In a brave, must-read editorial for The New York Times, Angelina Jolie reveals that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy earlier this year to reduce her risk of breast cancer. Jolie explains that it was her mother, who died of breast cancer at 56, who motivated her to take charge of her health. The actress, director and humanitarian explains that she is a carrier of a “faulty” BRCA1 gene, which puts her at an estimated 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer .
Jolie hopes that sharing her story will encourage others to be proactive about their own health:
“I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.
…For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.”
We here at FITNESS applaud Jolie’s decision to take preventative measures against cancer and to use her celebrity to encourage other women to do the same. We’ve been inspired by other women who also chose to have preemptive mastectomies: our marketing manager, Kristin Guinan, who underwent the same procedure at age 27, and marathoner, soldier and mom Margaret Smith who decided to forgo reconstructive surgery after her mastectomy.
Early detection and action are important, and it is up to us to take control. In Angelina Jolie’s words: “Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”
- How to Do a Breast Self-Exam
- What You Need to Know to Prevent Breast Cancer
- “Why I Gave up My Breasts”
- “My Battle with Breast Cancer”
It’s likely the most talked about movie since The Hunger Games–at least it is in the FITNESS office. And one of the perks of working here is getting the chance to see movies before they hit theaters. So on Tuesday night I made my way to the Ziegfeld theater in NYC, popped on my 3-D shades and was transported into one of the most beloved stories in American literature. If that’s not reason enough for you to go see The Great Gatsby, here are five more:
1. Leonardo Dicaprio. The man has been making our hearts flutter since Romeo + Juliet, and we swear he just gets better (acting-wise and come on, looks-wise) with age. If you didn’t know, Baz Luhrmann, the director of Gatsby, worked with Leo way back then on R+J. Once we watched him on screen, we saw exactly why Luhrmann wanted to collaborate with the actor again: love or hate him, Leo was the perfect guy to play the complicated role of Jay Gatsby. The love, confidence and desperation of his character all seep through, and he had us chastising Daisy Buchanan for her crazy amounts of indecision.
2. Tobey Maguire (Nick Carraway) and Leonardo Dicaprio (Jay Gatsby)’s bromance. It’s real, both on and off-screen. We can’t get enough of it.
3. The fashion. This period wasn’t called the Roaring 20s for nothing. It was the tip of the iceberg for women exploring new dress lengths (short, short, short!), hairstyles and lots of sparkle—and you know we love sparkle. Fun fact: costume designer Catherine Martin worked with Brooks Brothers for many of the male costumes—think 2,000 garments + 200 tuxedos—who actually sold clothing to Fitzgerald back in the day.
4. Isla Fisher and Carey Mulligan. Our May cover girl plays Myrtle, Tom Buchanan’s mistress who lives in the Valley of Ashes and wants the glamorous life. Although her role is small, Fisher knows how to make a big impact. Mulligan takes on the iconic role of Daisy Buchanan, and delivers flawlessly. The woman knows how to be alluring, and we love that she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. What we don’t love: Daisy’s inability to make a decision and stick with it. Just watch the movie and you’ll see what we mean.
5. The music. Just as he did in R+J, Luhrmann took Gatsby, a very classic story, and blended it with contemporary music. Now we’ll admit, this is the part we were most skeptical about. Sure, we love blasting Jay-Z, Florence + The Machine and Lana Del Rey during our workouts, but would it work in a movie set in the 20s? Surprisingly, it does. In fact, we say it’s what makes the movie that much better. Bringing contemporary beats to the party scenes helped us make a connection with all of the characters and the fun they were having. Think about it: if you were ready to get your dance on tonight, would you blast music from the 20s and feel jazzed; ready to rock? We didn’t think so. This blend of eras made the story more relatable so we could really be immersed in the story. Smart move, Luhrmann. Smart move.
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Care to step into the ring with 22-year-old amateur boxer Mikaela Mayer? Chances are this former model will knock you out—figuratively and literally. In 2012, she secured the title of U.S. National Champion and brought home bronze and gold medals from the World Championships and Continental Games, respectively. The Los Angeles native was an alternate in the London Games (the first year women could compete), and has her sights set on gold in Rio. We talked training and being bikini-body ready for summer (have you seen her abs?), plus her genius secret for keeping that sweet tooth in check.
