RISE UP Challenge (More than a New Years Resolution)


Designed as a post-Holiday cleansing period but really, more of a blueprint for life. We broke down what was the most important to (most of) us into 3 categories: Body, Fuel, and Mind (or spirit). When we have been treating our bodies well, getting enough sleep, sweating it out regularly and eating mindfully; we feel our best and we have energy. When we're not, things seem to snowball and it doesn't take long to realize you've been neglecting one of these 3 categories. 

The Rise Up challenge is a 31 day Mind and Body challenge. The requirements, or goals, were sent out in an email to all of our Cycle Fitness fam and we have a list of awesome go-getters who are taking the challenge. BUT, this doesn't mean you can't go for it starting now. It also doesn't mean if you can't reach ONE of the goals that you shouldn't strive for ANY of the challenge. Be easy on yourself, you're human after all. You can take 10 classes this month, do your best with the Eating Clean portion of the challenge, and be more Mindful than you've ever been before and then you're already improving upon your life. We have a tendency, as humans in our society, to be absolutists. "If I this doesn't fit into my schedule, I won't go at all", "If I can't complete part of this, I don't see the point", etc... This ends up actually being a huge deterrent to making major changes in your life that would lead to more overall happiness. You don't have to be 100%. You can be 63% and it's better than nothing! 

The List: 


Sweat MORE. Sweating is a detox for your skin, your blood and your body! It's GOOD for you. Our goal this month is to complete 20 classes at CHCF (out of 31 days!), but if you can't do that then sweat on your own schedule 20 times this month! 


Eat cleaner food options and be mindful about what you're eating. The Holiday's throw every one off. We're still in the winter and our first instinct is to open the refrigerator and opt for something hardy and comforting. This leads to impulsive choices and we want every one to begin to think about their options before diving head-first into carb-heavy, high sugar, inflammation-causing and energy-depriving foods. There is nothing wrong with some pizza or brownies. But we really want you to think about balance and moderation. What we feed our bodies is so much more important than we often think about. 80% of how we LOOK and feel comes from our diet. That alone is a great reason to clean it up, and keep it clean! The end goal in every challenge is to FEEL good. What could possibly contribute more than a diet high in nutritious, quality food that is working for you?

The gist of the Eat Cleaner portion of our Rise Up challenge is to: 


foods with added sugar, fried foods, processed meats and foods, foods with preservatives and any artificial sweeteners. 

Go Easy On:

dairy (especially processed and pasteurized diary. Raw butter and whole fat greek yogurt are better options), grains (not forever. for a month! Grains are great but they often are a challenge to digest and spike your blood sugar. Give them a little rest or modify them in your diet and see how you feel), alcohol (I know, this sounds so hard. Don't completely cut it out if you're not ready or it doesn't fit your lifestyle. But modification is key and opt for red wine or simple drinks without added sugar, and keep it at a maximum of 4 drinks per week), caffeine (again, I KNOW. This is so hard at first. You don't have to completely cut caffeine, we aren't that crazy. But try to modify your intake to 8oz a day and see how you feel!).


greens, avocado, eggs, berries, walnuts and almonds, citrus fruits, beets, lentils, sweet potatoes, extra virgin olive oil (GOOD fat), fish (wild caught preferably), grass-fed chicken and turkey, dark chocolate, squashes, brussels sprouts, brown rice (this is a grain but a gluten free, non-processed option), and quinoa. Any vegetables and fruit, especially those in season, should be the bulk of any diet!

Drink more water. You know! 2 liters a day, or eight 8 oz glasses! You cannot function optimally (digestive, brain function, and body performance) while dehydrated.


This one is really number 1. You can't build a foundation on shaky ground. You have to take care of your self and your spirit. Everything begins in your mind. Your outlook, your perceptions, and your reality is built here. So many of us exhaust ourselves on a regular basis, burning the candle on both ends and not taking time to refill ourselves and tend to our spirit's until we have a break down or get physically ill. Your life is happening right now. Not when it gets warmer, not when the house sells, not when you lose those 5 stubborn pounds; now. Moments are the fabric of your life lived here on earth. Being present and mindful can lead to a huge surge in happiness and and an overall plummet in stress. So where can you start? (Hint; you don't have to buy into anything here, you can access it for free and at all times!).



Take time in your day-to-day to sit down and write out important moments or ideas.

Gratitude Lists

Write small lists of people, places, ideas and things you are grateful for right now. Watch how much this exposes! You may not even realize how much you are grateful for.

Go outside. 

