Category Archives: Health

HIV rates are dropping in the US

ICYMI The Boston Globe published a story about falling HIV rates in this article. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (read the press release here) shows a 12% drop in estimated new HIV infections nationally between 2017 and 2021 and a 34% decrease in new infections among people between the ages of 13 and 24, who make up the bulk of new cases.

Even though all groups saw a drop in HIV rates, the decreases were smaller in Hispanic / Latino and Black / African American communities.

Locally, the news in Massachusetts is even better with the State seeing a decline of 15.7% (vs. 12% Nationally). State Senator Julian Cyr points to the numerous HIV prevention and care policies the state has enacted over the past 20 years, as the reason Massachusetts continues to see fewer infections and AIDS-related deaths.

Disparities with the State’s Hispanic / Latino and Black / African American communities mirror those seen nationally. Gary Daffin, executive director of the Multicultural AIDS Coalition in Roxbury said rates of infection continue to remain higher with younger men of color who have sex with men because of social stigma about their sexuality in their communities, access to care, and the need to have a prescription to receive PrEP.

Hopefully, this trend will continue and we can one day speak of HIV/AIDS in the past tense.

Massachusetts residents are healthier than most Americans

When people think of food from food from Massachusetts they probably think of Dunkin’s coffee & donuts, Legal Seafood’s New England clam chowder, and the Parker House’s iconic Boston Cream Pie dessert. These aren’t the healthiest of foods, so it may surprise some to learn that the state is consistently ranked as either the healthiest or one of the healthiest states in the country.

Last week The University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute released their annual rankings of the health of US counties and states. The report pulls from more than 90 factors such as food security, transportation, housing, education and air pollution. And unsurprisingly, the survey found that Bay State residents are healthier than most Americans. The data shows that people in Massachusetts are less obese, has fewer smokers, and despite the cold temperatures are less seditary.

You can dive deeper into the data about Massachusetts or look at the data from another state, here.

SoWa Health + Wellness looks to open spring 2023

The Boston Sports Club South End closed last spring after the property owner, GTI Properties, opted to takeover the space rather than renew their lease. Since the BSC closed, GTI has been remodeling the space to reopen a boutique Health + Wellness facility. The new facility will have four group studios, new gym equipment, remodeled “executve” locker rooms, juice bar, and saunas.

The move by GTI Properties to overtake this space is a bold one, because they have a mixed track record of managing businesses outside of real estate management. They’ve done a great job opening the SoWa Power Station as an event space, but they’ve struggled with the two restaurant spaces they’ve overtaken.

Setting those concerns aside, the gym is hoping to open in the spring. To stay up to date on information about membership fees and opening dates, check their web page,

SoWa Health + Wellness 2023 opening

When the Boston Sports Club South End closed at the end of March 2022, the neighborhood lost a large and popular gym. Rather than negotiate with the BSC for another longterm lease, the property owner, GTI Properties, made the bold move to takeover the space and redesign it as a health and wellness center that they would own and manage.

SoWa Health + Wellness eyes a January 1, 2023 opening

This spring, GTI Properties hinted at an October 2022 opening and to increase awareness and interest SoWa Health + Wellness hosted a free pop-up in the SoWa Power Station in June. The popular event included bootcamp, yoga, dance, and kickboxing classes by trainers who will be working at the gym when it opens.

Unfortunately, the remodeling efforts have required more work and time than initially anticipated and GTI Properties is now eyeing a January 1, 2023 opening. If you are looking for more information about classes, ammenities, and membership dues, GTI will likely begin sharing that at the start of the holiday season. Look for more information about the SoWa Health + Wellness center at this year’s SoWa Winter Festival, which is scheduled to open on Black Friday and run through Sunday, December 11th.

Monkeypox: What you need to know

Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would order 2.5 million more JYNNEOS doses – the vaccine for Monkeypox. The agency said it would also make an additional 131,000 doses available to states and jurisdictions to address the recent Monkeypox outbreak. The first case reported in the US was here in Boston at Mass General Brigham hospital on May 18, 2022, but since that time outbreaks have been reported in 43 states.

UPDATED AUG 5, 2022:
New Guidance from CDC including how to lower risk during sex, what to do if a new or unexplained rash (or other symptoms) appear, and how to lower your chance of exposure at places like raves, parties, clubs, and festivals: Updated CDC Guidance.

New York has the most confirmed cases with just under 500 cases as of July 15th. Massachusetts has 51 confirmed cases by July 15th. You can see how many reported cases are in your state using the CDC 2022 U.S. Map and Case Count.

Fenway Health has set up an excellent site to address questions about Monkeypox, that includes a fact sheet, information on how the virus is spread, symptoms to watch for, and treatment. And this week The Boston Globe published an excellent article about how Provincetown has mobilzed in response to the outbreak for those interested in learning more read, Inside Provincetown’s ‘Herculean’ effort to save the summer from monkeypox.

