Written on December 4, 2013 at 10:00 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Actress Tia Mowry (we know you’ve seen throwback show Sister, Sister) has quite a few projects on her plate. From the premier of her new television show, Instant Mom, on Nick at Nite to the postpartum products brand she is developing with twin sister Tamera, it was amazing she found the time to sit down for a chat with us! And one thing is for sure—despite her hectic schedule, her top two priorities remain in tact: her family and her health.
Despite marrying a man with a passion for health and wellness, Mowry wanted to discover it in her own way. Unfortunately, her journey began with a sudden diagnosis of endometriosis, an extremely painful infertility disorder. She quickly gained control of her health, though, and hasn’t slowed down since. “I wanted to have kids, so my doctor told me, ‘Tia, you’re going to have to change your diet,’” she says. After following the Body Ecology Diet for a full year, which focuses on alkalizing the body, Mowry became pregnant with her son Cree. “I’m now a believer that food can be medicine.”
Mowry also decided to try veganism earlier this year to help with other physical ailments – eczema, migraines and genetically high cholesterol – and she could not be happier with the decision. “What I like most about it is the emotional benefit that I get, realizing and understanding that I am doing the best that I can possibly do for my health,” she says. “I feel better, I have more energy, my eczema has disappeared, I no longer get migraines and my cholesterol levels are now fine.”
When it comes to working out, Mowry is all about doing what she loves, thanks to the advice she got after meeting yoga pro Tara Stiles. The routine that’s captured her heart? Dance cardio. “I was the type of person who would be out on the dance floor until the club closed, so I’m doing all types of dance cardio now,” says Mowry. “I’ve done Zumba, I’ve done Piloxing—which is boxing and Pilates at the same time—and I go to classes.” Oh, and she doesn’t look to the mirror for her workout motivation. “It’s not about what I look like; it’s about how I feel. When I focus on that, I actually find that I work out more,” she says. And cute workout clothes don’t hurt! She picks her outfit the night before for a little motivational push the following morning to get up and go have fun with her fitness.
This season Mowry teamed up with Flumist Quadrivalent, a nasal spray influenza vaccine option, to address another health issue she is passionate about now that she has little Cree to consider. “In the past, I did overlook flu vaccinations,” she says. “But after understanding how the flu can take a huge toll on an entire family, I started making it part of my annual routine. I want to protect my family.”
Mowry has experienced quite the journey to health and fitness, so maybe we should take a note or two from her book. “Changing your lifestyle takes time, so don’t get frustrated,” she suggests. “We have a lifetime to get this right, so don’t be too hard on yourself—it’s not beneficial. Start out slow and then build up your momentum and endurance. And just do what you love to do! I have seen a big change in my body since Tara gave me that advice.”
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Written on December 3, 2013 at 9:17 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
From maintaining her successful acting career to wrangling her two energetic young boys, Kate Hudson has no problem keeping busy. If anything, she has to take advantage of every spare minute to strike a healthy balance within her life. So when the fashion subscription company Just Fab Inc. approached her about collaborating on a lifestyle athletic wear line, Hudson jumped on board.
Fabletics, the result of the collaboration, offers women affordable, high-quality and stylish active apparel that works for running errands, brunching with the girls and, of course, getting your sweat on! “I loved the idea,” says Hudson. “What was really inspiring to me was that we came together to find a way to make it affordable and create a larger community of women to learn about things they could do to motivate the first steps of that part of their life.” Each month the website debuts around 30 new outfits, and now that they have the basics covered, expect to see more sweats, different T-shirt styles and even some snakeskin leggings.
This new venture has not only helped Hudson connect with a new community of women, but it’s also given her the opportunity to spend more time with family. “I love my day job, but I’m also a mom, and my day job takes me away from my kids a lot. So it’s nice to have another outlet that I can do at home that still has a creative entity,” she notes. “It lets me take something that is important to me and hopefully inspire people to start getting healthy and fit and happy.”
As far as keeping herself fit is concerned, Hudson works with celebrity trainer and Pilates pro Nicole Stuart for that extra push of motivation. “She does these series of stomach and core exercises that are brutal, but what I like about them is knowing that it’s working from the inside-out and not the outside-in.” If Hudson had it her way, however, she would simply dance. “I just jump around and dance and play loud music and move around until I start sweating,” she says.
