Welcome! Log In | Register

FITNESS Intern

Chef Robert Irvine’s Tips for Transforming Turkey Day Leftovers

Written on November 29, 2013 at 10:13 am , by

Chef Robert Irvine makes whipping up healthy leftover dishes possible. (Photo courtesy of Robert Irvine)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, and you’ve likely allowed a little (hopefully!) indulgence to occur, what are you supposed to do with all the leftovers hanging out in the fridge? Celebrity chef Robert Irvine from Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible is here on behalf of Gold’s Gym with a few tips for making the most out of Thanksgiving scraps while leaving our diets in tact, of course.

First and foremost, think ahead when preparing each dish for the big day. Make more of the vegetable-based sides so you have healthier leftovers to work with the following day. And watch the cooking time! “I like vegetables that still have texture to them,” says Irvine. “When we cook carrots, we don’t cook them so you can actually squash them in your hand. They should have some bite to them, so when you reutilize them the next day, they still have nutrients in them.”

And on the flipside, make fewer desserts to avoid the post-holiday sweets binge. While Chef Irvine is a believer in ending every meal with a bite of something sweet (read: not a handful of cookies!), he doesn’t go to town on the holiday pumpkin and pecan pies. “I make individual servings so that everybody gets one and that’s it. There is no seconds and therefore there’s no leftovers and I don’t have to deal with it staring at me the next day,” he says. “There’s only the good stuff.”

When it comes to the main attraction, there are plenty of ways to reinvent Mr. Turkey that don’t include two slices of gravy-soaked bread. Irvine combines the star ingredient with cranberry, brussel sprouts or cabbage and mashed potatoes—white or sweet—and gives the typical potato cake an upgrade. After chopping and combining all of the leftover ingredients, form each cake, coat them in egg white and panko breadcrumbs, pan-fry and top with a runny, poached egg. Now that’s a post-Thanksgiving breakfast! Check out this version of his recipe where good-for-you collard greens take center stage.

Otherwise, try making risotto without your leftover potatoes. Chef Irvine poaches diced potatoes and combines them with chicken stock, sour cream, chopped parsley, a little salt and white pepper, and uses it as a risotto. “People look at me like I’m crazy, but it’s really good and healthy,” he says.

And as far as those leftover carrots are concerned, why not transform them into a gourmet salad dressing? Reheat them in chicken or vegetable stock and blend them in a blender with fresh, unpeeled ginger and a teaspoon of stone ground mustard. Add a little grapeseed oil and sparkling water, and voila! “You have a brand new carrot and ginger dressing for salads that will keep for a week or so. And you can do that with any othervegetable you have left,” says Irvine.

Last but not least, a solid post-workout recovery meal is key for a guy who loves fitness almost as much as he loves food. Chef Irvine uses Thanksgiving turkey and vegetables in a fresh egg white frittata, which he serves cold, Spanish-style. After letting the pie cool, he plates slices alongside fresh tomato pico de gallo and smoked salmon. “That’s our post-workout meal and it only takes 25 minutes to make,” he says. You leave it on the side, let it cool down, wrap it up and leave it in the fridge. Then it’s always there to munch on.” Maybe the day (and weekend) after Thanksgiving won’t be such a diet disaster after all.

More from FITNESS:

4 Easy Ways to Save Money on Black Friday (And The Rest of the Season)

Written on November 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm , by

Prabhaker’s here to save you $$$ this season. (Photo courtesy of Silja Magg)

Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are upon us, marking a major increase in family gatherings, festive parties and, of course, shopping. But between Black Friday sales and dinner party planning, our wallets take a beating as soon as the weather changes. According to Mint.com, a personal money management service, the average American spent a whopping $384 on shopping last December alone, almost 33 percent more than what they spent in September. So how can you stay in the holiday spirit without going over budget? We chatted with Hitha Prabhakar, retail expert and Mint.com Financial Advocate, to get the scoop on how to cut costs on the four most common—and unexpected—money drainers. Read on to start saving!

Buying presents

Spending limits can seem impossible to stick to when the holidays come around, leading to some pretty unhealthy buying habits. Luckily, you can actually stay within your budget without becoming scrooge-tastic, says Prabhakar. When it comes to gift-giving, repeat after us: It’s the thought that counts. “If you’re in a tight financial spot, focus on presentation,” recommends Prabhakar. “DIY gifts like frames, knitted socks or baked goods are always a hit, especially when you spend time wrapping them in pretty paper, containers or recycled bags.”

