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Firm and Burn Like Gabby Douglas: The Golden Girl’s Strengthening Secrets

Written on January 8, 2014 at 9:05 am , by

Check out those sleek arms! “Push-ups and pull-ups are awesome for developing definition in your arms,” Gabby says, adding that consistency is key. (Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Douglas)

Gabrielle Douglas really is America’s Golden Girl, as Vanity Fair so fittingly named the gymnast shortly after the 2012 Summer Olympics. Bling aside (she won both team and individual all-around gold medals—no big deal), it was Gabby’s all-star grin and heartwarming, underdog story that stole the hearts of viewers from around the world. Now with two books, a leotard line and a few acting gigs under her belt, the 18-year-old Olympian really is the whole flippin’ package.

Her positive attitude, despite her rocky past, still resonates with me when I think back to the London Games and look forward to playing fan girl during Sochi. After all, mental toughness is arguably just as important as physical strength when it comes to athleticism, right?

“I remind myself that I can do anything that I set my mind to do,” Gabby recently told FITNESS when we asked how she keeps her cool pre-competition. “I tell myself to stay calm and focus on one routine at a time.” Another important psych tactic, she says: “Trust your abilities.” Noted.

But like most of us, the pint-sized “Flying Squirrel” can be tough on herself—especially when she flubs up from time to time. “My coaches and family tell me to be proud of my accomplishments and not to dwell on the mistakes,” she says. “Sometimes it’s really hard to do, but I tell myself to look at my mistakes as fuel to drive me toward my success.”

The prep, dedication and sacrifices made along the way can be tough, she admits, but it’s all worth it in the end. Luckily, Gabby has a great sense of humor to make light of the not-so-fun days. “I’m a closet comedian,” she confesses. “I love to make people laugh!” And laugh you must when your daily routine consists of squats, calf raises and lunges. Ouch! “Gymnasts don’t normally work out with weights—we mostly use our body weight as resistance,” she explains, adding that a strong core and lower bod is paramount in her sport. “I focus on strength and conditioning exercises, but I also have to maintain my flexibility, so I stretch every day and really enjoy running outdoors.”

But what sport would she participate in if she wasn’t busy rockin’ the floor, beam, vault and uneven bars? “My brother took martial arts and it looked like a lot of fun! I love how fierce but graceful the moves are.”

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Christina Applegate: How Her New Role as a Mom Lead to a Healthier Life

Written on December 24, 2013 at 10:02 am , by

“Stuff will always work out and if it doesn’t, I’ve found that something better comes along anyway.” Well cheers (of scotchy scotch scotch) to that! (Photo courtesy of Andrew Macpherson)

Whammy! Last week, Ron Burgundy and his co-anchor/wife Veronica Corningstone—played by the talented, hilarious bombshell Christina Applegate—returned to their news desks in the highly anticipated comedy Anchorman 2. Rumor has it, the sequel is worth the decade of a wait. “Don’t act like you’re not impressed…”

Besides the hubbub surrounding the buzzy release, Applegate has kept quiet outside of the spotlight the last year or so, focusing instead on raising her toddler daughter and enjoying some major me-time. “I’m taking some time off and working on just being a mom,” she recently told FITNESS. “I’m loving every minute of it!” Juggling a career with mommyhood took a toll on the Emmy award-winning actress mentally and physically, which explains why Applegate is just now getting back into the swing of things with a clean diet and Pilates-based training. The starlet’s goal: to gain back her pre-preggo strength, especially in her core. “I usually try to get in a good 30 minutes of cardio before I do about an hour with my trainer. We do a lot of weights!”

Satiating bad eating habits has been the toughest part of losing the baby weight, she says, but fruitwater has been Applegate’s sweet-tooth saver. “It’s nice to know that I have something that tastes like a naughty treat that’s not actually bad,” she says. “You can only drink so much water in a day. It’s nice to have something that’s fresh and bubbly and sweet with added vitamins—which we lose a lot of when we’re training.” Sticking to the celeb-coveted alkaline diet is also crucial for Applegate, a lifestyle plan the long-time vegetarian started to strictly follow after her breast cancer diagnosis.

