#FitMom Talks: Sarah Dussault aka #SarahFit

ยฉ2017 Lucie Wicker Photography
Ever wonder what it'd be like to run a hugely successful YouTube channel + fitness blog, and basically be the go-to person for everything health, fitness, and family, all while being a first-time mom to an active one year old? Well, read on! Here's my latest FitMomTalk with fitness guru Sarah Dussault, aka SarahFit, where she talks about her work, her exercise routines, and her 17-month-old son, Tommy.
 ยฉ2017 Lucie Wicker Photography
Tell us a little about yourself.
I began making health and fitness videos on YouTube in 2006 for Diet.com. A few years later, I started my own business, uploading to my own channel, blogging, and personal training. I've been my own boss since I was 23 years old. I've travelled the world thanks to blogging and met some incredible women. I never imagined a career like this and always thought it was the perfect job to be a "work from home mom."

I currently teach only one mommy and me class at week in Boston at Burn Fitness Back Bay and still upload videos and blogs each week.
 ยฉ2017 Lucie Wicker Photography
How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again? 
When you work for yourself, you don't really stop. I think I took maybe a day or two of nothing but during nap time I was back to emails, writing my birth story and shooting videos again after 2 weeks. When it came to working out, I waited 3 weeks to do the elliptical. It was the most euphoric workout I've ever had! I trained with a personal trainer at 5 weeks and was running around then too.
I blogged about my experience and would have preferred to wait to run again but I agreed to run a half marathon 16 weeks postpartum. By 6 weeks, I was back taking spin and Pilates where childcare was offered.

How did that schedule/routine look different from before baby?
Before I had Tommy, I would take classes around the city whenever I wanted. I would go for long runs whenever I mustered up the energy or woke up. Now, I was restricted to classes with childcare or weekends when Nick was home from work. Sure I could realistically workout at least 3 times a week but I used to bounce around studio to studio. Now, I could only go to two.

I missed so many different studios. I also couldn't go before Tommy would wake up because I nursed him and was too full!
 ยฉ2017 Lucie Wicker Photography
Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how?
 YES! Oh my gosh. I was always about losing the last 5 lbs. Now it's to be strong, have energy and feel good about myself. It's not about how long or how much. It's just to do something!

I love short HIIT workouts now. I used to dread them but now they are so much more efficient for my time. I lost the weight without dieting and being patient. I work hard but I workout much less than I did before I was pregnant. I am still nursing in so the extra calorie burn helps but I also eat a lot more, too!

What is the biggest challenge you've found in working/running a business and being a mom? Time management and the feeling of half-assing everything. I feel like I'm never giving my 100% to anything, Tommy, my job or relationship with Nick. It's hard. I want to cook and clean the house, I want to pay attention to Tommy and do fun projects, I want to put my attention on my business but I want to be a good mom. I try to do it all and I've lost a bit of myself in the process from a business point of view.
 ยฉ2017 Lucie Wicker Photography
What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your son (either one-on-one or as a family)? I think my favorite would be just going for long walks together and stopping at the park for Tommy to run around or at the beach. We have a jogging stroller that we use in the summer and will take him to run by the beach. In Boston, we go for runs or walks around the city and stop at the esplanade or common. This may be boring but I love to workout and it's kind of my me time. I don't love to workout with Tommy or Nick haha. I like to do my own thing.

I think you're doing great! :D
Thanks to Sarah for sharing her story!

Instagram: @SarahFit
Twitter: @SarahDussault

To read more #FitMomTalks, click here

Reach for the Sky: Turkish Get-ups from Above

Trying to figure out a different way to photograph the various stages of a Turkish get-up, I decided to try an aerial view! My studio has a large support post in the middle of it which usually gets in my way but this time it worked to my advantage - I climbed up and got to see things from a whole different perspective. Thanks to Kim Venti of Swell Fitness for modeling!

Fitness Photography: Personal Trainer Camilla

This shoot with personal trainer, Camilla Cantelli Mortensen, was so cool because she was totally open to the dramatic lighting and had the perfect look for it. The Pinterest board she created as inspiration for the shoot had a bunch of striking poses she wanted to try too. Check out these strong, lean photos of Camilla!

Free Fitness Classes in Boston this Summer!