Grocery shopping

At the beginning of each month, set specific budgets for yourself for food expenditures, including week-to-week groceries and special occasions. Of course, when it comes to shopping for an upcoming dinner party, cutting corners can seem tricky. “According to the 2012 Intuit Consumer Index, Americans spent an average of $322.29 per month on groceries,” says Prabhakar. “That can really add up over the year. Don’t be afraid to purchase items that are store brand, especially when you’re entertaining for a large group. They tend to be much cheaper and taste the same.”

Going to the gym

We’ve all been there: The temperature drops below freezing, and suddenly your favorite morning run seems way less appealing than the weight room. If you decide to switch to the gym-life when the winter weather peaks, make sure you’re not wasting cash by sitting in the house. “On average, people spent $83.73 per month on gym memberships in 2012, so get your money’s worth by going frequently,” says Prabhakar. “You can also think about taking your budgeted gym funds and purchasing blocks of classes at smaller studios. To get new students in the door, these smaller studios often offer discounted classes or trial periods at a tenth of the cost of regular classes.” (We love Groupon and Living Social for finding awesome discounts on fun classes and personal training sessions!)

Dining out

“Last year, the average American spent $2,654.69 on dining out,” says Prabhakar, “And I used to be that person who went to restaurants 15 times a week and used my oven as storage for my shoes!” To cut down on her eating-out expenses, Prabhakar created a “restaurant only” budget in Mint.com and signed up to be alerted when she was low on balances. (We tested the Mint.com app, and totally agree that  it’s extremely helpful for staying on track with easy-to-forget entertainment expenses). If you’ve almost reached your budget and have to dine out, try pre-gaming (meal-style!) beforehand. “Have a quick and healthy appetizer at home prior to dinner, so you feel fuller and order less from the menu,” suggests Prabhakar.

More From FITNESS

Party-Proof Your Diet

Stress-Busting Holiday Gifts

10 Healthy Holiday Superfoods

Take a Walk on the Wild Side This Thanksgiving

Written on November 26, 2013 at 10:11 am , by

Work off that slice of pie with loved ones this holiday. (Photo courtesy of USFWS)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

With Thanksgiving only a few days away, many of us are starting to feel the stress creeping up. Yes, it’s one of the best holidays when it comes to gathering with friends and family, not to mention indulging in some delicious eats. But extensive preparation often cuts into our stress-relieving workout time, and the focus on food can really threaten our waistlines. So why not take a bit of your Thanksgiving celebration outside this year?

The National Wildlife Refuge is hosting several fitness events across the country that honor our feathered friends in their natural state. The upcoming walks and runs coordinate with some of the peak migratory bird seasons, so you just might get to see Mr. Turkey trotting nearby! Check out these Thanksgiving-themed events for fun ways to get the whole family out and about together.

  • Ready to get moving? Join in the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge’s Turkey Trot 5K Walk/Run on Thursday, Nov. 28, at 9 a.m. for just $20. You’ll see plenty of mule deer, eagles, Canada geese and mallard ducks.
  • Rather go with the flow? The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is hosting the Bird Migration Walk on Saturday, Nov. 30, 1-2:30 p.m. Free to all visitors, this walk features peaceful views full of shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl.
  • Walk off all that turkey with the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge’s Turkey Walk on Saturday, Nov. 30, 1:30-3:30 p.m. With a little luck, you’ll see some wild turkeys, deer, red foxes, bald eagles, great blue herons and hawks on this free, easy stroll.

Can’t make it out to one of these events? No problem! The refuge trails are open from sunrise to sunset daily—even Thanksgiving Day. Search for a fun spot near you on the Refuge’s trail system website and get moving. What better way to give thanks for your health? 

More from FITNESS:

We Tried it: Reaching the SUMMIT at Exceed Physical Culture

Written on November 20, 2013 at 9:06 am , by

Push it to the limit! Thanks to Exceed, I was sore for days! (Photo courtesy of Exceed Physical Culture)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Upper East Side boutique fitness studio Exceed Physical Culture has received a lot of buzz for its butt-kicking abilities this year, so I couldn’t help but jump at the opportunity to see what all the hype was about. And after taking the studio’s signature SUMMIT class, I have to admit—I totally get it.

