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Ride a Bike, Win a Bike: Pledge to Pedal with Element Hotels

Written on June 25, 2014 at 11:21 am , by

Living in NYC, it’s pretty safe to say that most people (at least the ones that work at FITNESS) would prefer to take a breezy bike ride to work any day over a crowded, sweaty subway commute. And because we know you love jumping at every opportunity to get your heart pumping and sweat glands going, we figured you’d get just as excited as we are about this cool program.

Element Hotels is launching its third annual Pledge to Pedal initiative, which encourages participants to ride his or her bike one day each week instead of driving a car. The bonus? Element will give away a custom-made Mott Street Cycles bicycle (hello, dream bike!) every week for 10 weeks. Yes, you read that right—a new bike will be given out EVERY WEEK.

How do you enter to win? Simply head to Element Hotels’ Facebook page, sign up on the “Pledge to Pedal” tab by August 27th, and get pedaling. That’s it!

What we love most about this initiative—you don’t have to be a guest at any Element Hotel, or live in a certain city, to join in. To us, that’s a rad testament to the company and their dedication to helping people stay healthy all summer. But if you do happen to be traveling—and stay at an Element Hotel—you’ll find an array of Mott Street bikes in the lobby ready for you to use. Fit vacations? We’re in.

Photo courtesy of Element Hotel 

More from FITNESS:

Everything You Need to Know About Bicycling and Spinning

What’s Your Bike Type?

FITNESS Gear Guide: The Best Biking Gear

How to Fight Allergy Season and Still Sweat Outside

Written on June 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm , by

Getting outdoors for a workout is great, especially after the polar vortex we were all trapped in this winter. But when you’re an allergy sufferer, sweating amidst pollen is, well, less than ideal, and it can wreak havoc all over your immune system. So if you’re sniffling, sneezing and coughing your way through daily routines, heed this advice from our favorite weatherman, Sam Champion. Yep, turns out weather patterns play a major role in your workout schedule.

Find the right meds. As easy as it may be, grabbing meds from your allergy-suffering bestie isn’t the best road to travel. Their allergies may stem from a different type of pollen or have high counts in a different season, or they may experience more or less severe symptoms than you. Champion suggests touching base with your doc, and shop around before settling on a solution. Whether it’s over the counter or prescription, chances are you’ll find something that provides serious relief.

Protect your peepers. You already know inhaling pollen isn’t the best, but keeping your eyes clear is just as important. “Pollen can come through any mucus membrane that’s open, so you have to worry about not only breathing it in when you’re running, but not allowing it to be absorbed through your eyes,” says Champion. Invest in a solid pair of sunglasses to keep in the clear—we like Oakley’s Break Points.

You don’t need to be an early bird. “The old-fashioned wisdom was that you need to get out in the morning before pollen counts get too high,” says Champion. But if you’re heading into windy weather, it doesn’t matter much—”pollen is still active in the morning, and wind will kick that pollen up.” Check your local pollen count as soon as you wake up to determine when it’s going to be best to sweat.

Know your area. “Pollen is very, very local and though it can travel for 30 to 60 miles easy in the wind, you need to know what’s happening in your region,” advises Champion. The Weather Channel, where Champion now works, pulls up those numbers by zip code, making it an easy search. Unfortunately, there isn’t a general scale of what’s “too high,” Champion says, but paying attention to your symptoms is key. Which leads me to my next point…

Watch your symptoms. Notice tons of, er, snot build-up going on? It may be time to head indoors. If that’s coupled with swollen eyes, your body is trying to tell you to quit. “When your body is building mucus, it’s trying to fight the pollen,” explains Champion. “It’s trying to grab that pollen and get it out of your system because it’s an irritant.” If you still want to get your cardio on, try these no-boredom cardio routines.

Run in the rain. Besides the fact that it’s just plain fun (come on, you did it as a kid!), rain is an allergy-sufferer’s best friend. “Rain is like a giant filter,” says Champion. “If you put a water filter on your tap, you get clear water out and all the gunky stuff is separated. And that’s what rain does to air; rain cleans it. So right after the rain, no matter what the pollen count is, boom—get outside and do your run.”

Keep your home clean. We’re not saying you don’t, but are you keeping pollen out of the house? I, for one, have no idea if I am. Champion’s quick tip to find out: grab one of those cute throw pillows on your couch and give it a good slap. If dust or little particles pop up and appear (you can see them really well in sunlight), then pollen is in the home. Champion uses Febreze’s Fabric Refresher Allergen Reducer to take action when that happens. “After I spray the fabric surfaces, it forms a protective shield, almost like a net. If I hit the pillow again, nothing will show up.” Basically, that shield is locking the dust and pollen into the pillow until you get around to vacuuming it, which will remove about 95 percent of the nasty stuff. Phew.

