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5 Fitness Gifts For Under $20

‘Tis the season for new fitness gear fa la la la la la la la la.

The season for festive decorations, chilly weather, and copious amounts of holiday treats is upon us. With final exams ending and a much-needed break beginning, what’s not to be excited about in December? 

The holiday season is the perfect time to show the ones you love how much you really care about them. What better way to do this than with fitness gifts?!

No matter what stage of their fitness journey they may be, anyone can appreciate a thoughtful gift with a healthy lifestyle in mind. There’s no better gift to kick off 2018 with than a stocking full of fitness goodies. Our Fit University Fam weighed in and compiled a list of gifts that can easily be packed into a loved one’s stocking. No need to worry about budget or time, we’ve got you covered with gifts all under $20 and conveniently purchased through Amazon.

5 fitness gifts for under $20

1. BlenderBottle ProStack System $12.30

This BlenderBottle is even better than the traditional shaker bottle. Not only is it perfect for shaking any supplements or powders, this bottle has a section for storing anything imaginable. From snacks to their favorite supplements, this gift is perfect for the gym junkie on your list. 

Gifting tip: Fill the bottle with snacks and supplements that you think your loved one would love to try.

2. Otium Wireless Sports Earphones $19.99

Now I know what you’re thinking, $19.99 for a knock-off pair of Beats wireless headphones are too good to be true. But these gems work just as good if not better than my Beats headphones! These bad boys are waterproof, long-lasting, and sound canceling- basically meaning they’re the perfect gift for anyone on your list. This gift thoughtful for anyone who loves to jam out in the gym.

3. Headwrap & Sweatband Set Of 5 $16.99

Treat your loved one to a luxurious headband that will be a great gift for the yogi, runner, or heavy lifter in your life. This gift is a great stocking stuffer and a thoughtful gift that people often forget to get themselves.

Gifting tip: Split this pack of 5 between numerous friends on your gift list and share the love. 

 

4. Resistance Bands- Set of 5 $9.69

No matter their fitness level, this is a great gift for those looking to try something new. Since they can be used in numerous different ways depending on the intensity, resistance bands can cater to anyone’s needs while helping fill a fitness junkies dream stocking. 

Gifting tip: If you don’t think resistance bands will be their thing, a jump rope or gliding disks would be an excellent stocking stuffer.

5. Fitlosophy Fitspiration Journal $19.95

This gift is a different spin on the traditional workout logbook. For beginners looking to track progress or those with experience in the gym, this journal offers inspiration for staying on track and achieving health goals. 

 

These gifts are sure to save you money while being convenient. Give the gift of health to your loved one by creating the ultimate fitness-lovers stocking that anyone in your life can appreciate.

Happy Holidays from your Fit University family!

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We’re Hosting Our 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Fitness 5k, The Tough Turkey

tough turkey

Saturday November 18 | 11AM – 1PM | Nike Boston 

We’re back Boston! The Tough Turkey is a 5k fitness course for all levels of fitness. You’ll start and end your run at Nike Boston on Newbury St., stopping for different fitness challenges along the way.

When you cross the finish line back at Nike, you’ll take a picture in our Finisher’s Photo Booth, grab a few healthy snacks and have the opportunity to win a pair of Nike sneakers.

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful and giveback so we’re asking you to bring one can of food in exchange for a raffle ticket. Want more chances to win? Bring more food 😉

Note: this event is open for all students and non-students alike! Grab your tickets below.

Why We’re Hosting The First Ever College Fitness Festival

college fitness festival

The Back to School Blowout is BACK, and it’s better than ever.

What’s up #fitufam! Sarah here, your Chief Community Officer 👋  👋  👋

You may have seen a save the date floating around about and no, it’s not because I’m getting married 👰. It’s for Fit University’s 2nd annual Back to School Blowout, the first and only fitness festival just for college students.

Sign up for The Back to School Blowout here.

We created The Back to School Blowout to help college students in Boston and the greater New England area kick off the semester in a fun and healthy way. The goal was always to bring together students, brands and organizations to sweat their way through a full day of community building and getting to know the resources in the area. Last year we had over 200 students take over Copley Square and offered up a number of workouts for students to try. Despite a huge downpour, everyone stayed out and finished an intense bootcamp led by our ambassadors… in the pouring rain. 

This year, we wanted the Back to School Blowout to accomplish a few things:

  • Be prepared for weather: order as many Fit University branded umbrellas as possible. Just kidding – no umbrellas, this event is rain or shine ☔️☀️
  • Be as inclusive as possible: build an experience that will keep everyone involved throughout the entirety of the event, instead of just having a bunch of workouts back to back like we did last year
  • Represent Fit University as a brand: one that promotes complete fitness + overall wellbeing, not just working out

If I’m being honest, I wasn’t that excited when we started planning for this year. We had a few ideas about how to accomplish the above but nothing made me say YES! THIS IS IT! I felt like we were forcing it and overall, felt kind of meh about the whole event. But then, I started to have some ideas…and more ideas…and more ideas. And then I started reading about the rise of wellness festivals and so I thought…

Why not create a fitness festival exclusive to college students? 