Another health shift Applegate made following her double mastectomy was completely eliminating stress. “I was always like a sponge to other people’s B.S. and I would just take it on,” she says. “That’s a killer right there.” Thanks to a few sessions with a church friend, Applegate was able to hash out how she responded to life’s challenges and learned to let former weighted strain and hassles slide right off of her shoulders. “Where I used to be pissed off or needed to be right, now I’m like, ‘Whatever. Is it really affecting me? No.’ Unless you come over and chop off my arm, I really don’t care what you do. Just don’t hurt my kid, or me physically, and I’m good to go.”

So what can Applegate dish about returning to her Anchorman role? No spoiler alerts here: “It’s funny. There are just so many surprises!” Just don’t expect her character to be sporting the same tight ensembles from the first installment. A decade has passed for both Veronica and Christina, after all. “I kind of thought, ‘It’s 10 years later, if I’ve got 10 more pounds on me than the first one then I think it’s completely acceptable,’” she says with a laugh. “Veronica is much more established, more of a Jane Pauley/Barbara Walters at this point, so my clothes are way more conservative than they were in the first. But I don’t care, this is my post-mommy body; this who I am now.”

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The 13 Hottest Celebrity Bodies of 2013

Written on December 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm , by

Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t afraid to show off her curves this year at The Hunger Games: Catching Fire premiere in Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

It may be considered an unlucky number, but this year was far from it for celebrities, bringing out quite a few OMG post-baby bodies, weight loss wonders and a new crop of A-list abs. Below, check out the celebs who lunged and lifted their way onto our best bodies list this year.

1.    Penelope Cruz: The Counselor star welcomed her second child, daughter Luna, in July and popped back up on the red carpet in amazing shape just three months after giving birth. She credits following a Mediterranean diet, dancing, and chasing after her kids for getting her back into shape after both pregnancies.

2.    Jennifer Lawrence: To prep for Catching Fire, Lawrence tackled agility drills, sprint intervals, medicine ball exercises and cardio on a stationary bike to get in kick-ass Katniss shape. On top of her healthy workouts she has an even healthier outlook on body image. Admitting that in the past she was threatened with being fired if she didn’t lose weight for certain roles, she refuses to diet, saying, “I’d rather look chubby on screen and like a person in real life.”

3.    Sandra Bullock: It’s hard to believe that the star of this year’s hit Gravity is 49 years old. So what’s her secret? She mixes it up with a cardio and strength training combo for an hour a day, six days a week.  Her sweaty staples include Pilates, kickboxing, weight lifting, and running or biking when she’s traveling.

 4.    Kerry Washington: The new mommy-to-be and Scandal star was recently named People’s Best Dressed of 2013. To get her stylish shape, she doesn’t obsess over the number on the scale. Instead, she does Pilates, which she says helps her focus on her appearance in healthy ways while also slashing stress. As for her diet, she loves shopping at farmer’s markets and enjoys fresh food that makes her feel good.

 5.    Scarlett Johansson: The Don Jon and newly engaged star was recently named Esquire‘s “Sexiest Woman Alive” for 2013, making her the only two-time winner in the magazine’s history. When she’s not preparing for a role, she hits the gym twice a week and tends to favor weight lifting and core exercises over cardio. “To be honest, I work out like a guy!” she’s admitted in the past.

 6.    Julia Louis-Dreyfus: It seems that every year the 52-year-old Veep star keeps getting fitter and fitter. A self-proclaimed exercise junkie, she recently stated, “I think I’m addicted to the post-workout high,” and stays in shape by hiking with her family, doing toning exercises on a BOSU ball and logging miles on the treadmill.

Read more for the full list!