Vaccination eligibility
If you live or work in Massachusetts and are interested in getting the JYNNEOS vaccine, you will need to meet the CDC’s current eligibility criteria, prioritizing those who are most at risk of exposure to an individual with monkeypox. This includes:

Known contacts identified by public health via case investigation, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments (this may include sexual partners, household contacts, and healthcare workers); as well as
Presumed contacts who meet the following criteria:
+ Know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox
+ Had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox

How to obtain a vaccine
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health intends to expand eligibility as more doses become available. You can follow the latest updates including how (and where) to make a vaccination appointment on the MassGov webpage set up to address questions about Monkeypox.

Where I can get the Monkeypox vaccine
The state of Massachusetts currently has more than a dozen vaccination sites but considering the increasing concern and spread of the virus bookmark this page as more sites may be added.

BSC South End closes tomorrow

Earlier this month I posted the lease for the BSC South End would not be renewed by the landlord, GTI Properites, and tomorrow will be the last day the gym will be open.

It seems to me that the BSC South End has been the gym everyone has loved to hate, but in retrospect, despite the issues (and there were many), I will miss this gym. It is a large space with many windows and high ceilings, has a great indoor pool, large free weights and cardio sections, and when it first opened they had many great classes (I still miss Melany’s lunchtime abs classes).

Over the years, I met and made many friends there. Perhaps that is what I will miss the most with the gym’s closing. However, rather than leave BSC altogether like many have opted, I’ve decided to remain and will now work out at the Downtown Crossing location so perhaps I’ll see you there.

Is the Boston Sports Club South End closing?

The BSC South End lease will expire this spring

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of chatter about the future of the Boston Sports Club South End. Current and former employees have confirmed that the BSC would like to sign a new lease and the manager has indicated that negotiations with the landlord, GTI Properties are ongoing.

The current lease is set to expire this spring. If the BSC lease expires, it’s not clear if the space would be re-purposed, another chain would takeover, or if GTI would takeover the gym. While managing a gym would be a stretch for GTI, anything is possible. Last year, GTI Properties formed the SoWa Hospitality Group and hired Jeff Gates (former partner of Aquitaine Group) to manage food and beverage operations at the SoWa Powerstation, Brasserie, and Roma 500 (slated to open later this year). I hope the BSC and GTI come to some agreement. The uncertainty is frustrating, because it disincentivizes BSC from making any further investments or to improve the facility.

UPDATE: March 2, 2022 Boston Sports Club South End to close

National gym chains vs boutique studios

Regardless of the fate of the BSC South End, if the space remains a fitness center, the gym will need to do more to fend off competition from the many boutique studios that have opened. While these smaller studios are more expensive, their popularity increased during the pandemic.

During the pandemic two gyms opened blocks from the BSC SE, Elite Training Group (operated by former BSC SE trainers) and Epoc Studios. But these are hardly the only boutique studios to open. A quick Google search will show a dozen such gyms within blocks of the BSC SE — several of them owned and opened by former BSC South End trainers who’s clients followed them.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu calls for proof of vaccination for access to many indoor businesses

Yesterday, Mayor Michelle Wu called for stronger action to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to protect public health. Starting next month, to enter many Boston businesses, proof of vaccination will be required.

While I believe nobody should be forced to get medical treatment, I also believe public health is more important than individual rights. Access to these public establishments is not a right, it’s a priviledge and one that you lose if you won’t take the necessary precautions to protect your community.

Today, The Boston Globe also reported nearly 97% of residents who have been vaccinated averted hospitalization and death from COVID-19. These findings illustrate the cost savings achieved by hospitalizations averted and (more importantly) the human suffering of individuals and their loved ones that was avoided. Apparently, vaccines not only save lives, they also save a lot of money. I’m unsure how that squares with fiscal conservatives who refuse to get vaccinated.

Bravo and thank you Mayor Wu

Yoga day retreat for GBTQ Men with Chuck Raffoni

The holiday season can be a stressful time for many people so with the start of the 2021 holiday season just weeks away, you may find that Chuck Raffoni’s Yoga Day Retreat for GBTQ-Men is just what you need. Help him spread word and share with friends. This could be a great way to spend the day together or as an early holiday gift to yourself.

Yoga Day Retreat for GBTQ Men
Sunday, November 14, 2021 || 10:30AM to 4:30PM
KJ Fitness – Tewksbury, MA

The day-long retreat will be led by Chuck Raffoni ( E-RYT200) who has been featured on NBC’s TODAY SHOW for teaching yoga to men. The intent is to bring men together for a day of yoga, mindfulness and meditation. Together, attendees will explore how these practices can enhance their lives by helping them deal with stress, aging, body image, sexuality and better relate and support each other.

If you are able to lay and sit on the floor comfortably for extended periods, can get yourself up off the floor without assistance, and do not have any injuries that a doctor has told you to avoid exercise, you will be able to participate in this retreat.

For more information about the retreat, which runs from 10:30AM – 4:30PM on Sunday, November 14th or to secure your space (this will fill up), please visit, Yoga Day Retreat for GBTQ Men.

Epoc Studios

Personal and small group training studio in Boston’s South End

Yesterday, I wrote about the Elite Training Group, the personal traing studio I work out at 2x a week. I also wanted to give ETGs “sister studio” a shout out. Epoc Studios which opened this past summer is owned and operated by Kris Kranzky’s brother Kyle and his girlfriend Tatiana. The two relocated from Southern California to open this space, located just a couple doors down from ETG on Washington Street, across from Peter’s Park.

