Author: The MacDonald Family


Fitness Short Takes

by Deb Servidio, Certified Personal Trainer | October 28, 2019

Watch's a HIIT!

We see them all the time, these mysterious acronyms in the wild wild world of the fitness industry.  I don’t know about you but when I first heard them, I thought I might’ve stumbled across some secret mafia or military exercise.  I mean c’mon…. HIIT, MetCon, AMRAP, EPOC etc, etc. Tell me these don’t conjure up visions of The Godfather or say Rambo?! Well, I stuck around and soon found that these terms had much different meanings. I also learned that they were in their own way, their own kind of “hell.”

Today I am going to focus on HIIT, a shortened version of a special kind of torture.  But stay with me….. because while it may seem like you are slowly killing yourself off, there are a tremendous amount of benefits from this type of training. 
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a mode of training that focuses on intervals of short intense bursts of exercises performed at 80-95% of Max Heart Rate immediately followed by an active recovery where you work at 60-65% of your Max Heart Rate.  There’s a short rest period and you then move onto the next exercise finishing all exercises in the round and then repeat for as many rounds as you can complete in the allotted time. The great thing about HIIT training is it can be modified for all clients from beginner to advanced and designed to meet your client’s specific needs.  Don’t have weights? No problem, it can be done with body weight exercises. You prefer running or swimming? Not a problem either as HIIT is highly adaptable and focuses more on the idea of using intervals to get your heart rate up and building endurance. 

The reason so many people like this type of training is that you can perform the same volume of work in a typical hour session in less time.  And let’s face it, in this day and age we all struggle with finding time to workout. Another great feature is you can perform body weight exercises and not worry about equipment or machines. This is perfect for those times you are traveling, on vacation, busy taking care of kids or maybe work is just too hectic and has you working crazy hours. All you need is 20-30 minutes and you will be firing up that metabolism burning body fat, training your cardiovascular system and strengthening those muscles!  It’s all about working smarter, not longer. 

Why does HIIT work?  Well as I mentioned earlier, this type of training focuses on short intense bursts of exercise.  Because of these short intervals (1-3 minutes), the body primarily uses the anaerobic energy system and thus breaks down stored carbs and fats for energy as opposed to using the aerobic energy system, which usually kicks in after the first several minutes of exercise, and utilizes oxygen for energy. The intensity of these workouts, which has you working above 80% of your Max Heart Rate, launches our metabolism into high gear and stays elevated even after the workout is completed.  The elevated rate of metabolism after a workout is known as EPOC, Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This afterburn effect is the result of the body trying to adjust back to homeostasis, otherwise known as our resting level of metabolic function and can take anywhere from several hours to 48 hours. So even after the workout our body is still “working” so to speak and shredding our body fat stores. The high amount of stress placed on the muscles during this training will require greater lengths of time to repair and recover so therefore the body produces higher levels of growth hormones and results in increased muscle growth and definition.  

When programming a HIIT workout for a client, class, or yourself, the options are endless.  Because of the stress placed on our bodies during this type of training, it is important to have a solid base foundation of strength and cardiovascular endurance to avoid injury.  So when working with beginners to interval training, maybe do a quick assessment to see where your client is. If designing a program for a class then have modifications ready for those who need them and progressions for the more advanced members in the class.  I like to approach programming by following these easy steps: 1. Select the amount of time to exercise, 2. Choose your work to rest ratio, and 3. Choose your exercises. For beginners you may want to start with a 1:2 ratio such as 30 sec work: 60 secs rest. This can progress with time to shorten the rest periods while increasing work time.  Now the fun part….. the exercises! You can pick all upper body, all lower-body, full body, alternate, use supersets for more advanced clients etc. etc. You can really have some fun here. I personally like to do a full body workout and utilize supersets of strength and cardio and alternate between upper body, lower body and some core work.