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“Bring It” This Holiday Season with Tony Horton and P90X3

Written on December 12, 2013 at 3:27 pm , by

Running is outside of the gym junkie’s comfort zone. That’s why he hopes finish a sub 24:30 5k in 2014. Cheers to speed! (Photo courtesy of Beachbody)

Shape up your 2014 slimdown in half the time—yes, seriously! The highly anticipated third installment of P90X is here so you can continue to “do your best and forget the rest,” as fitness guru Tony Horton always says, in just 30 minutes.

Beachbody’s new 90-day program cuts the killer 60-minute routines down without sacrificing intensity. “A lot of people were saving themselves during the first half to get through the second, so we thought, ‘Let’s eliminate all of that and sequence things just right,” says Horton. “There’s 16 workouts, four more than P90X and two more than P90X2. They’re shorter; have a lot more variety with all new moves. It’s not P90X shorter—it’s brand new, on its own.”

So what can you expect from the plateau-busting sweat sesh? For the first time, Horton introduces Pilates into the mix, as well as a separate warm-up/stretch DVD, Cold Start. “What I’m trying to do is introduce Pilates and yoga to men and more resistance training to women,” he says. “Exercise science shows that if both sexes begin to understand how the other half lives, then they will ultimately be stronger, more flexible, leaner, more cardiovascularly fit and well-rounded. There’s a little warm-up [in each routine], but we get right into it to jam-pack as much as we can.” Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Horton’s notorious muscle-confusion is also taken up a notch in X3 by introducing his breakthrough “Acceleration System” and different ways of approaching the program overall. “There’s a lean option for people who want to burn more calories and do less resistance,” explains Horton. Don’t be fooled, though—this is not a graduate program. “It’s for everybody and anybody that just wants to get in shape, maybe for the first time, and be able to sustain it.”

Shipping and handling is free if you order in December! Place your order before Sunday to get it in time for the holidays. (Photo courtesy of Beachbody)

With the holidays quickly approaching, P90X3 is the perfect gift for both yourself and fit friends looking for big changes in the new year. Just remember, your dream body won’t happen over night, says Horton. But your results will be “off the chain” if you put in the time, eat right and stick with it long-term. “If your purpose and your plan are aligned, then it doesn’t become this short-term goal of losing weight or shaping a body part to look good in clothing. Ultimately, the goal here is more of a bigger picture, focusing on the things that you can control today so you’re more consistent.”

What does the 55-year-old former stand-up comedian have on his resolutions list for 2014? “I’d like to hold a handstand for a minute—a free handstand without a wall,” he says. Get this: He’s held one for 59 seconds before – twice. So close! But setting achievable goals are the key to success, Horton advises, adding that 40 pull-ups in a row is another thing he’s working on. “I’ve done 37. I think I was a monkey in a past life!” We’ll stick with a goal of one…maybe two.

More from FITNESS:

Work Out with Erin Andrews Without Leaving Your Living Room

Written on December 10, 2013 at 9:34 am , by

Erin Andrews has been a longtime fan of Physique57, and now you can get in on the trimming and slimming secret too! (Photo courtesy Physique57)

Is it just us, or has December shown up out of nowhere? It’s like the human equivalent of the gym buddy you totally forgot about, who suddenly pops up on the treadmill next to you.  And now there’s a ton to do, aside from keeping your usual to-do list from driving you headfirst into a tin of your neighbors chocolate chip cookies (but they’re so good!). Thankfully, Physique57 is helping you battle your cookie curves and holiday stress with its latest at-home workout, featuring FOX Sports anchor Erin Andrews.

It’s no secret that tons of celebrities use Physique57 to get lean and toned, but thanks to the brand’s pay-per-workout or total online streaming subscription, you can see what the barre is all about, even if you don’t have a studio near you. Get started here to sculpt and strengthen with Andrews for just $10. That’s it! We bet the tin your neighbor delivered those cookies in cost more than that.

