Written on November 27, 2013 at 11:22 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Maria Kang is just a mom—a mom gone viral, that is, when her ab-flaunting “What’s your excuse?” captioned photo sparked controversy and media scrutiny. Things had just died down for the Californian fitness enthusiast when she hit another nerve last week with a Facebook rant about plus-size women in lingerie.
Kang issued a warning about what she had to say, then vented her disapproval for those who encourage overweight women to be proud of their bodies. The mother of three urged her nearly 230,000 followers to change the mentality that’s sweeping the nation (sourcing multiple statistics), noting that she was not knocking those who are proud and heavy…but instead simply trying to empower healthy role models in society. Three hours later, Facebook removed her post and she was temporarily blocked from the site altogether.
“I think that everyone should love and accept their bodies,” Kang told FITNESS yesterday. “I don’t think that anyone can progress when they have a foundation of shame, so I didn’t want to seem like I was bashing them. No one should be ashamed of who they are. But there is a fine line that we’re walking, and that’s what I was talking about: When you say you love and accept yourself versus love and progress yourself.”
With two-thirds of our nation obese, $3 trillion being spent on health care, and childhood obesity on the rise, Kang believes there are multiple contributing factors tipping the scales, all in which stem from family. “Economically, it’s tougher to get good food when you’re poor,” she says. “Socially, if people around you are eating like crap and it’s normal, then it’s normalized. And culturally, if people are saying you’re okay being overweight, they keep on reinforcing this outlook.” The root of the problem, in her eyes, lies in leadership. “If the parents are healthy and they are healthy role models, then they can raise healthy kids. That’s just how it goes. It’s so simple but so hard when we live in such a blameful culture.”
So is she at fault for fat-shaming? Is the criticism warranted? According to Kang, she’s simply telling the truth and would never intend on hurting anyone’s feelings. “If you have excess body fat, especially around your midsection where your organs are, that’s not healthy for you,” she said in response to the recent backlash. “I think we should never shame anybody to lose weight. We should motivate them in a positive way, but when you say love and accept yourself, you’re creating not only a normalization, but a sedentary, complacent society.”
Although some have deemed Kang a pudge-loathing personal trainer, that’s not exactly the case. “I’m average…and nowhere near a size zero,” the former NASM-certified instructor said. She doesn’t work out for a living — her day job revolves around overseeing the ownership of two residential care homes for the elderly — but she loves volunteering her time to mommy exercise groups every Tuesday night. “I think your job is to be healthy if you’re a mom,” she added, a concept that provoked her founding of Fitness Without Borders, a community education and motivation non-profit.
So, why so passionate about the obesity epidemic? Kang, a former bulimic, witnessed first-hand the debilitating repercussions of the medical condition with her own mother. “She’s 52 years-old and has so many health issues. I work with people who are overweight by choice. I think that’s the reason why people are so pissed off; I’m telling them that they have a choice when they really want to have an excuse.”
Is it a choice? We at FITNESS believe someone can be fat but fit, and you can’t tell what’s going on with a person’s body just by the way they look. Regardless, Kang certainly knows how to stir the pot, and one thing we can totally get behind is her belief that small steps in the right direction can lead to major gains, which doesn’t happen over night. According to Kang, you have to be uncomfortable with where you are to desire change. “It’s not an all or nothing thing,” she said. “You have to take it one step at a time.”
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- The Anti-Diet: How Not Dieting Is the Key to Losing Weight
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Written on October 30, 2013 at 9:50 am , by Colleen Travers
We know, you barely have time to brush your hair in the morning let alone figure out when to get a flu shot. But these stats released from the Walgreens Flu Report might have you moving some things around on your schedule this year. Check out a few below:
- Last year 11 million vacations were missed (bummer!), a big jump from 4.7 million in 2011.
- U.S. employees missed, on average, three days of work from a flu-related illness in 2012-2013, up from just one day in 2010-2011.
- 17 million holiday events were missed, compared to 4.7 million in 2011.
- Hot date? Approximately 13.8 million dates or other occasions were canceled because of the flu–up from 5.1 million in 2011.
Talk about a buzzkill to your social life! And don’t put off your flu shot until November or later. Survey results show that 79 percent of Americans think it takes ten days or less for your body to build up its immunity after getting a flu shot, but it can actually take up to 14 days. Find a Walgreens pharmacy here to schedule your flu shot, because no one wants to bag an island getaway in the dead of winter.
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Written on October 18, 2013 at 11:26 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
I have always considered myself a “light sleeper.” The tiniest noise or change in room temperature has the ability to mess with my REM cycle, throwing me completely off course for days. Turns out I’m not alone, either. Forty-seven million adults in the United States alone suffer from sleep deprivation, so clearly we can all benefit from a few extra zzz’s, especially us athletes. We need it. That’s why when I met with the co-CEO of SHEEX, Michelle Marciniak, I was intrigued with the company’s devotion to improving sleep performance. From bedding like pillows, mattress toppers, comforters and duvet covers to now first-of-its-kind sleepwear (I’m obsessed with their nightie!), SHEEX brings the benefits of performance technology 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. for enhanced comfort and an overall better shut-eye experience. I mean, their motto is “Sleep Better. Play Better.” That’s something we can get behind.
