Written on October 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Actress, television personality and writer Maria Menounos has a lot on her plate. From filming her reality TV show Chasing Maria Menounos, which debuts on the Oxygen Network early next year, to writing her new book, The Every Girl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness (out April 2014), this fit lady admits that her workouts have taken a backseat to her workload over the past couple of months. However, she looks as healthy and fit as ever! We met up with Menounos outside Ocean Spray’s cranberry bog in the middle of Rockefeller Center, where she let us in on her diet and fitness tricks for when a workout just won’t fit into her day.
Menounos’ early fitness journey involved losing 40 pounds slowly and steadily over the course of 11 months, but the best part is that she manages to keep it off with smart eating strategies. “When I was losing my weight, I did a lot of things that would spike my metabolism,” says Menounos. Hot peppers and spicy foods frequented her plate to keep that internal engine revving throughout the day.
She also swears by the power of hot water, which can be surprisingly useful, accessible and, you know, free. “It’s de-stressing, it’s detoxifying, it helps digest the food in your stomach, and it really helps you stay full so that you know when you actually are hungry,” she says. “A lot of times you’ll see something and think you’re hungry, but you’re thirsty and just think you’re hungry.”
Besides bringing the heat, Menounos suggests simply eating as clean as you can and abiding by a 75-25 rule. “I don’t deprive myself of anything, so I don’t necessarily crave things,” says Menounos. “Like, yesterday I was in the airport and I wanted some M&Ms, and I’m not going to feel guilty because it’s rare for me to eat that. If you stick to the 75-25 rule and eat 75 percent clean, then you have a little wiggle room.”
And don’t forget the cranberries! She loves tossing a handful of craisins into her salads and cooking with them around the holidays. “A lot of women know the obvious benefits of cranberries, but I actually used it on my dog once to cure bladder stones,” says Menounos. “I know it sounds weird, but it works!”
Since her hectic schedule does not allow time for daily sweat sessions, Menounos does what she calls “convenience conditioning.” “I keep a pedometer on me at all times and I make sure that I’m tracking my steps. So if I’m getting 10,000 steps a day, I know that I’m still going to be able to maintain my weight, be healthy and try to ride through those periods where I can’t work out,” she says. When she does find the time, however, she takes her workouts outdoors. From hiking to shooting hoops, Menounos sticks to activities best enjoyed in the fresh air. Now that’s something we can get on board with!
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Written on October 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm , by Samantha Shelton
If you’re anything like me, then you agree that there’s not much better than cozying up on the couch after a tough workout, flipping to the HGTV channel and watching two cute twins help people find a diamond-in-the-rough house, fix ‘er up and present a dream home – all within a budget that the new homeowners decide on. Of course, I’m talking about one of HGTV’s most popular shows, Property Brothers, featuring Jonathan and Drew Scott. The guys have been in the business since they were 18 (making a $50K profit on their first home), but they’ve had plenty of other things on their plate over the years. Fun fact: Drew – the real estate expert – was a personal trainer and has a degree in Kinesiology!
“Both Jonathan and I coached karate, basketball and volleyball in high school,” explains Drew. “So I studied kinesiology, fully planning on becoming a PE teacher, which ended up turning into me being a personal trainer instead.”
While he’s the gym junkie of the duo, Jonathan does his fair share of heavy lifting for work – after all, he is tearing down walls and putting them back up. And you might just catch him jamming to Hilary Duff while hammering away (no, we’re not kidding). Most embarrassing song on his playlist? “A remake of ‘Reach Out,’” he says. “It’s a really great song!” As for what’s pulsing through Drew’s earbuds, it’s a healthy mix of Miley Cyrus (now we know where Jonathan gets his wrecking ball and twerking inspiration from), Muse and…Tony Robbins’ motivational clips.
“I played Drew’s playlist once and he’s got good music playing,” says Jonathan. “There’s a country song here, pop there and all of a sudden it goes to, ‘You are a great person. And people like you.’”
Drew quickly interjects, explaining those are Robbins’ tracks. “It’s not like I have myself on my recorder saying, ‘Drew, you’re amazing. People love you. I accept you.’ I get made fun of all the time because I’m a motivated individual.”