More from FITNESS: The Tight Abs and Tush Workout: Ballet-Inspired Moves

Actress Tia Mowry’s Path to Healthy Living

Written on December 4, 2013 at 10:00 am , by

Tia Mowry puts her hands together for a flu-less holiday season and a healthy 2014. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for FluMist Quadrivalent)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Actress Tia Mowry (we know you’ve seen throwback show Sister, Sister) has quite a few projects on her plate. From the premier of her new television show, Instant Mom, on Nick at Nite to the postpartum products brand she is developing with twin sister Tamera, it was amazing she found the time to sit down for a chat with us! And one thing is for sure—despite her hectic schedule, her top two priorities remain in tact: her family and her health.

Despite marrying a man with a passion for health and wellness, Mowry wanted to discover it in her own way. Unfortunately, her journey began with a sudden diagnosis of endometriosis, an extremely painful infertility disorder. She quickly gained control of her health, though, and hasn’t slowed down since. “I wanted to have kids, so my doctor told me, ‘Tia, you’re going to have to change your diet,’” she says. After following the Body Ecology Diet for a full year, which focuses on alkalizing the body, Mowry became pregnant with her son Cree. “I’m now a believer that food can be medicine.”

Mowry also decided to try veganism earlier this year to help with other physical ailments – eczema, migraines and genetically high cholesterol – and she could not be happier with the decision. “What I like most about it is the emotional benefit that I get, realizing and understanding that I am doing the best that I can possibly do for my health,” she says. “I feel better, I have more energy, my eczema has disappeared, I no longer get migraines and my cholesterol levels are now fine.”

When it comes to working out, Mowry is all about doing what she loves, thanks to the advice she got after meeting yoga pro Tara Stiles. The routine that’s captured her heart? Dance cardio. “I was the type of person who would be out on the dance floor until the club closed, so I’m doing all types of dance cardio now,” says Mowry. “I’ve done Zumba, I’ve done Piloxing—which is boxing and Pilates at the same time—and I go to classes.” Oh, and she doesn’t look to the mirror for her workout motivation. “It’s not about what I look like; it’s about how I feel. When I focus on that, I actually find that I work out more,” she says. And cute workout clothes don’t hurt! She picks her outfit the night before for a little motivational push the following morning to get up and go have fun with her fitness.

This season Mowry teamed up with Flumist Quadrivalent, a nasal spray influenza vaccine option, to address another health issue she is passionate about now that she has little Cree to consider. “In the past, I did overlook flu vaccinations,” she says. “But after understanding how the flu can take a huge toll on an entire family, I started making it part of my annual routine. I want to protect my family.”

Mowry has experienced quite the journey to health and fitness, so maybe we should take a note or two from her book. “Changing your lifestyle takes time, so don’t get frustrated,” she suggests. “We have a lifetime to get this right, so don’t be too hard on yourself—it’s not beneficial. Start out slow and then build up your momentum and endurance. And just do what you love to do! I have seen a big change in my body since Tara gave me that advice.”

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Get Fit, Fab and Happy With Kate Hudson

Written on December 3, 2013 at 9:17 am , by

Shape up in style! Kate Hudson makes sweat sexier than ever. (Courtesy of Fabletics)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

From maintaining her successful acting career to wrangling her two energetic young boys, Kate Hudson has no problem keeping busy. If anything, she has to take advantage of every spare minute to strike a healthy balance within her life. So when the fashion subscription company Just Fab Inc. approached her about collaborating on a lifestyle athletic wear line, Hudson jumped on board.

Fabletics, the result of the collaboration, offers women affordable, high-quality and stylish active apparel that works for running errands, brunching with the girls and, of course, getting your sweat on! “I loved the idea,” says Hudson. “What was really inspiring to me was that we came together to find a way to make it affordable and create a larger community of women to learn about things they could do to motivate the first steps of that part of their life.” Each month the website debuts around 30 new outfits, and now that they have the basics covered, expect to see more sweats, different T-shirt styles and even some snakeskin leggings.

