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February 2012

Delicious Party Snacks Inspired By Oscar-Nominated Movies

Written on February 24, 2012 at 11:26 am , by

Katie Lee enjoys spicing things up in the kitchen. (Photo courtesy of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!)

Katie Lee knows how to host one festive, tasty event. The food critic, cookbook author and former Top Chef host and judge has thrown countless parties and has big plans for Oscar Sunday this year! But before her big soiree, we caught up with Lee to snag her top three Academy Award-worthy tips:

  1. Get everyone involved. “Bring the glamour of the red carpet into your living room. Details as small as gold or silver cocktail napkins, draped red table cloths and glitzy champagne glass charms can make a big impact.”
  2. Add festive details. “Create simple ballots on festive stationery that allow your guests to predict the winners of each category. The guest with the most correct picks wins a fun prize!”
  3. Set up party stations. “Encourage guests to mingle by creating separate food and drink stations around the room. This will allow your party to flow well, but also encourage guests to meet one another throughout the night. For an added attraction, theme each station to one of the best picture nominees!”

Chili Parmesan and Peanut Popcorn (Inspired by Moneyball)

You can't watch a baseball game—or an awards show—without popcorn! (Photo courtesy of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!)

Serves 18

  • 18 cups plain popped popcorn
  • 1/4 cup I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Spread, melted
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  1. Put popcorn in large bowl.
  2. In small bowl, combine melted spread, chili powder and salt; drizzle over popcorn and toss until evenly coated.
  3. Add peanuts and cheese; toss.

Nutrition information per serving: 110 calories, 8 grams of fat

Now that we covered the savory, Lee passed along a sweet idea. Click below for the recipe!

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Fit Favorites Finale: The Year’s Best in Fitness Motivation and Inspiration

Written on February 24, 2012 at 9:39 am , by

Sofia Vergara always seems to wow us on the red carpet, like she does here at this year's SAG Awards. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

As the big awards season circuit draws to a close with this Sunday’s Academy Awards, we wanted to share a few last picks for our fitness-related moments, ideas and people worth celebrating. Check out our other best of picks here and here!

Most Fun Red Carpet Moment of 2012 (so far): Sofia Vergara at the Golden Globes

The Modern Family star told Ryan Seacrest that she hit the gym for two sessions daily leading up to the awards “for the first time in my life.” She then flexed her strong biceps and said, “Gunnar Peterson [her trainer] here…But cake over here [pointing to her torso].” Vergara worked hard to achieve her killer curves, but admitted that she treats herself too. We love an honest celebrity! It makes her seem more relatable—it really is all about moderation.

Most Classy Runners-Up: USA Women’s World Cup Team

Although Japan took the gold during a finals shoot-out, Team USA inspired a new generation of soccer fans with several come-from-behind wins earlier in the tournament and the way they took second place with grace. We were also introduced to some up-and-coming athletes. One standout? Hope Solo, with her amazing goalkeeping skills and inspiring muscles, which were later showcased on the cover of ESPN’s The Body Issue.

Best Free Fitness App: Nike Training Club

Sweat like a celebrity (Lea Michele), athlete (Shawn Johnson) or trainer (Ary Nunez, who puts Rihanna through the paces) during more than 85 custom routines contributed by these big names and more. You can even set your own soundtrack and share your successes with your pals on Twitter and Facebook! We find ourselves repeatedly tapping back to this app for the physical results and for the rewards we can earn for racking up workout minutes, including tips, recipes and more.

Most Popular Unisex Workout Trend: CrossFit

Everyone from Bob Harper to Jessica Biel has touted the powers of CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program that mixes resistance training, running and plyometrics in a high-intensity, efficient workout. Learn more about the sport and follow along as one of our readers tries it out in the March issue of FITNESS!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Now tell us: What celebrity, athlete, workout or fitness tool earned your kudos this year?

Fit Blogger We Love: Say What You Need To Say

Written on February 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm , by

Lauren loves mixing fun workouts into her routine.

Lauren from Say What You Need To Say is all about truth—it’s right there in her blog name! We love popping over when in need of our own reality check, or just when we need to see someone might be going through the same ups and downs as us. Read on to find out what she simply cannot live without and how she likes to end her busy day. 

5 things I can’t live without: My Mac (it goes everywhere with me), sunflower seed butter, good music, wine and soy mistos from Starbucks.

