Written on October 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm , by Samantha Shelton
You watched him heat up the small screen as Dr. Sam Bennett on Private Practice, and now you can catch him in his latest romantic comedy, Baggage Claim, as part of a star-studded cast (you’ll see the likes of Paula Patton, aka wife to one-half of the VMA twerking fiasco, Tia Mowry and Adam Brody). But what really fires up Taye Diggs happens behind-the scenes, in a place much closer to home – the school systems. Fun fact: Diggs is also the children’s book author of “Chocolate Me,”and he’s teamed up with Kellogg’s and Scholastic to get more reading material in kids’ hands.
With a four-year-old of his own, it seems like just the right time for Diggs to get involved. “I grew up reading a ridiculous amount when I was a kid, and now I read to my kid three or four times a day,” he told us during a visit to the FITNESS offices. “Childhood literacy is very important. Two-thirds of every family in poverty doesn’t have books, so we’re just trying to get everybody involved and put an end to that.”
How, exactly, can we help then? In one of two ways:
- Buy any Kellogg’s product, and visit kelloggsfreebook.com to enter the Great Starts, Great Stories codes you’ll find on the inside flap of the box. For each code entered, Kellogg’s will send you a free book that you can keep or donate. Up to 200,000 books will go to schools, homes and communities.
- Participate in the Frosted Mini Wheats Mini Missions program, and earn free scholastic books and the chance to win a sweepstakes for books and grants for your community.
We’ve all heard of Kellogg’s, and the company does a lot to give back, clearly. But when it comes right down to it, we wanted to know: out of all the cereal brands, why partner with this one? “It was what we grew up on,” Diggs says. “For my family, it was like a weekend delicacy. My father would mix up the different cereals – a lot of the time it would be Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes because it had a little less sugar.” And as far as eating as a family goes, there’s zero negotiation for the actor. “I didn’t realize how much of an impact a simple meal could have until I had Walker,” he says. “But now that’s a time, either as a family or just daddy-son time, that you don’t get during any other time of the day. For us, we talk about dreams or nightmares he had the night before, or what we’re going to do for the rest of the day. We can check in with each other. Not to mention, that’s when he’s the most cute. When he wakes up.” Cue a round of aww’s, please!
But reading and eating a morning meal together aren’t the only things the star does with his son. They get their sweat on together, too (which begins to explain that, um, enviable physique). “I’m trying to gently massage the importance of staying healthy and in shape. He likes looking at big muscles, so I use that as a bribe. I’ll say, ‘If you want those, you have to eat your protein, eat your vegetables, do a couple push-ups and stretch out.’” When he’s not, er, bribing the boy, they’re doing fun activities together, like running and soccer. And on top of that, Diggs manages to fit in his own workouts – think basketball, tennis and weight lifting – to stay in tip-top shape for his acting gigs. Maybe we’ll see him as an athlete in his next role? “Someone asked my son what I did for a living, and he said, ‘He changes into shorts and he plays basketball!’ Because I always go from the gym to work, so he rarely hears me say I’m going to work. It was pretty funny.”
Sounds like Diggs is a pro at leading by example. For more of his tips on getting active with your own kiddos, watch this:
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Written on October 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Known for making scrubs look sexy with ease is none other than McDreamy, and now Patrick Dempsey has fit gals like us weak in the knees by getting his sweat on in bike shorts. Why? Not that we really need a reason, but it’s for a good cause. So yes, he’s good-looking, talented, in incredible shape and philanthropic. (Insert extra swoon here.)
Clearly, biking has become more than just a joy ride for this star. It’s become a passion and family affair with his wife and three kids, plus a way to raise funds for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. “I’m not a big fan of running—I really love cycling and the sense that you can go somewhere,” he recently dished, while reminiscing about pedaling around as a kid, the only way for him to get from point A to B at a young age. “Growing up in the country, it was a form of escape and freedom.”
