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August 2011

Fit Blogger We Love: Sweat Once A Day

Written on August 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm , by

Emily knew she was about to dominate the Ironman in front of her. Just look at the attitude in that face!

Emily knew she was about to dominate the Ironman in front of her. Just look at the attitude in that face!

Affectionately known as “Sweaty Emily,” the blogger behind Sweat Once A Day knows how to dominate—whether it’s in races, food consumption or shower-avoidance is irrelevant. Emily most recently triumphed at Lake Placid, where she completed her first Ironman in under 14 hours despite facing multiple stomach-wrenching (literally) obstacles. Read on to find out how this athlete continues to cross items off her bucket list with a sweaty smile.

Five things I can’t live without: competition (especially through triathlons, running and board games), bad pop music (and by bad, I really mean awesome), carbohydrates smothered in cheese or peanut butter, my entire collection of sweatpants, and getting my butt kicked with a heavy dose of sweat. Things I can (and frequently do) live without: showers.

My “I Did It” moment: Crossing the finish line at Ironman Lake Placid. I signed up for the race more than a year beforehand, mere seconds after finishing my first half Ironman. For some insane reason, I thought trying to double the distance that had just kicked my butt was a great idea. I spent the next 12 months getting ready to conquer the toughest athletic feat I’d ever attempted by enduring the hardest, and most gratifying, training cycle of my life. On the actual race day, I was elated to finally be racing, but faced obstacle after obstacle on the course. I’ve never been more proud of myself than when I fist pumped my way across that finish line after 140.6 miles of racing. In the battle of Emily vs. Finish Line Tears, I stood no chance against a waterfall of happy crying as soon as I heard the announcer yell, “Emily Halnon, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”

On my fit life list: My next big goal is to run a sub 3:20 marathon. I have a hot date in Long Beach, California this October where I plan to make it happen. Long term, I’m on a mission to run a marathon in all 50 states and then start attacking the continents. And even longer term, I want to stay healthy enough so I’m still racing and loving it when I’m 93.

My biggest indulgence: My favorite foods to find at a finish line are chocolate donut holes and chocolate milk. And if you read my blog for more than a hot second, you’ll quickly discover my deep and meaningful love for cupcakes.

My fitness mantra: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift,” said by track legend, and my personal idol, Steve Prefontaine. I truly believe that anyone is capable of achieving any goal as long as they commit to working for it. Anytime someone tells me they can’t run a marathon or finish a triathlon, I tell them all the reasons they can. My secret to succeeding at my athletic goals and endeavors is to attack them with guts, heart and tenacity.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com.

Gym Bargain Alert: David Barton’s Block Party

Written on August 24, 2011 at 10:17 am , by

Talk about a refreshing cocktail! Skip the alcohol for a perfect post-workout drink. (Photo courtesy of DavidBartonGym)

Kids are heading back to school and the temperatures are beginning to dip a bit, so many of us are also returning to the gym that we abandoned to exercise outdoors during the summer. We discovered a neat program through DavidBartonGym (DBG), happening every Thursday in August, that may inspire you to hop back on the indoor workout wagon.

DBG’s Block Party events at any of their gym locations in New York, Miami, Seattle and Chicago are open to members and non-members, and include gratis specialty cocktails as well as accessories from Superdry, hair care products from black15and1 and other awesome freebies. But the best part? If you purchase training sessions at the Block Party, that becomes your enrollment fee for the month of September—meaning you pay nothing for next month to train at DBG beyond those sessions! Talk about an incentive.

The last Block Parties takes place tomorrow from 6-8 p.m., but if you can’t make it, you can still have a little party at your own home with this cocktail that bartenders will be whipping up at DBG.

Svedka Citron’s Naked_Bot

  • 1.5 ounces Svedka Citron
  • 2 cucumber slices
  • 1 sprig mint
  • coconut water

Place cucumber slices in bottom of the glass (do not muddle). Fill with ice. Add Svedka and fill with coconut water. Garnish with mint.

Now tell us: If you belong to a gym, do you do so year-round or just during the colder weather months?

