Our Blog

The Future Begins Now

Katie’s Corner
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Have you seen the new studio yet?! If you have, we are thrilled that you have shared in the infectious energy that is filling the space. If you haven’t been able to make it just yet, know that we are looking forward to welcoming you to your first class and (hopefully) seeing your face light up when you walk through the door. Justin and I have wanted to bring you a bigger, fancier version of Energia for a long time-a gym that has more room, more options, and more function. And that time is now.
With the transition, there is change. (I feel the need to insert the colloquial “obvi” here.) Most of it will be very positive, as we are adding new waves of classes in the mornings at 7:30am and 8:00am, as well as the afternoons at 4:30pm and 5:00pm. We have redesigned the outdoor programs, bringing you obstacles and profiles that will keep you challenged and on track with your fitness goals. And of course, we are keeping most of the classes you and your body have grown to love. In order to have the best experience possible, we encourage you to sign up for consultations with us to discuss your new schedule, new plan, andall of our offerings.
Finally, on behalf of the 50/50 Fitness staff, I want to take a minute to thank each and every one of our fabulous members who pitched in and helped out with the move, whether you moved bikes, helped construct the outdoor equipment in our spacious backyard, assembled furniture, etc., know that we appreciate your efforts in making the soft opening such a rewarding experience for everyone, now and in the future. There is no question how strong of a community we’ve all built together, and this weekend was a tangible testament to that. I must have pinched myself over 500 times in the past week, reflecting on how very lucky I am to be a part of this experience-this community.
Now let’s forge ahead, together.

Check out our new location!

We’ve made it through our opening weekend, with the help of so many of you!  Click to view some footage from our first few classes at the new space.
We showcased our Outdoor Fit Camp stations, unveiled our new state-of-the-art Spin studio, and got to see the fitness community at it’s finest. So, again, a big thank you to everyone for showing your support, coming together, and making all of this possible. None of it would be worth it without you, and the life and presence you bring to the gym, every single day.
We now have a whopping 70 classes on the schedule! If you haven’t experienced our back yard yet, the Outdoor Fit Camp is a must try. It’s fun, motivating, and has all of the components of an exceptional workout…functional strength, just enough cardio sprinkled in to ignite your metabolism, and creative combinations designed to challenge you in unique ways, week after week.
We offer the Outdoor Fit Camp every morning at 5:30AM, and most evenings as well. The course was designed with shade in mind, to keep you as cool as possible, all Summer long.
In addition to the Fit Camp, we have a new 7:30 and 8:00AM wave of classes, all at the new space!
We’re bringing Spin & Strength to Monday night, Lights Out Spin EVERY night, and more Barre and TRX have hit the schedule, per your request.
Lots of new things to try, plenty of opportunities to succeed! Sit down with one of our Health & Fitness Specialists today and schedule a consultation to review your schedule, your plan, and your goals. We’re here to help and we’re excited to share this brand new experience with you!

Happy Valley Half Marathon Running Clinics

Sign up for the free Happy Valley Half Marathon Running Clinics!
 
 
You might already know that we are bringing you the Happy Valley Half Marathon on October 23. Did you know we are hosting FREE weekly running clinics to help you get ready? 
 
Our Free Half Marathon clinic schedule is now live! Follow the link below and register for our first clinic, scheduled for Thursday, August 4th at 6PM. The group will meet at 226 Russell Street, in Hadley, MA. 
Each clinic will feature a group run led by running coach Grant Ritter. Along the way we will talk about the type of runs, training plans and gear that you need to know about. Are you in? Sign up now!
Wait you didn’t sign up for the Happy Valley Half Marathon or 5K yet? Register now and use coupon code RUNLOCAL to save $5.

Set your intention

Katie’s Corner
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My goal as an instructor in every class is to provide an avenue for students to actively participate mentally and physically in their workouts, rather than to passively go through the motions. Physical exercise is often viewed as a chore, when it has the potential to be extremely gratifying and uplifting. One of the best ways I’ve found to cultivate this frame of mind is to encourage the act of setting an intention at the beginning of class. In doing this, the person is immediately mindful of the present moment and can begin to weigh what is meaningful and relevant in their lives.

There are many ways to go about setting an intention, but one of the methods that works best for me is to think about what I’ve been experiencing, enjoying, or stressing about in my own life. I look for themes and let that help guide my focus. For (probably the most conspicuous) example, work can be a big stressor for me. As many of you know, I am at the studio much of the day. Don’t get me wrong and let me be clear, I am living my dream and would not change what I do for the world, but it’s easy to get caught up in the little details of making the studio run smoothly. And so, if I’m feeling erratic, I may approach my workout with an intention of sharp focus and attention to my form. If I’ve had a less productive day than I wanted, I may set a measurable goal of reaching a specific number of watts on the bike. Even on the days when I experience extra positive feelings of creativity or contentment, I will set an intention of sustaining that positivity in my workout.

