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Motivation

Amy Purdy’s 5 Tricks to Reaching Every Goal

Written on September 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm , by

Whether you cheered as she claimed bronze in snowboarding at the 2014 Paralympic Games, tuned in weekly to see her sweep across the dance floor—and claim second place—in last season’s Dancing with the Stars, or flipped through ESPN’s The Body issue to see her fierce figure, it wouldn’t surprise me if you’re a fan of Amy Purdy. You can’t watch the woman and not feel inspired by her determination, grit and positive outlook on life, especially when she’s faced her fair share of struggles (if you aren’t aware, Purdy contracted a near fatal case of  bacterial meningitis, resulting in the amputation of both legs and removal of her kidneys and spleen). And now that she’s touring the country with Oprah—yes, Oprah—for The Life You Want Weekend Tour, I had to find out: what are her secrets to success? Turns out, it’s mostly in your head. Steal her tricks below and get ready for all your dreams to come true.

Cut yourself some slack. Athletes are notorious for being incredibly hard on themselves when mistakes are made, which was a double-edged sword for Purdy at the beginning of Dancing with the Stars. “It’s really easy to beat yourself up,” says Purdy. “There were a lot of times that I missed a move or didn’t do something quite right and, at one point, I put pressure on myself and said, ‘This week I’m not making any mistakes.’

To change her mentality, Purdy listened to partner Derek Hough. “Derek would say it doesn’t matter and I need to absorb everything and be more proud of myself for what I did…So instead I asked myself, ‘If I mess up, how am I going to react?’ And toward the end of our season, when we did our jazz dance, I ended up—for the first time—messing up our footwork. I knew I was not doing the right thing but I absolutely committed to what I was doing and kept a smile on my face and enjoyed what I was doing. When I go back and watch the video I’m proud of myself because you can’t beat yourself up because of your failures or your mistakes. It’s truly about how you react and how you deal with them.”

Shift your perspective. If there’s one thing that would scare the snot out of me, it’d be posing in the nude. After all, “you have camera crews and photographers and you are very aware that you are naked, all eyes are on you and you can’t hide anything,” explains Purdy. But rather than focusing on imperfections, she embraced the meaning behind them when being photographed for ESPN’s The Body issue. “I have a lot of scars; I obviously lost my legs. It’d be so easy to focus on the things that I lost but I really try to focus on the things that I’ve gained and I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for losing my legs,” she says. “There’s something really empowering about going, ‘This is me. This is my scar, my stretch marks, and this is the body that’s gotten me this far.”

Sweat for fun, not work. As a professional athlete, this one may be trickier for Purdy than most. But doing a workout you’re excited about, rather than one you feel forced to finish, is critical to staying on top of your game, says Purdy. “Working out for me…[is] more to take care of myself and get those endorphins going versus it being a job like it was a few years ago,” she explains. “So I try to keep the same schedule and get in those daily workouts no matter where I am. Usually if I can do that then I feel like I’ve given back to myself and then I have the energy to give to others.” What do those workouts consist of? With a hectic travel schedule, Purdy relies on a lot of bodyweight exercises, like planks, squats and lunges, and plyometric moves like the ones found in this workout. “It’s amazing what just jumping can do for your quads and legs, “ she says.

Be positive…and let everyone in on it. “Before we would go out and dance, [Derek and I would] always have these positive affirmations,” explains Purdy. “If we were doing an upbeat dance and needed to get pumped up, we’d go up and down the halls and yell, ‘yes, yes, yes’ at the top of our lungs—I’m surprised the audience didn’t hear us! It’s amazing how much it would fill me with this positive power that I was really excited to go out and share with people.” So whether it’s quietly chanting a mantra or singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs (Purdy’s a fan of “Your Love” by The Outfield), don’t be afraid to express positivity that could lead to a perfect performance.

Surround yourself with inspiration. Whether it’s Derek Hough, Oprah, or one of the many female athletes that will participate in the ESPN Women’s Summit October 8-10th, Purdy always surrounds herself with other driven people. “I feel like inspiration is contagious,” she explains. “People are going there [to the Life You Want tour and Women’s Summit] to get inspired but I’m kind of there to do that as well. I’m inspired to by what everyone else is doing and I can’t wait to…continue to do stuff that inspires me and share that with the world.” And for those of you wondering what that might be (um, me), keep an eye out for Purdy’s new clothing line with Element—expected to debut in Spring 2015—and book, on shelves this December.

Photo courtesy of ESPN

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Why You Should Try to Be More Like Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross

Written on September 17, 2014 at 5:59 pm , by

Volleyball babes Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross are making some seriously sharp spikes during this year’s AVP Beach Volleyball Tour. They’ve won every single tournament and only have one left: the season-ending championship Friday in California that runs through the weekend.

