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Music Monday: Flo Rida Can’t Sweat Without This Music

Written on June 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

Whenever I work out, I need to be listening to music—not want, but need. Whether it’s Katy Perry’s new hit or a classic from the King of Pop himself, there has to be an up-tempo, catchy sound reverberating in my ears. Studies even show that music can push us through that final mile, that extra set of squats.

So it’s no surprise then that rapper Flo Rida, a self-proclaimed fitness lover, is a man who lives and breathes that connection. A workout fiend since his football days in high school, the musician is constantly on the muscle-building grind both in the studio and on stage. In fact, he considers himself lucky that his profession allows—actually, kind of forces—him to incorporate music with exercise and vice versa. “You get a two-for-one with what I do.”

He’s not kidding: Flo constantly runs back and forth on stage, spewing out his lyrics at an incredibly fast rate. This not-much-time-for-breathing rapping style requires him to hit the pavement regularly. “I love doing a lot of cardio,” he says. “My records are up-tempo, so I have to make sure that I can go for over an hour.”

But just as any well-rounded fitness aficionado knows, cardio isn’t the end-all, be-all. The artist loves to regularly lift weights, and occasionally steps into the boxing ring for a few punches (and sips on Celsius when he needs a boost).  And despite a hectic schedule, Flo manages to get in two-a-day routines. Guess that explains why his shows are so fun to watch.

While I prefer to put in miles to tunes by the rapper (“Wild Ones” is a fave), we always wonder: do artists listen to their own tunes? We found out LL Cool J does now and then, and it turns out Flo is no different. Along with David Guetta and Pitbull, you’ll find his own tracks sprinkled through a playlist. “I love listening to my music because it definitely has all the attributes to enhance a great workout in the gym.”

So while we wait for his latest album, The Perfect 10, to drop later this year, we made sure to get Flo Rida’s current sweat-it-out playlist. Plug in, shape up, and try not to groove on that treadmill. On second thought, go ahead. We won’t tell.

Photo courtesy of Celsius

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Fitness Trackers Unite! The New Fitt App Creates a Battle of the Bands

Written on June 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

“Oh this? It’s just this thing I wear that tracks my sleep … and my steps … and calories burned.” A furrowed brow, accompanied by a silent, slow nod is the usual reaction I’ve received, following my Fitbit Flex fitness tracker spiel. But, for the many fitness fanatics who’ve embraced the tracker world, they’ll be excited to know that Fitt has just launched a new app that will seriously challenge Jawbone UP, Moves and Fitbit lovers to hit new goals.

The app (available now in the iTunes app store!) creates a fitness community for tracker users to join in on group challenges and motivate each other. Even better, getting started couldn’t be easier. All users have to do is download the app and sync it to their fitness tracker app. Instantly, you’ll be connected with friends, no matter what kind of fitness tracker they are using.

After you’re synced up, go ahead and add friends, scope out user profiles and most importantly–join group challenges. The day I signed up, the app showed that there were two challenges in progress. The first was a Fitbit-Jawbone UP face-off, challenging each team to take the most average daily steps for a month. The second challenge is the “June 18K a Day” challenge where all participants aim to take 18,000 steps a day in June. Yes, you heard that right: 18K per day. Cardio anyone?

Naturally, I jumped on the bandwagon for both. (… Go Fitbit!)

With Fitt there is nothing to lose (except the occasional pound  or two). And let’s be honest, most of us could use an extra reminder to get active every now and again, right?

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Get Fit for Girl’s Education

Written on June 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

Ready to raise your endorphins and flex your feel-good muscles? From now until June 21, NYC fitness fanatics can participate in the first-ever NYC Fit Week, signing up for donation-based workout classes, that help fund She’s the First, an internationally recognized organization that sponsors women from around the world to become the first from their families to graduate.

In partnership with EMpowered personal training, She’s the First has teamed up with 14 NYC fitness instructors from some of NYC’s hottest fitness studios (oh hey, Barry’s Bootcamp and Flywheel). In an effort to raise gender equality awareness in the educational arena, 100 percent of the proceeds from this week’s events will fund educational scholarships for young women in low-income countries. Girl power for the win!

If you happen to be super swamped this week—or aren’t in NYC—don’t freak. NYC Fit Week is just a small part of She’s the First’s year-round national campaign, Run the World. Through this, supporters align their own fundraising goals with a fitness endeavor, like running a marathon, and start a fundraising page where friends, fam and and everyone in between can send in a donation. She’s the First’s annual goal is to raise $75K by the NYC Marathon on November 2, and they’ve already made it a quarter of the way!

