A Month In Review: October

Bolton 5k – October 6

A group of our members were responsible for organizing the Bolton 5k, a race that continues to raise money for the Bolton Conservation Trust and their creation and maintenance of the town common. Our gym was well represented with a lot of members running, volunteering, and spectating.

Missie Gustafson BAA Series – October 7th

Starting the weekend of the Boston Marathon, the B.A.A Distance Medley consists of a 5k, 10k (in late June), and half marathon. Our member, Missie Gustafson, completed all three events coming in 8th overall in her age division. Missie has been training diligently with me for the last couple of years and has put on several pounds of muscle while gradually improving her running performance.

Boston Bruins Foundation and Special Olympics – October 8th

On August 28th, the Boston Bruins Foundation presented Special Olympics MA with a $1,000,000 donation geared towards promoting the message of inclusion, on and off the playing field. Our very own Sydney Meininger, and classmate Betame, spent opening night at the Garden, greeting players in the tunnel and participating in the ceremonial puck drop. In addition to consistently working out several times a week with us at the gym, I could not be more proud of everything Sydney is doing outside of it to promote inclusion.
“A Well Executed Reverse Lunge” – October 8th

On October 8th, Lauren and I had a reservation at the Gibbet Hill grill. The night before she was looking at pictures of the Bancroft Castle, a short walk from the restaurant. We decided that we were going to get to Groton early to try to take a picture there; I had other plans. I had reached out to a friend, Hannah, who does freelance photography work, to ask her about a surprise proposal photo shoot. I suggested that she brings her two little girls and set up behind the restaurant as if she was taking pictures of them. Unfortunately it was drizzling out and I couldn’t figure out how to get Lauren to take off her raincoat without giving away the surprise. I had to physically pry her hood off as we walked out into the field where I planned to propose. I’m not sure what I said, it wasn’t much of substance. Lauren was shocked, didn’t hysterically cry as I expected her to and luckily said yes. Hannah captured it all beautifully and we still walked over to the Bancroft Castle afterwards to take some pictures;  slightly better quality than the selfie we had planned…

Play Brigade 5k – October 13th

While we weren’t able to send a team of 50+ gym members like we did last year, we were represented well by our athlete, Emily Lane, completing her second 5k by handcycle. Emily is an athlete with Spina Bifida who has been a member of ours for close to two years. She works as a program assistance at an assisted living program and is actively involved with NEADS, a leading service dog program.

Parent/Child Adaptive Group Class – October 13th

On October 13th we debuted a new program for our adaptive athlete population where they worked out in a group class with a parent or sibling. Three years ago when I was assembling the pieces of the business model, I received a lot of feedback from parents that their kids’ schedules would interfere with them maintaining a consistent exercise routine. I’m hoping that this class gives some of these parents an extra 60 minutes of exercise as well as an opportunity to see first-hand what their child is capable of doing.

Cressey Fall Seminar – October 14th

The Cressey Fall Seminar attracts coaches, physical and manual therapists, and gym owners from around the country to listen to and learn from staff of one of the premier gyms in the industry. The topics of presentations ranged from business, to progressing movements for the athletic population, to the intricacies of medicine ball training, soft tissue work, and the complexity of the overhead athlete. The day kicked off with a Kinstretch class led by Frank Duffy and concluded with a presentation by Eric Cressey, one of the top strength and conditioning coaches in the world, specializing in the development of baseball athletes. Being able to witness the dynamics of a top-tier staff as well as learn from some of the best is time well spent towards the betterment of the Unified fitness community.

Max Quinn League Champion – October 15th

On Monday, October 15th at Marlborough Country Club, Nashoba Junior Max Quinn won the Wid Wach B league golf championship. Max has been training with us for over a year with an unwavering dedication to his golf game and fitness level.

Picture of Max Quinn in Telegram by Christine Peterson (Worcester T&G)

Lancaster Accessibility Awareness Month Group Class – October 17th

On Wednesday night, October 17th, five members of Lancaster’s Commission on Disability came to the gym to observe and participate in the adaptive group class. This event was planned as part of the town’s Accessibility Awareness Month. In the coming year, I will have a chance to work with Rose Bissonnette, who is also part of the New England Amputee Association, to offer opportunities for physical activity to her organization’s members.