This fun free-styling doesn’t always get the job done, which is why the bombshell uses a little mental trick to change the way her body feels when she isn’t in the mood for a tough workout. “When something is painful and hurts and burns, when I really want to say, ‘Ugh, no!’ I’ll say, ‘Yes!,’” explains Hudson. “It’s not really what I’m feeling, but it’s how I’m make myself do it again.” When she isn’t dancing or working on her Pilates with Stuart, she sticks to high reps of dancing-style squats, focusing on the lifting and stretching movements that help keep her legs lean and toned.
At the end of the day, “it’s really about what you can do to have a happier way of life,” she says. “Any activity that you do to get your blood flowing is going to open up a more optimistic part of your brain and allow everything in your life to become more efficient. It makes for a more present way of life, where people can be more present for their children, their relationships, their jobs and most importantly, really connect with themselves.”
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Written on December 2, 2013 at 9:23 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Whether you’re “Dressin’ Up” for a hot night out on the town or struggling to be “Wide Awake” for an early bird spin class, Katy Perry has the turn-it-up tune to tap into your inner-rockstar. I mean, is there a better workout anthem than “Roar?” I don’t think so.
In true Perry fashion, her newest album PRISM delivers hit after girl-power hit, all with that go-getter ‘tude we know and love (And talk about total arm envy in her music video “Unconditionally,” which was released last week). So how did the starlet shape up for her upcoming world tour? We got her svelte secrets and put together a killer playlist of our Katy faves for you to pop on whenever you need a boost.
Hit the Trail. “I prefer to get my exercise outside,” says Perry, confessing her love for hiking and bike riding with friends. Just don’t get her started early in the a.m. “I love feeling stronger and clearer-minded after a workout, but I HATE mornings!” What does she jam out to as she tackles the terrain? Drake, Lorde, Sky Ferreira and HAIM.
Strong is Sexy. “When I’m on tour, I get into a pretty steady rhythm so it’s not that hard to get in a workout every day,” says the avid SoulCycler. “I need to work out to keep my stamina up for singing and dancing at my shows.” When it comes to a gym sweat sesh, Katy (oftentimes sporting Adidas attire) kicks it with one of our fave trainers, Harley Pasternak, known in Tinseltown for his firm-and-burn routines. After a 15-minute warm up, the duo tackle two to three full-body exercises with weights, followed by three to four muscle group-specific exercises. “He has me constantly moving,” she says. Katy’s strengthening circuit is followed by cardio—she enjoys skipping rope to spike her heart rate!
Plan for Success. “The challenge on tour is eating healthy because not every place you go has fresh food,” she says. To avoid getting stuck with preservative-packed snacks, the singer comes prepared for on-the-go noshing with Popchips. Her signature flavor, Katy’s Kettle Corn, is a winner—just like her!
Written on November 29, 2013 at 10:13 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, and you’ve likely allowed a little (hopefully!) indulgence to occur, what are you supposed to do with all the leftovers hanging out in the fridge? Celebrity chef Robert Irvine from Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible is here on behalf of Gold’s Gym with a few tips for making the most out of Thanksgiving scraps while leaving our diets in tact, of course.
First and foremost, think ahead when preparing each dish for the big day. Make more of the vegetable-based sides so you have healthier leftovers to work with the following day. And watch the cooking time! “I like vegetables that still have texture to them,” says Irvine. “When we cook carrots, we don’t cook them so you can actually squash them in your hand. They should have some bite to them, so when you reutilize them the next day, they still have nutrients in them.”
And on the flipside, make fewer desserts to avoid the post-holiday sweets binge. While Chef Irvine is a believer in ending every meal with a bite of something sweet (read: not a handful of cookies!), he doesn’t go to town on the holiday pumpkin and pecan pies. “I make individual servings so that everybody gets one and that’s it. There is no seconds and therefore there’s no leftovers and I don’t have to deal with it staring at me the next day,” he says. “There’s only the good stuff.”
