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Panama: Where You Can Play Hard, Day and Night

Written on January 17, 2014 at 9:10 am , by

 

That’s me ziplining in the Anton Valley!

Written by Kathy Green, managing editor

It’s January and most of the U.S. is in a deep freeze.  What better time to plan a trip to somewhere warm!  How about Panama?  I was there recently as a guest of the new Hard Rock Hotel Panama Megapolis.  The temperature was perfect (it’s always around 80 degrees) and their eco-tourism is growing.  There are lots of daily flights, which makes it an easy, sunny destination for a break from the cold.

Before this trip, my only association with Panama was the canal, but I discovered there is a lot to do there. My travel buddies and I drove for about 2 hours outside of Panama City to the Anton Valley—a rich rainforest that is a volcano crater.  We hiked into this beautiful park and then zip-lined over a tremendous waterfall called Charro el Macho.  I had never tried ziplining before, and soaring through the lush canopy was truly a special experience.

After ziplining, it unfortunately started to pour, but that didn’t stop us from ATVing around the hillsides of the valley.  Even in the rain, we had a great time.

We also discovered the Soberania National Park, just 20 minutes outside of Panama City. A rainforest this rich with wildlife so close to civilization is a true find.  When we entered the park, the guide told us we’d possibly see monkeys, kinkajous and an abundance of birds and plant-life. Soberania delivered on beauty and rainforest magic­­­­—just as we started off on our three-hour hike, we found a sloth high up in a tree relaxing in the sun.

My friend Jennifer and I ATVing in the rain!

An added perk from Soberania? Driving right by the Panama Canal to get there and back from Panama City.  So even though we didn’t have time to take a tour, we did stop and take pictures of ships going through the locks.

So if you like to party as much as you like to hike, the perfect place to stay in Panama City is the new Hard Rock Hotel Panama Megapolis.  It’s located right near the harbor and attached to a large shopping mall filled with stores such as Diesel and Nike (shopping and partying—what’s not to like?!). I stayed in a beautiful suite with a great view of the skyline and ships lined up to go through the canal. With no time for a pedicure before leaving New York City, hitting up the spa (at a reasonable price) was the perfect prep for the Hard Rock night scene.

The hotel is full of incredible rock n’ roll memorabilia and it has the greatest room service offer—you can get a Fender electric guitar or personal DJ box delivered so you can be a rock legend in your very own room. It is a party-hardy place with great restaurants (we ate in two of them–Soy and Tauro and the food was first-rate), bars (the roof bar has awesome views of the city) and a happening club called BLING—THE place to be seen in Panama City (Justin Bieber was hanging out there a couple of nights with his entourage). The DJ was exceptional, and my friends and I had a blast dancing into the wee hours of the morning. Calorie burning, right?

BLING, the trendiest club in Panama City

 

But if hiking isn’t your thing, and you’re not quite into the party scene, there are plenty of other things to satisfy your thirst for adventure in Panama. Try a visit to the Old City, bike along the Amador causeway or go to one of the great beaches on either the Caribbean or Pacific coasts.  Plus one essential perk: a Panama vacation can be reasonably priced. And we know that’s the real reason to start booking your next vacation.

Photos courtesy of Jim Raycroft

A New Year’s Pre-solution? Genius, Flywheel!

Written on November 28, 2013 at 10:07 am , by

Cycle off that holiday weight!

Here it is. The homestretch to 2014. What lies between now and next year are potentially weeks of unbridled eating and holiday abandon. But in the spirit of “the best defense is a good offense,” Flywheel studios may just yet give your year, ahem, a tight end.

The hip indoor cycling chain is kicking off what it calls a Holiday Express Challenge on Monday, December 2 (Yes, this coming Monday, after you’ve polished off the last slice of pie). Your mission for the following 21 days, if you choose to accept it: Take five classes per week. At  Flywheel studios that also offer sculpting classes, the split will be three FlyBarre classes and two Flywheel classes.

The Holiday Express Challenge will also include a special workshop on techniques and a nutrition seminar for surviving all that party food. Check out Flywheel’s website to sign up or get more scoop.

So, who’s joining the challenge? We’re ready to get our rears in gear!

More from FITNESS:

Everything You Need to Know About Bicycling and Spinning

Your Post-Thanksgiving Tune-Up

9 Steps to Reach Any Goal

Music Monday: Assistant Fashion Editor Melissa Freeswick’s Summer Playlist Picks

Written on August 26, 2013 at 11:15 am , by

Now that summer is officially in full swing (and bringing the heat!), we really want your playlists to pop. And don’t worry, we get it – your tastes vary. Heck, they’re ridiculously diverse amongst our staff! To keep everyone’s earbuds happy, we’re plugging you in to the songs that make us sweat. Every Monday will reveal a new editor’s playlist – pick one who lines up with your preferred beats, download their top tunes and get back to enjoying your workouts.

