Don’t be fooled by Brett Hoebel’s new 20-Minute Body workout. It may be quick, but this high-intensity routine is no joke. As the Fit or Flop judge and Biggest Loser’s Season 11 trainer recently tweeted, “We can not become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” Brett’s routine reflects just that, challenging every muscle group with the Brazilian art form of Capoeira. The fluid technique, rooted by movements invented by African slaves to mask self-defense training, shreds and sculpts for a long, lean look.
We recently got a taste of the speedy (but efficient) cardio-kickboxing session with Brett and trust us when we say our buns have never hurt so good after all of the executed squats, lunges, dance and martial art moves! The best part? All you need is a 4’-by-4’ space and your own bodyweight.
To get the blood pumping, Brett started off by leading us through a cardio series full of crosses, jabs, upper cuts, sidekicks and a bit of fancy footwork. Just when we thought we knew what was coming next, Brett asked the burning (literally!) question, “What time is it?” Throwing our hands in the air, we echoed enthusiastically in unison, “Bootytime!” before getting low for 60-second rounds of pulsing squats. Our glutes thanked us later…
A circuit with four sets of minute-long explosive isometrics came next, featuring low runner’s lunge-squat combos, crossover walking planks, jump squats and abs. Brett upped the difficulty each round, adding a “shake ‘n bake” shimmy/kick to the ab roll-ups and a mountain climber variation to the planks. Wobbly legs didn’t hold us back from giving Brett our all. His own beading sweat and encouragement helped us finish strong!
Brett’s new routine is expected for release soon with a soft launch of classes offered through March at 24 Hour Fitness locations in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. Until then, be sure to check out his other programs, RevAbs and reVamp, for a revolutionary total body tone.
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Shawn Johnson has had us on the edge of our seats long before Dancing With The Stars. Like most of America, we were glued to our TVs during the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she took home a gold and three silver medals. A ski injury shortly after, though, forced the bubbly gymnast into announcing an her early retirement. Johnson may have been sidelined from defending her title last summer in London, but this optimist has yet to lose that infectious grin or love for fitness.
Two seasons of DWTS as a Season 8 winner and All-Stars runner-up introduced the Olympian to a new type of exercise, sparking an interest in other athletic ventures and a healthy lifestyle revamp. Now, at 21-years old, Johnson is stronger than ever. We talked to her about transitioning into the new gymnastics-less phase of her life, going Paleo and body love. Here’s what we landed:
What is the hardest part about being an Olympic athlete?
For me, the hardest part changes all the time, looking back on it. I feel the hardest part of being an Olympic athlete is just the discipline, especially in gymnastics—we’re so young. We start training when we’re three years old. We start living in the gym 40 hours a week when we’re eight. Just kind of taking that whole normal childhood experience away and being an Olympic athlete—I mean it takes a lot of mental and physical power and being able to be 16 and stand on the Olympic podium and have the mental strength to handle that pressure. I don’t honestly even know how I did it back then because I feel like now I’m like, ‘I could never do that!’
Favorite Olympic moment—spill!
I would say outside of the competition, my favorite moment was in the Olympic Village. Everybody was lining up to walk through opening ceremonies—the gymnasts aren’t really allowed because we compete the next day—I saw towering over everybody was Yao Ming. I was starstruck, no joke. I ran from my team, who was headed back to their dorms. I wanted a picture so bad and I remember I literally was tapping on his thigh like looking up at him and he never paid attention. He probably thought I was a fly on him or something!
How has your workout changed since the Olympics and DWTS?
My workouts have changed drastically. I’m no longer in the gymnastics gym. Honestly, it’s kind of a big goal and new learning experience for me. I feel like as soon as gymnastics was over, I made it a point to not go back into the gym so I could learn how to do workouts and train and stay healthy outside of it. It’s kind of a therapeutic thing almost. It’s closure almost. But I work with one of the best trainers ever—she’s like my best friend—Jeanette Jenkins.
Red hot alert! Last night, we cozied up along the catwalk with fashion’s finest in support of The Heart Truth, a national campaign raising awareness for women’s heart disease led by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This year’s Red Dress Collection show kicked off Fashion Week with more than 15 of our favorite athletes and celebs—Gabrielle Douglas, Jillian Michaels and Minka Kelly, to name a few—sporting scarlet designer gowns. Their individual runway motivation may have varied, as projected on the big screen while they strutted their stuff, but they all shared the collective goal of putting an end to the number one killer of American women. Eat your heart out, heart disease!