Summer is almost here and you know what that means- Boston is full of fun free fitness. Here are a few you will not want to miss...
Jennifer Phelan Pilates
Pilates superstar, Jenn Phelan, is back from maternity leave and kicking spring off with her "Bikini & Bellini" series in partnership with Sterling's in Faneuil Hall. The class is a bootcamp-style Pilates workout and runs EVERY Saturday from 9:30 to 10:15am in May and June, every other Saturday in July and August, and then every Saturday in September. Since it's outside, be sure to check out Jenn's Facebook page for any weather-related cancellations.
Photo by Matt Teuten/New Balance
Ladies who love to run? New Balance just started a series called Girls Night Out from their Boylston Street location (read all about it on Healthy Chicks' blog). The evening starts with a fun run and winds down with stretching, live music, guest speakers by local fitness experts, cocktails and apps. I went to the first one on May 15th and had a blast!
Move Sweat Love with Ali
Another bootcamp to try is Ali Baldassare's cardio Pilates bootcamp on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in the North End. The series will take place on Mondays throughout the summer starting with June 9th and 23rd from 6:30 to 7:15pm.
Lena Andrade of the Z Spot
Good news for Zumba fans- the Z Spot will be back (but this time in Christopher Columbus Park) every Monday starting June 2nd! Their crew is so much fun to watch and even more fun to dance with. Follow their fan page for more details.

Leventhal Park in Post Office Square will be offering 8 free weekly classes for the second summer in a row weekday mornings as well as after work from June through September. Check their calendar and Facebook page for a full schedule and updates.

And finally - the 2nd Annual NEWHBA Fest! The North End Waterfront Health & Beauty Alliance will be hosting an all day affair on June 21st including live music, health and beauty vendors, and free fitness classes scheduled throughout the day. I'll be there taking photos so come say hi!

Need more free fitness? Check out this calendar on the Little Miss Runshine blog to stay updated all summer. Also, sign up for the Sweetgreen passport offering free classes all over the city every month (not just in the summer!). Have an event to share? Please leave the info in the comments below, I'd love to learn about it!

Boston Fitness Photography: Personal Trainer Monika Mazur

Meet Monika! Monika is not only an NPC Athlete but she is one of the most enthusiastic personal trainers I've ever come across. A trainer at Healthworks in Brookline, she created the Body By Monika program and her clients see results! I know this because she is their biggest cheerleader- working with them, encouraging them along the way, and posted their progress photos all over social media. Her training is described as "intense" but she also has a great sense of humor and could not be more proud of her clients reaching their goals.

I actually did two shoots with Monika last summer and fall, here's some of what we shot:

Stylist: Keely Witkowski of b.fetching

Fitness + Pilates Photography: Meg Scannell at Exhale Battery Wharf

I realize that I've strayed a bit from highlighting images from my fitness shoots... so I'm bringing it back! Starting with a shoot I did last summer with the lovely, strong and oh-so-flexible Meg, a fitness instructor who teaches at Exhale Battery Wharf and Barry's Bootcamp. Meg wanted to do her shoot on location at Exhale and I'm so glad we did- the light was soft and pretty and the studio is a beautiful space. Even after all this time, I still love looking at these photos-

I mean, for real?! 

Fitness in Boston: Hot BalletFIT at DanceFIT Studio

 Even though I had never set foot in the studio before last weekend, I'd been a fan of DanceFIT Studio for a while. Last spring I participated in their 6FIT program (which I loved) so I became familiar with the classes they teach virtually through Skype. They teach the same classes and more in their studios located in Brookline and Natick and last Sunday I was at the Natick studio for a special blogger event. We were there to try a new class owner Gina Fay has started offering- a hot version of the popular BalletFit class. 
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Hildreth Photography
BalletFIT is like a barre class with a lot of traditional ballet moves mixed in. When I took the online classes, BalletFIT was my favorite- it always made me feel graceful, toned, and strong (which is probably not how I looked!). I've never taken a hot version of any class so I was a little nervous but obviously up for the challenge.
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Hildreth Photography
One thing I like about Gina's classes is the emphasis she puts on warm-ups and cool-downs. There is a lot of stretching involved so when you're doing the hard stuff, you feel ready for it! Even if it's a tough class, the cool-down stretch is so relaxing- such a nice way to end the hour. I thought the hot element would be a distraction from what I was doing but it really wasn't and I felt even more limber than normal. We had two short water breaks which were much-needed; I went through about 20 oz of water in an hour. 
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Hildreth Photography
While I felt great during and immediately after the class, I was really sore for the next few days, especially in my calves! The pain was worth it though and I'd definitely recommend Hot BalletFIT if you're looking to trying something new and challenging but also fun (jumping is fun, right??).

