Written on August 6, 2014 at 6:15 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern
Fit and fabulous? Check. TV personality Liz Hernandez embodies both of these qualities, and her rockin’ bod and flair for fashion are just two of the reasons we love tuning into Access Hollywood. Besides becoming one of the first Latina correspondent on NBC’s entertainment news program in 2014, this California native also sets a great example as a strong woman who knows what she wants and fights for it. After sitting down for a one-on-one chat with Hernandez, we should also probably mention that she’s totally down-to-earth, witty and bubbly. Yes, we know; swoon.
Being on TV and always in the spotlight, how does it affect your mindset about working out and staying fit?
I have never let myself fall into the trap of like, “Oh, I’ve got to look this certain way.” I’ve always been pretty healthy and kept myself in good condition. But, there’s never a worse feeling than when you’ve gone out the night before, you didn’t eat right and you get to set and they have this little skirt for you. You are like “Oh, God! I don’t want to go out there!” So, I have noticed that on the mornings when I wake up, workout and get to set, it’s like, I have energy, my body feels strong and I am projecting that. It’s just a positive reinforcement.
Are there any exercise routines you’re totally obsessed with?
I try to go to the gym no less than 4 days a week. I used to be like, “Cardio! Cardio! Cardio!” But then I was retrained to just get my heart rate up for 10 minutes on the treadmill. Then I do weight training, where I go grab free weights and I do jumping jacks with the weights, squats, lunges, abs…just so my full body is getting a workout. I try to do as much as I can with free weights because essentially you are burning calories while building your muscles.
What’s your diet like these days?
I am really strict during the week. I am very big on getting 30 grams of protein in the morning just to fill me up. That’s what really works for me and it usually holds me over for 2-3 hours before I have something like a bran muffin with fruit. I’ve also strayed away from all dairy products and red meat.
Any go-to snacks?
I am going to be totally embarrassing, but I have the same breakfast every day. I am a huge fan of thinkThin bars. They have 20 grams of protein in them! I have a white chocolate thinkThin bar every single morning without fail. They are low sugar and high in protein. I also keep my house stocked with fruit. Cantaloupe is my favorite.
I loved—loved, as in past tense—ice cream. Now that I’ve given up dairy, I use these little ice cube trays and pour juice into them. I pour white grape juice and add in real fruit. So when I have an after-dinner craving, I’ll have one of those and it cuts the sugar craving.
With your extremely busy schedule, how do you manage to do it all?
You know, it’s all balance. One of the things I really practice is thinking about my mind, body and spirit. It’s totally my mantra. In the mornings, before I even go to the gym or do anything, I have a gratitude journal and I write five things that I am grateful for. It’s a reminder for when my day goes haywire that it could always be worse.
Photo by Emilio Sanchez
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Written on August 6, 2014 at 5:12 pm , by Bethany Cianciolo
She’s 5′ 6″, 37, and is carving some serious pathways down the basketball court—and with more than just her skillful plays as a pro b-baller.
Becky Hammon, the WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars point guard, will serve as the San Antonio Spurs’ new assistant coach when she retires to the sidelines this month, making her the first paid, full-time female assistant in the NBA. Yeah. Kind of a big deal.
She recently announced that her role won’t be any different than the other assistants’ roles, and she’ll work directly with Coach Gregg Popovich to guide the team that just won the 2014 NBA Finals—amazing, much? And even though Popovich says she was hired for what any coach SHOULD be hired for—skills—we hope this means more just-as-qualified women will start popping up in male-dominated fields.
But basketball fan or not, your eyes better be averting to the sidelines this fall. ‘Cause this girl is shattering all sorts of glass ceilings. Watch Hammon’s full press conference here.
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Written on July 30, 2014 at 9:54 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
Yet another celebrity is taking a seat with January Jones and Tamera Mowry on the eat-your-own-placenta bandwagon: Stacy Keibler. And because she’s had one of the healthiest pregnancies out of all our fave celeb mamas, it’s difficult to question the former pro wrestler’s decision to have her placenta encapsulated, no matter how, um, disgusting it sounds.
We’ve already heard about this arguably gag-worthy trend that’s gaining more popularity (placenta recipes are a thing), but even though many new moms swear they’re healthier and happier—many claim it keeps postpartum depression at bay—and more energized because of it, there aren’t any studies that prove there is actually a benefit to eating your own placenta post-childbirth.
“There’s a lot of folklore surrounding the practice, but there is not a lot of hard medical or scientific data in favor of or against it,” says Jennifer Ashton, M.D., FITNESS advisory board member. ”There are a lot of misconceptions about what its value is nutritionally. The placenta is the conduit for supplying oxygen, blood and nutrients to the fetus. But I think what most people don’t realize is that it doesn’t do that all by itself. It does that because it extracts those nutrients from the mother.”