Take a walk or go for a run. Have your coffee on your porch or find extra time to take your dog outside.

Focus on your breath

When you notice yourself feeling anxiety, take note of where your breath is going when you inhale. If it is in your shoulders and chest, focus on breathing into your diaphragm (your belly).


We challenge you to get away from your phone, your computer, your TV and any other electronics for at least 30 minutes a day (being at class counts!).


(Find a guided meditation, or take a moment ANYTIME during your day to notice your breath and close your eyes. Find a way to silence everything outside of your inner vastness.)

Be fully present during tasks

Cooking? Do it with your full self and stop yourself from mind-wandering. Brushing your teeth? Focus fully on each tooth. Change the way you go about your day-to-day tasks.

Say NO to things you do not want to do

Yes, we are including this in here because it creates SPACE and healthy boundaries. If you don't want to go to a party, or out for drinks with co-workers, or any other invitation that doesn't call to you; say no. Be honest. 


Clean out one thing each week of January. It could be simple, like your kitchen pantry. But make a point to let go of what you don't need and organize what you've got. 


Remember: be easy on yourself. Incorporate some of these changes as you go! You don't have to do it all at once.

We sincerely hope that you have gotten something out of this post and that you're [killing] your 2018 so far. 

In love + wellness




How Exercise fights Addiction


As the owner of a studio that promotes health and well-being, I have also known the other side of life second-hand through having a sibling who suffered through addiction. My own little brother passed away two years ago from an accidental overdose. I truly have to step back and say that I never thought addiction could touch me or my family. We grew up in a nice enough neighborhood, our parents did their best to raise us with every thing we needed to succeed. We were close in age and had a bond only siblings understand, made up of inside jokes, a deep understanding of one another's history, a love for our family dogs, and jokes about our parent's only each other would understand (because only we shared the same mom and dad). 

It was hard for me to grasp that my younger brother, who was an all-star baseball player (a left-handed pitcher) and a sweet, kind, loving soul was depressed and anxious. When he didn't feel he had anywhere else to turn, he was convinced he could aid his bouts of depression on his own by taking pain medicine. When we found out, my brother went away to get clean and heal from his dependence. He knew he wanted to be stripped of any substance and take on a new reality again, one without substances and one with meaning. 

Unfortunately, days after returning home from his time away, he relapsed. Unexpectedly and incredibly sudden, he overdosed when no one was home.

The entirety of my brother's addiction was only about 8 months from the time he tried self-medicating to the time he passed away. The abruptness of this addiction is why it can be very hard to detect in loved ones. We also have the tendency to tell ourselves that something like THAT could never happen to US. Please believe me when I say that addiction is the worst stigma. Once you understand that beyond our income level, our education level, our appearances; we are all just human. We are imperfect, we are chemically balanced and imbalanced, and we are susceptible to slipping up, whatever that may mean to you. It is so important to be open to conversing with those we love, and to guiding those who need us toward healthy and constructive remedies.

I received an email from a kind lady who wanted to write an article for this blog on how Exercise fights Addiction. I was so happy to push this information onto our blog, especially after my own experience. Her name is Constance and she is a freelance writer specializing in topics of addiction. I'm grateful that she reached out to us. Here is her article below:

3 Ways Exercise fights Addiction

Anyone who has attempted to recover from addiction, or who loves someone in recovery, knows how difficult the process is. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that between 40%-60% of people in addiction treatment relapse, though the chance of relapse drops to less than 15% after five years of sobriety. We also know that stress is a common trigger for relapse. That’s why people in recovery should devote time to their physical and mental fitness and maintain an all-around healthy routine to remain in recovery for the long term.

1. Stress Management is Key to Recovery

Achieving and maintaining recovery do not happen on their own. People who want to stay in recovery need to work every day to lead a sober life full of positive relationships and healthy choices that include proper nutrition, rest, exercise, and stress management. Stress affects your entire body, and stress and anxiety lead to depression, substance abuse, and relapse. Safeguarding against stress and finding coping techniques remain important for anyone in recovery, regardless of how long he has been sober, to prevent a relapse. That’s why finding ways to relax, recharge, and escape stress is vital to recovery.

2. How Exercise Treats Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Studies show that any amount of exercise can benefit addicts and people in recovery, and exercise has therapeutic effects for women and men. In fact, exercising regularly is one of the best ways to manage stress because it relieves both physical and mental stress. Specifically, exercise helps people avoid relapse, as it “is effective at reducing drug self-administration when initiated only after regular patterns of drug intake have been established – a period of time analogous to that experienced by clinical populations undergoing formal treatment.” Thus, exercise is an effective preventative and treatment intervention for people who struggle with substance use and abuse.

