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Music Monday: Dancing with the Stars Erin Andrews’ All-Day-Energy Tricks + Finale Predictions

Written on April 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm , by

With a busy work schedule, the start of marathon training and, you know, having a social life, I thought I was a busy girl. That was until I chatted with Erin Andrews, an NFL sportscaster and co-host of Dancing with the Stars. She starts her week at 8am and goes nonstop until 7:30pm shooting DWTS. Add in nonstop travel for NFL interviews, covering the game and flying back on Sunday to land in the DWTS studio all over again, and I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Such a crazed schedule calls for tons (and I mean tons) of good-for-you energy. I’m not talking about eating whatever food your fingers land on, but rather reaching for smart choices that won’t send you on a sugar high, only to crash and burn an hour later. “The biggest thing for me is staying in shape and trying to make sure I get enough rest,” says Andrews. “Michael Strahan told me to start sleeping now because it’s our off-season, and he has an even crazier schedule than I do.” We hear you on that one, Erin—now that he’s co-hosting Live with Kelly and Michael AND Good Morning America, we can only imagine the pillow face plant he does at the end of each week.

Back to those energizing eats. “Making sure to keep nutrient-rich foods—like trail mix, yogurt and granola bars—and beverages on hand is key, which is why me teaming up with Florida Orange Juice was a no-brainer,” says Andrews. “When you talk about healthy beverages, 100 percent orange juice is huge because I can grab it on the go. I can get it anywhere, at whatever hotel I’m in. It has a ton of vitamin C and gives me natural energy without added sugars, so I don’t need to worry about staying in shape.” We couldn’t have said it better.

But OJ can’t be the only thing the snappy co-host sips on—or eats—throughout the day. How in the world do you stay slim when you’re always wining and dining? Especially when you’re entertaining big football guys who LOVE to eat? “They like to order a lot of food and they like to eat a lot of food. I do too,” she explains. “So to rationalize what I’m going to have for dinner and lunch, I get my butt in the workout room.”

Girl, I get it. Exercise is awesome, and I would definitely be doing the same to burn off the calories from heavy dinners. But when I’m constantly on the go and have a crazy work schedule, it’s really tough to squeeze in sweat time when all I want to do is sleep. So, I asked her to spill her secrets. Where does the motivation come from? “When I first started out in the industry, I was working for a hockey team and the head coach told me ‘when you get into the hotel, don’t lay around first. Go straight to the gym because if you lay around you’re not going to get up for the rest of the day.’ So that’s what I try to do.” Noted.  

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Get Out and Get Fit with Rails-to-Trails

Written on April 8, 2014 at 9:34 am , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

Spring has finally sprung! Well, sort of. It’s still a little chilly, but the sun is out and we’re definitely ready to blaze some trails. With hiking (and allergy, unfortunately) season just around the corner, Claritin is teaming up with non-profit Rails-to-Trails to raise funds for those of us looking for more outdoor areas to get—and stay—fit.

Never heard of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy? Let me fill you in: basically, they turn abandoned railways into multiuse public paths—like the famous Highline in New York City or the 238-mile-long Katy Trail in Missouri. “Our mission is to try and retrofit communities to get people to lead active lifestyles,” says Keith Laughlin, president of Rails-to-Trails. When the organization launched in 1989, there was less than 250 miles of rail-trails, but today they span nearly 21,000 miles across the U.S. The ultimate aim is to have 90 percent of Americans live within three miles of a trail, Laughlin explains. With 700,000 miles of extensions and new trails currently in the pipeline, they’re well on their way, and it’s a goal we can totally get behind.

One celeb supporting the initiative? About a Boy star Minnie Driver. “I love the idea of communities recycling their unused rail lines,” she says. “If you’re living in proximity to [a rail-trail], that’s a wonderful part of your community to utilize as a way of staying healthy and getting healthier.” And as the face of Claritin’s new “Be a Claritin Trailblazer” campaign, Driver announced the company’s $50,000 donation to the conservancy last Thursday and launched a social media campaign to raise an additional $10,000.