Before stepping out in a flowy Oscar de la Renta number, we caught up with Minka and asked her all about her involvement as Diet Coke’s Celebrity Ambassador. Here’s how the starlet keeps her “Sexist Woman Alive” body fit, heart strong and more!
This is your second year as an ambassador for The Heart Truth! What inspired your continued partnership with Diet Coke?
Last year when I learned that heart disease was the number one killer of women in America, I was really inspired to get involved and use whatever voice I could to help inspire women to take care of their hearts because you’re never too young or too old. This year it’s a little different. You can upload a photo of yourself to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag “#showyourheart” and every post Diet Coke will donate a dollar, up to $100,000, so that’s my goal this year.
What have you done personally to lower your heart disease risk?
Living a healthy lifestyle and exercising and eating healthy has been a big part of my life for some time now, which is why working with this campaign made so much sense for me and I’m really passionate about it. So it’s just a fit that makes sense.
Any heart-healthy fitness and diet tips?
I try and get my blood pumping once a day. I work with a trainer three times a week and on the off days, I do yoga or I hike. I just try to be active every day and I try and eat as healthy as possible. I try and be aware of “food-combining,” which I think is very important, but I certainly don’t deprive myself. Everything in moderation is key. I think portion control is also very important. Read more
Gabby lives in foodie heaven as a blogger, freelance recipe developer and food photographer, not to mention she’s married to a chef! Almost two years ago, though, the bakeaholic had to make some major diet and lifestyle changes when she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. With some of her favorite ingredients and meals no longer an option (she’s used to be a sucker for Belgian beer!), the self-proclaimed “kitchen explorer” had to take matters into her own oven-mitted hands to make gluten-free cooking taste not only good, but great.
Monotonous rice and lettuce-based meals were quickly transformed and with it—Gabby’s life. She felt better and food became more personal and exhilarating, thanks to a new-found creativity fueling her “science experiments.” From drool-worthy desserts (Grain-Free Chipotle Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Glaze? Yes, please!) to energizing, on-the-go breakfasts, like Vegan Blueberry Power Muffins, Gabby shows that a food allergy doesn’t stop your meals from being tasty and fun! Read on to hear about how Gabby stays motivated and fit outside of the kitchen.
My favorite way to work out: CrossFit! I love the combination of weight lifting (my favorite), intensity and focused training. Since starting CrossFit about seven months ago, I’m the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been! The community you find yourself is second to none—your coaches and fellow athletes see you at your best and your worst, support you, cheer for you when you think you can’t keep going and keep you accountable.
On my fit life list: Deadlift 250 lb (current max is 230 lb), unassisted strict pull-up, do a muscle up, run a race with my mom in a different state (she is a great runner–me, not so much), stay healthy, lift weights throughout my life.
I’m happiest when I’m: Doing something I love whether that is cooking with my husband (he went to culinary school!), wine tasting with my family, doing food photography for my job (I work for a magazine) or just picking up a heavy barbell. Cooking and baking are my stress relievers and I’m lucky that I get to do that as a job. I’m convinced that there is not much a late night cookie baking session can’t fix.
My biggest motivator: My biggest motivation each day is that I want to be better/stronger/faster than I was the day before. Some days are great, some days aren’t but with support from my fellow athletes, coach and others, I move in that direction each day. A long-term motivator for me is trying to be the most fit I can be so that I can live life to the fullest. There is no doubt that picking up 200 pounds is satisfying on its own, but it’s also extremely beneficial—if something were to happen to my husband, I could help him, I have the capacity to move objects without assistance and I’m a better functioning human being because of it. I hope to be the grandmother who can still pick up her grandkids at 80 years old and can continue to do activities with my family—building and maintaining strength will make that possible.
Olympic sport I’d love to try: Olympic weightlifting or gymnastics!
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email email@example.com
“The flu” has turned into quite the buzzword lately with reports of a record high season and shot shortages. A few of our favorite stars even spoke of feeling under the weather last week at the Golden Globes while others were sidelined from the event altogether. “Meryl Streep is not here tonight,” funny gal Amy Poehler announced. “She has the flu—and I hear she’s amazing in it.”