For more information on BalletFIT and other classes DanceFIT offers, check out their website:

25 Monmouth Street Brookline, MA 02446
721 Worcester Road, Natick, MA 01760

Have you tried any hot fitness classes before? What did you think?

Fitness in Boston: ClassPass has Launched!

Love boutique classes but can't afford to join them all? Me too! Luckily for us, ClassPass has just launched in Boston and they're here to help. The way it works is simple- pay a monthly fee and choose up to 10 classes offered by all different boutique studios around the city. Perfect for anyone who likes a bit of variation in their workouts (most of us, am I right?).
I attended the ClassPass launch party last week at Flywheel (catered by Sweetgreen and Boloco- mmm!) and was then offered a 10 day trial membership. When I logged onto the site, I was surprised to see how many studios they had- 26 already! From spinning to yoga to bootcamp to barre, I was really impressed with everything I had to choose from.
I also like the site's interface- easy to navigate, friendly design, and uncomplicated. I can sort class availability by date, times, and studio; if I only have a window of a few hours on a certain day, I can narrow down the search to only show classes in that timeframe. If I want to learn more about a certain class, I can click on it and it opens in another window, and if I book one, it gives the option to add it to my google calendar. Hey, it's the little things!
With ClassPass memberships at $99 a month for 10 classes, the value is clear- many of the classes they offer are normally upwards of $20 each. I would definitely recommend checking out the site for yourself; there are so many awesome classes in Boston with more being added every day, ClassPass will help keep your workouts from ever getting boring.

Have you signed up for ClassPass? What do you think?

Fitness in Boston: Flywheel Never Coasts

There was a lot of buzz last fall when Flywheel swooped into Boston. The NYC-based indoor spin cycling chain with locations all over the US boasted stadium-style seating, energizing soundtracks, custom engineered bikes, free use of cycling shoes, and a "workout that offers a chance to achieve something more."
 I had the chance to take a class when Jessica of Gluten-free Boston Girl organized a class and fitness networking event with Flywheel's regional marketer, Stephanie Rodolico. The class was led by Rachele Pojednic who immediately got the us going with her energy and upbeat music. One of the things Flywheel prides itself on is the choreographed routines created by its instructors. I found this to be very helpful and several times found myself pushing harder because of the beat.
Another cool Flywheel feature- the Torqboards. These are screens above the instructor that occasionally display how everyone in the class is ranking based on their metrics. These metrics- RPMs, torq, speed, power, distance and estimated calories- are also stored in participants' private accounts on the Flywheel website allowing people to set their own goals and monitor progress. Talk about motivating- seeing yourself in last place on the board will definitely make you push yourself harder! It did for me!

Whew! What a workout. I found it challenging- I had a hard time keeping up by the end. That's the beauty of spinning though- only you know how hard you're working (you and the Torqboard...)! No one will yell at you if you feel like you have to slow down sometimes.
photo courtesy of Jessica Dennis
After class attendees also received a gift bag full of goodies from sponsors/donatations: City Sports, PopChips, Kathie's Kitchen Super Seedz, Artisana, Bare Snacks, Au Bon Pain, JP Licks (my fav! Did you know I used to work there??), Healthy Solutions, and Evolution Fresh (who saved me with their water bottles- I forgot mine! Don't make that mistake!).
Thanks to Jessica, Stephanie, Rachele, and Flywheel for offering this event, I loved it! 

Check out Flywheel, located in the Belvedere Arcade in the Prudential Center (800 Boylston Street in Boston). Your first class is free! Woot!

Fitness in Boston: The Club by George Foreman III

 Have you heard of sweetgreen passport? It's a program offered by the healthy take-out joint sweetgreen (which I blogged about here) and if you become a member (free) they offer monthly fitness classes with different gyms around the city. Of course I signed up and the first one I tried this year was the brand new boxing gym known as "The Club" in Fort Point.
Founded by George Foreman III, the Club offers a wide range of activities- from boxing/sparring to circuit training to yoga. We did the circuit training (Box-FIIT) which consisted of two minute intervals at 10 different stations. After a tour of the stations, we did a thorough warm-up and then broke up into groups of 5. I really enjoyed the stations, especially the body bag and kettlebell ones. Most of the stations had a slow and steady flow to them- form and control over speed- which I liked.