I love the concept of fitness festivals – a full day (sometimes multiple days) of fitness, yoga, people to meet, things to learn etc etc. But while fitness festivals are fun and great and all, they’re geared towards a demographic older than college students. Plus, what college student can afford a fitness festival? There’s one happening the same day of the Blowout and tickets are over $150 😮😮. I can’t even afford that.

So we’re doing it. We’re creating a fitness festival for college students.

Keep scrolling!

back to school blowout

I started Fit University to help college students understand that it’s not that that hard to stay fit in college and more importantly, that fitness looks and feels differently for everyone. At Fit U, we’re helping students find the fun in fitness by creating sustainable habits to continue after graduation and surrounding themselves with the community to help them do that. That’s what this event is about.

For many, the Back to School Blowout will be an intro to Fit University and who we are as a community and organization. More importantly, this event may be an intro to the many ways students can fit fitness and wellbeing into their lives in a way that works for them. As my counter-part and head of operations, Nina, said it,

“Student lifestyles are different and it’s time we started building a health and fitness community that caters to them; that’s what Fit University is doing and that’s why I’m excited about this event and proud to be on the team behind that effort.”

One day, the Back to School Blowout will be popping up at multiple campuses across the nation: exposing students to the health + wellness resources offered on their individual campus while building a greater community of health + wellness on that campus. If students are introduced to the ways they can live healthy early on in their college career, they can then create those sustainable habits I talked about above; ultimately leading to a healthier life after college.

Alright alright, enough of that. Here’s what can you expect at the Blowout.

tl;dr: find the full event schedule here.

The event runs from 10AM to 2:30PM with a whole lot in between. Students will have the opportunity to try out multiple workouts: taking a spin class with Cyc Fitness (taught by me!), training like a pro (athlete, that is) with Xplosive Performance Academy, or getting to know their new city with a run around Boston. From there, we’ll move into a group yoga class in the beautiful Copley Square, which will then transition into one BIG. ASS. DANCE. PARTY. Seriously. It’s going to be huge. Expect to get down, get sweaty, and have a whole lot of fun. Don’t tell me you don’t dance – we’ll have Eliza Shirazi, my good friend and founder of Kick It By Eliza, helping you out along the way and showing you some moves. Plus, college dancers and musicians keeping everyone entertained and moving. Oh yes, you better believe it.

back to school blowout

By this point, we’ll have moved, grooved, flowed, and danced. We’ll all likely be hungry and ready to rest our legs. We’ll definitely be ready for a massage at the LUNA Recovery Zone. Don’t worry, both sweetgreen and Revere, a new plant-based nutrition company, will be on site making sure you’re refueled post-activity.

We’ll end the day with some workshops…putting the “University” in Fit University with a bit of inspiration and education. Start combatting semester stress early with Meditation 1o1, learn to fly with Acro Yoga, or figure out what it means to live healthy + happy with Startup Island, a program run by our friends that’s designed to connect entrepreneurial minded students and young professionals through shared travel experiences.

The Back to School Blowout is open and accessible to all college students. This is an event where all college students can come to feel welcome, happy, healthy and to leave feeling like they’ve got a new community that has their back (because we do!). I think Marisa, our Head of Business Development, said it best,

“I can’t think of a better way to welcome college students back to Boston than to kickstart their semester at the Back to School Blowout. At it’s core, Fit University has always strived to show students that living a healthy lifestyle in college does not need to be daunting, and we’ve built a community around showing them how easy and fun it can be. Fit University is changing the game in college fitness by making it a game everyone can play, and being a part of that is something really special.”

On behalf of the entire #fitufam, I invite you to come to see what we’re all about – the Back to School Blowout and Fit University as a whole. 

Yes, the event is technically for college students but hey, even I’m not in college anymore 😉. Molly, our newest addition to HQ agrees,

“The Back to School Blowout is the perfect way for like minded students as well as post graduates to meet and share their love of all things health and fitness.”

So stop by, sweat a little, smile a lot. I promise it’ll be a great day.

Stay fit,

Sarah
Founder + Chief Community Officer

back to school blowout

Meet 13 Students Running The Boston Marathon

college students boston marathon

And you thought midterms were tough…

The Boston Marathon is officially one week away. From now until the big day, we’ll be sharing bits and pieces of what it’s like to not only train for one of the biggest athletic events in the world, but to keep your grades up while doing it. To start off, meet thirteen students running the Boston Marathon and the organizations they’re running for. And while you’re at it, make sure your grab your ticket for the CLIF Cheer Zone.

Jesse Carmen, Boston College ’18.


