Written on July 15, 2013 at 3:52 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Swim, bike, run…they’re all amazing workouts when you do them alone. But putting them all together? Now that’s a good time. If you’re a triathlete, you know that already. But if you’re not, putting all three sports together for one epic day of racing can be quite intimidating. Add in over 3,000 athletes, the Hudson River and a bunch of mileage—one mile of swimming, 25 miles of biking and 6.2 miles of running—and you’ve got the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon, which looks downright terrifying.
Luckily, Aquaphor allowed me to dip my toes into the world of triathlon without diving in head first. Instead of tackling all three sports myself, I rounded up two more FITNESS friends—both with more swimming and biking experience than I—and signed up to tri, relay-style!
Despite an obnoxiously-early wakeup call (hello, 3:00am), Emily, Molly and I had the time of our lives out on the course. For Emily, she was courageous enough to swim in the scary waters of the Hudson River. The girl sliced through the water with ease, and before we knew it, she was handing off the timing chip to Molly, our hard-core biker! Here’s what she has to say about riding on the West Side Highway:
After a few anxious hours of waiting for the race to start, the excited buzz in transition was contagious! I grabbed my bike and started jogging toward the exit with a million worries on my mind (Will I get a flat? Do I have enough hydration? What if I crash? Will I make all the hairpin turns?). But as soon as I crossed the mounting line and clipped in, every thought disappeared. It was just me and my bike, like any other day, and I was ready to race! The course was bumpier than I expected—Despite tight cages, I lost my first water bottle at mile 4 and the second at mile 19—and the hills were tough, so I took my time climbing. Since my legs were fresh and I didn’t have to save up energy for the run, I tried to cheer on others along the course. Prepping my tush and upper thighs with Aquaphor seriously saved me from painful saddle sores post-race. Before I knew it, I was already making the last turn back into transition to pass the chip (and my biker’s-high encouragement) to Samantha for the last leg.
Written on July 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Nobody loves a challenge more than us, but this time we’re turning the tables – and offering YOU a challenge. To keep you working hard all summer long – we know you’re ready to flaunt that bikini body – it’s time to get social. After all, why just tell us about it when you can SHOW us? So without further adieu, we present: our #BetterBikiniBody 31-Day Instagram Challenge!
How it works: If you’re not doing so already, follow us on Instagram. Refer back to our 31-Day challenge photo, or save it on your phone so you know the “theme of the day.” After you know your theme, go crazy with interpretations! Post a daily themed photo using the hashtag #BetterBikiniBody and #fitnessmagphoto. We’ll be sure to regram our faves!
Not sure what to do? It’s OK, we love gathering inspiration before sharing our own artwork, too. Simply click on the hashtag to see what your fellow FITNESS fans are posting that day. My idea of “How I Sweat,” (Today’s theme, ehem) for example, is different from Editorial Assistant Lauren – I went running this AM (check out my sweet compression socks) while she’s tackling a barre class! And don’t be afraid to get creative – no one’s requiring you to take themes literally!
Got questions? No worries – leave a comment here or on our Instagram account and we’ll do our best to get back to you!
Written on June 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Ever dream about hanging with a celebrity trainer every week while you get your sweat on? Now you can – just head to Flywheel Sports and look for Brett Hoebel on the schedule (you watched – in awe, we’re sure – his capoeira skills on season 11 of The Biggest Loser). He’ll be teaching at their Los Angeles studios, and making guest appearances in New York City. We scored seats in his debut ride at Flywheel’s Flatiron studio, and couldn’t stop raving about his crazy beats on our walk back to the office. But you know we’re not the type of girls to keep those tunes all to ourselves, so of course we nabbed the playlist before we left. Now get on a bike, blast each song and prepare for a serious dose of sweat.