As I’m sure many of you know from experience, traditional cotton sheets and sleepwear trap heat. I mean, hello tossing and turning! “SHEEX changes this by allowing the right amount of body heat to easily and effectively radiate away from the body, while also wicking moisture to provide additional comfort and evaporative cooling effect,” Michelle explained. Translation? Silky-smooth body enveloping that transfers body heat two times more effectively than cotton, which allows the body to cool itself for faster, deeper sleep onset. Oh, and 50 percent better temperature fluctuation reduction. That’s why so many professional and amateur athletes (as well as The National Sleep Foundation) endorse SHEEX!
As a former University of Tennessee All-American collegiate (ahem, my UConn Huskies big rival), professional basketball player and former University of South Carolina coach, Michelle knows about fitness and moreover how quality sleep translates to giving it your all on the court. In 2007, she and Susan Walvius were coaching together and after a long day of teaching camp, were sitting in the gym, exhausted. “Being a former elite level athlete and fitness fanatic, I was wearing my favorite performance fabric athletic gear, which I frequently trained in for triathlons,” Michelle told us. “Susan was also wearing the same gear but made a different connection on that summer day.” While Michelle loved the fabric for its quick-dry, moisture-wicking features, Susan loved “the drape and feel of the fabric against her skin.” That’s when Susan said, “I would love to have bed sheets made out of this stuff.” Without blinking an eye, Michelle was in and SHEEX was born.
So how did the dynamic duo use their basketball knowledge in their entrepreneurial venture? “The key to being a successful entrepreneur is surrounding yourself with people who have the experience and expertise from the industry you are entering,” Michelle explained. Although they had witnessed firsthand the evolution of athletic wear fabric throughout their careers, they were not very familiar with the textile industry. “What Susan and I knew is to wake up every day and get better. You are never satisfied with your performance as an athlete or coach. The day you become satisfied is the day that you will get crushed by your competition,” she said.
There are characteristics that athletes have innately, according to Michelle. “Commitment to excellence and passion that you tend to tap into naturally when dealing with a life after your athletic career,” she said. “You learn to use your sports culture to pivot into a career outside of your comfort zone just by tapping into what you have already known your whole life: Accomplishing goals through a tenacious work ethic and drive.” Life as an entrepreneur is no different. Every day, they set out to be better – setting risks and committing themselves wholeheartedly no matter what challenge arises. “The days rise and fall on your shoulders. If you are not out selling your vision, no one else is.” Whoa, talk about tenacity…discipline…and sacrifice.
So what’s the most important thing you need to make it when starting your own company in this dog-eat-dog world? Guts. “Thick skin, as we said in our athletic worlds,” she confessed. “You have to be willing to listen and learn, yet have the uncanny ability to adjust on the fly, making critical, strategic decisions with the utmost confidence and humility.”
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 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm , by mohrresults
Here at Mohr Results, we get more questions about dietary supplements than anything else. Women often want to know about the “best” supplement for fat loss or skin health, while sometimes it’s about energy, bone health, or general wellness.
Since the question comes up so often, we thought we’d share some of our favorites. But remember that supplements aren’t in place of a poor diet, but instead a complement to veggies, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats and grains. We actually refer to them as “complements” instead of supplements, since the intention is that they do just that. That being said, here are three complements/supplements we encourage adding to your own diet.
If we could take just one ‘complement’ this would be it. Most people do not get enough omega-3 fats. We certainly encourage increasing omega-3’s in the diet by eating more cold water fish — like wild salmon, anchovies and sardines — but also understand that these aren’t always the most popular. To complement our intake of fatty fish, we add Nordic Naturals fish oil to our daily regimen for us and our girls, who are 4 years-old and nearly 2 years-old. Omega-3 fats are important for heart health, brain health, recovery from workouts and so much more. A recent study even showed that up to 96,000 people die each year from not getting enough omega-3 fats.
When it comes to nutrition, the whole is better than the sum of the parts. In other words, ingredients and foods eaten together offer more benefit than a single nutrient. A quality multivitamin is an example of this in supplement form, providing a variety of essential vitamins and minerals important to the diet. We use, like, and trust Rainbow Light for Women and Rainbow Light for Men (for the guy in your life). The nutrients come from whole foods (versus just isolated nutrients) to complement what we eat in our diet.
Vitamin D is another common deficiency in the diet. It is challenging to get D from the diet; it comes from foods like sardines and anchovies, egg yolks, milk, and to an extent, mushrooms. But many people typically don’t usually eat enough of these foods, and relying on Vitamin D from the sun just exposes you to other health problems. (Using sunscreen is critical since it protects us from harmful UV rays, but it also blocks vitamin D conversion.) Most experts encourage a minimum of 1000 IU’s daily, which is easily found in a variety of ‘compliments.’
We both also use protein, regularly, but hardly consider that a supplement; it’s just a convenient source of nutrition.
