In a brave, must-read editorial for The New York Times, Angelina Jolie reveals that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy earlier this year to reduce her risk of breast cancer. Jolie explains that it was her mother, who died of breast cancer at 56, who motivated her to take charge of her health. The actress, director and humanitarian explains that she is a carrier of a “faulty” BRCA1 gene, which puts her at an estimated 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer .
Jolie hopes that sharing her story will encourage others to be proactive about their own health:
“I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.
…For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.”
We here at FITNESS applaud Jolie’s decision to take preventative measures against cancer and to use her celebrity to encourage other women to do the same. We’ve been inspired by other women who also chose to have preemptive mastectomies: our marketing manager, Kristin Guinan, who underwent the same procedure at age 27, and marathoner, soldier and mom Margaret Smith who decided to forgo reconstructive surgery after her mastectomy.
Early detection and action are important, and it is up to us to take control. In Angelina Jolie’s words: “Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”
- How to Do a Breast Self-Exam
- What You Need to Know to Prevent Breast Cancer
- “Why I Gave up My Breasts”
- “My Battle with Breast Cancer”
As you’ve seen from watching major sporting events (or if you’re like me and my physical therapist, on a personal level) sports injuries can range from mildly annoying to career-stopping, which is why we’re big on proper warm-ups, stretching and listening to your body. This April is National Youth Sports Safety Month and tennis pro Sloane Stephens has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson to promote the new Donate a Photo app and the organization Safe Kids Worldwide. With the free Donate a Photo app, all you have to do is share a photo and J&J will donate $1 to the charity of your choice.
Like any athlete, Stephens stresses the importance of staying injury-free, which is why she chose to work with Safe Kids Worldwide. The organization helps teach kids, and their parents and coaches, how to protect against sports injuries at Safe Kids Sports Clinics. “Staying injury free is important to me and I want to help kids know what to do and stay preventative,” she said. The pro swears by proper warm-ups before training and icing after workouts to stay in top shape.
All you need to do is download the free app on your iPhone or Android, upload a photo (you can share up to one a day, every day) and a donation will be made. You can also view other shared photos at the Donate a Photo gallery and learn more about the campaign here.
More from FITNESS:
With his search for true love officially–and successfully–over, The Bachelor‘s Sean Lowe is ready to take on different challenges. Not only is the former football player putting on his dancing shoes every Monday and Tuesday on Dancing With the Stars, he also put on his running shoes last Saturday for the Warrior Dash, the world’s largest obstacle race series. We chatted with the busy ex-Bachelor last week about getting ready for the race and his DWTS training.
Do you feel ready for the race?
I hope I’m ready. I’ve been keeping up my cardio with dancing, so hopefully that helps.
How long have you been running?
I’m actually not a runner, I’ve never run before in my life. Usually I do the stairclimber or elliptical at the gym. Right now a 5k is the most I can go. A couple of years ago I heard about Warrior Dash and that it’s an amazing race so I signed up with friends and had a blast. People dress up and have fun. We had the time of our lives. Afterwards you can eat, listen to music and hang out with your fellow competitors. I told myself I’d do it every year. I wasn’t able to do it last year because of filming The Bachelorette so I’m happy to be able do it this year.
How do you train for an obstacle race like this?
I don’t know if you can train for it, that’s the cool aspect. I think we had to jump over cars last time, which is something you can’t really train for. I’m just hoping I’ve built up enough endurance.
When you’re not training for a race like this, what’s your typical fitness routine like?
I go to the gym 5 days a week, hitting a different body part each day. I typically do cardio for 30 minutes and hit the weights for 45 minutes.
You’re a pretty fit guy already, but Dancing With the Stars is a whole ‘nother challenge. How is training for DWTS going?
It’s challenging but I feel like I’m in extremely good shape now from all the cardio. But I haven’t been doing as much weights as I usually do. We have about 6-8 hours of rehearsal a day. I have fun performing and feel comfortable . The Cha-Cha was really fun and high-energy. Next is the Viennese waltz which is slower. I’m excited to do something different. I love the challenge of learning a new routine. The tougher the better. Read more
Have you ever wished you could meet tough trainer Jillian Michaels? Well here’s your chance! Our April cover girl is kicking off her first live tour, “Maximize Your Life,” today. She’ll be in Winnipeg, MB, today and traveling throughout North America until late May with her motivational tips to help you reach your goals–whether it’s to get a better body, eat healthier or feel more confident.