My fave fit snack: Lately, I’ve really gotten into cottage cheese. I like to end my night with something slightly sweet, so my go-to bedtime snack has been cottage cheese mixed with blueberries and lots of cinnamon. I’ve also read that cottage cheese can help burn fat while you sleep—a nice added bonus!

My biggest indulgence: Wine. I’m a complete wino and would never give it up for any diet approach. I like to enjoy a good glass with dinner a few times a week.

My favorite way to work out: I used to focus all of my time and energy into running, but now I’ve realized that my body craves variety. I always make sure I’m enjoying the workout I’m doing, so while I still toss in a run now and then, my workouts are more focused on whole body routines, strength training, an occasional yoga class and teaching indoor cycling.

My “I Did It” moment: I’ve had a few defining moments in my fitness journey. I’ll never forget the moment when I crossed the finish line of my first half-marathon, or the day I became a certified personal fitness instructor. Then there’s the day I completed a brutal 3-day training to become an RPM (cycling) instructor. All of these things took hard work, dedication and time, but I realize that my passion now has become less about doing things for me and more about helping others achieve their fitness goals.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Email us at blog@fitnessmagazine.com

Score an Oscar-Worthy Body Like Anne Hathaway, Olivia Wilde and Ashley Greene

Written on February 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm , by

Double-duty workouts help Anne Hathaway sculpt her hourglass figure. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Actors and musicians don’t take a winter hiatus from their workout routines—in fact they often amp up the intensity since awards show season basically spans the first two months of the year. You too can sculpt a red carpet-ready shape with these tips from celebrity trainer Nathan Mellalieu! He has worked out with film casts (X-Men, The A Team, Get Smart and more) and has several high-profile clients, including Anne Hathaway, Olivia Wilde, Ashley Greene, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck.

Tone your total body by kicking and punching. “Kickboxing helped Ashley Greene get in vampire shape for Twilight,” Mellalieu says. He recommends an hour of kickboxing three times a week and suggest including jabs and jab-cross combinations for the core and upper body as well as front and roundhouse kicks for the core and lower body. Click here to learn how to do these moves and more!

Challenge yourself with body weight. Knocking out one pull-up is a great goal for women, Mellalieu says, but by starting with this variation, he helped Olivia Wilde work up to completing five unassisted pull-ups by the end of training for Tron: Legacy.

  • Loop a sturdy resistance band over a secured bar and lean back so your body is at a 45 degree angle, with arms extended and palms facing chest.
  • Slowly pull yourself up until hands are parallel with chest, then relax all the way down.
  • Keep adding reps until your muscles feel fully fatigued.

The reverse lunge with lateral raise is a strength exercise, but feels like cardio since your heart rate stays high. (Photo courtesy of Studeo55)

Try multitasking moves. “You can maximize the efficiency of your workouts by working multiple muscle groups at the same time, which keeps your heart rate up. Anne Hathaway did moves like these to tone her body for Get Smart,” Mellalieu says.

  • Modified Thruster
  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells at face height with palms facing in.
  2. Keep spine straight and most of weight in heels and bend knees to complete a squat.
  3. As you return to standing position, press arms overhead with palms facing in.
  • Reverse Lunge with Lateral Raise
  1. With hands at sides, palms facing in, step back into a reverse lunge until front knee is at about a 90-degree angle.
  2. While lowering, lift arms out to sides until they’re parallel with shoulders.
  • Curl and Press
  1. Hold dumbbells with arms at sides, palms facing forward.
  2. Keep a slight bend in knees, curl weights to chest, then press arms overhead.

Anne Hathaway photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Now tell us: Which red carpet star would you like to train with?

Skinny Sips for Your Oscar Party This Weekend

Written on February 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm , by

Cheers to the host with this Crystal Cosmo! (Photo courtesy of Voli Light Vodkas)

We can’t speak for everyone, but for the majority of us awards season for women is the equivalent to the NFL, with the Oscars acting as the Super Bowl. Before you tune in to the red carpet, whip up one of these Oscar-inspired low-cal cocktails to serve to your guests. And if you sat through the football game while your boyfriend yelled at the TV a few weeks ago, then he’s expected to sit on the couch, drink fruity cocktails and “ooh” and “aah” with you over dresses for a few hours. All is fair in love and war!

