Written on August 29, 2014 at 9:38 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
When the fittest woman on earth tells you not to weigh yourself, you should probably listen.
Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, 25, nabbed the title last month after her killer performance during the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games. She’s 125 pounds of pure muscle and believes—just like us—that strength is what’s sexy. Yeah. We’re already obsessed with her.
“For me, beauty is confidence, achieving your goal and becoming a better person,” she says. “I had a dark moment where I fell into being anorexic, and in my head, beauty was being as skinny as you could be. Now I see women who are successful because they work hard and they dedicate themselves to things that they believe in. In my eyes, those types of people are the most beautiful ones by far.”
But moving out of the “thin” mindset required a total diet transformation. Now, the Canadian beauty eats clean, simple, protein-packed foods that keep her fueled through the grueling CrossFit workouts she does five days a week. Her seven go-to superfoods: kale, sweet potatoes, blueberries, papayas, spinach, organic meat and avocados.
“Our body is like a little machine and I want to know exactly how to fuel it,” she says. For breakfast, she usually has three eggs with kale, strawberries and almond butter, and lunch and dinner are typically a combination of her fave superfoods with the occasional plate of salmon. Sometimes she’ll swap her blueberries for bananas, but you’ll generally find the same grub on her plate. “I like making salads with kale, blueberry, and chicken with some avocado slices.”
Feeling intimidated by her ridiculously clean diet yet? Don’t. The CrossFitter recommends making one small change to your meal plan each day, as going from a high-fat, high-sugar diet to nothing but lean, green plates overnight isn’t realistic. And cheat meals aren’t off limits. Even she allows herself a treat once a week—hello, ice cream!
“I think what people need to understand is I didn’t start as the fittest woman on earth,” she explains. “When I started CrossFit, I started like anyone else. I had to learn how to eat better and change my life habits. I think it’s really just taking one step at a time. So if it’s incorporating more greens into your meal, that’s one step. And then once that happens, you can go to the next one, but it’s a long process. If you can make one better decision every day, that’s already a winning situation.”
Images courtesy of CrossFit, Inc.
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Written on August 25, 2014 at 9:38 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
When pro tennis player Lauren Davis is in the middle of a losing match, she takes one deep breath to get her head back in the game.
It’s clearly working, because the 20-year-old, 5’2″ Ohio-native is currently ranked among the top 50 players in the world and is competing in the US Open for the third time this week.
“I know a lot of people would die to be where I am, so I try to make the most of it and enjoy it,” she says. “It’s really just a great experience—traveling the world and meeting new people and seeing all of these different places and cultures and doing what I love every single day—it’s pretty incredible.”
During training, Davis runs twice a week and lifts weights three days a week. “I’m smaller than a lot of the other girls so I have to be in really great shape,” she says. She stays away from gluten (her father is a cardiologist and believes wheat contributes to numerous health issues), packs in protein (fish, steak and chicken), and when she’s not feeding her Chipotle obsession, eats lots of small meals throughout the day (usually fruit, yogurt, veggies and Kind bars).
Even though you won’t find many tennis stars as young as Davis snagging a spot on the big court, she still appreciates her normal-girl downtime, typically filled with reading, journaling and spending time with her friends and her grandfather—the guy she looks up to most.
“He’s had a tough life and yet he remains so optimistic,” she explains. “He always puts things in perspective. One time I lost and he texted me right after and he goes, ‘Let’s just go play golf.’ That’s just something I’ve always remembered. He’s one of my favorite people.”
Be sure to watch Davis on the court—and her grandfather on the sidelines—tonight at 1 p.m. on ESPN. And if you’re feeling as inspired as we are, check out Lacoste’s new free app for New Yorkers, Lacoste City Tennis, which tells you the best places to try your hand at the game and potential players around you to practice with.
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Written on August 20, 2014 at 10:09 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
Major #fitnessgirlproblems: when your struggling smartphone never seems to stay charged past the one-mile mark, leaving you music-free and potentially data-less. The solution? It could be those beads of sweat you’re forming.
A team of researchers at the University of California San Diego have created a sticky, temporary tattoo that acts as a bio-battery and uses lactate to generate power. Where does the battery get lactate? Right from your sweat.
“We’re trying to use our own body to generate power,” says Wenzhao Jia, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher at the University of California San Diego who led the project. “This happens when sweat contacts the bio-battery, and it’s less toxic than a [standard] chemical battery.”
But there’s one caveat: if you tend to be a heavy sweater, you can’t assume your device will be ready for an Instagram spree. “You won’t necessarily be creating more power,” explains Jia. In fact, it’s the other way around. The harder your body works, the more lactate it produces. In other words: “The fitter ones produce less power; the less fit make more,” she says.