Getting her Masters at BC’s School of Social Work, Jesse is running for City Year Boston, an organization that works “to bridge the gap in high-poverty communities between the support the students in the communities actually need, and what their schools are designed to provide.”

Madeline Perlewitz, Boston College ’17.

A psychology major, Madeline is running for 261 Fearless, a group of over 100 female runners who are raising money to empower women globally through the non-profit founded by pioneer marathoner, Kathrine Switzer.

Sarah Woods, Boston College ’17.


A nursing major, Sarah’s running for the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Vernon Cancer Center, whose main mission is “to treat and care for our patients as we would a beloved family member.”

Olivia Polise, Boston College ’19.

 

Farthest long run before the Boston Marathon donee 💛💙

A post shared by Olivia Polise (@opolise316) on


A nursing student, Olivia is running on the Brigham and Women’s Stepping Strong Team, which will “benefit the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation. The mission of the center is to realize the full potential of interdisciplinary innovation, at BWH and beyond, to transform trauma research and care.”

Erin Tichenor, Boston University ’19.

A sociology major, Erin qualified to run the Boston Marathon. Casual.

Bailey Fritzinger, Northeastern University ’18.

A psychology major, Bailey is running for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, which “aims to raise $5 million in pursuit of the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer.”

 

CLIF Cheer Zone hosted by Fit University social media

Leah Burkholder, Northeastern University ’17. 

As a Boston native and student in the Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Program, Leah is running for the Boston Police Foundation. The BPF “provides private financial support for critically needed resources to the Boston Police Department, the oldest police department in the country.”

Meghan Jastrzembski, Northeastern University ’17.

A health science major, Meghan is running for Team buildOn. buildOn breaks the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education! Lexi, a student from Northeastern, ran for buildOn in last year’s Boston Marathon!

Michaella Niro, Northeastern University ’17.

 

Hello runs in the sun ☀️

A post shared by Michaella (@myleanbeanlife) on


A marketing major, Michaella is running for Team Brookline, a team that supports five local charities. More specifically, her team supports the Brookline Community Mental Health Center.

Samantha Poccia, Simmons College ’18.


A graduate student in the Nutrition program, Sam is running for Brigham Women’s Gillian Reny Foundation for Trauma Innovation…same organization as Olivia we mentioned up above!

Jian Xiong Lim, Tufts University ’17.

An economics major, Jian is running on the Tufts Marathon Team. for Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. The Tufts Marathon Team runs to “support nutrition, medical, and fitness programs at Tufts University, including research on childhood obesity at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.”

Michael Wang, Tufts University ’17.

A community health major, Michael is also running on the Tufts Marathon Team.

Paige Kracke, Tufts University ’17.

Another economics major, Paige is running alongside Jian and Michael on the Tufts Marathon Team.

Check back later this week for more on these incredible students and reserve your spot at the CLIF Cheer Zone so you can cheer them on on Marathon Monday! PS: Know a college student running the marathon that we missed? Let us know!

Don’t Miss This Year’s Tough Turkey, Sponsored by Reebok!

tough turkey

Who will be named the Tough Turkey?

Ok Boston, we’re coming back this year for our second annual Tough Turkey and of course, it’s just getting better and better.

You’ll start and end your run at the Reebok Showroom on Newbury St., stopping for different fitness challenges along the way brought to you by Kick It By Eliza, Xplosive Performance Academy – Massachusetts, Anagoesfit, Sam Poccia and Erin Bailey.

When you cross the finish line back at Reebok, you’ll take a picture in our Finisher’s Photo Booth, grab a few healthy snacks and have the opportunity to get 25% off anything in the store.

Think you have what it takes to be THE Tough Turkey of 2016? Our fastest male & female finishers will receive a Reebok gift card, Fit University shirt, a box of Quest bars, and bragging rights, of course.

Note: While Fit University events are geared towards college students, we welcome post-grads as well! You wont be the only non-student there 🙂 #fitualumni

 

Bib Pick-Up: Thursday & Friday

Pick-up your bib and pre-race goodie bag at the Reebok Showroom (135 Newbury St.) tomorrow & Friday from 3pm-5pm. You may pick up bibs for your friends only if they have completed this waiver first.

If you can’t make it to early bib pick-up, you can grab it on race day.

Start Time:

Doors will open at 10:30am if you need to pick up your bib day of. If you already have your bib, come to race for one of the following waves:

10:45 AM

11:00 AM

11:15 AM

11:30 AM

Think you have what it takes to be THE Tough Turkey of 2016?

The top male & female finisher will receive a Reebok gift card, Fit University shirt & box of Quest bars. If you’d like to compete for the title, you must race in the 10:45 wave, so arrive at 10:30!

Just racing for fun? Come through anytime between 10:30 and 11:15 to start in any of the waves.

Ready to sign up? Legggggo!

Proudly sponsored by:

tough turkey

College Students Gear Up For the Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

If you’re anything like me, the idea of running for more than five minutes makes you want to cry.

boston marathon

Me, thinking about running.