Before we continue, can we pause for a minute and stare at those abs?

So when the Olympic medalists decided to pop by the office to talk all things fitness, food and life, we came to the conclusion that they’re our ultimate spirit animals and should be yours, too. Here’s why:

They have insane sweat schedules. They begin training in January, hit the sand in March and play until October. For pre-season and in-season training, they practice five days a week for two hours each day, and then hit the gym five days a week. They’re big on diversifying their workouts, so Olympic lifting, sprint intervals, Pilates, beach workouts and more all make the roster. ”It’s hard for us to rest,” says Ross. “For me, I want to go and get better and train longer and train harder.”

They love food. There’s no surprise here that they have really clean diets (turkey, chicken, salmon, veggies, oatmeal, almond butter, salads, and eggs were all mentioned at the drop of a hat.), but splurging isn’t off limits. “I’m not afraid of a good hamburger,” says Jennings. “I don’t eat perfectly, absolutely, but I feel like every time I splurge—if I have Mexican or French fries with my burger—I definitely try to fix it with a green drink later or a salad to finish my meal.”

They know what they want, and they’re determined to get it. They’re going for the gold at the next Olympic Games in Rio, and they’re already training for it. We’re already setting reminders to mark our 2016 calendars.

They appreciate traveling. And they’ve done their fair share of it. “Paris and Barcelona are my two favorite places I’ve ever gone,” says Ross. “They just have so much character and so much history and so much culture. You could walk around and do nothing, and still be amazed by what you see.” While Jennings seconds that notion, she’s also a fan of Lake Tahoe and loves playing in Gstaad, Switzerland.

They love their families. Jennings and Ross are both married to volleyball players [Casey Jennings and Bradley Keenan, respectively], so you won’t find much of the “leave work at work” philosophy happening in these homes. But to boost their bond, Jennings and her husband work out together twice a week, and she hides her phone when she’s with her kids. “I want to get as much quality time as possible since they go to bed at 7:30,” she explains. Ross is also a fan of the hide-the-phone maneuver (writing this down now). “I usually stop responding to emails and working by dinnertime,” she says. “Dinner time is for relaxation and bonding. If I’m going super late in the gym, Brad will cook a healthy dinner and have it ready when I get home.” Now that’s what we find attractive in a guy.

Stay updated with the ladies’ progress in the tournament this weekend by visiting AVP’s website.

Photos courtesy of AVP

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Triathlon Training: Meet Zoot Sports Athlete Jennifer Vogel

Written on August 14, 2014 at 10:36 am , by

After hitting a brick wall of boredom with my fitness routine a while back, I decided to dive head first into the world of triathlon. Two years and four races later, I’m still a tri-newbie, but I’m learning more with each finish line I cross and gaining ground on becoming a triple-threat athlete. I’ve spent countless hours swimming, biking and running, but even more time surfing the web for expert insight, tips and advice on acing every race. Luckily for me (and all triathletes-in-training), we’ve teamed up with Zoot Sports to tap their sponsored athlete, Jennifer Vogel, an Ironman World Championship qualifier, for straight-from-the-source info on triathlon training.

Vogel is not your typical Ironwoman. She didn’t do sports growing up; she didn’t even start running until she was 21. The self-described “procrastinator” signed up for her first marathon in an attempt to “pull her shit together.” A few years later when her husband decided to do a triathlon with a friend, she didn’t want to be left out. So she signed up, too. “I pretty much knew right away I wanted to do an Ironman,” she says. About a year later, she did just that. Now at 33, Vogel has over 12 years of experience in endurance sports and personal training. Thanks to her first sub-10 hour finish at Ironman Florida, she is headed straight to the IWC for the second time.

For the next ten weeks, as we countdown the days to Kona, this blog series will be your one-stop-shop for everything triathlon-related. So whether you’ve just signed up for your first sprint or you’re as experienced as Vogel, there’s something in it for everyone—from the physical aspects to the mental challenges. Because it’s not really about a medal, your time or even a PR, it’s about who you become while training across three different disciplines. As Jenn says, “The subtle changes that occur from the day in and day out relentless pursuit of a goal that nobody understands but you. That is where the magic lies”—if you dare to tri.

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American Ninja Warrior Contestant Kacy Catanzaro Has Guts—And Is Going for Glory

Written on July 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

By now, it’s likely you’ve caught wind of 24-year-old Kacy Catanzaro, the first-ever female to qualify for the finals of NBC and Esquire Network’s sports competition show, American Ninja Warrior. After completing a nine-part obstacle course during the Dallas qualifying round (and making it look like a walk in the park), the former gymnast proves she packs a real punch as an athlete and competitor. And after speaking with her, we’re convinced that this girl really is a ninja—all 5 feet and 100 pounds of her.