When it comes to the main attraction, there are plenty of ways to reinvent Mr. Turkey that don’t include two slices of gravy-soaked bread. Irvine combines the star ingredient with cranberry, brussel sprouts or cabbage and mashed potatoes—white or sweet—and gives the typical potato cake an upgrade. After chopping and combining all of the leftover ingredients, form each cake, coat them in egg white and panko breadcrumbs, pan-fry and top with a runny, poached egg. Now that’s a post-Thanksgiving breakfast! Check out this version of his recipe where good-for-you collard greens take center stage.
Otherwise, try making risotto without your leftover potatoes. Chef Irvine poaches diced potatoes and combines them with chicken stock, sour cream, chopped parsley, a little salt and white pepper, and uses it as a risotto. “People look at me like I’m crazy, but it’s really good and healthy,” he says.
And as far as those leftover carrots are concerned, why not transform them into a gourmet salad dressing? Reheat them in chicken or vegetable stock and blend them in a blender with fresh, unpeeled ginger and a teaspoon of stone ground mustard. Add a little grapeseed oil and sparkling water, and voila! “You have a brand new carrot and ginger dressing for salads that will keep for a week or so. And you can do that with any othervegetable you have left,” says Irvine.
Last but not least, a solid post-workout recovery meal is key for a guy who loves fitness almost as much as he loves food. Chef Irvine uses Thanksgiving turkey and vegetables in a fresh egg white frittata, which he serves cold, Spanish-style. After letting the pie cool, he plates slices alongside fresh tomato pico de gallo and smoked salmon. “That’s our post-workout meal and it only takes 25 minutes to make,” he says. You leave it on the side, let it cool down, wrap it up and leave it in the fridge. Then it’s always there to munch on.” Maybe the day (and weekend) after Thanksgiving won’t be such a diet disaster after all.
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Written on November 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern
It’s that time of year again! The holidays are upon us, marking a major increase in family gatherings, festive parties and, of course, shopping. But between Black Friday sales and dinner party planning, our wallets take a beating as soon as the weather changes. According to Mint.com, a personal money management service, the average American spent a whopping $384 on shopping last December alone, almost 33 percent more than what they spent in September. So how can you stay in the holiday spirit without going over budget? We chatted with Hitha Prabhakar, retail expert and Mint.com Financial Advocate, to get the scoop on how to cut costs on the four most common—and unexpected—money drainers. Read on to start saving!
Spending limits can seem impossible to stick to when the holidays come around, leading to some pretty unhealthy buying habits. Luckily, you can actually stay within your budget without becoming scrooge-tastic, says Prabhakar. When it comes to gift-giving, repeat after us: It’s the thought that counts. “If you’re in a tight financial spot, focus on presentation,” recommends Prabhakar. “DIY gifts like frames, knitted socks or baked goods are always a hit, especially when you spend time wrapping them in pretty paper, containers or recycled bags.”
At the beginning of each month, set specific budgets for yourself for food expenditures, including week-to-week groceries and special occasions. Of course, when it comes to shopping for an upcoming dinner party, cutting corners can seem tricky. “According to the 2012 Intuit Consumer Index, Americans spent an average of $322.29 per month on groceries,” says Prabhakar. “That can really add up over the year. Don’t be afraid to purchase items that are store brand, especially when you’re entertaining for a large group. They tend to be much cheaper and taste the same.”
Going to the gym
We’ve all been there: The temperature drops below freezing, and suddenly your favorite morning run seems way less appealing than the weight room. If you decide to switch to the gym-life when the winter weather peaks, make sure you’re not wasting cash by sitting in the house. “On average, people spent $83.73 per month on gym memberships in 2012, so get your money’s worth by going frequently,” says Prabhakar. “You can also think about taking your budgeted gym funds and purchasing blocks of classes at smaller studios. To get new students in the door, these smaller studios often offer discounted classes or trial periods at a tenth of the cost of regular classes.” (We love Groupon and Living Social for finding awesome discounts on fun classes and personal training sessions!)
“Last year, the average American spent $2,654.69 on dining out,” says Prabhakar, “And I used to be that person who went to restaurants 15 times a week and used my oven as storage for my shoes!” To cut down on her eating-out expenses, Prabhakar created a “restaurant only” budget in Mint.com and signed up to be alerted when she was low on balances. (We tested the Mint.com app, and totally agree that it’s extremely helpful for staying on track with easy-to-forget entertainment expenses). If you’ve almost reached your budget and have to dine out, try pre-gaming (meal-style!) beforehand. “Have a quick and healthy appetizer at home prior to dinner, so you feel fuller and order less from the menu,” suggests Prabhakar.
