Written on December 12, 2013 at 3:27 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Shape up your 2014 slimdown in half the time—yes, seriously! The highly anticipated third installment of P90X is here so you can continue to “do your best and forget the rest,” as fitness guru Tony Horton always says, in just 30 minutes.
Beachbody’s new 90-day program cuts the killer 60-minute routines down without sacrificing intensity. “A lot of people were saving themselves during the first half to get through the second, so we thought, ‘Let’s eliminate all of that and sequence things just right,” says Horton. “There’s 16 workouts, four more than P90X and two more than P90X2. They’re shorter; have a lot more variety with all new moves. It’s not P90X shorter—it’s brand new, on its own.”
So what can you expect from the plateau-busting sweat sesh? For the first time, Horton introduces Pilates into the mix, as well as a separate warm-up/stretch DVD, Cold Start. “What I’m trying to do is introduce Pilates and yoga to men and more resistance training to women,” he says. “Exercise science shows that if both sexes begin to understand how the other half lives, then they will ultimately be stronger, more flexible, leaner, more cardiovascularly fit and well-rounded. There’s a little warm-up [in each routine], but we get right into it to jam-pack as much as we can.” Who doesn’t like the sound of that?
Horton’s notorious muscle-confusion is also taken up a notch in X3 by introducing his breakthrough “Acceleration System” and different ways of approaching the program overall. “There’s a lean option for people who want to burn more calories and do less resistance,” explains Horton. Don’t be fooled, though—this is not a graduate program. “It’s for everybody and anybody that just wants to get in shape, maybe for the first time, and be able to sustain it.”
With the holidays quickly approaching, P90X3 is the perfect gift for both yourself and fit friends looking for big changes in the new year. Just remember, your dream body won’t happen over night, says Horton. But your results will be “off the chain” if you put in the time, eat right and stick with it long-term. “If your purpose and your plan are aligned, then it doesn’t become this short-term goal of losing weight or shaping a body part to look good in clothing. Ultimately, the goal here is more of a bigger picture, focusing on the things that you can control today so you’re more consistent.”
What does the 55-year-old former stand-up comedian have on his resolutions list for 2014? “I’d like to hold a handstand for a minute—a free handstand without a wall,” he says. Get this: He’s held one for 59 seconds before – twice. So close! But setting achievable goals are the key to success, Horton advises, adding that 40 pull-ups in a row is another thing he’s working on. “I’ve done 37. I think I was a monkey in a past life!” We’ll stick with a goal of one…maybe two.
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- Turn Fitness From Hobby to Career with Beachbody
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Written on December 2, 2013 at 9:23 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Whether you’re “Dressin’ Up” for a hot night out on the town or struggling to be “Wide Awake” for an early bird spin class, Katy Perry has the turn-it-up tune to tap into your inner-rockstar. I mean, is there a better workout anthem than “Roar?” I don’t think so.
In true Perry fashion, her newest album PRISM delivers hit after girl-power hit, all with that go-getter ‘tude we know and love (And talk about total arm envy in her music video “Unconditionally,” which was released last week). So how did the starlet shape up for her upcoming world tour? We got her svelte secrets and put together a killer playlist of our Katy faves for you to pop on whenever you need a boost.
Hit the Trail. “I prefer to get my exercise outside,” says Perry, confessing her love for hiking and bike riding with friends. Just don’t get her started early in the a.m. “I love feeling stronger and clearer-minded after a workout, but I HATE mornings!” What does she jam out to as she tackles the terrain? Drake, Lorde, Sky Ferreira and HAIM.
Strong is Sexy. “When I’m on tour, I get into a pretty steady rhythm so it’s not that hard to get in a workout every day,” says the avid SoulCycler. “I need to work out to keep my stamina up for singing and dancing at my shows.” When it comes to a gym sweat sesh, Katy (oftentimes sporting Adidas attire) kicks it with one of our fave trainers, Harley Pasternak, known in Tinseltown for his firm-and-burn routines. After a 15-minute warm up, the duo tackle two to three full-body exercises with weights, followed by three to four muscle group-specific exercises. “He has me constantly moving,” she says. Katy’s strengthening circuit is followed by cardio—she enjoys skipping rope to spike her heart rate!
Plan for Success. “The challenge on tour is eating healthy because not every place you go has fresh food,” she says. To avoid getting stuck with preservative-packed snacks, the singer comes prepared for on-the-go noshing with Popchips. Her signature flavor, Katy’s Kettle Corn, is a winner—just like her!
Written on November 27, 2013 at 11:22 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Maria Kang is just a mom—a mom gone viral, that is, when her ab-flaunting “What’s your excuse?” captioned photo sparked controversy and media scrutiny. Things had just died down for the Californian fitness enthusiast when she hit another nerve last week with a Facebook rant about plus-size women in lingerie.
Kang issued a warning about what she had to say, then vented her disapproval for those who encourage overweight women to be proud of their bodies. The mother of three urged her nearly 230,000 followers to change the mentality that’s sweeping the nation (sourcing multiple statistics), noting that she was not knocking those who are proud and heavy…but instead simply trying to empower healthy role models in society. Three hours later, Facebook removed her post and she was temporarily blocked from the site altogether.
“I think that everyone should love and accept their bodies,” Kang told FITNESS yesterday. “I don’t think that anyone can progress when they have a foundation of shame, so I didn’t want to seem like I was bashing them. No one should be ashamed of who they are. But there is a fine line that we’re walking, and that’s what I was talking about: When you say you love and accept yourself versus love and progress yourself.”
With two-thirds of our nation obese, $3 trillion being spent on health care, and childhood obesity on the rise, Kang believes there are multiple contributing factors tipping the scales, all in which stem from family. “Economically, it’s tougher to get good food when you’re poor,” she says. “Socially, if people around you are eating like crap and it’s normal, then it’s normalized. And culturally, if people are saying you’re okay being overweight, they keep on reinforcing this outlook.” The root of the problem, in her eyes, lies in leadership. “If the parents are healthy and they are healthy role models, then they can raise healthy kids. That’s just how it goes. It’s so simple but so hard when we live in such a blameful culture.”
So is she at fault for fat-shaming? Is the criticism warranted? According to Kang, she’s simply telling the truth and would never intend on hurting anyone’s feelings. “If you have excess body fat, especially around your midsection where your organs are, that’s not healthy for you,” she said in response to the recent backlash. “I think we should never shame anybody to lose weight. We should motivate them in a positive way, but when you say love and accept yourself, you’re creating not only a normalization, but a sedentary, complacent society.”
Although some have deemed Kang a pudge-loathing personal trainer, that’s not exactly the case. “I’m average…and nowhere near a size zero,” the former NASM-certified instructor said. She doesn’t work out for a living — her day job revolves around overseeing the ownership of two residential care homes for the elderly — but she loves volunteering her time to mommy exercise groups every Tuesday night. “I think your job is to be healthy if you’re a mom,” she added, a concept that provoked her founding of Fitness Without Borders, a community education and motivation non-profit.
So, why so passionate about the obesity epidemic? Kang, a former bulimic, witnessed first-hand the debilitating repercussions of the medical condition with her own mother. “She’s 52 years-old and has so many health issues. I work with people who are overweight by choice. I think that’s the reason why people are so pissed off; I’m telling them that they have a choice when they really want to have an excuse.”
Is it a choice? We at FITNESS believe someone can be fat but fit, and you can’t tell what’s going on with a person’s body just by the way they look. Regardless, Kang certainly knows how to stir the pot, and one thing we can totally get behind is her belief that small steps in the right direction can lead to major gains, which doesn’t happen over night. According to Kang, you have to be uncomfortable with where you are to desire change. “It’s not an all or nothing thing,” she said. “You have to take it one step at a time.”
