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Samantha Shelton

Everything You Need to Know About The Biggest Loser Controversy – Including ‘Extreme Weight Loss’ Trainer Chris Powell’s Opinion

Written on February 12, 2014 at 7:59 pm , by

Frederickson’s before and after photos (courtesy of NBC).

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’re aware of all the controversy that’s been swirling around The Biggest Loser season 15 finale and its winner, Rachel Frederickson. But if you’re not clued in to all the dirty details, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what’s been happening:

After competing on the show and being monitored closely for seven-and-a-half months, Frederickson went home (unmonitored and without trainers) for the final stretch before the finale, working to get down to her lowest weight and hopefully claim the $250,000 prize and title of the Biggest Loser. She shocked viewers; the audience; trainers Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels and Dolvett Quince; and host Alison Sweeney when she strutted a 0-2 sized figure and clocked in at a startling 105 pounds. At the start of the show, Frederickson weighed in at 260 pounds. With a 5’4″ frame, let’s do the math: this girl shed 155 pounds fast, and she brought her BMI (body mass index) down to 18, which places her in the underweight category – a first in the show’s history.

Now, we know by now that BMI is not the end-all, be-all for telling whether or not a person is healthy. There are many other factors at play, like muscle mass. Had she gone too far? Despite the media storm, NBC stands behind their latest champion, and when People magazine asked Frederickson point blank whether or not she had an eating disorder, she told them, “I am very, very healthy.”

That being said, when you’re training for six hours a day and only eating 1,600 calories per day like this contestant was, the cause for concern seems warranted (however, that does not justify mean, negative comments). After all, it was widely reported that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps chowed down a staggering 12,000 calories a day when training for the Beijing Olympics, and we all heard about how track-star-turned-bobsledder Lolo Jones consumes 9,000 daily calories to beef up for bobsledding. Even Olympic cyclists take in more than 3,300 calories, on average. Granted, Olympians aren’t trying to drop weight the way Frederickson was, but it’s the closest comparison we get when athletes are logging so many hours of exercise.

But before we all point fingers at the 24-year-old athlete (which she is, no question), let’s face the facts: The Biggest Loser is a competitive reality show, and Frederickson did exactly what she signed on to do: win a weight-loss show and bring home a life-changing amount of money. Whether she stays at the same weight or gains 20 pounds before the end of the week doesn’t matter – and with the amount of challenges she won throughout the season (4 out of 5 once they moved to singles, including the first-ever Loser sprint triathlon), we bet that played a strategic role. After all, we’ve heard time and time again how she’s always been an athlete and Loser helped her find that in herself again.  She knew that as long as she trained hard and got down low enough, she was bringing home the goods. Also, let’s not forget that her 105-pound weight isn’t set in stone – the show’s winners generally gain back a good amount of weight post-finale to settle into their natural healthy weight.

Click through to find out what Extreme Weight Loss trainer Chris Powell has to say!

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Music Monday: Bring It Back with the Beatles

Written on February 10, 2014 at 9:32 am , by

It’s hard to believe, but 50 years ago the Beatles made their first appearance in the United States. The iconic band has made an impact on our society in a way like no other, and fortunately for us, we can relive their music in more ways than one (we all remember Across the Universe, and I highly recommend seeing Cirque De Soleil’s Love). But rather than sitting through a performance that takes you back in time, try sweating instead. This 50-minute playlist from our friends at Run Rock ‘n’ Roll honors the monumental anniversary of the guys jumping across the pond, so take it for a whirl during your next workout. Better yet? Consider signing up for the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool Marathon and Half-Marathon, and make sure to bring these tunes along for the ride. Nothing like a little John Lennon to get you through a tough training run, especially when you’re going to his homeland.

More from FITNESS:

FITNESS’  Half-Marathon Training Guide

100 Best Workout Songs

Pump-You-Up Playlists

Music Monday: Your Super Bowl Party Playlist

Written on January 27, 2014 at 6:48 pm , by

It’s almost game time, guys! You know I’m talking about the Super Bowl – or should I say Puppy Bowl? – and while I love watching men battle it out in tight pants, my beloved Patriots are not in the game, so I’m not nearly as interested as I should be. And let’s be honest, whether we’re big football fans or not, the half-time show is one of the best parts of the game (along with the commercials, obvi). Add on the fact that Bruno Mars will be performing (after securing a big Grammy win for Best Pop Vocal Album, no less) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are making an appearance, and well, you basically won’t be able to tear my eyes from the TV screen.

So whether you’re planning a big party for the game, or just want to take a trip down memory lane, I recommend plugging into this playlist. We’ve gathered hit songs that were performed during the iconic halftime show in the past – including the always-infamous “Rock Your Body” by J.T. and J.J. – and sprinkled in a few tunes we hope Bruno and the Peppers (New band name? Maybe? OK, no…) grace us with on Sunday.

More from FITNESS:

 10 Easy, Healthy Pizza Recipes

5 Ways to Make Your Super Bowl Party Diet-Friendly

How to Bring Tailgating to Your Home

Have You Joined #GetFitParty? You Could Win a Trip to Aruba!

Written on January 20, 2014 at 9:51 am , by

In the beginning of 2014, there are a lot of hopes and dreams. Not only about goals you want to accomplish (and will!), but about trips you want to take, places you’re eager to explore and adventures you’re excited to experience. If you’ve joined the #GetFitParty, you’re already well on your way to crushing those goals (one reader has already dropped 5 pounds!). If you haven’t joined, well, what are you waiting for?! Between the four-week workout plan that sheds unnecessary pounds off your figure, the “I refuse to starve or eat tasteless food” meals that energize your bod, and the digital support that’s waiting for you around every social media corner (with weekly prizes happening on Insta), there’s no reason to miss the fun. But if that’s still not enough, we have one more thing to entice you.

A four-night getaway – on us! – to Aruba, where you’ll stay at the swanky Hotel RIU Palace Aruba. Guys, I’ve seen this place up close and personal, and I can tell you one thing: it’s gorgeous. But that’s not all, of course. The winner of this trip gets to bring a date, and both of you will head off on a snorkel-and-sail excursion (I saw ship wrecks on mine!) and be treated to a blissful spa massage. Because every fit girl deserves a little down time to unwind and boost muscle recovery. And if that’s not enough for your adventurous selves, there’s plenty more to do – you can see our top recommendations here, but I love the idea of taking a jeep ride through the rugged Arikok National Park, swimming in Conchi, the Natural Pool or kayaking in the crystal-clear ocean waters.

After all that, we know you’re ready to get in on the action. So sign up for the Better Body plan here, which enters you to win this fabulous trip (or you could score a StairMaster!). And don’t forget to follow – and use – the #getfitparty hashtag online to keep you motivated on the journey of your “fit in ’14″ goals.

Get More #GetFitParty Action

Work Out to Fight Cancer All Year with New Balance

Written on January 16, 2014 at 9:25 am , by

We’re midway through January, so let’s check in on those New Year’s resolutions. Have you started (and stopped)? If one of your goals is to sweat more, we may have found the perfect incentive to hop back on the wagon.

New Balance, a brand known for its annual partnership in October with Susan G. Komen, decided there’s no reason breast cancer awareness and support should be dedicated to just one month. And since, ya know, someone doesn’t stop fighting cancer after BCA month has come and gone (although we wish that were the case), we couldn’t be more stoked about the new Lace Up 365 program. Here’s how it works: Go about your daily business, eating healthy and sweating on the reg. Now, every time you work out, tweet or Instagram about it (you’re going to anyway for #GetFitParty) and use the #LaceUp365 hashtag. That’s it.

Dedicate your sweat to #LaceUp365. (Photo courtesy of New Balance)

Easy, right? Every time that hashtag is used, it alerts New Balance that a workout has been dedicated to a breast cancer survivor to help raise awareness year-round. And if a monetary donation is what you’re after, simply visit New Balance’s website and check out the Pink Laces Club. Not only will you find exclusive features, personal stories and get-fit tips from and for those fighting breast cancer, but five percent of every purchase from the Lace Up for the Cure Collection, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $500,000, will go to Susan G. Komen.

So next time you’re going back and forth about whether or not you have time for that workout, remember that you GET to workout and use #LaceUp365. Someone else in this world could want nothing more than a sweat-dripping workout, but their body is too busy fighting a terrible disease. You never know if seeing your tweet (or Insta!) will brighten their day and remind them we’re all in this together.

More from FITNESS:

Best in Class: Breast Cancer Awareness Products

Cancer-Busting Bites: Recipes That Fight Cancer

“Why I Gave Up My Breasts”

One Million FITNESS Friends: We Have A Surprise For You!

Written on January 15, 2014 at 10:20 am , by

Last night, someone in the world decided to click “Like” and become FITNESS’ one millionth Facebook fan. Perhaps she (or maybe even he) had been browsing the page for a while before committing to a stream of regular content in their news feed. Or maybe a friend shared a sweat-tastic workout that drove her to find out what other goodies we have to offer. Or better yet, maybe she just discovered FITNESS and decided she wanted a companion on her journey to healthy living (and we’re sure all of the awesome peeps that are part of the #GetFitParty enticed her, too). Regardless of how she came across our page, we’re glad she decided to join the FITNESS fun. In fact, we’re glad all of you are along for the ride – whether you’re fan #3, #589,286 or 1,000,001.

We’ve come a long way since joining the Facebook world (on that note, can you believe the site is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014?), and to thank you all for clicking back again and again, we’ve posted a little treat for you. You have until 11:59 p.m.  to enter our speedy giveaway – one lucky fan will win a bag of SERIOUS fitness swag. Check it out now, and don’t forget to enter! We’ll select the winner shortly thereafter. Good luck!

ENTER HERE

Official Rules

Want more of FITNESS?

Join our Better Body Plan for the moves and foods that’ll help you drop 10 pounds in 4 weeks. And enter the #GetFitParty for more chances to win prizes.

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Rock at Life Like Christie Rampone: The Soccer Star Spills Her Do-It-All Secrets

Written on January 14, 2014 at 5:37 pm , by

Rampone juggles the soccer ball…and being a mom. (Photo courtesy of @christierampone3)

She’s one of the biggest names in the world of soccer, whether you’re looking at men’s or women’s teams. Christie Rampone. The superstar defender has been playing since 1997, experiencing firsthand major moments in the sport’s history (you know, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where she led the underdog team to come from behind and snatch gold. NBD.)  As the first U.S. player to compete for four Olympic teams - not to mention the only active player remaining from the 1999 World Cup championship team – she knows what’s what. But that doesn’t mean this captain is ready to retire her cleats. In fact, even though she admits the thought of coaching sounds appealing, that’s all it is – an idea. With her focus zeroed in on giving her all – whether that’s to her teammates or her family of four (husband, Chris,  and daughters Rylie and Reece) – Rampone is powering ahead, determined to stay on top of her game despite an ongoing battle with Lyme disease. We sat down with her to find out what it’s like being the only mom on the team, and how, even after thousands of hours of playing outside in the sun, she still manages to look so freaking fab. Steal her secrets below.

You’re one of the most iconic players in the sport, but you’ve also been able to work with other phenomenal athletes. Who have been some of your favorite teammates to play with? 

I’ve looked up to Kristine Lily from the start. As an older player, she always led by example and always gave 100 percent, and I always aspired to have that on the field. Playing with Shannon Boxx in front of me has been a lot of fun, the two of us being able to coordinate and lead on the field. And going up against Abby Wambach in training to then step it up on the field.

Our readers love proving that age is just a number. As one of the oldest active players, what are your thoughts on that? 

I think it’s great to be able to be that role model and aspire others to still compete and not look at age. Age comes up a lot for me, but I try to defer it and have them just look at my play. I’m not talking about the word retirement at this point – I’m going to continue to do what I love and just enjoy it while I can. My goal right now is to keep proving myself, earning my spot and helping grow the sport of soccer.

With the Sochi Games coming, I have to ask – if you were to compete in the winter Olympics, which sport would you choose? 

I would probably play ice hockey. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try to do because it’s a team sport – I don’t think I’d be good at an individual sport. Seeing how passionate they are [the hockey team], it coordinates with the soccer side. I think they’re just as inspiring. It looks fun but definitely challenging.

You’re the only mom on the team. How do you juggle parenting with being a team captain? 

It’s a lot. I try to balance it all by not overdoing one thing more than the other. For me, there are no days off, so being strong and healthy is critical. I compete every day on the field, and then I take care of my kids. But I think educating them is key. They know mom stays active – they see me run and lift, and we’ll bike to dinner if we’re going out, or bike to the soccer field. Reece loves that I pick her up from school every day on the bike.

As a player, becoming a mom has been great for me. It puts things in perspective, realizing that soccer is a privilege and I’m very lucky to be playing it for this long. And my kids help motivate me to be a better person and look after my teammates before myself. I have that motherly instinct, and I think that’s helped bring the whole sport full circle, rather than just thinking about myself on the field. It completes me.

You announced in 2011 that you have Lyme disease. How has that affected your career, and daily life? 

I take Epicor, which helps my immune system tremendously. It keeps my insides strong while I work to stay physically fit and keep my outside strong. Otherwise, I have to be mindful of the fatigue and try to stay ahead of the game, resting when it’s necessary. To stay mentally strong, I think of my teammates and the end goal – the World Cup. If I’m having a bad day and need to rest, then I do. But when I feel good I make sure I go all out. I’ve learned from experience when to push through and when my body is telling me to give it a rest.

I have to say, your skin looks fabulous. What are your beauty secrets? 

I drink a ton of water and use light makeup that my aunt makes to get that nice glow. Then I just eat right and take care of my body. I used to think I was invincible, but as you get older you realize how much time, energy and effort it takes every day to stay fit, so you become more mindful. And I use a little mascara to open up the eyes, and I’m good to go.

More from FITNESS:

Soccer Star Julie Foudy Talks Self-Esteem, Sports and Staying Fit

How U.S. Soccer Superstar Alex Morgan Prevents Injuries On and Off the Field

Landon Donovan Shares His Skin-Saving Tips

Music Monday: Are the 10 Most Popular Workout Songs on Your Playlist?