But who better to explain what’s in store for attendees than Jillian herself? Watch her video below and read on to get tour dates and locations.
Find out when she’ll be at a venue near you and how to get tickets: Read more
Have you taken the time to go for a walk today? Lacing up your sneaks for a 30-minute walk daily has been shown to help you lose more weight, boost your heart health and get legs you’ll want to show off when it’s warmer. To help you stick to this healthy habit, world-renowned podiatrist Phillip Vasyli, health expert Dr. Andrew Weil and celebrity trainer Juliet Kaska have teamed up to kick off a nationwide Walkabout campaign on National Walking Day this April 3rd.
What exactly is a Walkabout? The idea behind this campaign comes from the Walkabout, an Australian journey during which one reflects on life and reconnects with family and the community. This version of the Walkabout aims to promote well-being and create healthy habits during the 28-Day Quest for Good Health.
You don’t need to be an Aussie or celeb trainer to join in; anyone can commit to walking 30 minutes a day for 28 days. Once you’ve signed up here, you’ll receive daily email tips and get the chance to win prizes. Now put on your sneaks and get going!
This time of the year, we’re seeing eggs with different colors, patterns and fillings (we’re looking at you, chocolate and peanut butter treats!). Swap the store-bought sweets for the real thing and get health benefits to boot. Here’s why the breakfast staple is an egg-cellent ingredient:
- One egg has only 72 calories but 6g of protein to keep you satisfied.
- They contain lutein to boost your eyesight and choline to keep your memory sharp.
- Eggs contain vitamin D, which most of us don’t get enough of and need to boost immunity.
Get your fill with these slimmed-down recipes, courtesy of Whole Foods Market:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 3/4 pound red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 packed cups (about 4 ounces) baby spinach
- 1 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers, drained well
- 8 eggs, lightly beaten
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick (or well-seasoned cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions, and cook about 2 minutes. Add potatoes, salt and pepper, stir well, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, add spinach and toss well. Let cool 10 minutes. Wipe skillet clean. Stir peppers and eggs into potato mixture.
Heat another 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Transfer mixture to skillet and cook, running spatula around edges and gently shaking occasionally to prevent sticking, until eggs are set and bottom is brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Carefully invert onto a large plate. Heat remaining oil in skillet and slide tortilla back in, cooked side up. Cook about 5 minutes to golden brown. Transfer back to plate and let cool at least 10 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.
We all have different motivations behind our fitness goals. Regardless of what they are, we’re happy to have you join us in getting fit and strong. Which is why we were touched after seeing Dick’s Sporting Goods’ “Every Runner Has a Reason” campaign. Each week for 13 weeks, Dick’s is sharing a runner’s story about why they’re lacing up and getting on the road. This week’s video is about Sally, who was encouraged by her friend Lisa to start running to help cope with her husband’s death from melanoma. She’s gone from barely running a mile to completing marathons. Watch it below and head over to DicksSportingGoods.com in the next 12 weeks for more moving stories.
(You might want to have tissues handy for this.)
Now tell us: Why do you run?
When it comes to food cravings, an ooey gooey slice of pizza is at the top of almost 50% of Americans’ list, according to a study done by Sbarro and Kelton Research. But you don’t have to forgo your favorite food just because you’re trying to slim down. Sbarro recently launched a new menu option, the Skinny Slice, for a diet-friendly way to get your fix. We talked to celebrity nutritionists, Tammy and Lyssie Lakatos, aka the Nutrition Twins, about the new item and how to indulge your cravings and enjoy your favorite foods while still sticking to your weight loss goals.
What makes the Skinny Slice a better option?
It’s loaded with vegetables, like roasted peppers, mushrooms and onions, to fill you up with fewer calories. There’s 270 calories per slice. The pizza is also made with whole milk and real cheese. We use a little less, but the fresh ingredients pack on flavor so you don’t miss anything.
What’s a recipe for healthy pizza you can make at home?
Use a whole wheat pita or tortilla to make it lower in calories. Spread a layer of tomato sauce and use a little cheese and fill up on vegetables. You’ll be satiated that way. A lot of store-bought crusts are thick, so using an open-faced pita or muffin keeps the portion smaller.
When ordering food, what are easy rules to follow?
Rule #1: Stay away from anything fried. It almost doubles the calories. Look for vegetables. High fiber foods will fill you up for fewer calories. Look for what’s grilled, baked or broiled.