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Written on November 28, 2013 at 10:07 am , by FITNESS Editors
Here it is. The homestretch to 2014. What lies between now and next year are potentially weeks of unbridled eating and holiday abandon. But in the spirit of “the best defense is a good offense,” Flywheel studios may just yet give your year, ahem, a tight end.
The hip indoor cycling chain is kicking off what it calls a Holiday Express Challenge on Monday, December 2 (Yes, this coming Monday, after you’ve polished off the last slice of pie). Your mission for the following 21 days, if you choose to accept it: Take five classes per week. At Flywheel studios that also offer sculpting classes, the split will be three FlyBarre classes and two Flywheel classes.
The Holiday Express Challenge will also include a special workshop on techniques and a nutrition seminar for surviving all that party food. Check out Flywheel’s website to sign up or get more scoop.
So, who’s joining the challenge? We’re ready to get our rears in gear!
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Written on November 27, 2013 at 11:22 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Maria Kang is just a mom—a mom gone viral, that is, when her ab-flaunting “What’s your excuse?” captioned photo sparked controversy and media scrutiny. Things had just died down for the Californian fitness enthusiast when she hit another nerve last week with a Facebook rant about plus-size women in lingerie.
Kang issued a warning about what she had to say, then vented her disapproval for those who encourage overweight women to be proud of their bodies. The mother of three urged her nearly 230,000 followers to change the mentality that’s sweeping the nation (sourcing multiple statistics), noting that she was not knocking those who are proud and heavy…but instead simply trying to empower healthy role models in society. Three hours later, Facebook removed her post and she was temporarily blocked from the site altogether.
“I think that everyone should love and accept their bodies,” Kang told FITNESS yesterday. “I don’t think that anyone can progress when they have a foundation of shame, so I didn’t want to seem like I was bashing them. No one should be ashamed of who they are. But there is a fine line that we’re walking, and that’s what I was talking about: When you say you love and accept yourself versus love and progress yourself.”
With two-thirds of our nation obese, $3 trillion being spent on health care, and childhood obesity on the rise, Kang believes there are multiple contributing factors tipping the scales, all in which stem from family. “Economically, it’s tougher to get good food when you’re poor,” she says. “Socially, if people around you are eating like crap and it’s normal, then it’s normalized. And culturally, if people are saying you’re okay being overweight, they keep on reinforcing this outlook.” The root of the problem, in her eyes, lies in leadership. “If the parents are healthy and they are healthy role models, then they can raise healthy kids. That’s just how it goes. It’s so simple but so hard when we live in such a blameful culture.”
So is she at fault for fat-shaming? Is the criticism warranted? According to Kang, she’s simply telling the truth and would never intend on hurting anyone’s feelings. “If you have excess body fat, especially around your midsection where your organs are, that’s not healthy for you,” she said in response to the recent backlash. “I think we should never shame anybody to lose weight. We should motivate them in a positive way, but when you say love and accept yourself, you’re creating not only a normalization, but a sedentary, complacent society.”
Although some have deemed Kang a pudge-loathing personal trainer, that’s not exactly the case. “I’m average…and nowhere near a size zero,” the former NASM-certified instructor said. She doesn’t work out for a living — her day job revolves around overseeing the ownership of two residential care homes for the elderly — but she loves volunteering her time to mommy exercise groups every Tuesday night. “I think your job is to be healthy if you’re a mom,” she added, a concept that provoked her founding of Fitness Without Borders, a community education and motivation non-profit.
So, why so passionate about the obesity epidemic? Kang, a former bulimic, witnessed first-hand the debilitating repercussions of the medical condition with her own mother. “She’s 52 years-old and has so many health issues. I work with people who are overweight by choice. I think that’s the reason why people are so pissed off; I’m telling them that they have a choice when they really want to have an excuse.”
Is it a choice? We at FITNESS believe someone can be fat but fit, and you can’t tell what’s going on with a person’s body just by the way they look. Regardless, Kang certainly knows how to stir the pot, and one thing we can totally get behind is her belief that small steps in the right direction can lead to major gains, which doesn’t happen over night. According to Kang, you have to be uncomfortable with where you are to desire change. “It’s not an all or nothing thing,” she said. “You have to take it one step at a time.”
