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Samantha Shelton

Run the World’s First Digital Marathon—Hello, London!

Written on April 14, 2014 at 6:26 pm , by

After I ran my first half-marathon in 2011, I decided right then and there that I was going to run at least one half in every state. So far, I’ve crossed 10 off my list and love the combination of traveling and racing. It might be cliche, but it’s true: you discover so many fun, interesting things about a city when you’re running the streets rather than speeding by in a car or on public transit. Unfortunately, I haven’t crossed international running adventures off my bucket list quite yet—blame it on the lack of excess money hanging out in my wallet—but thanks to Paofit and the Virgin Money London Marathon, I can get one step closer (pun intended) without breaking the bank, or even leaving my treadmill.

Now, if you read the word “treadmill” and immediately felt your eyes start to glaze over, stick with me. As much as we all love to complain about logging infamous dreadmill miles, it turns out more of us are doing it than not. According to Paofit, 53 million U.S. runners spend time on the machine compared to 49 million who run outdoors. Say what?! While I’m no stranger to using the treadmill to get me through my weekly Scandal fix, that stat still shocks me. But now, if you want to use your treadmill time for something a little more useful than watching Olivia Pope get hot ‘n heavy with President Fitz, you can. Like, by running a virtual course of the London Marathon, one of the most iconic races in the world. Here’s how:

  • Download the Paofit app for free, along with the Digital Virgin Money London Marathon Showcase.
  • If you have a Life Fitness treadmill, plug in your iPad (iPhone and Android versions are coming later this year) to the Track+ or Discover Tablet Console. Once you do, your speed will be accurately recorded and the treadmill will automatically adjust its incline to reflect the course terrain. You’ll also get to see fellow runners on the course in real-time, so you still get that sense of competition many of us use to keep calm and power on.

Don’t have a Life Fitness machine? No sweat. Still download the Paofit app and Showcase, and set it on your console. The vibration generated by running on the treadmill will cause the course ahead of you to speed up or slow down to properly reflect your cadence. And if you want even more of a pace guarantee, you can calibrate Paofit to match your stride. Seriously, this may be the coolest treadmill technology I’ve ever heard of. Not to mention it totally helps familiarize you with the course (hello, Tower Bridge!), in case you ever do decide to leap over the pond in run the race IRL.

Oh, and if the idea of running the London Marathon course doesn’t quite sway you, I have two things to say:

1. We need to chat this out, because I don’t understand how this doesn’t sound awesome.
2. The Paofit app has eight sample running locales around the world, so you can experiment with other places and purchase locations starting at $1.99.

Now, I’m off to go get my own miles in. Let me know in the comments what famous course you’d love to run and maybe we’ll meet up to tackle it together.

Photo courtesy of Paofit

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fitmob: The More You Workout, the Less You Pay 

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We Tried It: DailyBurn’s Inferno HR

Written on April 9, 2014 at 9:36 am , by

What it is: The first interval heart rate zone workout series released by the online streaming video service, DailyBurn.

Good for: All levels. The trainer, Anja Garcia, did a great job of providing modifications for beginner and more advanced athletes.

Where you go: Anywhere your heart desires. Download the service and stream onto your phone, TV or iPad. So, it’s obviously great for those who travel a lot or tend to avoid gym settings.

How it works: Simply sync your iOS device with a heart rate monitor, cue up DailyBurn and follow the Inferno HR workout program. As you sweat, DailyBurn streams your heart rate info onto the screen so you get a better understanding of heart rate zones and how to burn the most calories in a short amount of time. Want a basic rundown of working with a heart rate monitor? Check out this article first.

What you need: It depends on the workout you select within the Inferno HR program, but I recommend having a set of dumbbells and a yoga mat handy. You’ll also need a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor (try this one), your sneakers and the urge to sweat.

What it costs: $10 per month for access to all of DailyBurn’s workout programs, available 24/7. With NYC classes averaging $25-$35 a class, this is a total steal.