So the thought of running for HOURS without stopping? That is something I cannot even begin to fathom.

When I moved Boston from Florida to attend Northeastern (2012), I had little to no idea what the Boston Marathon was. Sure, there are marathons all the time, all over the world. What’s so special about the Boston Marathon? And why are we taking the day off of classes for it? (Not that that was anything to complain about, though…)

I didn’t celebrate my first Patriots Day at Northeastern. (For those of you not familiar, Patriots Day is the day of the Boston Marathon. People of Boston fill the streets to watch the Marathon, and use it as an excuse to day drink. You may tailgate for football games, Boston tailgates for the marathon.)

I spent my first Patriots Day at Emerson College, seeing a show that a friend from high school was in. Halfway through, someone interrupted the performance to tell us there had been a bombing at the marathon. We were ushered into a dorm building and stayed there for many hours until the streets were deemed safe to walk on.  The way the city of Boston came together throughout that next week made me realize what a special city I had moved to. And over the past few years, Patriots Day has come to be one of my favorite holidays (because of the excitement in the city, not the day drinking 😉 ). 

Boston Marathon

Photo via cageplus.com

You cannot help but be inspired by the runners of the Boston Marathon. Traveling from all over the world, runners of all races, genders, and ages come together to race in our beautiful city of Boston. And you best believe that there are some amazing college students running the Boston Marathon tomorrow. Hannah Fusaro (Boston University ’18) and Lexi Prather (Northeastern University ’17) are two of them. I had the pleasure of interviewing them before the big day. 

My first question may be an obvious one. How do two college students end up in the Boston Marathon? Where did their journey begin? Hannah, a Dietetics major, started running cross-country during her sophomore year of high school, and later did her first half marathon. It was then that she discovered her love for long distance running and ran her first full marathon senior year of high school. Hannah qualified for the Boston Marathon this year by just over 5 minutes while running her second marathon in Hartford, Connecticut. NBD.

boston marathon hannah

Meet Hannah!

Lexi, a Human Services major, considers herself to have always been an active person but never a long distance runner. When she started training for the marathon in December, she hadn’t run more than 6 miles. So for all ya’ll that don’t think you have a marathon in you… if Lexi can do it, you can too.

boston marathon lexi

Meet Lexi!

To get in to the Boston Marathon, you must either qualify by time or raise money for an organization. While Hannah qualified with her impressive time, Lexi is running for buildOn, which empowers urban youth in the U.S. to transform not only their own neighborhoods, but the world through community service. Lexi says, “They work they do is incredible and impactful and I am happy I have the opportunity to share that with my own network of family and friends.” She was introduced to the org when the President & CEO came to talk to her Global Social Entrepreneurship course this past fall. See, going to classes has its benefits sometimes! 

Training for the Marathon requires hard work, dedication and a whole lot of passion. Hannah says that the best part about training are the runs that she feels like she could go forever without stopping. “These runs show me that all the hard work I’ve put in so far is paying off, and the sense of accomplishment following these runs is incredible.”(Can you teach me to run like this Hannah?? Help!!) Lexi also points out that training for a marathon gives you no option other than to workout — it’s not like you can just sign up for a marathon and run all 26.2 miles the next day. Lexi loves the pressure to workout because it makes her feel incredibly healthy. 

But don’t get these ladies wrong, there have been some tough times during the training. Long runs are no picnic when outside temperatures are below freezing and you have a 15 mile run ahead of you. It often takes them a great amount of time to mentally prepare themselves to get out the door. Once they finally make their way to the street, both students agree that long runs are a mental game. 

boston marathon

Hannah explains that, “In this sport, mental toughness is what will get you through those hard runs and then go out and do it again the next day. When I’m doing my long runs, I remember that I have done this before and I know I am capable of it and the work that I am doing now is getting me to my goal in the race.” 

Lexi echoes that same sentiment…”Knowing that it will make the actual race that much easier and thinking about how great I will feel after. Each long run I have done, has been the longest run yet. So on Monday I will run the longest I have ever run in my life, and that is a pretty great way to get me through.”

You might be wondering how Hannah and Lexi had time to train for the marathon when you barely have time to make it to the gym for 30 minutes. Hannah says it’s been easy to find time for running since it’s something she loves so much. Running is a huge stress reliever for her, so it’s the perfect way to wind down after a long day of classes. As for Lexi, her secret weapon is her support team. Her supervisor at work is running the Marathon with her so having someone by her side makes things a whole lot easier.

Moral of the story? Find fitness you love, and find a kickass workout buddy to do it with.

via GIPHY 
The Boston Marathon is one of the most sought after races in the world. It’s preeeetty impressive that these college students are able to be part of it. As Hannah describes, the Boston Marathon isn’t a race you can just decide to run in, you have to earn your place. Hannah and Lexi admit that they feel proud to be part of this historic race, one that some of the most amazing athletes in the world compete in. They’re both most looking forward to the crowds on race day. As students in Boston, all of their friends and family will be along the sidelines cheering them one. (If you’re in Boston, go down and cheer for them!)