More from FITNESS: 

5 Seasonal Allergy Remedies

6 Outdoor Workout Hazards 

How to Train with a Running Buddy 

 

Tara Stiles Wants To Bring Your Yoga Game to Bali

Written on June 23, 2014 at 10:44 am , by

I know it’s a busy day, but you’re already checking this out, so do me a favor: close your eyes.

Did you do it?

OK, do it again, but this time take a deep breath and imagine you’re standing on a quiet beach at sunrise, feeling the cool sand between your toes and hearing the gentle lapping of the waves nearby. You’re wearing the cutest workout gear (obviously) and ready to take your yoga practice to the next level. Oh, and here comes Tara Stiles, world-renowned yoga instructor (and super cute to boot), ready to help you conquer that one pose you’ve been struggling with all year.

Sounds pretty marvelous, right? Now, I’m not the type to give you all these good ideas without also providing a chance for you to make all of it a reality. Enter Stiles’ partnership with W Hotels, and their #PoseWhenever contest.

With little to no time to ourselves these days, it feels like a miracle if we squeeze in a workout at all, especially when traveling and feeling all sorts of jet-lagged—and “rebel” yogi Stiles gets that. She even has a pose for that, actually. So she teamed up with W Hotels—where she often stays when globe-trotting herself—to create FIT with Tara Stiles, an in-room program with a video and tip cards that you can practice whenever, wherever. And when I say wherever, I mean it—girl has ideas for getting bendy in the bathtub! Basically, making your health a priority, even if only for a few minutes, is easier than ever.

Now, back to this yoga on the beach scenario. You want in, don’t you? All you have to do is log onto Instagram and start showing off. Simply upload your best poses and use the #posewhenever hashtag and you’re automatically entered to win a trip for two to Bali, where you’ll stay at the W Retreat and Spa for 3 nights, and flow through a session with Stiles. But hurry, you only have until July 2nd to impress Stiles and those W Hotels judges. As a yogi-in-the-making, I’ll be checking out the hashtag for some serious fitspo, and I may even enter a few ‘grams myself.

More from FITNESS:

Win a Trip to Punta Cana – On Us!

Take the #VersaChallenge—and Win a $5,000 Shopping Spree!

Yoga for Beginners

Fitness Trackers Unite! The New Fitt App Creates a Battle of the Bands

Written on June 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

“Oh this? It’s just this thing I wear that tracks my sleep … and my steps … and calories burned.” A furrowed brow, accompanied by a silent, slow nod is the usual reaction I’ve received, following my Fitbit Flex fitness tracker spiel. But, for the many fitness fanatics who’ve embraced the tracker world, they’ll be excited to know that Fitt has just launched a new app that will seriously challenge Jawbone UP, Moves and Fitbit lovers to hit new goals.

The app (available now in the iTunes app store!) creates a fitness community for tracker users to join in on group challenges and motivate each other. Even better, getting started couldn’t be easier. All users have to do is download the app and sync it to their fitness tracker app. Instantly, you’ll be connected with friends, no matter what kind of fitness tracker they are using.

After you’re synced up, go ahead and add friends, scope out user profiles and most importantly–join group challenges. The day I signed up, the app showed that there were two challenges in progress. The first was a Fitbit-Jawbone UP face-off, challenging each team to take the most average daily steps for a month. The second challenge is the “June 18K a Day” challenge where all participants aim to take 18,000 steps a day in June. Yes, you heard that right: 18K per day. Cardio anyone?

Naturally, I jumped on the bandwagon for both. (… Go Fitbit!)

With Fitt there is nothing to lose (except the occasional pound  or two). And let’s be honest, most of us could use an extra reminder to get active every now and again, right?

More from FITNESS:

Data Crunch: The Best Fitness Trackers

6 Ways Exercising Helps Your Mental Health

Free Workouts in NYC You Have to Try This Summer

 

APL’s New Sneaker Promises to Take Minutes Off Your Mile

Written on June 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm , by

Written by Katie Maguire, fashion assistant

It’s official: Athletic Propulsion Labs has launched the coolest new running shoe. APL is an athletic footwear company founded by the adorable Goldston twins, who know what they’re talking about when it comes to sports: both played basketball and football at the University of Southern California. Shortly after the brand’s initial launch in 2009, it gained widespread attention when the NBA banned all players from wearing APL basketball shoes, which claimed to help basketball players jump higher than normal, thanks to a spring-like device hidden inside the shoe. With press like that, the company quickly designed new ways to revolutionize all athletic shoes.

Their new running line includes 3 collections: The Joyride, The TechloomTM and The Windchill, each of which is designed to reduce stress on your feet in order to maximize your energy while running. We have yet to test the shoes out, but if this company’s past is any indication, I don’t want to wait much longer. To learn more about the company or buy a pair for yourself, check out their website. And be sure to post your results in the comments section below!

