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Jenna Autuori

How I Got Hooked on Trail Running

Written on May 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm , by

Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes, North Face pro, was on hand to cheer runners on!

Living in New York City, I don’t get that many opportunities to run on trails—the Bridle Path in Central Park is where I get my fix for dirt, rocks and maybe some mud after it rains. So when North Face asked me to join their Endurance Challenge Series at Bear Mountain State Park, I jumped at the chance. Not only was this my opportunity to run a new course (as an urban runner, I’m always looking for chances to keep my running routes fresh!), but in high school with my cross-country team Bear Mountain races were always my favorite. The park is gorgeous and the trails are ideal if you want that outdoor fix not far from the city.

Since my husband has recently picked up the sport of running (thanks to my reluctant nudging for him to do a triathlon with me—NYC Nautica 2012 here we come!), I signed him up as well. This would be his first race ever, unless we count the 10K he ran in elementary school he repeatedly pointed out. We made our way up to Bear Mountain from the city—a short trip by car or train—and I instantly got excited upon recognizing a place that looked basically the same as I last remembered it so long ago. We were set to do the 10K distance and knowing from the advice from trainers, this 10K would feel much longer and harder than a typical road race 10K would be. I knew from my April 2012 column on trail running (page 52) and the advice from Saucony coach Sharon Barbano that the tricks of the trail were to be followed: Take smaller strides for greater control on uneven terrain, pick up your feet more often than a typical stride and scan at least 10 feet ahead so I can see what’s coming up on the ground. I was pumped and ready to go.

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Work Out With Celebrity Trainer, Gunnar Peterson, LIVE Tomorrow Morning!

Written on May 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm , by

Peterson (left) has helped sculpt Minka Kelly's enviable shape. You're next! (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

If you’re ever wanted to work out with a celebrity trainer, now is your chance! Trainer to the stars, Gunnar Peterson, whose hot bodies he’s helped whip into shape include Vanessa Lachey, Jennifer Lopez and Sophia Vergara (just to name a few), is offering a FREE teaser workout tomorrow on his new website, gunnarchallenge.com. The workout is sure to be no joke, even from the comfort of your home, Gunnar will push you to new limits. If you like what you see—more importantly how you feel after a session with this pro—sign up for his exclusive 8-week program that he promises will get you ready to hit the beach with confidence. What a special treat! Give Gunnar eight weeks of your time and devotion and you can look and feel like one of his A-listers too? Sign me up please!

If you sign up for the Gunnar Challenge, which runs from May 21 to July 14, you’ll be working out in real time with online buddies doing the same thing—the group workout experience, minus the group…plus the benefits of exercising with other people. In the challenge you can chat with other members, watch demo videos of Gunnar’s daily workouts and get nutrition advice too. Find out if you’re meeting your daily caloric intake by logging your meals (if you indulged in a bag of potato chips, your program will tell you how long it will take you to burn it off—I love this part!), check out nutritional info of all your favorite foods (the app will keep you on track when you’re not at your desk) and get healthy cooking ideas for more than 1,000 recipes (the program even suggests things to cook for dinner that night..takes the thinking out of the endless “what’s for dinner?” battle). In addition to Gunnar’s daily workouts, a “surprise” session will pop into your inbox Saturday morning—since you won’t know what to expect, the suspense of doing something new and unknown at the start of your weekend will be a motivational treat. Workouts can be printed out and taken to the gym, done outdoors on a hot sunny day or inside in your living room with your music blasting. All the tricks for losing weight are thought out and planned for you—you just have to follow along and you’ll reach the weight-loss goals you want to hit.

The Gunnar Challenge is your chance to have that personal trainer on hand whenever you need him. It makes working out and eating right a no-brainer. Plus, weekly motivational videos from Gunnar himself will keep you pumped up along the way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a celebrity trainer give so much of his recipe for success for so little cost (the 8-week program costs only $99).

If you’re thinking this program is for you, try Gunnar’s kickoff workout tomorrow from 10 to 11 a.m. EST. Then get ready to get moving with Gunnar on May 21 when you sign up!

Share your results with us after July 14th and we’ll post your before and after pictures on this blog!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Are YOU the Face of Under Armour’s New “What’s Beautiful” Challenge?

