Fostering The Culture Of Fitness

Will Allen

Founder and host of Boston Social Athletes. I enjoy connecting with people, teams and businesses in Boston's fitness community. My goal with BSA is foster that culture to create new opportunities and encourage more people to train, race and get moving!
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Recent Posts

Spring events: lots of running

Posted by Will Allen

Mar 11, 2015 12:36:00 PM

Hi All!

Sorry for the radio silence these last couple weeks. The last few weeks have been a little crazy! And since BSA is a passion project for me, sometimes life gets in the way. But, we're still here, and we have a bunch of events coming up!

The reason for the radio silence is due to starting a new job. I had actually JUST accepted a new job before heading to 6B Lounge for our February Social. The two weeks after that were spend tying up my role at Gentle Giant Moving Company, and the last week and a half has been spent learning the ropes at BiddingForGood. But fear not, we have a bunch of fun events on the horizon.

NEXT UP: We're excited to be partnering with Marathon Sports for #RunSocial1 a night of running, learning and socializing. This event will be happening on Tuesday, March 31st at 6 pm. Newton Running Shoes will be on site to give a running techniaque clinic, and let people demo their running shoes. After a fun group run led by Marathon Sports staff, we'll have pizza and Harpoon beer in store to socialize.



The week after, we'll have our April Social and Boston Marathon pre-party on Wednesday, April 8th at 6:30 PM. The location is TBD, but we'll be sure to have our #goalboard out to cheer on friends who are running in the marathon!



Finally, as Boston Social Athletes is a community organization, I'd love to get more athletes in our community involved! Have an idea for an event that will benefit Boston's fintness community? Want to help organize an event? Want to get more connected within our fitness community? Let me know! Send me a message on our Connect page with your interests and I'll see what I can do.

Happy training everyone! Spring is almost here...



Topics: Events

Fitness Adventure, class 1: Turnstyle Cycle

Posted by Will Allen

Oct 3, 2014 10:20:00 AM


UPDATE (Oct 5 @ 9:20 PM): Read Caroline's corresponding blog post here:


On Monday night, Caroline and I went to the first class of our Fitness Adventure, a "RealRyder" spin class at Turnstyle Cycle in Cambridge. For those of you that have been to traditional spin classes, this is a spin class with a twist: the bikes actually twist, or rather steer and lean back and forth, adding an additional stability component to the workout. 

As a cyclist myself, I thought this would be a nice and easy start to our adventure. I was mostly right...

When I first arrived, the woman at the desk very quickly said hello and got me checked in. When I told her it was my first fitness class ever, let alone first spin class, she very graciously gave me an introduction into the RealRyder bikes. After her introduction, Rich Downing, the co-founder and president of the studio, introduced himself to me. I must say, I was very impressed with how friendly they were.

Not long after that, Caroline arrived. As she's also an instructor at Turnstyle, she gave me the grand tour of the place. In addition to spinning, they also offer TRX classes, which has its own studio. When we entered the spinning studio, I was very surprised by the style and the setup. I've never been in a spinning studio before, but I expected straight, organized rows of bikes. This studio was set up with the instructor platform and "cockpit" in the center, with the bikes set up in a semi-circle around the instructor. Behind the instructor is a Turnstyle Cycle logo with lights that change color. Cool.


As Caroline and I began warming up, my first reaction was there's no way to tell if I'm going faster or generating more watts compared to anyone else. The competitor in me was not satisfied. Caroline explained it was not about competiting, but about pushing yourself and getting into the rhythm of the music. Hmmmm, ok...

After warming up for a little while, Rich got the class going. The lights in the studio went off, except for the big Turnstyle logo light behind the instructor bike. The music came on and off we went! Rich had prepared a playlist of music to instruct the class to. During the sprint intervals, we'd be pedaling at 130 rpm, the beat of the music. Other times we'd crank the resistance up for hill intervals at 65 rpm.


As an athlete, I find I'm very goal oriented - finish in a certain time, hit a certain pace, etc - so when Rich called out a pedal cadence, I focused on hitting it as close as possible. I learned after the fact that it was by no means the most important thing, but merely a recommendation.

At the end of the spinning portion, Rich ended the class with some stretching, which I was glad to do as cycling (as well as many other sports) can shorten muscles and reduce mobility. It felt great to stretch out after an intense class. 

After stretching, the lights came on and the class was over. I very quickly realized I was the sweatiest kid in class. Pretty standard!

My biggest takeaway from Turnstyle Cycle (the business) was how friendly everyone was, beginning when I first stepped through the door. My takeaway from the class was the goal isn't always to compete. Sometimes the journey is the outcome.