Want to join in and help the cause? Visit Claritin’s Facebook page and for every like, comment or share between now and June 1st, they’ll donate an additional dollar (up to $10,000). Check out Minnie’s video and let us know where you’d like to see more rail-trails pop up.

Photo of New York City’s Highline courtesy of ©Iwan Baan

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Music Monday: Kellie Pickler’s Post-DWTS Workout Secrets!

Written on April 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm , by

I’ve been obsessed (like major #girlcrush) with singer Kellie Pickler ever since she was on American Idol—and I know that I’m not alone. Her bubbly I-won’t-let-fame-change-me charm and sheer talent has won the hearts of country lovers and loathers alike. So naturally, when Kellie was named one of the Dancing With The Stars contestants last year, she shined. And so did her abs. Each time Kellie made her way one step closer toward that coveted Mirror Ball trophy (providing me with more opportunities to drool over her dreamboat of a partner Derek Hough), I couldn’t help but wonder about her svelte secrets. Like, hey—can I get me some of that long and lean action, stat?

Well, last week I got the skinny from the Season 16 winner herself. “The trickiest thing for me is finding a workout that gives me somewhat of the same result I got from Dancing With The Stars,” Kellie says. “I started doing [Shaun T’s Focus] T25 not long ago and it’s been great for when I’m on the go, in a hotel room or on my tour bus. My husband and I love to do that together!” Noted. Starting the day on the right “and positive foot” sans shortcuts—Kellie always chooses stairs over escalators—is also key. “It sets the tone for your day,” she says, which she enjoys filling with hikes and kayaking trips when she has some downtime.

The vegetarian starlet also attributes her fit bod to maintaining a clean diet. “I love raw almonds and apples with peanut butter on them…[and] I do a lot of juicing,” Kellie dished. Her one indulgence: dark chocolate, a craving she often curbs with protein-packed Rockin’ Refuel drinks.

In honor of finally cracking the bombshell’s workout/diet code, not to mention the release of her new single “Closer to Nowhere,” we Picklered a playlist perfect for the gym, commute or workday. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Shamrock Farms Rockin’ Refuel

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

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Get a Hot Bod Like the Divergent Cast!

Written on March 19, 2014 at 5:28 pm , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

When I scrolled through my Twitter feed last night, I noticed one common theme: Divergent. With the L.A. premiere in full swing, movie-goers were choosing their factions (take the aptitude test – I’m Candor), and I must admit, there was a serious case of #twitterenvy happening. But not to fret—the sure-to-be-a-hit film smashes into theaters tomorrow, and I’ve already got my tickets in hand. But before nestling into a cozy seat to stare at Shailene Woodley’s rock-hard bod (Don’t believe me? Watch the trailer), I had to know how she got it. So I caught up with the dystopian’s fight coordinator, J.J. Perry, to hear all about how he whipped the cast into shape.

One thing’s for sure: Perry certainly didn’t hold anything back as he put these actors through a rigorous pre-training boot camp to assess how fight-ready they were. Theo James, who plays Four, came the most prepared. “When he showed up in Chicago, he was the kid in great shape,” said Perry. “He was ready to rock.” When they got down to business, Perry put each cast member through the paces—we’re talking tons of cardio, some light stretching and then instructional time on proper striking, explains Perry. If you haven’t read the books, let me clue you in: there’s a lot of physicality, and plenty of fighting, so there’s no way faking it would be an option. “We didn’t have a lot of time to teach them everything, so we were very specific about how we trained them—a combination of hammer-fist striking, punch striking, elbow striking, knee work and low kicks, along with some work on throws and falls.” Phew.

As for Shailene Woodley, she got a little extra pre-training in before the four-week boot camp. “I had her come to 87 Eleven Action Design, it’s a facility in Inglewood, [California]” said Perry. “I put some focus mitts on her—a type of boxing glove—and had her go through some basic [fight moves to see what she could do. She was extremely flexible, but she wasn’t really an athlete.”