On October 12 and 13, runners, walkers and riders—including Dempsey—will come together for the fifth-annual Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston, Maine to support his center. Founded in 2008 after the actor’s mother battled three bouts of ovarian cancer, the safe haven provides free support, education and integrative medicine services for those impacted by cancer. “The last four years, we’ve raised over a million dollars in the event. It’s incredible,” Dempsey says. “It’s amazing the amount of support and commitment people have to the challenge. We’re going to have fun things around, like food trucks and entertainment, to celebrate. Plus, everyone gets lobster and beer at the end!”
Between his time on the big screen, a little show called Grey’s Anatomy and now the race track—he clearly has a need for speed—finding time to get his sweat on can be tough, the Clif Bar lover admits. (His fave flavors? Crunchy Peanut Butter and Blueberry Crisp.) “I try to balance it between going to the gym and getting a good core workout in. And then getting out on the bike for at least an hour, hour and half if I can, three or four times a week.” Hikes in the mountains surrounding Santa Monica and barefoot runs along the beach are also a part of his training. “I find that to be low impact on my body,” he says. “The sand helps stabilize your core!” Uh huh, drink in that image…
To learn more about this year’s challenge and their incredible partnerships—Dempsey raved about Positive Tracks, a New Hampshire-based non-profit that encourages the youth to get active and give back through charitable athletic efforts—be sure to head over to their website, ‘like’ their Facebook page and follow the event on Twitter.
More from FITNESS:
- Kara DioGuardi Takes Charge of Her Health—For the Long Run
- How You Can Run One Million Miles to Fight Childhood Cancer
- Jennie Garth Sees Good in New Charity Campaign
Written on September 20, 2013 at 11:09 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Songwriter, producer and Warner Brothers exec Kara DioGuardi was living in Manhattan playing Roxie Hart in the Broadway musical Chicago when she saw a life-changing (and arguably life-saving) news report. It was WABC-TV New York’s Stacy Sager’s story that struck a familiar chord with Kara, as the journalist discussed her breast and ovarian cancer family history and the proactive test that determines carriers of the hereditary gene mutation. (The same exam Angelina Jolie made headlines with back in May—which positive results led to her preventative double mastectomy.)
“I tested positive for BRCA2—which meant I had up to an 80 percent chance of getting breast cancer, and a 40 percent chance of ovarian cancer—and subsequently underwent a complete laporoscopic hysterectomy last December  to reduce my likelihood of breast and/or ovarian cancer by fifty percent,” Kara recently told us. In January, the former American Idol judge plans to further lower her risk by having a prophylactic mastectomy.
“I feel great,” she says. “I had a great doctor and support system who mentally and physically prepared me for the surgery. I urge anyone with breast or ovarian cancer in their families (mother or father’s side) to get tested. As cliché as it sounds, knowledge is power.”
Now a healthy mom of eight-month-old Greyson (she and husband Mike McCuddy turned to surrogacy following five years of fertility issues), Kara is back in the swing of things teaching for a second year at Berklee College of Music in Boston, running her publishing company, Arthouse, and finding new talent for her Warner Brothers affiliated record label.
Her best sweat secret to finding fit time between all of the juggling? “I recently started P90X and if I hadn’t, I am not sure I would be able to lift my big boy as easily,” she reveals. “I love it because it has taught me exercises I can do anywhere at anytime—even getting 20 minutes in a day is enough!”
Besides following Tony Horton’s regimen (and her upper body workout of a son), Kara is now gearing up for the inaugural Run for Her New York Walk on October 27 in support of ovarian cancer research. Lucky for us East Coasters, the popular Los Angeles walk’s growth sparked the organization of this year’s New York City event to continue raising funds for advancing medical discoveries and treatments, alongside awareness of the fifth-leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
“This event is very important to me as it brings the ongoing battle of ovarian cancer to the forefront,” Kara says. “I will run in honor of my mother, Carol DioGuardi, who died of ovarian cancer at 58. She was not given the option of genetic testing. It may have saved her life. Although running has never been my strong suit, I plan on completing the 5K for all those women out there who have been affected by this insidious disease.”
Sign up now (early registration costs only $35!) to join Kara at the Hudson River Park and support the Women’s Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. West Coast gals, be sure to get moving for the cause in L.A. November 10.
More from FITNESS:
- Angelina Jolie’s Brave Decision for Her Health
- Help Fight Cancer By Joining a Coast to Coast Relay
- How You can Run One Million Miles to Fight Childhood Cancer
Written on September 9, 2013 at 9:05 am , by Guest Blogger
Rock climber Paige Claassen recaps her second stop on the Marmot Lead Now Tour, a global tour to inspire people through rock climbing and raise $120,000 for charity organizations.
By Paige Claassen
When I arrived in Russia, stereotypes plagued my expectations, planting images in my mind of tanks driving down the highway and peasants standing in line for bread rations. But the Russia I encountered was very different from the Russia in my mind. People smiled. Beautiful moss carpeted forests of pines and lakes marked the land. Signs in an alphabet I didn’t understand led me down dirt roads, further into the isolated forest that held my home for the next three weeks, a farmhouse with no running water or electricity.
Meanwhile, I also had a fear that — due to different food and an interrupted workout schedule — I would loose the fitness I had worked so hard to build in South Africa.
These fitness concerns waxed and waned over the following days. My new farm family spoke no English, but I took comfort in their openness to share the country life. We picked berries and mushrooms in the forest and plucked potatoes and carrots from the garden.
“This will work!” coaxed my mind, assured that these familiar, homegrown health foods would keep my muscles strong and lean, the necessary combination for me to climb at my limit. However, Babushka (the Russian grandmother of the house) cooked and recooked everything I ate for the next three weeks in lard. My heart sank as I politely consumed her oily meals, feeling my fitness wash away.
Wandering through the forest one day, I stumbled upon a short climbing route that was protected from the torrential rains. The characters inked into the bottom of the cliff told me this route, named Catharsis, was more difficult than any I had tried before. With nothing to loose, I gave it a try anyway. Over the next three weeks, I sorted out the moves that had thwarted the efforts of countless men. In ten years, only one climber had completed Catharsis. My goal was to be the second.
In the end, I came heart-breakingly close to finishing Catharsis, but I ran out of time before I could link through the final move without falling. I felt physically and mentally exhausted. While I didn’t achieve my goal, I found myself stronger and fitter than when I arrived in Russia. I realized that although the my diet and training are crucial to my performance, the true determining factor is motivation. If I push past my own boundaries and try my absolute hardest, I will improve as an athlete. Despite the short-term letdown of leaving Catharsis behind as an unconquered pest, I’m confident that I gave the route everything I had. In this, I am triumphant.
To get involved and donate online to Paige’s cause in Russia, visit http://www.crowdrise.com/Leadnowtourrussia
Check back next month for a video and update about Location #3. And stay tuned for the video of Paige’s time in Russia. FitnessMagazine.com, with thanks to Marmot and Louder Than 11, will have the first-look exclusive video .
Written on August 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm , by Christie Griffin
When you’re traveling or in-between gym memberships, what do you do? Sign up for the free three-day membership? Pay $30 for a single barre class? If you’re like me, probably not. Which is why I just about jumped out of my chair in glee when I read this article about an Australian app that’s going to go global, sooner rather than later.
The FitUsIn app, founded by Vanessa Picker, will allow users to book gym visits at the last minute—without having to meet with a gym representative, sign a contract, etc. I’ve always been a big fan of Lifebooker, the site/app that lets me make discounted beauty appointments, usually at the last minute. So, I have high hopes for FitUsIn.
And Vanessa isn’t just a fitness fanatic who wants to work out wherever she goes—she co-founded Play Forward, which help bring organized sports to children in need. She’s even a fellow for The Resolution Project, a nonprofit that empowers young entrepreneurs.