So why is this still trending? Some of it is cultural, but a lot of it is anecdotal, says Lauren Streicher, M.D. “Someone will say, ‘After my first pregnancy I had terrible postpartum depression and then the second time I ate placenta pills and I had none.’ But statistically we know that first pregnancies are far more likely to have postpartum depression than second pregnancies,” she says. “Was it the placenta pills or was it just your second pregnancy? Who knows? The only way to know is to test that in 10,000 people and see if there’s a real difference.”
But just because there isn’t yet research behind it doesn’t mean the benefits—and risks—don’t exist. ”It’s a trend just like anything else, and some of those trends turn out out be based to something good and some don’t,” says Ashton. “I think that people need to realize that there’s risk verses benefit to everything.”
We want to hear from you: Would you (or have you) eat your own placenta knowing that no research has yet been done on its risks or benefits? Or are you more of a “wait and see” kind of gal?
Photo by Diane Bondareff
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Written on July 16, 2014 at 4:54 pm , by Samantha Shelton
It’s been more than a year since Cheryl Strayed released her gripping memoir, Wild, about her solo 1,100-mile trek across the Pacific Crest Trail. The book is a New York Times bestseller for a reason, so if you haven’t read it yet, do it now. Strayed’s tale is gripping, and the honest look at herself as a person throughout her painful hike (literally painful—the speed at which she loses toenails makes me cringe) is refreshing. So when I found out Reese Witherspoon, one of my favorite actresses, would star in the film adaptation, I may have shrieked with joy.
The movie doesn’t hit theaters until December 5, but the official trailer has just been released. Watch:
Now, everyone knows the film version is rarely as good as the book, but I honestly think those working in film are stepping up their game. And while Witherspoon has a lot to live up to, I think she can handle it. Director Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) fortunately doesn’t make us sit through two straight hours of a girl lugging a 50-pound pack through the woods, but rather bounces back to the story of why the heck this woman decided to go it alone. And believe me, that’s a twisted story you want to know about. I’ve only seen the trailer and I already see a myriad of awards in Reese’s future.
But more importantly, go see Wild because in a world of men in hardcore, badass lead roles (I’m looking at you, Captain Phillips), there’s now a strong (albeit unlikable) female in the mix doing something physically—not to mention mentally and emotionally—trying. For me, it serves as a little reminder that I don’t have to follow the crowd, and I can conquer a crazy-hard trail, and all that that comes with, just as well as any man.
But you tell me: have you read the book? Did you love it or hate it? And either way, will you see the movie?
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Written on July 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm , by Samantha Shelton
You watch ‘em rock the stage regularly on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, but The Roots are known for a particular type of instrumentation that I’m, well, obsessed with. And that’s using quirky, unorthodox instruments to create awesome, YouTube-breaking music. Two of my faves: singing “Your Body” with X-tina and this Brady Bunch styling of “We Can’t Stop.” So it was no surprise when they teamed up with Kellogg’s at their Recharge Bar in Times Square and performed rockin’ tunes using tons of breakfast equipment—I’m talking bowls, spoons, the works. Now if only I could be that musical with my cereal bowl in the morning…
Of course, The Roots do play on regular instruments once in a while, which they’re using to create their new album. What can we expect when it drops? “It’s another concept album, and we’re showing the life of the common man,” says Questlove. “Hip-hop often celebrates the plight of the winner, those who are living the good life. But sometimes that’s misleading, and 99 percent of the people out here are living regular lives. This is their story.”
That said, I can only imagine how many will end up on my workout playlist (um, all of them). But until I can get my hands on those tracks, I’ll have to substitute this playlist. It’s what The Roots are jamming out to this summer themselves, while they squeeze in workouts on their European tour. I’ll just imagine that I’m in the same awesome locales they are.
Photo courtesy of Edelman
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Written on July 1, 2014 at 10:54 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern
Imagine having 23 years of dancing under your belt, Broadway acting experience, a fitness wardrobe to die for, and a killer bod. That’s why we’re completely obsessing over Peta Murgatroyd, the 27-year-old Dancing with the Stars veteran competitor.
“I truly believe that dancing is the best form of fitness and exercise,” Murgatroyd recently told us during a visit to the FITNESS offices. “Dancing makes you feel good. It makes you feel happy, especially if you can do it with a loved one.”
That being said, it’s no surprise that she highly recommends fitness dance classes—for both men and women—as a fun way to stay in shape.
“Even for a guy to be able to lead a girl and to be able to go out and feel comfortable, like in a club situation, and not be dorky—I think that’s really hot and sexy if he can do that. If I ever have a son, I’m going to be putting him into dance.”
