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May 2011

4 Things I Learned About Celebrity Fitness

Written on May 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm , by

Climbing the rope at Training Adventure sparks memories of gym class!

Recently, thanks to ASICS , I was lucky enough to spend a few days living (and training) like a celebrity in L.A.! A team of writers were treated to six workouts over the course of two days—and each was hosted by a different celebrity trainer. Along the way, I had four “aha! moments” about exercising like a star:

  1. Variety is the spice of life. We tried a beats-driven spinning class at Equinox, a zen yoga session with Kirschen Hagenlocher (who traveled to India with Julia Roberts during Eat, Pray Love!), a sculpting class with Jennifer Garner’s pal Valerie Waters and more. Each workout challenged our bodies in different ways and proved to us that exercise can never get boring.
  2. Improvise with what you’ve got. Surprise! Many celebrities don’t have home gyms and squeeze in their workouts outside or at their homes using furniture like coffee table for step ups and swap in bands for heavy equipment. Christopher Ross Lane, who has helped whip Valerie Bertinelli and Sara Rue into shape, showed us how to tone up outdoors with the Pro Gym in a Bag, which he uses with his clients. They also slip in plyometrics and neighborhood runs for some cardio. (Christopher also trains our pal Jillian Michaels—trainers need to be pushed by trainers too!)
  3. Take advantage of your surroundings. Have a beach nearby? Run on it! A ladder or swing set? Climb it! Just because it’s not considered “exercise” doesn’t mean it’s not a fabulous workout. This was exhibited during our amazing, fast-paced hike in Temescal Canyon, led by Michelle Lovitt, trainer to Courtney Cox, Eve and Yvonne Strahovsky from Chuck. We didn’t run once, but our heart rates were pumping the entire time. The amazing views didn’t hurt either!
  4. Victoria Beckham is more adventurous than I thought! We couldn’t stop laughing (or sweating) during our workout with Paul Vincent and his team at the Training Adventure. We flipped on mats, climbed over walls as high as our shoulders and maneuvered the monkey bars. I could picture Tom Cruise doing this to prepare for a film role (he has), but had a harder time imagining Posh Spice completing the stunt workout! But Paul claims she comes, with family in tow, and knocks out similar workouts to the Olympians he also trains. Hardcore!

Now tell us: If you could train with any celebrity, who would you pick and why?

Testing my yoga limits.

We were treated to a workout like Jillian Michaels, thanks to Christopher Ross Lane.

Memorial Day Weekend Playlist

Written on May 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm , by

SoulCycle's Bridgehampton location!

SoulCycle's Bridgehampton location!

I’ve been hit by the love bug—for all things SoulCycle! You’ve read about my dedication to the spinning sensation before. From their adorable apparel (see my favorite sweatshirt in this delicious neon pink color!), to the opening of their summer Hamptons studios (I’ll be heading out east to take a class before I hit the beach for Memorial Day weekend!), to instructor MB’s ridiculously awesome hip-hop playlist—which I’m sharing with you now! I just can’t get enough of this high-intensity 45-minute cardio blast, which also includes some high-rep/light-weight dumbbell moves. I feel excited for class, empowered during it, and full of energy afterward for hours—and even days! So what’s not to love? Finding a workout that you enjoy and look forward to is the key to sticking with it. I even hear Biggest Loser‘s new winner, Olivia Ward, is a fan too!

If you haven’t checked out SoulCycle yet and you’re near a studio (word on the street is that with Equinox’s help SoulCycle will be opening new locations in many more cities!), it’s definitely worth the price tag: each class costs about $32. It’ll make you fall in love with working hard and pushing yourself past your limits—or what you think your limits are. I overhead someone in class say, “That’s like cutting out my daily Starbucks latte and bringing bagged lunch twice a week,” in order to attend her weekly pump-it-up class. And I agree! Make sacrifices (giving up Starbucks and eating out is easy) for the things that make you a better, fitter person.

It's fun to sport apparel that looks like this!

It's fun to sport apparel that looks like this!