My challenge for you this week is to set an intention in each of your workouts, whether it’s in a spin class or in Outdoor Fit Camp. Fully “embrace the shake” in a barre class or do one entire Tabata set to completion without stopping. In my experience, the benefits are considerable, with feelings of purpose, direction, and centeredness being the frontrunners. And as always, if you are having trouble figuring out how to set your own intentions, let me or any one of our other Health & Wellness Specialists help you, as we realize this activity may not come naturally to everyone. Meanwhile, move with intention, ya’ll!

Meet your Health & Fitness Specialist

We Don’t Know Squat:

Director of Strength & Conditioning, Jay McWilliams

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There are a few simple movement patterns that are as old as humankind. Just now, research is showing us how these primal movements are key to our health and longevity. One of these movements we do every day and in countless classes but we probably take for granted; the squat. The squat (along with the deadlift) is an excellent way to improve leg strength. A recent study from Brazil found that lack of leg strength is closely linked to higher mortality. In fact, people with weak legs were at a 5-6 times higher risk of death than those with strong legs! To build greater leg strength, we need to focus on performing squats with good form and added resistance (weight). In Targeted Strength and Conditioning we master Goblet Squats, Split Squats, Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squats and Squat Thrusts. In time, our participants build up to heavier and heavier weights to really get strong. Time to get squatting!
Beyond the strength building benefit, performing a deep squat (also called a “third-world squat”) improves flexibility, by loosening the all-important hip flexors. Modern life has put many of us in an anterior pelvic tilt, due to lots of time spent sitting: at the office, in the car, and in front of the TV. Performing deep squats, along with stretching and foam-rolling, is a great anti-dote to this condition. To perform a deep squat, picture a toddler squatting while playing or (pardon the crude image) how you would squat to use the bathroom without a toilet. This is the position you need to be in to reap the benefits. Practice getting into this position and holding your balance to up to a few minutes at a time. Your body will thank you, and you may even live longer!

Meet your Health & Fitness Specialist

70 Classes?!

With 70 group exercise classes on the schedule, and 9 amazing health and fitness specialists, we have everything you need to reach your true potential. Need some added attention, accountability, and a structured plan inside the gym and out? Give personal training or small group training a try! With so many options, so many avenues, and decisions to make each and every day – why not set up a complimentary consultation? Katie, Jay, Jamie, and Justin are available to meet and mentor you on all of those little decisions you’re forced to come by. They do matter and we’re here to help!

So take advantage and sign-up for your consultation today!

Click to schedule

Targeted Strength & Conditioning Testimonial

TSCTargeted Strength and Conditioning completely changed my workout routine. I am down 20 pounds thanks to all of the support from 50/50 and a complete nutrition makeover. My endurance had improved vastly and I had developed a love for spin, but something was missing. My weight loss had plateaued and I felt like I needed a dramatic change.

Jay McWillliams contacted me and I began Targeted Strength and Conditioning. Before anyone begins the class, Jay completes an evaluation to see what weight you will start at, your flexibility, and then he teaches you the proper posture and alignment for different exercises. Jay really takes care to make sure that you will not injure yourself, or REINJURE yourself. I have had a back injury that for years, and after X-rays and PT, still causes me quite a bit of pain from time to time. Since taking the time, care, and strengthening the correct muscle groups I can honestly say that I have not been experiencing pain in my spine, and I think that a significant amount of this strength has come from Targeted Strength and Conditioning.

My body is more sculpted and stronger! Areas that were flabby that I could NOT get to tighten, have tightened!  Lifting weights in a functional, healthy manner was the best thing I could have added to my fitness routine, and I love watching the numbers increase.  I cannot forget to mention how fun this class is as well. There’s a great vibe and wonderful people! I will miss you all so much when I move, and Jay, I cannot thank you enough for introducing me to this aspect of my fitness routine!

-Chelsey Anderson 

Meet your Health & Fitness Specialist

Checking in with Ryan

50/50 – Year 2

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In January I wrote a piece about my first year with 50/50 and my experience getting back to fit, losing 65 pounds, and becoming a spin instructor. It has been 7 months since then and here’s the thing: the second year is so much harder.

In January I shifted from actively trying to lose weight and build my fitness to trying to sustain my progress. To be totally honest, I haven’t done very well. I did all the things I said I wouldn’t: taking one day off and then another and another, avoiding working out, eating way too much. Each week I would try to regroup, and then I’d slip in some way and think: “It’s ok. I’ll do it right tomorrow.” Except that each tomorrow turned into a few days into a week into a month of tomorrows.

At the same time, I was looking around at all of the active, fit adults I know and thinking about the ways they have sustained health and fitness routines for decades. The thought of having to maintain a workout habit throughout my entire adult life got more and more overwhelming. I started thinking “maybe I can’t actually do this.”

I was telling this all to Katie a few weeks ago, and asked her what she’d think of me trying to write about it. Her first reaction was “Love it!” and then she said something like ” but here’s the thing Ryan. You can’t make it seem hopeless.”

So just to get it out of the way, I don’t think it’s hopeless. I just think that maintaining a healthy lifestyle for forever is hard. Really hard. REALLY. But there are a few things that make it a little easier.