Written on May 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm , by

Be a fighter and tackle new goals! Natalie Uhling models Under Armour. (Photos courtesy of Under Armour)

If you’ve heard the buzz on Under Armour for women, it must not only be about their spot-on designs and gotta-have it apparel lately (seriously, how much do you love their cute capris and colorful headbands? I do!)—but you’ve also maybe heard the chatter about their search for the next best female athletes (a la American Idol but fitness queen style). With their innovative “What’s Beautiful” Challenge, Under Armour will take their mission a step further than helping you look good while you work out—they’re casting a call for everyday women to be the new face of their brand. Could that be you?

This campaign shows us that women should embrace the beauty of a strong body, a physically fit mind and a hardcore attitude—redefining strength and tenacity for the ladies. So Under Armour is asking you to pledge a goal, put in the training, and see you make it happen. Maybe you want to run your first half-marathon by summer, participate in a triathlon or maybe tackle a Spartan race, or simply accomplish 50 push-ups without stopping or lose the baby weight by running a 5K every week. Whatever your goal may be, put it in writing and get it done!

Today more than ever, women are becoming the face of what it means to be strong and fit. Women have shown their drive and determination to take on not only new challenges but obstacles too. Shalane Flanagan ran her first marathon a little over a year ago and this summer she will take on the best in the world to go for the gold. The fighting underdog, Lolo Jones, whose first attempt in the Summer Games ended with a simple error, has practiced intensely for the past four years for the 7 seconds it should take her to win in London. Our favorite role models, like Shalane and Lolo, may be at the top of the leader boards, but their commitment to rise to the top is something we all can look up to and learn from. And we don’t have to compete in the Olympics to do so….

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Embrace Your Belly! S.E.A.K. Can Help With That

Written on April 19, 2012 at 11:41 am , by

Jenny Gaither, founder of S.E.A.K. and the Sports Bra Challenge. (Photo courtesy of S.E.A.K.)

Are you that girl that wants to rip off your tank during a grueling Tabata class or during an extra hot and sweaty indoor cycling class, or maybe the heat in Bikram yoga just makes you feel so free that you want to…? Are you thinking how great it would be to lose the shirt and sport that pretty Lululemon sports bra, but you’re wondering is everyone else OK with me being OK with this? Wonder no more. Embrace this feeling, love your body, feel the sweat and let it all out!

Sometimes there is one moment that has more of an impact than you even thought it could—that’s what happened when SoulCycle instructor Jenny Gaither expanded a one-time sports bra challenge class into an entire movement. She wanted to empower more than a single classroom to push past their insecurities and really love their lady curves—and show the world they can rock it in a sports bra. So next month on May 17, Jenny’s nonprofit organization, the S.E.A.K. (Strive Embrace Achieve Know) Foundation will host it’s debut event in Union Square Park. This can’t-miss movement called the Sports Bra Challenge will be an outdoor workout, packed with back-to-back turbo-charged 100 seat SoulCycle cycling classes and a group yoga session led by popular yogi Halle Becker. All proceeds raised on this day will go to the S.E.A.K. Foundation, which will initiate and support after-school programs to help young girls face body image issues and promote positive self-esteem when it’s needed most; and the City of Hope, an organization which supports women going through chemotherapy and rehabilitation during medial treatments.

Love yours! (Photo courtesy of S.E.A.K.)

The Sports Bra Challenge asks you to take a look at yourself and be proud of where you are with your body—so pull out that best sports bra and hop on a bike or hit a mat this May during Women’s Health Week. You don’t have to be there on May 17th to participate—ask your favorite gym class to host a sports bra only day and raise money to donate to these charities.

I scored a coveted seat at last week’s kickoff event at SoulCycle Union Square and a sampler of instructors brought out their best tunes and tricks—a little taste of what I know is to come! Registration for seats are open now and although prices aren’t cheap—get your charity sites up (set up your own and create a PayPal account)—you’re sure to feel good about being part of this day.

Bonus: Hosted by the girls who got their groove back, Biggest Loser winner and runner-up Olivia Ward and her sister Hannah Curlee, and a surprise guest (Lady Gaga is that you!?) who will be motivating you to move!

Check out this movement that’s sure to touch anybody who’s ever thought about rocking it in a sports bra! (Need some inspiration? Check out our favorites!)

SPORTS BRA CHALLENGE REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW!

