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December 2011

Resolution-Ready Recipes from a Slimmed-Down Top Chef

Written on December 30, 2011 at 10:17 am , by

You’ve seen her donning a chef’s coat on Next Iron Chef and with fork in hand as a judge for Chopped, but you’ve never seen Food Network personality Amanda Freitag quite like you will on page 44 of the January issue!

Because of her career, she is inundated with on-the-house samples at restaurants. She also travels frequently to tape the Cooking Channel show Unique Eats. So FITNESS stepped in with a team of experts who worked with Freitag and passed along the ingredients for a healthy, balanced lifestyle while keeping up with her fun job requirements. Pick up the magazine, on newsstands now, for all of the details!

Since Freitag is a culinary pro, we couldn’t let this opportunity pass without stealing a few kitchen secrets. It turns out, she was inspired by this project to create many new, diet-friendly recipes that are perfect for your healthy eating resolutions. Why wait until January 1 to start?

Here are two of her favorites that are sure to amaze your tasting panel!

Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken with Jamaican Spice

Serves 4

Chef Freitag says: “I really prefer the dark meat of the chicken, so while trying to trim down, I eat the thighs, but want my small portion to have incredible flavor and texture. This is a soul satisfying meal that also tastes great as a leftover!”

The crispiness comes from cornmeal, not frying. (Photo by Barrett Washburne)

  • 4-6 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
  • 1 cup instant polenta or finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seed, ground
  • pinch cayenne
  • salt to taste
  • 2 baked sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups cooked kale
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a shallow baking dish combine the cornmeal and the spices thoroughly.
  3. Season the chicken legs with salt if desired.
  4. Place the thighs into the cornmeal mix skin side down and then flip over to coat the other side.
  5. Place the crusted thighs into another shallow baking dish skin side up and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn the oven down to 350 degrees and cook for 15 more minutes or until juice of the chicken run clear when poked with a fork.
  6. Serve the thighs with a baked sweet potato and kale.

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Fit Blogger We Love: Run Stronger Every Day

Written on December 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm , by

Abby's all smiles after finishing the Philadelphia Marathon this fall!

A runner through and through, Abby from Run Stronger Every Day had her world (especially her workouts) flipped upside down a year and a half ago when she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the colon. Not letting it hinder her daily sweat sessions, she learned how to work with her condition and live up to her motto, “now go out and run!” We caught up with this speedster to find out more about her fit life and who reminds her to keep going strong.

My favorite way to work out: Running, of course! I’ve been running since I was 10 and there is no better way for me to sweat than to lace up my shoes and head out for a run.

On my fit life list: Once I finish my Ph.D. in physical therapy (December 2015!), I want to run the Honolulu marathon and go on a Hawaiian vacation! Maybe I’ll run my 3:30 marathon time there. Who knows, you gotta have goals!

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I workout to: Bat Out of Hell,” by Meat Loaf. My parents are big classic rock fans and that’s pretty much all that’s played in the gym in their house. It has a killer beat.

My “I Did It” moment: When I finished the Jersey Shore marathon in May 2011 during the worst ulcerative colitis flare-up I’ve ever had. It was physically the worst experience of my life. I struggled from mile 13 to 20, but finished the last six really strong. I knew right then and there that this disease would never define or destroy me.

My biggest motivator is: My husband. He makes me brave. And my parents. They both beat cancer and taught me to never, ever give up.

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

Your Winter Workout Woes – Answered!

Written on December 28, 2011 at 4:01 pm , by

Learn to love your workout, snow or shine! (Photo courtesy of Alexa Miller)

Baby it’s cold outside! But for those of us training, sans gym membership, or just yearning for some fresh air, we can’t let the chilly weather keep us from an outdoor workout. If you find your morning runs too cold, have achy joints, or just want to make it through a run without wiping out, we hear you! That’s why we asked Dr. Scott Weiss, clinical director and owner of Bodhizone Physical Therapy your burning cold weather workout questions. Read on below to see how you can have a successful workout no matter what the weather.