Found! The Perfect Fitness Wardrobe Foundation

Written on August 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm , by

Written by Theresa K. Brady, editorial intern

Finding the right underwear can help you focus on what's important—your workout! (Photo courtesy of Fancy Photography/Veer)

When it comes to selecting the right underwear for working out, many ladies tend to get their panties in a bunch. Whether it’s too tight, rides up or is just plain uncomfortable, everyone struggles at some point to find the right pair for their derrière. Luckily, there are some ways you can be sure that you’re finding the right underwear for your fit life.

We asked Marla Horenbein, FITNESS Magazine’s fashion assistant, about what we can do to ensure a wedgie-free workout. Here are her top five rules for awesome undies:

  1. Material matters. We all know that cotton soaks up water, and let’s be honest—we all work up a sweat. “Look for technical synthetic fabrics that contain Nylon, Spandex and Elastane,” she says. “They are comfortable, moisture-wicking and breathable.” Your body will also be able to move unrestricted, which is important for workouts like Zumba, yoga or Pilates.
  2. You do have a choice. Most performance underwear fits snug to avoid chafing no matter which style you choose, so it’s all about personal preference. “Some people solely wear thongs and some people can’t part with their briefs, while others like to switch it up,” she points out. Your comfort and range of motion are the important factors. “Just make sure whatever you wear isn’t visible,” Horbein warns. “Whether it’s the unwanted panty line, or a little peek-a-boo over the top of your pants—keep them hidden!”
  3. Avoid the muffin top. The waistband should fit you snug (whether you choose, briefs, boy shorts or thongs), but it should not dig into your skin. Seamless panties are the best way to go because they lie flat against your body. “The same goes for your legs,” she tells us. “If you get red grooves along your thighs your underwear is too tight!”
  4. Cover your butt. If you choose to wear briefs, make sure that your backside is fully covered. Nothing is more uncomfortable (or unattractive) than underwear that is too small or too big. “No one wants to be known as the wedgie-picker at the gym!” says Horenbein.
  5. Performance underwear can still be cute! At FITNESS we love underwear by Zobha. The seamless designs eliminate panty lines and the moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabric ensures that you’ll stay dry during your workout. Plus the colors are really cute too! Who says what’s underneath can’t be as cute as what’s on top?

More from FITNESS: Check out our Sports Bra Fitting Guide to take care of your top half too!

We Tried It: Hot Power Yoga

Written on August 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm , by

Power yoga can boost balance and core strength. (Photo by Chris Fanning)

Power yoga can boost balance and core strength. (Photo by Chris Fanning)

Even though the FITNESS staff is made up of a bunch of sweatsetters—we love trying the latest classes!—we’re going to reveal a little secret: A few of us totally got our butts kicked from “om” to “namaste” at Pure Yoga last week. The web team had signed up for “a little field trip,” aka a hot power yoga class during lunch. And even though the Pure Yoga staff could’ve mopped the floors with our drenched workout clothes afterward, we still loved it! Read on for the editors’ reactions:

Colleen Moody, Web Editor

Hot Power Yoga made me feel: A little nervous at first, but then super energized when I left the class. I skipped my 3 p.m. coffee without even thinking about it!

During class, I learned: You have to give your body time to adjust. During a tricky bridge pose the instructor sat down next to me and told me he used to be a mountain biker and spent most of his time hunched over riding. After practicing and stretching regularly, his muscles eventually loosened up to yoga. Being a runner, this gave me hope that with a little practice my limbs could loosen up enough to master a bridge one day as well.

Karla Walsh, Editorial Assistant

Hot Power Yoga made me feel: Sweaty, flexible and strong. The poses were challenging enough that the class was never boring.

During class, I learned: Hot yoga can be fun from time to time, but I’d probably opt for traditional power yoga. It’s fun to mix it up, but I think I am better able to focus on the poses rather than the sweat dripping into my eyes!

Marianne Magno, Associate Web Editor

Hot Power Yoga made me feel: More flexible and ready to stretch into deeper poses.

During class, I learned: I had to work on my posture more. Our instructor helped me adjust my form for a few poses and reminded me that it’s been a while since I’ve gotten a good yoga class into my workout routine. I’ll be back for more!

