Written on April 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm , by Colleen Travers
In case you missed it, the More/FITNESS Women’s Half-Marathon this past weekend brought thousands of women (not to mention some gorgeous weather!) to rally together and kick some serious asphalt in NYC’s Central Park. To pump up the girl power even more, many entered our Women Run the World Essay Contest, telling us why they run. Below, read the entry of grand prize winner Carolina Herrera, who won a $500 gift card and some serious race-day swag. Her story of running to overcome an eating disorder will remind you how lucky we are to have our health and the ability to run every day.
Why I Run
I was thirteen years old when I developed an eating disorder that would plague me for 16 years, until the moment that running saved me from myself.
I never planned to run. Simply, I took on a part time job at a fancy gym that allowed me to use their equipment. After a few weeks on the elliptical I grew bored, and I became intrigued by the giddy bouncing souls on the treadmills. So I moved 3 feet to a different machine, and with these 3 feet my entire life changed.
At first a single mile seemed impossible. I huffed and I puffed and there were days I felt I could not possibly keep going. Yet I kept going. My muscles became stronger, and I came to the realization that maybe I could run two miles. Three miles. And then maybe I could run outdoors.
During this time I began to look at my body in a different way. I began to value it for what it could do, not solely for what it looked like. One June day in 2012, I met with a spiritual advisor and I confided to her that on the days I ran, I felt I could eat with no remorse. She said simply: “So run more.”
So I did. And soon I signed up for my first race. When I crossed the finish line someone handed me a banana and someone else draped a medal around my neck, and I realized there was no turning back. That was it: I was hooked.
Since that race I have run many more. I have also been laid up due to sinus surgery and then again after a back injury. These times have been difficult, but I always knew I’d get through because it was never an option to quit. Not for me, not anymore. I now know the road is always out there, just waiting for me to come home. For that is what it has become: running is home. Running is where I go to connect with myself and with the world. It reminds me that there is beauty all around us; that there is beauty in me. My legs are strong today. They are thick and they are strong.
What running has taught me, and the gift it has given me, is this: I have learned to love myself; I have learned that there is more value in what my body can do than in what it looks like. I have learned that the once booming voice in my head that yelled I was not good enough is but a whisper today, and that with each resonating step that my running shoes take, that voice quiets until it is no longer heard. I have not forced myself to throw up since June 9, 2012. I have treated my body with respect and love. I have, at last, found peace within myself.
And this is why I run.
Now Tell Us: Why do you run? Sound off in the comments below.
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Written on December 31, 2013 at 10:24 am , by Colleen Travers
Looking to kick off 2014 with a new smoothie recipe? We’ve got one right here for you, thanks to Lauren Slayton, MS, RD and author of The Little Book of Thin, out today. Slayton’s smoothie has a healthy dose of matcha in it – a powdered green tea that packs more antioxidants than brewing an actual cup of green tea. Print out the recipe and watch her make her Matcha Colada, below.
- 4 to 6 ounces coconut water (or plain water)
- 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder (Slayton likes the organic brand DoMatcha)
- 1 cup fresh of frozen pineapple or papaya
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 cup spinach or kale
- 1/3 of an avocado, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 slice peeled fresh ginger (about the size of a penny)
- handful of ice cubes
- 6 drops NuStevia
Place water in a high-powered blender followed by the other ingredients in the order given. Blend well and serve.
More from FITNESS: Healthy Recipes for Green Smoothies
Written on December 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm , by Colleen Travers
It may be considered an unlucky number, but this year was far from it for celebrities, bringing out quite a few OMG post-baby bodies, weight loss wonders and a new crop of A-list abs. Below, check out the celebs who lunged and lifted their way onto our best bodies list this year.
1. Penelope Cruz: The Counselor star welcomed her second child, daughter Luna, in July and popped back up on the red carpet in amazing shape just three months after giving birth. She credits following a Mediterranean diet, dancing, and chasing after her kids for getting her back into shape after both pregnancies.
2. Jennifer Lawrence: To prep for Catching Fire, Lawrence tackled agility drills, sprint intervals, medicine ball exercises and cardio on a stationary bike to get in kick-ass Katniss shape. On top of her healthy workouts she has an even healthier outlook on body image. Admitting that in the past she was threatened with being fired if she didn’t lose weight for certain roles, she refuses to diet, saying, “I’d rather look chubby on screen and like a person in real life.”
