E.M Noll Classic 5K

Happy Thursday! I got back to NYC from Philly late Monday night, and aside from working, I’ve been trying to take a little rest from training. After my final match Monday, the medial part of my left calf was hurting and overall my body felt pretty tired, so I knew a few light days would do me some good.

I took Tuesday and Wednesday off, and yesterday I did some ghosting plus a light 30 minute bike. After a few light days, I thought my HRV would be green today and I’d be good to go, but I woke up “amber”! Nevertheless, I traveled up to Stamford to hit with John and some other pros, hoping I’d feel better after moving around a bit. About 30 minutes into the hit, I could tell that my HRV was right, as I was struggling to get into it, mentally and physically. I really tried my best to work hard and not get upset, but I can’t lie- it was pretty slow moving.

That’s a lot of amber days for one week…

John advised me to take the next few days off court (aside from coaching), to regain the “spark”. I’m planning to focus on my off-court training (strength and conditioning), while letting my mind reset!

Anyway, let’s back up a bit and recap this past weekend, as it was a good one!

E.M Noll Classic 5k (Philadelphia, PA)

This weekend I competed in my second tournament of 2018, the E.M Noll Classic, held at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia. Ever since I lived in Philly for the summer between Junior and Senior year of college, I’ve loved coming back and seeing friends and the city. (That summer was actually when I first started my blog, in 2014!). I love how Philadelphia has all of the aspects of a big city, without actually being that big. Furthermore, it has tons of history and museums, all within walking distance. While I didn’t get a chance to do sightseeing this trip, I was able to spend some quality time with my friend Kelsey, as I stayed with her at her parent’s place in the suburbs.

Thursday (travel day)

I arrived Thursday evening, after having had a practice hit with Will in the morning, followed by a few hours of coaching. Needless to say, I was tired when I got off the bus downtown Philly. Kelsey and I had plans to hit at 7:30, and since we were both tired from the week, it was a bit of a lacklustre 30 minute hit, but nonetheless we got out there and got moving.

Friday: Match vs Hayley Hughes (Round of 16)

The next morning, I woke up very tired, and couldn’t shake the feeling. I decided to stay off my feet until 30 minutes before match time, when I hopped on the bike for a solid 15 minute spin, followed by mobility and movement prep. I had a pretty slow start, and lost the first game 14-12. The next three games I buckled down and got it done, dropping only a few points each game. Although the scores reflected that I had a strong hold on the match, I didn’t feel very comfortable out there, and didn’t think I was watching or moving very well.

Surprisingly, the rest of Friday absolutely dragged. I was so tired, and despite the fact that there were a number of high quality matches going on, I felt out of it and “squashed out”. I hoped a good rest that night would help me recover for the next day.

Saturday: Match vs Ryan Morgan (Quarters)

After a good sleep Friday night, I felt much more rested. Ryan was in the city this past summer, and I got on court with her a lot, so I knew a few things about her game. However, about 20 minutes before match time, I had a bit of a panic attack, as I broke the strings on both of my racquets while practicing. With 15 minutes to go and no racquet, I rushed into the pro shop in hopes someone would be able to string one of my racquets in time for my match. Rob, one of the pros, claimed he is the “fastest stringer on the East coast”, dropped what he was doing, and proceeded to string my racquet right then and there. I was very relieved and grateful!

Sunday: Match vs Marina Stefanoni (Semis)

Although I felt good coming off my win against Ryan, I couldn’t help but feel nervous before my match against Marina, a 15-year old from Connecticut. Yes, you read that right- a 15 year old. However, Marina is no ordinary 9th grader. She has been winning the U-19 category in US tournaments for the past year or two, and is certainly one of the most talented young American players to come through the junior ranks. I watched her match against Nouran Gohar (world #5) at the Tournament of Champions on SquashTV, and was very impressed with how she played. Marina shows such little emotion when she plays, you might almost think she doesn’t care, but this is so not the case. She has a mature game, makes very good decisions, and very few errors. I tried my best to leave the whole age thing out of it, because I knew those thoughts wouldn’t be productive.