Head of the Charles Regatta – October 20th

John Campana, one of the first athletes I ever worked with, now rows for UMass Crew. As a sophomore, John is in the Varsity B boat. On October 20th he got to race in the historic Head of the Charles Regatta in the Club 8 event. In training, John has had an unparalleled work ethic in the four years that I’ve known him.

Best Buddies Friendship Walk – October 20th

On October 20th, at the Lancaster Fairgrounds, Best Buddies MA hosted the Central MA Friendship Walk. Schools from all around the Worcester County were well represented with the largest amount consisting of Nashoba students. Having the opportunity to watch how Nashoba’s program has grown and how the culture at the school has changed so much since I was a student has me excited for the years to come; and the fact that many of our gym members are involved is as important to me as any aspect of sports performance and fitness. Our athletes, Sydney and Nick kicked off the festivities with a couple of great speeches as a testament to the positive impact Best Buddies has had, and continues to have on their lives.

Baystate Half Marathon Relay – October 21st

With temperatures barely exceeding 40°, Sheryl and Jake and Jacob and I toed the start line at the Baystate Half Marathon and our partners, Andrew and John respectively, awaited us at mile 6.5 to pass the baton. John and Sheryl recently completed triathlons pushing and pulling Jake so they handled the half marathon relay with relative ease. Andrew and I finished in 1:24:40, second overall among relay teams.

Cerebral Palsy Research Project Begins – October 24th

While the InBody device is providing valuable progress monitoring for our athletes, the bigger purpose of the equipment is in the research world. Over the next year we will be diving into projects on Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, and marathoners. I’ve spent the past couple of months combing through dozens of research papers encompassing the current literature on strength and conditioning in the Cerebral Palsy population. Between October 24th and October 27th we will be assessing the five athletes participating in the pilot of our research project, “The effects of individualized strength training on body composition and performance in participants with cerebral palsy”. This will be an 8 week, 2-3x/week program assessing participant’s skeletal muscle mass, grip strength, lower body strength, upper body strength, and aerobic performance.

Jack Richard at ZG Battle for the Belt – October 27th and 28th

Jack has trained with me since the gym opened nearly two and a half years ago. His dedication to basketball and school is second to none. More importantly, I’m proud of the person he has become; a Best Buddies officer and the type of person at the gym who greets and treats everyone with a great deal of respect. He’s the type of “client” that continuously motivates me to be the best coach possible so he can get the results that he deserves.
After scoring 13 points a game for Nashoba as a Sophomore last year and establishing himself as one of the best shooters in Central MA, Jack had a breakout weekend at the Zero Gravity Battle for the Belt AAU tournament. His team went 3-1 on the weekend, losing a close game to Middlesex Magic, one of the best teams in New England, in the Seminfinals. In this game Jack scored nearly 30 points, a similar performance to a game he had earlier in the tournament. His performance caught the eye of New England Recruiting Report, no small feat for a tournament loaded with talented high school and prep school players. You can read more here:

25th Annual Team Hoyt New England 5k – October 28th

I’m not sure where I would be professionally without Team Hoyt. Four years ago they were on a pedestal that I stood nowhere near. Jacob and I ran a small 5k in Oxford for the organization Kisses 4 Kayla with a rudimentary jogging stroller. We met Ted Painter and Nick Draper that day, members of Team Hoyt New England. Ted suggested that I reach out and get involved. The idea of running alongside Rick and Dick Hoyt, a concept that seemed to be so far out of reach, was now a possibility. They became teammates, friends, and one of my biggest support systems as Unified has grown. The opportunity to represent them at races still amazes me and is one of the strongest motivators for Jacob and me with our own training. The Hoyts are a large piece of a few that fell into place to create what is now Unified Health and Performance. We have five duos at the gym that have run for Team Hoyt and hopefully will have more continue to get involved. This annual 5k is a celebration of all things that the organization offers to people with and without disabilities. We had several members: Amber, Missie, Lauren, and Andree run the race and our intern, Dennis and I set up a booth afterwards to meet runners and talk about our gym.

November is shaping up to be a great month. We have a handful of runners tackling big races, a lot of high school and collegiate athletes entering playoffs, and a higher volume of athletes at our facility preparing for Winter sports with seasons starting at the end of the month.  We will begin sharing content blog posts this coming month. Follow us on Instagram @unifiedhp for day to day activities and subscribe to our Youtube Channel, Unified Health and Performance, to stay up to date with all developments and member successes.