3. Sandra Bullock: It’s hard to believe that the star of this year’s hit Gravity is 49 years old. So what’s her secret? She mixes it up with a cardio and strength training combo for an hour a day, six days a week. Her sweaty staples include Pilates, kickboxing, weight lifting, and running or biking when she’s traveling.
4. Kerry Washington: The new mommy-to-be and Scandal star was recently named People’s Best Dressed of 2013. To get her stylish shape, she doesn’t obsess over the number on the scale. Instead, she does Pilates, which she says helps her focus on her appearance in healthy ways while also slashing stress. As for her diet, she loves shopping at farmer’s markets and enjoys fresh food that makes her feel good.
5. Scarlett Johansson: The Don Jon and newly engaged star was recently named Esquire‘s “Sexiest Woman Alive” for 2013, making her the only two-time winner in the magazine’s history. When she’s not preparing for a role, she hits the gym twice a week and tends to favor weight lifting and core exercises over cardio. “To be honest, I work out like a guy!” she’s admitted in the past.
6. Julia Louis-Dreyfus: It seems that every year the 52-year-old Veep star keeps getting fitter and fitter. A self-proclaimed exercise junkie, she recently stated, “I think I’m addicted to the post-workout high,” and stays in shape by hiking with her family, doing toning exercises on a BOSU ball and logging miles on the treadmill.
Read more for the full list!
Written on December 10, 2013 at 9:34 am , by Colleen Travers
Is it just us, or has December shown up out of nowhere? It’s like the human equivalent of the gym buddy you totally forgot about, who suddenly pops up on the treadmill next to you. And now there’s a ton to do, aside from keeping your usual to-do list from driving you headfirst into a tin of your neighbors chocolate chip cookies (but they’re so good!). Thankfully, Physique57 is helping you battle your cookie curves and holiday stress with its latest at-home workout, featuring FOX Sports anchor Erin Andrews.
It’s no secret that tons of celebrities use Physique57 to get lean and toned, but thanks to the brand’s pay-per-workout or total online streaming subscription, you can see what the barre is all about, even if you don’t have a studio near you. Get started here to sculpt and strengthen with Andrews for just $10. That’s it! We bet the tin your neighbor delivered those cookies in cost more than that.
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Written on December 9, 2013 at 9:32 am , by Colleen Travers
Winter is my favorite time to get out of New York City. I can handle the scorching heat in the summer when every trip down into the subway feels like you might melt right there on the platform, but once the Starbucks Christmas cups come out (which oddly gets earlier and earlier every year) that’s my cue to book a vacation somewhere bright and sunny. If you feel similar, I’ve got just the place– The BodyHoliday LeSport in St. Lucia. Here’s why:
It takes all-inclusive to a different level. I’ve been to my fair share of all-inclusive resorts, but The BodyHoliday LeSport really ups the ante. Staying at the resort gives you access not only to the gorgeous beach, restaurants and fruity cocktails galore, but you’ll also have free reign over exercise classes, water sports, guided hikes, bike tours, group runs and tons more on any given day. Upon check-in, you are actually given an activities booklet that lists everything going on day and night during your visit. Oh, and also included in the all-inclusive is a spa treatment of your choice. Every. Single. Day.
You can pick your own adventure.The BodyHoliday LeSport has an island motto. “Give us your body for a week, we’ll give you your mind.” Seems simple enough, right? This is the type of place where you can have a healthy getaway – from 6 a.m. yoga classes to afternoon paddleboarding – or not. You can snooze on the beach from sunrise to sunset and no intimidating boot camp instructor is going to come rip your towel up from under you to make you get to class. You can even tailor your vacation based on one of the resort’s specialty programs. I visited in October, during Octoba Yoga – so the activity roster was beefed up with different yoga and stretching classes. If yoga’s not your thing, though, check out the resort’s other monthly offerings, like a month focused on dancing and even a singles month – where single travelers are invited to stay for a lower rate to meet, mingle and melt!