You know how they say a performer really works the stage? Well James, our trainer for the morning, really worked us around the studio. From jumping rope and swinging kettlebells to cycling through high-intensity workout stations, I never quite figured out where to stash my water bottle! The room kept moving, the music kept playing and we kept working.

The clean, industrial feel of the space helped us all focus that much more on the burn we wanted to feel. We aimed to complete as many reps of each exercise as possible—sometimes for 30 seconds, other times until James decided to have us try another move. Integrating medicine balls, BOSU balls and bodyweight strength training, this strength-cardio combo workout offered true variety. And with James, there was no lack of encouraging words and reminders of how strong we all are.

Most classes max out at 20 people, creating a motivating and competitive environment that pushes each athlete to really go all in. Our class, which was about a third of that size, felt more like a small-group training session full of intensity and drive to squeeze in every last rep. We worked hard and non-stop for 50 minutes and as exhausted as my body felt when it was all over, I couldn’t believe that much time had gone by. I guess it just goes to show what can happen when you constantly focus on a task that never stops changing.

More from FITNESS:

Find Your Inner Strength with John Rowley’s 52 Million Pound Challenge

Written on November 19, 2013 at 10:10 am , by

Tackle the holiday season head on with Rowley! (Photo courtesy of John Rowley’s 52 Million Pound Challenge)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

With so many weight loss programs on the market today, it doesn’t take much get started. Keeping up with it and achieving long-term results, on the other hand, often times feels like a losing battle. National fitness expert and bestselling author John Rowley recognizes this struggle, attributing it to a lack of mental and emotional connection with physical goals. And he’s ready to do something about it.

Rowley recently launched his 52 Million Pound Challenge to help North America shrink its obesity rate from the inside out. In partnering with HabitForge, the program helps each participant pinpoint a healthy habit they want to develop and hold them accountable for 21 days, inspiring behavior change that can last a lifetime. Rather than having to remember to log data each day, the program emails you a habit reminder with a simple “yes” or “no” response to track your results. After successfully maintaining a habit for three weeks, users can tackle a new one. The challenge website is also stocked with a variety of informative posts from health, fitness and lifestyle experts to keep users actively engaged with the goals they are working to accomplish.

To track North America’s progress toward health and fitness, Rowley integrated interactive maps of the United States and Canada with state and province-specific obesity statistics in the challenge website. Clicking on each location also shares how many residents are signed up for the challenge and the area’s rank regarding its weight loss success.

To jump start the program, Rowley is hosting a 12-week challenge beginning the day after Thanksgiving, and anyone ages 18 and up who signs up before November 29 can compete!

The game is simple: Each participant submits before and after photos (or a certified note of body fat lost from a personal trainer or doctor if you’re uncomfortable with sharing photos), along with a 350-word essay or 3-minute video sharing his or her inspiring story via the challenge’s Facebook page. At the end of 12 weeks, the Facebook community will select the top 25 men and women, then the official judging panel will narrow it down to 10 men and women before Facebook users select the two grand champions. Each winner receives a trip for two to St. Thomas, along with other goodies—talk about motivation to give the whole weight loss thing another go!

Will you be helping Rowley help North America lose 52 million pounds?

More from FITNESS:

Get Fit and Give Thanks with St. Jude – You Could Win Tickets to LIVE! with Kelly and Michael!

Written on November 13, 2013 at 9:42 am , by

Pre-walk off that turkey and pumpkin pie for a good cause. (Photo courtesy of St. Jude)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

As Thanksgiving swiftly approaches, it’s difficult for us to contain our enthusiasm. From the gathering of family and friends to football face-offs, we’ve all got quite a bit to be thankful for. So why not celebrate a few days early this year by giving back to those who could use the support?

On Saturday, Nov. 23, 75 cities across the country will host the St. Jude Give thanks. Walk, a noncompetitive 5K that helps raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The event has raised more than $11 million to date and hopes to increase that number with the help of you and your loved ones.