There were around 50 of us in the class so it was a little chaotic at first but once we got going it was a killer full-body workout. At the end we did some final exercises that involved the whole group which was fun and distracted me from the actual burn that was happening- not a bad thing at all!
In short, the workout was awesome and I had a lot of fun doing it. I'd definitely try one of their Box-FIIT classes again or any other class they offer. Also, the facilities are fantastic- clean, fully stocked locker rooms, awesome gym set-up and overall look. Definitely worth a visit, you'll be glad you did!
15 Channel Center
Boston, MA 02210

Yep, that is me, getting ready for the TKO (photo courtsey of Rachel/Healthy Chicks).

What are your favorite fitness classes?

Fitness Photography Projects 2013: A Look Back

Here's a video featuring one photo from each of the projects I was fortunate enough to be a part of this year. So many new friends made and so much fun had in the studio and out and about in Boston. Looking forward to seeing what 2014 will bring!

Check out the rest of my YouTube channel, I'm going to be uploading more videos this year- that can be my resolution!

Fitness in Boston: Barre to Bar at Exhale Battery Wharf

 When I found out that Exhale Battery Wharf Spa was offering a "Barre to Bar" deal where you take a core fusion class then head to the Fairmont's restaurant, Aragosta, for drinks and apps, I was immediately intrigued. Exercise followed by cocktails? Sign me up!
Living down the street from Exhale, I've been meaning to get over there for a class so this was the perfect excuse. I had been once before but that was for a photo shoot with one of their instructors, Meg Scannell (post coming soon). As luck would have it, Meg was our teacher for the class too.

First the workout- what a burn! Core fusion is ballet-inspired and designed to tone every part of the body. I left feeling tighter and thoroughly worked but also relaxed- the class is all about focus and "targeted mindful muscle movements." It was one of the hardest classes I've taken and I really enjoyed it.
After the class, we headed over to Aragosta where we were treated to several hot appetizers and a "deep cleanse" cocktail which consisted of aloe, muddled mint, and gin. Ahhh! Everything was delicious and the staff was extremely friendly and accommodating. They even made gluten-free apps for some of the women in our group (which were excellent as well).

What better way to spend an afternoon? For more information about Barre to Bar (offered Monday through Friday) contact Exhale at 617-603-3100 or sign-up online at exhalespa.com/batterywharf. I'm already looking forward to doing it again! Thanks to Sam and Meg from Exhale for taking such good care of us and to Blog & Tweet Boston for organizing!

Barry's Bootcamp is Coming to Boston

Just in time for their grand opening weekend- here are Dustin Martin and Brian Weller, the guys who brought the "best workout in the world"- Barry's Bootcamp - to Boston. The guys wanted some standard head shots and posed photos but they did let me play around with the lighting to get some intense, dramatic shots too. Here's what we came up with-
For more information on classes or to RSVP for the opening night party on Saturday Oct 5, check out their website here- barrysbootcamp.com/boston.

Fitness in Boston: Thai Yoga with Bodywaves Boston

Before I headed off to Switzerland for a week (photos coming soon), I was able to check out a class being offered on the Greenway by Bodywaves, a therapeutic massage studio located on Hanover Street near Haymarket. The class was in Thai yoga which Bodywaves now offers. We paired up and followed Frances and Margo as they led us through the moves. It was really more of a massage with lots of rhythmic kneading and slow pulling on arms and legs. It felt fantastic! It was also interesting to learn how much pressure and twisting the body can take- every time I thought I was pressing too hard on my partner, Jen, most of the time I wasn't doing it hard enough. We learned a lot and got to hang out in the sun while our muscles got a nice massage, what better way to spend a Saturday morning?
My Thai massage partner, Jen Dorman, and I getting to know each other intimately during the demonstration.

Thanks to Bodywaves for leading a fun class and to Blog & Tweet Boston for organizing it!

145 Hanover Street
Boston, MA 02113

Fitness Photography: Personal Trainer Dan

When I met Equinox personal trainer Dan, he had been training hard. His girlfriend, Laura, had given him a challenge- to step outside his comfort zone. Dan did this by signing up for a Tough Mudder, and following all of the advice he gives to his clients- eating consciously, and increasing his workout intensity. In the end he wound up losing 10% body fat in 12 weeks and Laura added a bonus- a photo shoot to document the result of all of his dedication and hard work. I was honored to capture Dan's progress in these photos: 

And of course we had to get a shot of Laura too-

Thanks again Dan and congrats on reaching your fitness goals!