The epidemic is no laughing matter though with new cases of the widespread illness popping up every day across 47 states. We spoke with Dr. Phillip M. Tierno, Jr., New York University’s Director of Clinical Macrobiology and Diagnostic Immunology, about the virus and the most common germ-infested areas. Don’t stock up on soup and tissues just yet! Here’s all you need to know about battling the bug:
- Inject immunity—if you haven’t already. “A flu shot is probably one of the best things you can do to offset getting sick,” said Dr. Tierno, especially since up to 60 million people will get the flu annually, depending on vaccines! Find a vaccine near you with the HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
- Break the chain of transmission. According to Dr. Tierno, 80% of all infections are spread through contact—both direct (sharing a spoon with a sickie) and indirect (pressing an infected elevator button then rubbing your eye). Since viruses can live on surfaces for months, it is crucial to keep commonly touched spots sanitary. Think outside your typical “wash your hands before you eat” type of cleanliness in terms of personal hygiene. For example, keep clean and dirty clothing in separate baskets. Germs from dirty clothes can transfer onto freshly washed laundry—ew, gross! Read more
Weight and body image issues are struggles we can all relate to. Sharing these feelings of insecurity candidly with the world? Well, that’s a whole different ball game. One of our favorite bloggers, Ashley, isn’t afraid to open up about a fluctuating scale and her fit trial and errors. Plus, like us, she adores Coffee Cake and Cardio—I mean, who doesn’t?
The former powerlifter and collegiate student-athlete has wrestled with pesky pounds since she was a kid but has embraced Weight Watchers, running, professional football—she plays on the DC Divas—among a variety of other workouts to reach her goal weight. Every day, Ashley motivates her readers by inviting them to witness her journey. Her recipes and sweaty tales are icing on the [coffee] cake! As her blog says, “Every person has a story, a beautiful story…just take a minute to listen.” Read on to hear more about Ashley and how life as a newlywed has changed her healthy ambitions.
My favorite way to work out: My favorite machine at the gym is the Arc Trainer by Cybex. That machine will give you a TOTAL body workout. If I’m looking for a heart rate-raising, sweat-inducing workout then the Arc Trainer is the way to go. My favorite class, however, is spin. I love going into the class knowing that no matter what, I will leave the class feeling great and having burned a lot of calories. Fear not, it is a great workout!
My fave fit snack: I recently started juicing and it has quickly become my favorite go-to snack. There’s just something about a glass of apple, orange, carrot and ginger juice. I’ve tried all different combinations, but that one is my favorite so far. It’s a refreshing and filling snack that is perfect for the three slump.
My “I Did It” moment: In 2010 I ran the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, TN with Team in Training. Just four years earlier, I could not run for more than three minutes at a time and weighed 261 pounds. The morning of the race I wrote a note to myself inside of my visor stating, “Do this for you! You have come so far and deserve to enjoy every moment of this run.” Running does not come easy for me, but running intervals and being patient with myself helped me to build the endurance to run a half marathon.
My biggest motivator/My motivation comes from: My motivation changes year to year but as a newlywed, my motivation is to get close to my goal weight before having children. I want to be as healthy as possible before getting pregnant. Even though I do not have children, I already feel my motivation shifting to them and wanting to be healthier for my family.
Olympic sport I’d love to try: As a former powerlifter, I still think it would be amazing to train to compete in the Olympics. On the flip side though, how cool would it be to curling?
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Migraines are, well, a headache and as sufferers know, triggers mean trouble. In a recent Excedrin Migraine survey, 93 percent of women said that having a better understanding of their triggers would help with their migraine management yet only 11 percent tracked them regularly. Good news: There’s now an app for that. With the help of a neurologist, Excedrin Migraine developed My Migraine Triggers (now available for free on iTunes) to log pain intensity, severity and location for convenient symptom understanding.
“There are so many triggers patients may not be aware of,” explained Keri Petersen, MD, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital. “[The app] breaks it down into environment, lifestyle and diet. There’s a big list of things that a month down the road you’re not going to remember, but in the moment it’s right in front of you to think of.” With the tough of a finger, triggers like alcohol, odors, chocolate and stress are documented in a personal history chart. Determine the root of the painful problem and facilitate a discussion with your physician for treatment by bringing the generated graph with you to your next doctor’s visit.
