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Lauren Cardarelli

‘Bachelor’ Bad Girl Courtney Robertson’s Inner Winner Secrets

Written on June 19, 2014 at 9:54 am , by

Flip open any dictionary and you’ll find “villain” to be defined as some version of “an uncouth person who does bad things.” But when we sat down to chat with notorious Bachelor contestant Courtney Robertson about her new memoir, I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends, the alleged villain wasn’t the reality TV rogue the media has cast her as over the years. In fact, Courtney was quite the opposite—sweet and sincere, bubbly and funny with a confidence that somehow shined brighter than her dewy complexion. “I learned a long time ago that I can’t be anyone other than me,” our April 2011 cover model told us. “I’ve learned to embrace and love myself for all the parts that make me, me—flaws and all!” Preach, girlfriend. Preach.

The past few years haven’t been easy, Courtney admitted, and her short—but very public—relationship with season 16 Bachelor Ben Flajnik cued a barrage of backlash and gossip when it ended privately. To set the record straight once and for all, not to mention give fans an inside look of what the showmance is really like, Courtney shared her love story in book form for your beach bum pleasure. “I was trampled in the press and I had people that I’ve never met writing about me, pretending they knew my story. I decided to take matters into my own hands,” she said with conviction, adding that it was a very cathartic process.

So how does Courtney brush off the haters? Positive thinking is key, she dished—only you can control your own attitude and happiness. “I always try to put on a happy face and act like my best self even if I’m exhausted or have had a stressful day,” Courtney told us. “You never know why someone feels the need to be mean or hurtful. I try to be brave and put on my big girl panties.” Humor has also become a coping mechanism. “The best thing to do in uncomfortable situations is address the awkwardness in all of its glory,” she said. “I just remind myself that it will make for a great story to tell my grandkids someday!”

It doesn’t hurt that she has a killer bod, too. (Insert girl envy here.) The LA-based model tries to squeeze a cardio workout in every day—even if it’s just a 20-minute walk around the block—and lives by the motto “a little goes a long way.” Courtney’s go-to gym routine includes 10 minutes on the StairMaster, 2 miles on the Elliptical and treadmill interval training followed by a stretching sesh. Before calling it a day, she’ll also crank out a quick circuit of push-ups (on her knees), butt raises, wheelhouse crunches and squats…15 each! And we all know that a solid diet is the key to success too, and Courtney swears by a clean-but-not-”perfect” diet. Instead, she “tries her best” on most days and allows for the occasional indulgence. “I enjoy pizza, Thai food and, of course, a good bottle of wine.” A girl after our own hearts.

Get more of Courtney’s tips and tricks (oh, and you know, The Bachelor dirt and dramedy you’ve always craved!) in her new memoir, on sale June 24.

Photo courtesy of Harper Collins

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‘The Bachelor’ Workout: Can Juan Pablo Make You Sweat?
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How One Granola Bar Brand Is Saving Lives—Literally!

Written on June 10, 2014 at 10:46 am , by

Severe acute malnutrition claims the lives of 2.6 million children each year (that’s one child every 12 seconds), but what if you could put a stop to that…by simply munching on your own afternoon snack? Now you can. This Bar Saves Lives has taken a bite out of Toms, Warby Parker and the like’s humanitarian business models to turn grub proceeds into good.

“The solution exists,” co-founder Ravi Patel told us during a recent FITNESS office pow-wow. “There’s just not enough of the life-saving food, Plumpy’Nut®, to go around.” So after returning from a trip to Africa where they witnessed childhood hunger first-hand, founders (and actors) Patel, Ryan Devlin and Todd Grinnell pledged to put an end to childhood hunger and started a movement with tasty treats of their own. And they started out by taste testing in their own kitchens. Don’t you just love that!?

