Written on May 22, 2014 at 5:02 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern
You know her best as the hilariously vivacious housewife, Gloria, on Modern Family. Her thick accent, hysterical one-liners and constant nagging on Jay always have me doubling over in laughter. But one thing I didn’t know about the star? In 2000, at the age of 28, Sofia Vergara was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to have her thyroid removed. That resulted in a condition known as hypothyroidism, which in non-scientific terms basically equates to an underactive thyroid, and it’s usually marked by symptoms of extreme fatigue, depression and weight gain.
Since then, the Emmy-nominated actress says life is relatively normal, thanks to her doctors and regular checkups. “I’ve been very lucky, I never felt any symptoms,” admits Vergara. “[But] now I have to take a pill every day of my life.”
The treatment for hypothyroidism is a synthetic hormone called levothyroxine, explains Dr. Jordan Geller, M.D., Vergara’s endocrinologist. “It’s basically an exact chemical copy of the thyroid hormone that our body makes. It’s taken as a pill, once a day on an empty stomach and it’s usually life-long.”
OK, so what exactly does all this mean, and why should you care? First of all, the thyroid gland is a pretty important asset to maintaining good health. “From the minute we are born until we die, there is not a system in the body that doesn’t need the thyroid hormone,” explains Dr. Geller. And while nearly 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, according to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), about 60 percent of them don’t even know it. Yeesh!
It turns out women are 5-8 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems, too, notes the ATA. If you’re one of them, don’t panic about missing your beloved barre class quite yet. “If somebody’s thyroid levels are managed appropriately, then it really shouldn’t interfere with their ability to exercise or do anything throughout their life,” says Dr. Geller.
So how do you manage hypothyroidism? In 2013, Vergara and Dr. Geller teamed up with AbbVie (the makers of Synthroid, levothyroxine sodium tablets) to launch a campaign called “Follow the Script,” which aims to educate those with hypothyroidism about symptom and treatment information, helpful questions to ask your doctor and pharmacist, and create a community for people to come together and share their stories. You never know what fitness-minded friend you’ll find—and I never say no to a new workout buddy.
And while Vergara is known for her extreme aversion to exercise, she does admit to recently adopting a workout regiment since she’s “started seeing age changes.” While she doesn’t really have a favorite, you can find the actress currently doing a lot of SLT, Spinning or trying her hand at TRX (we recommend this routine). Fingers crossed she falls in love with one—or all—of them!
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Photo courtesy of Abbvie/Follow the Script
Written on May 13, 2014 at 12:10 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
“USA, USA, USA!” It was these patriotic chants echoing through the streets of Massachusetts’ capital last month that carried Meb Keflezighi to the end of the Boston Marathon…first. Winning the epic race “was the missing link” and career “exclamation mark” Keflezighi had been working toward for years, not to mention a fairytale finish driving home that Boston Strong spirit.
“I really [ran] with three goals in mind: win, top three or at least personal best,” Keflezighi told us during a cookie break at our office (he’s a fan of Wichcraft’s Peanut Butter Cream’wiches!). “I did all three and to run in 2:08:37 on this tough, difficult course, to become the first American in 31 years to win it…is beyond belief.”
Like many runners, Keflezighi, who left last year’s race five minutes before the bombings, trained for 365 days to turn tragedy into a positive moment. “We were running for something greater than just a race. It was an attribution to the people that had been affected,” he said. “As runners, we were resilient. We didn’t give up!”
Insert chills here.
So, how can you succeed like this speedster? Persistence is key, he said, both in running and life. “It’s not about the money, it’s not about the fame. It’s about doing what you were created to do on this Earth,” the ElliptiGO Project athlete said. “That’s what drives me every day, no matter what. Can I tap that potential?”
If you’re looking to PR this summer, listen up! Keflezighi will be pacing the 1:30 half-marathon group at the Suja Run Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon on June 1st. “San Diego is where I grew up and where I’ve won two titles in Rock ‘n’ Roll…I’m excited!” he said. Talk about runspiration! Register now, and get amped before race day with the play-by-play of his big win below.
