Written on April 29, 2013 at 11:59 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
The second we entered Reebok CrossFit’s 5th Avenue box with trainer Megan May a few months back, we knew we were in for a sweaty, no-joke treat. Thanks to Megan’s can-do attitude and flawless technique demos (she made everything look so easy!), we pushed ourselves beyond our limits—box jumps, ring apparatuses and all. Megan thrives as a WOD motivator with an infectious fitness passion, alongside a background in gymnastics and professional bodybuilding. In our March Express, the 2009 World Natural Bodybuilding Federation’s “Ms. Fit Body” designed a routine full of dumbbell swings, Turkish get-ups and power deck squats to test even the biggest CrossFit critic. We approved! Read on to learn more about Megan, “bulkiness” misconceptions and why she believes strength is sexy.
Most of us are NYC transplants, how did you make your way to the Big Apple?
I was coaching for Mike and Nate, who own Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave, at their two locations in Miami, Reebok CrossFit Miami Beach and IMT CrossFit. When plans for the gym in NYC started to form, they asked if I would relocate. My first answer was “absolutely not.” My husband and I had just recently moved to South Beach from Atlanta and purchased a condo on the bay. I had no intention of leaving paradise. When I decided to ask them more about the relocation, they told me about the big plans for the flagship CrossFit box, and they were teaming up with Reebok to open on 5th Ave in New York. This was an unbelievable opportunity that I didn’t want to miss. Besides, I told myself that if I hated it, I could always move back.
How did get involved with CrossFit?
I first heard about CrossFit about four years ago from one of my best friends that had just left the Air Force and was training to become an Air Marshall. He told me about these crazy workouts called CrossFit they were using for training. I was a personal trainer and a figure competitor at the time, so I was always looking for new ways to spice up workouts. There was no CrossFit close, so I went to the CrossFit.com main page and pulled exercises and WODs to use in my training and bootcamps. It went right along with the type of training I was already doing and putting my clients through. It wasn’t until I moved to Miami to become the head trainer at the Gold’s Gym in South Beach, that CrossFit popped back into my life. Six months after moving there, what is currently Reebok CrossFit Miami Beach, opened across the street from my where we lived. My husband and I joined and were instantly hooked! Within six months I had earned my CrossFit Level 1 coaching certificate and was working out and training solely as a CrossFit coach and athlete.
What else do you do for working out besides CF?
I just started doing yoga, as a way to supplement my CrossFit training. It helps a lot with mobility, which is often overlooked. CrossFit hits every muscle group and energy system so I look just as good as I did when I was a figure competitions.
We all know why CF is great—but what’s your most persuasive reason for getting newbies involved?
It is so much FUN! I think CrossFit is one of the most fun ways to workout. When you participate in the group workout, you never have to work out by yourself. This helps push you and keeps you motivated to get through incredibly challenging exercises that might seem otherwise impossible. The community that has built up around CrossFit is truly amazing. Read more
Written on April 24, 2013 at 9:28 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
A lot has changed for skier Picabo Street since she took the Olympics by storm in the 1998 Super G. The gold medalist—who just last week was announced to be an analyst for Fox Sports’ Sochi 2014 Winter Games coverage—has transitioned to fit, working mommyhood by taking up a new taekwondo passion with her 9-year-old son and avoiding her kids’ leftovers at all costs. Read on to find out what she loves the most about her kick-ass routine, what she’s working on now and more.
- What was your favorite Olympic moment?
Surprisingly enough, my silver medal win in Lillehammer, because it was when I realized that I could do it and that I was Olympic caliber and that the gold was within my reach.
- Where do you keep you medals?
I rotate them around from safe place to safe place with lots of sharing in the meantime.
- How did you overcome the pressures of being such a young U.S. ski team member and then later on from your sponsors?
I always expected more from myself than anyone else did, so my pressure was greater, therefore easier to deal with. I looked at my coaches as partners and teammates and had more of a collaborative relationship with them, therefore, they were all a part of my victories, too.
- Was there one challenging moment in your past that really helped you to build a thick skin and to become the resilient spirit you are today?
Resiliency comes out of struggle usually and for me, mine was self-inflicted—showing up to U.S. Ski Team camp in 1990 out of shape and with a bad attitude. I realized then it would be up to me to get in shape, change my attitude and make my dreams come true. It was the door on the path to that dream closing in my face that forced me to be resilient.
- Any fitness-related goals you have your eye on now? What mantra helps you push through your workout?
Be a black belt in taekwondo. What I love about taekwondo is that I miss the workout, because I am too busy trying to kick and punch correctly! What gets me to the gym: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Once I’m at the gym: “Focus on what I have control over, anything else is just stress.”
Picabo has teamed up with Team USA sponsor Liberty Mutual Insurance to announce the search for 2013’s “Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments,” simple acts of sportsmanship and selflessness that occur on youth sports fields. “It’s a great cause and one near and dear to my heart as a mother of four boys who love to play sports,” she said. To submit a moment, go to ResponsibleSports.com or tweet a nomination using #RSMoments.
More from FITNESS:
- Ice Skating Legend Kristi Yamaguchi Dishes on the Winter Olympics & DWTS
- Pro Tennis Star Vika Azarenka on Staying Positive and Keeping Workouts Fun
- Olympic Gymnast McKayla Maroney on Getting Back Into the Gym and Finally Being Impressed
Written on April 10, 2013 at 1:30 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Tom Colicchio, renowned James Beard “Outstanding Chef” and Top Chef judge, takes a simple, produce-packed approach to cuisine, telling us that the one culinary skill everyone should know is how to properly season your dish. Don’t overcomplicate it! “Simple salt and pepper go a long way,” he said. We asked Tom about his kitchen must-haves, sandwich suggestions and how he keeps his kitchen safe from cross-contamination. Here’s what Bounty’s partner dished. (His salad recipe below is out of this world!)
What are five of your kitchen staples?
Beyond the right cleaning supplies—keeping the kitchen clean as you go is a must—my staples are pretty basic. All I really need are sharp knives, a cutting board, a couple of decent pots and pans and salt and pepper to season, and I’m ready to go.
How can we add healthy variety to break a monotonous diet funk?
Produce is the answer. I always start with produce whenever I’m developing a dish because seasonal ingredients allow you to add different flavors to a meal and give whatever protein you’re working with an entirely new spin. Proteins tend to remain the same, season to season, but vegetables change. Visit your local farmer’s market or supermarket and see what fruits and vegetables are in season. Once you figure out what’s in season, you can choose what protein you want to work with. You can create so many different, healthy meals by combining seasonal produce and protein and varying the base flavors with spices and cooking methods.
How can our readers lighten up their lunchboxes? Do you have a healthy sandwich suggestion?
I’ve noticed that people are becoming more aware of their diets as they adopt healthier lifestyles. I think people can lighten up lunch by eating less protein and turning to more vegetable-based diets. I like to take fresh salads and turn them into quick, portable lunches. For instance, if you make my fennel salad with yogurt vinaigrette, you could put it into a toasted whole wheat pita and grab it to go for a tasty and nutritious version of fast food.
If you could cook for any person—living or dead—who would it be?
I’d love to cook for—or with—Teddy Roosevelt. He was a big outdoorsman and had a huge appreciation for the natural beauty of America.
How do you keep your kitchen clean and safe from contamination?
I’m obsessive about keeping everything clean in the kitchen, both at home and on the job. Paper towels are a must—I use them to tidy up as I go instead of a dishcloth. You can actually cross-contaminate kitchen surfaces if you wipe up with a used, germy dishcloth. It can harbor and spread germs, so using a durable paper towel like new Bounty DuraTowel is a much more effective way to clean. And one sheet really goes a long way – I can mop up everything from sticky sauce spills on the counter top to cleaning spatters off the fridge which helps me keep my momentum going.
Fennel Salad with Yogurt Vinaigrette
1 bulb of fennel, trimmed and cored
1 head endive
1 apple, cored
½ cup of sheeps milk yogurt (plain or Greek yogurt can be used as substitutes)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (mint, chive, cilantro, basil, parsley, etc.)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Juice of one lemon
With a mandolin, thinly slice the fennel, cucumber and radishes and add the watercress and endive. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the yogurt, lemon, vinegar, soy sauce and cayenne and slowly add the olive oil. Add chopped fresh herbs. Toss the vegetables with the vinaigrette and serve.
Now tell us: How do you keep your culinary haven safe from germs?