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Written on November 27, 2013 at 10:18 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Thanksgiving is all about tradition so before diving into a slice of killer homemade pumpkin pie, many runners lace up and join together for a holiday-inspired footrace. Run to eat—why not?
This upcoming day of thanks is no different than the past 26 for 82-year-old Willa Porter, who will be earning herself yet another race tee at the nation’s sixth largest turkey trot in Dana Point. For the speedy former marathoner (she wins her age group every single year in the 5K), the annual fit festivity provides an opportunity to give it her all with kids and grandkids in tow. Supporting the race’s charitable partners like the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment is also important to Porter, especially since her husband holds a chair position for support group.
Known as “The Race Before You Stuff Your Face,” the Dana Point Turkey Trot 5K, 10K and Kids’ Gobble Wobble has become a Californian favorite that stretches along breathtaking Orange County cliffs and coves. “It is so beautiful and family-friendly,” says Porter.
So how does the inspirational athlete brine her bird and keep dinner on schedule if she’s out there pounding the pavement? “I [used to] prepare food the night before and put the turkey in the oven before I left for the race,” explains Porter, but things are easier now that her sons—grown with families of their own—take turns hosting. The last two years, she also participated in the turkey dinner for veterans and military following the race, and will celebrate the same way next week.
Despite being in tip-top shape now, Porter didn’t start competing – or really exercising regularly – until her late 40s. “I started jogging and bike riding in my late forties when my sons were almost grown and I had more time,” she says, adding that it wasn’t so much of a goal as it was a hobby and fun recreation. Her one piece of advice: give running a try, no matter what age. Cheers to that!
Interested in squeezing in a pre-feast sweat-fest of your own? Head over to Active.com to get your gobble on.
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Written on November 26, 2013 at 10:11 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
With Thanksgiving only a few days away, many of us are starting to feel the stress creeping up. Yes, it’s one of the best holidays when it comes to gathering with friends and family, not to mention indulging in some delicious eats. But extensive preparation often cuts into our stress-relieving workout time, and the focus on food can really threaten our waistlines. So why not take a bit of your Thanksgiving celebration outside this year?
The National Wildlife Refuge is hosting several fitness events across the country that honor our feathered friends in their natural state. The upcoming walks and runs coordinate with some of the peak migratory bird seasons, so you just might get to see Mr. Turkey trotting nearby! Check out these Thanksgiving-themed events for fun ways to get the whole family out and about together.
- Ready to get moving? Join in the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge’s Turkey Trot 5K Walk/Run on Thursday, Nov. 28, at 9 a.m. for just $20. You’ll see plenty of mule deer, eagles, Canada geese and mallard ducks.
- Rather go with the flow? The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is hosting the Bird Migration Walk on Saturday, Nov. 30, 1-2:30 p.m. Free to all visitors, this walk features peaceful views full of shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl.
- Walk off all that turkey with the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge’s Turkey Walk on Saturday, Nov. 30, 1:30-3:30 p.m. With a little luck, you’ll see some wild turkeys, deer, red foxes, bald eagles, great blue herons and hawks on this free, easy stroll.
Can’t make it out to one of these events? No problem! The refuge trails are open from sunrise to sunset daily—even Thanksgiving Day. Search for a fun spot near you on the Refuge’s trail system website and get moving. What better way to give thanks for your health?
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Written on November 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Every year, we patiently wait for People magazine to release their latest list of sexiest men, and which stud will grace the cover to be crowned Sexiest Man Alive. It came as no surprise that Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine claimed the title this go ’round – after all, anyone who tunes in weekly to see him coach on The Voice knows the guy can turn on the charm. His bromance with Blake Shelton, another singer topping the sexy men list, and recent engagement to model Behati Prinsloo doesn’t hurt either (someone managed to lock him down!). But he’s not the only smoldering star on the list. Luke Bryan, Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars can all be found too, and with swoon-worthy songs coming from each of their albums, again, we’re not surprised. So get a little boost during your next workout and plug into this playlist made only of the Sexiest Men of 2013. And hey, picturing them with their shirts off probably won’t hurt either…