Christie Griffin, Digital Director

Hot Power Yoga made me feel: Detoxed. It was great because if I’m sweating that much, it’s probably because I’m overdoing it with cardio. I liked getting the toxins out without feeling nearly nauseated!

During class, I learned: Some really cool poses. It was a lot of fun!

More fun yoga stuff:

Skip the Salt: Healthy Alternatives to Please Your Taste Buds

Written on August 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm , by

Stick to just a pinch of salt and reap the health benefits. (Photo courtesy of Peter Ardito)

I love to cook, and thanks to my Italian mother I often use measurements like “five healthy shakes” instead of exact amounts. So when making dinner for a friend that’s on a low sodium diet this weekend, (my “five healthy shakes” would probably max out her sodium intake for the next year) I came to a realization — salt is everywhere, especially in my kitchen!

It’s no secret that a majority of Americans crave all things salty. In fact, this ABC News article reports that companies like Campbell’s are adding more salt to their Harvest Select soups after consumers complained they were too bland. With health experts telling us to avoid excess salt, and companies adding more into processed foods, what’s a girl to do?

I tested out some salt substitutes to see if I could live without my beloved salt shaker. Below, some of the things I tried and how my taste buds fared.

  • Lemon juice: I used this on almost everything I would normally salt, like pasta, chicken, and veggies. Not only did I find a new condiment I’m obsessed with, I didn’t miss my usual salty taste one bit.
  • Vinegar: A quick lesson learned, a little bit of this goes a long, long way. Add to potato salads, regular leafy salads, and raw veggies.
  • Spices: Another tasty substitute, I swapped out garlic salt for rosemary and oregano when making homemade tomato sauce. Not only did the sauce taste basically the same, I finally put my spice rack to good use!

Now tell us: What do you use to substitute salt when you cook?

Tips for Feeding Fido

Written on August 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm , by

Written by Theresa K. Brady, editorial intern

Your dog needs a balanced diet, just like you! (Image courtesy of Pet MD)

We all want to keep our furry friends happy and healthy. But did you know that 88 percent of dog owners think that nutrition for humans and dogs is similar while, in reality, it’s extremely different? PetMD teamed up with Hill’s Science Diet to create MyBowl for Dogs (the equivalent to MyPlate for humans) to display the proper pet diet. They briefed us about why Fido doesn’t get a seat at the dinner table.

Carbohydrates should make up about half of your dog’s meal. These are essential for keeping canines playful and active. You want to look for the words “whole grain” on the nutrition label. These will keep blood sugar levels steady and help your dog feel fuller longer.

  • Good sources: Whole grain wheat, brown rice, whole corn, pearled barley and potatoes.

Protein will ideally fill 25 percent of your dog’s bowl. Fresh meats and meat meals provide nutrients for strong muscles and are essential for your pet’s growth, maintenance and energy. One to two sources of protein should be part of the first few listed ingredients on a dog food bag.

  • Good sources: Chicken, lamb, pork, eggs and soybean meal.

Vitamins and Minerals aren’t just necessary for humans—dogs require them as well (and they’re especially important for puppies). Think of them filling about 10 percent of the bowl. Fruits, veggies and plants provide essential vitamins that strengthen your dog’s immune system and create the proper balance for your pet’s good health.

  • Good sources: Produce, mineral supplements.

Fats and Oils make up the remaining 15 percent of the dog bowl. These are required for vitamin absorption, providing energy and normal nervous system function. (And make food taste better!) The right balance of fats such as omega-6 and omega-3 help promote a healthy heart and skin, as well as that shiny coat. Some fatty acids also optimize brain function.

  • Good sources: Soybean oil, pork fat and olive oil. (Avoid fats like beef tallow and lard.)

What about exercise? And is wet or dry food better? Keep reading to learn three important pet wellness lessons.

Read more

Music Monday: Your Cool-Down, Chill Out Playlist

Written on August 22, 2011 at 10:09 am , by

(Photo by Karen Pearson)

This playlist is also perfect to play during your post-workout stretch! (Photo by Karen Pearson)

Being healthy isn’t all about getting energized for a workout; taking a break to relax is just as good for you, too. So when we found out that last Monday was “National Relaxation Day,” we asked our Twitter followers for the tunes that help them unwind. Play these songs to help you snooze soundly tonight or for a welcomed break in your busy workday.

Tell us: What relaxing songs are on your cool down playlist?

Got a music playlist you want to share with us? Send your picks to blog@fitnessmagazine.com and it might be featured on a future Music Monday post!

5 Natural Ways to Stop Cellulite

Written on August 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm , by

woman on beach

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

Eighty percent of women report having at least a little cellulite. And even though it isn’t harmful, it’s not exactly welcomed. Here’s a round-up of some healthy lifestyle habits that have been shown to help reduce the appearance of cellulite. They seem obvious, but if you commit yourself to them they might help you see results…

    1. Lose weight. Although you may not be able to get rid of cellulite completely, when you lose body fat by exercising and eating a healthy diet, you can greatly improve the appearance of dimpled skin because you’ll have less fat pushing up against your skin.
    2. Resistance train. There is no such thing as spot training (losing fat in a specific body area by exercising it), but by strengthening and building your muscles—particularly in areas where you carry cellulite—you can give your skin a more even texture and tone.
    3. Do cardio. Aerobic exercise is a fantastic way to burn calories and burn fat, thereby reducing the size of fat cells under the skin.
    4. Eat a healthy diet. Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and whole grains can give your body the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to properly burn fat and keep your skin and tissues healthy. In fact, healthy proteins from nuts, beans and fish, and antioxidant-rich green tea, berries and garlic can help build up collagen—a connective tissue that helps plump up the skin and makes the signature peaks and valleys of cellulite less extreme. A healthy diet full of vitamin C, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids can also improve skin texture.
    5. Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water is an easy way to improve the texture of your skin. It seems counterintuitive, but by drinking more fluid, your body actually releases excess fluid that you may have been holding onto (including in your cellulite-prone areas).

      Continued: Cellulite solutions like massage, liposuction, creams, and more.

      More from SparkPeople:

      How to Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D

      Sun Protection Tips for Healthy Skin

      FREE Weight Loss and Fitness Plans

      Note to Kim Kardashian: Keep Up With Your Workouts to Help Your Psoriasis

      Written on August 19, 2011 at 3:33 pm , by

      Trainer Jackie Warner says there is a strong connection between fitness and your skin. (Photo courtesy of Jackie Warner/Fit in Your Skin)

      If you’ve been keeping up with the Kardashians, you know Kim recently discovered she has psoriasis, a common condition that causes irritation, redness or scaly patches on the skin. While she’s hoping she doesn’t have a breakout for her big wedding day tomorrow, she tweeted a pic of her “kinda funny & gross” heart shaped psoriasis earlier in the week.

      Kim’s health over-share has perfect timing: August is Psoriasis Awareness Month.

      We recently caught up with celeb trainer Jackie Warner, star of Bravo’s Thintervention and spokesperson for Fit in Your Skin, a campaign that’s spreading the word that exercise helps psoriasis sufferers.

      “Many people don’t know that working out is very beneficial to your skin,” Jackie says. “Exercise helps your body achieve balance and has anti-inflammatory effects.”

      It’s extra important for people with psoriasis to exercise regularly to benefit their overall health, too, notes Jackie, who watched her grandmother suffer from the condition. Those with psoriasis have nearly double the risk for metabolic syndrome—a myriad of conditions like high blood pressure, elevated insulin levels and extra belly fat that occur together and increase risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes—compared to the general population, according to a recent study in Archives of Dermatology.

      If you have psoriasis, make sure you stay fit to keep your skin and your body in shape, Jackie recommends. Click here to learn how to get a free DVD featuring her 30-minute workout and nutrition tips.

      (Jackie Warner interview by FITNESS editorial intern Danielle Paquette.)

      More from FITNESS: Your guide to a clear complexion.

      Fit Links: Home Workouts and a Weighty Controversy

      Written on August 19, 2011 at 10:53 am , by

      Have a blast getting in shape at home! (Photo by Jay Sullivan)

      Have a blast getting in shape at home! (Photo by Jay Sullivan)

      This week’s fit links from around the web: