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Karla Walsh

Shop to Help Keep Veterans Active

Written on November 4, 2013 at 10:41 am , by

(Photo courtesy of the Wounded Warrior Project)

Did you catch FITNESS reader Cassandra in the I Did It! section on page 20 of our September issue? (In case you missed it or need a reminder, she raised $5,420 for the Boot Campaign which helps military veterans and their families.) Now through Veteran’s Day, November 11, you too can make an impact and support our nation’s heroes. No sweat: You don’t have to drop and give us 20—although that’s never a bad thing to do!

The Believe in Heroes campaign, now in its fourth year, gathers funds to help wounded soldiers get back to their favorite activities (through programs like adaptive sports and rehab). Contributing can be as easy as visiting your local supermarket.

How to help:

  1. Donate at your grocery store. Thousands of supermarkets across the U.S. accept donations as you check out.
  2. Download free coupons. Coupons for some of your favorite food and drink brands will be available for free through December 2 at wwpbelieve.org. A contribution will be made to the Wounded Warrior Project for each coupon redeemed.
  3. Click over to Facebook. Learn about participating stores and learn more about Wounded Warriors’ personal stories at www.facebook.com/wwpinc.fans.

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How to Pack a Low-Calorie Picnic: 4 Healthy Recipes

Written on August 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm , by

Did you know that August is National Picnic Month? As if we needed an excuse to eat al fresco in this gorgeous weather…

Too bad so many picnic favorites pack way more calories than we’d like to eat–especially considering this holiday falls right in the middle of bikini season! Luckily, some simple swaps can slim down your spread and FITNESS has plenty of recipes with all the flavors you love (but a fraction of the fat and calories).

Four we can’t wait to try this weekend:

  • Cool Skewers (150 calories): This no-cook app couldn’t be easier. Just slice, stack and serve!
  • Healthy Potato Salad (131 calories, 2 g fat): Low-fat mayo lightens up this cookout classic, plus, diced veggies amp up the nutrition.
  • Greek Salad Pita Pocket (286 calories, 6 g fat): Think of this as a portable version of your favorite Mediterranean salad! Everything’s betta with feta, right?
  • Double-Chocolate Brownies (111 calories, 4 g fat): Surprise! Cocoa powder can be a diet do when you opt for the unsweetened version. Try using white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour for even more fiber.

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Really Good Read: The Good Dream by Donna VanLiere

Written on July 24, 2013 at 12:15 pm , by

This novel, released in early July, is set in a close-knit Tennessee farming community. (Courtesy of Amazon.com)

Book critics, whether professional or casual, sure can be harsh. Everyone is looking for something different in their leisure time reading, right? So when a book earns ★★★★★, you know it’s a keeper. Donna VanLiere’s The Good Dream received that favorable rating from Amazon reviewers—and us!

The novel begins in the 1950s with Ivorie, a small-town Tennessee woman who is on a quest for emotional connections after her mom recently died (don’t worry—we’re not spoiling any big secrets!). Despite only being in her early 30s, Ivorie is known as the lonely town “spinster.” She slowly begins to connect with George, a neighboring farmer who she had previously only looked at as a friend. That is, until a mysterious town visitor and Ivorie’s compassionate nature threatens to put a halt to their romance. Will she go the way of her heart or her head?

The book’s spunky, courageous protagonist makes this beach-friendly read hard to put down. Plus, the retro setting, in an era prior to the invention of the Internet and cell phones, will transport you back to a time when warm summer evenings were spent on the porch with a cold glass of lemonade and a good book. Put your cell phone on silent and follow suit.

More page-turners to peruse:

Calling All Runners! Help Fight Cancer By Joining a Coast to Coast Relay

Written on July 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm , by

Lymphoma survivor Michelle Flattery filled her shirt with the names of everyone she was running her 26.2 miles for. (Photo courtesy of Above + Beyond Cancer)

How many people do you know who have been affected by cancer? A shocking 41 percent of people will be diagnosed with some form of the disease during his or her lifetime, according to research by the National Cancer Institute.