Written on January 13, 2014 at 4:40 pm , by

Ever wonder if you’ve got the same taste in music as the girl on the treadmill next to you? If she’s busting a move to Katy Perry’s “Roar” or rapping in her head to Eminem’s “‘TIll I Collapse?” Turns out both of those songs are likely beating through your gym pal’s ear buds as often as they stream through yours – despite being released more than 10 years apart, both are on the latest list of top workout songs. Spotify decided to satisfy your curiosity about other songs, too: below are the top 10 songs people across the U.S. are sweating to. Might we suggest adding them to your #GetFitParty playlist?

Want more music? Check out our list of Top 100 Workout Songs or use any of our editor-selected playlists.

It’s #GetFitParty Time! All the Details You Need to Join the Fun (And Score Swag!)

Written on January 6, 2014 at 11:42 am , by

Ready to shed 10 pounds and keep them off – for good? In our February issue (on stands now!), we give you the exact moves and foods that helped our testers trim up to 15 pounds from their figures in a mere four weeks. So first things first, go on out and pick up a copy (or download it to your tablet). Don’t worry, we’ll wait.

Got it? Good. Now that you’re ready to sweat in the gym and eat like a queen, we want you to share your journey with everyone. Your friends, fam and followers. Because we know you’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which means that YOU have followers, too. And come on, let’s be real – if you don’t post your hard work online, then it didn’t really happen. So go ahead, brag a little – here’s how:

All month long we’ll be dishing out digital support for you to reach those slim-down goals. Follow the guide below to see where and how you can join the fun, then log in on the respective dates and remember to use the hashtag above so we can brag about you, too.

MONDAY, JANUARY 6th (TODAY!): TWITTER

Follow @FitnessMagazine and the #getfitparty hashtag on Twitter from 2-4pm EST to score fresh ideas on healthy eating and exercise so you can slam-dunk your goals. Bonus: We’ll be giving away boxes of KIND Healthy Grains Bars to 15 lucky participants. Snack happy, friends.

JANUARY 6TH – FEBRUARY 16TH: INSTAGRAM (SWAG ALERT!)

Tune in to @FitnessMagazine every Monday to catch each week’s fresh photo challenge (get creative!), then post your pics with #getfitparty. At the end of each week, we’ll select which one of you will win a bag of sweet fitness prizes (each valued over $250), and highlight your phenom photos in our feed. That gives you six chances to become FITNESS famous and score new workout gear. If that’s not an incentive to start sharing, we don’t know what is. We’re kicking things off by asking for your workout views; one lucky chick will score a pair of sweet hiking boots, jacket, and six months worth of Naturebox goodies!

JANUARY 13 – FEBRUARY 10TH: FACEBOOK

Start every week with a motivational kick in the pants from your drill-seargeant-with-a-heart trainer. Head to our Facebook page every Monday at 4pm EST to catch a video from Sylwia Wiesenberg, when she’ll be spilling her top stick-with-it strategies.

JUST BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU…ENTER TO WIN A TRIP TO ARUBA OR A STAIRMASTER!

To help you stay motivated (and envision yourself in that bikini), the prizes got kicked up a notch. Join the Better Body Plan online and enter to win these suh-weet prizes:

  • A trip for two to the swanky Hotel RIU Palace Aruba, including airfare, meals, a snorkel-and-sail excursion, and a spa massage (a $3,690 value)
  • A StairMaster StepMill 3 with a built-in heart rate monitor and more than 25 programmed workouts (a $3,000 value)

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get this party started!

Reach Your 2014 Weight-Loss Goals: Score 500-Calorie Dinners, Free!

Written on January 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm , by

It’s a new year, so it’s time for some new goals. And fresh recipes. ‘Cause seriously, making the same healthy dinners over and over again can get boring really fast. So what’s a girl to do?

I suggest helping FITNESS celebrate a milestone we’ve reached on Instagram – posting 500 photos (and sharing them with more than 24,000 of our favorite readers)! OK, so it’s not the biggest milestone EVER, but we like to think the pix we post are full of helpful tips, fun food and bursts of motivation to help you reach the next level of awesome. And the comments and hearts you leave behind (we heart you too!) tell us we’re on the right track, but you want more – so that’s what we’re going to give you!

First, head to Instagram and follow us (you can find us @FitnessMagazine) so you can get daily doses of inspiration like the ones mentioned above. Then visit our Facebook page to find a month’s worth of our fave 500-calorie recipes to save on your computer or print for your recipe book. Now it’s time to start cooking! 500-calorie dinners in honor of 500 photos? I say that’s a pretty sweet deal. And now I’m hungry, so I’m going to check out some ideas myself. Happy New Year!

More from FITNESS:

Health-Food Fight: The Healthiest Buys at the Grocery Store

Comfort-Food Dinners Under 450 Cals

10 Exotic Superfoods for Women