While this form of power serves up some motivation to push through that last set, Jia says she and the team still have a long way to go before the bio-battery becomes powerful enough to charge electronic devices. Still, it’s an interesting development we’ll anxiously be tracking. Who needs wall outlets these days, anyway?
Photo courtesy of UCSD
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Written on August 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm , by Bethany Cianciolo
Prancercise creator Joanna Rohrback just added some major accessories to her fitness wardrobe: horses. They’re completely fitting, given the creatures are what inspired her to invent the ”springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse’s gait and is ideally induced by elation,” which she demonstrates (flawlessly, of course) in her new video.
We listed Prancercise as one of the biggest fitness moments nearly a year ago (the original video—uploaded in December 2012—has over 10 million views). Naturally, this is a much-needed entertainment break for a Monday, even though the horses look miserable (scared?) the entire four minutes and 30 seconds of the video.
But at 62, Rohrback looks pretty amazing, so the galloping, skipping and frolicking through fields must be working for her. That said, we don’t necessarily encourage canceling your gym membership or calling your morning runs quits anytime soon. But when you want to let it all out, find a park and prance, girl. You won’t find any judgment here.
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Written on August 13, 2014 at 2:35 pm , by Bethany Cianciolo
Mo’Ne Davis can throw a baseball 70 miles per hour. Davis is also a 13-year-old female Little Leaguer.
During a game against Newark National Little League on Sunday, Davis struck out six and allowed just three hits during a shutout, earning the Taney Dragons of Pennsylvania the Mid-Atlantic Region Championship title after an 8-0 win. The team will play in the Little League World Series that begins tomorrow (they’ll play Friday against South Nashville, 3 p.m. EST on ESPN), making them the first Philadelphia team to do so, and making Davis the first American girl to play in the tournament since 2004.
“More girls should join boys’ teams so it could be a tradition and it wouldn’t be so special,” she told The Philadelphia Inquirer. Well said, girlfriend. Davis is the only girl on her team, and she’s certainly setting the bar high for other females who aspire to play sports typically dominated by men. (Anyone else feeling some major Becky Hammon deja vu here? Maybe they should get together with the Harlem Globetrotters ladies and all pow-wow about how much they rock…)
Watch Davis strike out the guys below, and make sure to catch her during the tournament on ESPN.
Images and video courtesy of ESPN
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Written on August 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm , by Bethany Cianciolo
Calling all workaholics, mothers with screaming babies, insomniacs and general money savers: your excuses for slacking in the fitness department are officially inexcusable. (See: “I don’t have time” (yes you do), “I’m too tired” (eat cleaner), or “The gym is too far” (you don’t need one).) We get it. By the time you get home from a long day of work and meetings and spilled coffee fiascos and computer crashes and happy hours and crazy commutes, your pillow practically begs you to face-plant.
But that’s why you’ll need to check out FitFIT, a cloud-based service that will provide live-streaming access to gym classes across the country. The service is currently in four different California gyms, but CEO Michael Blake says they hope to expand to 10 to 12 other big-city gyms within the next year, like New York City and Miami. So if there’s a Yogalates class you’ve been dying to try but you can’t find a sitter (or you can’t find a studio that offers it), unroll your yoga mat and “om” at home using your iPad. If your friends are over and you feel like going to that cardio class like you feel like getting an unneeded surgery, whip out your smartphone and do a fun dance class together.
The classes never repeat, so you won’t get bored, and if you aren’t anywhere with Internet access to stream a class, you can watch it later on demand. Oh, and it’s only $10 a month. Pretty. Much. Genius.
While the FitFIT team is currently in the beta phase (they’re raising money through a Kickstarter), they hope to officially launch it this December (perfect timing for those cold gym commutes we love to hate). They’re aiming to offer access to more than 20 different gym classes (from TRX to barre to body-sculpting), and plan to release an iOS and Android app a few months after launch.
Stay up to date on the team’s progress by visiting the Kickstarter and following them on Twitter, but don’t wait to end the failed-exercise excuses. You’re overdue to toss those by the wayside.
Images courtesy of FitFIT
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Written on August 6, 2014 at 5:12 pm , by Bethany Cianciolo
She’s 5′ 6″, 37, and is carving some serious pathways down the basketball court—and with more than just her skillful plays as a pro b-baller.
Becky Hammon, the WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars point guard, will serve as the San Antonio Spurs’ new assistant coach when she retires to the sidelines this month, making her the first paid, full-time female assistant in the NBA. Yeah. Kind of a big deal.
She recently announced that her role won’t be any different than the other assistants’ roles, and she’ll work directly with Coach Gregg Popovich to guide the team that just won the 2014 NBA Finals—amazing, much? And even though Popovich says she was hired for what any coach SHOULD be hired for—skills—we hope this means more just-as-qualified women will start popping up in male-dominated fields.