How to fix that? Homework, of course. Perry had Woodley work on her upper body strength, practicing basic exercises like sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups; and tossing in core- and leg-work for good measure. “I told her to just train everything,” said Perry. By the time boot camp rolled around, she was ready for action. “Shailene’s biggest attribute was her willingness to work and her willingness to embrace the process.” Clearly, it paid off.

Just in case you’re inspired to hit the gym after the flick (I already know I will be), we stole some moves from Perry so you can score your own action-ready, totally Dauntless physique.

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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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Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir Talk Paralympics, Sochi and Their Favorite Workouts

Written on March 11, 2014 at 10:22 am , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

Fresh off their stint at the Oscars as fashion correspondents for Access Hollywood, former Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are hilarious, fun and, as usual, dishing on all of their fave athletes. We caught up with them during a NYC screening of the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, and got them to spill on how they spent their time in Sochi, their favorite workouts and which athletes their cheering for in this next round of competition.

But before we get to that, let’s talk about the Paralympic Games. Featuring nearly 700 athletes with a physical disability or visual impairment from 45 countries competing in six sports, there’s a total of 72 medal events. The Opening Ceremony was a glorious display of colorful fanfare as Russia welcomed the teams, and we couldn’t have been more stoked to support our Olympic family…no matter how far away we may be.

“Being an Olympian, you become part of a larger family — especially in the United States where we take the Olympics and our Olympians very seriously — everyone’s connected,” said Johnny. “It was important to us to lend our support to our family.” Tara added, “As Olympians we know what it’s like to pursue your dream and to get there and see those Olympic rings and really what it takes — the sacrifices — they are elite athletes.  So for them to be recognized like this is how it should be.”

We couldn’t help up but ask who it is they’re each rooting for. While Tara is all  for Rico Roman, a retired Army Staff Sergeant and Purple Heart recipient who’s competing on the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team, Johnny gushed over snowboarder Amy Purdy. “I’m so rooting for the amazing Ms. Amy Purdy,” said Johnny. “[She’s] going on Dancing with the Stars right after.”  Aside from her involvement with the inaugural inclusion of snowboarding as an event in this year’s Games, Purdy will be the first double amputee to compete on Dancing with the Stars, with the season premiere starting March 17.

Just two weeks out from their own trip to Sochi, neither Johnny nor Tara had a bad word to say about their time in Russia. Painting a slightly different picture than most, Johnny confessed, “Sochi was incredible. I mean it was very secure, everything was very clean and beautiful, the food was great.” “We didn’t have any horror stories,” added Tara.

With all their traveling and hectic schedules, it can be tough to stay fit but Tara says it’s all about barre class, Spin and (of course) skating. “Skating for me is really the best form of exercise,” said Tara. “It just keeps my body in shape and you don’t actually feel like you’re working out.” What can be better? Johnny’s go-to is a mix of skating and Pilates. “I skate as much as possible, because I still perform in shows and I’m still touring and everything, but I also love Pilates.”

As for the future, the pair can’t quite reveal what’s up next, but Tara assures us that they’ll “keep it real.” “It’s been a whirlwind since we’ve been home, so I think whatever we do we still want to be Tara and Johnny.”

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Award-Winning Recipes for Your Oscars Party

Written on February 28, 2014 at 1:09 pm , by

Every year a group of girlfriends and I get together to watch the Oscars. OK, let’s be honest: I have a bunch of girlfriends I get together with. The Oscars happen to be on, but it’s a great excuse to have a girl’s night out and enjoy some wine and great food.

All that aside, though, parties usually leave a lot to be desired in terms of healthy foods. To help keep overindulgence to a minimum, consider serving these dishes (or bringing them to pass!), so everyone can munch in between guessing the winners. After all, between the drinks and the food, those calories can add up quickly, and we want you to dream about donning those red-carpet dresses yourself.