What we think: For the price, I’m totally on board with this program. Anja’s energy is infectious and she pushed me to my max, helping me focus on staying within the proper heart rate zones when I wanted to go balls to the wall and sky rocket out of ‘em (fun fact: that’s not really the most effective way to train). I enjoyed the variety of exercises—we did everything from jumping lunges to Turkish getups—and after a mere 25 minutes, I had a healthy puddle of sweat beneath me. I’d call it a success.

What to watch out for: Make sure you have the heart rate monitor on correctly. When I first got hooked up, my data displayed me in zone 3—picture heavy breathing and lots of intense movement—when in fact I had only walked about five paces to say hi to a friend. To get set up properly, spritz the sensors on the back of the chest strap with water and make sure the monitor is in direct contact with your skin (translation, ladies: make sure it’s not over your sports bra band). Position it snugly around your ribcage and you should be good to go. To extend the battery life, be sure to detach the sensor and lightly rinse after each use.

Curious about a workout? Let us know in the comments and we may put it to the test for a future We Tried It!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Doonya Fitness Party

NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up

SUMMIT at Exceed Physical Culture

 

3 Reasons Dressing Up for a Race Is Completely Legit

Written on March 27, 2014 at 5:54 pm , by

As someone who’s raced 10 half-marathons, some for PRs and others just because I could, I can tell you one thing for sure: dressing up for races is FUN. Now, I haven’t gone all out in a head-to-toe costume quite yet, but even just tossing on a Sparkle Athletic skirt with matching Sparkly Soul headbands is enough to add a little pizazz to my racing adventure.

I’m not the only one inspired to costume it up, either. Just a quick search of “race costumes” on Pinterest brought up thousands of pins and hundreds of boards, all with creative, quirky and sometimes totally insane ideas of how to dress up for a running adventure. So, now that I know this trend is completely awesome to more than just me, I went to the experts. And it turns out, my friends, that if dressing up is what gets you from start to finish with a smile on your face, then you could totally have the best race of your life. Here’s why:

Read more

Abby Wambach on ‘Rise As One’ Series and How Mental Grit Gets You Through Anything

Written on March 25, 2014 at 7:18 pm , by

She’s the highest all-time goal scorer in women’s professional soccer, and one of the toughest players to hit the field. Teammates like Mia Hamm and Christie Rampone have declared her a warrior; someone they love working with. She was a part of the winning 1999 World Cup team, and plans on bringing home another title in in 2015. I’m talking about superstar athlete Abby Wambach, who took a few minutes to chat about the new documentary series she’s a part of and how she mentally pushes through crazy-intense workouts day after day. Take it away, Abby!

What can viewers expect if they tune in to the new documentary series Rise As One?

It’s a six-part series that showcases different stories in and around the world that relate not only to sport, but how the human heart can actually push forward a nation or team to be bigger or better than they ever thought possible.

Your episode airs tonight—why did you want to work on it? 

My episode is called Power of Unity and it’s about the Japanese team and what they went through in the 2011 World Cup [four months after a tsunami hit their country]. That was a time in my life where what I experienced and what the Japanese team experienced was, I thought, very different. I think it’s really important [for people to watch] because it’s easy to get stuck inside your own bubble. To realize there are bigger and more important things going on in the world than a game is important, but then to also be able to take comfort and you know, grieve, in the game is also a really big positive. I think the country needed that.

Your teammates always speak very highly of you. Anyone in particular that you really look up to? 

I feel honored that they feel that way about me because I feel the exact same way about all of them. As time goes on, your body ages and you have to let the younger kids run a bit more. I’m honored that I’ve gotten to play as long as I have. And Mia [Hamm] was one of those players, at that time of my career, that really shaped how I looked at the game and how I played it.

Your workouts must be insane to play strong for such long periods of time. How do you mentally prepare for a game, or an intense workout? 

It’s hard to consistently put your body through torture, in some ways. You’re pushing your body to the limit almost every single day. And that can get tiring. Not feeling that you can ever have an easy day becomes a state of mind; being tired and being exhausted becomes a state of being. You have to prepare to be in pain for a 90-minute game.

Is there anything in particular you do, then, when it seems to become unbearable – the physical pain?