I ended up winning in 4, dropping the second game 11-4. My squash definitely did not feel free flowing, and I credit that to all to Marina’s tactics. She kept me off my game very well, by hitting cross courts I could not volley (to put me behind her), and then dropping it short at any chance (to drag me to the front). As a player who typically likes to attack mostly from the mid-court and volley straight balls, these tactics put me on edge, making it difficult for me to execute my game plan. Still, I was happy and relieved to win the match, and look forward to training with Marina in Connecticut soon!

The rest of Sunday was spent watching matches, blogging, and hanging out at a Super Bowl party. Although the party was really fun, Kelsey and I left with two minutes to go in the last quarter. We were right downtown by city hall, and didn’t want to get stuck in the post-game mayhem. While reading the news the next morning, I felt relieved all over again that we left when we did, otherwise we would have been stuck in the riots.

Monday: Match vs Maria Toorpakai Wazir (Final)

My match against Maria wasn’t until 6 pm, so I was able to get a practice hit in at noon with David, a fellow Canadian. We hit for roughly an hour (it wasn’t too intense), mostly doing some drills and a couple condition games. After a quick cool down and a shower, I headed next door to Real Food Eatery for lunch.

I got the same exact order I’d had the previous 3 days (!!):

  • mixed greens/kale dressed with EVOO and lemon
  • parmesan roasted broccoli
  • roasted beets with walnuts and goat cheese
  • 1/2 avocado
  • lemon herb marinated chicken thighs
  • almond basil pesto

Oh my goodness. This bowl is so filling and delicious. There were tons of “side” options to choose from, all of which looked delicious. Furthermore, the portions were really quite large! I think I got at least a full cup of beets and a cup and a half of broccoli- maybe more! I ate most of the bowl and saved some for later as a post-match meal.

My match against Maria started right on time at 6pm. I played well in the first game and came out on top, but lost the second 11-7. The last two games were strange, as the rallies weren’t very long, so I wasn’t tired, but I did feel very tense. I found myself hitting the ball back to Maria when I could have taken it in short, but I was so tight that my short shots were pretty heavy, and sat up to allow her to counter. Maria has ridiculously good hands, and if she’s at the ball, will pretty much hit a winner every time. We had several rallies which consisted of a serve and a return winner. It was a bit reminiscent of U13 junior squash!

Despite the unorthodox squash, I was able to win the 3rd and 4th games, securing my first-ever PSA title!

A big thank you to the tournament promoters and sponsors from the Racquet Club of Philadelphia, Salming, my coaches, and my billet (Kelsey). You guys helped make the weekend a great success!

Next up: National Training Camp (Windsor) + Windy City Open

The next 6 weeks is going to be so busy. On Monday I’m heading to Windsor, Ontario, for a national training camp, immediately followed by the Windy City Open, held in Chicago. After that, I’ll be back in NYC for a couple days before I head to Bermuda (!!!) for a 5k, which will kick off a 4-tournament road trip all over North America. Woo!

US Open 2017

Happy Monday!

I took most of the weekend off of training, and feel much more energized today. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I was pretty shot mentally and physically (especially Friday and Saturday), so recovery was certainly in order. Although I was a little fatigued on Thursday, I pulled it together, because I got a last minute spot in the US Open!

I woke up Thursday morning to find an email from the PSA office offering me (and the rest of the reserve list) two last minute entries into the US Open qualifying draw in Philadelphia. Given that Philly is only a bus/train ride away, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so I taught my lessons and clinics in the morning, and then caught a mid-afternoon Megabus.

Match vs Misaki Kobayashi

I arrived around 5 pm, in good time for my 7 pm match against the Japanese #1, Misaki Kobayashi. Although I’ve never competed against Misaki, I’ve seen her play several times, and had a rough game plan in mind. From what I remembered of previous tournaments, Misaki had a deadly boast, and does well with angles. Going in, I planned to attack to the back of the court with straight length, to try to limit Misaki’s options.