Meet The Trainer: The Balance Method’s Becky Tinney

Written on April 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm , by

Tinney helps her clients—and you—achieve amazing results! (Photo courtesy of The Balance Method)

When I met LA/NYC celebrity trainer, Becky Tinney, a few months ago I instantly liked her spirit, and her personal story. I’m always intrigued by trainers or people who have lived the walk and can train and preach from the heart. As a young girl Becky struggled with body image issues, anorexia and obsessive working out. And upon moving to New York City after college she was faced with the delicious and decadent bevy of restaurants this place has to offer (we face this battle every day!) and she packed on too many pounds. Finally getting in shape the right way Becky realized the secrets to a fit body and a healthy, manageable diet.

Creating her own routine from scratch, she found that women at the gym started mimicking her moves, asking her questions about fitness and showing up when she worked out. Becky saw that she was on to something and The Balance Method was organically created. When Becky moved to Los Angeles she started working in the entertainment industry training actors and industry executives on movie and television sets (what a cool job!). That’s why I love the moves that we give you in the April 2012 issue—they’re tried and true and will get you results. Plus, with summer time literally around the corner, tank top arms are a must-have! Get moving with Becky’s “Strong Armed” workout on page 50, but first check out a little behind-the-scenes action with this inspiring trainer!

If your story was the plot for a movie, tell me how it goes.  

It would probably be The Hunger Games because I’m always training and I’m always hungry. Just kidding! Well I’m a girl from a small town who moved to NYC, fell in love, moved across country to LA and started a dream career. I feel like we’ve seen movies like that before but I hope the biggest part of my movie is still to come!

Why do you like working with actors on set? Is it exciting being a “silent” part of a movie?

It’s a fun time to work with actors because it’s essentially “game time.” We usually have a short period of time to achieve a specific goal so the determination and commitment is in full effect. It’s fun to be a part of creating a whole new image for someone and to give them that added confidence to perform their best work. Having a body that matches the role is a huge boost in confidence!

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Music Monday: Party Like It’s Your Birthday Playlist!

Written on March 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm , by

My sweat-tastic best friends and I!

Last week I had my birthday bash at my home away from home, SoulCycle—let’s just say I’m totally embracing the new party workout trend that’s taking place all over Manhattan (check it out HERE!). When fitness and working out is your lifestyle like it is mine, sitting bar side at your fave restaurant just doesn’t do it anymore—plus how many times can we do the same thing year after year? That’s why front row seats at my favorite Danny Kopel Thursday evening class was a must-do to celebrate none other than the day I was born. Tap backs, push-ups and a little choreography mixed into it, having my birthday party at SoulCycle was sort of like a no-brainer. When a spinning studio IS the party, that’s where I want to be.

My good friend and FITNESS Half-Marathon blogger, Olivia Ward, jazzed up my spinning bike!

Instead of downing an insane amount of cocktail calories, my best friends and I sweated out hundreds each—and we had just as much fun doing it too. (This class was extra special indeed as we were also celebrating the birthday of late Clare Veronica Walsh, a SoulCycle instructor and friend who passed away late last year. We miss you!)

Party workouts are here to stay and if your class or favorite studio doesn’t put on the show, bring your friends, wear a tiara and sweat your birthday away with your favorite people anyway!

Check out this awesome playlist from SoulCycle instructor, Danny Kopel.

Meet The Trainer: Harley Pasternak From ABC’s The Revolution

Written on March 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm , by

The trainer behind ABC’s newest get-fit-and-feel-gorgeous show, The Revolution, and the founder of weight-loss program 5 Factor Fitness, showed us how to get seriously toned and sleek in March’s Express Workout. Harley Pasternak, celebrity trainer to stars like Halle Barry, Hilary Duff (can’t wait to see the post-baby body he whips into shape!), Lady Gaga, Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Rihanna, Jennifer Hudson and Ashley Greene (yes, the list can go on!) is the Hollywood trainer of choice for many, but you don’t have to be an A-lister to get a hot body. It’s true—try his moves and you’ll see why he’s so in demand. But first check out my one-on-one interview with Harley, then flip to page 56 of the March issue and get started. [The model is Harley's wife, Jessica! I adored her so much and we couldn't stop chatting about all things fitness, fashion and NYC during our shoot, so she answered some questions for us too!]

Was it always your dream to work with celebrities?