The first is vulnerability. To me this means not hiding from the ways I’m struggling. Telling the truth about the 15 pounds I’ve gained in the last 7 months. Showing up and being seen, even when it feels embarrassing or uncomfortable. Sharing what is going on with the people who I see on the bike every day, because I know I am not the only one who has a hard time. Brene Brown says that “vulnerability is at the core, the center, of meaningful human experiences.” I agree.

The second is accountability. Tracking. Personal training. Signing up for classes and not letting myself cancel. Setting up my workout schedule with a friend. Putting checks in place that make it harder for me to avoid the gym or my health until the next day.

The last is community. When I joined 50/50, I definitely was not expecting to feel like a part of something, but that is exactly what happened. I love 50/50 not just because I like telling people what to do on a bike; I love it because of the energy and warmth I feel with all of you. The fact that we are working alongside each other is special. The way folks cheer and whistle at each other when I’m teaching makes me happy. I see the way members stand in the parking lot talking after class, sometimes for hours, before leaving. I feel pride when new people try their first class, because I know they are going to be welcomed and encouraged by anyone they talk to. And because we have such a strong community I want to challenge us to really show up and let ourselves be seen. To start a conversation with someone new about how things are going and be honest. To share our hopes and goals. To try, to mess up, to come back and try again. To sign up for a class right now if it has been a while. I’ll see you there.

Meet your Health & Fitness Specialist

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

There’s no denying that we are creatures of habit. We are efficient and effective when we put  routine systems in place for ourselves, at work and in everyday life. I have talked (sometimes incessantly) about the importance of setting goals, planning ahead, and following through by method of practice. The desire to put routines in place is natural and healthy, for sure, but it’s also important to remember that these routines get interrupted all the time. One thing that is constant in our lives is change, and over the past week, particularly, I’ve been contemplating what I’ve dubbed as “certain uncertainty”—the knowing and accepting of the inevitable transitions we endure. I was sifting through Katie’s Corners of yore and realized that I have never solely addressed the topic of change. Probably because it can be so effin’ scary.

Change is standard and tenacious, and yet, we can be so resistant to it. In my view, there are two types of change: that which we expect, such as a change in weather, and that which we don’t, such as getting into a car accident. And then there are those changes we expect but are still incredibly averse to, such as a decline in a loved one who has a terminal disease.

For all the many reasons we have for being resistant to change, our ability to adapt makes us beautifully human. And once we adapt, we become more equipped to mentally accept the changes present in our lives, no matter how daunting or overwhelming they may seem. We often think of change negatively, which is natural, as it “interferes with” the ability to accomplish our everyday tasks efficiently. But this negative view is not especially growthful.

My challenges for you this week are twofold. The first is to find small ways in which you can alter the environment around you. Choose the front row in spin class rather than the back, or try that new recipe you pinned on Pinterest last week instead of making meatloaf for the thousandth time. Note how these controlled, seemingly insignificant acts affect you. See if they vary your perspective and/or encourage you to learn something. Simple practices like these can help prepare you subconsciously for those big changes that are sure to come your way every now and again.

The second is to recognize and understand your patterns when dealing with change. Do you immediately get overwhelmed? Or maybe you become indecisive. Maybe you’re doing a helluva lot better than the rest of us, and you are flexible and easily adaptable. Whatever your specific pattern, gathering this knowledge will only help you to know yourself better and how to move forward.

Of course, it’s much easier to accept change when those things are new and exciting. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge—stay tuned, ya’ll!

Just Breathe

In an age where we are consumed by and inundated with stimulation from ads, text messages, social media, news, (I mean, I could go on), we rarely take time to be fully present in a given moment. We don’t have time to do everything the day calls for, and many times we don’t take a second to look up from the whirlwind that is our life. Many of you might not know that I graduated with a degree in Religious Studies and took to meditation pretty eagerly during my college years. Vipassana meditation, in which the practitioner focuses on the breath, has helped me immensely with being in the present moment and to manage general anxiety, and it’s something I still practice today. I encourage you to take a break one or two times over the next week and quiet your mind in an effort to deal with daily stressors and general goings-on in your life by following this meditation guide below.

  • Wearing loose-fitting clothing, find a comfortable, quiet place to sit with good posture, either on the floor or in a chair. Decide the length of time you want to set aside, and maybe even set a low-level timer for yourself. For your first session, I would recommend 5-10 minutes max.
  • Once you have established a comfortable sitting position, begin to notice your breath, not forcing it in or out.
  • The practice is simple: notice the rising and falling of the breath. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • Try to avoid expectation of yourself. Especially when you’re new to meditation, your mind will wander. You will think about—and maybe even worry about—the laundry list of tasks you have to accomplish. Stressors, conversations with others, memories, etc., will enter your mind. And that’s ok. Notice that your mind has wandered, actively let go of whatever your mind is focused on, and refocus the mind on the breath.

Chances are, you will feel lighter, taller, freer, and/or more aware than when you started!

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