Photo courtesy of APL 

More from FITNESS:

Lighten Your Stride: How to Transition into Minimalist Sneakers

Vending Machine Equals…Running Gear? Westin’s Social Media-Activated Machine Gives FREE Equipment

Ready, Set, Run! Training Plans for a 5K, 10K, and Half-Marathon

 

Free Workouts in NYC You’ve Gotta Try This Summer

Written on June 17, 2014 at 10:23 am , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

After such a long winter, there’s one thing we know for sure: it’s going to be really difficult to get us to choose an indoor workout over an outdoor one. Even in humidity-high NYC, we want to feel the sunshine while we sweat. 

Lucky for us, a bunch of top-of-the-line active brands understand where we’re coming from. And they get that our wallets are feeling pretty tight these days. Thankfully, our workouts won’t suffer from that unfortunate fact, because all summer long Lole, Discover Outdoors, and South Street Seaport are offering up fun, FREE (yes, we said free) sweat sessions. Here’s your breakdown: 

Hudson River Park Pier 25 in Tribeca: Lole, a global active-wear brand for women, is offering complimentary weekly wellness classes called “meet-ups.” From full-body workouts to yoga and dancing, add these meet-ups to your Google Calendar every Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Going until August 19th, each workout will be led by popular fitness experts, including NBC’s The Biggest Loser trainer Brett Hoebel and Sadie Kurzban. Personally, you may see me trying to bust a move to some 305 Fitness on the July 1st. Sign up here to join

In Every Borough: Discover Outdoors will invade New York City with its annual Outdoor Rise adventure week. From June 21st through June 27th, they will sponsor more than 50 outdoor events across the boroughs, including kayaking trips, rock climbing ventures, hiking expeditions, and bike rides. While this one isn’t completely free, each workout is $5 or less, and the proceeds go to the Discover Outdoors Foundation, a nonprofit organization that benefits underprivileged inner-city youth through outdoor activities and education. We’re totally willing to sacrifice one day of Starbucks to help out a good cause and get our sweat on. Sign up here if you are, too. 

South Street Seaport: As part of their new SEE/CHANGE 2014 campaign, The South Street Seaport is offering a variety of activities that will keep you moving, including yoga and throwback aerobics, or “retro-robics” (super-neon spandex, anyone?). Classes will take place every weekday from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. until August 29th; just check the schedule to find your fit. And yes, this one is completely free, too. 

See, we’ve got your back. Now tweet us @FitnessMagazine and tell us what your favorite #summerworkout is!

Photo courtesy of Discover Outdoors

 More From FITNESS:

Get Motivated: The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

10 Exercises to Turn the Outdoors into a Gym

Hiking Guide: What You Need to Know Before You Go 

Find Your Calm in the Middle of Times Square

Written on June 16, 2014 at 10:01 am , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

Honking cars, a sea of people, lit-up billboards and a naked cowboy serenading tourists. It sounds like a place of chaos (and trust us, it is most days), rather than a serene place to practice yoga. This Saturday and Sunday, however, the Athleta “Mind Over Madness” two-day yoga event is back again, taking over the heart of Times Square and challenging NYC-based yogis to restore the body, mind and spirit in the midst of city life.

So why would you want to submit yourself to a crowd of half-naked people getting bendy, when you can do it in the comfort of your own home (or just a clean studio)? Besides the fact that it’s a crazy fun and challenging way to celebrate the summer solstice, the money raised by MINDBODY Connect will benefit Bent on Learning, a nonprofit organization committed to teaching yoga to NYC public school children, and Urban Zen, an integrative therapy program.

And just in case you forgot what the summer solstice is (hey, we’ve all been there), it’s the one day of the year, usually around June 21st, that signals the official start of summer. In addition to it commencing the blissful time of year for flip flops, days at the beach and all things warm and wonderful, it is also the one day when the sun reaches its greatest height, shines longer and sets later, meaning more time for all sorts of outdoor fun (and calorie burning, obvs).  

Although day one is already sold out, day two on Sunday, June 22, is still open for registration, with the first class starting at 8 a.m. and the final class beginning at 2:30 p.m. Classes run for 1.5 hours, cost $20 and are taught by master instructors, including renowned yoga teacher Rodney Yee and meditation guru Alan Finger.

So go on and register for an altogether unique experience to find peace of mind amidst a crazy-busy schedule. And don’t forget to tag us (@FitnessMagazine) and use #SolsticeTsq in the swoon-worthy Instagram shots we know you’ll take—after all, you’ll get to tell all your friends (thus making them jealous) that you did yoga in Times freaking Square. How cool is that?!