Unfortunately, a game plan is only as good as its execution. I wasn’t quite able to find my range until the third game, where I managed to get the lead and even a game ball, but was unable to close it out. The entire game I felt as though my spacing was off, and never got my full confidence in order to attack short or take the ball early. Most of my shots to the back were slightly defensive, which allowed Misaki to step in and put pressure on me. Although I came close in the third, I ended up going down 3-0.

I think the outcome of the match was partly mental, and partly physical. Physically, I didn’t feel confident hitting the ball, which certainly affected my tactics. Furthermore, Misaki did a very good job of taking the ball in short on the backhand side, and with the 17″ tin, those shots can be virtually un-gettable.

Despite the fact that this was a last minute match, I was stoked to be given the opportunity to play in such a big tournament. Although geographically close, it is a different atmosphere competing at these World Series events, and gaining that kind of experience is invaluable.

Next Up: Carol Weymuller in Brooklyn, NY

My next tournament is a 50k in Brooklyn next week. The qualification draw will be released a day or two before the tournament, so I don’t know who I play yet, but I do know that it will be tough. Until then, I’ve got about a week to train up, rest up, and get ready!

 

Back to Philly for a Day

Things are in kind of a weird state right now. Squash season is kind of over, because all of our team play is done, however about half of us are still training for this upcoming weekend’s individuals tournament. Nevertheless, having a weekend “off” from competitions this weekend left me feeling like I all of a sudden had all the time in the world! So what do you do when you suddenly have a life again? You do work! Well, kind of…

I had some school and thesis business to do in Philadelphia on Friday, so I drove down there Thursday night in order to get a full day’s of activities in. My friend, Nabilla was kind enough to let me crash with her (I stayed at her place for a couple weeks at the end of the summer, too!), and after chatting for about an hour or so, we decided to call it a night in order to get some rest for the busy day ahead!

Unite Fitness 7:30 am

Friday morning started bright and early with a 7:30 am Unite cross training class. As much as I hate it when people say things like, “the obsession is real”, or “the struggle is real”, that is the first sentence that comes to mind when I think of Unite. The obsession is so, so real.

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The pain cave

I went through a huge withdrawal at the beginning of the fall semester when I came back to campus, and the feeling was only reinforced when I got another small taste last Friday.

IMG_4109The workout focused on upper body, and I was still sore yesterday- a sign that I definitely need to get some upper body lifting (and lifting) back in my regimen. That’s a post-season project :).

Breakfast

Upon returning to Nabilla’s place, we made a quick breakfast before I had to rush off to my next appointment. On the menu?

Dark chocolate and cherry chunk toast, topped with almond butter.

IMG_6236And strawberry Greek yogurt, banana, and cashew butter.

IMG_6238Well fuelled for my busy day!

Penn Museum 10:30 am-1pm

Although Unite was probably one of the highlights of my day (actually, it was a great day altogether, I cannot lie), the main reason I was in Philly was to work on my thesis.

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This picture was taken this past summer. Right now this is all covered in snow.

 

I am writing my thesis on the Hasanlu people, a group of Iranians who lived during the late Bronze and Iron ages and whose skeletons are stored at the Penn museum.

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Can you see the resemblance?

 

After about 2 hours of looking through skeletons, I called it a day and broke for lunch with some colleagues. The museum’s cafe was surprisingly good and reasonably priced, and I opted for a mediterranean salad with shrimp, which was only $6! Granted, there were only about 3 shrimp on the salad, but still- it tasted good!

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shrimpy salad

 

I also bought a small packet of Nourish’s Mocha-mazing. These snacks have been popping up everywhere and I love ’em! They’re perfectly portioned, and tell you how much fiber and protein is in each little bag. Oh, and they taste pretty good too!

IMG_6264I had no trouble finishing this little packet off!

After I had finished checking out the Hasanlu skeletons at Penn, I headed back to Nabilla’s to drop the car off, and then bus into Center City to the Franklin Institute. Parking is difficult to find as well as expensive in the city, so I opted for a $2.50, 10 minute bus ride instead.