That motivation is a big part of the brothers’ success. Tune in to HGTV a few nights a week because you’ll find them more than once. There’s the aforementioned Property Brothers, then they have Buying and Selling and their latest competition show, Brother vs. Brother. So why three shows? “Every one’s a little bit different,” explains Jonathan. “I like that they’re all the perfect compliment to the others. On Property Brothers, I get to do the biggest designs, and they’re my designs, so I love that aspect of it. Whereas on Brother vs. Brother, we’re more just mentoring these contestants, and it’s completely up to them to make the decisions and mistakes, and of course, there a lot of mistakes.”
Written on October 15, 2013 at 10:47 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Healthy cooking becomes a chore when it involves extensive ingredient lists, advanced preparation and lengthy cooking times. Lucky for us, Food Network’s Robin Miller has made it her mission to help us simplify the process so we can spend more time enjoying our food with the people we love most. Her latest book, Robin Takes 5 for Busy Families, offers a wide variety of 5-ingredient recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks and gluten-free dishes that taste gourmet with little work required on your end. During a recent visit to New York City, Robin dished how she keeps every meal quick, healthy and delicious so pull up a seat and dig into this!
What inspired your career in educating others on how to make quick and healthy meals for themselves and their families?
My kids, to put it simply. Before kids, I had all morning or all afternoon to deglaze, caramelize, test recipes and play in the kitchen. After kids, I didn’t have that amount of time, but I still wanted those flavors. It was my goal to create delicious meals that I can enjoy with my family in minimal time with minimal ingredients. I didn’t want to sacrifice flavor, but I wanted to get to the table faster and then spend more time there.
What do you find to be the greatest challenge with quick and healthy cooking?
I can’t start making dinner at 6 o’clock at night, chopping the onions and the mushrooms and the carrots, or deciding what to cook. So I like to plan ahead. I don’t do a week’s worth of meals on Saturday, but I’ll say in the morning, “What can I do today that’s going to make tonight easier?” And I find that that’s other people’s struggle, too, finding time in their head to prep ahead so that they can make meal time easier during the week. I like meal time to almost be assemble and serve, not start from scratch and wait.
Now that summer is over, how do you cope with the more limited selection of fresh fall and winter produce in your cooking?
I still feel like there are plenty of delicious produce items that are available throughout the fall and winter. We’re getting into grapefruits and oranges and other really nutritious fruits. The acorn squash, butternut squash and spaghetti squash are phenomenal. They’re loaded with nutrients and just scream fall. Also, frozen vegetables and fruits that don’t have any sugar or butter added and they are quickly frozen at the peak of their ripeness, which is at the peak of their nutrient value. So you should never feel guilty about going down the frozen vegetable and fruit aisle and loading up on that stuff too. I have plenty in my freezer, because I like to add them to soups and stews. They have all the nutrients I would hope to get from a farmer’s market or something I just got at the grocery store. They’re so convenient—always there in your freezer and ready to go.
Written on October 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Ever since that notorious VMAs performance, people cannot stop talking about Miley Cyrus. And I’m no exception: every time I see a link about her latest antics pop up in my newsfeed, you know I’m clicking through to see what’s up. While I’m shaking my head most of the time, and I may not agree with all of her – eh hem – visual antics, the girl’s got me hooked. Which, of course, is the point. She’s even got me jamming to her music on my late-night runs, and no matter how ridiculous I find the music videos to be (I really want Michael Jordan to weigh in on “23″), I will admit to being mildly obsessed with “Wrecking Ball.”
But the latest Miley trend? Combining forces with other musicians, whether she knows about it beforehand or not. We’re talking mash-ups, collaborations, spoofs and covers. In case you’ve missed out on the good, the bad, and the absolutely hilarious, I’ve rounded up my faves. Get watching, and then maybe mix a few tracks from Bangerz into your playlist. Girl may be cray-cray, but her voice is motivating.
Miley and Mumford & Sons mash-up to create “Little Wrecking Ball.” Now this is a video I can actually get behind. And adding Miley’s power-ballad vocals on top of Mumford’s fast-strumming, bluegrass beats was brilliant.
Jimmy Fallon, Miley and The Roots sing an acoustic version of “We Can’t Stop,” and it’s set up Brady-bunch style. Genius.