Another surprising stat: One-third of cancer cases are caused by poor diet and lack of activity. A group of ambitious athletes, many of then cancer survivors themselves, are seeking to inspire others to affect that statistic, all while raising money to support more research about the disease.

For the past month, the Million Dollar Marathon (and a baton stuffed with prayer flags which honor those who have fought/are fighting cancer) has been making its way from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. About 160 people signed on to run or walk a marathon along the route while raising money for cancer-related charities, with an overall goal of fundraising $1 million. To date, the team has raised nearly $500,000 and has its sights set on Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on August 1.

Yesterday, FITNESS hopped in along the course in Illinois as Ames, Iowa resident Ashley Poppe ran her first marathon in honor of her friend Kerri. Despite struggling with tendinitis all through training, Poppe completed all of her miles (and finished with a smile). She has raised more than $6,000 for the cause, too. The “magic” baton has inspired participants to power through rain, 100°+ heat, injuries and the longest runs of their lives.

“Each time you think you’ve found your favorite moment from the trip, another even more amazing one happens four hours later,” said Steve Cannon, who dreamt up the 4,000-mile coast-to-coast relay after running 40 marathons in 40 days (solo) around Lake Michigan last summer. Recently, the event has taken on even greater meaning for Cannon, as his sister is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Inspired to take part in this epic journey? It’s not too late—and you can carry the baton for as many miles as you want (26.2 miles is not a requirement). The Million Dollar Marathon is still looking to fill slots in West Virginia on July 26 and 27, so if  you’re ready for a challenge, email steve@aboveandbeyondcancer.org.

Fit Links: 14 Frozen Desserts and a Speedy Summer Vacation Workout

Written on June 21, 2013 at 11:29 am , by

Don’t melt in the heat! (Photo by Claire Benoist)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

 

Fit Links: 7 Diet Tips To Drop Pounds and a Weekend Workout

Written on June 14, 2013 at 5:21 pm , by

One of the seven healthy eating ideas: serve up a satisfying salad once a day. (Photo by Peter Ardito)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

 

Prepare to Be a Hero During National CPR Week

Written on June 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm , by

Use this hand position while performing CPR. (Image courtesy of the American Heart Association)

Did you know…

  • Nearly 360,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States, accounting for 80 percent of total cardiac arrest cases.
  • About 90 percent of people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene.
  • Only 41 percent of people who experience a cardiac arrest get the immediate help that they need before emergency help arrives.

For these reasons and more, the American Heart Association wants you to brush up on your skills now during National CPR Week (June 1-7). According to the AHA, CPR can double, and perhaps even triple, the likelihood of survival of someone whose heart has stopped. Think about it: if you do nothing, nothing has a chance to improve!

If you’re turned off by the traditional idea of CPR including mouth-to-mouth, fear not. Updated recommendations promote a hands-only method, which has only two steps:

  1. Call 9-1-1.
  2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive.”

Are you CPR-certified? If so, post the AHA’s hand image above on your social media accounts or share pictures of your own hands in the #CPRReady position. If not, stop sitting on the sidelines and find a course near you!

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2 Recipes For a Heart-Healthy Mother’s Day Brunch

Written on May 10, 2013 at 9:24 am , by

There are few better ways to show mom how much you care than breakfast in bed. That tray of goodies—perhaps pancakes with sausage or Eggs Benedict—sure tastes great, but may not be too nice for her health, though.

New research found that a meat-free diet can cut risk for heart disease by 32 percent, so the two vegan recipes below from The China Study Cookbook, will keep mom’s heart happy, too. By the way, all of the dishes in the book are not only vegetarian, but vegan!

Scrumptious Apple-Filled Turnovers
Serves 8

Turnovers

Baking apples like Macintosh, Jonathan or Cortlands work well in these turnovers.