The research also shows that people in recovery should pursue aerobic exercise. To maximize the benefits of aerobic exercise for your recovery, use large muscle groups repetitively three to five days for 30-60 minutes weekly. It helps if you find ways to enjoy the exercise because you will be more likely to stick to it and, in turn, to your path to recovery. 

3. Group Exercise, or Exercise in Nature Improves Mental Health

Group exercise, as opposed to exercising alone at the gym or in your house, is great in the way that it keeps you accountable. You're scheduled for a class at a certain time with a group of people who are ALL working toward one overall common goal: to stay healthy. It also is a motivating environment when you're among a group of people and you can feel their energy and push others around you. 

If you combine aerobic exercise with a natural setting, you will improve your physical and mental health simultaneously. Being in nature increases your vitamin D intake and improves your sleep quality. Exposure to natural sunlight regulates your circadian rhythm and improves your sleep patterns. Better yet, proper sleep reduces your symptoms of stress: surveys show that adults who fail to get eight hours of sleep nightly have higher stress levels than those who sleep at least eight hours a night. It also is easier for people to sleep when they have less stress because their minds do not race as much. 

Working out in nature or in a group setting is a great way to work toward healthier habits and heal yourself, mind and body, to stay as mentally well as can be. 

A special thanks to Constance for this insightful advice.

To those who may know someone who could potentially seek out addiction, or those who may struggle through addiction, there is nothing more powerful than talking and awareness. Being there for those you love, without judgement, is essential to the health and well-being to all of us.

In health and wellness,




When it comes to ways to ensure that your workouts are effective and you're actually seeing results, a lot more depends on what goes INTO your body. 

Because of this, we decided to ask a handful of our instructors about what they consider to be a valuable trick or tip to staying healthy and fit outside of the studio. Here's what they had to say:


Leigh says that because she is so active and a lot of her workouts involve strength training, teaching spin classes and working with her clients one-on-one, she doesn't play around with hydration. Leigh drinks ONE gallon of water every day. That's a lot of water. A rule of thumb is to drink HALF of your body weight in ounces, every day. For instance 140lb = 70 oz of water. That's about 2.5 liters! 

Leigh also likes to box up HALF of her meal when she eats out, so that she can save it for another time. The American serving size is way too large, and we don't really need all of that food in one sitting. If you box it up before you dig in, it's out of sight- out of mind. 






Megan's Trick:

Megan drinks a coconut water pre and post workout to stay on top of hydration with an added electrolyte boost! 

"I try to substitute zoodles for regular pasta whenever possible!', says Megan about her favorite dietary trick. She still makes heavenly meals, just without all of the extra carbs! You can use a spiralizer for this easy trick, and you can do it with almost ANY veggie! 


Juliet drinks a protein smoothie each morning to begin her day on a full tummy. She drinks 1 scoop of whey protein with a banana and a handful of spinach and almond milk. Very simple + delicious! 


3 times every day Juliet takes a fish oil tablet for their omega 3 properties (metabolism benefits, skin and hair benefits, heart-health and immune system boost!). 



Sharne swaps regular milk for unsweetened vanilla almond milk to eliminate too much dairy, but still get plenty of calcium! 

"I drink green tea (decaf) at least 2 times a day, no exceptions!", says Sharne. Sharne doesn't drink coffee, in spite of her CRAZY regular schedule which usually includes anywhere from 3-6 HIGH energy classes she teaches every. single. day (spin, bootcamp, tred-and-shred, etc...). She has never been a big caffeine-fiend but what she does enjoy is the benefits of a antioxidant-packed green tea regularly. 

And there you have it! Our instructors are active, strong and balanced, so we wanted to ask them for their advice as we make our way into the Holiday season.

Until next time, 

In love + wellness, 




When it's time to RELAX + recover your body, you know. Here are my favorite ways to unwind and relieve my muscles from my workouts. 


I have taught a lot of classes since the opening of Chestnut Hill Cycle Fitness, and there have been times where I wasn't sure how much more my body could physically take before an injury occurred or I just couldn't take the pain of tight and over-worked muscles any longer. As a fitness professional, I would never recommend to a single person that you should work out multiple times a week without rest days, or, at least designated recovery time set aside. It's more than the risk of injury that increases without recovery time, it is the sole fact that you WILL plateau and you WON'T see the results you want if your body has no time to re-build. You should not live your day-to-day life in any kind of consistent pain from your workouts. If your hips, lower back, feet or knees HURT, you must recover and take care of your body. There will be no longevity in your active lifestyle if you do not recover.