Crystal Cosmo (as an ode to this year’s host, Billy Crystal)

1 1/2 oz Voli Lyte
1 oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz cranberry juice
1/2 oz agave nectar
Splash of prosecco (optional)
Lemon twist for a garnish

Add ice, Voli Lyte, lemon juice, cranberry juice, agave nectar and shake. Strain into a martini glass and top with prosecco.

Calories: 150 (140 without prosecco)

Read on for more Oscar themed cocktails that are 150 calories or less!

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Eating Tips and a Recipe from Cheryl Forberg, The Bigger Loser’s Former Nutritionist

Written on February 23, 2012 at 9:26 am , by

This “mayo” is a healthy alternative to creamy rich spreads on sandwiches. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Forberg)

When Cheryl Forberg, registered dietitian, James Beard award-winning chef and creator of The Biggest Loser meal plan signed on to the show for its first season, she was shocked at the contestant’s state of health. “Most of what I did was not on camera;  at the beginning of every season the applicant pool was huge. Season 5 alone had 220,000 applicants. Once we weeded applicants out down to about 75, we could start doing physical tests while I met with them to talk about eating habits and their weight loss and weight gain tendencies,” she said. “The first season was shocking to hear their eating habits, but after a few seasons I realized I was hearing the same thing over and over again.”

Read below as Forberg shares her experiences with The Biggest Loser, the nutrition factors she used to make the meal plan and a healthy spread you can make easily at home.

What were you most surprised to discover about with the diets of the past contestants on The Biggest Loser?

I found all the contestants had things in common, like the belief that skipping meals promotes weight loss, drinking too many calories, having too much processed fast food, not eating very many fruits and vegetables, little to no water consumption, not eating enough whole grains and forgetting to plan ahead. Everybody had a different combination of one these things, but what they all had in common was prioritizing their family, work or something else over themselves. They needed to put their head in the game and get healthy so that they could be around to take care of the people and things they loved. They needed to start taking care of themselves.

For someone looking to make their own meal plan for weight loss, what foods should be on their list?

To start, steer clear from the white stuff. That includes flour, rice, sugar and pasta. Try to focus on whole grains instead. Also be careful of how many carbs you are eating, since they are often the biggest culprit for people who are looking to shed major weight. People feel like they need them at every meal and snack, but that’s just not true. Kick up the amount of fruits and veggies you normally eat, with a majority of that being on the vegetable side. They have high water content and little starch. Things like tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant and bell peppers are great to stock up on and low in calories, so it is OK to munch away. Make sure you are eating some lean protein such as egg whites, beans, edamame and vegetables (are you sensing a theme here?). Lean beef and pork work great for dinner, along with chicken, turkey and plenty of fish. And don’t assume fat is bad, we all need good fats which you can find in things like avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil.

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Doctor’s Orders: Relax! Do You Need a Health Break?

Written on February 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm , by

Nick Cannon gets a prescription for some R&R. (Photo courtesy of lev radin / Shutterstock.com)

Last week, America’s Got Talent host  (not to mention actor, radio personality, DJ, rapper, and dad — phew!) Nick Cannon announced that he was stepping down as host of “Rollin’ with Nick Cannon” at the 92.3  NOW New York radio station. Cannon was hospitalized in January for kidney failure and faced another health scare this February, this time involving blood clots near his lungs. Cannon tweeted that his doctors told him to slow down and stop working so hard.

I don’t know about you, but when I think about my fitness, the mental checklist I go through usually involves: How many times have I worked out this week? What nutritious meal can I have for dinner? Did I take my multivitamins? Am I getting a cold? Whether I’m feeling too stressed or getting quality sleep is usually last (if at all present) on that list.

But Nick’s diagnosis reminded me just how important it is to slow down and relax, too. To add a little more balance to my lifestyle, I’m promising myself at least one yoga session a week and a walk in the middle of every day as a health break. It’s no vacation on the beach, but I’ll take it!

Try these 3 simple ways you can relax whether you’re at home, work or on the go:

Photo courtesy of lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Tell us: What are you doing to de-stress?

Face Off: 3 Popular Supplements Go Head-to-Head

Written on February 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm , by


Photo by iStock.

By Margaret Badore for DietsInReview.com

Can a concentrated dose of one of these “super” plants really help you lose weight? Our experts tend to say not likely, at least not anything long term. However, the growing popularity of raspberry ketones (since Dr. Oz’s “miracle fat burner” endorsement last week) has us looking back at some of the biggest supplement fads in recent years.

