Flybarre @ Flywheel Sports

By Kristina

I have enjoyed taking Flywheel spin classes and was excited to get the opportunity to try Flybarre classes, which started at the Back Bay location in February 2015. I was given a 5-pack of classes in exchange for my review. I have taken a lot of classes at other barre studios (Exhale, Bar Method, and Pure Barre) so I was curious how Flybarre would compare in intensity and style. I was also excited to try it as a pregnancy workout because it’s a good way to keep up strength in a low-impact, modifiable way.

FlyBarre (3) FlyBarre (1) FlyBarre (2)

Photo Credits: Flywheel

After I made my first reservation, I received an email with the following information. This is helpful for getting familiar with the studio and making sure that everything goes smoothly.

Thank you for reserving a mat in your first FlyBarre class. We’re so excited to pulse with you!
We recommend you arrive about 10 minutes before the start of your first class. When you arrive at the studio, here’s what you’ll need to do to make your first class as smooth as possible:
-Check-in! You’ll see computers when you walk into the studio. Just enter your Flywheel Username and confirm your mat number.
-If you need to, change your clothes in one of our changing rooms.
-Put your belongings in a locker – they have combinations so no need to bring a lock.
-You will need to grab two sets of weights, a lighter and a heavier set; we recommend 1 lb and 2lb or 2lb and 3lb.
-Grab your FREE towels.
-Head into the classroom.
-Find your assigned mat.
-Let your instructor know if you have any injuries or if you are pregnant before the start of class. They’ll give you modifications for each exercise and talk you through everything.

I also saw that there are sitters available via a recent e-newsletter. This would be great for attending class as a new mom!

We’re teaming up with Sensible Sitters, a childcare referral service where you can find and book sitters when and where you need them, to make it even easier for you to FLY with us!  Members of our #FLYfam can now get 15 hours of sitting for the price of 10 hours.  Great to use for the Fly Challenge!  To redeem your hours, create an account online and reference FLYMOM when booking.


Reserving Class
Each class has 18 spots that are bookable starting on Sundays for the following week. You can reserve via or via the app. Classes start as early as 5:30 a.m. or as late as 7:30 p.m. Some times are convenient for scheduling a doubleheader (Flywheel + Flybarre). There are 45 and 60 minute options. The instructor location and barre heights (34” and 35” are specified). There is a 32” barre as well, but that is located near the instructor mat. I thought I would need the 32” barre but found that the 34” was just fine. At Bar Method I sometimes had to sit on a riser and in Pure Barre I sometimes had to stick a ball under the barre to be able to reach it during round back. 

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At the Studio
Upon arrival, you can check in at desk, use the computers, or use the phone app. Checkin can be hectic if there is a Flywheel class starting around the same time as your Flybarre class. The Flybarre studio is located behind the Flywheel studio. There are ample lockers (the blue ones have outlets for charging your phone or other electronics!) and two benches to sit on while waiting. There is filtered water (cold or room temperature) available, so bring your own bottle. However, there are no dedicated changing rooms so you will have to change in the bathrooms or showers. There are towels, hair ties, hair dryers, deodorant, mint, and lotion available. Sometimes there are apples or bananas available for a post-class snack.

Unlike other barre studios, you do not have to wear grippy socks because you will be standing on your mat or the hardwood floor during class. Most people wear leggings and a fitted shirt or tank. I have seen some women wearing shorts, but wouldn’t recommend it because some of the movements need more coverage.

Before class, you can collect two sets of hand weights outside the studio. The weights start at 1 lb and I think they even went up to 8 lbs. Mats are already arranged in designated barre spots that are labeled with numbers. On the barre above each spot are balls and two resistance bands (I think gray is lighter resistance than black). You do not have to put your weights away after arms or clean up the mats, balls, or bands after class–this saves a lot of time! Additionally, the mat reservation policy saves you the “get to class early to get a prime spot” time and prevents overcrowding.

PicFrame (2)The Class
I took Power 45 class with: Jennifer Garner, Stephanie Rodolico, and Azure Campbell. Instructors will usually greet each client and ask about injuries, but I got there early to talk to the instructors about pregnancy modifications. I really liked that the instructors maintain a high level of rigor in the class but always made me feel welcome. Azure was especially helpful with modifications and with checking on me during class. I felt really motivated by her and can see why she has a following at Vim Fitness (where my sister belongs). I’ve gotten a lot more sensitive to instructors who motivate their students with statements about getting bikini bodies or thinner thighs, so I appreciate the focus on developing strength and persevering through tough sequences.

The order of exercises was different than than of Exhale, Bar Method, and Pure Barre (all of which go warmup -> planks -> arms -> thighs -> seat -> round back -> flat back -> abs -> stretch). The first time I took class, this definitely kept me guessing!