(Related: Want to run the 4-Mile NYRR race in NYC on Sept. 7? You can be a part of the Resolution Runs team, which means your involvement will go directly to supporting the fellows, including Vanessa. Get details here on Facebook, at @ResolutionProj on Twitter, or send a note to info [at] resolutionproject [dot] org.)
You heard it here first, FITNESS friends. Vanessa, we’re waiting!
Yankees’ Relief Pitcher David Robertson Talks Baseball, Charity Work and What He Loves Most About Fit Women
Written on August 20, 2013 at 10:50 am , by Samantha Shelton
Going to the Home Run Derby is one of those things you can bet your guy has on his “To Do Before I Die” bucket list. And since the famous fundraising event moves from city to city each summer, it’s that much harder to land a ticket. Lucky for us, this year’s Derby landed right here in New York City at Citi Field. Announcing their new status as an official MLB sponsor, Lipton graciously hosted this major baseball fan to watch hit after hit (along with a mini concert from Pit Bull – “Feel This Moment” is just as good live, FYI), then introduced me to Yankees’ relief pitcher David Robertson. Read on to see how our chat went – trust me, you want to: He let us in on the most attractive look fit women rock.
Lipton is now an official MLB sponsor. Are you excited to be partnering with them?
I am! I’m really excited because these guys sent me like five or six cases of tea, and I drink the green tea all the time. I love it. I buy it all the time anyway, so now that they sent me some, my fridge is stocked. It’s become my morning routine to just grab one of the green teas with citrus and suck it down. I feel like I get my little caffeine boost and I’m hydrated; ready for the day.
Every home run tonight equals a donation to a few select charities. If you could choose any charity yourself, which would be your pick?
Well, I have my own charity. It’s High Socks for Hope, and we do disaster relief. Right now we’re helping Hurricane Sandy victims. We started the charity because my hometown, Tuscaloosa, AL, was hit by a tornado and it destroyed over 15 percent of the town. I knew friends and people that lost everything, so we kind of made it our off-the-field job to help regroup, bringing out goodie bags and figuring out how to take the next step in the rebuilding process. We do a lot of furnishing homes and work with Habitat for Humanity. So I’d say give it to us because we will use that money. We’ve helped thousands of families and we’ll help thousands more.
I’m from upstate New York, and my hometown recently experienced a ton of flooding. It’s the same thing: People I grew up with had their homes destroyed.
And no one realizes that when it’s a year later, not everything’s been fixed. That’s where we can step in and help. We know people who, just to get their houses cleaned up, it takes nine or ten months. They don’t have any money left to buy furniture. So we buy them furniture, mattresses, beds, sofas, anything. Anything we can give them, we do.
Written on August 13, 2013 at 10:44 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Emily Mitamura, editorial intern
A million miles is a lot. It’s 38,000+ marathons. It’s two whole trips to the moon and back. But according to Jay Scott, Co-Executive Director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and everyone else at the foundation, a million miles is “just how far parents of children with cancer would go to find a cure for their child.”
This September, Alex’s Lemonade Stand is proving that, and asking you to help. In honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, they’re enlisting runners and walkers to collectively log one million miles. Your mission: Sign up to be one of 10,000 participants who each pledge to walk 100 miles over the course of 30 days, and help raise awareness about a disease that affects 720 new children in the United States every single day.
To easily track your daily miles, Alex’s Lemonade Stand has teamed up with the free MapMyRun app. Participants who want to do their part solo will need to average 3 to 4 miles a day, but folks who need something more manageable can split the 100 miles among a group of friends or coworkers.
Need another reason to get involved? Let us provide some back story to the inspiring Philadelphia-based organization. Back in 2000, four-year-old Alexandra Scott set up a lemonade stand to single-handedly raise money and hopefully fund the cure for cancer that affected all children like her. And though the effort has been far from single-handed (if only because Alex wasn’t then tall enough to even reach the phone), the accomplishments that have and will continue to stem from a child’s simple wish are boundless. Alex raised over $1 million to fight the disease from which she passed away in August of 2004, and her friends and family continue on in her honor. Today, supporters all over the world have their own lemonade stands for Alex. Now, the Million Mile Run will help push the charity’s progress.