Here’s my new favorite list of tunes from the crew over at SoulCycle, sure to make Memorial Day weekend awesome!

Meet The Trainer With “Hot Legs”

Written on May 25, 2011 at 10:01 am , by

If this month’s star behind our “Meet The Trainer” is any indication of the hot body you could possess for summer, then I’m sure you’ll be hittin’ the floor with this workout after you read this. Sylwia Wisenberg is the founder of Tonique Fitness and the creator of Exercise TV’s most popular workouts—plus a mother of two young adorable kids. (Yes moms can have hot bodies!) She’s on a mission to make every woman feel and look her sexiest. And with workouts like “Hot Legs” (see page 56 of our June issue), I think she’s making her mark. Read on to find out a little more about our trainer of the month:

Meet Sylwia, our June Express Workout trainer!

Meet Sylwia, our June Express Workout trainer!

I’m writing a movie about your life, tell me the plot:

It would be the story of a 17-year-old girl leaving her country, Poland, in order to follow her dream of exploring the world and finding her ultimate passion. After traveling and studying in many different countries, she finally arrives on the Upper East Side of NYC with only one suitcase. Soon after, she quits her job in finance and searches for things that will make her happy everyday and forever. She dabbles in fashion, food and wine, but most importantly, fitness. After two years, she decides to follow her passion for fitness and movement. It is NYC that gives her the opportunity to express herself, the confidence to use her creativity and to be herself.

Wow—what a story. You’re a renaissance woman! So why the love for fitness?

Fitness is my oxygen and my water, and often it is also my shrink. I did gymnastics for nine years, ran for my school track team and danced literally whenever I found the opportunity. I am now living my dream of helping women feel fabulous! I love what I do. It’s not a job, it’s my mission to make a change and impact in women’s lives by movement.

Read more

The Biggest Loser Finale Tonight: Trainer Brett Hoebel’s Thoughts and Your Predictions!

Written on May 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm , by

The Biggest Loser trainer Brett Hoebel sounds off on the finale!

The Biggest Loser trainer Brett Hoebel sounds off on season 11 and the finale.

As you know, we’re big fans of The Biggest Loser here at FITNESS. The inspiration for our next challenging workout, the emotional breakthroughs by the contestants and the amazing trainers. . . we love it all!

We were lucky to sit down with one of this season’s new trainers, Brett Hoebel, just days before tonight’s finale to pick his brain about his fitness routine, the current season of The Biggest Loser and who he thinks will take home the $250,000 prize.

The workouts he prefers with his bicoastal lifestyle. . . “I prefer spinning to running, but I love to run hills in Runyon Canyon. I do capoeira on Santa Monica Beach and spin at Up Dog when I’m in L.A. And in New York, I train at Arte Capoeira Center, Peak Performance and spin at Flywheel. My exercise routine must include the four components of my fitness toolbox: 1. movement (capoeira, martial arts, etc.), 2. strength, 3. intervals and 4. agility/core.”

His favorite memory from this season. . . “Seeing Justin on the mountaintop [in New Zealand] was one of the greatest moments for me. But it doesn’t stop there. Then I go to meet his family. You see that the contestants can have an impact on the world by walking their talk. The trainers help the contestants improve their health, then they help change someone else, who helps change other people. Each community is inspired by the contestant and the contestant’s family. The ripple effect of our work on the show is humbling! I tell them, ‘I saved your life, now go save another.’”

What he thinks about the remaining contestants. . . “It’s a very tough decision about Irene and Jay [the two contestants who viewers are voting on for the final spot in the top three]. We really saw Irene transform during the last few episodes. Jay was off campus for a while, but was brought back because of his work ethic. Does America want a female winner? I don’t have a preference, but am interested to see who comes out on top! All four have really hit their stride on their own at home.”

So that’s what Brett says, how about you?

More from FITNESS: 10 Tidbits of Weight-Loss Wisdom from The Biggest Loser

Test Your Knowledge: Fitness Fact or Fiction

Written on May 24, 2011 at 9:43 am , by

How much weight should you use for bangin' biceps? (Photo by Alexa Miller)

How much weight should you use for bangin' biceps? (Photo by Alexa Miller)

In the new book Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?, Alex Hutchinson, Ph.D. tackles dozens of health hot topics, from vitamins to VO2 max. You’ll find research-based answers to the most common questions related to gear, strength, competition, managing your waistline and more. Talk about a comprehensive resource!

Test your wellness IQ with five true or false questions straight from Which Comes First…

  1. Fact or Fiction: You will perform at your best if you include plenty of dietary fat in your pre-workout meal.
  2. Fact or Fiction: It doesn’t matter what I think about while training.
  3. Fact or Fiction: Exercising when illness symptoms are “above the neck” won’t harm your body.
  4. Fact or Fiction: When women want to build muscle, they should focus on completing a large number of reps with a light weight.
  5. Fact or Fiction: Getting plenty of shuteye will help your speed and reaction time.

Click below for the answers.

Read more

Meet the Readers’ Choice Finalist for the Face of Fitness Cover Contest!

Written on May 23, 2011 at 5:37 pm , by

Lauren Lopez

Lauren Lopez, who was a Face of Fitness weekly winner at the beginning of April, will move on to the final round in NYC to try for the cover of FITNESS magazine!

Ever dream of being on the cover of a magazine? Oh wait…who hasn’t?!

And yet we were still completely blown away by the 3,500-ish submissions we received for our first-ever Face of Fitness cover contest! The overwhelmed feeling wasn’t just because of the number of entries though; it was because of how inspiring, motivating, and amazing many of your stories were. The editors at FITNESS already know how awesome our readers are, but we couldn’t have been prouder to see who reads our magazine and visits our website. You guys rock!

But now for an update: We’ve officially declared a Readers’ Choice* Finalist!

(* = For 10 weeks, we posted the latest submissions here on FitnessMagazine.com and whoever got enough votes from other users was declared the weekly winner…and scored some cash, too. These 10 survivors then battled it out for a chance to be named one of the finalists who will fly to NYC next month for a photoshoot, along with four other finalists selected by the judges.)

So, everyone, meet Lauren Lopez. At 28, Lauren is a mother of two daughters under the age of three and she has been married for almost six years. Rudy, her husband, is in the Navy, and when Lauren isn’t playing with her girls, exercising, or volunteering, she is in the classroom working on obtaining her MBA. Here’s a little more of what Lauren wrote about having a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle:

“Fitness has always been an important ingredient in my life. I want to take care of myself so I can live a long, healthy, and happy life, but I also want to set a good example for my kids. They see me exercising and want to join in, which is awesome! But sometimes, exercise is my way of spoiling myself and focusing just on me, which I believe is very important to living a balanced life.”

After we called Lauren to officially tell her she was one of the five finalists and might wind up on our cover, she said, “What an extraordinary opportunity! I can’t put into words how happy everyone is and we’re all over the moon!”

Congrats, Lauren!

The NFL’s Keep Gym in School Program Helps Kids Stay Fit

Written on May 23, 2011 at 11:11 am , by

PE Teacher of the Year Dana Griffith with Deion Sanders  (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for NFL Network)

PE Teacher of the Year Dana Griffith with Deion Sanders (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for NFL Network)

Football season may be over, but that doesn’t stop our favorite NFL players from being active for a good cause. Through the NFL Network’s Keep Gym in School program, physical education programs in local schools receive grants to provide better classes to students. So far, the program has awarded more than $500,000 to 45 schools nationwide.

This year, the NFL Network also named its first PE Teacher of the Year. The recipient is Dana Griffith, a middle school physical education and health teacher at Berkmar Middle School in Lilburn, Georgia. Ms. Griffith was given this award for her efforts in getting the whole community involved in their children’s fitness. We talked to Ms. Griffith and got tips to inspire everyone to be more active:

How do you keep phys ed in your school fun and engaging?