After an a cappella treat to celebrate the app’s launch, we sat down with American Idol’s youngest winner and moderate migraine sufferer, Jordin Sparks. We talked triggers, her fit lifestyle change and how the football lover lightens up game day noshing. Here’s what she had to say: Read more
Yael Cohen, CEO of FCancer and proclaimed “Chief Cancer Effer,” is on a mission to educate about early detection—90 percent of cancers are curable in stage one. Part of her initiative, besides using humor to promote self exams (check out their hilarious video contest!), is to promote awareness that “everything you put into, onto and do with your body affects your health.” According to Yael, having a happy, healthy holiday season does exist by reverting back to the basics. “Eat clean, whole foods. Eat stuff that you know what it used to be. If you can’t tell what plant or animal it came from, try to avoid it. If it’s wrapped in tin foil or plastic, try to avoid it. If it doesn’t spoil, be scared,” she joked. Interested in baking lighter versions of your festive favorites? Try swapping out butter for coconut oil and use crushed dates or agave nectar over processed sugar. Chocolate lovers, embrace baking with carob for a low-fat, naturally sweet and caffeine-free alternative. Speaking of chocolate, we scored Yael’s famous brownie recipe sealed with a sweet tooth’s approval. Santa has nothing on this! Read more
Meryl Davis and Charlie White aren’t your typical college students. In between their studies at the University of Michigan, the most decorated U.S. ice dance team squeezes in agility, cardio and weight training, along with over five hours of ice time a day. A rigorous schedule—and resulting podium success—is nothing new for the duo. For 16 years now, Meryl and Charlie have been rising in the ranks together, taking home silver in the Vancouver Olympics and becoming the first U.S. ice dancing team to win World Championship gold.
Days before stopping by our office, the ice dancers added yet another accolade to their collection, their third Skate America crown for first place short and free dances in Kent, Washington. Now that’s how you start off the 2012-2013 season! We sat down with the champions, who dished their partnership secrets and training strategies for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Here’s what they had to say (and more!):
What is the biggest difference between ice dancing and pair skating?
CW: In ice dance it’s much more what you would imagine ballroom dancing to be. Closer positions, we’re holding each other like a lot of shows that you see, like So You Think You Can Dance…It’s sort of like that on ice, in a lot of respects, with the lifts that we do and some of the musical choices even, it’s comparable. In pairs, it’s more throwing the partner, lifting them above the head.
MD: We’re much more performance-based, for example we’re allowed to use lyrics in the music that we use, whereas pair skating they have to use instrumental music. It’s much more based on the elements for them, whereas for us, we’re trying to tell a story on the ice. It’s more about general impact, as opposed to going from one thing after another.
Walk us through your typical workout.
MD: We skate five days a week so we get the weekends off, which is nice, but typically we start on the ice around 7 or 8 a.m. Usually we’ll have an hour break somewhere in there, whether it’s an hour straight or two half-hour breaks, but we go for about five hours, sometimes six. When we’re done on the ice, we have a gym upstairs in the same facility where we workout and do some kind of cardio—3 days a week—weight training, agility, things like that. We throw some ballet in there sometimes, too. We avoid it at all costs.
CW: Yeah, [ballet] is a necessary evil for us. It’s never something we’ve embraced but it really helps with the skating, the posture, stuff like that.
MD: Our program this year is actually one of the most classical ballets, Giselle, so when we officially decided on doing that music this year, we unfortunately realized we weren’t going to avoid ballet this season.
CW: I do a lot of lifts with Meryl so it’s important that I have good shoulder stability so we’ll lay down a ladder, for instance, and do sort of agility. I’ll hold a kettlebell while I do it to sort of make sure I can transfer onto the ice that same sort of just balance and yet the strength with my shoulder…the most important thing is for skaters, especially, is just the core and making sure we’re strong through the core. Read more
The ultimate feast-off is one week away so what better way to start the season of giving than giving back? Work off that slice (or two!) of pie and help raise money for the New York Cares Hurricane Sandy relief effort at the New York Sports Clubs’ “Work Out to Help Out” fundraiser. Every NYSC location will be selling three-day guest passes for $20 from Friday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 25. 100 percent of the fundraiser proceeds will be donated to New York Cares, as well as a portion of every new member’s initiation fees. Special program classes, like NYSC’s new UXF Burn and UXF Ripped, will also be offered at each location.
Interested in lending a hand post-sweat? Gym goers can find out more information on local New York Cares volunteer opportunities and coat-drive drop off locations. Learn more about the “Work Out to Help Out” initiative on NYSC’s website.