So as you can see, HIIT in of itself is a special kind of training that does not have Rambo chasing us through the woods or Don Corleone making us an offer we can’t refuse but one where we can work smarter not longer in our never ending quest of improving our fitness.  I will be posting more information during the upcoming week on HIIT Training on my @fitnessshorttakesbydeb Instagram page and also on the Facebook and Instagram pages for Worcester Fitness. So please check them out and give me a follow! Who knows…. I may even post a fun workout challenge for you to try out !!  I did one the other day with my son….. and he’s currently not speaking to me. LOL. But I promise to be nicer to you all !!

What is Sciatica and how does Massage help?

Massage Therapy and Fitness

by Pete Mascitelli Licensed Massage Therapist | October 15, 2019

Let's begin at the beginning


Well first, what is Sciatica? Simply it is pain emanating from your sciatic nerve which is the large nerve starts from your lower spine and branches down the length of each leg. The pain can be local to a region of your leg or shoot down its entire length. Pain from Sciatica can give you pause during your day to day routine or maybe even prevent your from holding your own body weight on the leg affected.


What causes the pain? Lots of factors, weight, being inactive, spine conditions, hemorrhoids, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, pregnancy, and age, and in my experience I see a lot of just muscle tension. All these factors cause pinching or compression to the sciatic nerve which sends the pain signals and neuropathy through the leg.


When someone comes to see me for Sciatica, I will ask some basic questions to help me figure out if I can help and how I can help. What are you feeling?  Where is is emanating from? How far does the pain go? How often do you feel it? How long has it been going on? All these questions help me access the condition and develop a treatment. 


Once in the room and I am working on you, I do some palpation to try to locate any muscle tension and I will do some preliminary Myofascial Release to help start loosening up the affected region. Generally I will start doing deep massage, working my way towards the focused spot that has the concentration of muscle tightness. After this I will probably go for the condensed tension areas with some focus deep tissue and or trigger point therapy. Once I work on an area, I’ll move to another region of your body, giving your muscles time to recover from the work I did on them. I may go back before we finish to check and see if there was anything I may have missed or if it needs any additional work at all. 


When were are done, I’ll see how your feeling and what your feeling after my treatment. You may or may not have some instant gratification ~  everybody's body is different. Remember there is only so much work you can do in a single session in order to relieve tension to an affected area. Sometimes multiple sessions may be required. Over the years I have seen massage therapy definitely help as a treatment for dozens of people suffering from Sciatica.


If you are experiencing lower back pain, please reach out to Pete to discuss your options.  Massage Therapy can be a fantastic way to alleviate pain in your back, and in other places on your body.  Self-care should be your first investment and we're here to help!


Fitness Short Takes

by Deb Servidio, Certified Personal Trainer | September 25, 2019

What a weekend!