Congrats on your awesome run for “ANW!” How did it feel?

It is definitely a lot of pressure stepping out there. There are a lot of lights, cameras, and you know the whole world is going to see it on TV eventually. Before I run, you can see that I’m kind of bouncing around and a little bit anxious. It’s funny: Once they count down and they say, “3,2,1, go,” it’s like a wave of relief washes over me. Then I just kind of take it one thing at a time. After I finish one obstacle, I just calmly take a few deep breaths and get ready to attack the next one.

How has your gymnastics career prepared you for ANW?

I started gymnastics when I was 5 years old and then I got a scholarship to a Division I school—Townsen University in Maryland—and I competed all four years there. So from the time I was 5 until the time I was 22, it was my whole life. Gymnastics really mentally prepared me for the course: being able to take that kind of pressure and not let it affect me in a bad way, but actually use it as fire to get excited and to get out there. And if things don’t go my way, it doesn’t mean it’s over. I just have to overcome them by making adjustments in order to make it happen.

How do you stay in such amazing shape?

I try and strength-train anywhere from four to six times a week, based on where life is taking me or what is coming up. Brent Steffensen—my boyfriend, coach and an ANW veteran—and I train together and do strength-training and bodyweight-circuit training on a regular basis. We do lots of bodyweight exercises in a row—pushups, pull-ups, lunges, squats, lots of abs—to really build strength and endurance. For the obstacle courses, we want to be as light and lean as possible, and doing exercises with your bodyweight is the most efficient way to get there.

What’s your diet like?

I just try to eat as clean as possible—greens, veggies, fruits, nuts and things like that. For my protein, I like fish a lot because it is lighter and cleaner. Definitely stay away from anything that is processed and avoid eating too much sugar. So if I can’t read an ingredient listed in an ingredient label, I try to stay away from it. It’s so important to be aware of what you are putting into your body and what good or harm it will do.

What motivates you to stay fit?

I’ve always had a competitive nature—I love getting out there and competing—but one thing people don’t realize about fitness is that people don’t just work out out to look good. Obviously it’s very nice to look good and to have that body you dream of, but the most important thing about fitness and living healthy is being able to get the maximum out of your life. If you are as fit as you can be, you can do more and you aren’t held back by your weight. I think that staying fit, not being held back and being able to go out and try to accomplish whatever it is that I want is the best part of it.

In case you missed it, check out Kacy’s crazy performance below, and be sure to watch the St. Louis finals tonight at 9 on NBC.

 

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Fitbit and Tory Burch Launch a Fit Fashion Collection We Love

Written on July 15, 2014 at 11:52 am , by

I love my Fitbit Flex as much as the next girl, and I swear, it really does make me walk more throughout the day (I’m seriously addicted to getting those little lights to flash on my wrist). But let’s be honest: the bands leave a little to be desired in the looks department. Of course, there’s been improvement over the last few years, and my current pink band blends with most of my outfits, but there’s no way you’ll catch me wearing it to the fancier events on my schedule (hello, wedding season).

Fitbit heard my cries for a fashion upgrade and are answering with total chicness. Enter their new collaboration with Tory Burch, which just launched an accessories line designed exclusively for the Flex. Your options: one of two silicone bands, both of which have the iconic Tory Burch pattern and retail for $38 apiece, or a piece of jewelry—specifically, a gold-tone pendant or bangle. The latter options are a little pricier, checking out at $175 or $195, respectively.

While the costs might seem high upfront, think about how often you’ll wear the band (um, every day) and how quickly you’ll make your money’s worth. After all, Fitbit users take 43 percent more steps when wearing their trackers compared to those who don’t measure any movement. So not only will you have a new, Insta-worthy fashion accessory, but you’ll be bettering your health every time you see that flashy little reminder on your wrist to go grab an afternoon coffee.

Oh, and don’t worry if you have yet to jump on the activity tracker trend. Tory Burch is selling the actual Fitbit Flex as well, so you can pick one up along with your new band. Happy stepping!