How did you discover boxing?
I signed up for Muay Thai at a gym near my house, and was practicing to keep myself busy. A few months in, I suffered a slight back injury that prevented me from kicking, so my trainer made me take boxing fights to develop my hands. Once I tried it, fell in love and never went back! I remember telling myself only two or three months in that I was going to be the best female fighter in the world.
Clearly that’s working out! How often do you train?
When I’m in camp for a tournament, it’s six days a week, two to three times a day for six weeks. It’s nothing but eat, sleep, train, repeat! The workouts will vary week to week, but it’s a mix of interval running, swimming, strength training, boxing and sparring three to four times a week.
Well, that must keep you bikini-body ready year-round, right?
Even when I don’t have major competitions coming up, working out is still a part of my everyday routine. Partly because I enjoy getting stronger and more skillful and partly because getting back in shape after you have let yourself go is too hard! So I always try to maintain. Staying in tip-top shape requires working out consistently. You can’t make excuses for skipping the gym. It needs to be a priority.
A lot has changed for skier Picabo Street since she took the Olympics by storm in the 1998 Super G. The gold medalist—who just last week was announced to be an analyst for Fox Sports’ Sochi 2014 Winter Games coverage—has transitioned to fit, working mommyhood by taking up a new taekwondo passion with her 9-year-old son and avoiding her kids’ leftovers at all costs. Read on to find out what she loves the most about her kick-ass routine, what she’s working on now and more.
- What was your favorite Olympic moment?
Surprisingly enough, my silver medal win in Lillehammer, because it was when I realized that I could do it and that I was Olympic caliber and that the gold was within my reach.
- Where do you keep you medals?
I rotate them around from safe place to safe place with lots of sharing in the meantime.
- How did you overcome the pressures of being such a young U.S. ski team member and then later on from your sponsors?
I always expected more from myself than anyone else did, so my pressure was greater, therefore easier to deal with. I looked at my coaches as partners and teammates and had more of a collaborative relationship with them, therefore, they were all a part of my victories, too.
- Was there one challenging moment in your past that really helped you to build a thick skin and to become the resilient spirit you are today?
Resiliency comes out of struggle usually and for me, mine was self-inflicted—showing up to U.S. Ski Team camp in 1990 out of shape and with a bad attitude. I realized then it would be up to me to get in shape, change my attitude and make my dreams come true. It was the door on the path to that dream closing in my face that forced me to be resilient.
- Any fitness-related goals you have your eye on now? What mantra helps you push through your workout?
Be a black belt in taekwondo. What I love about taekwondo is that I miss the workout, because I am too busy trying to kick and punch correctly! What gets me to the gym: “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Once I’m at the gym: “Focus on what I have control over, anything else is just stress.”
Picabo has teamed up with Team USA sponsor Liberty Mutual Insurance to announce the search for 2013’s “Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments,” simple acts of sportsmanship and selflessness that occur on youth sports fields. “It’s a great cause and one near and dear to my heart as a mother of four boys who love to play sports,” she said. To submit a moment, go to ResponsibleSports.com or tweet a nomination using #RSMoments.
More from FITNESS:
- Ice Skating Legend Kristi Yamaguchi Dishes on the Winter Olympics & DWTS
- Pro Tennis Star Vika Azarenka on Staying Positive and Keeping Workouts Fun
- Olympic Gymnast McKayla Maroney on Getting Back Into the Gym and Finally Being Impressed
Written by Karina Smirnoff
I want to start this blog by sending my prayers to all the innocent people directly affected by the senseless violence in Boston. My condolences to the families who lost loved ones. It is devastating to hear the stories and see the pictures. Through all the horrific stories I found inspiration in several others and was reminded of how strong the human spirit is. Martin Richard’s message of spreading love and not hate or violence is one I will continue to be inspired by.
