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Friday, January 16, 2015

The Works 10-for-$10 Donates $5330 to End 68 Hours of Hunger is a Success!

End 68 Hours of Hunger Receives Donation from The Works
Pictured are Cathy Brown, Somersworth Program Coordinator, Doug Eason, Member Services Manager and Claire Bloom, Executive Director of End 68 Hours of Hunger 

The Works Family Health & Fitness Center, the seacoast’s leading family-oriented health club, partnered with Somersworth End 68 Hours of Hunger to help raise money to support the organization’s effort to fight childhood hunger and food insecurity. Through the month of December, The Works sold gift certificates for guest visits to the club, and they sold out very quickly, raising $5330.

End 68 Hours of Hunger was established in New Hampshire in 2011 as a private, not-for-profit program that focuses on putting nourishing food in the hands of local children to carry them through the weekend. The name of the program refers to the approximately 68 hours of hunger that some school children experience between the free lunch they receive in school on Friday and the free breakfast they receive on Monday.

Volunteers purchase the food, pack the bags and deliver them to the offices of local schools. From there a school employee delivers the bag to the participating child. The students take the food home to eat on the weekend, and the cycle starts again, every week. Each bag of food costs $10 per week per child, and provides two breakfasts, two lunches and three diners with some left over to share.

“The Works found a way to encourage people to be healtier, have fun and to help our community,” said Claire Bloom, Executive Director of the program. “Their donation ensures that our own Somersworth children will continue to have food on the weekends, and be more successful in school.” Cathy Brown, the Somersworth Program Coordinator, said: “With the help of our wonderful volunteers, we are feeding more than 100 children here in Somersworth each weekend, and financial support like this allows me to focus on the job of feeding children.”

Doug Eason from The Works was very pleased with the success of the event, and has even higher hopes for next year. “It was a really great event! The staff had a great time supporting End 68 Hours of Hunger, and most importantly, money was raised for an excellent cause. We are looking forward to making this an even bigger and better event next year.”

End 68 Hours of Hunger can be found on the web at, and The Works can be found at

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cyndi: Reflection: Physique Challenge

Cyndi: Reflection of the Show

Now that the spray tan has worn off and the professional pictures have been taken, I have had some time to reflect on everything I have learned. I was really nervous about the tan because I didn’t want it to look bad. It didn’t. Actually. It looked great on everyone that did it. Getting the professional pictures done was a special treat and I am glad that I can use them as a comparison now. It’s definitely a rare opportunity.

I thought that everyone was very supportive during the challenge. Nothing compares to the day of the show. All of us really were in this together and were supportive of each other. Even the audience was a great support system.

I also realized that I probably should have practiced the poses more. When I got up there and was nervous I was hoping to rely on muscle memory…unfortunately my muscles and I forgot some of the poses and had to wing it.

Overall though it was an unbelievable rewarding experience and I have since seen my fellow contestants in the gym keeping it up, which keeps me motivated as well.

Photos below by Nevin Brown Photography.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sandy at EARLY MORNING Small Group Training! (with Nicole!)

4:30 AM.  

This is not something I like to see on my clock.  I truly can’t imagine anyone looking forward to waking up at this time, unless it’s for something exciting like needing to leave the house to catch a plane to the Caribbean.  Last Friday morning I woke up before my alarm.  Actually I had a very restless night, tossing and turning in anticipation because it was on that particular morning that I had planned to be at The Works by 5:00 am to work out. 

One of the Personal Trainers, Nicole, challenged me to come to her Small Group Training class at 5:30 in the morning.  Nicole and I have a little history you see.  She has provided me with much entertainment when I am working in the office at the Works.  Nicole is a natural leader with a deliciously sadistic sense of humor.  She keeps me in stitches of laughter behind the scenes as I listen to her “motivate” her class with silly offhanded comments and downright hilarious phrases as she lays out the next round of challenging tasks for them to do.    

Perhaps Nicole figured that I have been getting too much enjoyment listening to her devoted attendees go through the trenches, grunting and groaning as they push themselves through the tough workouts Nicole had lined up for them.    Perhaps she just decided that I needed a kick in the butt because I was complaining too much about my inability to reach my goals.  Either way, I decided that yes, indeed, I would accept her challenge and join them at 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning. 

I got there early so that I could thoroughly warm up before hand.  My plantar fasciitis hasn’t been acting up since I’ve been stretching and resting it a lot, though I didn’t want to jump in too quickly by aggravating it, so I warmed up on the Concept II Ergo meter to keep the impact to a minimum.

When 5:30 came I met my fabulous “classmates”, a couple of them have been with Nicole for over a year, which is very impressive.   Obviously Small Group Training has been working for them, because they are strong and in great shape. 

Nicole set us up at different stations, where we were challenged with exercises that at first may have seemed deceivingly easy.  After a few rounds, as my body began to fatigue, I realized that not only is it obvious that these exercises work because the other members of the class were able to withstand, but that I am a wimp.  That’s going to change quickly with consistency though.

The best part about doing the assigned exercises is that they are timed intervals, so you know that the challenge will come at you in short spurts.  If you are competitive, then Small Group Training could be perfect for you.  Challenging yourself to go up against your classmates can be fun with some light competition.  If you are more like me, where I love to push myself to see if I can do better than my last round, but I don’t like to suffer alone, then this is also the perfect class of you. 

Nicole is very much a “go at your own pace” and “know your limits” type of instructor.  Yes, she is tough and she will push you to be your best, but she is also aware, knowledgeable and even kind when she needs to be.  ;-)

 I think the greatest thing about small group training is the camaraderie. I was accepted and welcomed into the group immediately, and it is reassuring to know that when my legs are burning, so is everyone else’s.  I look forward to this week, getting up before dawn (well, maybe not getting up before down) and going to Small Group Training again to suffer along with some new found friends. 

You can find out more information about Small Group Training Online.  Hope to see you there!

Looking to Train with Nicole?  She's go options at the following times: 

M,W, F @5:30amM,TR,F @9amM,T,W, TR @10am

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cyndi: This Last Week and a Little Spoiler Alert!

Week 12

This is the last week and I am carb depleting. All of a sudden, everything I was eating during the challenge is now suddenly bad. It took away my oatmealL. While this is very doable for a short period of time, I can’t imagine doing this for a long period of time. I don’t usually eat a lot of meat. I had just gotten used to the chicken, turkey, and fish. But…it’s just for a week and totally worth it.
I was told that I would feel weaker and a little drained. At first I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right because I didn’t really feel too tired. Then I tried to lift what I usually lift and that didn’t work so well. I ended up having to cut my weight down and my reps. Ironically I felt good about it because it meant that it was working.

My final reading was really good too. That always keeps me motivated. I lost a total of 17 lbs. of fat and gained some 7 to 8lbs of muscle. My body fat index dropped 8%. Not only did I reach my goal, I exceeded it. I’m ecstatic.

I hope everyone gets the opportunity to come out and see what everyone in the competition has accomplished. Maybe you’ll decide to do the next one. If you see me around and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to approach me. 

Spoiler alert – I’m going to say DO IT!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cyndi: Thank-You

Week 11

I’m getting nervous about the show. I have my suit, my shoes, my tan scheduled, and my friends are even throwing a party for me. I am doing the show for myself, to show my progress, and to motivate me to continue to work at it.
This is it.  The last week.   I have spent all of these blogs talking about myself. This blog I want to use to thank everyone that has supported me. This challenge has changed the way I “go to the gym”, but it has also introduced me to a supportive group of people that have helped me along the way. Everyone from Caley and the other challenge participants to the staff at the front desk and the regulars have been an influential part of this journey.
My friends and husband have been great as well. They have accommodated my diet and even participated in it.

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.

Cyndi: The Road to Body-in-the-Works

Week 9

One of my favorite fall comfort foods is mashed potatoes. I could do red potatoes on my cheat day, but I figured it would be a good time to try mashed cauliflower. It takes less time than potatoes and requires no peeling. The recipe I wanted to try called for almond milk and mozzarella. I was out of almond milk so I used a suggestion from another recipe, which called for Greek yogurt. Not a great idea. The flavor of the Greek yogurt was not what I expected. Now that I think about it I am not sure I like the idea of the almond milk either. It’s a work in progress I guess….

I am still struggling with cardio, but am keeping up with the weights. Some workouts last longer than others. My back work outs seem to be over faster while arms, chest, and biceps take the longest. The introduction of negatives has also had some effects. My abs hurt for days after the pull ups with negatives. No joke – I sneezed and cringed. Guess that’s why they say, “No Pain No Gain”.

Week 10

This past week and a half has been extremely stressful. I was the maid of honor for my friend’s wedding, which has left no time for work outs. On top of that, I am also in the final stretch of a class for my masters and then there’s still chores so my house doesn’t fall apart. 

The wedding came first this week and even though I didn’t make it to the gym, I got a little lifting in with the 30 pumpkins we hauled, moving stuff from car to car, decorating, and general running around. I danced at the wedding and kept my diet up for the most part. I probably could have paid more attention to my macros, but I feel like I did a fairly decent job. My only regret is not making it to the gym, but I had a blast and looked pretty good too. ;-)

I will say, when I finally returned to the gym I felt behind. It’s like my muscles had lost some of their memory. It definitely took a few days to get back on track. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Catching Up With Cyndi on the Road to Saturday's Physique Challenge Show

Thanks Cyndi for a view into the time leading up to the Physique Challenge on Saturday, November 15th!  

Week 7
It’s starting to be fall and this is my favorite time of year for food. Good timing; I know. Apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple pie, stews, and all the other good comfort foods. Thankfully I also enjoy apple picking and being outside this time of year. So far I have stuck to the picking and eating of just the apples. I did cave and buy the donuts and pies, but I didn’t eat them. Promise. My husband and friends have been helpful enough to take care of the temptations. 

Luckily I also like squash and have added spaghetti squash to my diet. It’s a great way to have some comfort food without too much “comfort”. I haven’t found a substitute for the pie and donuts, but it’s all for a good cause.

My sacrifices are paying off, which makes it easier to say no. Before this challenge, I wasn’t seeing results and it made it harder to say no. I’m quickly beginning to see all the faults of my previous “diet”. When I reach my goal I will eat a slice of pie now and then, but now I will know how to maintain and indulge now and then.

Week 8
Phase 3 workouts are pretty intense but I like the way they are structured. They are challenging and I can see how each phase has built on each other. I probably couldn’t have done this at the beginning. The leg exercises are my favorite because I know I am working big muscles. Big muscles burn more calories.

I am having hard time getting my cardio in. I know that is one thing that I am really having trouble with. In general I don’t like cardio, I have just always done it because it was necessary. It was always hard and the results were very slow. Since gaining more muscle, cardio has become so much easier. I have improved 100% on my run time and overall endurance with intervals. Before I dreaded cardio and now…it’s not so bad. Still wouldn’t say I love it. It’s a work in progress.