Written on October 14, 2013 at 9:50 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Gauging the speed, distance and spin of an opponent’s 60+ mph serve is crucial in the game of volleyball — especially when you’re three-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor. That’s why she never messed around with her astigmatism and far sightedness. “Growing up, I always got an annual eye exam,” she told us as she kicked off VSP Vision Care’s five day-long free screenings in Atlanta, GA last week in honor of yesterday’s World Sight Day. “It’s important for people to maintain their eye health. Many people don’t have vision insurance for their eye care needs.” And by many people, around 210,000 Atlanta residents are currently without coverage.
Giving back by hosting the largest free eye care event in the U.S. during the controversy surrounding Obamacare and the current government is just one of the projects Misty has up her sleeve now that she’s retired from international competition. “This is one way that I can lend my voice to help others in the community,” she says. “I’m also coaching and trying to start a family.” So what about playing the game? Of course she can’t keep herself off the court! “I still play for fun,” she says, spilling that her fit routine is focused more now on low-impact exercises with lighter weight training than she endured pre-Olympics. And don’t think that just because she’s not sporting those skimpy (but awesome) uni’s she has given up on staying strong with that killer muscle tone. Her current goal? “To burn as many calories as I can so that I can eat whatever I want at Thanksgiving,” she jokes.
With Sochi right around the corner, Misty looks forward to cheering on the good ol’ U.S. of A. “A lot of the winter sports are foreign to me,” she admits. “I didn’t grow up a skier or ever go to a luge competition, but they’re just as exciting to watch.” Her favorite to watch? Figure skating, although bobsled and hockey are close seconds. Don’t expect this decorated Olympian (she keeps her medals safe in their boxes in a “secret place”) to get sentimental, though. “I’ve gone through four Olympics and it’s nice to take a break from competition and be able to focus on other aspects of my life, which I think makes you a more well-rounded person,” Misty says.
For more information on the importance of annual eye exams, check out VSP Vision Care’s website. Be sure to talk to your local optometrist about early detection for vision problems and other potential chronic diseases linked to eye health, too.
Written on October 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm , by Samantha Shelton
You watched him heat up the small screen as Dr. Sam Bennett on Private Practice, and now you can catch him in his latest romantic comedy, Baggage Claim, as part of a star-studded cast (you’ll see the likes of Paula Patton, aka wife to one-half of the VMA twerking fiasco, Tia Mowry and Adam Brody). But what really fires up Taye Diggs happens behind-the scenes, in a place much closer to home – the school systems. Fun fact: Diggs is also the children’s book author of “Chocolate Me,”and he’s teamed up with Kellogg’s and Scholastic to get more reading material in kids’ hands.
With a four-year-old of his own, it seems like just the right time for Diggs to get involved. “I grew up reading a ridiculous amount when I was a kid, and now I read to my kid three or four times a day,” he told us during a visit to the FITNESS offices. “Childhood literacy is very important. Two-thirds of every family in poverty doesn’t have books, so we’re just trying to get everybody involved and put an end to that.”
How, exactly, can we help then? In one of two ways:
- Buy any Kellogg’s product, and visit kelloggsfreebook.com to enter the Great Starts, Great Stories codes you’ll find on the inside flap of the box. For each code entered, Kellogg’s will send you a free book that you can keep or donate. Up to 200,000 books will go to schools, homes and communities.
- Participate in the Frosted Mini Wheats Mini Missions program, and earn free scholastic books and the chance to win a sweepstakes for books and grants for your community.
We’ve all heard of Kellogg’s, and the company does a lot to give back, clearly. But when it comes right down to it, we wanted to know: out of all the cereal brands, why partner with this one? “It was what we grew up on,” Diggs says. “For my family, it was like a weekend delicacy. My father would mix up the different cereals – a lot of the time it would be Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes because it had a little less sugar.” And as far as eating as a family goes, there’s zero negotiation for the actor. “I didn’t realize how much of an impact a simple meal could have until I had Walker,” he says. “But now that’s a time, either as a family or just daddy-son time, that you don’t get during any other time of the day. For us, we talk about dreams or nightmares he had the night before, or what we’re going to do for the rest of the day. We can check in with each other. Not to mention, that’s when he’s the most cute. When he wakes up.” Cue a round of aww’s, please!