Photo courtesy of Fitbit

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Music Monday: Making Music with The Roots

Written on July 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm , by

You watch ‘em rock the stage regularly on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, but The Roots are known for a particular type of instrumentation that I’m, well, obsessed with. And that’s using quirky, unorthodox instruments to create awesome, YouTube-breaking music. Two of my faves: singing “Your Body” with X-tina and this Brady Bunch styling of “We Can’t Stop.” So it was no surprise when they teamed up with Kellogg’s at their Recharge Bar in Times Square and performed rockin’ tunes using tons of breakfast equipment—I’m talking bowls, spoons, the works. Now if only I could be that musical with my cereal bowl in the morning…

Of course, The Roots do play on regular instruments once in a while, which they’re using to create their new album. What can we expect when it drops? “It’s another concept album, and we’re showing the life of the common man,” says Questlove. “Hip-hop often celebrates the plight of the winner, those who are living the good life. But sometimes that’s misleading, and 99 percent of the people out here are living regular lives. This is their story.”

That said, I can only imagine how many will end up on my workout playlist (um, all of them). But until I can get my hands on those tracks, I’ll have to substitute this playlist. It’s what The Roots are jamming out to this summer themselves, while they squeeze in workouts on their European tour. I’ll just imagine that I’m in the same awesome locales they are.

Photo courtesy of Edelman

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Music Monday: Flo Rida Can’t Sweat Without This Music

Written on June 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

Whenever I work out, I need to be listening to music—not want, but need. Whether it’s Katy Perry’s new hit or a classic from the King of Pop himself, there has to be an up-tempo, catchy sound reverberating in my ears. Studies even show that music can push us through that final mile, that extra set of squats.

So it’s no surprise then that rapper Flo Rida, a self-proclaimed fitness lover, is a man who lives and breathes that connection. A workout fiend since his football days in high school, the musician is constantly on the muscle-building grind both in the studio and on stage. In fact, he considers himself lucky that his profession allows—actually, kind of forces—him to incorporate music with exercise and vice versa. “You get a two-for-one with what I do.”

He’s not kidding: Flo constantly runs back and forth on stage, spewing out his lyrics at an incredibly fast rate. This not-much-time-for-breathing rapping style requires him to hit the pavement regularly. “I love doing a lot of cardio,” he says. “My records are up-tempo, so I have to make sure that I can go for over an hour.”

But just as any well-rounded fitness aficionado knows, cardio isn’t the end-all, be-all. The artist loves to regularly lift weights, and occasionally steps into the boxing ring for a few punches (and sips on Celsius when he needs a boost).  And despite a hectic schedule, Flo manages to get in two-a-day routines. Guess that explains why his shows are so fun to watch.

While I prefer to put in miles to tunes by the rapper (“Wild Ones” is a fave), we always wonder: do artists listen to their own tunes? We found out LL Cool J does now and then, and it turns out Flo is no different. Along with David Guetta and Pitbull, you’ll find his own tracks sprinkled through a playlist. “I love listening to my music because it definitely has all the attributes to enhance a great workout in the gym.”

So while we wait for his latest album, The Perfect 10, to drop later this year, we made sure to get Flo Rida’s current sweat-it-out playlist. Plug in, shape up, and try not to groove on that treadmill. On second thought, go ahead. We won’t tell.

Photo courtesy of Celsius

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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.

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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?

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Get Fit for Girl’s Education

Written on June 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

Ready to raise your endorphins and flex your feel-good muscles? From now until June 21, NYC fitness fanatics can participate in the first-ever NYC Fit Week, signing up for donation-based workout classes, that help fund She’s the First, an internationally recognized organization that sponsors women from around the world to become the first from their families to graduate.

In partnership with EMpowered personal training, She’s the First has teamed up with 14 NYC fitness instructors from some of NYC’s hottest fitness studios (oh hey, Barry’s Bootcamp and Flywheel). In an effort to raise gender equality awareness in the educational arena, 100 percent of the proceeds from this week’s events will fund educational scholarships for young women in low-income countries. Girl power for the win!

If you happen to be super swamped this week—or aren’t in NYC—don’t freak. NYC Fit Week is just a small part of She’s the First’s year-round national campaign, Run the World. Through this, supporters align their own fundraising goals with a fitness endeavor, like running a marathon, and start a fundraising page where friends, fam and and everyone in between can send in a donation. She’s the First’s annual goal is to raise $75K by the NYC Marathon on November 2, and they’ve already made it a quarter of the way!

But if you aren’t quite ready to make your own fundraising page, you can still get involved (seriously, there’s really no excuses here). Simply download the Charity Miles app, and select She’s the First as your charity partner. Check into the app whenever you head out for a run or hop on a bike, and 10 to 25 cents (depending on your activity) will be donated.

Clearly, girls’ education is a very important cause, and we couldn’t be more excited to join in and help. Visit RunTheWorld.ShesTheFirst.org to see the schedule and sign up for a class.

Photo courtesy of Kate Lord

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