Fitness in Boston: The Studio Empower

Always looking for new fun exercise classes in Boston, I had the chance to try out one recently at The Studio Empower in Newton, MA. Taught by Bobby, the class was conducted almost entirely on the Megaformer M3, a souped-up Pilates reformer type contraption with that works with a system of springs and body weight resistance.

I was a bit intimidated by the machine at first but we were led through a series of exercises and learned quickly how it worked. On thing that challenged me, somewhat surprisingly, was going slow- each exercise is done on counts of 4 for a set amount of time, as opposed to fitting in as many reps as possible. This turned out to be even tougher than doing many quick reps, in my opinion, but it felt good and was even kind of relaxing.

For a low-impact class, I definitely felt worked by the end and a bit sore the next day (in a good way!) especially in the chest and shoulder area. I could see the benefit of going on a regular basis; even after one session I felt stronger and more toned.

Conveniently located in Newton Centre, the studio is directly across from the Newton Centre Green Line stop. They offer both private and group classes at reasonable rates so why don't you give them a try? Tell them I sent you!

81 Union Street
Newton Centre, MA

Birthday Recap: Urban Raid Boston

I think birthdays are special and should always be celebrated in some way, big or small. I always try to plan something for mine, even if it is just a quiet night out with friends or dinner with the family. This year I decided to try something a little different and definitely outside of my comfort zone- I scraped together a team (which actually turned into two teams) to compete in the Urban Raid, a 5k obstacle course set in the Government Center/Faneuil Hall/Waterfront areas of Boston.
photos courtesy of my dad
We were all a little nervous about actually finishing- none of us have a lot (or any) experience with these kind of races- but I'm happy to say we all crossed the finish line AND had times that we were impressed with. Combined with gorgeous weather and an afterparty at Ned Devine's with Shipyard Brewing Company (we earned those beers!), I really couldn't have asked for a better birthday celebration. We're already looking forward to next year!
Thanks to SurThrival for the action shots throughout the race and getting this one with me and my brother!

New Fitness Class in Boston: Barre & Soul with Andrea Isabelle Lucas

There's a new class in town! When yoga instructor Andrea Isabelle Lucas told me she wanted shots of her new yoga-infused barre class, Barre & Soul, I was more than happy to help her out. We staged the shoot at Lexington Power Yoga where she is currently offering the class (according to the website, it's coming soon to Equinox!)-

 After the class we did some portraits of Andrea in her favorite poses too-

Love her shirt- "If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission." Thanks again Andrea! For more information on Barre & Soul, check out the website: www.barresoul.com.

Fitness in Boston: Free Zumba at City Hall Plaza

Here's another free class series to add to your schedule! The Z-Spot, Boston's first Zumbaยฎ studio, is offering free classes at City Hall Plaza. In conjunction with the Boston Moves for Health initiative and Mayor Menino's Fitness in the City series, the Z-Spot crew will be leading hour-long classes starting at 6:30pm on Mondays all summer long.

But it doesn't seem totally accurate to call it a class- it's a scene. From twenty-somethings in workout gear to curious tourists, the crowd is a diverse bunch and includes people of all ages and backgrounds. It even draws an audience-
It's definitely a workout but I've never spent an entire workout laughing like I do during Z-Spot classes. They just have this energy that's infectious and you really can't help but have a good time. New to Zumba? Seasoned veteran? Z-Spot welcomes participants of all levels and abilities. For more information, check out their website and Facebook page. Have fun! :)
Lena Andrade, Z-Spot founder

When: Mondays, 6:30pm
What to Bring: Sneakers, water bottle
Cost: FREE

Yoga Photography: Jessica

Meet Jess! Jess is a yoga instructor (with a serious interest in fashion!). When she hired stylist Keely Witkoski to help create a look for our shoot and Keely took one look at her closet, she knew fashion had to be incorporated into the yoga theme. Here's what we created with this in mind:

Such a fun shoot! Thanks again Jess!

Stylist: Keely Witkowski, B. Fetching
Hair/Make-up: Jordan Wells