Written on June 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Ever since we chatted with Sheryl Crow, we can’t stop listening to her rockin’ tunes. So why keep the music sharing to ourselves? We put together a playlist of Crow’s top hits, including her latest single, “Easy.” Plug into her current songs with a healthy dose of the classics, and get ready for a totally blissed-out Monday.
Written on May 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm , by Samantha Shelton
WNBA player Essence Carson knows what it’s like to put in hard work. The young basketball star has been playing since she was six, honing her skill until she was eventually drafted in 2008. But don’t think that’s the only thing the 26-year-old is great at: Carson also indulges her second passion by producing and performing music. After a tough day of training, we chatted with the multitalented athlete to find out what a day in the life is like when a new season is kicking into gear.
First, how did you get involved in basketball? What made you want to pursue a career in it?
It was just something a lot of the kids in the neighborhood played when I was younger. My dad was into basketball and it was just a common interest for all of us. And then my dad really loved basketball. I played in the neighborhood maybe when I was like 6 or 7. But I didn’t start playing organized until I was 11. I just had a love for the game and wanted to be the best at it. When I got drafted I was like, “Wow, this is really happening.”
You have a lot of accolades attached to your name. Any standout moments or favorite memories for you?
When I was in college, making it to the national championship game was a standout moment. Getting drafted was major for me, obviously, as well as making the all-star team in 2011.
I read that you also have a big passion for music. What are some songs we can find on your playlist?
You’ll find some Jay Z and Miguel. I love Miguel. You’ll find of my own music, too. I listen to a lot of different stuff.
If you weren’t a basketball player, would you be doing music?
Yes. I’ve been playing music since I was nine years old, and my first performance is something I’ll never forget. I play the piano, the sax, the electric bass and a little bit of drums here and there. Right now, I produce and perform when I’m not playing basketball, so I’ve gotten good at managing my time. But yeah, if I wasn’t a basketball player, I would pursue music full-time.
Written on May 28, 2013 at 10:04 am , by Samantha Shelton
If you’re looking for a charismatic personal trainer who knows how to turn into a drill sergeant the second it’s time to work, look no further than Dolvett Quince. He makes up one-third of the trainer team on hit reality show The Biggest Loser, and now that we’ve met the man, we see why so many of the contestants love him. In NYC to promote Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles, Quince put us through a quickie circuit full of step-ups, squats and burpees, convincing us to keep pushing with his mega-watt smile shining after every set. We chatted with him in between gulps of water afterward to find out his favorite part of being on Loser.
Why did you choose the moves that you did for us in this workout?
Everything that I do is a combination movement. I love combinations. Why? Because I don’t have a lot of time. Most people that I train don’t have a lot of time. So what can I do to work the glutes, the legs, the shoulders and the core all at the same time? Do more than one movement in more than one way.
Do you like to do a lot of workouts just using body weight?
I love weights personally. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have them in their homes or offices. I like to show people they don’t need a gym or weights to get in a great workout. You can still do amazing things using just your body weight.
What are some of your favorite workouts personally?
The combination movements. I’m a huge fan of squats, lunges, core stuff, chest. I love doing both cardio and strength training every time I workout. Commit the same time frame – 10 minutes here, 8 minutes there – to maximize my time; maximize my results.
Written on May 27, 2013 at 10:33 am , by Samantha Shelton
As a cohost of CBS This Morning, it’s safe to say Norah O’Donnell spends her fair share of time on the go. Between waking up at the crack of dawn to head to work, taking care of her kids, reporting from major news events (check out Instagram for her coverage on the tragic Oklahoma tornado) and squeezing in her own sweat sessions, we think she’s a bit like superwoman. To help bring her back down to our human level, and let you get to know the woman behind the anchor’s desk, we decided to play a little game. So Norah, would you rather…
Workout in the morning or at night?
Afternoon. I can’t really do it in the morning because I have to be here at 4:30am and it’s hard enough getting here on time! So usually it will be sometime in the afternoon after I’ve left the office. I don’t like exercising at night because it totally revs me up and I would have trouble falling asleep.
Run or Spin?
Run. I run and do P90X, but I don’t do it every day like you’re supposed to. I’ll do it like two times a week and then I try to run 2 or 3 times a week. And then my kids do swim time three times a week and while they do that I’ll work out in the gym that’s right next door.
Run a 5K or a marathon?
5K. I’ve never run a marathon before; I greatly admire people who run marathons. I mean 26.2 miles – that .2 matters! – it’s not easy. It requires incredible dedication and endurance, and I think it can be really tough on the body. For me, the shorter distances are what I favor.
Run alone or with friends/family?
I like to run by myself. It’s kind of my only alone time during the day. When I leave work, I go and be with my kids or do some kind of work or social-related event. So for me, running is kind of my private time. But I do run regularly with my husband, who runs much faster than I do. So that is certainly a workout. And I have girlfriends that I run with when I’m in DC.
Written on May 24, 2013 at 9:08 am , by Samantha Shelton
You’ve heard her name for years, listened to her hit songs and likely watched her as a mentor on season 4 of The Voice. But when she’s not in the public eye, Sheryl Crow is volunteering at local food banks to help the 50 million Americans trying to make ends meet. For the second year, Crow teamed up with Feeding America and One A Day’s Nutrition Mission to fight hunger. We caught up with the busy star to find out how she eats healthy herself (while feeding her kids!) and how you can score a trip to NYC to hang with the music star.
You’ve teamed up again with One A Day for the Nutrition Mission. What keeps you coming back?
I just think it’s such a good program and the last I heard, there are nearly 50 million people in America challenged by food insecurity. With this mission, everyone gets meals three times a day. It seems like the work is never done, and this is just a great, easy way to be a part of helping your community. You just buy a multivatimin, which many people already take, and two meals are donated with each purchase. And if you have a story about volunteering at a local food bank, you can share it at nutritionmission.com for the chance to win a grant for your area, plus a trip to NYC to come hang out with me.
So do you have any fave spots in NYC you might take the winner to then?
When my kids are with me we almost always go to the Museum of Natural History. And Central Park, of course.
So how else can people get involved with the Nutrition Mission?
I think that volunteering at a local food bank is always helpful and very eye-opening. It leaves its mark when you see the kinds of people that come in. It’s not necessarily just homeless people. Oftentimes it’s a mom who has three or four kids, and she works but just can’t make ends meet. One of the problems that we see with food insecurity is that people don’t talk about it; they’re embarrassed. One day I went to school with my little boy, who’s in Pre-K, and we had to go do a morning program. By 9am I was like, “Where’s the snack?” These kids who are affected by food insecurity walk in and haven’t had a good morning meal and by 9 or 10 they really need something. And out of the 50 million people who are affected, 16 million are kids. It’s a problem we can all help with.
Written on May 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Ever wonder what goes on behind-the-scenes in Hollywood, where celebs strut their stuff and their publicists work tirelessly to make sure they look good? If so, then we recommend picking up The Star Attraction by Alison Sweeney. Available now, the first fiction novel from the host of The Biggest Loser takes us into the world of Sophie Atwater, one of the best publicists in Los Angeles. She loves her boyfriend, Jacob, her job and the thrill of working with the stars. But when hottie actor Billy Fox (think Ryan Gosling-level here, ladies) becomes a client, Sophie’s life quickly spirals out of control as sparks fly and she starts to fall for a client for the first time.
We breezed through this story in a few days, making it a great choice for devouring while lounging poolside or at the beach. Just don’t forget the sunscreen because you might get sucked into the story and lose all track of time. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
And if you want to know what compelled Sweeney to pen her first piece of fiction, we’ve got you covered there, too. We sat down with the actress and author to find out whether the scenes she created come from experience, and if we can expect a sequel sometime soon.
What made you want to dive into fiction writing?