Students set their own fitness and sports goals which are measured against their own progress. We show them how to monitor their heart rates for they can practice what they learn in class wherever they are. My students voted to have a fitness center available where they can work out and play before and after class. It has a Wii, Playstation and other games so that they have fun while exercising. If it’s not fun, the kids won’t keep doing it.

Not everyone’s a fan of sports. How do you get your kids involved?

One of my favorite sports is Lacrosse, so that’s one of the sports we play. Unlike basketball or football, lacrosse is new to most students, so the playing field is even and no one feels left out.

How can parents keep kids active when they get home from school?

Fitness has to be a priority for the whole family. Check with your local Parks and Recreation Department to find free or low-cost activities that everyone can enjoy. You can also start healthy traditions, like playing a game of touch football after holiday dinners. We have a popular mother-daughter aerobics class at our fitness center where we offer nutrition and other fitness tips too.

What do you have in store for the next school year?

We want to add a track behind the school and open it up to the community and create running groups. My students also voted to add a climbing wall. I’ve noticed that young girls lack upper body strength even for their age group. Rock climbing is definitely more fun than doing push-ups. Every year we ask students for their feedback: what they like, what they want to change. This way, they feel more involved and in control of their fitness, too.

To learn more about the NFL Network’s Keep Gym in School Program, visit keepgyminschool.com. And find fun fitness activities for the whole family at NFLrush.com/play60.

Now tell us: How did your school PE experiences impact your fitness habits today?

Fit Links: The Worst Allergy Season Ever and Hilary Swank’s Health Project

Written on May 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm , by

Photo by Karen Pearson

Photo by Karen Pearson

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Fun Weekend Event: Free Fitness Classes at Nordstrom

Written on May 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm , by

The Zella Movement

The Zella Movement (Photo courtesy of Nordstrom)

Shopaholics like myself probably consider shopping their cardio (one hour actually burns about 150 calories for a 140-pound woman), but this weekend, going to a mall can actually give you a real workout! This Saturday, Nordstrom stores nationwide are hosting The Zella Movement, a day of free fitness activities, from yoga to boot camp classes to celebrate the Zella women’s activewear line.

Visit Nordstrom.com today to find the Nordstrom nearest you and RSVP for some fun, fit classes this weekend!

Now tell us: Planning ahead is a great way to ensure that you squeeze in activity into your schedule. What fun, fit plans do you have for your days off?

Fit Blogger We Love: The Fitnessista

Written on May 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm , by

We’ve got to admit, The Fitnessista‘s appetizing food photos never fail to catch our attention when we scroll through our RSS feed. This week, we chatted with Gina, the personal trainer, group fitness instructor and girly-girl behind the blog, about dry shampoo (AKA post-gym lifesaver), workout mantras and yummy snacks she likes to call “Amazeballz.”

Gina, The Fitnessista

Gina, The Fitnessista

I’m happiest when I’m: Dancing! Any type of dance or dance fitness: jazz, hip hop, Zumba, Dance Trance and dance cardio are my favorites, but I’m just as happy shaking it in my living room. It’s one of those workout gems where you forget you’re actually “working out” and burn a crazy amount of calories. Winner winner!

My fave fit snack: Amazeballz! These are high protein snacks that taste just like dessert. Amazeballz contain many of my favorite ingredients and are perfect to stash in your purse for grab-and-go. You can find the recipe here.

5 things I can’t live without: 1) My husband (aka “The Pilot”) and maltipoo, Bella, 2) Sun Warrior vanilla protein powder, 3)  Lululemon Cool Racerback tanks, 4) almond butter (Nuttzo peanut-free rocks my world), 5) Buxom eyeliner.

My fitness mantra: “Change creates change.” You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Anything you can do to switch up your workout routine or eating habits will keep the body from kicking into cruise control. Change something and change will follow.

My gym bag must-have: Dry shampoo! As a fitness professional, I teach quite a few times each day and don’t always have time to shower in between- sad, but reality. Dry shampoo has saved my life! I’ll spray a little to my roots (Ojon is my fave brand) and comb through, and then blowdry the wet parts. It gets me through the day without feeling like a greaseball.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Tell us in the comments below.