So get running. And jogging. And walking. Every step counts toward the goal, and getting involved could help save a life. Visit their website for more details on how to get started today.
Now You Tell Us: How do you support causes you’re passionate about?
Written on August 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm , by Guest Blogger
Rock climber Paige Claassen recaps her first stop on the Marmot Lead Now Tour, a global tour to inspire people through rock climbing and raise $120,000 for charity organizations.
By Paige Claassen
Our car flies down the N-1, South Africa’s primary highway, but my mind races even faster. After traveling 48 hours from the United States to Johannesburg, I have no idea what to expect from this country of which I’ve heard only about lions and muggings. I’m here to rock climb, so I assume I’m in for an adventure, but as we exit left (South Africans drive on the opposite side) onto a dirt road, I’m immediately immersed in a culture outside the realm of my dreams.
A few hours after landing, I’m welcomed into the home of a friend I’d met only through emails and loaded into the car for a safari. Forget jetlag—there are wild giraffe and zebra waiting in the backyard. Within a week, I’ve learned some local lingo (‘sawubona’ means ‘hello’ in Zulu), the difference between an American BBQ and a South African braai (namely patience, because the braai requires hours of fire preparation to cook tender ostrich meat and traditional spiced beef sausage), and most notably, the kindness and generosity of the South African people, regardless of color. Much of the country is poor, but less violent than portrayed in American media, so awareness and forethought are the best safety tools for travellers. Folks wave on the street as they walk home with wood for the evening’s fire piled on their head. Friends share tasty meals in their homes. And the local climbers invited us to “develop” a new climbing area by making “first ascents”, or being the first person to ever climb a route.
While in South Africa, I had the opportunity to make the first ascent of a route called Digital Warfare, graded 5.14, one of the top grades among female climbers. This was a special opportunity because I’d never been the first person to complete a route, especially one at my physical limit. Digital Warfare required strong fingers, endurance, and a steady mind. To prepare, I climbed as many easier routes as I could to build confidence and went on runs through the tall African grasses to improve my endurance.
By completing this climb, I hope to bring awareness to an organization that has grown very dear to my heart. Room to Read provides school libraries in developing countries with resources and reading materials so that young students can receive an education. Upon visiting one of Room to Read’s libraries in the rural countryside, I learned that 50% of the elementary age students have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. When a little girl named Angel, who had moments ago asked me how she could overcome her fear of climbing to the top of a mountain, asked “when are you coming back?” I knew that this would not be my last time in South Africa. I will certainly be back, hopefully with new knowledge about how I can help enthusiastic children like Angel, who dream of lifting their own communities out of poverty.
To get involved and donate online to Paige’s Room to Read fundraiser, visit http://www.crowdrise.com/SouthAfrica-RoomtoRead
Check back next month for a video and update about Location #2: RUSSIA.
Stay tuned for the inspiring video of Paige’s time in South Africa. FitnessMagazine.com, with thanks to Marmot and Louder Than 11, will have the first-look exclusive video later this week. Check back soon!
Written on July 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm , by Karla Walsh
How many people do you know who have been affected by cancer? A shocking 41 percent of people will be diagnosed with some form of the disease during his or her lifetime, according to research by the National Cancer Institute.
Another surprising stat: One-third of cancer cases are caused by poor diet and lack of activity. A group of ambitious athletes, many of then cancer survivors themselves, are seeking to inspire others to affect that statistic, all while raising money to support more research about the disease.
For the past month, the Million Dollar Marathon (and a baton stuffed with prayer flags which honor those who have fought/are fighting cancer) has been making its way from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. About 160 people signed on to run or walk a marathon along the route while raising money for cancer-related charities, with an overall goal of fundraising $1 million. To date, the team has raised nearly $500,000 and has its sights set on Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on August 1.