But if you aren’t quite ready to make your own fundraising page, you can still get involved (seriously, there’s really no excuses here). Simply download the Charity Miles app, and select She’s the First as your charity partner. Check into the app whenever you head out for a run or hop on a bike, and 10 to 25 cents (depending on your activity) will be donated.

Clearly, girls’ education is a very important cause, and we couldn’t be more excited to join in and help. Visit RunTheWorld.ShesTheFirst.org to see the schedule and sign up for a class.

Photo courtesy of Kate Lord

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The New Stylish, Sporty Sunglasses from Oakley and the Tone It Up Girls

Written on June 18, 2014 at 9:53 am , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

Equal parts fun and fit is how we’d describe the dynamic duo that is the Tone It Up Girls, Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn. They developed their own fitness following through YouTube workout videos, fitness products, a Bravo reality TV show and a bikini line. Now Karena and Katrina have teamed up with Oakley, creating a fashionably fit sunglasses line. Available at BeachBabe.com, the “Oakley Sunnies” range in price from $170 for the “Katrina” aviators, and $190 for the “Karena” activewear frame. While many activewear sunglasses traditionally have a sportier look, these styles still function as activewear shades, yet they are ultra stylish for everyday wear as well. Finally, the best of both worlds!

We met up with the California cuties at the launch party in New York City last week to chat about their new sunglasses line and get the inside scoop on their bikini body secrets.

What inspired you to collaborate with Oakley to make a sunglasses line?

Karena: We were like, “Let’s do it!” Oakley is actually the only brand of active sunglasses I’ve ever worn. I have been wearing them for like 8 years—way back when I first started competing in triathlons.

Katrina: We love all of their sunglasses. They are lightweight—so, you don’t get headaches.

Karena: Kat and I do painting and drawing and we love design—so it seemed like the perfect match to design sunglasses. We incorporated some of our artwork. The blue and green colors from my painting of the wave, which hangs in my house, and they are on the inside of the “Karena” frame. And, the colors in Kat’s painting of the mermaid inspired the color of the “Katrina” aviators.

What are some features women should look for when buying a pair of active wear sunglasses?

Katrina: I think it’s good to have someone fit you so you can get a good pair for your face. If the lenses are resting on your cheeks, then maybe you need a smaller frame, or they just need to tighten up the nose pad—there are so many things that I didn’t even know about sunglasses until I started working with Oakley, [so getting that fit right is important].

Read more

Free Workouts in NYC You’ve Gotta Try This Summer

Written on June 17, 2014 at 10:23 am , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

After such a long winter, there’s one thing we know for sure: it’s going to be really difficult to get us to choose an indoor workout over an outdoor one. Even in humidity-high NYC, we want to feel the sunshine while we sweat. 

Lucky for us, a bunch of top-of-the-line active brands understand where we’re coming from. And they get that our wallets are feeling pretty tight these days. Thankfully, our workouts won’t suffer from that unfortunate fact, because all summer long Lole, Discover Outdoors, and South Street Seaport are offering up fun, FREE (yes, we said free) sweat sessions. Here’s your breakdown: 

Hudson River Park Pier 25 in Tribeca: Lole, a global active-wear brand for women, is offering complimentary weekly wellness classes called “meet-ups.” From full-body workouts to yoga and dancing, add these meet-ups to your Google Calendar every Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Going until August 19th, each workout will be led by popular fitness experts, including NBC’s The Biggest Loser trainer Brett Hoebel and Sadie Kurzban. Personally, you may see me trying to bust a move to some 305 Fitness on the July 1st. Sign up here to join

In Every Borough: Discover Outdoors will invade New York City with its annual Outdoor Rise adventure week. From June 21st through June 27th, they will sponsor more than 50 outdoor events across the boroughs, including kayaking trips, rock climbing ventures, hiking expeditions, and bike rides. While this one isn’t completely free, each workout is $5 or less, and the proceeds go to the Discover Outdoors Foundation, a nonprofit organization that benefits underprivileged inner-city youth through outdoor activities and education. We’re totally willing to sacrifice one day of Starbucks to help out a good cause and get our sweat on. Sign up here if you are, too. 