Our journey continues soon! Make sure to subscribe to the blog to stay up to date on our adventure! Have a class you recommend? Have you had a different experience at Turnstyle Cycle? Let us know in the comments.



An Adventure in Boston's Fitness Class Scene

Posted by Will Allen

Sep 29, 2014 7:53:00 AM

Racing at the 2012 Head of the Charles


I started rowing during the summer of 2000, at a learn to row camp at Community Rowing, Inc. in Brighton, and from that point on, I knew rowing, or to a larger degree endurance sports, would be the fitness path for me. Ever since then, I've rowed at the high school, collegiate, club and pre-elite level, I've completed a half Ironman triathlon, trained for CrossFit for a year and half, and ran and cycled hundreds of miles throughout. I've tried a number of different sports and training methods.

But i've never done Pilates.

Or a Boot Camp.

Or Hot Yoga.

Or a Spinning class...

As I've developed Boston Social Athletes, I've worked to learn as much as possible about Boston's sports and fitness scene. While I've connected with many triathlon, or running, or cycling or other endurance teams, I haven't yet learned about the fitness class scene. I reached out to my friend Caroline Earle (aka The Trendy Trainer), who is well versed in the Boston fitness class scene, as a participant, a trainer herself, and also as a fitness writer for BostInno. Over a couple beers, we came up with the idea to go on a "Fitness Adventure", whereby she and I would go to a bunch of fitness classes and blog about our experiences. Me, the somewhat cocky endurance athlete (who will likely get his ass handed to him), and Caroline the seasoned pro guiding me on this adventure.


Caroline Earle (far left) and me at the BSA March 2014 Social

Over the coming months, Caroline and I will be going to all sorts of difference fitness classes around Boston and blogging it from our different persectives. And better yet, the adventure starts TONIGHT! We'll be going to a Turnstyle Cycle class in Kendall Square in Cambridge.

Check out Caroline's Fitness Adventure intro post here to get her perspective:

So stay tuned as we try everything form Boot Camps to BollyX. There will be videos, there will be instagrams, there will be..... PAIN! ;-)

Have a class you recommend? Want to share you own experiences with a Boston fitness class, leave a comment below! Want to follow along on our adventure? Subscribe to the blog in the top right of the page.

Don't forget to join us at our October Social on October 1st!



Topics: Community, Fitness Adventure

E pluribus unum: the power of Boston's athletic community

Posted by Will Allen

Aug 6, 2014 3:02:45 PM


From many, one.

Boston is home to literally hundreds of different teams, clubs, organizations, and sports. There are so many people that make up Boston's athletic community, but ask yourself, how connected are you?

And why should you want to be? In the picture above, there are Boston athletes that train for running, cycling, yoga, rowing, kayaking, canoeing, triathlon, and more. Each one of them has an interesting story for how they got into sports, how it's affected their lives, what new opportunities it's created, and why they wouldn't have it any other way.

I've experienced or learned about the power of the team or community in my own experiences in rowing, as well as in other Boston teams. A great example is the Greater Boston Track Club, which is a running team for people looking to compete at any level. I wrote about the the power that team on one member in a post from April. Another great example is the November Project, which has encouraged hundreds of people, athletes old and new, to "just show up" to their workouts. While they've helped many pursue a healthier lifestyle, the arguably more significant aspect of their team is the inclusive community they've developed. 

With Boston Social Athletes, our goal is not only to support each different team, sport, or community, but rather bring Boston's athletes together to form one team that has more strength and support than all of the individual teams combined. And truly, it's not about BSA, it's about Boston's athletic community.

Your challenge at our August Social is to connect with someone not from your community. In other words, if you're a triathlete, your goal is to connect with anyone you've never met that isn't a triathlete; If you're into the November Project, your goal is to connect with someone that's never been to the stadium. Once you meet that person or people, snap a picture and post it to social media with #OneTeamBOS. Include the sports you both/all are into, any teams you're a part of, and a few words on why the fitness community is important to you.

The goal of this project is to promote the idea of while we all train for different sports, or with different teams, groups or communities, we all make up one team that work to make the fitness community and the city at large a better, stronger, healthier place.


Topics: Boston's Teams

Boston Teams: Greater Boston Track Club

Posted by Will Allen

Apr 14, 2014 11:00:00 AM

If you talk to someone who was into running in Boston in the 1970s and 80s and mention the names Bill Rodgers, Randy Thomas or Alberto Salazar, you're sure to see that person's face light up, and hear comments about how they dominated distance running. They were also members of the elite Greater Boston Running Club, or GBTC.