But reading and eating a morning meal together aren’t the only things the star does with his son. They get their sweat on together, too (which begins to explain that, um, enviable physique). “I’m trying to gently massage the importance of staying healthy and in shape. He likes looking at big muscles, so I use that as a bribe. I’ll say, ‘If you want those, you have to eat your protein, eat your vegetables, do a couple push-ups and stretch out.’” When he’s not, er, bribing the boy, they’re doing fun activities together, like running and soccer. And on top of that, Diggs manages to fit in his own workouts – think basketball, tennis and weight lifting – to stay in tip-top shape for his acting gigs. Maybe we’ll see him as an athlete in his next role? “Someone asked my son what I did for a living, and he said, ‘He changes into shorts and he plays basketball!’ Because I always go from the gym to work, so he rarely hears me say I’m going to work. It was pretty funny.”
Sounds like Diggs is a pro at leading by example. For more of his tips on getting active with your own kiddos, watch this:
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Written on October 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Known for making scrubs look sexy with ease is none other than McDreamy, and now Patrick Dempsey has fit gals like us weak in the knees by getting his sweat on in bike shorts. Why? Not that we really need a reason, but it’s for a good cause. So yes, he’s good-looking, talented, in incredible shape and philanthropic. (Insert extra swoon here.)
Clearly, biking has become more than just a joy ride for this star. It’s become a passion and family affair with his wife and three kids, plus a way to raise funds for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. “I’m not a big fan of running—I really love cycling and the sense that you can go somewhere,” he recently dished, while reminiscing about pedaling around as a kid, the only way for him to get from point A to B at a young age. “Growing up in the country, it was a form of escape and freedom.”
On October 12 and 13, runners, walkers and riders—including Dempsey—will come together for the fifth-annual Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston, Maine to support his center. Founded in 2008 after the actor’s mother battled three bouts of ovarian cancer, the safe haven provides free support, education and integrative medicine services for those impacted by cancer. “The last four years, we’ve raised over a million dollars in the event. It’s incredible,” Dempsey says. “It’s amazing the amount of support and commitment people have to the challenge. We’re going to have fun things around, like food trucks and entertainment, to celebrate. Plus, everyone gets lobster and beer at the end!”
Between his time on the big screen, a little show called Grey’s Anatomy and now the race track—he clearly has a need for speed—finding time to get his sweat on can be tough, the Clif Bar lover admits. (His fave flavors? Crunchy Peanut Butter and Blueberry Crisp.) “I try to balance it between going to the gym and getting a good core workout in. And then getting out on the bike for at least an hour, hour and half if I can, three or four times a week.” Hikes in the mountains surrounding Santa Monica and barefoot runs along the beach are also a part of his training. “I find that to be low impact on my body,” he says. “The sand helps stabilize your core!” Uh huh, drink in that image…
To learn more about this year’s challenge and their incredible partnerships—Dempsey raved about Positive Tracks, a New Hampshire-based non-profit that encourages the youth to get active and give back through charitable athletic efforts—be sure to head over to their website, ‘like’ their Facebook page and follow the event on Twitter.
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- Kara DioGuardi Takes Charge of Her Health—For the Long Run
- How You Can Run One Million Miles to Fight Childhood Cancer
- Jennie Garth Sees Good in New Charity Campaign
Written on October 1, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Colleen Moody
Celebrities are constantly scrutinized for their looks, but add a pregnancy to the mix and the heat is really on. With the abundance of celebrity cherubs being born this year, here’s our rundown of the best A-list post-baby bodies from this year and years past. In a world of juice cleanses, fasting and paparazzi pressure to return to pre-baby weight in warp speed, these ladies got slim and strong all while keeping their sanity about their newfound curves.
1. Kristen Bell: The new mom to baby girl Lincoln has dropped 28 pounds since giving birth in March, by eating healthy and doing the Bar Method. But she’s doing it on her terms and in her own good time, declaring recently that she’s a woman whose self-worth cannot be determined by her size. “I’m proud to sit out of the baby weight rat race,” she tweeted this past summer. “I like my Lincoln Leftovers because they’re proof I did something extraordinary.”
2. Claire Danes: She stunned at the 2013 Golden Globes when she showed up in amazing shape just one month after giving birth to her son Cyrus. Though she joked to the pressroom that she was very strapped into her Versace gown, she credited being on her feet for a majority of her pregnancy while taping Homeland a big factor in not gaining too much weight to begin with.