This new venture has not only helped Hudson connect with a new community of women, but it’s also given her the opportunity to spend more time with family. “I love my day job, but I’m also a mom, and my day job takes me away from my kids a lot. So it’s nice to have another outlet that I can do at home that still has a creative entity,” she notes. “It lets me take something that is important to me and hopefully inspire people to start getting healthy and fit and happy.”

As far as keeping herself fit is concerned, Hudson works with celebrity trainer and Pilates pro Nicole Stuart for that extra push of motivation. “She does these series of stomach and core exercises that are brutal, but what I like about them is knowing that it’s working from the inside-out and not the outside-in.” If Hudson had it her way, however, she would simply dance. “I just jump around and dance and play loud music and move around until I start sweating,” she says.

This fun free-styling doesn’t always get the job done, which is why the bombshell uses a little mental trick to change the way her body feels when she isn’t in the mood for a tough workout. “When something is painful and hurts and burns, when I really want to say, ‘Ugh, no!’ I’ll say, ‘Yes!,’” explains Hudson. “It’s not really what I’m feeling, but it’s how I’m make myself do it again.” When she isn’t dancing or working on her Pilates with Stuart, she sticks to high reps of dancing-style squats, focusing on the lifting and stretching movements that help keep her legs lean and toned.

At the end of the day, “it’s really about what you can do to have a happier way of life,” she says. “Any activity that you do to get your blood flowing is going to open up a more optimistic part of your brain and allow everything in your life to become more efficient. It makes for a more present way of life, where people can be more present for their children, their relationships, their jobs and most importantly, really connect with themselves.”

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Music Monday: How Katy Perry Roars Into Tip-Top Tour Shape

Written on December 2, 2013 at 9:23 am , by

Munching on healthy snacks helps Perry stay on track. (Photo courtesy of Popchips)

Whether you’re “Dressin’ Up” for a hot night out on the town or struggling to be “Wide Awake” for an early bird spin class, Katy Perry has the turn-it-up tune to tap into your inner-rockstar. I mean, is there a better workout anthem than “Roar?” I don’t think so.

In true Perry fashion, her newest album PRISM delivers hit after girl-power hit, all with that go-getter ‘tude we know and love (And talk about total arm envy in her music video “Unconditionally,” which was released last week). So how did the starlet shape up for her upcoming world tour? We got her svelte secrets and put together a killer playlist of our Katy faves for you to pop on whenever you need a boost.

Hit the Trail. “I prefer to get my exercise outside,” says Perry, confessing her love for hiking and bike riding with friends. Just don’t get her started early in the a.m. “I love feeling stronger and clearer-minded after a workout, but I HATE mornings!” What does she jam out to as she tackles the terrain? Drake, Lorde, Sky Ferreira and HAIM.

Strong is Sexy. “When I’m on tour, I get into a pretty steady rhythm so it’s not that hard to get in a workout every day,” says the avid SoulCycler. “I need to work out to keep my stamina up for singing and dancing at my shows.” When it comes to a gym sweat sesh, Katy (oftentimes sporting Adidas attire) kicks it with one of our fave trainers, Harley Pasternak, known in Tinseltown for his firm-and-burn routines. After a 15-minute warm up, the duo tackle two to three full-body exercises with weights, followed by three to four muscle group-specific exercises. “He has me constantly moving,” she says. Katy’s strengthening circuit is followed by cardio—she enjoys skipping rope to spike her heart rate!

Plan for Success. “The challenge on tour is eating healthy because not every place you go has fresh food,” she says. To avoid getting stuck with preservative-packed snacks, the singer comes prepared for on-the-go noshing with Popchips. Her signature flavor, Katy’s Kettle Corn, is a winner—just like her!