Not necessarily. It just kind of evolved. I was scientist, an exercise and nutritionist scientist for the Department of National Defense and I was working toward my Ph.D. I started training to put myself through school.

Harley and Jessica cozy up on the set of the March Express shoot! (Photo by Sophia Vourdoukis)

When you travel with someone, like Lady Gaga, when do you find the time to squeeze fitness into her crazy schedule?

There are two ways. First, we try to make sure people like Lady Gaga are active throughout the day. I give them a pedometer to use. And second, we try to be creative. We don’t have time to find a gym so we try to do something local to wherever we are. Say we’re in Hawaii, we go running on the beach or surfing or out on a kayak. If we’re in L.A., we’ll go hiking or if we’re in NYC, we’ll go to Central Park. As for resistance training, that becomes a challenge. I try to design equipment to travel with. One of those things evolved into the “Harley Bar.” I actually designed it to travel with Halle Berry when she was shooting Batman. I had built a mobile gym and used to travel with that, but it was huge. It was a tractor-trailer that was 53 feet long and 12 feet high. But I realized it was not really possible to do this so the Harley Bar kind of evolved out of necessity.

What’s the #1 move that every woman should be doing?

It’s called “walking.” The one thing that separates us from other countries is that those people walk everywhere. Or take the stairs. It sounds simple but all that walking adds up. As for a specific move, there isn’t just one I’d go with, total body is what you need to do.

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NYC Single Ladies: SoulSingles Ride at SoulCycle is Calling Your Name!

Written on February 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm , by

Listen up! New York City single ladies (and men!), this Valentine’s Day forget the pity party and revel in the reasons why New York City is truly the best place to be. We’ve all done it before at the gym, eyeing some stud-muffin from across the room between the lat pull-down machine, hoping he doesn’t catch your glances, but truly wishing he notices you too. Well, this hearts-and-kisses day (happening on Thursday February 16th at 7:30 pm), sign up for a class at our favorite spot, SoulCycle—and taking the next closest step to handing out your business card, use conveniently accessible paint pens to write your Twitter handle all over your hot bod. (This may mean sweating it out in your bare-minimum best so your lovely tag can be seen.) Then post-ride tweet your hearts out to the other single Soulers you liked in hopes of a hook up in your future. This genius class will be led by one of Us Weekly Magazine’s Most Stylish New Yorkers, SoulCycle instructor Laurie Cole. Things are bound to get extra steamy in SoulCycle’s first-ever find-your-SOULmate ride!

SoulCycle Master Instructor, Laurie Cole, is one hot Valentine! (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

If I wasn’t married, I’d probably be front and center (sorry babe!). The majority of women I talk to name getting hit on while at the gym as their biggest pet peeve, however, where else besides the best cardio-party in town would it be truly acceptable to meet your like-minded match? I’m totally loving this idea and think it just may be the new date-a-thon.

Sign-ups for this sure-to-be-a-blast SoulSingles ride are on Monday February 13th at noon, but hurry up ladies, spots are limited but sure to be hot; SoulSingle ride will take place on Thursday, February 16th at the Tribeca location. Never tried SoulCycle (what? are you crazy?), make this your first time (it’s sure to not be your last). I want to hear from anyone that attended–share your love story with me!

Don’t worry taken ladies and fellas, win your way to your significant others’ heart and buy him or her a SOULmate kit, which includes a pink or grey SoulCycle hoodie, bandana and 5 SoulCycle classes for only $200 (that’s a steal!). Pick up your kit online at soul-cycle.com or at all locations. (Someone send my hubby the memo!)

Meet The Trainer: Tae Bo Creator Billy Blanks

Written on January 30, 2012 at 11:47 am , by

When Tao Bo master and creator, Billy Blanks, stopped by the FITNESS offices a few months ago he created quite a stir! Women were popping out of their offices and cubicles to get a sneak peak of the man himself, as Billy and I tried out moves from his hit new workout, PT 24/7 in our conference room. Not only was Billy super-fun to hang with, but we have a shared passion for martial arts, and anybody with a butt-kicking background will always be on the top of my list. (I spent 10 years practicing Shotokan karate growing up!) After our February Express Workout shoot, I sat down with Billy for a little one-on-one.

With Billy Blanks when he stopped by the FITNESS office!

Why did you decide to create the PT 24/7 DVDs?