1. Stretch and Foam Roll


Foam rolling and stretching both go a LONG way in improving the quality of your tissue and muscles. When you are constantly contracting your muscles and shortening muscle tissue in your workouts (strength training, barre, spin and running), you must stretch and lengthen your muscle fibers in order to better repair them. Recovery time can increase and injury likelihood can too without stretching in between your workouts. The foam roller is my BEST friend when it comes to the principle of recovery. Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release, or the breaking-up of tissue and adhesion's caused by exercise. This speeds up recovery from your workouts by repairing your muscle and connective tissue quicker, and aiding in overall better performance. Rolling your body out with the foam roller also increases circulation to your body part being rolled out, and is said to break up the appearance of cellulite. TWO BIRDS. One stone. Boom.

PS. We now have foam rollers at the studio for you to use post-spin or post-barre class. Ask us about some of the best positions and moves for your muscle recovery!

2. Epsom Salt Bath

epsom salt.jpg

In "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", the father of the bride swears that "Windex cures everything" and I feel the same way about Epsom Salts. Tired? Soak in the salts. Sore? Soak in the salts. Congested? SOAK in the salts (and add in some eucalyptus essential oil, duh!). But really: aside from the fact that taking a bath in general is just relaxing and lovely, when you add in these salts they are cleansing and have a way of aiding recovery by absorption through our skin. Epsom salt is really magnesium sulfate, which is a naturally occurring mineral that most of our diets are deficient in. Magnesium aids in the reduction of inflammation and plays an important role in neuromuscular signals and muscle contractions, and in other words, relaxes your muscles. The sulfate present in this mineral helps flush the body of toxins, and your skin will feel soft and recovered as well! Give it a try: my favorite is this kind, purchased on Amazon and is an American company based in San Francisco! 



This is my all-time favorite supplement, EVER. Why? Because it 100% effects the way that I feel every day and I know that it works the way I want it to in my body. I take this about an hour before bed-time, once a day. One of these pills a day is plenty, and I take mine an hour or so before bed time (or right before dinner so that it can absorb with my food). I purchase the brand shown above, and you can buy it here. I'm just going to rattle off the list of benefits of taking magnesium regularly and how it pertains to better recovery from your workouts. 

- Aids in relaxation of muscles, and thus allows your body to fully relax (great before bed time). 

-Relaxes your digestive tract muscles, and therefor helps with smoother digestion (working out with a full-feeling or upset stomach is the worst and kills performance levels).

-Aids in anxiety and gives an overall "calm" feeling. (Huge relief for the big day before a race or taking a class you're anticipating). 

-Because magnesium helps decrease cortisol, the "stress" hormone, it aids in an restful night of sleep, AKA, recovery. 

And there you have it! These are my top 3 (BESIDES post-workout protein supplementation, which is it's own post coming soon!) recovery tricks or must-do's to help you shake out those stiff and sore, tired muscles. I hope you all take some time to appreciate all that your body accomplishes every day, and once in a while, give it a little R+R ;) 

In love, light and wellness



Our very own Elise is very pregnant, and still instructing between 4 and 5 Spin Classes a week! At 7 months, Elise tells us why she is still spinning and what this low-impact cardio has done for her pregnancy, and her own well-being.

When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I had a ton of questions for my doctor.

At the top of the list?

“I’m a spin instructor. Can I still do that?”

“Sure, that’s fine,” she replied, and then paused. “Actually, I wish more people did that.

After having kept up with spin, both teaching and taking classes, for the past thirty weeks, I can see what she means. It’s widely known that exercise is safe, and even beneficial, for pregnant women, but some workout routines are easier to sustain than others as pregnancy progresses. When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, running started to get uncomfortable after my first trimester, but spinning has been one workout that I found I could stick with, even as my body began to change.

Odds are, if you’ve been spinning regularly at Chestnut Hill Cycle Fitness, you’ve been in a class with a pregnant woman at some point- and she was probably crushing her workout right alongside everyone else. As my workout routine has adapted to my ever-changing (and ever-expanding) body, I’ve discovered by own tips and tricks for getting the most out of a spin class while pregnant:

  1. Listen to your body. You’re every bit as strong and fit as you were before getting pregnant, but that doesn’t mean your body is working in quite the same way. Organs shift to accommodate your growing baby, and that can make breathing more difficult and second and third positions more uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to stay seated, even when everyone else is out of the saddle, or slow down your RPMs a bit if you’re feeling breathless. You’re still getting all the essential benefits from your workout, even if you’re not breaking records.