Training for a marathon is no easy feat. What have Hannah and Lexi learned throughout the process? Hannah’s answer is one that can be applied to all aspects of life, way beyond running. She says, “running is a sport where you will get out exactly what you put into it. If you want to do well and you want to see the results, you have to put in the work and run the miles. No matter how hard it can be, if you set your mind to a goal and work toward it, you really can accomplish anything.” 

Lexi’s response is one that makes me even consider wanting to train for a marathon (maybe…). Here’s a little bit of motivation for you to leave with. Lexi says, “When I tell people that I am running, so many respond that they could never run a marathon, but I disagree! I have learned, that as long as you are physically able and healthy, it really starts with one choice at the beginning. I decided I was going to and then I had to train.”

boston marathon

Best of luck to Lexi, Hannah and all of the runners of the Boston Marathon. You are an inspiration to us all and we’ll be cheering for you every step of the way – literally! 

You Need to Hear About Jamie Oliver’s Plan to Solve Obesity

What basic household item could possibly prevent 100,000 cases of heart disease, 8,000 strokes and 26,000 deaths? Food. Or really, lack thereof. Fit University, meet Jamie Oliver.

Jamie Oliver

You may know him as the UK Chef,


restaurant owner,


recipe developer,


successful author,


and TV personality,

 

My view when I’m cooking for you guys …. The crew

A photo posted by Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) on


but how can this man help reduce childhood obesity?

 

Hey guys, I’m still so happy about yesterday’s news about the sugary drinks tax that will be introduced in the UK in 2 years!! It’s a bold and good first step by our government but this is just the start and i have some questions ill be asking. there are still other measures that must be put in place to protect the health and future of our kids. A tax on its own wont work. There are six things me and a load of health professionals have recommended to Mr Cameron that should be part of the Childhood Obesity Strategy due to come out this summer….. This is defiantly about protecting the future of our kids … please hit the link in my bio and take a look, share and #regram Just look at what we can achieve when we keep pushing!! #foodrevolution

A photo posted by Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) on

Known for his 2010 TV Show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, where Oliver travelled across America revealing the hefty problems with our food industry, Oliver took his leverage back to his native country (I guess he needed a break from America, I get it, Jamie) and fought to apply a sugar tax on sugary beverages. He won.

Starting in 2018, Oliver would change the future of one of the least healthy countries in Europe. Here’s a breakdown of his plan:

  • A tax of 20 pences (30 US cents) per liter of sugary drink (this could include soft drinks, or even certain smoothies), to discourage consumers from purchasing the sugary drink.

grocery

  • The taxes yield up to 1 billion pounds (just under $1.5 billion, casual) to be recycled back into the community by funding programs aiming to decrease obesity.
  • A visual of the number of teaspoons of sugar in the drink will be displayed on its packaging. Traditionally sugar content is given in grams, which is harder for the average consumer to conceptualize than a teaspoon. It’s all about awareness!
  • Traffic light labeling with be enforced. Basically, red means bad and green means go. And yellow means “slow down and think twice”.

Jamie Oliver

  • Food education will become a priority in schools. This education involves students and parents; not only will students learn to cook and learn about nutrition, (i.e., where food comes from and how it affects your body), but in addition he parents will learn how to pack their kids a healthy school lunch. (Finally)
  • Products with high fat, sugar, or salt (“HFSS”) will not be marketed around school campuses. HFSS products sold in supermarkets will be strongly discouraged by the government.
  • Advertising for junk HFSS foods will not appear on TV before 9 pm. When children watch TV, they are no longer exposed to the tempting and convincing messages in junk food advertising.
  • Companies that fail to follow these new laws will be punished.

punishment

So yes, world; it’s that simple. If Jamie Oliver can do it for England, why can’t we do it here in America too?

And you can help! How? Simply making micro-changes to your daily life and influencing your loved ones to make small changes to live a healthy lifestyle can make such a difference.

Here are a couple of changes you can make, inspired by Jamie Oliver himself:

  • Reduce your soda consumption. I can’t stress this enough! Consuming soda (pop, coke, what have you) on a regular basis can increase risk of obesity, diabetes, cavities, and so many other health problems. If you regularly consume soda, try slowly decreasing the amount you drink. For instance, if you drink a soda with every meal, try limiting it to one meal a day. Then one meal every 3 days, then one meal a week to one meal a month, and so on. Little changes can lead to big differences!
  • Carry a water bottle. Ok so you’ve reduced your soda consumption, but that doesn’t mean your need for fluids decreases as well. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. That way instead of being tempted to buy a soda, just take a drink from your water bottle instead! Bonus: you’re helping the environment as well as your bank account… and who doesn’t like saving money?