Epoc Studios specializes in small-group training, delivering customizable, challenging, and effective fitness experience for people of all ages and fitness levels. The sleek interior is definitely deceptive from its exterior. Their custom-designed workouts can include heart-rate monitors with a visual display shown in real-time on screens throughout the gym during class to see how hard you’re working out. Both trainers are very friendly, easy to talk to and a very welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Photos courtesy of Epoc Studios Instagram Account @epoc.studios

With the days getting shorter and the holiday season approaching, it gets harder to carve out time to workout. One of the lessons I’ve taken from the pandemic is personal health can’t be taken for granted, but it also takes work. That work is easier thanks to expert advise from people like Kyle and Tatiana there every step of the way – all it takes is for you to meet them halfway. If you’re looking for a new gym or need to mix things up check out Epoc.

Epoc Studios
1250 Washington Street – South End

Alternatively, you can also check out their sister gym, Elite Training Group, a few doors down.

Elite Training Group (ETG)

Personal training studio in Boston’s South End

A little more than a year ago, personal trainers Kris Kranzky and Stephen “Stew” Stewart, opened Elite Training Group (ETG), a personal training studio, on Washington Street across from Peter’s Park in the South End of Boston.

Both worked for many years at the Boston Sport Club South End, cultivating a large and loyal number of clients (including yours truly). So when the gym opened early last fall, I signed up for sessions. I had gained what I referred to as the “Covid 19” and with the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight I knew I needed that extra attention you get from a good personal trainer.

Some of these photos were taken prior to the mask mandate in Boston

Over the past year, I’ve gained more muscle and lost body fat. I’m down about 15 pounds. With the days getting shorter and the holiday season approaching, it gets harder to carve out time to workout. One of the lessons I’ve taken from the pandemic is personal health can’t be taken for granted, but it also takes work. That work is easier thanks to expert advise from people like Kris and Stew helping you. If you’re looking for a new gym or need to mix things up check out ETG.

Elite Training Group
1242 Washington Street – South End

Alternatively, you can also check out their sister gym, Epoc Studios, a few doors down.

Fenway Health 50th Anniversary celebration

For fifty years Fenway Health has been serving the LGBTQ community in Boston. Starting in a basement in a building owned by the Christian Science Church, Fenway Health has grown to meet and serve our community through many health crisis including AIDS / HIV, Crystal Meth and Opiods, and more recently COVID-19.

To celebrate this milestone anniversary, Fenway Health is planning to host a virtual celebration next week, Wednesday, April 28th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. The event is free an open to everyone but to attend you need a good Internet connection and to register on or before 12:00 pm on April 28th.

While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic prevents everyone from coming together in person this year, Fenway Health invites you to join them from the comfort of your home for an evening of celebration.

World AIDS Day

December 1 has been designated “World AIDS Day” every year since 1988. It is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection to more than 75 million people and mourning the 42 million who have died of the disease.

Later today in Boston: The Boston Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Fenway Health will host a vigil celebrating life and honoring those affected by HIV/AIDS on at 12:00 PM at the AIDS Memorial Tree on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall near Kenmore Square. If you have any questions, please contact the sisters at

Stretching with Lucas Rockwood

I’ve been trying to get back into shape and recently I’ve turned to Lucas Rockwood, a well respected yoga trainer who offers several online training classes, including his his 21-Day Hip Opener Challenge. Each class only takes about 15 minutes but is harder than it sounds. I’m often covered in a sheen of sweat after holding these stretches for up to 5 minutes at a time.

The program is not intended to be a workout. Lucas describes it as a supplement to whatever you’re doing so I will often do this after going for a walk or run or after working out with my trainer. However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t used the 15 minute stretching class as my “workout” for the day. I’ve noticed the class has helped my posture and my lower back feels stronger.

Because of the winter, I’ll be looking for creative ways to workout indoors. I’m open to suggestions / ideas to do my best to stay fit and somewhat active from my home so I don’t need to go to public gyms while the coronavirus is on the rise.

ISO Nutrition app suggestions

realm health and fitness tips from kyle

After months of little to no physical activity through the spring and summer Sergio had enough of my life as a couch potato and gifted me a series of workout sessions with my former trainer who has opened a private gym. I’ll write more about that in the near future. Although I thought I was going to die after my first week back in the gym, I am happy to be working out again. I’ve not seen any change in my weight or physique, but over the past two weeks I have noticed that I’m sleeping better, I have more energy and my attitude has changed.

I am looking for an easy to use nutrition app

Although I’m not about to give up my lifelong love affair with wine and other treats like french fries and ice cream, I would like to find and use an app to help me track what I eat. I’m not interested in Weight Watchers or apps that are tied to weight loss / management programs. I’d prefer something that is independent and lets me track my own progress without any pressure to sign up or join programs. I plan to use this in conjunction with the workout app my trainer uses, Train Heroic, and MapMyRun, which I use to track my cardio.