South Street Seaport: As part of their new SEE/CHANGE 2014 campaign, The South Street Seaport is offering a variety of activities that will keep you moving, including yoga and throwback aerobics, or “retro-robics” (super-neon spandex, anyone?). Classes will take place every weekday from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. until August 29th; just check the schedule to find your fit. And yes, this one is completely free, too. 

See, we’ve got your back. Now tweet us @FitnessMagazine and tell us what your favorite #summerworkout is!

Photo courtesy of Discover Outdoors

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Find Your Calm in the Middle of Times Square

Written on June 16, 2014 at 10:01 am , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

Honking cars, a sea of people, lit-up billboards and a naked cowboy serenading tourists. It sounds like a place of chaos (and trust us, it is most days), rather than a serene place to practice yoga. This Saturday and Sunday, however, the Athleta “Mind Over Madness” two-day yoga event is back again, taking over the heart of Times Square and challenging NYC-based yogis to restore the body, mind and spirit in the midst of city life.

So why would you want to submit yourself to a crowd of half-naked people getting bendy, when you can do it in the comfort of your own home (or just a clean studio)? Besides the fact that it’s a crazy fun and challenging way to celebrate the summer solstice, the money raised by MINDBODY Connect will benefit Bent on Learning, a nonprofit organization committed to teaching yoga to NYC public school children, and Urban Zen, an integrative therapy program.

And just in case you forgot what the summer solstice is (hey, we’ve all been there), it’s the one day of the year, usually around June 21st, that signals the official start of summer. In addition to it commencing the blissful time of year for flip flops, days at the beach and all things warm and wonderful, it is also the one day when the sun reaches its greatest height, shines longer and sets later, meaning more time for all sorts of outdoor fun (and calorie burning, obvs).  

Although day one is already sold out, day two on Sunday, June 22, is still open for registration, with the first class starting at 8 a.m. and the final class beginning at 2:30 p.m. Classes run for 1.5 hours, cost $20 and are taught by master instructors, including renowned yoga teacher Rodney Yee and meditation guru Alan Finger.

So go on and register for an altogether unique experience to find peace of mind amidst a crazy-busy schedule. And don’t forget to tag us (@FitnessMagazine) and use #SolsticeTsq in the swoon-worthy Instagram shots we know you’ll take—after all, you’ll get to tell all your friends (thus making them jealous) that you did yoga in Times freaking Square. How cool is that?!

Photo courtesy of Derek Goodwin

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Fast Food Gone Healthy: Panera Ditches All Artificial Ingredients

Written on June 9, 2014 at 10:18 am , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

Dining out, while following a balanced diet, is hardly ever as simple as it seems—especially when the seemingly “healthy” restaurants have packed their meals with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and preservatives. So we couldn’t help but give three major cheers when Panera Bread announced that it will swear off all artificial ingredients and preservatives by 2016.

Founded on the belief that “quick food could also be quality food,” Panera plans to further its mission by retiring artificial ingredients, such as MSG and artificial trans fats. Instead, the company has built a comprehensive plan that will have all locations using clean ingredients, along with a transparent menu. Translation: customers are gaining more control over what they eat, even when they’re not cooking it themselves. Everybody now: big sigh of relief!

So what specific changes can you expect when you visit a Panera? First, all of those delish dressings and sauces can be served guilt-free, because there won’t be any artificial preservatives. And the bakery items (mmm…bear claws)—actually, everything on the menu—will no longer contain high-fructose corn syrup, and natural alternatives will replace artificial coloring in icing.  Panera is even looking into different options for traditional deli meats, since those often have nitrites and artificial preservatives hanging around.

The problem with all of these artificial ingredients lies in what Panera is calling “a broken food system.” Even though many of us are health-conscious, the status quo over the past few decades has been to include artificial additives in pretty much everything—from snacks to fast foods and pantry ingredients. While choosing foods wisely can be somewhat of a chore, efforts like this will become a restaurant trend, improving the dining-out experience for those of us who are constantly on the go. Fingers crossed!

Photo courtesy of Panera

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Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s New Health App

Written on June 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

Attention, fitness junkies (and if you’re reading this, we’re going to assume that’s all of you): Apple has announced that they will be unveiling every runner, biker, yogi, and health-conscious person’s dream app—Health (and its tracking feature HealthKit).. The technologically advanced app is coming our way when i0S 8 becomes available, and can only be described as the self-obtaining, on-the-spot, no-doctor-involved, personal quantification of health. It is that hyper-organized file cabinet that we wish existed in our lives.