For each purchased bar, This Bar Saves Lives’ non-profit partner makes one portion of Plumpy’Nut®, which is then sent to areas in the world where it’s needed most (primarily Africa, India and Haiti). And not only are you giving others the nutrition they need, you’re also receiving quality energy with natural, locally-sourced and non-GMO ingredients. Double-whammy! The clover honey in my fave Madagascar Vanilla Almond & Honey comes from Wisconsin, for example. And the roasted pistachios in the Wild Blueberry Pistachio? Californian, born and raised. Everything from the ingredients to the packaging (the pattern on the wrappers are from African textiles, which also have a feel-good, giving-back tie) is mission-based, something we at FITNESS truly stand by.

So what are you waiting for? Fuel up to put an end to childhood hunger. Place your order on their site and be sure to keep an eye out for new varieties in select stores and boutique gyms nationwide (another reason to hit up Whole Foods? See you never, paycheck). They’ll also be offering some pretty cool initiatives in 2015, so follow their social media platforms ASAP for the skinny!

Photo courtesy of This Bar Saves Lives

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How Lo Bosworth Pumps Up Her Menu with Pumpkin

Written on May 29, 2014 at 1:24 pm , by

Orange is the new black for Lo Bosworth. The Laguna Beach star-turned-chef is reinventing the face of LIBBY’S canned pumpkin because, let’s be real, the vitamin A powerhouse isn’t just for rich, Thanksgiving pies anymore. “I didn’t know that pumpkin was a superfood when I first started,” she recently admitted to us. “There is no added sugar or salt in LIBBY’S—just a simple, whole product, which is what I look for whenever I cook.”

The soon-to-be International Culinary Center grad has been incorporating lots of pumpkin into her meals and entertaining menus since her revelation. “It’s a really interesting addition to desserts,” Lo dished. “What’s cool is that you can substitute it for an egg or butter!” The result: spongy cakes, decadent cookies and very little guilt. Win. Lo also loves using pumpkin to cut fat in savory snacks like hummus, smoothies and peanut butter on toast. “It doesn’t taste like pumpkin!” she swears.

With all that food prep and casual sampling (which goes hand-in-hand with culinary school, right?), it must be tough to keep a svelte figure, right? But according to Lo, it’s all about control. “It’s really about tasting the food so that the seasoning and texture is appropriate, but I don’t actually eat much of the food I’m making at school. If I did, I think I would put on 25 pounds,” she joked. In fact, Lo has lost weight since starting her program—partly due to her SoulCycle obsession (she gets in the saddle four days a week) alongside being on her feet all day; running around the kitchen. “I also go to a great cardio dance class called 305 Fitness! It’s so fun because they have a live DJ every class,” she said. And since the FITNESS staff has hit up a 305 class before, we know she’s totally right.

So what’s next for Lo? “Right now, I’m working quite a bit on my blog and YouTube channel but long term, I would love to have my own lifestyle show with cooking as an element,” she said. Um, we’d watch it! As for her partner-in-crime LC’s upcoming wedding, Lo will definitely be in attendance (“I’m very excited. Her wedding will be beautiful, I’m sure!”) and who knows, maybe she’ll even bake some treats for the bachelorette party. Oh, come on. This fan girl simply had to ask…

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Eat to Slim: Skinny Dips for Your Holiday Weekend BBQ

Written on May 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm , by

Memorial Day weekend is just a few days away (who’s ready for a long weekend?). Kick summer off on the right sandal-sportin’ foot by snacking smart. We rounded up three bikini-friendly recipes to dip into without the guilt—or bloat. The secret ingredient? Avocado, which research has linked to lower BMI and waist circumference, among a laundry list of other health benefits. Um, win! And forget the greasy munchie pairings. Late July Organics’ new SubLime will rock your socks off.

Blue Cheese Avocado Dip
Calories: 240
Serves: 6

Ingredients
4 ripe avocados
1 garlic clove, minced
4 scallions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup Stonyfield Organic Greek Plain Nonfat Yogurt (or their Fat Free Plain works, too!)
½ cup blue cheese (crumbled)

Peel, seed and coarsely mash avocados. Chop the green part of the scallions. Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition Info: 420 calories, 26g total fat, 65mg cholesterol, 890mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, 25g protein

Wholly Guacamole Chicken Salad
Calories: 340
Serves: 4

Ingredients
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 limes, juiced (and zest from one)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup Wholly Guacamole dip

Mix oil, salt, black pepper, cumin, sugar, chili powder, lime zest and juice of 1 1/2 limes. Combine with chicken to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes. Grill chicken on each side for 2 minutes. Finish cooking in 400°F oven for 8 minutes and allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes before dicing. Once cool, fold chicken in with bell peppers, onion, cilantro, Wholly Guacamole dip, the rest of the lime juiced and the remaining salt.