Yesterday, FITNESS hopped in along the course in Illinois as Ames, Iowa resident Ashley Poppe ran her first marathon in honor of her friend Kerri. Despite struggling with tendinitis all through training, Poppe completed all of her miles (and finished with a smile). She has raised more than $6,000 for the cause, too. The “magic” baton has inspired participants to power through rain, 100°+ heat, injuries and the longest runs of their lives.
“Each time you think you’ve found your favorite moment from the trip, another even more amazing one happens four hours later,” said Steve Cannon, who dreamt up the 4,000-mile coast-to-coast relay after running 40 marathons in 40 days (solo) around Lake Michigan last summer. Recently, the event has taken on even greater meaning for Cannon, as his sister is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Inspired to take part in this epic journey? It’s not too late—and you can carry the baton for as many miles as you want (26.2 miles is not a requirement). The Million Dollar Marathon is still looking to fill slots in West Virginia on July 26 and 27, so if you’re ready for a challenge, email email@example.com.
Written on July 19, 2013 at 11:04 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Jennie Garth is the definition of a supermom: She’s a mother of three and manages to juggle her career as an actress and director with family time. And don’t think a swamped schedule ever stands in this gal’s way of a good sweat—it’s obviously not a problem! The 40-year-old, notoriously known for her role as Kelly Taylor on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, has been flaunting a slim bod this summer and (holy teeny bikini) she’s never looked better. Sneaking in jogs and maintaining a healthy cuisine regime is key, Jennie told us this week when we chatted about her new passion project, Eye Saw Good. Read on to find out how you can donate and help kids’ eye care without ever whipping out your checkbook—plus Jennie’s must-do move for those six-pack abs!
What inspired you to connect with Alcon and Eye Saw Good?
I have three girls. Two of them are in glasses already and one of them wants glasses! It was startling to me to find out that one in four kids in America need vision correction and they don’t have access to it. So this is an opportunity for me to bring awareness to a campaign called Eye Saw Good. It’s a really interactive, fun way for everybody out there to get involved and feel good about something that they’re doing: Just take photos of something you consider to be good and positive and share them on Twitter with #eyesawgood. The hashtag triggers a donation to Kids Vision for Life, an organization that provides kids in need with glasses, eye care and exams. It’s a cool, sort of artistic, way for people to be a part of something. They just have to share their pictures; they don’t have to share their money!
Staying fit as a busy, working mom must be tough. How do you make time to keep up with fitness and a balanced diet?
It’s definitely challenging—I’ve been traveling so much lately. I do what I can wherever I am. I love running outside or just fast walking. All you need are sneakers! That’s how I do it—just mindful eating and continuing to stay active.
OK, spill. What’s your bikini body secret? Your abs are fab!
I like this ab move: Hold something behind your head (we suggest a weight, ball or your buddy’s ankles) and lift your legs up and down, like a straight pike. Just keep your abs tight the whole time! My other favorite is a handstand. Against a tree, a wall, or a person. It comes from yoga—I used to do yoga but haven’t been lately because I just can’t commit to a class schedule. It is one of my favorite yoga moves because it’s an arm wonder, too.
You rocked Dancing with the Stars a few seasons back. Do you still dance?
I don’t! I recently danced at a wedding and it was clear that I lost all my moves. I need a dancing partner; that’s my problem. Those are hard to find.
Best pump-up song on your workout playlist?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Macklemore, and Dubstep is something that keeps me going. It’s funny to think that I’m running up the canyon listening to Dubstep!
What’s a healthy dish you whip up for a family dinner?
I’ve converted my kids to brown rice now, which I think is a great start if they’re going to eat a complex carb or starch. We drink a lot of coconut water at our house, and for oils, we love light olive or coconut oil.
Want to get involved with Jennie’s project? Do good with what you see. Simply “donate” a dollar by uploading your picture on Instagram or Twitter with #eyesawgood and help make a difference in children’s vision services, provided by Alcon’s The EyeSolution program and the Kids Vision for Life charity. Curious about what else Jennie has in the works? Be on the lookout for a forthcoming book and television show!