The cold weather makes my joints hurt! What stretches can I do before a workout to stop constantly feeling sore?

If cold weather is making you sore, the worst thing to do is go and stretch since you’re more likely to pull a muscle or tear some cartilage. In the cold weather, the key is total body warmth. Spend a little more time warming up, by adding 5-10 minutes to your normal warm-up routine. Stretching while your joints are warm will then enhance flexibility and range of motion while also reducing your chance of injury.

Sometimes when I go for a run in the winter, my toes lose feeling. Why is this happening and how can I fix it?

Most of the time numb toes are a minor circulatory or footwear issue. Try making a fist with your toes, or do some calf raises to get the blood pumping. Once you get home, be sure to elevate your feet to relieve the pressure. If tingling persists, it could be something more serious (like frostbite), and you should contact a physician.

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What We’re Snacking On Now: Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips

Written on December 27, 2011 at 11:27 am , by

A smart swap for a sports-viewing snack. (Photo courtesy of Food Should Taste Good)

Written by Theresa K. Brady, editorial intern

Football season is in full swing and the playoffs are just around the corner! Tailgating and mid-game snacks are a must at viewing parties, but it’s all too easy to grab handful after handful of greasy potato and tortilla chips (not too mention the high-calorie dips they often come with—onion, nacho cheese, etc.).

Luckily, we stumbled upon a new, more vitamin-packed option that will still cure your chip cravings. Food Should Taste Good’s kettle cooked sweet potato chips are 100 percent all natural and are gluten-free, so you can bust them out at a party and still accommodate people’s dietary restrictions. Bonus: One serving—15 original flavored chips at 150 calories—provides 175 percent of your daily value of vitamin A and three grams of fiber!

Besides original, three other varieties are available:

  • Salt & Pepper Sweet Potato
  • Barbeque Sweet Potato
  • Salt & Vinegar Sweet Potato

Since there’s no better combination than chips and (guilt-free) dip, so we asked Food Should Taste Good’s Chef Ryan for an easy, light and flavorful dip recipe. Here’s his recommended pairing for the original flavored chip:

Fig & Goat Cheese Puree

Yield: 6 cups
Serves 12 to 15

  • 10 ounces, dried Calimyrna figs
  • 22 ounces goat cheese
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • ½ cup honey
  1. Cut stems off figs and place in food processor, process until well chopped.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl. Serve chilled.

Now tell us: What’s your favorite game day snack?

Fit Links: Build a Better Resolution and Make Gym Trips Easier

Written on December 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm , by

Resolution rule number one: Don't set six lofty goals at once. (Photo by Reggie Casagrande)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Top 10 Tips from Univision’s Weight-Loss Reality Show Dale Con Ganas

Written on December 23, 2011 at 10:43 am , by

Consider these experts your Spanish-speaking Bob, Jillian and company! The creator of The Biggest Loser have launched Dale Con Ganas (Give It Your All), which premieres on Univision on January 11.

Trainer Maria Simon teaches her contestants gym-free ways to get fit. (Photo courtesy of Univision.com)

We asked the show’s nutritionist and three trainers to pass along their top 10 tips to help their contestants—and you!—lose weight in 2012.

Your dream team:

  • Monica Montes, nutritionist
  • Marcelo Crudele, trainer
  • Maria Simon, trainer
  • Oscar Luna, trainer

1. Take notes. “The most important first diet step is to write everything down,” Montes says. Each time you eat, track the time, food groups included, portion sizes and calories. “Contestants used food journals to adjust their meal schedules and food choices and learned how to measure proper portions throughout the show,” she adds.

2. Go easy on the joints. Sure, jumping moves like plyometrics burn major calories, but they aren’t the best choice for fitness newbies. “Try interval drills on the elliptical or in the pool, alternating challenging bursts and recovery periods to allow for increased heart rate with minimal impact on the joints,” Simon says.

3. Eat like a pro. “We enjoy meals and snacks more when they are colorful and full of flavor,” Montes says. Try this sample meal plan that contestants prepare on the show.