Nutrition Info: 340 calories, 17g total fat, 90mg cholesterol, 570mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 2g sugar, 35g protein

Avocado Dip
Calories: 110
Serves: 4

 Ingredients
½ tub Nasoya® Silken or Lite Silken Tofu
1 ripe avocado
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon onion, chopped

In a blender, blend the tofu, avocado, lemon juice, garlic, salt and cilantro until smooth. Place mixture in bowl and stir in onions. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve chilled. 

Nutrition Info: 110 calories, 9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 4g protein

Photo courtesy of Late July

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Bug Off! Tick Season Safety Tips and Tricks

Written on May 16, 2014 at 10:44 am , by

Tick. The 4-lettered word alone gives me the heebie-jeebies—and for good reason. These creepy crawlers are the perpetrators of one of the fastest growing epidemics to date, Lyme disease (LD). And now that the temps are finally warming up, ticks are back in full swing. (I’ve already pulled two of the little buggers off my pup. Not cool.) Are you prepared? We talked about the nasty pests with A Twist of Lyme author Andrea H. Caesar, who has battled chronic LD since she was 11-years-old. Here are the must-know dirty deets to bite back.

The No-Zone Walking Fido around the block? Catching up on the newest FITNESS issue poolside in the shade? Risky business, girlfriend. “You can get a tick [bite] in a parking lot…anytime of the year,” warns Caesar. Like us, ticks are most active from April to September. Steer clear of wooded, shady areas as much as possible; in particular, stonewalls and moist leaf piles are their playgrounds. Hitting the open trail? Stick to the middle of the path, away from weedy edges.

Play It Safe Sport light-colored clothing to your next outdoor BBQ so you can easily spot the bad guys and tie long locks back into a tight ponytail. “Then they can’t crawl right up into your scalp,” says Caesar. (Your fave baseball cap will do the trick, too!) Swap out the shorts for leggings or pants tucked into tall socks when tackling yard work. The latter is a total fashion faux pas, we know, but hey—wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry!? And don’t forget the repellent sprays/lotions. The CDC suggests products with 20 percent or more DEET, although Caesar—who lives a non-toxic life—prefers catnip oil. “It can be ten times more effective [than DEET]!” Her fave: Ava Anderson’s Natural Bug Spray ($19.95, avaandersonnontoxic.com).

Check Mate “In my house, we do a tick check morning and night from head to toe,” says Caesar. “The problem is that deer ticks are the size of a piece of dirt so you’re not only looking—it’s a sensory test, too.” Thoroughly comb through your hair with your fingers and be sure to examine your, err, nooks and crannies (where they unfortunately love to take cover). According to the CDC, it takes more than 24 to 36 hours of attachment for ticks to transmit LD bacteria…hence the hide-and-seek urgency. Found one? Start by disinfecting the area with an alcohol swab. Next, use tweezers to grab the tick “head” as close to the skin as possible. Pull straight out and disinfect the bite site. “Put it in a plastic bag with a damp cotton ball if you want to send it away for testing,” advises Caesar. “It’s much more effective and easy to test a tick than a person!”

Tick’s Best Friend You may follow all of the prevention rules, but your pooch? Doubtful. Animals are LD carriers, which includes those not-so-welcome houseguests. “Set mouse traps to keep them under control!” says Caesar. As for pets, discuss repellent products with your vet, inspect their coats daily and reduce tick habitats in your yard, if possible. “My dogs are crated downstairs [at night] because of LD,” Caesar says.