Franklin Institute: Body World’s Exhibit

The Franklin Institute is currently showing the Body Worlds exhibit, which showcases the inner workings of animals and humans. My Comparative Physiology class offered this trip (on your own time with your own money) as a way to get extra credit, and since I was already in Philly, I figured why not!

IMG_6265The exhibit itself was pretty short, but was still very interesting. In fact, it was probably a good thing that it was so short, because I was starting to tire around 3:30 pm, desperately in need of sustenance- or sleep!

I wandered around the rest of the museum for a little while, noticing towards the end that I was the only person my age there. The rest of the museum-goers were either ages 6-10, or 40+. In other words, kids with their parents. I was just that strange young adult female who seemed to have nothing better to do on a Friday afternoon.

On my way out, I couldn’t help but take some time to marvel over the amazing architecture of the building, inside and out. I especially liked how the Franklin Institute displayed some famous quotes on the walls, by none other than of course, Ben Franklin himself.

IMG_6267I found the following quote pretty motivating and worth remembering.

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise. 

IMG_6283Well said, Ben Franklin!

Squash

After the Franklin Institute, my museum-ing was finished for the day! Following a quick trip to Trader Joe’s, Nabilla and I headed to Penn to play some squash! We hit for a couple hours before calling it quits, and grabbing some dinner at Whole Foods.

Dinner: Whole Foods

Have you ever seen the hot bar specials at Whole Foods? They’re actually pretty great, and really well priced! I got a chicken breast with two fantastic sides for only $6! Pretty hard to beat that!

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Chicken, kale salad, butternut squash panzanella

 

After dropping Nabilla off back at her apartment, I said goodbye and drove back to Princeton, arriving around 10:30 pm. I had considered staying another night and coming back the next day, but I’m sure glad I didn’t, because it snowed like the North Pole Saturday morning! It was hard enough walking around campus, let alone driving places. In fact, one of my teammates was driving back from Philly on Saturday, and she said that it took her 2.5 hours to get back, rather than the usual 50 minutes. Yikes.

The rest of the weekend

The rest of the weekend was good. We had an Oscar’s themed party Saturday night, where I was assigned the costume of Katniss Everdeen. I didn’t take many pictures, but I did manage to find one or two on my camera!

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Now it’s Monday morning, and I’ve got some work to get done before class. Have a great Monday!

Questions:

Did you watch the Oscars?

What did you get up to this weekend? 

 

My 21st Birthday Edition: 48 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

It’s da weekend!!!!

I’m super excited for this weekend for a number of reasons:

  • Today’s my 21st birthday!
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Hadley, Rachel and me celebrating two years ago!
  • We have our first home matches of the season today and tomorrow!

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  • It’s the last weekend before American thanksgiving! (I’ll be heading to Florida with a friend for the break- a birthday present I’m stoked about!)

IMG_0731And now, for today’s post! I found this survey while I was browsing the blogging world, and figured, why not join in on the fun in honour of my birthday? So here ya go!

48 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Four (or more) names that people call me (other than my real name!):

  • Buns (because of my last name…)
  • Nibu (pronounced nee-boo)
  • Nibs
  • Nibbers
  • Nic
  • Spicoli (ever seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High? No, I don’t act like Spicoli, but the name rhymes with “Nicolee”, so you can do the math)

Four jobs I have had:

  • Babysitting
  • Baker/food prepper at a bakery
  • Summer sports camp counsellor
  • Spin instructor

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Four movies I would have watched more than once:

  • She’s The Man (maybe my all-time favourite movie. I know every single line. I am not kidding)
  • Cool Runnings (I rented this movie for a week, and probably watched it roughly 6 times before returning it)
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Flyboys (Who doesn’t love James Franco?)

Four books I’d recommend:

  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (absolutely hilarious, especially if you like Mindy Kaling/The Office)
  • Kiterunner
  • Born to Run (a must-read if you’re an avid runner or endurance athlete)
  • Harry Potter series (no shame here. I loved these books)

Four Three places I have lived:

  • Victoria, BC (my home!)