If you’re ready to take your Thanksgiving spirit to the next level, join the walk as a team to help with the fundraising process. All money raised helps St. Jude families forego the cost of treatment for their children, and supports the hospital’s research efforts. As if that isn’t enough of an incentive, all participants who receive 10 online donations before November 22 will be entered into a drawing for a trip for two to New York City! While in the Big Apple, the lucky couple will attend a live taping of LIVE! with Kelly and Michael and take a photo with affable co-host Michael Strahan.

Visit the St. Jude website to find a walk near you. (Most are free to register!) Can you think of a better way to celebrate the Saturday before Thanksgiving? We definitely can’t.

More from FITNESS:

Thanksgiving Myths – Busted

Fall Snacks to Munch On

America’s Best Turkey Trots

We Tried It: Lacey Stone’s SWEAT Week NY Outdoor Boot Camp

Written on November 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm , by

All smiles from start to finish. Now that’s a workout!

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Last month, I headed over to the Astro Turf Pier on the West Side just before sunrise to meet up with celebrity trainer Lacey Stone. Her neon orange sweatpants glowed against the green field filled with her local followers ready for another day of her SWEAT Week NY outdoor boot camp. The hour-long leg and butt workout began promptly at 6:30 a.m. when she blew the whistle hanging around her neck. What a way to start your day!

Stone’s training persona was even more vibrant than her workout apparel, barking orders all the while joking excitedly and sharing quite a few cheesy puns with the group. I laughed more than I winced through her tough routine, something I had yet to experience in any other group fitness setting. Combining just the right amount of high intensity cardio moves and bodyweight strength training, Stone’s contagious enthusiasm motivated the entire group through non-stop exercises.

The early bird boot camp utilized all of the surrounding elements of the park: the cement side walls served as plyometric boxes, the poles lining the turf field marked each leg of suicide runs, and the pier itself served as a timed running loop on which we raced one another. Toward the end of the hour, as we started losing steam, Stone grouped us into teams to instill a fun sense of competition that made everyone give it their all.

Stone’s no-frills approach to fitness made each participant leave excuses at home and commit to the butt-blasting workout—and it worked! It’s always interesting to see how using back-to-basic moves in a unique outdoor space can make such a difference. Plus, few workouts can beat getting your butt kicked by the hilarious Lacey Stone as the sun rises over the Hudson River around you.

More from FITNESS:

Mark Your Calendar for “The Ugliest 5K on the Planet”

Written on November 5, 2013 at 10:14 am , by

Get your spirit and sweat on in the wackiest holiday ensembles you can sport. (Photo courtesy of The Ugly Sweater Run)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Looking for a fun, fit way to spend time with loved ones this holiday season? Dig that hideous sweater out of the depths of your closet (yes, we know you didn’t actually throw out that awful gift from grandma) and sign up for a 5K that celebrates these unsightly creations—jingle bells, blinking Rudolf noses and all! November 9 marks the beginning of the third annual Ugly Sweater Run, also known as “the ugliest 5K on the planet.”

Since its inaugural race in Louisville, Colo., in 2011, the Ugly Sweater Run has expanded to share their fashion faux pas-inspired event with 32 cities across the nation and Canada. Gather up the family—kids and furry friends are welcome—in celebration of the most wonderful time of the year. Each race features holiday-themed rest stations stocked with hot chocolate and a post-race winter wonderland celebration full of holiday-themed games, contests, prizes and more.

The best part (besides the sweaters and cocoa, of course)? After crossing the finish line, each participant donates a gift under the giant inflatable Christmas tree for Toys for Tots, the run’s philanthropic partner. Cheers to the season of giving! Every runner also receives a custom vintage knit hat and a mustache.

The Ugly Sweater Run series only lasts for six weeks, so be sure to secure your spot soon. Whether you’re a beginning runner or a marathoner, everyone can join in this fun run for a bit of cardio and a brightened holiday spirit!

More from FITNESS:

The Queen of Kona Shares Her Tips For Triathlon Success

Written on November 1, 2013 at 10:35 am , by

Rain or shine, the “Greatest Triathlete in History” is out there kicking butt. See? Hard work pays off! (Photo courtesy of Ironman)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Earlier this month, world-class triathlete Paula Newby-Fraser traveled to Kona, Hawaii like so many times before to experience the Ironman World Championship. But this time the Hall of Famer enjoyed the race from the sidelines, supporting all of the athletes who dream of one day accomplishing as much as she has over the course of her career.