I love to read. I gobble books up left, right and sideways. But I also love telling stories. And being apart of Days of Our Lives for 20 years has given me a million stories to tell. I’m so grateful for that. But you know, sometimes it doesn’t go the way I would want it to go as a fan. I wanted to write something that had the ending that I wanted it to have. It was so fun to get sucked into this girl’s life and tell her story.
You’ve said you read all of the time. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Well, my favorite author alive today is Jodi Picoult.
Yes, it was amazing! I did this book club on Twitter and Facebook and we read it right when it came out. It was amazing. She’s so inspiring and I just love her controversial topics. She’s amazing.
OK, back to your book. Sophie seems like she’s at a very different point in her life than where you are. Did you relate to her at all, or did you pull from your own experiences when creating her character?
Oh yeah, there’s a lot of her that’s in me, and vice versa. I think that her story is so interesting to me because she is growing and learning and finding herself, and that’s such a great thing for people to see and relate to. And the steamy, fun, romantic stuff – all the red carpet gossip – it’s all stuff I’ve seen in Hollywood, been a part of or witnessed, so it was fun to pull the curtain back a little bit.
Written on May 10, 2013 at 9:51 am , by Samantha Shelton
It’s likely the most talked about movie since The Hunger Games–at least it is in the FITNESS office. And one of the perks of working here is getting the chance to see movies before they hit theaters. So on Tuesday night I made my way to the Ziegfeld theater in NYC, popped on my 3-D shades and was transported into one of the most beloved stories in American literature. If that’s not reason enough for you to go see The Great Gatsby, here are five more:
1. Leonardo Dicaprio. The man has been making our hearts flutter since Romeo + Juliet, and we swear he just gets better (acting-wise and come on, looks-wise) with age. If you didn’t know, Baz Luhrmann, the director of Gatsby, worked with Leo way back then on R+J. Once we watched him on screen, we saw exactly why Luhrmann wanted to collaborate with the actor again: love or hate him, Leo was the perfect guy to play the complicated role of Jay Gatsby. The love, confidence and desperation of his character all seep through, and he had us chastising Daisy Buchanan for her crazy amounts of indecision.
2. Tobey Maguire (Nick Carraway) and Leonardo Dicaprio (Jay Gatsby)’s bromance. It’s real, both on and off-screen. We can’t get enough of it.
3. The fashion. This period wasn’t called the Roaring 20s for nothing. It was the tip of the iceberg for women exploring new dress lengths (short, short, short!), hairstyles and lots of sparkle—and you know we love sparkle. Fun fact: costume designer Catherine Martin worked with Brooks Brothers for many of the male costumes—think 2,000 garments + 200 tuxedos—who actually sold clothing to Fitzgerald back in the day.
4. Isla Fisher and Carey Mulligan. Our May cover girl plays Myrtle, Tom Buchanan’s mistress who lives in the Valley of Ashes and wants the glamorous life. Although her role is small, Fisher knows how to make a big impact. Mulligan takes on the iconic role of Daisy Buchanan, and delivers flawlessly. The woman knows how to be alluring, and we love that she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. What we don’t love: Daisy’s inability to make a decision and stick with it. Just watch the movie and you’ll see what we mean.
5. The music. Just as he did in R+J, Luhrmann took Gatsby, a very classic story, and blended it with contemporary music. Now we’ll admit, this is the part we were most skeptical about. Sure, we love blasting Jay-Z, Florence + The Machine and Lana Del Rey during our workouts, but would it work in a movie set in the 20s? Surprisingly, it does. In fact, we say it’s what makes the movie that much better. Bringing contemporary beats to the party scenes helped us make a connection with all of the characters and the fun they were having. Think about it: if you were ready to get your dance on tonight, would you blast music from the 20s and feel jazzed; ready to rock? We didn’t think so. This blend of eras made the story more relatable so we could really be immersed in the story. Smart move, Luhrmann. Smart move.