Ticking Time Bomb “In its chronic form, Lyme disease can represent a complex set of infections involving the nervous system and its most basic functions,” says Caesar. “But it really also represents all of the body systems.” Translation: There is a seemingly endless rap sheet of symptoms, making the illness difficult to diagnose. Some general indicators to be aware of include achiness, headaches, tingling or numbness in extremities, fatigue and fever, which can have severe implications if undetected or ignored.

Learn more about LD at CDC.org and be sure to pick up your copy of A Twist of Lyme today.

Photo courtesy of Andrea H. Caesar

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What’s Next for Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi

Written on May 13, 2014 at 12:10 pm , by

“USA, USA, USA!” It was these patriotic chants echoing through the streets of Massachusetts’ capital last month that carried Meb Keflezighi to the end of the Boston Marathon…first. Winning the epic race “was the missing link” and career “exclamation mark” Keflezighi had been working toward for years, not to mention a fairytale finish driving home that Boston Strong spirit.

“I really [ran] with three goals in mind: win, top three or at least personal best,” Keflezighi told us during a cookie break at our office (he’s a fan of Wichcraft’s Peanut Butter Cream’wiches!). “I did all three and to run in 2:08:37 on this tough, difficult course, to become the first American in 31 years to win it…is beyond belief.”

Like many runners, Keflezighi, who left last year’s race five minutes before the bombings, trained for 365 days to turn tragedy into a positive moment. “We were running for something greater than just a race. It was an attribution to the people that had been affected,” he said. “As runners, we were resilient. We didn’t give up!”

Insert chills here.

So, how can you succeed like this speedster? Persistence is key, he said, both in running and life. “It’s not about the money, it’s not about the fame. It’s about doing what you were created to do on this Earth,” the ElliptiGO Project athlete said. “That’s what drives me every day, no matter what. Can I tap that potential?”

If you’re looking to PR this summer, listen up! Keflezighi will be pacing the 1:30 half-marathon group at the Suja Run Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon on June 1st. “San Diego is where I grew up and where I’ve won two titles in Rock ‘n’ Roll…I’m excited!” he said. Talk about runspiration! Register now, and get amped before race day with the play-by-play of his big win below.

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Gold Medalist and Two-Time Boston Marathon Winner Joan Benoit-Samuelson’s Secret to Success

Written on April 30, 2014 at 5:22 pm , by

As the title of Joan Benoit-Samuelson’s documentary so perfectly states, “There Is No Finish Line” for the inaugural Olympic Women’s Marathon winner. The soon-to-be 57-year-old still trains her heart out (Nordic skiing is her go-to winter cross training) and crushes races (NBD, she just finished the Boston Marathon first in her age division!)—all the while serving as an inspiration for the sport.

And there’s no slowing down the legend. Just six days after finishing the 26.2 course she won twice, Joanie headed to Washington D.C. this past weekend to join more than 15,000 women (myself included!) in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. Whoa, my legs hurt just thinking about that. So how does she do it? What’s her secret—besides boosting muscle recovery with lots of “carbos” and lean protein? “As long as there’s a story to tell, inspiration follows,” Joanie said 48 hours before tackling Capitol Hill. “That’s how I continue to push myself.”

Last year, it was all about running within 30 minutes of her Boston course record she set three decades ago. To mark the 30th anniversary of her L.A. win this year, Joanie had her mind set to finishing Boston under three hours, which she accomplished with seven minutes and 50 seconds to spare. Ambitious? No wonder she’s known for breaking barriers, single-handedly defining women’s running and oh, you know, just making history. All in a day’s work.

“I think if anyone is going to have success in their life, they have to go to the beat of their own drum and do what they think is right,” she said. “When it comes down to the true meaning of success, it’s going out and believing in yourself and running your own race.” Talk about the best pep talk ever. No wonder I PR’d this weekend! And ahem, running behind her with my speedy gal pal for a solid half of a mile: highlight to my running “career.” She truly is the definition of brilliance.

Photo courtesy of Nike

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Music Monday: Kellie Pickler’s Post-DWTS Workout Secrets!