The Queen of Kona was an athlete from birth, competing on swimming teams in South Africa until she was 15 years old, but she didn’t fall in love with fitness until after college. With a little positive peer pressure, she began running and going to the gym with friends in lieu of extended happy hours. “I started with running a 5K, then a 10K and just generally working out, enjoying the benefits of being back in shape and being healthy,” Paula tells us.

One thing led to another, and when a pal learned of Paula’s swimming background, a triathlon became the new goal. The rest is history. She won a spot in the 1985 Hawaii Ironman, despite the fact that her newfound passion was her most challenging feat yet. “I had never ridden 112 miles and I had never run a marathon, so when I went to go and do that event, I pretty much did everything wrong,” she says. “But I knew that once I got through it, it opened the door and the possibility of pursuing it on a multiple-time basis.”

Almost 30 years later, Paula has won 24 Ironman Triathlon races—eight of which were Ironman Triathlon World Championships. She holds the Ironman world record of 8:50:24, and along with the “Greatest Triathlete in History” title from Triathlete Magazine in 1999. Her mental and physical connection to the sport kept her focused on the finish line every time she stepped up to the racing line. “I would say to myself, ‘There’s nothing I haven’t faced in training. I’ve had days where I felt brilliant, I’ve had days where I felt absolutely awful, I’ve had very average days,” she explains. “I’ve been out there when it’s cold, when it’s raining, when it’s windy, when it’s hot, when I’ve had mechanical problems and yet somehow you make it through all those workouts and just deal with what the day gives you. There’s nothing that I can’t handle.”

Outside of race training, Paula loves taking her mountain bike to the trails near her home in San Diego, California. “It’s so incredibly peaceful and interactive because you’re off road and on the trails,” she says. “Off-road running is also something that I absolutely love. Being able to go up a mountain is always something I think is special.” She even looks for good trails when vacationing—Utah and Colorado are two of her frequented spots.

What’s next after the current Ironman season comes to an end? Paula has a few more race ideas up her sleeve. “Running an ultra-marathon is definitely on my list of things I would love to do. There are also some ultra-mountain biking events that I just feel like I have to get to do once or twice before too many more years go by.” She literally never stops, which explains why this ambitious gal lives by one word: consistency. “Find a way to integrate consistency in no matter what you choose. Being able to make it a part of you, of your life, of your grounding routine will make something rewarding, will make you want to do it, and give you the benefits,” she says. “If you can do something and make it a part of who you are, it just throws open the possibilities.”

More from FITNESS:

We Tried It: Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation

Written on October 29, 2013 at 10:09 am , by

All smiles during a sweatfest? That’s Michelle Bridges for you! (Photo courtesy of Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Michelle Bridges means business. In addition to appearing on television and authoring eight health and fitness books, The Biggest Loser: Australia star trainer has helped people across the globe lose a collective 1.6 million pounds with her online weight loss program 12 Week Body Transformation. With the program’s United States launch approaching in January 2014, we just had to try this Aussie’s at-home workout. The FITNESS verdict? Two thumbs up.

We met up with Bridges during her recent visit to New York City for a fat-blasting, 30-minute interval-training session, and man did we break a sweat! Her one-step-at-a-time weight loss strategy resonated in her workout design, which broke the routine down into 5-minute intervals. Within each interval, we pushed through 10 different exercises for 30 seconds at a time, earning one minute of much-needed rest before starting again.

Incorporating cardio and total body strength-training moves, the workout utilized pure bodyweight training to target every single muscle. The intervals also alternated the dominant muscle groups every 30 seconds to keep the body strong and balanced. Bridges combined old-school moves in inventive ways, like plank jack pushups and reverse lunge front snap kicks. And as if burpees weren’t already challenging enough, she had us lift and hold alternating arms and legs during the plank portion. Oh yeah, we felt the burn.

Tough moves aside, the format of the workout made time fly by. With only a few repeating moves, the routine required constant focus and kept the body guessing. And as the body fatigued, it felt far easier to dedicate 100 percent effort to an exercise when we knew it was only for half a minute. The mini goal design not only feels more doable, but also achieves a more effective workout. As far as at-home workouts go, Michelle Bridges knows how to help you make the most of little time and persevere through the pain.

More from FITNESS: