Written on April 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
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
Written on April 4, 2014 at 10:01 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
“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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Written on March 21, 2014 at 4:42 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
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.
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Written on March 13, 2014 at 1:42 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
I felt like I was home the second I touched down in Colorado’s tiny Montrose Airport two weeks ago. The sun tickled my pasty skin as I bounded off of my puddle jumper plane with a list of to-dos a mile long—pee, claim baggage, find my shuttle, etc.—yet all of those thoughts and former stresses seemed to disappear in thin air (literally, hello altitude) when I laid eyes on the snowcapped mountain skyline. Holy snowplow. I could get used to this.
As a self-proclaimed “summer girl” who finds winter’s only redeeming quality to be powder-packed slopes, it has been a dream of mine for far too long to experience trails (both “groomies” and glades) out West. So when I was invited on a trip to Telluride, I felt like a kid in Toys-R-Us the week before Christmas—wide-eyed, jaw ajar the entire five days I spent gallivanting about. But is the skiing really that much better than the Northeast? Like, worth the extra travel and lugging of clunky equipment? Abso-freaking-lutely. The conditions rocked the socks off my go-to stomping grounds (while lacking that bone-gnawing bitter cold us Northerners are all accustomed to), and the town itself had the local charm a city dweller craves…without sacrificing cell service. From backcountry hikes and wildlife tours to snowmobiling and gaga-worthy dining views, the destination is a fit gal’s heaven. And the food? I can’t even begin to explain the flavor explosion my taste buds experienced. It had the high-end Manhattan quality, touting a local farm-to-table flair. Insert your choice of an expletive adjective to describe the melt-in-your mouth pork belly.
Written on February 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm , by Lauren CardarelliSlush and the resulting sloppy conditions were all the buzz in Sochi the past few weeks, but according to alpine skier Julia Mancuso, who snagged a bronze in the ladies’ super combined slalom, it wasn’t as bad as everyone cracked it up to be. In fact, Mancuso told us that she liked the hills in Russia! To put it simply, “it could have been worse.”
The Squaw Valley resident had yet another outstanding Olympic experience competing in three events and attending a handful of others to cheer on Team U.S.A. Adding a fourth medal to her accolades was the bling-a-licious cherry on top. “I was struggling going into this season so being able to get a medal was kind of a bonus,” she confessed. “I was hoping to use that energy into the next events and that didn’t happen. I was a little disappointed but looking back, I achieved something that so many athletes don’t get to do.”
So what’s her success secret? No Beyoncé dancing pre-race ritual here (although we still love you, Queen B). The most decorated woman in U.S. Olympic alpine history swears by one thing: getting her head in the game. “Ski racing is 99 percent mental, so for me it’s about getting to the start and relaxing—getting in the right mindset to go fast!” 81 miles per hour, fast. Talk about mind over matter!
Unlike other Olympians who are just arriving home, Mancuso skipped out on the Closing Ceremonies for a short stint in the States before finishing off her World Cup season. “Three more weeks and then it’s time to start training for next year,” she said a few days before jet-setting off to Switzerland.
And all of that traveling definitely adds up—especially when it comes to diet. “I try to eat healthy but it’s hard to plan ahead,” she said. “It’s one more thing to stress about if you’re not getting the right foods, so I try to control what I can and make good choices of the stuff I can’t control.” Her fuel of choice? ZICO-based smoothies. Check out her fave pre- and post-workout recipe below. Delicious and nutritious, perfect for whatever “podium” you’re looking to achieve.
So what’s Mancuso up to next, once she gets a little down time? She’ll be swapping snow for Hawaiian waters to indulge her surfing and paddleboarding interests, then flying to London to attend her BFF’s wedding. Sounds like a fun year ahead!
Written on January 24, 2014 at 1:04 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Track & Field World Champion Lolo Jones embraces defeat. In fact, it’s the driving force behind her success so far, she says, and what the athlete will most definitely draw from on her bobsledding road to redemption in the upcoming Games. That’s right: this week the 31-year-old was selected for the 2014 Olympic Bobsled Team, along with fellow track star Lauryn Williams. No wonder Jones’ mantra is, “A failure isn’t a failure if it prepares you for success tomorrow.”
The duo became the ninth and tenth Americans to ever compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, which—let’s face it—is pretty darn cool. Fingers crossed that the third time is the charm for Jones when it comes to the podium. The speedy all-star has certainly put in the work, gaining 30 pounds of muscle (thanks to a new routine and proper recovery with Twinlab CleanSeries performance protein products) for her new gig’s dangerous terrain.
“I transitioned to bobsled about a month after track season,” she told us while prepping for team trials. “I’m still training to be a fast and powerful sprinter, but the main difference is, as opposed to running a 100-meter or hurdle race, now I’m running maybe 40 to 50 meters before jumping in a bobsled.”
The shift to colder temps hasn’t had too much of an effect on Jones, though. In fact, she finds it more peaceful to work out during the winter and even embraces trudging through the snow (more than we can say for ourselves). “I feel like I’m pushing my body more than when it’s easy and beautiful out,” she admits. I guess we should bundle up and embrace the Polar Vortex then?
Three to five layers are key to keeping toasty, Jones says, as are wool socks. “They’re waterproof and keep your feet warm!” For slick and slushie days, she relies on Asics GEL-FujiSetsu G-TX sneaks, too. The athlete swears she isn’t superstitious, but she does pride herself in being well-organized—especially before a competition. Her warm gear is neatly laid out before bedtime to avoid adding to any jitters. “The last thing I need to do is wake up race day and look for this or that,” she says. “You’re already nervous enough, the last thing you want is that one missing thing to add extra nerves.”
So what has been her biggest career highlight to date? That’s a tough question, to say the least. “Anytime I put on Team USA and represent tons of people back home, it’s a huge honor,” she says. And we wish her nothing but the best of luck in sporting red, white and blue yet again in the coming weeks. You got this, girlfriend!
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Written on January 9, 2014 at 9:42 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
New York City-based celebrity trainer Joel Harper knows a thing or two about building lean muscle. That’s why his star-studded clientele—ranging from Dr. Oz to Olympic medalists—keep him on speed dial. But sculpting that fit and firm dream bod doesn’t come from the gym alone – it starts in the kitchen. “When it comes to exercise, your body needs the fuel to make it work and then repair properly,” says Harper. “It needs the raw material to build muscle. The key is there are no shortcuts.”
Harper keeps his metabolism revved with three meals and five (yes, five!) snacks a day. “I’m always hungry, so I have healthy options automated,” he says. And don’t even think about giving him convenient, additive-laden garbage when his stomach starts to grumble. Harper sticks to organic grub and avoids anything pre-packaged, including dessert. So how does he curb his sweet tooth? He munches on fruit. “I love every kind of fruit and learning new healthy ways to eat them.”
One of his favorite techniques: blending fruit into a protein smoothie. It tastes great while pumping up muscle recovery and growth. Win, win. Harper whips one up like his go-to below within 30 minutes of a vigorous workout. Cheers!
- 1 cup of flax milk
- 1/2 of a banana
- 1/2 of a papaya or mango
- Handful of blueberries
- 1 scoop of Vanilla CleanSeries Protein Powder
- 4 ice cubes
- Dash of cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Written on January 8, 2014 at 9:05 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Gabrielle Douglas really is America’s Golden Girl, as Vanity Fair so fittingly named the gymnast shortly after the 2012 Summer Olympics. Bling aside (she won both team and individual all-around gold medals—no big deal), it was Gabby’s all-star grin and heartwarming, underdog story that stole the hearts of viewers from around the world. Now with two books, a leotard line and a few acting gigs under her belt, the 18-year-old Olympian really is the whole flippin’ package.
Her positive attitude, despite her rocky past, still resonates with me when I think back to the London Games and look forward to playing fan girl during Sochi. After all, mental toughness is arguably just as important as physical strength when it comes to athleticism, right?
“I remind myself that I can do anything that I set my mind to do,” Gabby recently told FITNESS when we asked how she keeps her cool pre-competition. “I tell myself to stay calm and focus on one routine at a time.” Another important psych tactic, she says: “Trust your abilities.” Noted.
But like most of us, the pint-sized “Flying Squirrel” can be tough on herself—especially when she flubs up from time to time. “My coaches and family tell me to be proud of my accomplishments and not to dwell on the mistakes,” she says. “Sometimes it’s really hard to do, but I tell myself to look at my mistakes as fuel to drive me toward my success.”
The prep, dedication and sacrifices made along the way can be tough, she admits, but it’s all worth it in the end. Luckily, Gabby has a great sense of humor to make light of the not-so-fun days. “I’m a closet comedian,” she confesses. “I love to make people laugh!” And laugh you must when your daily routine consists of squats, calf raises and lunges. Ouch! “Gymnasts don’t normally work out with weights—we mostly use our body weight as resistance,” she explains, adding that a strong core and lower bod is paramount in her sport. “I focus on strength and conditioning exercises, but I also have to maintain my flexibility, so I stretch every day and really enjoy running outdoors.”
But what sport would she participate in if she wasn’t busy rockin’ the floor, beam, vault and uneven bars? “My brother took martial arts and it looked like a lot of fun! I love how fierce but graceful the moves are.”
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Written on December 24, 2013 at 10:02 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Whammy! Last week, Ron Burgundy and his co-anchor/wife Veronica Corningstone—played by the talented, hilarious bombshell Christina Applegate—returned to their news desks in the highly anticipated comedy Anchorman 2. Rumor has it, the sequel is worth the decade of a wait. “Don’t act like you’re not impressed…”
Besides the hubbub surrounding the buzzy release, Applegate has kept quiet outside of the spotlight the last year or so, focusing instead on raising her toddler daughter and enjoying some major me-time. “I’m taking some time off and working on just being a mom,” she recently told FITNESS. “I’m loving every minute of it!” Juggling a career with mommyhood took a toll on the Emmy award-winning actress mentally and physically, which explains why Applegate is just now getting back into the swing of things with a clean diet and Pilates-based training. The starlet’s goal: to gain back her pre-preggo strength, especially in her core. “I usually try to get in a good 30 minutes of cardio before I do about an hour with my trainer. We do a lot of weights!”
Satiating bad eating habits has been the toughest part of losing the baby weight, she says, but fruitwater has been Applegate’s sweet-tooth saver. “It’s nice to know that I have something that tastes like a naughty treat that’s not actually bad,” she says. “You can only drink so much water in a day. It’s nice to have something that’s fresh and bubbly and sweet with added vitamins—which we lose a lot of when we’re training.” Sticking to the celeb-coveted alkaline diet is also crucial for Applegate, a lifestyle plan the long-time vegetarian started to strictly follow after her breast cancer diagnosis.
Another health shift Applegate made following her double mastectomy was completely eliminating stress. “I was always like a sponge to other people’s B.S. and I would just take it on,” she says. “That’s a killer right there.” Thanks to a few sessions with a church friend, Applegate was able to hash out how she responded to life’s challenges and learned to let former weighted strain and hassles slide right off of her shoulders. “Where I used to be pissed off or needed to be right, now I’m like, ‘Whatever. Is it really affecting me? No.’ Unless you come over and chop off my arm, I really don’t care what you do. Just don’t hurt my kid, or me physically, and I’m good to go.”
So what can Applegate dish about returning to her Anchorman role? No spoiler alerts here: “It’s funny. There are just so many surprises!” Just don’t expect her character to be sporting the same tight ensembles from the first installment. A decade has passed for both Veronica and Christina, after all. “I kind of thought, ‘It’s 10 years later, if I’ve got 10 more pounds on me than the first one then I think it’s completely acceptable,’” she says with a laugh. “Veronica is much more established, more of a Jane Pauley/Barbara Walters at this point, so my clothes are way more conservative than they were in the first. But I don’t care, this is my post-mommy body; this who I am now.”
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Written on December 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
‘Tis the season to be jolly—right? With last-minute presents to purchase, cookies to bake and traveling woes up the wazoo, the holidays can be just plain stressful. And when we’re stressed, we eat. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, after all.
“We overeat because the alarm center in our brain hijacks the thinking center—it’s an ancient mechanism, built to protect us from danger when food was scarce,” says Dr. Julian Ford, professor of psychiatry and director of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine traumatic stress center. “It tells us we have to keep eating even if we know we shouldn’t or no longer feel hungry.”
The external “joyful” holiday pressures, in addition to those we put on ourselves, cause our noggin to go into over-drive, explains Ford. “It’s a perfect storm for putting our brain’s alarms on high alert, leading to a feeling of constant pressure, exhaustion and ultimately disappointment when we can’t duplicate the Jimmy Stewart/Donna Reed wonderful life.”
Eating can be a break from the hullabaloo hassle, as well as a source of more stress. As we all know, indulging in our favorite sweets and savories can lead to a downward spiral and the residual guilt always outweighs the joy we get from that temporary fix. To make matters worse, colder temps play into these mental games, setting us up for a diet disaster. “Our bodies may need more calories to keep us warm in the cold weather,” says Ford. ”Eating more in the winter is also often a way to cope with feeling bored when cooped up inside or depressed with the long, dark nights and short days.”
So how can we stop all the stress? Follow Ford’s top tips to tackling holiday H-E-double hockey sticks and the overeating that seemingly comes with the territory:
Make Your List, Check It Twice. Write down all of the foods you enjoy—those that give you that warm and fuzzy feeling with every bite, says Ford. Include both naughty foods and nice options so that you have a complete menu of what hits your pleasure zone. Keep the “good” ones handy in times of trouble (a low-cal granola bar is the perfect munchie for those long, winding checkout lines!) and prioritize those items at your seasonal soirée.
Want vs. Need. When you find yourself about to eat as a reflex reaction, take a few seconds to get off auto pilot and focus your mind by asking yourself, “Is eating this, right at this moment, going to really satisfy me and give me a sense of personal control?” If the answer is no, don’t eat it. “Remember that it’s your choice, based on valuing yourself,” says Ford.
Silent Flight. What’s the best way to avoid temptation? Distraction. “Look for ways to free yourself from the holiday (and day-to-day) pressures and demands,” suggests Ford. Carve an hour out of your busy schedule to find your center in your fave yoga class or sweat it out with some cardio. “Besides burning calories and reducing the feeling of hunger, exercise can help focus our minds by providing the quiet time we all need to think carefully about the choices we’re making,” says Ford. It’s all about seeking enjoyment and having a sense of self control.
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