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Written on May 9, 2014 at 4:44 pm , by Samantha Shelton
You know her as the teenage private eye from Veronica Mars, the coy narrator of Gossip Girl, Jason Segel’s hilarious ex in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and oh yeah, the adorable Anna in the mega-successful Disney hit, Frozen (seriously, the animated film is now the best-selling Blu-ray…and I can’t stop singing “Love Is An Open Door”). It’s safe to say Kristen Bell is one of America’s beloved actresses, and she’s just bursting with talent. Instead of keeping it all in front of the camera, though, she took a few steps to land behind it in her first shot at creative director. Partnering with Lipton for a three-video series of short films, Bell has launched the Win an Extra SUNday campaign, and let me tell you—the prize for us busy, over-worked women is suh-weet.
But before we dive into those deets, we figured it was best to know more about the blonde beauty calling the shots of these funny vids. When she’s not working with the camera, Bell can be found taking care of her family—adorable baby Lincoln and hubby Dax Shepard. On her schedule for Mother’s Day? “Definitely watching Game of Thrones,” she says. “Otherwise, I have no idea.” But now that she’s had about a year to get her grasp on motherhood, she’s realized it’s taught her to let go of the little things. Take household chores, for instance. “I used to get very frustrated if my house wasn’t tidy and would always be cleaning it,” she confesses. “And [now] when faced with the decision of sitting with her and making more of a mess because it makes her smile, or cleaning up, I will always choose the former. I’m like, ‘There are blocks all over. Yeah, so what? She likes to throw blocks. Big deal.’”
Now you may be wondering if little Lincoln had any influence on Bell’s decision to be the voice of Anna. The answer: not even a little bit. Frozen was a three-and-a-half year endeavor (Fun fact: Bell says at one point Anna and Elsa were mother and daughter, rather than sisters), so obviously she got started well before she was pregnant. So what got her on board? Good ole’ Disney. A longtime fan who named Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmations as just a few of her faves, getting invited to play a Disney character was, well, a dream come true. “Knowing that I would have a fingerprint on something that would affect children the way those [films] affected me was really exciting and I said yes immediately.”
Written on May 1, 2014 at 3:42 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern
Famous for her colorful hair, unique style and true-to-herself attitude, the fashion-forward Kelly Osbourne has been focused on getting and, more importantly, staying healthy. (Since kicking off her weight loss journey back in 2009, Osbourne has shed and kept off an impressive 70 pounds!) To help celebrate the launch of Wheat Thins Popped, we got the skinny on Osbourne’s fit physique.
“I’ve been through a huge transformation in my life,” Osbourne told FITNESS Associate Beauty Editor Molly Ritterbeck. “It’s not just about health, it’s about maintenance. It’s finding the way you want to be and working on yourself and finding things that work for you.” So, how does she do it? Simple swaps and go-to snacks are her top tricks. “I’ve started to take my own snacks with me on set,” said the Fashion Police starlet, adding that Wheat Thin’s new poppable product is actually one of her favorites.
“I tasted-tested every single one before I said ‘yes’ to doing this [campaign] because I can’t lie,” she said. And boy, do we appreciate her honesty! But sometimes a little mental fibbing is just what you need when it comes to swapping out those not-so-good-for-you treats. “If you want sour cream, have fat-free Greek yogurt instead and add some lime and a little pinch of salt and your mind thinks it’s the same thing,” explained Osbourne.
And when it comes to her workouts, Osbourne likes to mix it up. “I love a good sweat and a run and I do circuit training,” she said. “But I also love my hula hooping and…fun stuff like the trampoline workouts and there’s a jazzercise class that I want to start doing in LA.” She even tried out salsa but says she can’t keep it up “because I get too competitive and by the time I leave, I can’t walk.” Looks like her Dancing with the Stars days aren’t quite behind her yet!
Photo courtesy of Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Wheat Thins
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Written on April 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm , by Samantha Shelton
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.
Written on April 8, 2014 at 9:34 am , by FITNESS Intern
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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Written on April 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
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
Written on March 25, 2014 at 7:18 pm , by Samantha Shelton
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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Written on March 19, 2014 at 5:28 pm , by FITNESS Intern
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.
Written on March 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm , by Samantha Shelton
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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