  1. Clothing matters. The last thing you want to worry about when you’re trying to lose yourself in a workout is what you’re wearing. Comfortable clothing that accommodates your adorable bump is essential. I love this tank top from Athleta, and Lululemon carries several great options for workout pants (including this pair) that easily stretch to fit your changing body. It’s worth noting that neither of these options is classified as “maternity wear,” so don’t feel limited by clothes marketed exclusively to pregnant women. Any stretchy, high-quality material can be a great fit (pun intended) for working out while pregnant. Look for pants with wide waistbands and tanks with long torsos that can fit over a baby bump without riding up.


  1. Hydrate. This one should go without saying, since hydration is important for everyone, not just pregnant women. Still, it’s worth pointing out that water consumption is especially important for pregnant women, as dehydration can cause a number of unhealthy complications. Always keep a full water bottle on your bike during class, and sip water throughout the day before and after a workout, especially during hot weather.


  1. “Morning sickness” is a misnomer. Many people were amazed that I could continue to teach early morning classes during my first trimester, when the all-too-common nausea is at its peak. For me, however, the nausea tended to hit the hardest in the evenings- working out at 6am was perfectly fine. Every pregnancy is different (see #1) so figure out what time of day is best for you and find a class that fits your body’s schedule, even if it’s not your typical timeslot.


  1. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. CHCF has some of the best spin classes around, but our offerings include much more! Cardiovascular exercise, like spinning or running, has tons of benefits for pregnant women, but weight-bearing exercise that strengthens different muscle groups shouldn’t be counted out. If you’re a fan of our full-body, boot camp, or plyo classes, all are perfectly safe to continue. You may need to modify some of the moves as your pregnancy progresses, particularly when it comes to ab work, so don’t be afraid to speak up if you need an alternative to a certain exercise.

See you on the bike!



This Leaves Your Skin Dewey, Fresh and Cool As a Cucumber

We love the idea of a hot, sweaty spin class or a run on a hot summer day...until...we don't.

Your skin will thank you for these easy, quick DIY face mists this summer. I have never been a big believer in product as much as I am in what goes in to your body (let thy food be thy medicine-- I could say it a million times over). I've seen these mists make a huge splash in the market of over-priced Sephora-sold products in the past few years. What I didn't think of then, is that by reading the label on the back of the mist...you could concoct your very own. And pretty effortlessly. I'm now a big believer in the mists, as they get sopped up by your skin pretty quickly after a few sprays and I love the way they make my face feel and glow. They're all natural and cruelty free!

All You Need:

My preferred potion is one with Peppermint for a cooling sensation and lovely smell, and Rose Hips Oil for soft + supple skin (also a huge ingredient in anti-aging).


3 out of 4 parts WATER! Distilled or purified

1 part Witch Hazel for a nice cooling effect + toner (Thayer's preferably) 

4 drops of Coconut Oil (or almond oil) as a "carrier oil" so that the mist sets in to your skin

Here's the FUN part: It's up to you what Essential Oil you want to add!

I add 3-4 drops of Peppermint Oil and 5 drop of Rose Hips Oil for my daytime summer blend

For night time I add Lavender Oil and Rose Hips Oil for a relaxing + hydrating blend

All you need is a spray bottle and you're golden. Have fun with it! 




After the boozing + festivities of 4th of July weekend, I needed a lots of produce and water. I can feel it when I'm malnourished and dehydrated! It begins with dry eyes, exhaustion and endless cravings for pretty awful foods. I don't like to think of healthy eating as a diet, or a temporary goal. It shouldn't be any work at all. Getting to know your way around the kitchen and how to use spices such as cumin, cardamom, sea salt, honey, cracked pepper, red pepper flakes, and a whole list of fresh herbs (in season now!) is an essential part of making sure you can create both super flavorful and nutritious meals for yourself. It's so much fun once you get yourself used to making meals at home regularly, or even whipping up quick, nutrient-dense snacks while on the go. This Buddah Bowl inspiration came from a Pinterest post I stumbled across, from the cookbook of Oh, She Glows. (TIP: getting inspiration from places like Pinterest, Instagram and following healthy-living blogs is one of my favorite ways to get ideas for smoothies, meals and snacks)

Be advised: this bowl FILLS you up! It fills you up in the most satisfying way. You don't feel bloated and exhausted. You feel as though you just filled your body with the cleanest form of fuel. I promise, you'll notice how good you feel after eating this.


for the dressing

2 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp organic (raw) Maple Syrup

1 tsp Dijon Mustard

1 minced clove of garlic (I like to peel + use fresh garlic. I never ever use prepared)

+ Sea Salt to taste

for the bowl

1 cup of cooked tricolor quinoa (follow instructions on package to cook)

2 garlic cloves minced

1 medium yellow squash

1 medium red bell pepper

4 curly kale leafs, chopped (discard the stem!)