Although Murgatroyd credits her toned physique to long hours of dancing, another season of DWTS has come and gone (um, who else thinks this was the best season yet?) and she admits she can easily pack on an extra five pounds during her time away from the show. To keep weight gain at bay, she hits the gym six days a week, cycles, hikes, and does hot yoga to elongate her muscles. “My body needs cardio,” she says. “Treadmill, stepper, running outside—I love running for my body. I love running super fast because I feel better about myself. Rather than jogging, I like full-on sprinting.”
And when she’s ready to crank up the toning, you’ll find a TheraBand in heavy rotation.“I take them everywhere with me,” she says. “You can tie them anywhere, do all of your reps, and there is no weight.”
Always active, Murgatroyd loves fusing fitness with fashion. Her favorite sporty ensembles are usually from Nike, Lululemon, Reebok and FunKey’s pants. She says she would love to start her own fitness apparel line, but don’t worry, friends. Her mesmerizing dance performances won’t be coming to a halt anytime soon.
“People want something that’s going to look good as well, like a cute open back or cute sleeves. Something like that is what I’d want to develop,” she says. “I definitely want to stay in dancing because I love it, but I want to go back to Broadway. I would love to be in a different type of musical, maybe Chicago or something heavily dance-based.”
We’re so excited to see what Murgatroyd will end up doing next, but for now, we’ll continue drooling over her amazing dancing skills on DWTS.
Photo courtesy of Glenn Nutley
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Written on June 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern
Whenever I work out, I need to be listening to music—not want, but need. Whether it’s Katy Perry’s new hit or a classic from the King of Pop himself, there has to be an up-tempo, catchy sound reverberating in my ears. Studies even show that music can push us through that final mile, that extra set of squats.
So it’s no surprise then that rapper Flo Rida, a self-proclaimed fitness lover, is a man who lives and breathes that connection. A workout fiend since his football days in high school, the musician is constantly on the muscle-building grind both in the studio and on stage. In fact, he considers himself lucky that his profession allows—actually, kind of forces—him to incorporate music with exercise and vice versa. “You get a two-for-one with what I do.”
He’s not kidding: Flo constantly runs back and forth on stage, spewing out his lyrics at an incredibly fast rate. This not-much-time-for-breathing rapping style requires him to hit the pavement regularly. “I love doing a lot of cardio,” he says. “My records are up-tempo, so I have to make sure that I can go for over an hour.”
But just as any well-rounded fitness aficionado knows, cardio isn’t the end-all, be-all. The artist loves to regularly lift weights, and occasionally steps into the boxing ring for a few punches (and sips on Celsius when he needs a boost). And despite a hectic schedule, Flo manages to get in two-a-day routines. Guess that explains why his shows are so fun to watch.
While I prefer to put in miles to tunes by the rapper (“Wild Ones” is a fave), we always wonder: do artists listen to their own tunes? We found out LL Cool J does now and then, and it turns out Flo is no different. Along with David Guetta and Pitbull, you’ll find his own tracks sprinkled through a playlist. “I love listening to my music because it definitely has all the attributes to enhance a great workout in the gym.”
So while we wait for his latest album, The Perfect 10, to drop later this year, we made sure to get Flo Rida’s current sweat-it-out playlist. Plug in, shape up, and try not to groove on that treadmill. On second thought, go ahead. We won’t tell.
Photo courtesy of Celsius
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Written on June 27, 2014 at 9:50 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
Jessica Alba loves salt.
Did that catch you by surprise? We about fell out of our chairs when she said it during a private cooking class last week with Chef Anthony Sasso of New York’s Casa Mono restaurant, but then again, it just means she’s up-to-date on her nutrition news. Maybe she reads FITNESS…
So why were we cooking with Alba? As the new brand ambassador for Zico Coconut Water’s “Crack Life Open” campaign, the actress helped Sasso create various dishes that can all be made using coconut water: a chicken marinade, salad dressing, ice pops, or even chocolate cake. Umm, yum!
Alba is no stranger to flavor (her weaknesses: cheese, crackers, wine, French bread, and all things Mexican—we can totally relate, girlfriend), but she knows what foods to stay away from. “I try to eat as much fresh and natural food as possible,” she says. “I don’t eat a whole lot of processed food or packaged food.”
Well, that explains her perfect bod. She loves kale and butter lettuce, and keeps an abundant supply of fruits and veggies at home for hubby Cash Warren and daughters Honor, 6, and Haven, 2. (When she’s on the go, it’s dried fruit and nuts.) She even has a hanging felt wall that she uses to maintain her herb garden. Amazing!
“We use bananas a lot in the house,” she says. “We use apples, strawberries, and watermelon, but then it also depends on what’s in season. We get a monthly delivery of organic fruits and vegetables and it’s whatever is in our box that we just use.”
Her secret to dishing up the perfect kale salad? “Massaging the kale was something that changed my life,” she says. “I tried to make it so many times at home and it’s just not the same when you don’t.”