Written on April 3, 2013 at 9:06 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
As we fit gals know, there are few things more powerful than a good sweat. The adrenaline rush, tight-knit team camaraderie and sense of accomplishment athletics provide can turn any negative into a glowing positive. It is for this reason that we give the new bag brand Activyst a big thumbs up for their mission to support girls’ sports programs worldwide. With a belief that active girls are a catalyst for change, every sale makes a difference in their partner-focused funding. The adorable vibrant colored bags are made of durable, waterproof macen, a popular material used in the brand’s Nicaragua birthplace. Tote your sneaks, yoga mat and change of clothes in style, while giving girls the opportunity to blossom into strong, active women. Here’s to jocks supporting future exercise junkies!
To buy a bag of your own and learn more about using sports as the solution, check out Activyst’s website.
Written on March 8, 2013 at 11:09 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Last week, the Season 16 Dancing With The Stars cast was revealed and to our excitement, two-time champ Cheryl Burke will be back March 18 for another year of gracefully stiff competition—this time with comedian D. L. Hughley. We cha-chatted with Cheryl before the big announcement about leading a FITNESS-approved lifestyle. Read on to find out how she stays fueled and fit every quickstep of the way—plus why she’s thanking all the haters out there.
You’re a force to be reckoned with as DWTS’ only professional to appear in the finals four times…plus you’ve taken home the Mirror Ball trophy twice, back-to-back! Spill your tactics.
During the show, it’s all about showcasing my partner. I feel like sometimes people think their partner’s going to be a professional dancer at the end of the day and for me, it’s just about making my partner look comfortable and not awkward and really developing a great chemistry with whoever I dance with. Dancing is a hard sport to do, especially when you have no experience coming into a show like ours. It’s just important that I showcase my partner and not showcase myself. I feel like the people at home want to see the progress of these celebrities and how they progress each and every week.
So how will you bring that experience to Season 16?
Every celebrity I dance with always brings something new to the table. Everyone has their own personality and their own way of learning so I feel like every season is a challenge for me regardless. It’s even more challenging now that I’ve done it for so long because I put pressure on myself to make sure that every season that I do is better than the last one I did. Read more
Written on March 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
This past weekend, over 6,000 cyclers rode together to raise awareness and funding for research led by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. New York City and Los Angeles Equinox clubs were packed with fit participants and celebs—Olympian Nastia Liukin, New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich and SNL funny guy Seth Meyers, to name a few—spinning their support for Cycle for Survival. As one of the fastest-growing athletic fundraising events, Cycle for Survival is dedicated to advocating for rare forms of the disease that account for half of all diagnosed cancers. The charity has raised more than $30 million since its 2007 inception, $13.5 million in 2013 alone.
Written on March 1, 2013 at 11:11 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Josh Holland is all about educating his clientele on leading a fit, healthy and nutritious lifestyle. His mantra? “Knowledge is POWER.” As a former professional overseas basketball player, third degree black belt and London 2012 Accredited Olympic Trainer, this guy certainly knows what he’s talking about. Oh, and he has been working with Madonna since 2009. No big deal! That’s why when we heard that he was working with TechnoGym’s new Kinesis One training system, we couldn’t resist getting in on the action. Here are three things you should know about the Kinesis station before trying one out at a gym near you:
- The design is one of a kind. “Compared to other cable systems, Kinesis is easier to use, quicker to set up, more compact, extremely versatile, beautiful and available in various finishes,” said Josh. Thanks to Technogym’s FullGravity technology, users can simply vary the resistance and angle of the pulley movement for a full range of motion. Translation? Ultimate results.
- Kinesis improves balance, core, coordination and muscle strength. “When working out on Kinesis you will have to stabilize your body, whether you are standing or sitting, in order to perform any exercise.” Hint: the farther away, the greater the resistance. Unlike your typical cable machine, the smooth, natural feel of these cable cords make your workout jerk-free!
- Zero-impact means natural but effective movement. “I love the versatility and limitless possibilities of exercise programs that can be performed on the Kinesis,” said Josh. “It’s perfect for circuit training, supersets and quick exercise transitions.” Kill two muscles with one move by adding a squat to an overhead press (hop on a Bosu for an extra balancing bang!) or lunge post-bicep curl. For resistance workout-spiration, check out our Refine-inspired Sculpt Sexy Arms Express from our February issue.
Now Tell Us: Are you a resistance training fan? Would you give Kinesis One a go?