It’s OK to travel solo any time you want. While the resort does have a special promotional month for single travelers, you don’t have to wait until then to hop on a flight. As a single traveler myself, I found all of the activities totally fine for one person to do alone (without getting weird, sad stares) and at night a communal dining table was provided to eat with the fitness instructors (appropriately called Bodyguards) and resort staff so you wouldn’t have to dine solo. Plus, when you are surrounded by sun, sand and blue sparkly water, everyone always seems to be in a good mood.
There’s so much more the resort and the island has to offer (not surprisingly, it also made our list of Honeymoon Destinations for a Fit Vacation), so to start your own mind and body getaway check out www.thebodyholiday.com.
Written on November 18, 2013 at 10:11 am , by Colleen Travers
The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are a few mere months away and if you couldn’t tell already we can’t wait. This is around the time we start getting super nosy when it comes to the athletes preparing for the game. What are they wearing? What’s their training like? What are they eating? How are they getting pumped up to make the team? To answer the last one, three-time Olympian of the women’s ice hockey team Julie Chu has a simple answer: Music! Below, check out her playlist she listens to for everything from strength and conditioning training to bringing it on the ice. Her other workout secret weapon? Team up, obviously. “Being a team sport athlete, I have learned the value of working out with others,” Chu says. “Have someone that will push you and keep you accountable. If you don’t have someone specific to workout with, then join a local gym and take part in different classes. It’s amazing how we can feed off of other people’s energy around us.”
For those days when you’re sweating solo, plug in to these tunes and just imagine Chu crunching on the mat next to you.
Written on November 15, 2013 at 9:14 am , by Colleen Travers
It seems the sport of bobsledding has a way of tempting track stars to come over to the icy side. Lolo Jones recently made the switch to try to qualify for the 2014 Olympics, but she wasn’t the first track star to trade in her sneakers for snow. Jazmine Fenlator, who is currently ranked eighth in the world after winning two silvers and a bronze during last year’s World Cup circuit, was a former track athlete from Rider University who made the switch to bobsledding after her coach mentioned that she should give it a shot. Below, she talks about her experiences with the sport so far, and what she’s looking forward to in 2014 on behalf of Team Liberty Mutual.
What was something that surprised you about bobsledding when you first got started in the sport?
Definitely how hard it is to push a 400lb. sled! I’m used to the shot put or throwing around a max of 25lb. weights or lifting in the weight room. But learning how to be explosive and fast while not letting go (because I then have to hop into the sled) was a real challenge.
Lolo Jones has been making some press about her big change in diet – do you have any crazy eating habits you have to keep up for the sport?
I am a lot heavier than Lolo, so contrary to her diet I am on a pretty strict plan. I’m gluten, dairy and sugar-free. I eat very clean and timely and have certain eating strategies for each training day, so sadly our diets are not the same!
Many people are familiar with the Night Train, the U.S. men’s team from the 2010 Olympics. If you qualify – will you name your bobsled? Is this a tradition for your sport?
Yes – it’s actually a tradition to name your bobsled! The women name their bobsleds and if it won a medal the name stays with it. The sled I was driving at the last Games won a bronze medal, so that name will stick with it. I’m looking into names right now for my new BMW sled and looking for an inspirational and meaningful English term that I can translate into Russian. I have a list of ten that I’m going to narrow down to three and have my fans help me decide.
Fenlator also spoke to the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation about Hurricane Irene, where her family lost their home due to flooding days before she competed in the World Cup. Watch below to see how she was able to compete during tragedy.
Written on October 30, 2013 at 9:50 am , by Colleen Travers
We know, you barely have time to brush your hair in the morning let alone figure out when to get a flu shot. But these stats released from the Walgreens Flu Report might have you moving some things around on your schedule this year. Check out a few below:
- Last year 11 million vacations were missed (bummer!), a big jump from 4.7 million in 2011.
- U.S. employees missed, on average, three days of work from a flu-related illness in 2012-2013, up from just one day in 2010-2011.
- 17 million holiday events were missed, compared to 4.7 million in 2011.
- Hot date? Approximately 13.8 million dates or other occasions were canceled because of the flu–up from 5.1 million in 2011.