It really is mind over matter. My teammates and I, I’m proud of the fact that we can push through exceptional amounts of stress. If you learn to accept the pain and the fact that it’s this constant that will be there throughout the workout, that will really help you push through and do what you need to do.

Tune in to see Rise As One tonight, March 25th at 8pm ET on FOX Sports 1. 

Photo courtesy of AbbyWambach.com

More from FITNESS: 

Soccer Star Christie Rampone Spills Her Do-It-All Secrets

Chatting with Mia Hamm About Team USA

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Music Monday: 15 Songs That Put Some Spring in Your Step

Written on March 24, 2014 at 10:13 am , by

Daylight savings time has given us longer days (seriously, it’s so nice to leave the office and still have some sunshine) and a few days of warmer weather. Even though it still seems like Mother Nature can’t quite make up her mind about sending us into the next season, I’m ready to officially declare it Spring. And with that comes a myriad of refreshing—new clothes, cleaner diet (just say no to all the comfort food of winter) and fresh beats. I’m adding fun, poppy tunes to my workout playlist, inspiring me to push the pace just a bit more these days. Go ahead and steal ‘em yourself—I won’t tell.

In other music news, the song “#Selfie” has gone viral. While it’s not my cup of tea, I’d say it’s pretty perfect for those of you who love heavy techno beats during a hardcore sweat session. Or maybe I’m wrong, and it should be heard in dance clubs only? Give it a listen, and sound off in the comments below: workout do or don’t?

Music Monday: Kelly Rowland Rocks Zumba Step—In Killer Heels!

Written on March 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm , by

Attention, Zumba lovers: there’s a new program in town. Zumba Step is now offered nationwide in 24 Hour Fitness studios, and let me tell you, this program is a breath of fresh air. As someone who fully admits to her lack of dance skills, I’ve always shied away from the original Zumba program. Not because I didn’t have a good time whenever I did it—actually, I always had a blast—but I rarely gave myself the opportunity to let go and just dance. You know, that crazy moment when you really stop caring what everyone else thinks and you just shake it. It’s a pretty freeing moment, but alas, one that was regularly out of my reach.

Step programs, on the other hand, were right up my alley. More often than not, these classes incorporate the more traditional exercises I’ve come to know and love (lunges and squats, thank you very much), and add just a little bit of flair to satisfy those craving a bit of creativity in a cardio routine. So when I heard Zumba was adding the old-school step to their program, my curiosity was officially peaked.

Turns out, the one woman who has serious moves showed up, too. On her birthday. Yep, that’d be Kelly Rowland. As if watching her kill the warm-up in high heels while I grooved in my very-flat sneakers (yep, that really happened) wasn’t enough, she also confessed that the main reason she loves the program is exactly why the rest of us do it—because more often than not, you’re moving with your girlfriends. “I just really love to be around family…so I can still hang out with them and work out,” she said. “It’s all these people in the room that are excited about working out, excited about taking care of their bodies,excited about having a healthy lifestyle. So it’s fun.”

But alas, Zumba Step isn’t the only way Rowland gets that drool-worthy physique (seriously, have you seen her abs?). She works regularly with one of FITNESS’ fave trainers, Jeanette Jenkins, and when I asked about her all-time exercise, she listed my arch enemy: burpees. “I love to hate burpees,” she said. “I see what they do to my body and it’s like it just snaps your body into place so quickly.” #truthtalk

So now I’m going to get my burpee back on, in between Zumba Step classes. To keep myself motivated, I’ve added these tunes to my playlist. Consider ‘em yourself, and keep your ears open for more from Rowland: she said she’s headed back to the studio, and I’m more than ready to hear what comes out of those powerhouse vocal cords, stat.

Photo by Matt Peyton/Invision for Zumba Fitness/AP Images

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I Tried It: Aqua Zumba

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‘The Bachelor’ Workout: Can Juan Pablo Make You Sweat?