1/2 cup spiralized butternut squash (you can do this yourself to a peeled squash, or you can purchase this way **I purchased mine at the local co-op)

1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped

1 avocado sliced 

1/4 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

*optional: I add fresh chopped jalapeno with the seeds as a topping

+ Sea Salt, Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Assemble your Bowl

PREP: Slice the yellow squash into thin slices, then halve them (moons).

Slice your red bell pepper into strips

Add Olive Oil to a pan over medium heat. After 1 minute or so, add minced garlic. Do not turn the heat up, you DON'T want to burn the garlic (it's a fine line, guys). Allow garlic to cook for 2 minutes, stirring lightly. 

Add the squash and bell pepper to the pan and continue to cook. Increase heat to medium/high. After 5 minutes or so, the squash should look thinner and more transparent. Both of these also produce a ton of water while being sauteed, so after 5 minutes, add the chopped kale and stir. (**If this mixture gets too dry, turn heat to medium low. Add water, or vegetable stock to continue to cook down). 3-4 minutes after adding the kale, combine the cooked quinoa into the pan. Stir. 

Season the quinoa + veggie mixture with salt + pepper as needed.

Spoon your cooked mixture into a shallow bowl (this makes 2 servings

Add spiralized squash alongside of bowl. Add sliced avocado along side.

Pour roasted pepitas over your bowl. Add chopped parsley.

Pour the dressing over your bowl as desired. 


This recipe has lots of vitamins + minerals from the produce, nuts and quinoa. The quinoa alone gives this dish protein and lots of fiber! The avocado provides a great source of mono-saturated fats (skin healthy food!). To top it off, this dish just happens to be 100% plant-based,  vegan + gluten free. Let us know how you like it if you try it.




sweat it out under the fading sun, work that core and stretch. it. out. 

oh, and don't forget to grab a fresh cocktail afterwards. you earned that!

We are just so excited to bring you classes that are different. Classes that celebrate the warm weather and the beauty of the outdoors; with the same energy of our intense spin class. It's an experience that just can't be duplicated. 

details, please:

Thursday, May 11 // 7-8pm

30 min SPIN + 30 min PILATES

$20 to book. spots are limited. book online at mindbody (link below for your convenience)

cocktails & all of that juicy convo after class




When I have time in the morning and I'm not teaching or rushing out the door for something, I take my time with breakfast. These pancakes, however, do not require much time to make- BUT you will want to take your time to really enjoy the flavor + heartiness in these. They're heaven in every bite. 

I made these on the day of the snow storm, with a big cup of coffee + almond milk. Perfect.

These are fabulous if you're gluten free or just prefer to eat minimal flour (they're low carb).

What you'll need:

1 cup of almond flour (or almond meal. same thang)

1/4 cup of water

2 eggs (if you're opting for a vegan version, use a flax egg 1 tbsp flaxseed + 2.5 tbsp water)

1 medium RIPE banana

Handful of chocolate chips (I use 80% cacao chips)

1 pinch of sea salt

1 Tbsp of Olive Oil, or Coconut Oil for the pan

what next?

Mash the peeled banana at the bottom of a mixing bowl with a fork.

Add the almond flour, eggs, water, and sea salt to the banana mash. 

Whisk it together until blended.

Add chocolate chips + stir.

Add oil to pan over medium heat

Drop tbsp sized amount of mixture onto hot pain.

Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side until golden brown

Serve with light maple syrup drizzle! 

Stay warm + Enjoy

- Alli




why acai berry? : It's more than the pretty purple color.

Acai has been known as a "Super Food" in the mainstream for some time now. It grows in South and Central America and is native to swampy environments. Brazilians have been consuming this berry for decades and claim it has great benefits for the skin and digestive health. Why? 

it's loaded with antioxidants

Acai packs twice the amount of antioxidants found in blueberries. With it's high level of B vitamins, healthy fat (omega 3's and 6's), and LOW amount of sugar, these berries are an ideal staple in any diet. HIGH in anthocyanins, polyphenols, vitamins A, C and E, it's said that Acai is a major aging defense. These berries are also high in dietary fiber and great to boost energy without the major crash afterwards. 

it tastes like berries and chocolate combined

Yes. Yes, it tastes like chocolate. This is exactly why it's fantastic in smoothies and Acai bowls. It tastes rich and is a great BASE to add other fruits and toppings to, with a smooth consistency. I personally have been consuming it every day. Can't stop, won't stop.