Written on February 27, 2013 at 1:38 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
At first glance, you wouldn’t consider Andrea Boehlke to be a threat. The blue-eyed, blonde bombshell may look like she belongs on the red carpet, but don’t mess—she’s a true competitor ready to rough it up in the wilderness. Andrea, a Wisconsin native-turned New Yorker, recently made her Survivor return in CBS’s Caramoan: Fan vs. Favorites season and this time she plans to come out on top.
How, you ask? As the thirteenth castaway in Redemption Island, the Fit or Flop host relied on her past experience because like Destiny’s Child once sang, she wasn’t going to give up or stop, but work harder to be declared this year’s “Sole Survivor.” We caught up with Andrea after lunging alongside her at Brett Hoebel’s recent 20-Minute Body workout to find out how she prepped for the twenty-sixth season and changed fitness things up a bit after some Fit or Flop-spiration.
First Survivor, now Fit or Flop and Fans vs. Favorites. You seem to be pretty competitive! Have you always been a workout junkie? What’s your fitness fave?
Yes, I grew up playing sports and doing tons of outdoors activities. In high school I played on the varsity basketball team all four years and was competitive in volleyball and track. My absolute favorite way to exercise is sand volleyball, but unfortunately I don’t get to do a ton of that in New York City. I really love yoga, straight up running and trying out new workout classes around the city. When I’m in Wisconsin, I branch out more—with cross-country skiing, riding horses bareback (it’s a really great inner thigh work out!), biking and hiking.
How did you shape up for Survivor?
For Survivor, I just turned my normal workout routine up a few notches. I also tried to mentally push myself beyond what I would normally do. I would actually imagine that each workout or run was a Survivor challenge and if I gave up before that last mile I would be voted out that night. Yes, I realize this sounds incredibly corny, but it actually worked! Also, about a month before leaving for the Philippines, I went home and trained in Wisconsin with my aunt, Trina Van Horn, who is a personal trainer in Random Lake. My grandpa owns a gravel pit and she had me sprinting up these huge piles of gravel. I really despised her at the time for it, but that was the best workout of my life to date.
You’re so busy being a model, actress, host and writer—what’s your secret to fitting it all in while leading a healthy lifestyle!?
I don’t think I’ve found “the secret” yet, but when I do, I will let you know! I function best when I’m busy and slightly stressed so even though yes, I’m pretty busy right now, I want to be way busier. I want to be so busy that I don’t even have time to tweet. However, I always try to make time for exercising. I often have my nights off or breaks during the day so I’ll fit in an hour or two or, if I’m lucky, I’ll catch a candlelight yoga class in St. Marks Place. I try to get a run in 4-5 times a week and ideally I get a workout in every day. If you want to work out, you’ll find a way.
How did Fit or Flop inspire your personal fit routine? Any new workout on your to-do list now?
Hosting Fit or Flop inspired me tremendously! The stories that some of these trainers have are incredible and completely motivating. I really want to take one of Trish Van Buren’s HipHotic classes—they look like a blast and maybe someday I will be able to move my booty like that! Also, I’ve taken two of judge Brett Hoebel’s capoeira classes. His classes are super intense and prove that he is a judge that knows his stuff. I would love to work out with the Brooklyn Badasses in the park, as well, because they look like they are having a blast and a half.
Ok, spill: Which trainer are you rooting for?
I’m definitely obsessed with Jason Wimberlean; he’s just a beautiful human being and writes a very inspirational fitness blog. I’m also a big fan of Jen Borman of the Rock Hard Girls Club and would love to have her has a trainer. She is this cool mix of sweet and tough and I like that the classes are catered for women specifically. Who else? There’s so many. Well, the Brooklyn Badasses pretty much speak for themselves. Hit Richards from the Calisthenics Kingz was pretty motivating, too. I’m sure I’ll have many more favorites as the season goes on!
Just for fun—dream host job: If you could host anything on TV, which show would it be?
I want to host a travel show. I want to travel the world and explore other cultures and inspire Americans to travel and see the world. I actually have a few ideas of my own for shows so hopefully someday I will see those dreams come true. Besides that, I would love to continue hosting shows similar to Fit or Flop: shows that inspire and motivate people. I think Fit or Flop is such a great concept and am really grateful for this opportunity.
Written on February 21, 2013 at 10:22 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
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.
More from FITNESS:
- Staffers Spill: What We Learned From CrossFit
- Fit or Flop: Behind-the-Scenes of Finding the Next Fitness Star!
- Jackie Warner Shares Resolution Success Secrets
Written on February 19, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
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.