3. Reese Witherspoon: With three kids under her belt, it’s clear Witherspoon has the winning formula to taking off the baby weight. As a frequent runner pre-pregnancy, she’s been saving time and slashing calories by jogging with friends and having gym dates with hubby Jim Toth. Though she knows there is no one easy fix, as she said after the birth of son Tennessee James in September 2012 that “you just have to be gentle and patient with yourself and just sort of you know…slowly get back to your health.”
4. Drew Barrymore: She admitted to gaining 40 pounds during her pregnancy with daughter Olive as well as giving in to cravings like cheeseburgers and ice cream. After enlisting the help of nutritionist-friend Kimberly Snyder, she’s shedding the weight by eating lots of whole foods, vegetables and making her own green smoothies at home, but said in an interview that when it comes to deciding between spending time at the gym or with her daughter, the gym will always lose. “We live in a society where everyone’s like, ‘Look at how amazing she looks two weeks out.’ I don’t want to be on that hamster wheel; that’s hell.”
Read more for the full list!
Written on September 20, 2013 at 11:09 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Songwriter, producer and Warner Brothers exec Kara DioGuardi was living in Manhattan playing Roxie Hart in the Broadway musical Chicago when she saw a life-changing (and arguably life-saving) news report. It was WABC-TV New York’s Stacy Sager’s story that struck a familiar chord with Kara, as the journalist discussed her breast and ovarian cancer family history and the proactive test that determines carriers of the hereditary gene mutation. (The same exam Angelina Jolie made headlines with back in May—which positive results led to her preventative double mastectomy.)
“I tested positive for BRCA2—which meant I had up to an 80 percent chance of getting breast cancer, and a 40 percent chance of ovarian cancer—and subsequently underwent a complete laporoscopic hysterectomy last December  to reduce my likelihood of breast and/or ovarian cancer by fifty percent,” Kara recently told us. In January, the former American Idol judge plans to further lower her risk by having a prophylactic mastectomy.
“I feel great,” she says. “I had a great doctor and support system who mentally and physically prepared me for the surgery. I urge anyone with breast or ovarian cancer in their families (mother or father’s side) to get tested. As cliché as it sounds, knowledge is power.”
Now a healthy mom of eight-month-old Greyson (she and husband Mike McCuddy turned to surrogacy following five years of fertility issues), Kara is back in the swing of things teaching for a second year at Berklee College of Music in Boston, running her publishing company, Arthouse, and finding new talent for her Warner Brothers affiliated record label.
Her best sweat secret to finding fit time between all of the juggling? “I recently started P90X and if I hadn’t, I am not sure I would be able to lift my big boy as easily,” she reveals. “I love it because it has taught me exercises I can do anywhere at anytime—even getting 20 minutes in a day is enough!”
Besides following Tony Horton’s regimen (and her upper body workout of a son), Kara is now gearing up for the inaugural Run for Her New York Walk on October 27 in support of ovarian cancer research. Lucky for us East Coasters, the popular Los Angeles walk’s growth sparked the organization of this year’s New York City event to continue raising funds for advancing medical discoveries and treatments, alongside awareness of the fifth-leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
“This event is very important to me as it brings the ongoing battle of ovarian cancer to the forefront,” Kara says. “I will run in honor of my mother, Carol DioGuardi, who died of ovarian cancer at 58. She was not given the option of genetic testing. It may have saved her life. Although running has never been my strong suit, I plan on completing the 5K for all those women out there who have been affected by this insidious disease.”
Sign up now (early registration costs only $35!) to join Kara at the Hudson River Park and support the Women’s Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. West Coast gals, be sure to get moving for the cause in L.A. November 10.
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- Angelina Jolie’s Brave Decision for Her Health
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Written on September 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm , by Samantha Shelton
In our transition into fall, we tend to work out a little less and eat a little more. Why? It’s simple, really: we’re not spending every weekend at the beach, when the idea of flashing a bikini often motivates us to be on top of our sweat schedules. But if heading into a humid gym to log miles on the treadmill or elliptical sounds less than appealing, celeb trainer Harley Pasternak has one word for you: Don’t. When he trains clients like Julianne Hough, Rihanna and Katy Perry, he gives them all one piece of equipment, and has an easy trick to staying out of the gym. Watch the video to steal his no-gym secrets, and watch yourself shimmy right back into those skinny jeans.
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