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- The Anti-Diet: How Not Dieting Is the Key to Losing Weight
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Written on November 27, 2013 at 10:18 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Thanksgiving is all about tradition so before diving into a slice of killer homemade pumpkin pie, many runners lace up and join together for a holiday-inspired footrace. Run to eat—why not?
This upcoming day of thanks is no different than the past 26 for 82-year-old Willa Porter, who will be earning herself yet another race tee at the nation’s sixth largest turkey trot in Dana Point. For the speedy former marathoner (she wins her age group every single year in the 5K), the annual fit festivity provides an opportunity to give it her all with kids and grandkids in tow. Supporting the race’s charitable partners like the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment is also important to Porter, especially since her husband holds a chair position for support group.
Known as “The Race Before You Stuff Your Face,” the Dana Point Turkey Trot 5K, 10K and Kids’ Gobble Wobble has become a Californian favorite that stretches along breathtaking Orange County cliffs and coves. “It is so beautiful and family-friendly,” says Porter.
So how does the inspirational athlete brine her bird and keep dinner on schedule if she’s out there pounding the pavement? “I [used to] prepare food the night before and put the turkey in the oven before I left for the race,” explains Porter, but things are easier now that her sons—grown with families of their own—take turns hosting. The last two years, she also participated in the turkey dinner for veterans and military following the race, and will celebrate the same way next week.
Despite being in tip-top shape now, Porter didn’t start competing – or really exercising regularly – until her late 40s. “I started jogging and bike riding in my late forties when my sons were almost grown and I had more time,” she says, adding that it wasn’t so much of a goal as it was a hobby and fun recreation. Her one piece of advice: give running a try, no matter what age. Cheers to that!
Interested in squeezing in a pre-feast sweat-fest of your own? Head over to Active.com to get your gobble on.
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- Get Fit and Give Thanks with St. Jude
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Written on November 25, 2013 at 10:19 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Freefalling from 18,000 feet above the Earth isn’t for everyone, especially those afraid of heights—or flying for that matter. But for Amy Chmelecki, the 170 mph ride is just a day on the adrenaline-pumping job; a passion turned dream-come-true.
As the only female member of the Red Bull Air Force, an exclusive 13-person team of the world’s most elite professional human flyers, Amy specializes in wind tunnels, skydiving and wing suit flying. This upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, Amy will be teaming up with 79 women in attempt to break the Women’s Vertical World Record in Eloy, Arizona of 41. Talk about girl power!
So what does this undertaking entail exactly? “The challenge is getting all the flyers to the ‘base’ [formation] in an orderly manner,” she explains. “The organizing team has to carefully plan when people exit the aircraft. If the exit order is planned correctly, flyers can approach it traffic free.” Once each flyer gets into their assigned slot and makes the connection to the base, the team has to continue to fly strong, staying engaged in the mission. “We are all counting on each other, with our lives, to do our jobs and do them well.”
At an altitude of 7,000 feet, the group ‘breaks off’ and flies to an open area to safely open their parachutes. Talk about a precise process! “Things can get dangerous quick,” Amy admits, adding that this is especially hard in larger formations.
The final challenge: landing. “Modern parachutes are very easy to steer,” says Amy. “A good pilot can land their wing where they want. The girls involved in this event will be very experienced. Nonetheless, it is a lot of people in the air at one time.”
So how exactly does one train for a jump of this magnitude? “My exercise routine involves an even split between cardio, weight training and yoga,” Amy says. “It’s more physical than people think. We pull on each other, fly very fast in a very close space, jump all day even when it’s freezing out (gear weighs about 30 pounds) and sometimes our parachutes open hard in a way that creates a whip lash effect.” Plus, since thinner individuals fall slower, keeping a healthy weight is key for this Bikram-loving Superwoman’s success, so both a well-rounded diet and workout regimen are a must.
As daring as it all sounds, like anything else, practice makes perfect when it comes to skydiving. “The most important part of my training is practicing the sport over and over again,” Amy explains. “Sometimes I practice a move for days before I nail it.” Oh, and never get too comfortable. You are falling from an airplane after all.
Now tell us: Do you have the guts to go skydiving?
Written on November 22, 2013 at 10:26 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Kristin Cavallari has a lot to be thankful for this year—a talented hubby (Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler), 15-month-old Camden, thriving jewelry and shoe lines and now another baby on the way! So what does the former reality TV star have up her sleeve for the holidays? Like most of us, a whole lot of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing…her faves.
“We’re very traditional,” she told us a few days ago, shortly after putting her order in for an organic bird from Whole Foods. “This year, I’m actually hosting the meal at my house. It’s my first year making anything for a large group so I’m a little nervous!”
The fit mommy, who admits to giving into a few cravings lately (sweets and carbs!), won’t be digging into preservative-laden treats anytime soon, though. “With both of my pregnancies, the first trimester I’ve been really tired and I kind of eat like crap,” she confesses. “Once I get some energy back, I kick it into health mode.” One thing you’ll never see Kristin doing is counting calories. “I only read what’s in it and if there are chemicals and a bunch of crap in it, then I’m probably not going to be putting it in my mouth.” She and her growing family try to eat as organic as possible with lots of fish, veggies, fruit and whole grains, including Ezekiel Sprouted Bread, brown rice or quinoa pastas.
Kristin’s strict exercise regimen has also been dialed back a bit with baby on board. “I’m not as hard on myself about going four to five times a week and when I do workout, I don’t work out as hard as I typically do,” she says. Lately she’s been taking Pilates twice a week, followed by 15 minutes on the Stairmaster and a half-hour of light weight training. “The bigger I get, I’ll probably start yoga again,” Kristin says, adding that she enjoyed hitting the mat when she was pregnant with Camden. Another fun way she gets the family moving: Ubisoft’s hit video game Just Dance 2014. “It’s such a fun, silly way to fit in exercise,” she exclaims. “We’re big fans of ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk.” Talk about a fun way to burn off that slice of apple crisp!
Cutting down on gym time has surely freed up some time for her other passions. For one, she’s been having fun cheering on the Bears—even though a few years back she wasn’t much of a football fan at all. “I didn’t even know who Jay was when I met him!” she told us. “I’ve learned a lot in the last few years.” (And on that note, we’re sending speedy recovery vibes Jay’s way, who’s been sidelined battling an ankle injury.)
She’s also been killing it in the fashion industry with her own jewelry collection and Chinese Laundry shoe line. “Shoes for me were always my obsession, so to have my own line was really a dream come true,” explains Cavallari. “The jewelry came next—accessories are just so fun and there’s a ton you can do.” Her one piece of advice for those interested in becoming your own boss? “You’re going to get a lot of ‘no’s’ but you can’t let that discourage you. You have to keep going and if you really believe in something and love it, then stick with it.” We couldn’t agree more.
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Written on November 21, 2013 at 11:44 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Hot dogs, nachos and burgers are tailgate staples but can lead to healthy practice turnovers. Topping them off with calorie-dense condiments and cocktails? Game over. Cheer on your favorite team (and your own self-control) with these three guilt-free swaps from Top Chef contestant and Stefan’s at L.A. Farm Chef/owner Stefan Richter. Winning never tasted so good.
Add Flavor, Not Fat. “Everyone loves Sloppy Joes!” Richter says. Use lean ground turkey meat instead of beef and add in your favorite veggies like onion, green pepper and metabolism-boosting habanero. “The spicier, the better.” Spoon onto a toasted whole-grain bun from your local bakery and you’re ready for kickoff!
Re-Think Your Drink. What kind of six-pack do you really want? Forget the heavy brews and try Richter’s crowd pleaser: Mulled Cider. “Mix together two quarts apple cider, two allspice berries, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a sliced apple and orange,” he suggests. Lightly simmer on the grill then serve, spiking with a rum or bourbon of your choice for a hot toddy.
On the Light Side. German coleslaw is a must for this Finland native who spent the majority of his childhood in Germany. “We don’t use a mayonnaise base,” he explains. Start by combining a bag of shredded cabbage with chopped onion and green pepper. “For the sauce, boil a cup of brown sugar, a cup of white vinegar, a sprinkle of celery seeds and a half a cup of oil.” Pour over the veggie mix and chill for a refreshing, better version of the unhealthy stuff.
Want to add a festive flair to your football foods? ‘Tis the season to sport your spirit by serving and eating from plates of your team’s colors and logo. “Tailgating is paper plates and Solo cups,” the chef explains. “Why make a mess out of something that’s quick, fun and easy?” Now that deserves a touchdown dance. Hut, hut, hike!
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Written on November 14, 2013 at 11:42 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
While many of my peers growing up were glued to Power Rangers and Nickelodeon Guts, I was completely and utterly consumed with the Disney classics. I strived for Ariel’s sense of adventure, Mulan’s fearlessness and desperately wanted to be Jasmine because, come on, her outfit rocks and she has a pet tiger.
So when I was invited to join Team New Balance—the official shoe of runDisney and Disney Resorts—for last weekend’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon, naturally my inner-kiddo was jumping for joy. Three spectacle-filled parks with a nightcap waiting at the finish line? Count me in. My princess idols would totally approve.
But like any other race, I had a few reservations, mainly concerning timing. Despite being a night race veteran, this go-round was especially late for an early bird workout gal like myself: 10:00 p.m. (past my bedtime) with a two-minute wave start. Gulp! What do I do all day to prep? Heck, what do I eat?
Like Ben Greenfield recently told us, I stuck with what works when it came to fueling. (Lots of fresh Florida oranges and Larabars!) And as far as being tired, the positive energy coming from more than 12,100 runners is contagious and kicks the sleepies to the curb. The fireworks that erupt for each corral certainly fire you up with a bang, too. Would you expect anything less from “The Happiest Place On Earth?”
All in all, this was the most fun fit venture I have done. Ever. From jogging Minnies (timeless!) and fairies to Cruella de Vils—a few of her dalmatians included—innovative ensembles are a must and add to the fun in true Disney fashion (special thanks to Sparkle Athletic for my polka dot threads!). All the more magical: the character photo opps along the course. Guessing who will pop up next is a mind wandering game that helps the miles fly by. My personal fave was running into Rafiki during our Animal Kingdom loop.Want to get your selfies on? Be sure to sign up (and train for) a speedy corral so you can beat the long lines. Our group averaged 8:30-minute miles and never had more than two people waiting in front of us. Talk about pace-pushing inspiration.
To get the 13.1 distance in, there are a few boring stretches between all the pomp and circumstance, but nothing friendly runners can’t get you through. I actually loved seeing the behind-the-scenes hubbub, like a disco-themed costume warehouse in Hollywood Studios. It really made you appreciate how the magic is made day in and day out! Oh, and the cast members (Disney employees) along the route that worked after hours to cheer us all on? The best.
Written on November 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Granola-topped yogurt or smoothie? Power bar or peanut butter on toast? Coffee or juice? Why is it that, come race day, we always question fueling? Lucky for those running in this weekend’s New York City Marathon (and anyone else looking to tackle a big race anytime soon), we got the 26.2 diet dirt from sports nutrition expert Ben Greenfield. The coach, ex-bodybuilder and Ironman triathlete is the go-to pro on prepping for peak performance. Here are Ben’s top five tips on eating for the run and recovery. Hint: Carb-loading isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Stick to what you know. OK, you’ve heard this before, but according to Ben, many athletes still break down mentally and try something out of the ordinary the week—or even day—of the race. Not a good idea. “Do exactly in the race as you have practiced in training,” he says. “Remember to train with what you’re going to use in the race about four to six times before the race. That’s what it’s going to take to train your gut to get used to the fuels you plan on using.”
