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How Gymnast Aly Raisman Stays Fit and Motivated During Her Off Season

Written on January 23, 2014 at 9:04 am , by

U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman sported bright pink and coral Reeboks during her ZQUICK video shoot last week. (Photo courtesy of Reebok)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

With the Winter Olympics around the corner, we’re gearing up to cheer on Team USA—and so are some of our fave summer athletes like Aly Raisman! “I was just at the figure skating nationals where they pick the Olympic team, so I’m super excited to watch the girls compete,” says Raisman. “I’m also really looking forward to watching hockey.”

Rather than venturing to Sochi and cheering from the stands (that trip is expensive!), Raisman will be supporting her talented friends from the comfort of her own home, providing the perfect opportunity to keep up her own prep for the next time she’s in the spotlight. Back in September, Raisman resumed her training with two-a-day workouts where she focused on conditioning and floor events practice. “It feels great to be back,” she says. “It’s exhausting but I love it, so it’s definitely worth it.”

While the extensive training may wear her out, Raisman truly missed it during her traveling year off. Spending almost every night in a different hotel, she found it tough to squeeze in a 45-minute sweat session—that might be the norm for us, but this athlete is used to pushing her body for six to seven hours a day! Bouts of cardio and ab toning kept her sane though, and  she enjoyed “me” time during sprinting intervals on the treadmill while jamming to her favorite tunes. She also used creative bodyweight training to keep her arms and legs gymnast-strong.

Back at the grind, Raisman knows she has to fuel her body well to perform her best. “I love having Greek yogurt before a workout because it’s really light and has lots of protein,” she says. “After, I have a piece of fish or chicken with fruit or vegetables.”

She also thinks that, while she’s not superstitious, some strange habits are worth abiding by. “My coaches say that wearing black is bad luck. For competitions I am never allowed to wear a black leotard, use a black gym bag or wear black warm ups,” she says. “I guess I feel like black is bad luck too, since I have been with my coaches for almost ten years. I won’t even buy a black car!”

In the end, if there were one thing we could all learn from Raisman this year, it would be the power of a positive attitude. “I try to start every morning with a positive thought of an image of myself having a good workout,” she says. “One of my favorite quotes is, ‘Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.’ I always think about this when I’m at workout. If I feel nervous or anxious to compete, I always think of myself landing each skill and executing it really well.”

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The Fit Life of LPGA Pro Lexi Thompson

Written on January 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm , by

It’s all about hard work and determination for LPGA pro Lexi Thompson.

If you could play a round of golf with anyone in the world, dead or alive,who would it be? Leo Dicaprio is at the top of my list (obvi), but for Lexi Thompson, one of the LPGA’s hottest and youngest stars, Michael Jackson, Kellan Lutz and Tiger Woods all make the cut. Talk about a group of all-stars. Can I be your caddie, Lexi?

For the 18-year-old Florida native, golf has always been a way of life. Growing up she stayed active by  playing basketball and soccer, but putting was what she was best at. And it runs in the family – she grew up on the course (this chick started playing when she was just five years old!) watching her older brothers, Nick, who is currently on tour with the PGA, and Curtis, who is on a full golf scholarship at LSU, sink putts. With a little bit of their help and some major determination, Lexi soon became the youngest person to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2007, at the ripe age of 12. Seriously, that’s one superstar family!

Since practice makes perfect, Lexi spends a lot of time, both on and off the course, working out and staying fit. While training for a competition, she hits the gym three to four times a week with her trainer, Craig Slaunwhite (he’s the strength & conditioning coach for the NHL’s Florida Panthers), and takes hot yoga classes. When Lexi isn’t kicking butt and winning championships (her latest was the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November), she’s hosting clinics for young golfers. Her most important piece of advice: have fun. “I always tell people to go out and practice with a group of friends, and just have fun. Don’t grind yourself down!” So the next time we’re  struggling at the driving range, we’ll have to remind ourselves of that!

For a peek inside our interview with Lexi, check out the video below!

Rock at Life Like Christie Rampone: The Soccer Star Spills Her Do-It-All Secrets

Written on January 14, 2014 at 5:37 pm , by

Rampone juggles the soccer ball…and being a mom. (Photo courtesy of @christierampone3)

She’s one of the biggest names in the world of soccer, whether you’re looking at men’s or women’s teams. Christie Rampone. The superstar defender has been playing since 1997, experiencing firsthand major moments in the sport’s history (you know, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where she led the underdog team to come from behind and snatch gold. NBD.)  As the first U.S. player to compete for four Olympic teams - not to mention the only active player remaining from the 1999 World Cup championship team – she knows what’s what. But that doesn’t mean this captain is ready to retire her cleats. In fact, even though she admits the thought of coaching sounds appealing, that’s all it is – an idea. With her focus zeroed in on giving her all – whether that’s to her teammates or her family of four (husband, Chris,  and daughters Rylie and Reece) – Rampone is powering ahead, determined to stay on top of her game despite an ongoing battle with Lyme disease. We sat down with her to find out what it’s like being the only mom on the team, and how, even after thousands of hours of playing outside in the sun, she still manages to look so freaking fab. Steal her secrets below.

You’re one of the most iconic players in the sport, but you’ve also been able to work with other phenomenal athletes. Who have been some of your favorite teammates to play with? 