But basketball fan or not, your eyes better be averting to the sidelines this fall. ‘Cause this girl is shattering all sorts of glass ceilings. Watch Hammon’s full press conference here.
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Written on August 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm , by Bethany Cianciolo
As Ebola cases in Central and West Africa continue to climb, so do the fatalities. There are now two infected Americans in the U.S.—the second arrived in Atlanta today—and they’re receiving potential treatment: a serum that hasn’t even been approved for human use yet. But it sounds promising. So far, the patients’ conditions have improved, and we can only hope the serum becomes an effective (and approved) treatment in battling the disease. In the meantime, here are some things you should know about Ebola:
1. It is deadly. There’s currently no vaccine or treatment for Ebola, and fatality rates can reach 90 percent, according to World Health Organization. As of yesterday, there are 1,603 (suspected and confirmed) Ebola cases, and there have been 887 deaths as of Friday.
2. It only spreads through direct contact with infected bodily fluids (or contact with objects, like needles, that have touched infected fluids), meaning that the chance of the virus spreading throughout the U.S. is very slim.
3. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain and rashes.
4. Planning on traveling to West Africa anytime soon? Don’t. The CDC issued a warning for Americans on Thursday to steer clear of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the virus is currently most prevalent (check out this map). There are currently several CDC staffers in West Africa working to stifle the outbreak, and the organization plans to send an additional 50 workers within the next month.
5. For you New York City folks: That man who came back from West Africa and was tested for Ebola at Mount Sinai Hospital Sunday? Doctors say he’s most likely uninfected. However, a woman in Columbus, Ohio is also being tested for the virus, as she recently traveled to West Africa. Fingers crossed that those suspected to have the disease are just false alarms, and that doctors soon find a treatment that will banish the nearly 2,000 Ebola cases we’ve seen so far.
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Written on July 31, 2014 at 11:35 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
The United States might finally be catching up with the rest of the world in skincare and sun protection.
The House passed a bill Monday that would expedite the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process for new sunscreen ingredients—many of which are old news to Europe, Asia and Australia.
The FDA hasn’t approved a new ingredient in 15 years (seriously!), and some applications have been pending approval for more than 10. The reason? Many claim it’s a simple overflow of approval work and a lack of information. Because sunscreen is viewed as a cosmetic product in the EU, there isn’t much hard data available on whether or not these ingredients are completely safe, thus stalling the process.
Now the bill is headed to the Senate, and if it passes, The Sunscreen Innovation Act would slap 18-month deadlines on the FDA for approving new applications, but would only apply to ingredients that have been sold outside of the U.S. for at least five years. Many of those ingredients make sunscreen easier to apply and prolong its effect, meaning more protection for us without the goopy, sticky mess.
Fingers crossed for better ingredients and healthier skin!
Photo by Laura Doss
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Written on July 30, 2014 at 9:54 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
Yet another celebrity is taking a seat with January Jones and Tamera Mowry on the eat-your-own-placenta bandwagon: Stacy Keibler. And because she’s had one of the healthiest pregnancies out of all our fave celeb mamas, it’s difficult to question the former pro wrestler’s decision to have her placenta encapsulated, no matter how, um, disgusting it sounds.
We’ve already heard about this arguably gag-worthy trend that’s gaining more popularity (placenta recipes are a thing), but even though many new moms swear they’re healthier and happier—many claim it keeps postpartum depression at bay—and more energized because of it, there aren’t any studies that prove there is actually a benefit to eating your own placenta post-childbirth.
“There’s a lot of folklore surrounding the practice, but there is not a lot of hard medical or scientific data in favor of or against it,” says Jennifer Ashton, M.D., FITNESS advisory board member. ”There are a lot of misconceptions about what its value is nutritionally. The placenta is the conduit for supplying oxygen, blood and nutrients to the fetus. But I think what most people don’t realize is that it doesn’t do that all by itself. It does that because it extracts those nutrients from the mother.”
So why is this still trending? Some of it is cultural, but a lot of it is anecdotal, says Lauren Streicher, M.D. “Someone will say, ‘After my first pregnancy I had terrible postpartum depression and then the second time I ate placenta pills and I had none.’ But statistically we know that first pregnancies are far more likely to have postpartum depression than second pregnancies,” she says. “Was it the placenta pills or was it just your second pregnancy? Who knows? The only way to know is to test that in 10,000 people and see if there’s a real difference.”
But just because there isn’t yet research behind it doesn’t mean the benefits—and risks—don’t exist. ”It’s a trend just like anything else, and some of those trends turn out out be based to something good and some don’t,” says Ashton. “I think that people need to realize that there’s risk verses benefit to everything.”
We want to hear from you: Would you (or have you) eat your own placenta knowing that no research has yet been done on its risks or benefits? Or are you more of a “wait and see” kind of gal?
Photo by Diane Bondareff
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