Try it yourself: mix ¼ cup of Zico Coconut Water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper to get the dressing. Knead the kale with your hands into the dressing until the kale becomes soft. Sweeten it up with some peach, plum, and nectarine slices, toss in some blackberries and almonds, and violà! You have a refreshing summer salad with dressing you didn’t just grab off the shelf, and are one step closer to following a Jessica Alba-approved diet. Sign us up!
Photo courtesy of ZICO Premium Coconut Water
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Written on June 19, 2014 at 9:54 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Flip open any dictionary and you’ll find “villain” to be defined as some version of “an uncouth person who does bad things.” But when we sat down to chat with notorious Bachelor contestant Courtney Robertson about her new memoir, I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends, the alleged villain wasn’t the reality TV rogue the media has cast her as over the years. In fact, Courtney was quite the opposite—sweet and sincere, bubbly and funny with a confidence that somehow shined brighter than her dewy complexion. “I learned a long time ago that I can’t be anyone other than me,” our April 2011 cover model told us. “I’ve learned to embrace and love myself for all the parts that make me, me—flaws and all!” Preach, girlfriend. Preach.
The past few years haven’t been easy, Courtney admitted, and her short—but very public—relationship with season 16 Bachelor Ben Flajnik cued a barrage of backlash and gossip when it ended privately. To set the record straight once and for all, not to mention give fans an inside look of what the showmance is really like, Courtney shared her love story in book form for your beach bum pleasure. “I was trampled in the press and I had people that I’ve never met writing about me, pretending they knew my story. I decided to take matters into my own hands,” she said with conviction, adding that it was a very cathartic process.
So how does Courtney brush off the haters? Positive thinking is key, she dished—only you can control your own attitude and happiness. “I always try to put on a happy face and act like my best self even if I’m exhausted or have had a stressful day,” Courtney told us. “You never know why someone feels the need to be mean or hurtful. I try to be brave and put on my big girl panties.” Humor has also become a coping mechanism. “The best thing to do in uncomfortable situations is address the awkwardness in all of its glory,” she said. “I just remind myself that it will make for a great story to tell my grandkids someday!”
It doesn’t hurt that she has a killer bod, too. (Insert girl envy here.) The LA-based model tries to squeeze a cardio workout in every day—even if it’s just a 20-minute walk around the block—and lives by the motto “a little goes a long way.” Courtney’s go-to gym routine includes 10 minutes on the StairMaster, 2 miles on the Elliptical and treadmill interval training followed by a stretching sesh. Before calling it a day, she’ll also crank out a quick circuit of push-ups (on her knees), butt raises, wheelhouse crunches and squats…15 each! And we all know that a solid diet is the key to success too, and Courtney swears by a clean-but-not-”perfect” diet. Instead, she “tries her best” on most days and allows for the occasional indulgence. “I enjoy pizza, Thai food and, of course, a good bottle of wine.” A girl after our own hearts.
Get more of Courtney’s tips and tricks (oh, and you know, The Bachelor dirt and dramedy you’ve always craved!) in her new memoir, on sale June 24.
Photo courtesy of Harper Collins
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Written on June 18, 2014 at 9:53 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern
Equal parts fun and fit is how we’d describe the dynamic duo that is the Tone It Up Girls, Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn. They developed their own fitness following through YouTube workout videos, fitness products, a Bravo reality TV show and a bikini line. Now Karena and Katrina have teamed up with Oakley, creating a fashionably fit sunglasses line. Available at BeachBabe.com, the “Oakley Sunnies” range in price from $170 for the “Katrina” aviators, and $190 for the “Karena” activewear frame. While many activewear sunglasses traditionally have a sportier look, these styles still function as activewear shades, yet they are ultra stylish for everyday wear as well. Finally, the best of both worlds!
We met up with the California cuties at the launch party in New York City last week to chat about their new sunglasses line and get the inside scoop on their bikini body secrets.
What inspired you to collaborate with Oakley to make a sunglasses line?
Karena: We were like, “Let’s do it!” Oakley is actually the only brand of active sunglasses I’ve ever worn. I have been wearing them for like 8 years—way back when I first started competing in triathlons.
Katrina: We love all of their sunglasses. They are lightweight—so, you don’t get headaches.
Karena: Kat and I do painting and drawing and we love design—so it seemed like the perfect match to design sunglasses. We incorporated some of our artwork. The blue and green colors from my painting of the wave, which hangs in my house, and they are on the inside of the “Karena” frame. And, the colors in Kat’s painting of the mermaid inspired the color of the “Katrina” aviators.
What are some features women should look for when buying a pair of active wear sunglasses?
Katrina: I think it’s good to have someone fit you so you can get a good pair for your face. If the lenses are resting on your cheeks, then maybe you need a smaller frame, or they just need to tighten up the nose pad—there are so many things that I didn’t even know about sunglasses until I started working with Oakley, [so getting that fit right is important].