Bill Rodgers winning the 1980 Boston Marathon

GBTC was founded in 1973 when Boston College senior Jack McDonald gathered Bill Squires, Bob Sevene, Don Ricciato, Kirk Pfrangle, Dick Mahoney and Dave Elliott together to assess interest in forming a track club for the post-collegiate runner. Later adding running legends Bill Rodgers and Alberto Salazar, the GBTC would go down in history as one of the greatest-ever amateur distance running clubs in the world. Accolades included Boston Marathon wins in 1978 and 1979, multiple top 10 finishes in the Boston Marathon, more than 20 New England titles at various distances from 1973-1980; six consecutive U.S. 25K road racing team titles beginning in from 1974-1979, and numerous others. 12 Days: Bill Rodgers sees race as a healer.

These guys were fueled by a passion for running and competition. On the GBTC website they tell a story of Randy Thomas and two of his teammates going to the 1977 Penn Relays with barely enough money to pay for fuel, hotels, food, and repairs on Randy's car. They didn't care though, there passion was running, and they were determined to race.

That passion has been passed down to the many runners that have followed them. I went out for a run with current GBTC member and friend Victoria Barnaby to learn about her experience training and competing with the GBTC:


Victoria Barnaby in center, #478 (photo by GBTC ass't coach Rod Hemmingway)

One of the themes that shined through in our conversation was the sense of community within the team. They have runners of all different distances and speeds; runners competing in national competitions and locals races; runners who train twice a day and runners who train a few times a week. But whether they're training for the Boston Marathon or a local 5k, to a person they've always encouraged community and competition.

"I'm so lucky to found GBTC when I did. The group has been like family to me," Victoria tells me. "I joined when I was 19 turning 20 and have been on the team for over 5 years now. GBTC has helped me achieve so much not only in the sport of running, but especially in my career and personal life. I've benefited from the coaching staff, support of my teammates (who are more accurately dear friends) and even financially from GBTC."

When Victoria first joined the Greater Boston Track Club, she was a college student at Boston University. Due to a past injury, BU felt it was too risky to let her join their team. Undeterred and determined to run, she found the GBTC which welcomed her into their team. In her years training with the team, she has run a 5:00 1 mile, holds the GBTC record at the Steeplechase, and competes at distances as short as 3000m and as long as 20 miles. "I personally went from a very good-to-average runner to a sponsored runner for GBTC because of their club system." The club helps to subsidize out of pocket expenses related to race fees, race travel, sports gear, and high level coaching.

Through hard work, supported by a strong community, Victoria and many GBTC members past and present have found success, whether by setting personal records or winning the Boston Marathon.

Curious to learn more about the Greater Boston Track Club? Test out a practice! Tuesday nights, 7 PM at Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.



Topics: Local Teams, Boston Teams

Boston Social Athletes announces social partnership with E3 Triathlon Team

Posted by Will Allen

Mar 26, 2014 11:08:00 AM

Boston Social Athletes is excited to announce a new social partnership with E3 Triathlon Team (E3TT). E3TT is a multisport endurance team committed to creating a friendly and supportive environment for athletes of all levels to train, socialize, and compete in triathlon, running, and cycling events locally, across the country, and around the world.


When head coach Jorge Martinez (in center in photo above) approached me a few weeks ago with the idea of making our monthly socials his team's monthly socials, I was intrigued with the idea. When we spoke, he mentioned that "while a Tri only social can be appealing, I personally love the idea to get different groups of active people together. That way people can share experiences across sports and help/support each other." The minute I heard those words, I knew it was the perfect partnershipThis is exactly what Boston Social Athletes is all about.

This idea of strength in the community was mirrored by team president Jeff Williams. "One of the most important things to note about E3, and one of the main reasons why we see such alignment with BSA, is based on the fundamental belief that a team can not depend on a competition alone. E3 athletes are not only dedicated to their own constant athletic improvement, but are also socially minded citizens, dedicated to providing an encouraging, positive environment to their teams. They also consider themselves ambassadors to their team, sponsors, and endurance sport community."


From BSA's perspective, we're excited to have a dedicated, successful, and most importantly fun group of multi-sport athletes joining our diverse, active, fun group of athletes from many different sports every month. Our goal has always been to foster the culture of fitness by creating new connections and opportunities within Boston's athletic community.

The E3 Tri Team has both amateur and elite training groups. The amateur team is deeply committed to creating a friendly and supportive environment in which they welcome athletes of all athletic levels to train, socialize, and compete in triathlons, road races, and other endurance events. E3 Elite is an invite only branch of E3 Racing dedicated to a select group of aspiring and emerging amateur athletes, whom have proven to be among the premier athletes in their discipline. Athletes of this group represent E3 Racing at the highest level, consistently qualifying for and competing in renowned events such as Ironman World Championship at Kona, Ironman 70.3 World Championship, and the Boston Marathon.