Worcester Fitness was a hotbed of activity this weekend… HD Launch Party and Grand Opening, OCR Race, Charity Walk and MORE.
One of the things I love about Worcester Fitness (this may surprise some, but noooo it’s not meeting up with friends at MacDonald’s Tavern …), is the fact that it’s not just a gym where you go and lifts weights, work up a sweat like there’s no tomorrow, or bust a move in a class. It’s soooo much more… it’s a community of amazing people. We started off the weekend with the gym opening its’ doors to the public and inviting our community to come in and tour the newly renovated facility and BRAND NEW High Definition Training Center. This event came at the heels of a week’s worth of free HD classes and was complete with a marathon night of free Met-Con classes, contests, raffles, food, music and special pricing offers!! This place was hopping and the energy was through the roof as over 40 people took advantage of the specials.
As you can imagine, it was a late night for some people here at Worcester Fitness, BUT that didn’t stop SGX Coach Tracy Riley and a group of Riley’s Rebels from hitting the Bonefrog Navy Seal Obstacle Course race that was held at Carter & Stevens Farm out in Barre, MA in the wee hours of the morning Saturday. I’m guessing it may have been a rough wake up call but these OCR athletes went out there and gave 150% on that course! Courses ranged from 3-18 miles with anywhere from 20-50 Obstacles!! Now that is NOT for the faint of heart, congrats to you all!!
On to Sunday….. While the Rebels were resting their sore muscles on Sunday and dreaming about their next race in November at Spartan Fenway , two other kickass groups of members and employees headed out to do their part in the fight against cancer. Team Jimmy Fund, led by Worcester Fitness trainer and instructor Picky Lanigan headed out at 4:30am to attend the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. This group raised a WHOPPING $10k+ for Dana Farber and Picky, who returned for her 5th year walking, was honored as a Pace Setter for Dana Farber. Kudos to this group; it is an amazing feat to have walked 26.2 miles, especially in that heat!! And when the UMASS Cancer Walk reached out and challenged Worcester Team to participate in the corporate challenge, a group of employees stepped up to the plate and answered that call! The group led by Janine McCarthy, another trainer and instructor, walked 5 miles and made Worcester Fitness proud. Massage Therapist Pete Mascitelli even donated his time and helped the runners rehab those achy breaky muscles with free chair massages. What a guy!!! These two groups really exemplify what it means to “do your part” and highlight the spirit Worcester Fitness shows in giving back to the community that supports this business.
These are just a few examples of the amazing things happening here every week at Worcester Fitness. In the upcoming weeks we will continue to celebrate the launch of our new HD Training Center with a special offer for new HD members, have the Worcester Fitness Flyers swim team getting ready for competition, Knock Out 90 Event on October 2nd in support of national breast cancer awareness month and our running group , led by Bob Bourassa, and members will be participating in the Worcester Monster Dash 5k
benefiting the Mary Beth Benison Foundation on October 20th. I have met some of the most inspirational people through these groups at Worcester Fitness and have made some of the BEST friends here. It truly is the sense of community you feel at this not so typical gym, that keeps me going back.


3rd ANNUAL  Knockout 90 Event!

DATE - Wednesday October 2
TIME - 6-8pm
Check in - 5:15-6:00 pm in MacDonald's Tavern
Knockout 90 includes three  workouts: AIM, Strength and Spin.
Each workout lasts 30 minutes with five minutes in between workouts to switch.
All money raised will go to Yawkey 9, the Breast Cancer floor at Dana Farber. 
Following the workouts, there will be food and raffles in inside MacDonald's Tavern!

One Day Only!

Friday, September 20th ONLY!!!
Members who want to try our HD program for the first time can purchase 30 days of HD classes for only $30!
Not a member of Worcester Fitness??
Sign-up for the $30 trial, Friday, September 20th and you'll get a 30-day full gym membership PLUS HD classes! (new members only) This offer expires at 10:00PM, Friday, September 20!
Questions? Please contact Andy Sharry, or by using the form below.


"Every child deserves the opportunity to learn to swim!"

Jenni Waldron, Worcester Fitness WSI Instructor

Adaptive Swimming is a parent and child class tailored to the needs of children living with various intellectual and behavioral disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, ADHD, and Intellectual Disabilities.
The primary goal of this class will focus on water safety, i.e., waiting to jump in the water with adult permission, in addition to enhancing swimming ability. The course will be taught with principles derived from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and families are welcome to bring visuals and incentives that work for their child to aid in their learning process.
Adaptive Swimming further aims to provide children with learning differences in a socially safe environment that is accepting of all learning styles.
Every child deserves the opportunity to learn to swim and enjoy the many therapeutic benefits the water has to offer - come join us for the watery fun!
This class is geared to ages 10 and under.

Adaptive Swimming is led by WSI Instructor Jenni Waldron. Jenni has her Masters in Clinical Psychology and is studying for her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at William James College.

Parent and Child Swim Class

September 22 - November 10 [8-week session]
11:45 AM
Ages 10 and under

Price $170



Stack the odds of losing weight and getting in the best shape of your life in YOUR favor for a change!
Here's just ONE example. Worcester Fitness Personal Trainer Julia Boisselle is a TRIPLE THREAT when it comes to crushing clients fitness goals. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, has a Bachelors Degree in Nutrition, and is a spin instructor. Hiring Julia to be YOUR Personal Trainer get's you ALL three professionals in one.
This is just ONE of the many reasons why Worcester Fitness members choose Personal Training. Are you ready?
Contact for a free consultation...we can't wait to start working with you!