Acai Bowls:

Like a bowl of cereal, with an even better substitute for milk. This is a nutrient-dense meal and is best eaten early in the day (for breakfast, or as your first meal of the day) so that your body gets RIGHT to digesting it. It's also SUPER quick and simple to make. 

THIS stuff is gold. You can purchase it at Giant in the frozen section of the Organic Aisle OR at the lovely Weaver's Way Co-Op in their frozen fruit section. $6.99 per package of 4 servings. 

THIS stuff is gold. You can purchase it at Giant in the frozen section of the Organic Aisle OR at the lovely Weaver's Way Co-Op in their frozen fruit section. $6.99 per package of 4 servings. 

step 1: Un-thaw your packet of frozen Acai Berry Mix by placing it under lukewarm running water for 20 seconds. 

step 2: Open and squeeze the berry mix into blender. (it's still frozen which makes it great. think: smoothie like without the ice)

step 3: Add almond milk + drop of honey into blender. BLEND.

step 4: pour into bowl, mug, to-go container, ANYTHING. 

step 5: top with more fruit, nuts, granola, bee pollen, seeds, you get it.

my go-to toppings:

granola, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, coconut flakes, chia, flaxseed, dark chocolate chips, cinnamon

MUCH LOVE & enjoy this recipe!

xx alli


health = wealth

Things just FEEL better when you're treating your body right. At least that's my M.O.

 I notice a big difference in the way that my body feels after eating well, particularly. When I was working from an office that had a snack machine, I would invest in a GIANT, soy-based protein bar everyday and about 3 bags of Pirate Booty. I was hungry, and even these snacks didn't satiate me. 700+ calories later, and I felt tired, groggy, and still hungry. 

I'm no nutritionist, but I've gotten good at knowing what works for ME and my own body. One thing I know for sure is that when I feed myself high-quality (aka not processed), mostly plant-based foods; I feel amazing. I sleep better. I have more energy throughout my days. My skin glows. My nails and hair grow like weeds. I don't carry excess water weight and feel bloated.

It all SOUNDS great right? 

I am committed to bringing you recipes + daily inspirations, along with the instructors here at Cycle Fitness who will also be contributing their own material.

So, let's talk about the PB & J Bites

They're easy, and they don't require baking of any kind. For a quick snack on-the-go, they're perfect. These bites are clean, vegan & GF, and taste HEAVENLY.














Most Americans have absolutely no idea where their food comes from, where their meat was sourced from, and where their produce was grown. We have such a disconnect with the food we feed ourselves; the trusty fuel we put into our bodies and trust that it's safe, it's good for our kids, it's clean. We shop organic to give ourselves a Peace of Mind, and we trust that the standards of 'Organic' set by the USDA are free of harmful chemicals and naturally grown and raised. But buying Organic still doesn't cut down on the cost of travel and shipment of your food. Today, in the US, the average meal travels 1500 miles from farm to plate (insert shocked face emoji). The cause for concern with this, as you may be wondering, is the fossil fuel consumption (NON-renewable resource) and the carbon dioxide emissions (major pollutant to our atmosphere) are all increased at staggering amounts just from importing oranges to Los Angeles from New Zealand. It's unneeded and the connection is lost in an intimate relationship as old as humans: YOU and YOUR FOOD. 

Today I had the pleasure of hanging with my friend Chris Mattingly, owner of a small and local business called Backyard Eats . We talked about his business, which designs and installs custom gardens into your very own yard, and maintains them for you too! Having the ability to watch your food grow, to harvest your food (pick it) and to cook with your food is the ultimate way to know where it comes from and appreciate it's bounty. Chris is incredibly knowledgeable, focused, creative and perhaps most importantly: he has a hell of a green thumb (a civil engineer with a focus on soil and environmental engineering). Backyard Eats is located right here in Chestnut Hill, and Chris works with customers within the area to design their garden for their personal needs or just maintain a garden you've already got growin'.

AND THEN...we harvested kale.

We plucked fresh Lacinato (dinosaur) kale from the cold ground in Chris' front yard (pictured above). After we picked the kale, we rinsed it in a colander and gave it a few spins in a salad spinner (patting it dry with a paper towel works, too!). Then I thanked Chris for his kindness in sharing, and ran home with my fresh kale. My recipe is below for you to enjoy, and so are it's health benefits!   