Written on March 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm , by

Despite our high hopes for Juan Pablo and his sexy accent for season 18, it’s been quite a controversial ride for the latest Bachelor. Between his reportedly-accidental slur against gay couples being on TV and the verbal throw down between Pablo and final-three Andi, it’s a general consensus in the FITNESS office that this guy isn’t quite as dreamy as we once thought. That said, we’re still going to watch the heck out of tonight’s finale (you’re welcome, ABC). After all, we have to know which blonde babe he’s going to choose! But two hours is a long time to sit on our butts while we see which one gets their “happily-ever-after” (Come on, it’s The Bachelor. We had to put it in air quotes). Instead, we’ll be playing this little workout game. Join in the fun, and tag us in your own tweets and photos using #BachelorWorkout.

More from FITNESS:

Sean Lowe’s Post-Bachelor Fitness Challenge

What’s New with ‘The Voice’ and the Alums We’re Jamming To

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MORE/FITNESS Half-Marathon Runners: Score A Discount on the Official Race Jewelry!

Written on March 7, 2014 at 5:20 pm , by

Whether I’m running my first, 10th or 50th half-marathon (someday!), commemorating it in a special way is always at the top of my wish list. So when one of FITNESS’ favorite jewelery-designers, Erica Sara of Erica Sara Designs, agreed to create the official race jewelry of the MORE/FITNESS Women’s Half-Marathon, I jumped (and possibly squealed) a little in excitement. Erica’s line is gorgeous, and wearing a necklace or bracelet every day is more feasible than sporting that medal around your neck. Well, unless it’s the week after your race. Then all bets are off…

As the official race jeweler, Erica has created a custom necklace and bangle bracelet for all racing the MORE/FITNESS Women’s Half-Marathon on April 13th. First things first, though: if you’re not registered yet, do it now! As the largest women’s-only half-marathon in the country, there’s nothing quite like this race. There’s so much encouragement, girl power and positive energy pulsating through every footstep of those 13.1 miles through Central Park. I remember the first time I raced it (my first half ever!) – I could NOT keep a smile off my face.

Once you’re registered, head over to Erica’s website and check out the bling. You can get the necklace for $78 and  the bangle bracelet for $118 – both are amazing deals – and personalize the back of the logo charm with race details (Central Park, NYC/April 13, 2014/finishing time). Want to score an even bigger deal? Purchase your new bling by April 20th and enter the code FITNESSHALF on the website to score 20% off the entire race collection.

And while you’re at the expo to pick up your race bib and other goodies, be sure to stop by Erica Sara’s booth. She’s offering a 20% discount on all race-specific pieces, and 10% off the rest of the collection shown. Who knows what else you’ll fall in love with! Personally, I want one of everything.

Photos courtesy of Erica Sara Designs

More from FITNESS:

Sign Up for the 2014 MORE/FITNESS Half-Marathon!

FITNESS’ Half-Marathon Training Guide

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Meet the ‘Real-Girl’ Barbie That’s Ready to Hit the Toy Market

Written on March 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm , by

Last July, Nickolay Lamm, a 25-year-old artist and researcher, created a digital rendering of what Barbie would look like if she were modeled after an average 19-year-old woman, based on measurements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The result: a shorter, shapelier-looking doll image that went viral. We fell in love with the new version as quickly as you did, which highlighted that average is, in fact, beautiful. “I simply wanted to show that a doll like Barbie can look good with typical body proportions,” says Lamm.

FITNESS fans had mixed reviews – some of you loved the idea of creating a more realistic-looking doll, while others thought the whole concept silly. “I did play with Barbie growing up, but I didn’t strive to become her,” said one reader. “I saw her as more of a friend, not a sexual image that I need to become.”

Regardless of whether or not you thought the idea to be the next genius step in doll production or a silly farce, very few believed the creation of this new toy to be bad, and many said they would even purchase and use it to help teach their children about healthy body image. “I got a lot of emails saying, ‘Hey, where can we buy a doll like this,’” explains Lamm. “I think that the popularity of the images themselves kind of validated the design of the body.” That said, Lamm is ready to take his vision to the next level.

Today Lamm launched a crowdfunding campaign on his website, Lammily.com, with the hopes of raising the $95,000 he needs to support the creation of 5,000 dolls. He’s offered an exclusive first edition Lammily to every person who decides to back his project with a minimum $17 donation. As of press time, 237 backers had raised $5,375, and the numbers are rapidly growing.

With the help and guidance of former Vice President of Manufacturing at Mattel, Roger Rambeau, Lamm took his digital design and turned it into the Lammily doll. “Lammily is designed off the same body I used in the original project,[which was based on the classic Barbie]” he says. “But I changed her face, her hair, her articulation—even her skin tone a little—so that it’s my original design.”

Interestingly enough, this all comes on the heels of Mattel launching an “unapologetic” campaign for the original Barbie doll, which included featuring her in the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Of course, the Lammily doll would also be in competition with market-dominating, overly-sexualized Bratz dolls. And with a petition floating around for a Disney plus-sized princess, it’s clear there’s a demand for more diversity in the toy market.

Lamm says that his Lammily doll is about promoting a healthy, fit lifestyle, along with realistic beauty standards. He describes her as fun, fit and strong (just like our readers!). She’ll come dressed in a simple blue-white ombre blouse, jean shorts and white sneakers, with minimal makeup.

If this crowdfunding endeavor is successful, Lamm hopes to create more dolls with different ethnicities and body shapes. But we want to hear from you. Sound off in the comments and tell us whether you would buy a Lammily doll over the classic Barbie. Why or why not?

Additional reporting by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern. Photos courtesy of Lammily.com

More from FITNESS:

Should Disney Make a Plus-Sized Princess?

How America Should Move Forward in a Nation of Obesity

Living Large: How I Learned to Love My Body

Music Monday: What’s New with ‘The Voice,’ and the Alums We’re Totally Jamming Out To

Written on February 24, 2014 at 9:10 am , by

Finally. After a long season of basically no TV (I mean, the Bachelor was there to hold me over), and a slight delay due to the Olympics, my favorite shows are back from winter break. I’m a total sucker for reality TV – obviously, since I watch the Bachelor - so the show I’m most excited for would be The Voice (OK, OK, I’m also really stoked for Scandal and Nashville). Cheesy as it may be, I love discovering new artists along with the rest of America, and this group of coaches has a ton of on-screen chemistry. And I’m not just talking about Adam Levine and Blake Shelton (though their bromance is pretty epic) – Shakira and Usher are back in the spinning chairs for season six, and now that they’re no longer newbies, these two are coming out of their shells even more (Shakira even claimed Blake’s wife, Miranda Lambert, as her guest coach!). All of their personalities shine in a big way, and watching them bring out the best in young performers is as heart-warming as the steamy mug of caffeine-free tea I’ll be cupping while I snuggle into my couch and watch (yes, I’m aware that I sound like an old lady #judgmentfreezone).

But as a running-addict, the best part of The Voice is, in fact, finding new artists to add to my always-changing playlists. We all know I love country music, so Danielle Bradbery and The Swon Brothers are my jam, but I’ve also totally been digging Cassadee Pope and Will Champlin lately. Not one to keep good music all to myself, here are The Voice alums I’ve been sprinting, interval-ing and hill-climbing to these days. And if the weather is still terrible in your area, just hop on the treadmill Monday and Tuesday nights. The music will keep you entertained, and the coaches will make you laugh enough that you just might forget you’re running…maybe.

In other Voice news, there have been a lot of questions swirling around who will claim the red seats for season seven. The last few seasons have had a lot of back-and-forth, with an unprecedented switch between CeeLo Green and Christina Aguilera with Usher and Shakira. Last week though, CeeLo announced on Ellen that he definitely would not be returning to the show. If that’s the case, will Shakira permanently take his place (based on where the replacements sit), and Christina reclaim her chair, making it an even playing field of male and female coaches? Or maybe Usher will return on a permanent basis too, since the two currently come as a pair? Or perhaps producers will use the vacancy as a chance to bring in a revolving chair (yes, pun intended) of coaches, opening the door for even more celeb appearances. It’s up in the air right now – as far as we know – but tell me what you think. Sound off in the comments, or vote in the poll below on your favorite pairing.

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