  • Warmup: This included side lunges, toe touches, plank sequences with leg lifts and side dips.
  • Barre Abs: To do this, we lay on the mat with our feet tucked behind the barre and held onto the band that was looped around the barre. I have done a similar exercise at Exhale (as a modification of the curl). I put a ball behind my back for support.
  • Seat: In all three classes, we did seat on the floor from a tabletop position. Isolated leg lifts (straight back or to the side) targeted all areas of seat. I had a really tough time with this because of lower back and hip pain. I especially struggled with “fire hydrant dog” and other exercises that also targeted the outer hips.
  • Arms: This is the hardest arm sequence I have ever experienced in barre. I have no shame in admitting that I went with 1 lb weights. We used the bands wrapped around the barre for exercises like rows or shoulder raises, then moved to weights. The weight work involved a lot of focus on the shoulders. The dynamic arms sequence was less painful and actually kind of fun!
  • Thighs: This was more familiar to me. It included plies on the mat (sometimes combined with arm exercises), flat back chair (OUCH), and plies with turned out feet and heels up. I had to take lots of breaks here–the order of exercises definitely fatigued my muscles fast.
  • Abs: This didn’t feel as long as some other end-of-class ab sequences that I have done. Each instructor put a different spin on the exercises. Similar to barre abs, I put a ball behind my back for support.
  • Stretching

The classes are smaller than the other classes I’ve been to. However, the hands-on corrections weren’t as frequent. The movements and transitions are quicker than other classes I’ve been too, and I felt that the workout is definitely well-designed for exhausting each muscle group. The music was great, and the instructors all kept the exercises timed to the beat and offered countdowns. Overall, Flybarre is a great addition to the Boston barre scene!

1 class $28
5 classes $125
10 classes $235
20 classes $430
Monthly (requires 3 month commitment): $220/month
Monthly + Flywheel (requires 3 month commitment): $280/month

Prudential Center (very close to the T entrance/exit and Barnes & Noble)
800 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
Twitter: @flybarre | Instagram: @flybarre | Facebook: Flybarre
Yelp | Rate Your Burn

Yoga Download

By Kristina

When offered the opportunity to review YogaDownload, I jumped at the chance to try it. I was provided with a 3-month trial in exchange for my review. I have always loved running, barre, and spin, but haven’t balanced those activities out with enough stretching and yoga. Now that I am pregnant, I stopped running because of back pain and discomfort. Several friends recommended prenatal yoga, so I started going to O2 Yoga (which offers a 7:00 p.m. Sunday class with Barrett in Somerville and a 5:45 p.m. Wednesday class with Devon in Cambridge). I liked the idea of supplementing these studio classes with an at-home practice via YogaDownload (projected from my computer via AppleTV onto my living room TV). I already have a yoga mat, blanket, blocks, strap, weights, and a decent size space in my living room to do workouts.


As a teacher, I have to be at work by 7:30 a.m. Most morning studio classes are just finishing at 7:30 a.m. or later, so it’s not possible to attend these, shower, and eat breakfast prior to school. With YogaDownload, I can finish a class in my living room by 6:15 a.m. and still get out the door by 7:00 a.m. I also like that YogaDownload is convenient for maternity leave and for when my baby will be in daycare and I won’t be able to attend as many studio classes as I did pre-pregnancy.

YogaDownload offers a wide variety of styles and easy ways to find classes to fit your needs. I was initially most interested in the following:

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  • Prenatal Yoga
  • Postnatal Yoga
  • Yin Yoga
  • Restorative Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Barre

I ended up doing mostly prenatal classes to alleviate back and hip pain. During pregnancy, I’ve attended yoga and Pilates classes at soul.train as well as barre classes at Pure Barre and FlyBarre. At those classes, I have asked the instructors for modifications, but don’t feel confident enough to make modifications for these classes on YogaDownload. I was also nervous about doing some of the yin and restorative poses after hearing that I’m not supposed to lie flat on my back for extended periods of time.

What I Liked

  • The class times vary from 12 minutes to 80 minutes, so it is a lot easier to fit in shorter classes than it is to block out time for a 75 minute or 90 minute studio class (not to mention the travel time to and from the studio).
  • Each video is summarized in an easy-to-read way. Especially helpful for prenatal: each class has a description that explains its purpose (e.g., alleviating back pain, positioning baby).

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  • Users can download classes (up to 5 per month with subscription, or pay by download). Though I used the AppleTV to project videos, I would appreciate this feature if I were taking my computer on a business trip and wanted to do yoga in my hotel room. Similarly, the options for audio-only classes or audio with slides classes would be good for travel yoga via phone (if not taking the computer).
  • Users can select favorites, create a wish list, read reviews from other users, and make notes on specific videos. This makes planning a workout schedule and searching through the multitude of classes a lot easier.
  • Other features: printable pose guides, a blog, free online classes, channels, and playlists.

I think the monthly membership would be optimal for users who are exploring lots of new yoga styles or have the discipline to do an at-home practice. The options to purchase specific classes or packages seem like they would work best for a user who already knows what he/she likes or only needs a few videos at a time. For example, I would recommend the Prenatal Yoga Package for pregnancy followed by a monthly subscription for postnatal yoga and getting back to a regular yoga routine (vinyasa, etc.).

my favorite smoothie – #ShowUsYourSmoothie

By Kristina

I have always loved peanut butter, banana slices, and honey on toast as a pre-run breakfast. I love the smoothie version pre-run, pre-workout, post-workout, or at school (when lunch breaks are 20 minutes long). Smoothies are so easy to make and portable. They’re also great for supplementing typical protein sources (e.g., meat, eggs, or fish) when using protein powder such as Vega Protein Smoothie, Daily Burn Fuel 6, or Nature’s Best Perfect Zero Carb Isopure (used by Barry’s Bootcamp at their Fuel Bar). It’s also easy to add in spinach or kale to get in extra servings of vegetables.

IMG_8906Ingredients (2 servings)
1 ripe banana
16 ounces Pure Almond Milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Vega Viva Vanilla)
3 shakes of Penzeys Apple Pie Spice
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp Teddie peanut butter
6 large ice cubes

Put all ingredients in Vitamix in the order specified. Blend on smoothie setting. To take smoothies to school, I like to use 16 oz mason jars, Cuppow regular mouth lids and metal straws.


Blogger Class at Endurance Pilates & Yoga

By Kristina


A few weeks ago, I went to an Endurance Pilates & Yoga class with Blog and Tweet Boston. Endurance Pilates & Yoga opened in January 2015 in the South End (close to Flour and Jaho). Founder Julie Erickson brings over 20 years of experience (including four Pilates certifications and an Ashtanga yoga certification) to this new studio location. The studio offers group Pilates classes and private lessons on the mat, reformer, and Cadillac, as well as barre, TRX, vinyasa yoga, and HIIT classes. The variety of classes suits all types of fitness enthusiasts. Julie is an avid runner, and I appreciated that she knows how to build strength and flexibility to complement running. Additionally, most classes are very adaptable for pregnant clients and the studio will eventually offer prenatal yoga.

Julie led our blogger group through a mix of mat Pilates, barre, and vinyasa yoga. A stickler for proper form and alignment, she gave accurate cues and adjustments in all three workouts. She made sure that we could all access the exercises and differentiated for those who needed more of a challenge or modifications. The mat Pilates class was my favorite of the three. I like the traditional exercises and that we targeted arms, legs, and core. Julie’s directions also ensure that you work hard and get the most out of each exercise. She designed her own format for barre (which seems more like traditional ballet barre exercises than the other formats I have tried) and uses portable barres rather than wall-mounted ones so that clients don’t rely too much on the support of the barres. The barre exercises alternate with cardio bursts such as jumping jacks. I’d be interested to see what a full barre class experience is like. Like the mat Pilates, the vinyasa yoga was traditional and familiar. The sequences we did felt good after the toning and strengthening we did beforehand. After our class, Julie did demonstrations of TRX and the Cadillac. She also led small groups of us through a few exercises on the reformers. In my few minutes on the reformer, I could immediately see why celebs like Jennifer Aniston swear by it! I look forward to coming back to try more Pilates classes in the future.

Disclaimer: I attended this class free of charge and received a coupon for a private lesson. I was not paid to write this post.

private schools vs. public schools

By Kristina

My husband spoke at “girls who code”-type of event a very wealthy private school in Greenwich, Connecticut today. His speaker gift: a Vineyard Vines tie with the school’s initials and a Henley shirt with the school’s logo and “There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary and those who don’t.” Such a different school than the one where I teach. Can’t imagine giving out Vineyard Vines ties with tiny phoenixes out one day…

logic on yikyak

By Kristina

Spotted on YikYak under the hashtag #ReclaimtheMirror2015. It reminds me of our IB Math Studies logic unit (which I won’t get to teach next year unless we can somehow swing one cohort of IB Math Studies and one cohort of IB Math SL for the Class of 2015).



1) Translate the two sentences into logical symbols.
2) Find the converse, inverse, and contrapositive of each sentence.
3) Are the two sentences logically equivalent? Create a truth table to check.



By Kristina

Sometimes it pays to get out of one’s comfort zone to find some lovely math problems. I watched an episode of Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory with my husband today. Cooking competitions and rom-coms are usually more my speed than their antics and adventures, but I do like their joyful attitudes about trying ludicrous things. This episode included a subplot in which Rob filmed Drama doing reckless activities to prove that he was “certified reckless.”

Activity 1: Ride his Harley up a ramp and into a pit filled with foam blocks
Activity 2: Get inside a wooden coffin which was then blown up
Activity 3: Get inside a cannon and get shot into a net

The Cannon Lady states in the show that Drama would shot from the cannon from 40 feet up and at 30 mph.

Questions for Math Students
1) What are the dimensions and height of the net? Where should it be placed?
2) At what angle should the cannon be pointed?

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 12.07.41 PM Source: Instagram

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 12.10.15 PM Source: Instagram

gratitude list

By Kristina

I have not yet figured out how to let down my guard about sharing the trials and tribulations of my school days. I’m going to try putting up lists of three things I’m grateful for on a given day instead and elaborating on those as I see fit.

1) I have been off Facebook and Instagram for two weeks. I miss sharing things like the funny signs on the Sav-Mor liquor store and looking at cute fat babies, but I am gradually freeing myself of the mentally poisonous cycle of looking at these sites on my downtime. I told my students this. One commented “but you’re missing so much!”

What *am* I missing?

a) Comparisons to the following people: the runner who humblebrags about her oh-so-badass polar vortex marathon training run, the mom who created a Pinterest-perfect party for her toddler, or the hashtag-addicted Top Chef who crafted three perfectly-lit, scrumptious Whole30-compliant feasts.

b) The negative energy of those who complain all the time about everything under the sun. From a teenager, this is understandable. From an adult in his/her late 30’s, the “woe is me” behavior is unfollow-worthy. From a supposedly educated liberal, ignorant comments about things like Ferguson are unfriend-worthy.

c) Clickbait from Buzzfeed, Quartz, Elite Daily, Clickhole, and ThoughtCatalog. No wonder I’m behind on reading real books…I’m just reading crap on my T rides and while waiting in lines!

2) Friends on Netflix makes me really happy. It makes me think of high school and college friendships that were more meaningful than Facebook-only ties.

3) My husband and I got to eat breakfast together because it’s a holiday. He’s usually not up when I leave for school, so it was nice to enjoy egg bagels over CNN with him.

Patriots Football Triangle

By Kristina

My husband knows I love finding math in everyday life. Last night we hung out with some of his college friends and their wives, which ended up becoming two gender-segregated gatherings in front of the playoff games on the tv and in the kitchen. When we were heading home from a friend’s house last night, he shared with me that the guys’ conversation ended up bringing right triangles into football. I want to give this problem to my students.

The guys were reminiscing about a 2005 AFC divisional game when Champ Bailey intercepted Tom Brady in the end zone and began running the ball back down the sideline. The announcer excitedly counts down how far Champ Bailey makes it (“30! 25! 15”) until Ben Watson comes flying in and knocks Champ Bailey out at the 1-yard line.

In the post-game analysis, Tedy Bruschi comments “Where did he come from? We didn’t know until replays. We saw Ben was on the other side of the field, so he basically had to run 120 yards or longer than that to get that.” They thought this number didn’t make sense, so they got to calculating.

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Given that the dimensions of a football field are 160 yards long (with 10 yard end zones) x 53 1/3 yards wide plus the screenshot above, how far did Ben Watson actually run? 

game of 49

By Kristina


We found out about the Game of 49 from some fellow runner/board game aficionados. After playing a few rounds with our friends, I immediately wanted to buy it for my students to play in class. It has elements of poker and bingo–you draw from a pile of number cards (1 – 48) plus wild cards (rings of numbers and 49), and bid for the cards. The highest bidder puts one of their tokens on the board. To win the game, you must get four in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). I also envisioned using the game for a probability unit after

Because the game wasn’t available to purchase at the time, I printed out five copies, laminated the boards and cards, bought bingo tokens from Amazon, and brought those to class. We played before Thanksgiving break, when many students were excused from class for running the annual Advisory Student Council potluck (two seatings for 9/10/11 and 8/12). The students got really into the game, and it was nice to see students who aren’t typically “good at math” excelling at it. We also played before Christmas break (when the probability unit had started). The kids who had played before were excited to teach their classmates how to play.

After they played, I asked the kids about their strategies. A lot tried to get on the board right away so that they’d get a lot of money when the payouts came. Some were concerned with wasting their money and therefore reluctant to make bids. Others drove up the prices in order to bankrupt their opponents and then be able to pick up number cards for $1.

I recently lent the Game of 49 sets to my coworker for her math enrichment class. It went over well, and they even sorted the game sets into Ziploc bags for me!

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