Photo courtesy of Derek Goodwin

More from FITNESS:

The Beginner’s Guide to Yoga 

You’re Overthinking It! Tips to Stress Less

3 Ways to Take Control of a Stressful Day

 

We Tried It: Speed Camp, Part 3

Written on June 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Get Inspired By The Greats

Meet Mohamed “Mo” Farah

He’s a double gold medalist in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the London Olympic Games. Here, Mo’s top tips:

Take care of your body. If you want to get faster, the most important thing you can do is stay injury-free. “I do this by wearing the right shoes and training sensibly,” says Farah. “I also look after my body: take ice baths, get massages, do my weights.”

Have a race day ritual. Sticking to a routine will help you stay calm on the big day. “Most of my races are in the evening,” says Farah. “So I wake up and go for a little jog in the morning. When I come back, I have breakfast and shave my head. In the afternoon, I listen to some music and take a nap.”

Get in the zone. Feeling nervous? “Think back about your training and how hard you’ve worked,” says Farah. “That’s what really gets me going.” 

Now meet Carmelita Jeter

No wonder her nickname is “The Jet.” This Olympic gold medalist and American sprinter who specializes in the 100-meter is the fastest woman in the world. Down-to-earth Jeter is all about the three C’s:

Catnaps: On days when she has an especially rigorous workout, she takes a 30- or 60-minute nap to help her body recover. “Every night, I try to get at least eight to ten hours of sleep,” she says.

Core work: “During the season, I have a special trainer who focuses just on the core muscles,” she says. “It’s not just about lifting tons of weights. It’s about making sure I have a strong foundation.”

Cupcakes: Jeter started working with a nutritionist last year, who has her eating baked fish and chicken and lots of veggies and brown rice. But she doesn’t deprive herself. “People assume that because I’m an athlete, I never eat anything sweet,” says Jeter. “I will tear up some cupcakes. One cupcake is not going to ruin the diet.”

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Speed Camp, Part 1

Speed Camp, Part 2

Equinox’s Flow Play

We Tried It: Speed Camp, Part 2

Written on June 10, 2014 at 2:06 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Your Speed Secret Weapon

Alex Molden, a retired football player who spent eight seasons as a defensive back in the NFL, knows a little something about speed. I met him on the field at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium, where he played for the Ducks. Today he’s a master trainer for Nike—you may recognize him if you’ve played the Nike+ Kinect Training game for Xbox360; he’s the trainer.

One of the most effective ways to increase your speed, says Molden, is resisted running. That’s what I’m doing in the photo above. You run with a belt around your waist with a bungee cord attached to it. Your partner (in my case, an extremely ripped former NFL player) jogs behind you, holding on to the cord to provide steady resistance. We did 10-yard sprints—burn, baby, burn!

Another killer speed builder? Stair running.

Try them both, but keep in mind Molden’s sprint-form secrets:

Arms: Move them back and forward, not across the body. Think of your palms going from cheek (of your face) to cheek (of your bum).

Knees: Keep knees high, bring them up to 90 degrees.

Feet: They should be flexed and driving down.

Check back for Speed Camp, Part 3, tomorrow!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Speed Camp, Part 1

Doonya Fitness Party

NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up 

We Tried It: Nike Speed Camp

Written on June 9, 2014 at 4:46 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Try This Workout! 

When I got the invitation to attend Nike Zoom Speed Camp in Eugene, Oregon, (a.k.a. Tracktown, USA), I was equal parts nervous and excited. Excited because I’ve had a love affair with running since I joined the high-school cross-country team as a tenth grader (how amazing to run on the track at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, following in the footsteps of Steve Prefontaine and dozens of Olympians). Nervous because I’ve never been particularly, well, speedy. My running style has always been more tortoise than hare.

I was shaking in my Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 sneakers when I met my coach: Rory Fraser, one of the best distance runners in the country and the second fastest 5,000-meter runner in the U.K. Gulp. Fraser put me at ease by insisting that speed work is for everyone, not just elite athletes. Then he put me to work on the track doing one of his favorite speed drills, a pyramid workout. You push yourself to run faster over increasingly longer distances, then come back down to where you started. Try our workout—don’t forget to do an easy jog to warm-up and cool-down, as well as some dynamic stretching beforehand. 

And for those who need a reminder, 400 meters is one lap around the track. So here you’ll be doing either a half lap, a full lap, or two laps throughout the workout. Happy sweating!

  • 200 meters fast
  • 200 meters jog
  • 400 meters fast
  • 400 meters jog
  • 800 meters fast
  • 400 meters jog
  • 400 meters fast
  • 200 meters jog
  • 200 meters fast

Check back for Speed Camp, Part 2, tomorrow!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Body Conceptions

JumpLife Gym

DailyBurn’s Inferno HR