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  • Philadelphia, PA (this summer)

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  • Princeton, NJ

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Four places I have been:

  • Melbourne, Australia (school exchange)
  • India
  • France
  • Capetown, South Africa (trip with the squash team when I was a sophomore. So amazing!!)

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Four places I’d rather be right now:

  • Already in Florida, lying on a beach in the sun
  • Working out at Unite Fitness (you can read all about my experience at Unite this summer in this post)

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  • At my squash club at home in Victoria
  • Lying on my couch in front of the TV at home with tea (brought to me by my mother, of course!)

Four things I don’t eat:

  • Olives (on their own- never, but on pizza or something they’re tolerable)
  • Caviar (not that I come across it often, but I did try it once. Nah)
  • Tofu (it just really doesn’t appeal to me for some reason, and I swear I’ve tried to like it!)
  • Cereal (I just can’t get full off of cereal! It can sometimes be fun to snack on, but I’ll usually try to snack on something a little more nutrient dense like almonds or cashews)

Four of my favorite foods:

  • Greek yogurt
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A moderate amount of yogurt for me
  • Blueberries
  • Squash (duh)
  • Nuts (roasted almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts are my fave!) + nut butter
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Classic

Four TV shows that I watch:

  • Prison Break (well, I did watch it…and then I finished it all)
  • Big Bang Theory
  • New Girl
  • Game of Thrones (I was very much peer pressured into watching this one!)

Four things I am looking forward to this year:

  • Enjoying my last year at Princeton
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Chelsea and me breakin it down
  • (Hopefully) playing the best squash of my career yet
  • Finding a job/figuring out a life plan for next year
  • Successfully completing my senior thesis

Four things I’m always saying:

  • “Fricken chicken” (I’m not huge on swearing, so this often takes the place of other, erm, not-so-nice words)
  • “Crap on a stick” (Same explanation as above. I have no idea how I came up with it, but it just stuck one day)
  • “Where is the peanut butter?” (Okay maybe not saying it aloud all the time, but I”m always thinking it!)
  • Singing the same two lines of any song over and over again

Four people I tag:

Questions:

What are you looking forward to this weekend? 

Any funny names that people call you? 

My Philly Workout Obsession: Unite Fitness

If you’ve read any of my posts from my summer in Philadelphia, there’s a pretty high chance that you readabout my killer workouts at Unite Fitness.heartmusclemindfitness

Killer, in the best way possible, of course 🙂

Following my incredible fitness and foodie weekend visiting friends in NYC, I decided I wanted to find a place to cross train in Philly. My friend, Kat, had heard about this place, Unite Fitness, which was supposedly the place to go for intense cardio and strength workouts. (ALSO- Be Well Philly just rated Unite as the #1 workout spot in Philadelphia!)

I signed up online for my free trial, and then popped in to check it out in person later on when I happened to be in the area. The staff I met were super friendly and welcoming, and had no trouble convincing me to come back later that day for my free trial.

What goes down at Unite Fitness?

Unite has 3 main focuses:

  • Cardio
  • Strength
  • Yoga and Stretching

hmm-diagram

 

Here’s a little breakdown on each component, and what I like about them:

Cardio (30 minutes)