  • Breakfast: Six egg white veggie omelet (spinach, tomato, onion, zucchini, red bell pepper, mushrooms), fresh salsa, high-fiber whole grain tortilla, orange
  • Snack: Greek yogurt with blueberries
  • Lunch: Grilled salmon with black pepper and lemon, black bean soup and salad (made with spinach, basil, radish, broccoli, bell peppers, green onions with lemon, olive oil, black pepper and sea salt)
  • Snack: Hummus with carrots and celery
  • Dinner: Chicken soup (including chicken, corn, zucchini, onion, tomato, cilantro) with one or two corn tortillas
  • Snack: Jicama, mango and cucumber salad

4. Focus. One motto that the contestants live by: “Train your mind to train your body.” The mental work comes first, then the physical, which is why the trainers love getting in the ring.  “Boxing is a sport that requires full concentration,” says trainer Crudele, who is also a licensed boxing and kickboxing instructor. “It’s fun and improves both your mental and physical conditioning.”

5.  Fit it in your life. Unlike on Loser, show participants “remain in their real life environments, including keeping their jobs and family responsibilities—as well as all the stress and temptations that come with these dynamics,” Simon says. Don’t radically overhaul your routine when trying to lose weight because this will likely be unsustainable. Find ways to revamp your current lifestyle to make it more wellness-focused (for example, switching to low-fat milk in your coffee rather than cream).

For five more pointers from the reality show’s experts, keep reading.

Read more

Get Party Ready with This Quickie Circuit

Written on December 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm , by

Russell is determined make sure you'll feel sexier than ever this season! (Photo Courtesy of Amanda Russell)

Little black dress season is upon us, and coincidentally so is one of the toughest seasons to stay away from sweets, gooey goodies, and more festive treats. Keep your body in check the next few weeks with YouTube Next Trainer participant Amanda Russell‘s LBD workout she’s whipped up exclusively for our readers!

Russell’s workout combines toning, cardio, and sculpting your show off spots including shoulders, arms, waist, back, and your legs. Start doing this routine now to prep for your New Year’s Eve plans!







More from FITNESS:

A 12-Minute Quickie Workout You Can Do Anywhere

Post-Holiday Tune Up from Blogilates’ Cassey Ho

The Stress-No-More Pilates Routine

NEW! The Best Body Ever Class Is Coming to a Gym Near You!

Written on December 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm , by

Bring in the New Year with a firm and burn sizzle session! (Photo courtesy of Cheyenne Ellis)

Wondering how you’re going to melt your post-holiday flab and get sculpted, sexy muscles? FITNESS Magazine and 24 Hour Fitness has got the answer for you! To kick off our 2012 Best Body Ever Plan, select 24 Hour Fitness gyms are hosting a free Best Body Ever class on January 7. Check out the schedule below to see if there’s a class in your area. Not a member? Not a problem! Get a free seven-day pass here to check out the gym and the class!



Best Body Ever Class Schedule


24 Hour Fitness Carlsbad Sport -  10 a.m. (1265 Laurel Tree Ln Carlsbad, CA 9201)

24 Hour Fitness Hollywood Super Sport - 11 a.m. (6380  West Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028)

24 Hour Fitness Houston Rice Village Super Sport9 a.m. (2500 Dunstan Rd Houston, TX 77005)

24 Hour Fitness Laguna Niguel Agassi Super Sport – 9 a.m. (27921 La Paz Road Laguna Niguel, CA 92677)

24 Hour Fitness Madison Square Park Ultra Sport10:30 a.m. (225 Fifth Avenue NY, NY 10022)

24 Hour Fitness NorthGate Super Sport10 a.m. (507 NE Northgate Way Seattle, WA 98125-6106)

24 Hour Fitness NW Las Vegas Ann Road Super Sport11 a.m. (5651  Centennial Center Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89149)

24 Hour Fitness South Coast Metro Super Sport – 10 a.m. (569 Anton Boulevard Costa Mesa, CA 92626-1912)

24 Hour Fitness Tanasbourne Super Sport12 p.m. (1265 Waterhouse Ave Beaverton, OR 97006)

24 Hour Fitness Van Ness Active12 p.m. (1200 Van Ness Ave San Francisco, CA 94109)


More from FITNESS: Stay on the Best Body Ever Plan year round! Sign up here for weekly workouts, diet plans, and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Fit Blogger We Love: Happy Herbivore

Written on December 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm , by

Come January, nutritious, wholesome and low-fat recipes will be all the rage. But why wait? Lindsay Nixon is sharing guilt-free recipes today on her blog Happy Herbivore and in her just-released cookbook Everyday Happy Herbivore. No wacky, expensive ingredients, Nixon promises, and she says that we can create all of the dishes in less time than it takes to watch an episode of 30-Minute Meals. Sold!

We asked Nixon to share more about her favorite hobbies and snacks, then were lucky enough to snag a recipe from her new cookbook. It’s perfect as part of a delicious breakfast or dessert!

Lindsay's vegan cookbook is available now.

My favorite way to work out: Snowboarding. I actually moved to Colorado for the winter so I could ride every day!

I’m happiest when I’m: In motion. I get ants in my pants if I sit too long.

My fave fit snack: Jicama slices with lime juice.

My fitness mantra: “Be better today than you were yesterday.”

My “I Did It” moment: I climbed Mount Washington a few years ago, and because I’m crazy, I did the most aggressive trail. It was wonderful to get to the top and say “I did this! Yeah, I rock!”

Muffin cups make perfect portions. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Nixon)

Apple Fritter Cups

Serves 12

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apple (skin optional)
  • 1 cup nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup light brown or raw sugar
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • nutmeg or ground ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
    Toss 1 cup apples with a few dashes of cinnamon and a little brown sugar until well coated and set aside. (This is your topping.)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk nondairy milk with vinegar and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (your choice) plus a dash of nutmeg or ginger, and stir to combine.
  4. Whisk in sugar, then pour in milk mixture. Add vanilla to remaining 1/2 cup apples and stir to combine.
  5. Spoon into muffin cups just a tad more than halfway full. Add topping on each.
  6. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tip: Once the fritters completely cool, the liners will peel off. If you plan to eat them warm, lightly spray the inside of the liner with oil-spray to prevent stick or forgo the liners and grease your muffin tin or use a nonstick pan.

Nutrition information per serving: 102 calories, <1 g fat

Sweet Treat for Every Girls’ Stocking

Written on December 22, 2011 at 10:21 am , by

Now you can indulge in the Girl Scout Cookie flavors without the unwanted calories! (Photo courtesy of Lip Smacker)

Looking for a last-minute stocking stuffer? Lip Smackers has put a delicious spin on a childhood classic: Girl Scout cookies! Available at Walmart stores in all of the classic flavors we’ve grown to love (toss me some Thin Mints, please!), you can now get the treat without the extra calories for just $1.75 per stick, or $9.95 for a party-pack of eight that includes all five flavors.

It sounded a little too good to be true, so we decided to put the lip treats to the test. Here’s how they fared:

Thin Mint chapstick: The chapstick was long-lasting and definitely had a strong scent. It didn’t seem super-hydrating to my parched lips, but it was a fun blast to the past to when I was a Scout! — Karla Walsh, editorial assistant

Coconut Caramel Stripes gloss: This stuff really brought me back to the college days when I bought a box of Samoas from the local Girl Scouts nearly every spring. Although the consistency was a bit watered down, I found myself reapplying every few minutes to get another burst of flavor. — Samantha Shelton, editorial assistant

Coconut Caramel Stripes chapstick: This flavor was a good approximation of my beloved Girl Scout cookies. The lip stuff smells almost exactly like my ooey-gooey favorites. So much so, in fact, that I’m tempted to track down the real thing right now. — Bethany Gumper, senior editor

Now tell us: What Girl Scout cookie flavor would you like in your stocking?