Of course some women may have some other unique needs, like calcium or iron. But when considering the “basics” of what we believe all women would benefit from, it’s these 3 supplements. Daily.
Written on October 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Bring on the pink! National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is finally here, flaunting more proud ribbons, charitable events and philanthropic products than ever before (don’t forget to check out our fave product picks!). If you’re struggling to decide how you’d like to give back this month, pick a program that aligns with your passions, too. Here are three ways to get your sweat on and support thousands of women as they brave the breast cancer battle. Now that’s a win, win.
- Xtend Barre is hosting Plié for Pink on October 19 and 20 at its participating studios. Donate $30 to take this 75-minute barre bootcamp that really works your legs, glutes and core. Proceeds go to Bright Pink, the only national non-profit organization that focuses on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women.
- Real Pilates NYC challenges you to a Mat-a-Thon with pro instructor Regina Arras at its Tribeca studio on October 23. This 75-minute Pilates mat class puts your endurance to the test with 20 rounds of hardcore sculpting moves. Sign up with a $50 donation and see how long you can last. If you make it to the end, your donation is capped at $50. If you tap out early, your donation amount will increase depending on how many rounds you completed. All proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Game on!
- If Pilates isn’t for you, get your groove on at your local Zumba studio. The third-annual Party in Pink Zumbathons are held worldwide throughout the month with 75 percent of the event ticket fees going directly toward preventative research, a grant managed by Susan G. Komen.
For an added bonus, wear the FitBit Pink Flex Wristband ($99) during these workouts to track your crazy calorie burn. Throughout the month, FitBit will contribute $10 from every Pink Flex wristband sold to the American Cancer Society. Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and sport your pink power!
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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 September 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Jillian Michaels is at it again. The health and fitness expert, who’s known for her tough coaching on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, her toned body in her workout DVDs and inspiring outlook on life in her books, is taking on a new challenge. Tomorrow, Michaels’ first DietBet game launches, motivating participants all over the world to lose weight with the support of social media.
The Jillian Michaels DietBet will host a motivating community for anyone looking to improve their health. Each participant begins by placing $30 in the pot and submits a photo of themselves on their scales to DietBet’s referees (don’t worry, the pic is totally confidential). On Tuesday, September 24, the four-week countdown begins for each participant to lose 4 percent of their body weight. Everyone who completes the goal splits the pot evenly, pocketing some hard-earned cash. With 5,472+ players currently signed up, and the pot up to $164160, the game ought to be a fun one.
Using social media as a weight loss tool helps users compete with one another, and support and encourage one another’s goals simultaneously. Plus, each participant will receive nutrition advice, workout information and motivational tips from Michaels herself throughout the four weeks to help them succeed. “It’s the first of its kind, so not only is it one of a kind, it’s revolutionary,” says Michaels. “The concept makes weight loss fun, motivating and challenging! What could be cooler?” The financial incentive doesn’t hurt either.
Like with many of her other fitness projects, Michaels approaches this new challenge with loads of enthusiasm and little fear. “I just love being a part of something new. I don’t really have concerns,” says Michaels.” People bet $30 on themselves to succeed. If they lose 4 percent in 4 weeks, they get it all back and way more. The worst-case scenario is you spend 30 bucks to have me coach you to lose weight for a month. The best case is you lose the weight and make money doing it.”
Today is the last day to sign up for the Jillian Michaels’ DietBet. What are you waiting for?
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Written on September 23, 2013 at 10:34 am , by Colleen Travers
Not to be pessimistic, but when it comes to Americans, our glasses are half-empty these days–literally. According to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 43 percent of adults drink less than four cups of water a day and 7 percent drink no water at all. That’s why earlier this month FLOTUS Michelle Obama launched her Drink Up initiative to get people drinking more water and less of the sugary stuff. To get some tips on how to increase your water intake we chatted with Dr. Jenna Bell, RD. Follow her tips below and follow in the FLOTUS’ adequately hydrated footsteps:
- Jazz it up: Not one to drink boring old tap water? Try a water enhancer like Stur, sweetened with stevia, so there’s no added calories or sugar. The coloring from each flavor comes from vegetable juice and you can control how much want in your glass with a simple squeeze.
- Do as Diane Sawyer does: “She puts a glass of water by her bed and drinks it every morning when she wakes up, so now I do too,” says Bell. “If you’re going to take advice from anyone, take it from her because it’s clearly working!”
- Carry a water bottle: This isn’t exactly breaking news, but it is the easiest way to keep drinking as the day goes on. Buy a reusable bottle like S’well, who is partnering with Drink Up with a limited edition bottle that gives 10 percent of proceeds back to the foundation.
- Start meals with water: “A study in 2010 out of Virginia Tech looked at whether or not drinking water before a meal effects what we eat and weight loss. They found that two glasses of water before a meal helped shed weight and made participants eat less because water fills up your stomach,” says Bell.
- Order water every time you order a beverage: Coffee? Get water. Wine? Get water. Not only will you stay hydrated, you’ll probably fend off a hangover in the process.
Now tell us: What tricks do you use to drink more water?
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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