Money Please

  • Try seltzer or flavored water. While these drinks aren’t as great as water, they could serve as a great, non-sugar-loaded, naturally flavored alternative to sugary or diet sodas!

Let us know what you think, and tag us in your movement for a healthy lifestyle on Instagram @gofitu and use the hashtag #fituniversity!

This Student is Biking 4,000 Miles for Young Adults with Cancer

4k for cancer

This June, Fit University ambassador and University of Tennessee senior, Sydney Trentham plans to bike over 4,000 miles.

Yes, you read that right. Over 4,000 miles.

You see, Sydney is participating in one of the most ambitious, dedicated, and endurance-based cancer fundraisers there is. The event is called the 4k for Cancer, and it raises money for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.

4k for cancerThe group started in 2001, when a group of college students decided to ride bikes across the country. They partnered with the Ulman Cancer Fund to raise money for helping young adults afflicted with cancer. The idea came from college students for college students – so many students want to give back to people their age, to give hope for them.

Since then, the organization has accomplished amazing things. In a nutshell, they help support young adults with cancer by developing support groups, establishing scholarships for college-aged young adults with cancer, delivering cancer care packages, and giving money to people who need it to pay for treatment.

Through the program, Sydney will be riding with a horde of fellow college-aged runners and cyclists to travel across the country.

4k for cancerMid-August, she will arrive in San Francisco: triumphant, fatigued, and content in knowing that she aided the organization that raises nearly a million dollars towards cancer research each year.

So what made her want to participate? When we asked, Sydney told us that her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Through her mother’s diagnosis, she found she was brought closer to the cancer-affected community, and heard about the race through those contacts. In addition, she was looking for something to do this summer that would allow her to travel after she graduated – specifically, something that worked for a cause and hit close to home. The 4k was perfect.

And it was quite the ambitious goal. As for the intensity of the ride itself, Sydney had never participated in anything close. Sure she’s ridden charity rides, done a 5k or two, and biked 30 miles once. But 4,000 miles? You could say it’s a little out of her comfort zone.

The ride itself takes off from Baltimore. Sydney is riding in one of 25 groups of 180 total college-aged students, all running and riding on a few different tracks throughout the country. Routes end in big cities like San Diego and Portland. Some travel East to West like Sydney, while others push in the opposite direction.

Sydney’s particular trip is finishing in San Francisco, and will take a total of 70 days to complete. She’ll be riding for 10 weeks, scaling 50-120 miles per day. Every 7-10 days, she’ll get one rest day, which she’ll be spending delivering scholarships and care packages to young adults struggling with cancer. She’ll be roughing it—sleeping in sleeping bags at a local church, a YMCA, or outside.
4k for cancer

Traveling that far a distance with so little recovery time between rides requires quite the training regimen.

To prepare for the event this summer, Sydney started her training about two months ago. “I ride my bike anywhere around school,” she says. “4-5 days a week I’ll ride, and I’ll go anywhere from 60 to a couple hundred miles each week.” She goes on different types of rides on different terrain to prepare herself for the varied track she’ll be embarking on cross-country.

But that’s not all she’s doing to prep. Sydney also is fitting in Crossfit 3-5 days each week on top of her bike rides. This provides the cross training she needs, allowing her to build up her core stability and mobility.

The race gives her recommended training plans, which she participates in and modifies to fit her personal fitness levels and needs. She also participates in intramural sports at her school.

 

Found @trailheadbeer on my route, caught the sunset on the river, AND didn’t wreck. Great ride today!

A photo posted by Sydney Trentham (@sydneytrentham) on


All that training is a lot for one person’s body to handle—it’s a ton of expended energy each day. Which begs the question: what is she eating to fuel it all?

“I’m eating a lot,” she said. In fact, her appetite is through the roof. In one sitting, she’ll find herself eating 3 baskets of chips and queso, guacamole, salsa… (um, YUM) and still not feeling as full as she expected. “Everything you put in front of me, I’ll eat,” she explains.

Sydney makes sure she’s getting plenty of protein to prevent muscle degradation. That means lots of yogurt and lots of meat. Typically, riders have a lot of issues with GI, so Sydney needs probiotics which she gets through the yogurt. 

Training sounds intense. And it takes up a huge part of Sydney’s already-busy college life. So we asked her how she’s balancing all the training with school and other senior-year activities. 

Simply put, she’s really, really busy. Her calendar is packed, and her social life has taken somewhat of a beating. However, she considers herself lucky to have a group of friends who are really supportive of everything she’s been doing. In fact, her roommates even accompany her on spin bikes at the gym (she may have to drag them every once in awhile, but they’re still down to go with her!).

Not only has Sydney had to put in a great deal of time and effort to train for the 4k, but she’s also invested a lot in raising the money to enter. In order to participate, she has to raise her $4,500 entrance fee. Motivated by her passion for the cause, Sydney has raised money by selling apple butter, reigned in support from her family, held a potluck dinner at her church and is holding a Crossfit fundraiser in April.