Okay, now that I’m done pumping it up, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Think of Health as the mega fitness drop-box. It pulls in health and exercise info from other applications and activity monitors you already use, and deposits them into one place. For example, the app recognizes data collected in Nike+ after you go for a long run, along with daily movement and sleeping patterns tallied in Moves and Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock. Then, Health takes that data and uses it to analyze your fitness level and general health, subsequently providing personalized wellness plans according to the goals you want to reach.

But what if you really want to see your heart rate, sleep patterns and miles logged, but don’t care about calorie burn? It’s simple: don’t include it in your settings. Health is completely customizable so you can pick and choose what information is available, and since the app also works with innovators in the health care industry (think Mayo Clinic), it promises to keep your personal health information private; only sharing it with the services you select.

In other words, shedding pounds, tracking calories, controlling your diet, and maintaining a fairly consistent blood pressure is now manageable, and won’t cause a traumatizing migraine. So forget bouncing between apps, and just bounce between your workouts. Health will cover the rest. 

Photo courtesy of Apple 

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Vending Machine Equals…Running Gear? Westin’s Social Media-Activated Machine Gives FREE Equipment

Written on June 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

It’s that time again—National Running Day! To celebrate one of FITNESS’ favorite holidays, Westin Hotels & Resorts has come up with a truly innovative way to make running interactive, fun and socially awesome. How, you ask? With a vending machine.

Wait…what?

Your typical vending machine dishes out lots of no-good sweets, chips and sugar-laden soda. Others are dispensing cupcakes and candy bars. But this one is more our style because not only does it require the use of social media (because let’s face it, we’re addicted), but it hands out New Balance workout gear…for free.  Yes, free!

The Westin and New Balance companies will unleash this cool, one-of-a-kind machine in New York City tomorrow outside of The Westin New York Grand Central. Stop by anytime after 8:30am to grab your gear, then head out to pound a little pavement.  

Oh, and I should mention one other feature about the vending machine: it runs through social media. What the heck does that mean? Instead of slipping coins into a junk food-filled contraption, the Westin vending machine accepts only one type of currency—tweets. Simply tweet “I want to run with @Westin”, include your gender and size, and the machine will distribute New Balance shirts, shorts, socks, and shoes (among other items) for free! All gear is completely complimentary, courtesy of Westin and New Balance.

And for you city folk who don’t want to go it alone, Chris Heuisler, Westin’s RunWESTIN concierge, will lead a 10:30a.m. 5K run. The Westin welcomes all, whether it be guests, employees, or those who just happen to be strolling through midtown in the morning (lucky ducks!). So basically, you have no excuse not to get your run on.

Whether you wish to attempt your best Usain Bolt impersonation or just jog with a friend, Westin’s National Running Day event will allow everyone to be active, and most importantly, to have fun. See you there!

Photo courtesy of Westin 

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New Clothing Site Lets You Shop Based on Shape, NOT Size

Written on May 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

I have a love-hate relationship with online shopping. I love it because it’s fast, easy and relatively painless. A few clicks of the mouse, a little indecision and one cringe-inducing moment of entering my credit card number and I’m done. I don’t have to stand in line for hours for the fitting room or rummage my way through crowded racks to find the perfect top. But when I tear into that pretty package promising to make me a fashion goddess, it almost always turns out that what I thought was a size eight fits like a size six around my bum, and that effortlessly flowy top actually looks like I stole a potato sack out of the pantry and tried pulling it off as a shirt. Not cool.

But it’s a new age and Australian fashion writer Larissa Thorne has made my day life! Her new website, Sizeable, launched last week and aims to revolutionize online shopping by taking the guess work out of what may or may not look good—and there’s shipping to the United States! Instead of showing clothes on models that all seem to have the same body type, Sizeable shows the item on six different models, all of whom have varying body shapes and sizes ranging from 6 to 14 (with full measurements and shoe sizes displayed). All you have to do is choose your model, then shop the site “with” her so you get a better idea of what an item might look like on you.

So why did Thorne venture into this groundbreaking realm of online fashion? “I find shopping online can be really demoralizing sometimes,” she told the Daily Mail. “It’s left me feeling really down on my body and we want to encourage women to embrace how they look. It’s a bit of a no-brainer, we all know there are millions of beautiful women out there who don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model.” Preach!

Of course, Thorne’s six models don’t meet every body type, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. It’s certainly taken out a lot of guesswork out of my eternal search for fashion goddess-ness!

Would you shop at a site like Sizeable? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo courtesy of Sizeable 

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