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Melissa Freeswick, Assistant Fashion Editor

I’m not a runner or a yogi, and I don’t do Pilates – my workout of choice is hardcore High Intensity Training, otherwise known as HIT. Music plays a huge part in my sweat sessions because sometimes I just don’t feel like lifting a heavy weight or doing a pull-up. But when I step through the doors of my local gym, there’s always a sick beat pumping through the speakers, and it instantly puts me in the mood to move. Check out my list of favorite techno tunes that will hopefully make you want to get of the couch and workout, or at least dance!

Follow Melissa on Twitter for more of her faves!

More FITNESS Editor Playlists:

Heidi Smith, Freelance Designer

Marla Horenbein, Fashion Assistant

Lisa Haney, Senior Editor

Jenna Autuori-Dedic, Fitness Editor

Juno DeMelo, Nutrition Editor

Pam O’Brien, Executive Editor

Heather Muir, Beauty Director

Colleen Moody, Senior Web Editor

Music Monday: Designer Heidi Smith’s Summer Playlist Picks

Written on August 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm , by

Now that summer is officially in full swing (and bringing the heat!), we really want your playlists to pop. And don’t worry, we get it – your tastes vary. Heck, they’re ridiculously diverse amongst our staff! To keep everyone’s earbuds happy, we’re plugging you in to the songs that make us sweat. Every Monday will reveal a new editor’s playlist – pick one who lines up with your preferred beats, download their top tunes and get back to enjoying your workouts.

***

Heidi Smith, Freelance Designer

Whether you were born in the 90s, like me, or just enjoy a throwback to a great decade, this playlist will bring back old memories that you just can’t help but sing along to. Whenever I need an extra push to stay energized and keep moving, I always plug into these picks. Now do the same and travel back in time a bit!

More FITNESS Editor Playlists:

Marla Horenbein, Fashion Assistant

Lisa Haney, Senior Editor

Jenna Autuori-Dedic, Fitness Editor

Juno DeMelo, Nutrition Editor

Pam O’Brien, Executive Editor

Heather Muir, Beauty Director

Colleen Moody, Senior Web Editor

Music Monday: Fashion Assistant Marla Horeinbein’s Summer Playlist Picks

Written on August 12, 2013 at 10:40 am , by

Now that summer is officially in full swing (and bringing the heat!), we really want your playlists to pop. And don’t worry, we get it – your tastes vary. Heck, they’re ridiculously diverse amongst our staff! To keep everyone’s earbuds happy, we’re plugging you in to the songs that make us sweat. Every Monday will reveal a new editor’s playlist – pick one who lines up with your preferred beats, download their top tunes and get back to enjoying your workouts.

***

Marla Horenbein, Fashion Assistant

Music is everything for me when I’m out on the road training for races—there’s nothing better than a good beat and a sweaty body! I like to switch up my playlists frequently, and they usually have a mix of pop, hip/hop, and techno tunes, but lately I’ve been running to a lot of Mac Miller. He’s got sick rhymes and awesome beats, perfect for an energizing run. One song you’ll always find on my playlist though is Kanye West & Jay-Z’s “No Church in the Wild.” No matter where I’m at on my run– tackling a hill or flying down a straightaway–it’s always the perfect pump-up song, and it pushes me to run harder and sprint faster.

More FITNESS Editor Playlists:

Lisa Haney, Senior Editor

Jenna Autuori-Dedic, Fitness Editor

Juno DeMelo, Nutrition Editor

Pam O’Brien, Executive Editor

Heather Muir, Beauty Director

Colleen Moody, Senior Web Editor

Music Monday: Senior Editor Lisa Haney’s Summer Playlist Picks

Written on August 5, 2013 at 9:29 am , by

Now that summer is officially in full swing (and bringing the heat!), we really want your playlists to pop. And don’t worry, we get it – your tastes vary. Heck, they’re ridiculously diverse amongst our staff! To keep everyone’s earbuds happy, we’re plugging you in to the songs that make us sweat. Every Monday will reveal a new editor’s playlist – pick one who lines up with your preferred beats, download their top tunes and get back to enjoying your workouts.

***

Lisa Haney, Senior Editor

I mostly listen to alternative music, but for working out, I have a lot of hip hop, rap and pop on heavy rotation to pump me up. This mix is a little of bothgood for a medium-length run at a moderate pace with bursts of speed built right in. And since I’m running in NYC, it includes “Empire State of Mind,” which I could listen to on repeat for an entire run and still not get sick of it.

Follow Lisa on Twitter for more of her faves!

More FITNESS Editor Playlists:

Jenna Autuori-Dedic, Fitness Editor

Juno DeMelo, Nutrition Editor

Pam O’Brien, Executive Editor

Heather Muir, Beauty Director

Colleen Moody, Senior Web Editor

 

Music Monday: Fitness Editor Jenna Autuori’s Summer Playlist Picks

Written on July 29, 2013 at 9:56 am , by

Now that summer is officially in full swing (and bringing the heat!), we really want your playlists to pop. And don’t worry, we get it – your tastes vary. Heck, they’re ridiculously diverse amongst our staff! To keep everyone’s earbuds happy, we’re plugging you in to the songs that make us sweat. Every Monday will reveal a new editor’s playlist – pick one who lines up with your preferred beats, download their top tunes and get back to enjoying your workouts.