I wanted a 30-minute workout with strength and cardio combined. People complain they don’t have time for both, so we put them together. The plan includes a rotation calendar for when to do the workouts and an eating plan too. We called it 24/7 because within 24 hours you’ll feel the difference and within seven days, your body starts to change.

For someone who is unfamiliar, how would you describe them and how they are different from other DVDs?
Tae Bo as a whole is a basic workout that will help you recognize your true self, change your body and your attitude. PT 24/7 will teach you how to put together a physical fitness program and make healthy living a lifestyle, not just something you do for 60 or 90 days. It builds you up mentally and physically.

Do you have any tips for readers trying this Express workout?
Pick out basic moves first. I really recommend the gloves that come with the PT 24/7 kit because they help you feel like a fighter and give you confidence. The gloves that come with the system, with bands attached, are easy to pick up. It’s really interactive with the bands. The moves in this workout and the DVDs will test and challenge you, but you’ll quit if you’re not engaged.

What do you do to exercise when you have just 15 minutes?
I take the gloves with bands and do punches. I use them for push-ups (with bands looped behind your back, hands in triangle position), military press, squats and lunges. You can really do everything with them and combine moves together, like a military press with a side lunge. Your core gets involved when you work multiple muscles.

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Golden Globes Time: My Fit-Favorites Are…

Written on January 13, 2012 at 11:54 am , by

In the spirit of award season and Sunday’s Golden Globes, here’s my list of fit-winners this year!

Workout Trend That’s Taking Over The World: SoulCycle

Spin on with SoulCycle! (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

The cult-following studio that’s been all the buzz this past year is the 6-year-old SoulCycle—the spinning sensation that rides to the beat of the music. With four studios in Manhattan, two in the Hamptons, another in Scarsdale, New York, and ones coming to Roslyn, Long Island and Greenwich, Connecticut, get ready for the spinning boutique of the century to take over the world, literally. Opening next month in West Hollywood, California—with locations following in Brentwood and beyond—this A-list favorite workout (Katie Holmes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kelly Ripa and Alec Baldwin are all staples on the saddle) just keeps getting bigger..and better.

Get yourself some SOUL and go bling with this glamorous iPhone case. (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

Featuring over seven daily sessions in all locations, plus regular fun-themed rides—Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, even Twilight Breaking Dawn cycle-parties—this studio is not only a 500-plus calorie dropping workout, it’s the place. to. be. on any day of the week. (Where else is there a waiting list for 6 a.m. workouts?)The captivating playlists plus theatrical performances by instructors who push you through sprints, hill climbs and strengthen-until-you-fatigue dumbbell sessions makes SoulCycle the workout of the year.

Stay tuned for much more happenings, like the special launch of this month’s limited edition Swarvoski crystal (1,650 of them jewels) encrusted iPhone cases, designed by the Villency Design Group. Available at studio locations and soul-cycle.com, the $250 price tag won’t keep even the loyalist fans away. Can’t make it to a studio? Get some soul from the comfort of your very own home with the spring 2012 cheery yellow SoulCycle-branded spinning bike. See, what’d I tell you? This workout is taking over the world, and we’re totally, totally psyched about it.

Best Collaboration:Jillian Michaels & K-Swiss

Lace up with Jillian and K-Swiss for another amazing year! (Photo courtesy of K-Swiss)

The former Biggest Loser trainer and The Doctors contributor, teamed up with K-Swiss a year ago and since then she’s taken over everyone’s sweat-sessions through totally awesome K-Swiss sneakers, tanks, sweats and apparel that will make you look just like her (if only her abs came included). My favorites were the JM for K-Swiss tanks that read “Saddlebags Suck” (got lots of looks walking through Equinox with that one) and one with her famous mantra “Blow Your Body’s Mind”. With the start of the new year, resolutions, and post-holiday shape-ups comes the launch of Jillian and K-Swiss’ “The Party’s Over” ad campaign with Lady Foot Locker. (It’s one of those rare times we’ll see this little lady all glammed out like it’s time for the ball circa 1950.) TV’s favorite trainer may no longer grace us on Tuesday nights, but we can use her for motivation every time we lace up with the K-Swiss Blade-Max shoes. Check out K-Swiss and Lady Foot Locker’s Facebook pages for exclusive videos from Jillian—workout tips and more never stop coming from our pint-sized workout queen.

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