E3TT's first social with BSA will be at our April Social, coming up on April 8th. If you're interested in learning more about E3TS, come to our April Social and ask for Jorge!

Boston Social Athletes is an organization focused on fostering the culture of fitness by creating a central community for athletic individuals, teams and organizations, whereby people can connect socially, share ideas, network for business, and promote a healthy, fit lifestyle. Click here to learn more about mission.


Join us in April!



Topics: Local Teams, Community

March Social recap!

Posted by Will Allen

Mar 20, 2014 12:42:00 PM

Last Wednesday we had our March Social, which in my opinion was one of our best yet! One of our goals with Boston Social Athletes is to create environment for people to network for business opportunities. I was thrilled to have members of different fitness or healthy living-related businesses join us, including individuals from Energy Bits, RunKeeper, Inside Tracker, and CoachUp, all Boston-based start ups. Through our conversations, a bunch of us agreed to help RunKeeper promote their #SundayRunday group run - happening this Sunday, March 23 - in support of their #118forBoston campaign. They've also invited a few other local fitness-related businesses to take part in the event, giving them an opportunity to promote their products and connect to the community. When I started Boston Social Athletes May 2013, I hoped for connections and interactions to happen at the socials, but watching them unfold in front of my eyes and support the Boston community is a truly amazing sight. 

Social Media Maven and community manager from Energy Bits, Jonathan Levitt, shared details of his trip to Sochi during the Winter Olympics, representing the company and supporting their sponsored athletes. Hearing about his experience watching the competitions, hanging out in the USA and Canadian houses, and getting his opinion about the whole production was totally fascinating.


The connections didn't stop there, as I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Caroline Earle, who is the health and fitness writer for BostInno. Through her work she's been able to report on active and fit businesses, share healthy eating ideas, and connect with people throughout the fitness community! Check out her work here.

Later in the night, I was able to connect Ellen Perl, who is working to support the One Run For Boston, and Jim Redding from RunKeeper together. Jim was very excited to see how RunKeeper could support the One Run, which is "An epic non-stop running relay from LA to Boston in aid of the One Fund Boston". Great stuff is happening! Being able to create a space where people from different teams and fitness organizations can come together and find opportunities to work with each other, then see the valuable connections actually being made and implemented is not only exciting to see first hand, it's an achievement of one of our goals with BSA.

Did you make a new connection or learn something new at our social? Let us know in the comments!

Want to join us in April? Click the button!


RSVP + Details



Topics: Events

Giving back to the fitness and healthy living community at our December Social

Posted by Will Allen

Dec 2, 2013 1:53:20 PM

This Wednesday, December 4th, is our December Social, which includes a toy drive to benefit the Greater Boston Toys For Tots, as well as a fundraiser to benefit The Play Ball! Foundation. It's the first significant event that Boston Social Athletes has organized to give back to the fitness and healthy living community. Through both of these organizations, we can promote fitness and healthy living in kids, our future athletes!


When I started Boston Social Athletes, in addition to creating ways to for people in the athletic community to connect with each other, I wanted to create opportunities for the people to give back to that community which has supported us so much. I decided an event around the holiday season was the best time to do it, and choosing organizations that support our future athletes was the best cause.


According to a recent article published on, "Children today take 90 seconds longer to run a mile than kids did 30 years ago, according to data from 28 countries. Children's aerobic fitness has declined by 5 percent since 1975." Couple that with increasing rates of obesity in both children and adults, as well as ever increasing healthcare costs, and it seemed to me that supporting and encouraging future generations to live a healthy life was the best approach.

Obesity over the years


For the Toy Drive, we're asking people to bring a toy that encourages kids to get outside and play. In other words, NO VIDEO GAMES. The toy could be sports equipment, an outdoor game, or anything that will encourage kids to be active rather than sedentary.

We chose to suppore the Play Ball! Foundation because their mission is "to create and expand team sports opportunities for middle school age urban youth who are at a pivotal time of physical and emotional development." Read the rest of their mission here

We hope you can join us in doing our part to support the next generation of healthy kids and athletes!


Topics: Events, Causes

My experience watching the Boston Red Sox win the 2013 World Series!