Chef Robert Irvine’s Tips for Transforming Turkey Day Leftovers

Written on November 29, 2013 at 10:13 am , by

Chef Robert Irvine makes whipping up healthy leftover dishes possible. (Photo courtesy of Robert Irvine)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, and you’ve likely allowed a little (hopefully!) indulgence to occur, what are you supposed to do with all the leftovers hanging out in the fridge? Celebrity chef Robert Irvine from Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible is here on behalf of Gold’s Gym with a few tips for making the most out of Thanksgiving scraps while leaving our diets in tact, of course.

First and foremost, think ahead when preparing each dish for the big day. Make more of the vegetable-based sides so you have healthier leftovers to work with the following day. And watch the cooking time! “I like vegetables that still have texture to them,” says Irvine. “When we cook carrots, we don’t cook them so you can actually squash them in your hand. They should have some bite to them, so when you reutilize them the next day, they still have nutrients in them.”

And on the flipside, make fewer desserts to avoid the post-holiday sweets binge. While Chef Irvine is a believer in ending every meal with a bite of something sweet (read: not a handful of cookies!), he doesn’t go to town on the holiday pumpkin and pecan pies. “I make individual servings so that everybody gets one and that’s it. There is no seconds and therefore there’s no leftovers and I don’t have to deal with it staring at me the next day,” he says. “There’s only the good stuff.”

When it comes to the main attraction, there are plenty of ways to reinvent Mr. Turkey that don’t include two slices of gravy-soaked bread. Irvine combines the star ingredient with cranberry, brussel sprouts or cabbage and mashed potatoes—white or sweet—and gives the typical potato cake an upgrade. After chopping and combining all of the leftover ingredients, form each cake, coat them in egg white and panko breadcrumbs, pan-fry and top with a runny, poached egg. Now that’s a post-Thanksgiving breakfast! Check out this version of his recipe where good-for-you collard greens take center stage.

Otherwise, try making risotto without your leftover potatoes. Chef Irvine poaches diced potatoes and combines them with chicken stock, sour cream, chopped parsley, a little salt and white pepper, and uses it as a risotto. “People look at me like I’m crazy, but it’s really good and healthy,” he says.

And as far as those leftover carrots are concerned, why not transform them into a gourmet salad dressing? Reheat them in chicken or vegetable stock and blend them in a blender with fresh, unpeeled ginger and a teaspoon of stone ground mustard. Add a little grapeseed oil and sparkling water, and voila! “You have a brand new carrot and ginger dressing for salads that will keep for a week or so. And you can do that with any othervegetable you have left,” says Irvine.

Last but not least, a solid post-workout recovery meal is key for a guy who loves fitness almost as much as he loves food. Chef Irvine uses Thanksgiving turkey and vegetables in a fresh egg white frittata, which he serves cold, Spanish-style. After letting the pie cool, he plates slices alongside fresh tomato pico de gallo and smoked salmon. “That’s our post-workout meal and it only takes 25 minutes to make,” he says. You leave it on the side, let it cool down, wrap it up and leave it in the fridge. Then it’s always there to munch on.” Maybe the day (and weekend) after Thanksgiving won’t be such a diet disaster after all.

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Music Monday: The Sexiest Men Alive Should Be On Your Playlist

Written on November 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm , by

Every year, we patiently wait for People magazine to release their latest list of sexiest men, and which stud will grace the cover to be crowned Sexiest Man Alive. It came as no surprise that Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine claimed the title this go ’round – after all, anyone who tunes in weekly to see him coach on The Voice knows the guy can turn on the charm. His bromance with Blake Shelton, another singer topping the sexy men list, and recent engagement to model Behati Prinsloo doesn’t hurt either (someone managed to lock him down!). But he’s not the only smoldering star on the list. Luke Bryan, Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars can all be found too, and with swoon-worthy songs coming from each of their albums, again, we’re not surprised. So get a little boost during your next workout and plug into this playlist made only of the Sexiest Men of 2013. And hey, picturing them with their shirts off probably won’t hurt either…