Carbs: A yes…sort of. “If athletes limit carbohydrates, then taking in extra during race week become far less important,” says Greenfield. Should you decide to nosh on a bagel or big bowl of pasta, two to three days prior to the race will do the trick. Ben’s easy-to-digest suggestions: sweet potatoes, taro and white rice. (Phew, I guess we can still use the excuse that we’re carb-loading…)
Rule of yum. When it comes to pre-run drinks, err on the side of caution. “Juice is simply empty calories that actually has potential to cause blood sugar spikes,” explains Greenfield. But what about java? Stick to just one cup, so long as you have sipped on it prior to a long run in the past. No one wants an unplanned porta potty pit stop.
To GU or not to GU? That is always the halfway point question, and according to Greenfield, energy chews/replenishers may not be as necessary as you think. “The more sodium you take in, the more your kidneys are going to push out,” he says. Opt for electrolyte capsules such as Athlytes, Endurolytes or Salt Stick instead of the sugar-laden stuff. Effervescent tablets like Nuun or GU Brew are also good options.
Recover like a champ. The old school ways of thinking—foam rolling, ice bath, massage, post-workout shakes—are instilled in our brain for a reason. They work! In addition, Greenfield suggests a few options that may not have crossed your mind. “I’ve found the occasional acupuncture session to be an incredibly useful method for everything from nagging aches and paints to full-blown adrenal fatigue,” he admits. Another tactic to consider? Deload (also known as an easy “recovery week”) every four to eight weeks, according to Greenfield. Hey, it can actually improve your fitness levels, especially since it takes a minimum of 72 hours to recover from a tough run.
Still concerned about what to eat the morning of your race? Greenfield suggests blending (it’s easier on your digestive system!) an energizing kale smoothie with coconut water or coconut milk. “Blending or juicing helps to pre-digest the food so your body doesn’t have to work as hard during digestion,” he says. This frees up precious energy for you to devote to your stride! For efforts greater than three hours in duration, add 20-30 grams of protein powder to the mix (Ben’s fave is Mt. Capra’s DEEP 30 protein). Ben also swears by ATP energy sources like X2Performance to naturally increase energy, enhance endurance and improve recovery. Best of luck this weekend, runners! You’re going to kick major asphalt.
Now tell us: How do you fuel up for a big race?
Written on October 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Dedication. That’s the name of the game for Grammy-winning rapper, entrepreneur and actor L.L. Cool J. Whether he’s memorizing lines for his Navy SEAL turned NCIS operative character (Sam Hanna) on NCIS: Los Angeles or hitting the gym, L.L. is committed to giving it his all—and then some.
Finding the time for a healthy balance is his secret. “You just have to be willing to get [to the gym] when you can fit it,” says Cool J. With long-time trainer Dave “Scooter” Honig, one of Hollywood’s fittest musician sticks to a rigorous routine bursting with burpees, sprints, pushups, hanging abs, running mans and more. Hello, tank top-ready guns! And according to the multi-talented artist, there’s no excuse for skipping a sweat sesh. “It could be late at night when I get home around midnight, or early in the morning, like 3 or 4 a.m. I just try to figure it out,” he explains, adding that he couldn’t live without protein shakes, oatmeal, tuna and chicken breasts when it comes to refueling.
It certainly helps that fitness is a family affair. “Everyone loves getting to the gym and understands the importance of it, without a doubt,” the father of four shares. “[My kids] grew up seeing me work out like a maniac!” But many children aren’t nearly as lucky to have such a fit and fabulous role model, which is why Cool J teamed up with After-School All-Stars (ASAS).
The organization, which provides youth the tools they need for success through skill development programs coupled with athletic and academic competitions, struck a chord. “It’s great because when I think about how I grew up and where I come from, you know, after-school programs are super duper important,” he explains, hinting at his personal childhood struggles. “ACE Brand Sports Medicine Products just launched the ‘A’ Game Challenge. They’re paying it forward.”
In celebration of youth athletics, the trio created this video entry contest to inspire youngsters to showcase their outstanding athletic skills for a $10,000 scholarship. Learn more about the initiative with ASAS here and if you know any interested participants, be sure to submit their all-star moment by November 15.
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