Posted by Will Allen

Oct 31, 2013 2:25:00 PM

When the Boston Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers to clinch the ALCS and go on to the World Series, I made the decision to not make the same mistakes I made in 2004 and 2007. In 2004 I had an opportunity to drive up from Poughkeepsie, NY where I went to college, to be in Boston for game 4 of the World Series, but instead I passed on it because I had rowing practice the next morning and a test the next day. In 2007, I was living in Cambridge and most definitely had the opportunity to be in Boston for game 4 of the World Series, but instead I stayed home because I had rowing practice this next morning. I will regret those decision for the rest of my life. As for yesterday, I was NOT going to make that same mistake again!

After work, Boston Social Athletes co-host and good friend Kim Fox and I planned to meet up to watch the game at a bar near Fenway to be part of the excitement. We ended up at Bar Louie on Brookline Ave, just a couple blocks away from the park.


Luckily the line to get in was ONLY a block long (the line for Cask 'N' Flagon was almost to Kenmore Square...), and was moving slowly but surely. When we got in, there was not a free seat in the house. Luckily, Kim spotted two older guys at the bar and had a gut feeling they might be going to the game. Being the social person that she is, she struck up a conversation with these two guys, and found out they were indeed going to the game. When they got up to leave, they gave us their seats right at the bar, right in front of a TV! The energy in the bar was ELECTRIC! Everyone was intently watching the game, roaring at every hit, run, strike, and double play. By the top of the 9th inning, with three outs to go to win, you could feel the tension building. Then the final moment came: Koji Uehara pitched a third strike to catcher David Ross, then the tension was released:



In that moment, EVERYONE become best friends with EVERYONE! Soon after when we left the bar, we encountered the massive crowd of baseball fans and the massive amount of law enforcement. The Boston Police had created staged barricades to keep people from moving toward the park. Since we were prevented from walking to Yawkey Way or Landsdowne Street, we walked towards Landmark Center to try and loop around. The farther away we got, the larger the crowds got!


To get back towards downtown Boston, we had to walk south into The Fens neighborhood as Boylston St was completely blocked off. As we walked toward Massachusetts Ave, the now iconic image shining over the city came into view: 


When we got to Mass Ave, Kim and I parted ways and I headed towards Cambridge. As I rode my bike across the bridge, one last image came into view:


As I finished my bike ride home, I thought to myself that this win was such a fitting finale for this Red Sox team that rallied around the city after the Boston Marathon bombing. I think David Ortiz said it best, "THIS IS OUR F*CKING CITY!" 


Topics: Local Teams

The #goalboard and the CoachUp photo contest at the September Social

Posted by Will Allen

Sep 13, 2013 7:25:55 PM

This past Tuesday we had our September Social at Forum Bar & Restaurant. We were super psyched to support this newly renovated restaurant after it had been severly damaged from the Boston Marathon bombing. They took this tragedy and turned it into an opportunity for improvement. And improve they did! Everyone I spoke to commented on how great the space looked! 



This month we featured the Boston-based company CoachUp at the event. CoachUp is a service that connects athletes with private sports coaches (all sports and all ages).  They believe that private coaching is the secret to reaching the next level in sports and life. Their mission is very similar to BSA's mission, to foster the culture of fitness. Through this partnership, CoachUp offered a $100 gift code towards private coaching through their service to the winner of our photo contest. The contest was to post a picture of yourself to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram acting out someone else's sport. We had a people acting out running, yoga, rowing, even kite-boarding, all with a great amount of fun. But the winner really committed to acting out the sport more than anyone else.

And the winner is...


KATY DRISCOLL! Katy really took the theme to a new level, involving co-host Evan Dana to assist her in acting out, you guessed it, swimming! Notice how well she tucks her head near her arm, focusing on being as hydrodynamic as possible while NOT in the water! Congratulations Katy, you win a $100 gift code to CoachUp! Maybe you can use it to improve your swimming, both in and out of the water!

Finally, we introduced a new aspect to our socials: the #goalboard.

2013_09_10_Boston_Social_Athletes_September-41-18 2013_09_10_Boston_Social_Athletes_September-44-19


We thought it would be a fun and interesting idea to invite people to write down what their training goals were and get their picture taken with it, so other could see what motivates them to stay active, train hard, and work towards improvement. We'll be bringing the #goalboard to all future events and adding all photos to a dedicated photo album on Facebook. Our goal is to inspire you to commit to your goals, and challenge yourself and others to reach for more! 


Want to join us next time? The October Social will be on Wednesday, October 2nd at Anthem Kitchen + Bar in Faneuil Hall.Come meet local athletes from all sorts of different sports!



Topics: Events

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Writing about the culture of fitness in Boston, events, training ideas, nutrition, local athletic clubs, and more! Interested in becoming a contributor to the blog? Send us a message and let us know!

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