Layered Cheese, Bean and Avocado Dip

You may be familiar with seven-layer dips.  They’re popular, but can add way too much fat and a crazy amount of calories.  This one, however, saves your waistline. First things first: swap traditional sour cream for cottage cheese – it’s a versatile, nutrient-rich ingredient (I like Daisy Brand’s low-fat variety, thanks to it’s small ingredient list and no additives, preservatives or thickeners). Now just follow the recipe below for a protein-packed appetizer to enjoy while watching the stars walk the red carpet.  Since protein boosts satiety, it won’t leave you starving. Now that’s a win-win.

Serves: 16 (5 tablespoons per serving)

Ingredients

  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 1/4 cups Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Layer  black beans on a 10-inch serving plate. Layer avocado over beans; drizzle with lime juice. Top with diced tomatoes. Stir cilantro, chili powder, cumin and lime peel into the cottage cheese; layer over tomatoes. If desired, sprinkle with a little additional chili powder, shredded lettuce, and shredded cheese. Serve with chips. For a heartier meal, add grilled chicken or ground beef.

Cos-MOHR-politan

What’s an awards show without some fun drinks? I found this creative, super-tasty recipe (that actually has some nutrients) that won’t totally dehydrate you and leave you with a hangover the next day, thanks to the electrolyte-replenishing coconut water. And at only 45-60 calories per serving, you can serve it straight or use it as a mixer for your party’s signature drink.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz. blended scotch whisky
  • 2 oz. Vita Coco
  • 3 oz. Ginger Beer (or ginger ale)

Build ingredients directly into a rocks glass filled with ice and stir briefly. Garnish with a lime wedge, if desired.

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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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More on ‘The Biggest Loser’ Controvery: Season 11 Winner Olivia Ward Speaks Out

Written on February 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm , by

Ward posed with sister (and season 11 runner-up), Hannah Curlee, after her win in 2011.

Written by Olivia Ward

Sitting in the audience during NBC’s live The Biggest Loser finale is one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had in my life…and I’ve done it four times. Not to mention I’ve actually had the awesome experience of being on stage and winning season 11. So  to say, “It’s not my first rodeo” is probably an understatement. Having been involved with the show for many years, I feel like I’ve seen it all…until recently. Of course, you know I’m talking about the live Season 15 finale, where 24-year-old Rachel Frederickson was crowned the winner at 105 pounds.

I will admit that when she walked out for the first time that night, there was a huge collective gasp from the audience. It was as if all of the oxygen had been sucked out of the room in a single moment, and it wasn’t because everyone loved her dress (although it was stunning). I think, more than anything, nobody thought it was possible to see a contestant get that small. Having been an avid Loser viewer for years, I always expect people to have huge transformations, but this was very different.

My first thought: What happened? Having been through the same experience, I knew Rachel would be small in the end. We both started the show weighing around 260 pounds, and we both left the ranch – as a part of the final four – around 150 pounds. I ended my journey on The Biggest Loser at 132 pounds, which at five-foot-ten, was really, really small. But I was fully aware of that, and I’ll be the first to admit that I never expected to stay at such a low weight for long. Instead, I viewed it as my “prize fighting” weight. Why? I was training (and eating) for 8 to 10 hours a day, every day, for the seven weeks that led to my finale. I was essentially treating the finale like my job, and I was a professional athlete. It wasn’t meant to be sustained for the rest of my life. It was a conscious adult choice I made because I was in a game, and I wanted to win.

Now, back to Rachel. First of all, I personally have never spoken to her (although I can’t wait to meet her one day), but I do have a level of understanding that most don’t. I’ve stood on that scale and I’ve worn the weigh-in tank top. I know what kind of outside pressure you feel at the end to win, along with the self-induced pressure of wanting to win so badly yourself. To train day in and day out like an athlete, you have to have tunnel vision and be extremely focused – clearly, those are things Rachel is extremely familiar with. So if you want my opinion, I think that when it came down to making a choice to really widen the gap between her and the other competitors, she did. By 10 percent. And therein lies the rub. The gap never had to be that big. Now, I’m not shunning her – or defending her – but as someone who’s faced the same situation, I can confidently say that I wouldn’t (and didn’t) make the same decision Rachel did.

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