How can someone still enjoy their favorite foods while staying healthy? What substitutions can they make?
It’s all about balance and moderation. It’s fine to have a treat. We wouldn’t want to deprive ourselves. If you have a sweet tooth, satisfy chocolate cravings by rolling a date in cocoa powder. You can also take an overripe banana, slice and freeze. It’ll be like chips but super sweet because it’s ripe. Or blend it and make it into a smoothie instead of having ice cream. For something crunchy and salty, celery sticks with all-natural peanut butter is always a hit.
It’s all about portion control. If you have trouble moderating how much you eat, eat something hot or cold so you’re forced to slow down.
Kathrine Switzer didn’t sign up for the Boston Marathon in 1967 to stir any trouble; she just wanted to run. But when the then 19-year-old defied race officials and tradition by becoming the first female to officially enter the race and created headlines in the news, she became a trailblazer for women in running and fitness. Switzer, along with other strong, empowering women will star in Makers: Women Who Make America, a PBS documentary airing February 26 about the social revolution for women’s political, economic and personal power. We chatted with Switzer–who is still running marathons, finishing the Berlin Marathon in 2011–about her history-making race, the future of women’s sports and how running and fitness can change your life.
FITNESS: Before 1967, no woman had ever officially entered the Boston Marathon. Did you have an idea that it would make such an impact in sports?
Kathrine Switzer: I didn’t want to run it to prove anything. I had heard that other women had run marathon distances and that one woman in 1966 ran the Boston Marathon but without a bib number, so I wasn’t trying to break any barriers. It wasn’t until a race official attacked me during the run because I had officially signed up and was wearing a number did I become determined to finish and speak out on behalf of all women.
But I also knew that if other women could feel the sense of empowerment that I’ve felt since I started running when I was 12, that it would create a tidal wave.
What have you learned from running throughout the years?
KS: It’s not about running; it’s about changing your life. It’s about power and self esteem. The motivation to get other women running has kept me running. It’s also about equality. Women have led the charge in women’s sport. More women are running in the US now, compared to men. I’ve also learned that consistency and tenaciousness is better than talent. The more you do the better you can do. One of the best ways to get older is to keep active. I’m proud of myself for what I’ve done. Every day that I get to run is a bonus at this point.
I’m grateful for the things I’ve done and things I have to do yet. The very simple act of putting one foot in front of the other has changed my life so greatly. Read more
The story behind how Denise Austin met her future husband, Jeff, couldn’t be more fitting for the workout instructor. The two, who have been married for almost 30 years, met in 1981 at a fitness studio where Denise was teaching and Jeff, a former professional tennis player, was practicing with his sister, Tracy. The manager introduced the two and they have been together since. (Cute, right?) We asked the world-renowned fitness expert, who just launched a new book, Side Effect: Skinny, how she and her husband stay fit and her tips for a healthy relationship.
You and Jeff both have busy schedules. How do you make time for fitness and quality time together?
We like to mix it up and do different activities together. We play tennis, go on bike rides. We work out together in the morning, before kids would wake up.
How can other couples squeeze fitness in their routines?
It’s so much fun to have your spouse working out with you. Jeff puts together playlists, or our daughter would put together playlists, and we talk about music. Riding bikes is also an easy way to hang out. You become each other’s motivation, like a personal trainer. Pre-plan based on each other’s schedules. My husband is a guinea pig for my workout DVDs. I make sure that my exercises are still good for guys too.
What about when you have different fitness preferences from your husband? Say he’s a runner and you’d rather take classes at the gym.
The simplest thing you can do is stretching at home. Whatever you’re doing, stretching is usually ignored. You can help each other stretch, which can be sexy. Everyone has the same set of muscles to stretch. That’s an easy thing to do at home. Especially if your husband doesn’t exercise, you can encourage him and get him started. I don’t play tennis as well as my husband, but we play together and have fun.
What do you two have planned for Valentine’s Day?
We’re just going to have a nice healthy dinner with red wine. We’ll work out in the morning. It’s also my birthday the day before (Ed’s note: Happy Birthday Denise!), so maybe we’ll mix the two celebrations.
Do you have any fit date ideas? What about ways you can make the dinner and a movie date healthier?
You can go for a walk, even if it’s just around the neighborhood. Play golf, play sports. It can be anything, like playing Frisbee. Jeff and I play ping pong together. We also do plank challenges.