We then asked Sydney what she was most nervous about the event. Basically (even though she’s putting in tons of training), she’s nervous that she won’t be in shape enough—particularly for the 12,000-13,000 foot climb she’ll be facing in the mountains of Colorado.

But her excitement far outweighs her fears.

What’s she excited about? Everything else! Seeing the country (she’s never been North of the Mason-Dixon line or West of the Mississippi), the thrill of the great outdoors, meeting a whole bunch of new people just as passionate about the cause as she is, and (of course) giving back to the cancer community. Giving them hope and support is so important to Sydney; she can only imagine how difficult it is to for someone her age to have cancer.

4k for cancer“What do you hope to accomplish by doing the 4k?” we asked next.

“More awareness and support to young adults with cancer,” Sydney replied. “People are already asking about what I’m doing and why. People want to know why.” Through her dedication and training, Sydney is raising even more awareness for the event, and therefore the cause.

You go Sydney!

As a final message, she has to say: “With a community like Fit U, take something that you’re passionate about and turn it towards a great cause. We can do a lot with the tools we have, and not everyone out there is able to do what you or I can. Use it to your advantage!”

Interesting in donating to Sydney’s 4k for Cancer? Click here!

You can also join her Facebook event, where she posts fun fundraisers like health tips, apple butter & ebooks.

Fit University Symposium

This weekend, Fit University hosted the first annual Fit University Symposium for our incredible team of ambassadors and chapter leaders in the Boston area. It was a chance to bring everyone together to have fun, workout, eat and learn. Here’s how the day went down:

12:30pm – Thirty Fit University ambassadors & chapter leaders gather at BFX Studio on Boylston St. 

12:45pm – We play a game of Fit U Bingo to get to know each other. It’s crazy how many students on our team only know each other through social media. Fit U Bingo was a way to break the ice and meet everyone in “real life.”

1:15pm – Workout begins. Nobody has any idea what they’re getting themselves into. This workout is no joke. One hour, spent half on a spin bike, half on the floor. The spin portion includes heavy hills, sprints and short recoveries. Floor work includes sandbags, TRX bands, and intervals. There is not a dry shirt in the room…Rob Wood & Alex Grossomanides completely kick our ass. Try a BFX Class for yourself – they’ve got student discounts 😉

“The Symposium was the best fitness event I’ve ever been to. The workout was a challenging combination of cardio and strength and the instructor perfectly matched the intensity to the music. The healthy food and drink from sponsors was also much appreciated after a tough workout.

Concise truth is that it was fucking awesome! Everyone who didn’t go really missed out.” – Cam R., Fit NU Community Manager

2:15pm – Workout ends, we all drain the sweat out of our shirts and WE EAT. Lunch was provided by b.good and it was exactly what we needed to refuel post workout. 

 

Obviously need some food after a hard workout

A photo posted by Fit BC (@fitboscollege) on

2:30pm -The Fit U team also gets to try Biena Foods, these delicious chickpea snacks filled with protein and fiber. Top flavors seem to be a toss up between Cinnamon Crunch & BBQ. Highly recommended.  We all take chickpea shots with Biena. Because this is is college. And we take shots in college. Cheers to Fit U!

 

2:45pm – We head into a Master Class with Rob Wood & Jenny Hanway of BFX. Main topic of conversation: “How to influence change on your campus.” We talk about leadership & qualities that make up a good leader. We break up into groups and draw our ideal “Fit U Campus.” My team decides that our campus will have rock climbing walls on the side of dorm buildings. Anything is possible at Fit U.

— Nina Stepanov (@ninarstepanov) January 23, 2016

3:30pm – The team heads out of the master class and gets ready to leave. They make their own healthy swag bag of healthy snacks, because that’s how we do at Fit U. Swag bags include Justin’s nut butter, Hint Water, Quest bars & protein powder.

 

3:45pm – We leave BFX excited, inspired and ready for a kick ass semester. We begin our countdown to the Fit University Symposium 2017. Want to join the Fit U team and attend events like the Symposium? Here’s how you can get involved! 

fit university symposium

“The Fit University Symposium was by far the highlight of my freshman year of college. Coming together with a group of peers who are so willing to become leaders and make a change not by being perfect, or by being like some other health and fitness stars, but simply by being themselves and finding their own unique ways to stay fit and healthy was so refreshing. The joy and passion with which these students shared fitness was infectious, and I am MORE than excited to be a part of a team that’s so willing to make a difference in such a fun and approachable way!!” – Jess C., Fit NU ambassador

Check out the video above to get an inside glimpse to the Fit University Symposium! 

A huge thank you to BFX Studio for hosting us! Extra shout out to Rob Wood, Jenny Hanway & Alex Grossomanides for kicking our ass & leading an inspiring workshop. Check out our sponsors b.good, Biena Foods, Justin’s & Quest Nutrition..all Fit U approved for living healthy in college.