Going into Monday’s show on the heels of such an unfathomable situation was extremely hard. I’m thankful ABC and DWTS decided to move forward with the episode, as all of the dancers and celebrity partners wanted to dedicate the night to each and every one of you. We are extremely blessed to do what we love and hopefully by putting our passion to work, we were able to transmit that love into your homes.
Given that Jacoby and I had the Jive we needed to channel that inspiration and positivity into our performance. We had such a great week of preparation that I knew he was going to deliver. However, he never ceases to amaze me! His musicality, timing, strength, charm and commitment are incredible. When he said he was going to jump over my head without touching me, I thought he was nuts! After he did it, I was shocked. When he did it over and over I was convinced that what I was starting to realize was true – the sky is truly the limit for Jacoby Jones! Read more
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Listen up, ladies: Triscuit’s new brown rice crackers aren’t your mother’s snack. The brand has developed delicious spins on its classic namesake snack—like sweet potato and sea salt and black pepper—that get two nutritional thumbs up from celeb chef and FITNESS advisory board member Rocco DiSpirito. The bestselling author developed three healthy, easy-to-make recipes centered around the cracker, and after sampling his culinary creations in Times Square (the turkey chili recipe below is OMG good), we chatted with DiSpirito about his cooking inspiration, eating for the season and saving calories with simple ingredient swaps.
Your Triscuit-inspired recipes were delicious! Why did you partner with the brand?
When an established food company like Triscuit/Nabisco decides they’re going to put a lot of money, time and effort to make something better for you, I’m a big fan of that decision. It’s brave because most food companies are like, “Why change it? It’s perfect, we sell a ton of food, we make a gazillion dollars, we have big homes in the Hamptons, we don’t need to do anything.” But this shows recognition that America needs healthier choices, including their snacks, and I’m proud to associate with a company that feels that way because that’s what I do every day: I try to convince Americans to make healthier choices.
What’s your main goal when developing a recipe?
My priority is to make a recipe that people can reproduce at home very easily. So I work backward from what I find in grocery stores. Every time I start a book, I go to the grocery stores and research what’s available, and that changes all the time. From the time I wrote Now Eat This to now, a lot has changed. There are a lot more healthy ingredients available, so that makes my job a little easier and more exciting. The point is to get people to try it and understand that when they cook, they’re in control, and cooking is better than buying from a restaurant. So those are my priorities: to make it super easy for people to make it at home.
How do you “healthify” a recipe?
You want to swap fats, dairy and sugar: those are the ones that are the most calorically dense. One ounce of any of those has more calories than one ounce of vegetables, for example. For dairy, fat-free Greek yogurt is a great swap. For fats, using something like xanthan gum. So let’s say you want to make an ice-cream smoothie, but you don’t want to use any ice cream. Skim milk and xanthan gum is a great way to create that texture that you’d get from cream. And for sugar, my favorite new sweetener is monk fruit extract. It’s an amazing calorie- and sugar-free sweetener.
What are some of your go-to spring produce?
It’s ridiculous what happens in spring! I start with asparagus, which is fresh in early spring. White asparagus is one of my favorite things on the planet. I plant a garden, so I grow several kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, squash, watermelon, cucumbers—I look forward to all of those things. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like cucumbers, you’ve never had a home-grown one. Sometimes I pick off the leaves of squash blossoms and fry the blossoms, or make a squash blossom omelet. There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Click for the mouthwatering chili recipe we sampled, then recreate at home – it’s perfect for a party!
We finally had our first glimpse of some warm weather this week in NYC and to celebrate, we did it with popsicles of course! To help kick off the launch of Fruttare Fruit Bars, Grammy-Award winning singer Ne-Yo and platinum-selling superstar Cher Lloyd are teaming to do a song collaboration–inspired by you!
To make it into the tune, all you have to do is log on to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and share what keeps you looking on the positive side of things, with the hashtag #itsallgood. And let’s be honest–when the sun is out and you’re heading on your long awaited vacation, beach trip, a hot and sweaty outdoor workout or whatever else you’ve got planned, there’s not much that’s not good.