I’ve looked up to Kristine Lily from the start. As an older player, she always led by example and always gave 100 percent, and I always aspired to have that on the field. Playing with Shannon Boxx in front of me has been a lot of fun, the two of us being able to coordinate and lead on the field. And going up against Abby Wambach in training to then step it up on the field.

Our readers love proving that age is just a number. As one of the oldest active players, what are your thoughts on that? 

I think it’s great to be able to be that role model and aspire others to still compete and not look at age. Age comes up a lot for me, but I try to defer it and have them just look at my play. I’m not talking about the word retirement at this point – I’m going to continue to do what I love and just enjoy it while I can. My goal right now is to keep proving myself, earning my spot and helping grow the sport of soccer.

With the Sochi Games coming, I have to ask – if you were to compete in the winter Olympics, which sport would you choose? 

I would probably play ice hockey. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try to do because it’s a team sport – I don’t think I’d be good at an individual sport. Seeing how passionate they are [the hockey team], it coordinates with the soccer side. I think they’re just as inspiring. It looks fun but definitely challenging.

You’re the only mom on the team. How do you juggle parenting with being a team captain? 

It’s a lot. I try to balance it all by not overdoing one thing more than the other. For me, there are no days off, so being strong and healthy is critical. I compete every day on the field, and then I take care of my kids. But I think educating them is key. They know mom stays active – they see me run and lift, and we’ll bike to dinner if we’re going out, or bike to the soccer field. Reece loves that I pick her up from school every day on the bike.

As a player, becoming a mom has been great for me. It puts things in perspective, realizing that soccer is a privilege and I’m very lucky to be playing it for this long. And my kids help motivate me to be a better person and look after my teammates before myself. I have that motherly instinct, and I think that’s helped bring the whole sport full circle, rather than just thinking about myself on the field. It completes me.

You announced in 2011 that you have Lyme disease. How has that affected your career, and daily life? 

I take Epicor, which helps my immune system tremendously. It keeps my insides strong while I work to stay physically fit and keep my outside strong. Otherwise, I have to be mindful of the fatigue and try to stay ahead of the game, resting when it’s necessary. To stay mentally strong, I think of my teammates and the end goal – the World Cup. If I’m having a bad day and need to rest, then I do. But when I feel good I make sure I go all out. I’ve learned from experience when to push through and when my body is telling me to give it a rest.

I have to say, your skin looks fabulous. What are your beauty secrets? 

I drink a ton of water and use light makeup that my aunt makes to get that nice glow. Then I just eat right and take care of my body. I used to think I was invincible, but as you get older you realize how much time, energy and effort it takes every day to stay fit, so you become more mindful. And I use a little mascara to open up the eyes, and I’m good to go.

More from FITNESS:

Soccer Star Julie Foudy Talks Self-Esteem, Sports and Staying Fit

How U.S. Soccer Superstar Alex Morgan Prevents Injuries On and Off the Field

Landon Donovan Shares His Skin-Saving Tips

10 Awesome Music Videos to Work Out To

Written on January 10, 2014 at 9:37 am , by

vevo playlist with fitness magazine

Check out FitnessMagazine’s #GetFitParty playlist on Vevo.com!

It’s a #GetFitParty all month long for our FITNESS followers and we’ve got the perfect motivation for your workouts this weekend: Hot music videos that are fun to sweat to!

Our Instagram challenge this week has been for you to show us your “workout view,” i.e. what you see while you exercise…and we noticed quite a lot of you are working out at home. We teamed up with Vevo, the world’s leading music video platform, to create this playlist of FITNESS editor-selected videos to watch while you’re planking, squatting, or just going nuts on the treadmill. Enjoy!

Watch the full playlist here: FITNESS Magazine on Vevo

Or cherry pick which one(s) you’d like to watch:

 

Celeb Trainer Joel Harper’s Refueling Tips and Tricks (Plus His Must-Try Smoothie Recipe!)

Written on January 9, 2014 at 9:42 am , by

Joel Harper has never met a dessert he didn’t like. His short and sweet fix: fruit-filled protein smoothies. (Photo courtesy of Joel Harper)

New York City-based celebrity trainer Joel Harper knows a thing or two about building lean muscle. That’s why his star-studded clientele—ranging from Dr. Oz to Olympic medalists—keep him on speed dial. But sculpting that fit and firm dream bod doesn’t come from the gym alone – it starts in the kitchen. “When it comes to exercise, your body needs the fuel to make it work and then repair properly,” says Harper. “It needs the raw material to build muscle. The key is there are no shortcuts.”

Harper keeps his metabolism revved with three meals and five (yes, five!) snacks a day. “I’m always hungry, so I have healthy options automated,” he says. And don’t even think about giving him convenient, additive-laden garbage when his stomach starts to grumble. Harper sticks to organic grub and avoids anything pre-packaged, including dessert. So how does he curb his sweet tooth? He munches on fruit. “I love every kind of fruit and learning new healthy ways to eat them.”

One of his favorite techniques: blending fruit into a protein smoothie. It tastes great while pumping up muscle recovery and growth. Win, win. Harper whips one up like his go-to below within 30 minutes of a vigorous workout. Cheers!

Ingredients

Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

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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.”

More from FITNESS:

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.

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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