I cooked up some Kale Chips


I love sharing recipes with you guys, especially using the platform of Cycle Fitness because this is WHAT we believe in. Eating delicious recipes, that are healthful and sustainable. Fueling our active bodies with love and the good stuff. This recipe is SUPER simple and quick. Check it out:

What you'll need:

(PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 degrees)

KALE. 12 Leafs, de-stemmed and torn to bite size pieces. Get it organic ($2.99 a bunch at most stores) and try to get it LOCAL.

SEA SALT (I use Himalayan and I love the crunch and flavor). About 1 tsp

Olive Oil. Preferably Extra Virgin! One tablespoon. You don't need much since Kale is so thin and doesn't absorb much. Just a light coating will crisp these babies up.

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and make sure that the Kale is evenly coated. Then spread it out on a baking sheet! I personally used a large glass baking dish and had no problems with sticking.

BAKE for 10-12 minutes. REMOVE from oven and let sit for 3 minutes before removing.








Let's be real: you don't always have time to eat a pretty breakfast. We get it. But we love oatmeal bowls for that reason exactly. Using your favorite steel-cut oats (or instant organic oatmeal of your choice), combining it with nutrient-packed handfuls of your favorite nuts, fruit, seeds and honey and the result = FIBER RICH, NUTRIENT DENSE, and FILLING DELICIOUSNESS. The only time this meal requires is enough for you to heat up some water. It's filling, so you'll be full until noon after consuming this yumminess (which may even save you some cash money which would have been spent on other foods, and the craving for less healthy options). And now we will break down the health benefits of the bowl:

it's fiber-rich

for every 1,000 calories you consume, you should aim to consume 14g of fiber with it. This makes the digestion process of what you're eating work smoothly. The average bowl of Oatmeal has 10-14g of fiber.

it HAS protein

It packs on average 6-7g of protein with it! That's a bonus you may not have expected. 

it's the perfect base

It's easy to combine with other foods. Adding to your hot oatmeal these beautifying + energy-increasing foods create a breakfast with so much more to offer than a granola bar.

A list of our favorite add-ins below:

flax seed, chia, bee pollen, honey, maple syrup, walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, dried berries, fresh berries, sliced banana, cinnamon, almond milk, almond butter

Get creative with it! This is the perfect food for our active clients. We recommend not eating this within 2 hours of a spin class, but eat UP after your morning class! Refuel and stay full.

Pictured above is my bowl this lovely Sunday morning after my 9am spin class. It's rolled oats, flax seed, crushed raw walnuts, almond milk, organic fresh blackberries (on sale at the co-op for 2.99! Get it girl.), organic honey drizzled, dried organic unsweetened cranberries. To say that I enjoyed this would be a drastic understatement. I LOVED every bite. This should fuel my sledding-filled Sunday. See you on the bike xo Alli

happy Sunday, you guys



it's your year.jpg

 We're sliding (or spinning) into 2017 HOT with a strong, fun & fierce team and a whole game plan full of changes coming to Cycle Fitness in this New Year. We just had to take to a blog so that we can keep you in the loop and on the bike. We're so excited (REALLY excited) to post about the going-ons within our studio and community, along with inspirations, recipes and our FAVORITE things. It's been a long time coming, right? STAY TUNED for upcoming posts and enjoy our list of ch-ch-changes we're inspired to implement from WITHIN in this beautiful & promising New Year ahead. 2016, you were great, NO hard feelings. 2017: we're so ready for you.


ALL about that BALANCE. Don't kill yourself with unattainable, crazy goals. The likelihood that you will sustain a healthy lifestyle this way doesn't hold up. Instead, implement a real balance to your life that works. Eat clean, but treat yourself. Workout hard, but rest. At Cycle Fitness we are firm believers in having that smoothie AND having that pizza.

This one is BIG. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. You treat your body right, you watch what you put into it and you make sure to work your body and stretch your body. WHY wouldn't you do the same for your mind? What you habitually tell yourself will be your reality. Make a habit NOW of beginning to quit the negative talk in your head. 

You can't grow a garden with no sun & water. You can't cultivate a happy, love-filled and inspired life without beginning with YOURSELF. The love you give to yourself lays foundations, or the RICHEST fertile, if you will, for your life to unfold. You cannot build on ruins. Once you implement positive self-talk and become forgiving, accepting, and loving of yourself, you will see major changes. We're starting a LOVE train <3

Until next time,  

Cycle Fitness Team