Ne-Yo, who admitted to thinking of himself as a “fake freelance photographer” with his Instagram photos and Cher Lloyd, who loves Twitter (follow her @CherLlyod!) to connect with her fans and catch up on the news, will round up your responses to work them into their tune. The duo will also sing it live at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas this September. Pretty sweet, right?
To see Ne-Yo and Cher Lloyd in the studio and to purchase their song, visit the Fruttare Facebook page.
More from FITNESS: Tony Horton’s Sweat-Dripping Workout Playlist
With his search for true love officially–and successfully–over, The Bachelor‘s Sean Lowe is ready to take on different challenges. Not only is the former football player putting on his dancing shoes every Monday and Tuesday on Dancing With the Stars, he also put on his running shoes last Saturday for the Warrior Dash, the world’s largest obstacle race series. We chatted with the busy ex-Bachelor last week about getting ready for the race and his DWTS training.
Do you feel ready for the race?
I hope I’m ready. I’ve been keeping up my cardio with dancing, so hopefully that helps.
How long have you been running?
I’m actually not a runner, I’ve never run before in my life. Usually I do the stairclimber or elliptical at the gym. Right now a 5k is the most I can go. A couple of years ago I heard about Warrior Dash and that it’s an amazing race so I signed up with friends and had a blast. People dress up and have fun. We had the time of our lives. Afterwards you can eat, listen to music and hang out with your fellow competitors. I told myself I’d do it every year. I wasn’t able to do it last year because of filming The Bachelorette so I’m happy to be able do it this year.
How do you train for an obstacle race like this?
I don’t know if you can train for it, that’s the cool aspect. I think we had to jump over cars last time, which is something you can’t really train for. I’m just hoping I’ve built up enough endurance.
When you’re not training for a race like this, what’s your typical fitness routine like?
I go to the gym 5 days a week, hitting a different body part each day. I typically do cardio for 30 minutes and hit the weights for 45 minutes.
You’re a pretty fit guy already, but Dancing With the Stars is a whole ‘nother challenge. How is training for DWTS going?
It’s challenging but I feel like I’m in extremely good shape now from all the cardio. But I haven’t been doing as much weights as I usually do. We have about 6-8 hours of rehearsal a day. I have fun performing and feel comfortable . The Cha-Cha was really fun and high-energy. Next is the Viennese waltz which is slower. I’m excited to do something different. I love the challenge of learning a new routine. The tougher the better. Read more
Think dancing’s not a workout? Think again. This week, celebrity guest blogger Karina Smirnoff talks about the added perks of the Fox Trot, and pushing past mental blocks.
Written by Karina Smirnoff
After last week’s sexy, emotionally charged Rumba I was eager to tackle the Fox Trot. We had a really special theme, which was “My Most Memorable Year” and Jacoby’s couldn’t have been more incredible! As most of you now know, Jacoby has a beautiful baby boy, Jacoby Jones Jr. and despite winning the Super Bowl, he was the obvious highlight of 2012.
The song we danced to was Rodney Atkins “Watching You”, which is extremely sentimental for JJ. Never knowing his own father, he has vowed to do all the things he never got to experience with his own dad. It was so fun to watch Jacoby with his son! He’s so sweet and gentle yet can make his little boy laugh with ease. It was great to spend time with them and really helped to inspire this week’s dance. Read more
Country music is having a moment. Last night’s star-studded Academy of Country Music Awards and Jason Aldean’s seven-minute Madison Square Garden sell-out are proof that the guitar strummin’, banjo playin’ vocal powerhouses are moving outside of Nashville and into the mainstream…including our workouts. Worried you can’t get a good sweat on to something other than techno beats and peppy pop? We’re here to prove you wrong. In fact, last Saturday I ran a half-marathon and my playlist was mostly made up of Luke Bryan’s, Spring Break…Here to Party, The Band Perry’s Pioneer, and Blake Shelton’s Based On A True Story. It’s time to try something new…and maybe swap your sneaks for cowboy boots post-sweat.
Now you tell us: who are your favorite country crooners?