What Do Marathon Training Plans and Knitting Patterns Have in Common?

marathon and knitting

Answer: Meredith’s now an expert at both.

I know what you’re thinking: knitting and running? Those are two activities you don’t see paired together too often. I mean, when’s the last time you spotted your grandma running 26 miles?

marathon and knitting

However, Meredith Parmalee (Northeastern University International Business major, senior, and recent marathon conqueror) saw potential in the paradoxical activities, and took to the New York City streets a few weeks ago decked in running shoes and yarn-in-arm. 

The NYC Marathon is an annual event coursing through five boroughs in New York City. Each year, runners and attendees hail from all over the US to put their training to good use and cheer on their friends and family. It is the largest marathon in the world, with tens of thousands of runners participating each year.

This year, Meredith stood out from the rest. Not only did she run the NYC Marathon, but she knit a 22-foot scarf along the way.

July of last year, Meredith was stationed at her second co-op (for all you non-Northeastern readers, that means that she was working full time for a semester while in undergrad at NEU) in Madrid, Spain. She worked in the marketing department of We Are Knitters, a knitting company in the city that made knitting supplies and various knitting kits. One day, while doing some marketing research, she came across a man who was notorious for knitting and running a marathon simultaneously. Meredith was intrigued, and joked the next day at work that she’d do it—of course, never thinking it’d actually happen.

marathon and knitting

But then, with the encouragement of her co-workers, she came up with an idea. She could do it; and for charity, too. Her grandmother had taught her to knit when she was a child, and while on co-op, her knitting skills got a little more serious. So she had the first half of it down. Suddenly inspired, she laced up her sneakers and attempted the feat of knitting and running at the same time. After the first mile, she was pretty winded. As you might have guessed, the activities don’t exactly mesh as easily as one might have hoped. However, Meredith remained motivated and found a team to train with.

She decided that she would train with Team in Training, a team perfect for Marathon newbies that raises money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. With her fundraising in mind and team at her back, she began going on training runs.

marathon and knittingMeredith embarked on a 16-week marathon training plan, bringing yarn with her all the while. She maneuvered it by wrapping the yarn around her wrist and completing a finger knit pattern, holding the knit scarf underneath her arm. The knitting did limit her mobility considerably, but she knew it was nothing her training couldn’t fix.

With her co-op ending in mid-August and her return to the states mid-training, Meredith continued to raise awareness for her cause.

Back in Boston, classes started to take up a good portion of her time. Beginning her last semester of undergrad, Meredith says that this last stretch of training was the hardest part. She went on her long runs before her 9:15 AM class and over the weekend when she had the most time. However, it was still her senior year, and her friends wanted to go out on weekends. Motivated still, Meredith cut back on drinking and going to bars over the weekend and worked hard to fit in her training, despite the temptation to go out – not to mention, also having to study. Though it was an adjustment, Meredith says she had a great support system at her back the entire time.

“I’d run 3 half marathons, 5 k’s, 10 k’s, and cross country; but I didn’t think I could do it,” Meredith confessed. But with her friends and family’s support, she continued to train for her run. “There’s no end to what you can do,” she said. “And I surprised myself in how much I could physically do with training!”

Flash forward to Sunday, November 1st. Race day. “I didn’t know what to expect,” Meredith said. “I didn’t know what people would think, or if people would say anything.”

marathon and knittingMeredith’s wave left at 11am. Before the start, there was a lot of waiting around, which can really work on the nerves. But the sense of community Meredith found at the race lifted her spirits. “Everyone has his or her own story for doing it [running a marathon],” she explained. “There’s a whole community I didn’t even know existed.”

Meredith had quite the community to support her efforts at the race as well. Her co-workers traveled from Spain to support her, cheering enthusiastically from the sidelines and waiting at mile 16 with replacement yarn when she ran out. From what she told us, it sounds like an awesome time; people took selfies with her running with her yarn and shouted things like “Make me a sweater!” from the raucous surrounding crowds. “It was such a good experience!” she professed.

marathon and knitting

The scarf may have been bulky, but she says it ended up even serving as a helpful distraction from the pain in her legs. “Some people listen to music while they run—I knit!”

Overall, Meredith explains, it was a hugely rewarding endeavor. “Maybe in a couple of weeks when my legs heal,” she said, “I’ll decide to do it again, but in a different city.”

Before training, Meredith admits that at times, she hadn’t always had this ambitious mindset. She thought, “No, I can’t do that. I can never do a full marathon—those people are crazy.” But the doubts we tell ourselves aren’t always so accurate. She did it, and she’s got the scarf and the medal to prove it.

If Meredith’s story tells us anything, it’s in the power of motivation and believing in yourself. If you persist and keeping working towards your goal, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. 

Wanna try your take at knitting and running? Check out this video where Meredith explains her technique: