel free to combine what the teacher offers with your own knowledge of what will work or be good for your body.

Let me say that again: I do not use touch to force bodies deeper into a pose or to pull them into a “correct” shape.

 

I primarily use touch to foster connection, relaxation, and proprioceptive awareness. (Propioception is your awareness of exactly where your body is in space at any given moment.) So, for example, if we are standing in a bone-stacked version of Tadasana, Mountain Pose, (note that I call this one version of mountain pose! Rather than the only version or the correct version), and your hips are lining up over your toes rather than over your ankles, I might use touch to guide your hips backwards until they are stacked over ankles. Or I might use touch when you are in child’s pose to help you develop awareness of your breath expanding throughout the full thoracic cavity so that the space between each of your vertebra can increase with your inhales, and decrease with your exhales.

 

What I’m not doing, though, is using touch to bring you into “the right alignment” or “the correct shape.’

Inhabiting the Pose

Why not?

 

Because, my friends, there is no such thing as the one correct alignment for any given yoga pose.

 

Most of what gets taught as “correct alignment” in yoga classes are really about aesthetic appeal. About using the body to create shapes that are symmetrical, or that consist only of right angles, or that impress through pretzeling and strength demonstrated with clean lines.

 

The book in teacher training often touted as the Bible for cueing asana, Light on Yoga, was written by a man whose entire career was based on performance. That is to say, based on his ability to make shapes with his body that were pleasing to the gaze of others (or to that of the camera).

 

B.K.S. Iyengar also brought the use of props into the practice of yoga, making many poses much more accessible to many different bodies. But the classic alignment cues for Trikonasana, Triangle Pose, for example, are not about finding a Triangle that works well for your body today. They are about using your body to create a specific shape. About being able to recreate that exact same shape out of every body. Regardless of whether or not that specific shape is going to be good for your real body, today.

 

Here is the secret, my friends, that I wish every yoga teacher and every yoga practitioner knew: Every pose can be inhabited in an almost unlimited number of ways, according to three main factors: 1. The one specific body embodying the pose, 2. The intention of this particular yoga practice, and 3. The intention of the pose itself.

This Specific Body

No two bodies in a room practicing yoga are ever alike—not even if there are identical twins in the room. What our bodies need from, are capable of, or are limited by in any given pose is determined by a complex and extensive set of factors, of which genetic makeup is only one part. Our lifelong health and injury histories play a huge role in what our bodies need, can do, and should do. So do our occupations, our hobbies, our commutes—all of the factors that determine our patterns of repetitive movement or holding of tension. Our fears and our motivations come into play here, as do our recent levels and quality of sleep, eating, exercise, and stress. Who else is in the room and how comfortable we feel with them. And the list goes on, a whole slew of bio-psycho-social factors that determine how our bodies show up on any given day.

 

And we change! What I am capable of and limited by and will benefit from is not the same today as it was last week as it will be in a month. So how I practice a pose today should not necessarily be the same as I practiced it yesterday or a month ago or last year. Even within a single day, or within a single yoga session, how I practice a pose can and should change, based on how warmed up or cold, tired or energized my body is.

 

In other words: The intensity and challenge levels of each pose are determined not by the pose itself, but by every other pose—every other move!—that came before it. And not just on the yoga mat. How spinal extension feels—and what your body needs from spinal extension—differs based on the positions in which you slept the night before, how you have been holding tension, what postures you have spent most of your day in before arriving on the yoga mat

This Specific Yoga Practice

At the start of every class I teach, I offer an opportunity to set an intention for your yoga practice. Often, people’s intention in practice falls along the lines of peace, relaxation, or stress release. Sometimes it could be strength. Patience. Joy. There is no wrong intention for the practice—it is whatever you would like to get out of your time on the mat, today.

 

But if your intention in your practice is peace or relaxation, how you approach, for example, a Vrkasana, Tree Pose, should be different than if your intention is strength.

 

For one intention, you might choose to keep your hands wherever you feel most stable on your body, set your gaze on a fixed point, and let the sole of your lifted foot come down whenever you notice yourself holding your breath or working too hard. For the other, you might take your arms up to the sky, or let them and your torso sway around like the branches of a tree in a breeze; you might choose to challenge your propioception and balance by closing your eyes, or by shifting your gaze from point to point around the room.

 

There are no enlightenment points for choosing what might appear to be the “deepest” or “most advanced” (i.e., most aesthetically appealing or impressive) variation of the pose. Nor is there any one single option that is the best or “most correct” for all bodies at all times. There are only the options that make the most sense for your body and your intention for practicing today.

The Intention Behind the Pose

I want to let you in on one of yoga’s most well-kept secrets: every pose can be worked—and worked differently!—to achieve a wide variety of physical intentions.

 

Let’s take Uttanasana, a standing forward fold, as an example. Most often people assume that forward folds are about lengthening through the hamstrings. And it’s true: you can keep your legs straight as you fold forward, reaching your tailbone towards the sky, and you will find length through the hamstrings.

 

Even here, however, intention matters. You can lengthen through the hamstrings as a passive stretch, letting the weight of gravity do the work for you. And that might be the perfect thing to do, especially if the pose is serving as a rest or reset between sequences! But you can also choose to work eccentric strength through the hamstrings as they lengthen (and hamstring strength is something that everyone who spends too much time sitting needs to work on!). Hinge from the hips s-l-o-w-l-y, send the hips slightly backwards as you lower down, resisting the effect of gravity the whole way. This is an entirely different experience of the pose, based on a very different intention for using it.

 

These are just two options based on working hamstring length in different ways. Neither one is the correct way to practice. They simply serve different purposes.

 

And there are so many other things you could choose to use a forward fold to work! You might be most interested in isolating pelvic movement from flexion of the lumbar spine. Or in working on strength in spinal flexion against gravity. Your intention could focus on finding axial extension through the spine with gravity creating traction of the vertebra. Or to change the patterns of lymph movement and blood circulation.

 

And while it should, by now, be clear that your intention can be to work or rest in a forward fold, it could also be simply to use the forward fold as a transition, flowing from standing to seated or standing to step back into a lunge or standing to prone.

 

You could have an entire class or workshop sequenced simply around forward folds (not that I necessarily recommend this!), exploring as many different ways to inhabit the pose and opportunities for work or rest as you can imagine. None of them would be wrong—although you might find some that are wrong for your body today, or that are wrong for your personal intention for this practice session, or that are wrong for the stated reason for being in the pose. None of them would be more correct.

Your Practice, Your Pose

Your Practice, Your Pose

As a practitioner taking a class, you don’t always need to know what the intention behind the pose is. But the teacher leading the class should know and be able to articulate why he or she has chosen each pose, what it is that he or she would like you all to get out of it, and how it fits

Note- As in, for example, when someone cues to fold forward with knees deeply bent, but suggests that you are lengthening your hamstrings. There is nothing wrong with bending your knees in a forward fold—that permits a whole new array of possibilities within the pose! But it does not permit the lengthening of the hamstrings.

 

together with all of the poses that came before it and that will come after it. That knowledge, that why for each pose, should determine the way the pose is cued. And the way it is experienced.

 

Even so, you, the practitioner, are always in charge of your own body, your own experience. If I am teaching a class centered on hamstring and gluteal strength today, but yesterday you moved and did a lot of squatting while lifting heavy objects, or you skied all day, or you are feeling run-down and your intention is to relax rather than work hard, you can choose to inhabit the poses differently! You can choose what to work on, and what to let go.

 

Likewise, when teaching I will sometimes bring a class into or towards a pose, and then offer a whole series of options, each one working something different. I do this not because I want you to try each one of them as I offer them, but because I know that we all come to our mats from different places, in different bodies, and with different needs. Most often the whole class wants to come with me, from the first option all the way to the last one, but no single option is the correct or best one. They are simply different destinations.

 

Your yoga practice is a journey, not a test. You choose where you are going, and what path you are taking to get there. I am just the tour guide, delighted to point out some of the sights you can explore along the way.

By Christopher Jones, LMT, Worcester Fitness

I was standing on the top of Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch State Park this past weekend. It was a sunny and clear afternoon with a reported visibility of about 75 miles. No matter how far the visibility actually was, it was a beautiful view. It was, however, also about 28 degrees and there was a coating of that all too familiar winter malady – snow.

Whether we want to admit it or not, winter is fast approaching. This means that soon the snow will begin to fall and we will all break out the shovels. As with any other seasonal activity, many of us will start scooping and throwing snow without giving much thought to the safety and health of our bodies. People often joke about “weekend warriors” and the injuries that they accumulate for their sporadic physical activity, but this is just as likely for seasonal activities like spring gardening, fall leaf raking, and winter shoveling.

In 2011, the American Journal of Emergency Medicine released the results of a 17-year study detailing the most common health hazards associated with shoveling snow. Some of the results showed that:

• The most common reasons for getting hurt were overworking your muscles, falling, and being hit with the shovel.

• The top injuries were to the soft tissue of the body - muscles, ligaments, and tendon

• The low back was one of the most common areas to be injured.

• In addition to various cuts and scrapes, the arms and hands were the most common areas for bone fractures.

• Although only 7% of snow shoveling injuries were heart-related, all deaths due to snow shoveling were caused by heart problems. Individuals over the age of 55 were 4.25 times more likely to have heart-related symptoms while shoveling.

Those findings are sufficient to encourage all of us to think about our health and safety when it comes to shoveling snow. If you are healthy enough to head out and tackle the snow, consider these guidelines from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:

• Warm up with some light exercise first.
• Wear slip-resistant footwear.
• Shovel at a sustainable pace and take frequent breaks.
• Instead of lifting the snow, try to push the snow out of the way.
• Avoid throwing the snow over your shoulder or to the side to avoid twisting.

To those guidelines, I would also suggest staying hydrated while shoveling, wearing adequate clothing for the weather, and making sure your shovel is of the proper size and in good repair. Also, if you have a heart condition, an injury, or aren’t someone who regularly engages in exercise, this may be the time to get to know that family down the street who has teenagers in need of some extra cash. There is no shame in preventing an injury.

A lot of fun can be had in the snow. Shoveling can also be an extra bit of physical activity to add to your winter activity plans. If you question your readiness for show shoveling, consult with one of our trainers for an evaluation and a plan to get you ready. Perhaps even try an Advanced Therapeutic Stretching (ATS) session to really prime your body for action! If, however, it is already too late and shoveling has gotten the best of you, our massage therapists are available to aid you in pain relief and rehabilitation.

Winter is a wonderful season, and no one needs to spend it hurt over a bit of snow. So let’s be smart about it, let’s be safe, and let’s get outside!

Train with Your Worcester Fitness Running Team

worcester-fitness-running-team

Join Worcester Fitness Running Team for a 7-week Training Program for area Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5K’s.

Includes

• Coaching in person and through email correspondences.

• Running with a team of folks training for the same event.

• Joining a team that's perfect for beginners and less experienced runners

• A detailed 7-week training program

Logistics

• The runs will begin and end at Worcester Fitness, 440 Grove Street.

• Courses and distances will vary week to week

• The program begins Saturday, Oct. 6 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 17th.

• Runs will begin at 9 am.

Led by Worcester Fitness Running Coach Bob Bourassa

USA Track & Field: Level One Coach

Bob is a National Strength and Conditioning Association: Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and is a USA Track & Field: Level One Coach. He has run more than 40 marathons including Boston, Disney, Rock n Roll Arizona, and Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio.

Here is just a sample of the area Turkey Trot races already scheduled:

Holden Road Race 5k
Run for the Memory in Shrewsbury
Slattery's Turkey Trot
many more Holiday Themed Races

Questions?

SPARTAN TO FENWAY!

TRAIN WITH THE TEAM!

8-WEEK PROGRAM

Thursdays at 6 pm and Saturdays at 10 am.
Participants choose which day they will commit to
training on and come only to that class.

•First Thursday Group Starts: 9/13 and runs to 11/1

•First Saturday Group Starts: 9/15 and runs to 11/3

On race day, November 11th, the team will travel
together and many will race as a group, feeling the
powerful love and teamwork that the Worcester Fitness Spartan Team is famous for.

Use your HD Membership!

Members - Buy 10 Class HD Package for $150
Non-Members - Buy 10 Class HD Package for $180

"NEVER give up!"

"Just a quick note to explain what the Worcester Fitness Spartan Program has done for me.  For years, I had seen these classes and was always interested in getting involved but felt I couldn’t possibly do so because I was “too old” and wasn’t “at their level” of conditioning and physical strength.  During a period of difficulties in my life, I was looking for a change, a challenge, something that I could focus on and do for myself.  After taking other classes in the gym a fellow WF member that was involved with the Spartan classes encouraged me to try it out.  So I tried my first class and after meeting Coach Tracy Riley and the other members of the team, who wholeheartedly welcomed me, I was hooked.  I loved the workouts, the Spartan philosophy of getting people off the couch and moving, and pushing yourself physically and mentally.

I signed up for the Fenway Sprint back in the Fall of 2016 with the intent of doing that one race and that was it.  Well, two years later I have 8 OCR races under my belt with another 2 planned this year and the most important thing I have gained from this experience is not the medals or the finisher shirts but the appreciation of a team of amazing people that I have come to love as a family.  Nothing makes me happier than to see a team member accomplish a goal, the look on their faces when they complete an obstacle they thought they never could, or seeing the gains they make in and out of class because they are supported by an amazing group of people.  Our Spartan Family supports one another, celebrates each other’s accomplishments both on and off the course, welcomes people of all ages and abilities, and pushes one another to be the best version of ourselves.  We have a phenomenal coach in Tracy and each member of this family contributes in their own way.  The lessons you learn through this program carries over into everyday life as well. I can personally say I am stronger physically and mentally because of this team and it’s empowering!

We learn to take each obstacle that comes our way one at a time.  You break each down into manageable pieces, work, and most importantly NEVER give up!  It was a life changer for me and I am so grateful for Worcester Fitness, the program, Tracy, and each and every single member of this team."

Deb S.- Spartan Team Member
September 2018

Worcester Fitness Team Spartan Training Team at the Spartan Beast April 29
Worcester Fitness at the Spartan Beast in New Jersey April 29, 2017

"This is YOUR year!"

For more information on the Worcester Fitness Spartan Team, please contact Andy Sharry, andy@worcesterfitness.com.

The team is ready to start their 8-week training program to prepare for the Spartan Fenway Event on November 11th and we want you to be part of this life-changing experience.

In addition, you can register for the event itself:

Register for the Spartan Fenway Sprint Race.

  • Choose Sunday November 11th
  • Search for Worcester Fitness - Riley's Rebels to join our team for the race
  • Choose the earliest time slot available

2nd Annual Knockout 90 for Breast Cancer 

In March of 2017, Meg Paradis was diagnosed with breast cancer.   KO 90 is an event to give back to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, to the place that is helping Meg, and so many more.

Wednesday, October 3 6-8pm

• Three consecutive 30-minute classes, spin, strength, and camp.
(Participants change rooms at the 30-minute mark.)

• Raffles, food, etc to follow after the 90-minute workout

• Sign-ups begin Tuesday 9/4. $30 registration fee

• T-shirt, hat, water bottle included

• 66 spots, open to members and non-members.

• All proceeds will go to Yawkey 9 at Dana Farber for Breast Cancer research.

Sign up at the Front Desk at Worcester Fitness!

Questions? email andy@worcesterfitness.com

Advanced Therapeutic Stretching

By Chris Jones
Licensed Massage Therapist
NASM COrrective Exercise Specialist
cvjones@gmail.com

Stretching can (and should) be a regular part of a fitness program. We’ve all probably heard this statement many times from a variety of sources. It seems that every monthly health and fitness magazine has an article or two on stretching, it appears as a topic on daily talk shows, infomercials try to sell books and tools for stretching, and there are even chains of facilities dedicated to nothing but giving people a good stretch. So with all this information bombardment, why is stretching often absent from people’s lives?

Let us be honest with ourselves for a moment. If we wake up feeling great and our bodies aren’t screaming at us that we are in pain or that movement is difficult, we don’t really think about stretching our joints and muscles. When we are confronted with pain or tightness, maybe we default to some ibuprofen and a quick round of the stretching we remember doing in our grade school physical education classes (it was a couple or neck rolls and shoulder shrugs for a stiff neck, right?). And with so many types of stretching, where do we even begin?

We can categorize stretching in many ways, but for simplicity sake let us look at stretching in two big categories – simple stretching and Advanced Stretching (this will be defined in just a moment). Simple stretching is probably something that will seem very familiar and something you are likely acquainted with whether you remember the proper terminology for it or not. This category includes traditional static stretching (where you bring yourself to the point of stretch and then hold that position for a long period of time, anywhere from 20-60 seconds, and repeat 3-4 times), ballistic stretching (the use of repetitive bouncing movements at the point of the stretch), and dynamic stretching (the active use of continually increasing movement patterns that can mimic the exercise or sport that will be performed later). These are all types of stretching that someone can perform on their own or with some basic equipment (rope, towel, chair, etc.).

Advanced Stretching is based upon utilizing the body’s own nervous system to enhance the stretches being performed. There are a myriad of named techniques advertised in this category, but they all make us of one of two neurological triggers – the Golgi tendon organ (GTO) response or the muscle spindle reflex. The GTO is responsible for protecting a muscle’s tendon attachment from excessive stress. Have you ever lifted something so heavy that your muscles just gave out on you? That was the GTO response protecting you from tearing your tendon from the bone. Against a lesser degree of force, as would be encountered during a stretch, the GTO response enhances a muscle’s ability to lengthen after a sustained contraction. Some of the techniques that use the GTO response are Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Proprioception (PNF), Post-Isometric Relaxation (PIR), Muscle Energy Technique (MET), and Contract Relax (CR).

The other type of advanced, neurologically-based, stretching uses the muscle spindle reflex to produce what is called reciprocal inhibition. Simply put, if one muscle group contracts to produce movement, muscles that would oppose that movement must relax and lengthen. In trying to turn your head to the left, for example, the muscles that would turn your head to the left must not contract at the same time. This can be used as an advantage for stretching because the muscles will be prepared for lengthening. Some common names for this type of stretching are Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), Agonist Contract (AC), and Muscle Energy Technique (MET). Both types of advanced stretching require assistance for maximal effectiveness.

Information overload? Do not get too caught up in the names right now. Your best bet if you have not stretched before or wish to get back into it is to consult with a fitness professional (physical therapist, fitness trainer, massage therapist, yoga instructor, etc.). It will be worth the investment to have the advice of a professional who can explain and demonstrate these techniques to you in a concise manner and get you set up with a program that will meet your individual goals. Stretching can range from a simple activity to a highly nuanced activity, but when paired with a good fitness plan can be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

Feel free to stop into Worcester Fitness and ask to meet with one of our staff to talk about adding stretching to your fitness program. Send an email to our Fitness Director Andy Sharry, andy@worcesterfitness.com for more information.  If you have already decided and would like to begin right away, schedule an appointment with Massage Therapy Director Steve Dozois, or myself Chris Jones under our new Advanced Therapeutic Stretching program. Both Steve and I are are specially trained and experienced in these advanced stretching techniques. We will tailor a session specifically to meet your needs, and will design with you a plan to carry forward to meet your long-term goals.

The best overall advice for stretching is simply this – breathe, do not force movement, and be patient with yourself.  A good stretch is not out of your reach!