  • 3½–4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon Sucanat
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2½ teaspoons instant (fast rise) yeast
  • 1½ cups warm water

Filling

  • 3 cups apples, diced finely
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Mix all the turnover ingredients together in a bowl. Knead with your hands for 8–10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Separate into 8 balls; cover, and let rise for 40 minutes.
  2. Once turnovers are covered, prepare filling by mixing all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. After 40 minutes, roll out each ball to a diameter of about 3 inches. Place one heaping tablespoon of filling into the center. For each turnover, fold the edges together to form a half moon. Pinch the edges together with a fork so there are no openings.
  4. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  5. Let your turnovers rise on the counter for 15 minutes, then place turnovers on nonstick baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 425˚F for 20–25 minutes.

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2 Yoga Moves For Type A Personalities

Written on April 18, 2013 at 9:09 am , by

Some runners, spinners and bootcamp devotees skip yoga classes thinking they’d be bored by the slow pace and not challenged enough by the practice. Luckily, as yoga grows in popularity, a wider variety of styles is offered. And if you’re willing to try some new things, it is possible to find a omm-azing fit, even if you’re not the most zen.

On our quest to find the most unique classes around, we discovered the class for type As: Yoga Bootcamp. This variety includes a mix of flowing poses and muscle-building strength moves performed at a heart-pumping pace. In our class, a top 40 playlist kept the pace moving at a fast clip…until the final five minutes. Then, the instructor (and triathlete) Lindsey Opp of PowHer Fitness, says, “The most difficult part of the class begins.” In other words, the time you lie still in corpse pose and clear your brain to focus on your breath might be even more of a challenge than the super-sculpting moves. Yup, there is a yoga class for us all…even those who have slowing down.

Try this style yourself at home with two moves from the bootcamp:

Spiderman Push-ups

  • Start in plank position, with abs tight, body in a straight diagonal line from shoulders to heels and hands under shoulders.
  • Slowly lower down in a triceps push-up, keeping elbows near ribcage. As you lower, bring right knee out to the side and forward to meet right elbow (see picture).
  • Push back up to starting position and place right leg back behind to meet left.
  • Switch sides and repeat. Try to complete 5 reps per side.

Wall Walks

  • Begin with feet about two feet in front of an empty wall. Bend down and place hands at shoulder-width, about one foot on front of toes (A).
  • Place most of body weight on hands and carefully place one foot low on the wall while the other remains on the floor.
  • Step other foot up on the wall and alternate stepping legs higher, until legs are fully extended (B).
  • Hold handstand position for five seconds, then walk feet back down the wall until you can step back to the starting position.
  • Repeat, stepping first with the opposite leg.
 

Music Monday: March Madness Final Four Workout Playlist

Written on April 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm , by

Grab your gadgets to vote–and download some fun new songs! (Photo by Peter Ardito)

The men’s NCAA March Madness Final Four is officially set. Congratulations to Syracuse, Wichita State, Louisville and Michigan (and their fans)! The ultimate winner will be decided one week from today, but there’s another heated competition going on for a fitness-related trophy this week: Gold’s Gym’s March Music Madness.

In this battle, fans and celebrities, including Will Ferrell and Gabby Reece, nominate their favorite workout songs. Each round, tracks are voted on at marchmusicmadness.com and winnowed down until a victor emerges on April 18. “We thought it would allow for some spirited debate and, more importantly, help people discover new music for their workout playlists,” says Dave Reiseman, vice president of communications for Gold’s Gym.

This program caught our attention with the awesome, varied selection of tunes, but we were completely sold once we heard that the person who nominated the winning song gets $5,000 to award to their charity of choice.

After listening to the sweet 16 with us, go vote and make your voice heard. Fans who select the most winning songs win sweet gym swag and memberships!

“Music is just as much a part of the workout experience as a towel or water bottle. The right song can be just the motivation you need to push through when you feel like quitting, or the inspiration you need to take your workout to the next level,” Reiseman says. We couldn’t agree more.

Now tell us: Which of the contenders do you hope to see come out on top in the music bracket?