Talk about a buzzkill to your social life! And don’t put off your flu shot until November or later. Survey results show that 79 percent of Americans think it takes ten days or less for your body to build up its immunity after getting a flu shot, but it can actually take up to 14 days. Find a Walgreens pharmacy here to schedule your flu shot, because no one wants to bag an island getaway in the dead of winter.
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Written on October 1, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Colleen Travers
Celebrities are constantly scrutinized for their looks, but add a pregnancy to the mix and the heat is really on. With the abundance of celebrity cherubs being born this year, here’s our rundown of the best A-list post-baby bodies from this year and years past. In a world of juice cleanses, fasting and paparazzi pressure to return to pre-baby weight in warp speed, these ladies got slim and strong all while keeping their sanity about their newfound curves.
1. Kristen Bell: The new mom to baby girl Lincoln has dropped 28 pounds since giving birth in March, by eating healthy and doing the Bar Method. But she’s doing it on her terms and in her own good time, declaring recently that she’s a woman whose self-worth cannot be determined by her size. “I’m proud to sit out of the baby weight rat race,” she tweeted this past summer. “I like my Lincoln Leftovers because they’re proof I did something extraordinary.”
2. Claire Danes: She stunned at the 2013 Golden Globes when she showed up in amazing shape just one month after giving birth to her son Cyrus. Though she joked to the pressroom that she was very strapped into her Versace gown, she credited being on her feet for a majority of her pregnancy while taping Homeland a big factor in not gaining too much weight to begin with.
3. Reese Witherspoon: With three kids under her belt, it’s clear Witherspoon has the winning formula to taking off the baby weight. As a frequent runner pre-pregnancy, she’s been saving time and slashing calories by jogging with friends and having gym dates with hubby Jim Toth. Though she knows there is no one easy fix, as she said after the birth of son Tennessee James in September 2012 that “you just have to be gentle and patient with yourself and just sort of you know…slowly get back to your health.”
4. Drew Barrymore: She admitted to gaining 40 pounds during her pregnancy with daughter Olive as well as giving in to cravings like cheeseburgers and ice cream. After enlisting the help of nutritionist-friend Kimberly Snyder, she’s shedding the weight by eating lots of whole foods, vegetables and making her own green smoothies at home, but said in an interview that when it comes to deciding between spending time at the gym or with her daughter, the gym will always lose. “We live in a society where everyone’s like, ‘Look at how amazing she looks two weeks out.’ I don’t want to be on that hamster wheel; that’s hell.”
Read more for the full list!
Written on September 23, 2013 at 10:34 am , by Colleen Travers
Not to be pessimistic, but when it comes to Americans, our glasses are half-empty these days–literally. According to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 43 percent of adults drink less than four cups of water a day and 7 percent drink no water at all. That’s why earlier this month FLOTUS Michelle Obama launched her Drink Up initiative to get people drinking more water and less of the sugary stuff. To get some tips on how to increase your water intake we chatted with Dr. Jenna Bell, RD. Follow her tips below and follow in the FLOTUS’ adequately hydrated footsteps:
- Jazz it up: Not one to drink boring old tap water? Try a water enhancer like Stur, sweetened with stevia, so there’s no added calories or sugar. The coloring from each flavor comes from vegetable juice and you can control how much want in your glass with a simple squeeze.
- Do as Diane Sawyer does: “She puts a glass of water by her bed and drinks it every morning when she wakes up, so now I do too,” says Bell. “If you’re going to take advice from anyone, take it from her because it’s clearly working!”
- Carry a water bottle: This isn’t exactly breaking news, but it is the easiest way to keep drinking as the day goes on. Buy a reusable bottle like S’well, who is partnering with Drink Up with a limited edition bottle that gives 10 percent of proceeds back to the foundation.
- Start meals with water: “A study in 2010 out of Virginia Tech looked at whether or not drinking water before a meal effects what we eat and weight loss. They found that two glasses of water before a meal helped shed weight and made participants eat less because water fills up your stomach,” says Bell.
- Order water every time you order a beverage: Coffee? Get water. Wine? Get water. Not only will you stay hydrated, you’ll probably fend off a hangover in the process.
Now tell us: What tricks do you use to drink more water?