***

Jenna Autuori, Fitness Editor

The eclectic style of running music is sometimes as disarray as the hectic to-do list my days start with and end on. With an upcoming marathon on my training schedule, my running playlists might just be my very best friend. I see my music as I see the road ahead of me.  Each song brings visualizations to mind that help me get the miles done. Songs like Eminem’s “Till I Collapse” make me think about the popular YouTube video of snippets from the Kona Ironman Championship set to the song. As a triathlete with an intense competitive side, I use this song to constantly inspire me to keep going when I want to quit—or to simply get my workout started on the right foot (no pun intended). However, it’s ballads like Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” that emotionally make me shiver when I hear it. The power behind her voice becomes the power behind my steps. Or The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony,” for instance, is not a typical running tune, but as the song I walked down the aisle to with my husband by my side, when it hits my ears I am instantly empowered. Does anybody else mix rap with divas and alternative rock? Maybe not, but check out my playlist and you just might get hooked on this random array.

Follow Jenna on Twitter for more of her faves!

More FITNESS Editor Playlists:

Juno DeMelo, Nutrition Editor

Pam O’Brien, Executive Editor

Heather Muir, Beauty Director

Colleen Moody, Senior Web Editor

Music Monday: Nutrition Editor Juno DeMelo’s Summer Playlist Picks

Written on July 22, 2013 at 9:08 am , by

Now that summer is officially in full swing (and bringing the heat!), we really want your playlists to pop. And don’t worry, we get it – your tastes vary. Heck, they’re ridiculously diverse amongst our staff! To keep everyone’s earbuds happy, we’re plugging you in to the songs that make us sweat. Every Monday will reveal a new editor’s playlist – pick one who lines up with your preferred beats, download their top tunes and get back to enjoying your workouts.

***

Juno DeMelo, Nutrition Editor

On long, slow runs, I listen to the “This American Life” podcasts, but for tempo runs, I need the musical equivalent of caffeine. I need the kind of songs that, even if I’d just eaten a burrito bowl and was in the middle of a “Teen Mom” marathon, make me get up off the couch and dance. If it makes me feel like dancing, it makes me feel like running. Like a good meal, a good playlist is all about balance: Some bubblegum pop my teenage sister is probably too old for, some rap I like to think she’s too young to be listening to, and a little indie-darling stuff I hope she thinks I’m cool for liking.

Follow Juno on Twitter for more of her faves!

More FITNESS Editor Playlists:

Pam O’Brien, Executive Editor

Heather Muir, Beauty Director

Colleen Moody, Senior Web Editor

Music Monday: Executive Editor Pam O’Brien’s Summer Playlist Picks

Written on July 15, 2013 at 10:44 am , by

Now that summer is officially in full swing (and bringing the heat!), we really want your playlists to pop. And don’t worry, we get it – your tastes vary. Heck, they’re ridiculously diverse amongst our staff! To keep everyone’s earbuds happy, we’re plugging you in to the songs that make us sweat. Every Monday will reveal a new editor’s playlist – pick one who lines up with your preferred beats, download their top tunes and get back to enjoying your workouts.

***

Pam O’Brien, Executive Editor

For me, working out is all about interval training, whether I’m on the Spin bike or running outside. I load my playlist with plenty of fast-paced push-it songs for sprints, and slower but still pumped-up tunes for moderate intervals and climbs. I’ve got a little bit of everything here—pop, rap, rock and EDM. Mixing it up keeps me motivated—and moving!

Follow Pam on Twitter for more of her faves!

More FITNESS Editor Playlists:

Heather Muir, Beauty Director

Colleen Moody, Senior Web Editor

Music Monday: Beauty Director Heather Muir’s Summer Playlist Picks

Written on July 8, 2013 at 10:42 am , by

Now that summer is officially in full swing (and bringing the heat!), we really want your playlists to pop. And don’t worry, we get it – your tastes vary. Heck, they’re ridiculously diverse amongst our staff! To keep everyone’s earbuds happy, we’re plugging you in to the songs that make us sweat. Every Monday will reveal a new editor’s playlist – pick one who lines up with your preferred beats, download their top tunes and get back to enjoying your workouts.

***

Heather Muir, Beauty Director

I’m a big fan of running one song and speed-walking the next, so I load my workout playlist with a variety of upbeat hip-hop songs that push me to run and slower pop and R&B songs I can walk to. Ultimately, I choose songs that have catchy beats and interesting lyricsones that make me happy so that when I’m not in the mood to workout, the music keeps me moving. I update my list often so I never get bored; if I hear a cool new song on the radio, at a party or on Pandora, I download it ASAP so I don’t forget to add it to my gym mix. Variety is the spice of life!

 Follow Heather on Twitter for more of her faves!