Here, we take a look at three supplements that promise weight loss: raspberry ketone, hoodia and acai.

Raspberry Ketone 

This supplement recently got major attention when Dr. Oz touted raspberry ketone as a fat-burner that can help anyone lose weight. Although scarce in nature, the synthetic raspberry ketone is relatively inexpensive. The supplement is basically a stimulant that works by increasing the body’s production of norepinepherine and adiponectin. Norepinepherine boosts metabolism by raising the body’s temperature, while adiponectin makes glucose less likely to be stored. However, there haven’t been any controlled studies on humans showing that these effects result in weight loss. “Like other diet pills that have an effect on body temperature and metabolism I would think that these products would only be effective for a short period of time and would eventually have to be discontinued,” says Dr. Sarah G. Khan, DietsInReview’s resident pharmacist.

Acai  Read more

#140Wednesdays: What Do You Think About When You Exercise?

Written on February 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm , by

Think positive thoughts to keep on trotting. (Photo courtesy of Lynda Churilla)

Studies have shown that exercise can strength train your brain, but sometimes it’s your brain that can strength train your workout. Picturing a place, goal weight or even a person (Gisele Bündchen abs, anyone?) while you sweat can help you kick up the intensity and navigate you out of a routine rut. Want to know what other people are thinking about every time they lace up? Read below and then share your mental mojo in the comments below.

@runbangrun: I think about how blessed I am to have a body that supports me despite the way I’ve treated it in the past. #140Wednesdays

@GettingTo120: I try to focus on how my muscles feel. Sometimes my mind strays and I think about ice cream.

@LetsDoThisTrish: I’m doing this for my health and the baby’s. Healthy, Happy Mama=Healthy, Happy Baby. #Pregnant

@cherielianne: About how awesome it’d be to be featured in your mag in a Before and After spread featuring my weight loss journey! #IDidIt

@Tricia25Bev: I think about the summer and all the outfits I would like to fit in and my friends wedding, to fit into that bridesmaids dress!

@SushGarci: To give it all you got. it’s so hard but only one hour of the day! #140Wednesdays

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Scents to Spice Up Your Workout

Written on February 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm , by

Certain fragrances can encourage you to slide into yoga poses like downward dog. (Photo courtesy of Chris Fanning)

We all know music can pump you up for a workout, but what about smells? Even though it’s one of the most important of the five senses, it’s often forgotten, says Michael Papas, Executive Perfumer at Givaudan Fragrances and creator of more than 100 scents. “Fragrance plays a huge role in the way one wants to feel,” he says. “Different smells can motivate, relax or help reboot to put you in a frame of mind that will make you want to do something healthy, like working out.”

If you’re taking exercise outside, try working out without music and focus on taking in the smells around you, like blooming flowers or freshly fallen snow, Papas suggests. If you’re gearing up for some indoor sweat, try setting these scents throughout your office or house to set you up for a day filled with happy sweating.


Aroma is a very important aspect of yoga practice, so it’s key to tap into the part of your brain that relaxes you and relieves tension that may have built up from a stressful day, Papas says. Some scents that will having you gliding into downward dog include:

  • Lavender
  • Ginger
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Sandalwood
  • Sage
  • Juniper
  • Rosemary

Try Glade Expressions Lavender and Juniper Berry for a comforting, tension-relieving effect or Glade’s Cashmere Woods for a more warm and aromatic infusion into your om-session.


Fruity, citrus scents help wake you up and give the senses a shot of energy to power up for an intense Spinning class or running workout. For a very invigorating effect, reach for candles, incense sticks or other items with these notes:

  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Tangerine
  • Grapefruit
  • Melon
  • Pear

Citrus scents help boost you into a workout state of mind. (Photo courtesy of SC Johnson)

We’re fans of the Glade Expressions Pineapple Mangosteen to put us in a sweat-tastic state of mind.

Strength Training

When it’s time to lift weights, energy-boosting scents are your best bet to get the juices flowing. Try these vibrant notes to give you a fresh experience with scents of power, says Papas:

  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Peppermint

Give Glade’s Peppermint Crush a try, or snack on an orange pre-workout.

More from FITNESS:

 QUIZ: Find Scents to Satisfy Your Soul

Scent-Sational: 8 Fresh, Portable Fragrances

Scents & Sensibility: Fragrances to Match Your Personality