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  • All high intensity interval training. Ever get bored on cardio machines? Thanks to great music and intervals, you don’t ever have to worry about biking endlessly and getting tired of staring at the clock.
  • Only 30 minutes, including warm up. Sounds like nothing, right? Well, it’s not. After 15 minutes I’m already starting to wonder how much time is left in the cardio portion, and thankfully, thanks to the intervals, the second half of the workout flies by.
  • Time countdowns. No more guessing exactly how long is left in that sprint interval! I really appreciated that the trainers will give you a reliable countdown, so that you can push all the way to the end. Some instructors (I’ve experienced this at spin, mostly), don’t give countdowns, and you’re left wondering how hard you should push, because you don’t know how long to keep it up for!
  • They’re watching. Okay, that sounds creepy. But actually, I pushed myself harder because I knew that the coach could see my mph/RMP/gear/speed when he/she would walk around, and I didn’t want to be a slacker!
  • Specific incline and gear levels. If you’re on the treadmill, the trainer will give you an incline range to aim for, but will leave the speed up to you. If you’re biking, you will be given a range of gears, as well as an RMP to hit. For the longer intervals, the trainers at Unite will work on an exertion scale, which goes by percentages. For example, your warmup may start at 70% for 2 minutes, and then you will bring it up to 80% for 3 minutes before recovering. The combination of specific gears/inclines and the exertion scale is what helped me push my hardest every single time.

Strength (30 minutes)

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  • Fast paced and engaging. Do you ever get bored at the gym because a) you’re waiting for machines to become available, b) you’re waiting for your muscles to recover, or c) you only ever do 3 sets and 15 reps of a long list of exercises? Instead of this standard, time consuming method, Unite cuts out a lot of the rest, and focuses on 3-4 timed sets that last anywhere from 3-8 minutes, followed by short recoveries.
  • The heart stays pumpin’! Just because you’re out of the cardio room, doesn’t mean that you won’t still be breaking a sweat during the strength portion! Since the exercises are fast paced, and often incorporate multi-joint movements, your heart rate stays up, which personally, I found quite motivating!
  • New and familiar exercises. I was pleased to learn new exercises for certain muscle groups, as well as work on some old standbys (squats, lunges, bench press). This allowed me to challenge myself mentally and physically by attempting these movements, while also being able to push myself physically with familiar exercises. As much as I love doing new crazy things (still waiting for the day when I can actually do new, crazy things), it’s nice feeling competent, and good about yourself. And while I can’t always do perfect pistol squats (OWW!!!!), it’s good to know that at least I can fall back on the standard dumbbell squat.
  • Individual attention. Worried about your form? Weights aren’t heavy enough? No fear, your trainer is constantly walking around the room, both to motivate you and check your form to make sure that you are performing the exercises safely and to the best of your ability. If you want to go heavier on the bench press, your trainer will come over and spot you to make sure that you get the most out of your reps.

Yoga + Stretch (15 minutes)

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  • Short, yet effective. Let me fill you in on something quickly: I am not a good stretcher. Why? I’m not flexible. I don’t find it engaging. It’s hard for me. I get bored, and then I get hungry. Therefore for me, knowing that this yoga stretch sequence is only roughly 10 minutes long is pretty comforting.
  • One word: Massage. Need incentive to stay to the end and do all the stretches? A quick, relaxing massage might do the trick! Each class finishes with the trainer coming around to each participant and performing a quick massage/adjustment to your shoulders, neck, and back. At first, I was a little skeptical of this, because I was just so, so sweaty (like uncomfortably sweaty), but by my second class, I had gotten used to the idea, and looked forward to my quick readjustment at the end of each class.

What else makes Unite unique?

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  • Perfect group fitness setting. Since there’s a max limit of 20 people per class, you won’t feel as though you’re lost in the crowd, while still being able to benefit from the energy of the other participants. Plus, it’s nice having others to commiserate with when you’re being taught the toughest part of the workout 😉
  • Unite offers fitness and nutrition. I personally didn’t sign up for it, but Unite has a meal program where you can order pre made healthy meals each week. It’s super convenient, since you can pick it up from the fridge at Unite after your workout, and from what I’ve heard, the food is delicious!
  • They also offer personal training. Want some one-on-one training? All of the coaches are certified personal trainers, and a few of them also train clients on the side. I never actually had time to complete one of these sessions, but based on my experience at the group fitness sessions, I am positive that I would have loved it as well.
  • You’ll never do the same workout twice. I went 4x a week for 5 weeks. That’s a lot of classes. Not once did I ever do the same exact workout. Sure there were some repeated exercises, but never was a workout the exactly the same. This was hands-down, one of my favourite parts about my Unite experience.
  • I loved every.single.trainer. If you go to a gym or studio that offers group fitness classes, it’s likely that you have a “favourite” instructor. At Unite, I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single coach’s class equally, and loved that each one of them has their own kick-ass style.
  • Can’t make it to the gym? Do it at home! No, you won’t get the same experience as you would in the real Unite setting, but if you’re pressed for time and looking for workout motivation, Unite offers free sample workouts on their YouTube channel. Woo! Fitness anywhere, anytime!
  • Welcomes all levels. Are you a pro athlete? A workout enthusiast? Someone who’s looking to shed 10, 20 or even 60 pounds? Then you can do Unite’s workouts. If an exercise is too challenging, you can always ask the trainer for a modification, and most times, they will offer ways to make movements both more and less challenging.
  • It’s a community. This was my favourite part about being at Unite: I instantly felt included in the Unite community. This feeling grew as I spent more and more time working out at the studio, and I was so sad to leave after my last session. Furthermore, I noticed that the trainers would pay special attention to newcomers in order to make them feel welcome, and make sure that they had a successful experience. It can be intimidating going to a new gym or workout class if you don’t know the ropes, but all of the coaches put in extra effort to make your experience as positive as possible.

Changes I noticed in my body

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I religiously used Unite as my mode of strength conditioning for 5 weeks, and I (think) that I noticed the following changes in my body:

  • Stronger upper body. As someone who is naturally stronger in her legs, and weaker in the arms, I really had nowhere to go but up. After 5 weeks of consistent upper body training, I’ve found that I can now perform exercises with heavier weights, and I can do real pushups! I’m not a pushup person, but I’ve been able to increase my strength and range of motion in my shoulders, which has helped me be able to get my chest to the floor, and push back up. I feel pretty legit  now;)
  • Less ab work, but stronger abs. During June and most of July, I was doing long ab sessions 2-3x a week. Previously, I had been frustrated because my go-to ab workouts no longer seemed to be challenging, and I definitely needed to change it up. At Unite, we did some ab work, but a lot of the exercises also forced you to brace your core to perform the movement effectively. I think that this extra focus really helped engage my core in different ways, and ultimately made it stronger, or kept it just as strong.
  • (My mom told me) I look stronger and leaner. I didn’t take any before/after pictures, so I can’t really compare, but I do know that my arms have become more muscular (like I said, they couldn’t have gotten any worse), and I think that my abs are a little more defined as well. I know that a lot of “muscular definition” has to do with diet and body fat percentage, but since I kept my diet relatively the same as before, I think that I can attribute most of the changes in my body to my dedication to Unite’s program.

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And last but not least….

  • I feel strong and healthy. I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that I feel happy inside and out (does that even make sense?!), but I don’t always feel “strong”. As a self-proclaimed “cardio queen”, in the past I’ve found it more difficult to push myself physically when it comes to strength training. I’m good at cardio, so why not keep getting better at what you’re already good at? Well, every so often I will hit a plateau, and know that I need to change something up. Unite did this in the best possible way for me, because I was still able to get my cardio fix, and then strength train.

Bottom Line:

If you’re in Philadelphia and looking to get worked, sign up for a free trial at Unite, and I can almost 100% guarantee that you will love it. I brought a few friends to the studio to work out this summer (yes, that is my idea of a “fun” hangout 😉 ), and they became obsessed with it too. The trainers are cool, the workouts are fun, and you’ll feel amazing at the end. What do you have to lose?

Now What???

I gotta say, I’m going through serious Unite withdrawals. I’m hoping to go complete their Decathlon on October 11th if I can find someone to do it with me, which would be great incentive to keep training so that I can actually survive it. Although I’d love to keep up my Unite workouts, squash season is about to start up and my efforts and workouts are going to be much more directed towards that. I’m hoping (and expecting) that the work I put in at Unite this summer will pay off on the squash court, and I’m excited to see if I’m any faster/stronger/better when it comes down to serious matches!