Written on April 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm , by

I’ve been obsessed (like major #girlcrush) with singer Kellie Pickler ever since she was on American Idol—and I know that I’m not alone. Her bubbly I-won’t-let-fame-change-me charm and sheer talent has won the hearts of country lovers and loathers alike. So naturally, when Kellie was named one of the Dancing With The Stars contestants last year, she shined. And so did her abs. Each time Kellie made her way one step closer toward that coveted Mirror Ball trophy (providing me with more opportunities to drool over her dreamboat of a partner Derek Hough), I couldn’t help but wonder about her svelte secrets. Like, hey—can I get me some of that long and lean action, stat?

Well, last week I got the skinny from the Season 16 winner herself. “The trickiest thing for me is finding a workout that gives me somewhat of the same result I got from Dancing With The Stars,” Kellie says. “I started doing [Shaun T’s Focus] T25 not long ago and it’s been great for when I’m on the go, in a hotel room or on my tour bus. My husband and I love to do that together!” Noted. Starting the day on the right “and positive foot” sans shortcuts—Kellie always chooses stairs over escalators—is also key. “It sets the tone for your day,” she says, which she enjoys filling with hikes and kayaking trips when she has some downtime.

The vegetarian starlet also attributes her fit bod to maintaining a clean diet. “I love raw almonds and apples with peanut butter on them…[and] I do a lot of juicing,” Kellie dished. Her one indulgence: dark chocolate, a craving she often curbs with protein-packed Rockin’ Refuel drinks.

In honor of finally cracking the bombshell’s workout/diet code, not to mention the release of her new single “Closer to Nowhere,” we Picklered a playlist perfect for the gym, commute or workday. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Shamrock Farms Rockin’ Refuel

Sweat for Good: How YOU Can Kick Cancer to the Curb!

Written on April 4, 2014 at 10:01 am , by

“Ride it forward” is 45-year-old Janeen Parave’s new motto. That’s because the two-time cancer survivor is on a mission to spread awareness and raise funds by training for her second Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) this summer. Last year, Janeen participated in the 190-mile bike-a-thon within a matter of eight months of completing breast and ovarian cancer treatments. And now she’s back—stronger than ever—ready to tackle the Massachusetts mileage this August with a $4,500 goal. Um, can we give her a big virtual high five and “You go, girl!”?

“PMC taught me the value of setting goals and that I can accomplish anything physically and mentally beyond my cancer experiences,” says Janeen. “I learned how resilient the human body can be after being sick. When I crossed that finish line, not only did I know I did something great for others, but I did something extraordinary for myself.”

Help Janeen and other cycling weekend warriors reach their goals in the upcoming months by making a donation—or what the sweat, sign up yourself! Can’t commit to 190 New England miles but still want to make a difference? Get involved with a local event like Soul for Survival or a “Virtual Ride” like Tour de Pink, which allows you to pick the location, when you ride and how much mileage you want to cover for breast cancer research. For you pavement pounders, lace up for an American Cancer Society event near you or stride for another cause you’d like to support, like assistant web editor Sam, who’s training for the New York City Marathon with Team Stop the Clot! Working your tush off never felt so good.

Photo courtesy of Janeen Parave

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Muck It Up: Win a Mudderella Ticket for You and Your BFF!

Written on March 21, 2014 at 4:42 pm , by

Spring has sprung—finally!—so it’s time to shed some layers and get down and dirty with your training. Need some fun-spiration? Get your rear in gear with a mud run, like a Mudderella. (Hey, grunge is always in style) Each location’s 5- to 7-mile long obstacle course—the race will host seven U.S. and two U.K. venues this year—strives to empower its female participants to take pride in their strength by putting their daily gym routine to work. Girl power!

“It’s a very social event,” CEO Cristina Devito told us this week. “It’s team-based and not timed. We like to think of it as the new girlfriend getaway!” Check out “Play Dirty!” in our April issue for a training plan, goo-approved gear and more. In need of some mud 101? FITNESS editor Bethany Gumper has the must-know tips and tricks for first-timers. So what are you waiting for? Take the plunge! Win a chance for you and a friend to race in an upcoming Mudderella (plus an Essentials Bundle for each of y’all to sport) by ENTERING HERE.

Photo courtesy of Mudderella.

Official Rules 

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