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Motivation

Who’s Up for Some Skypercise?

Written on January 22, 2014 at 9:32 am , by

Pair up to slim down! Photo by iStockphoto.

Whether it’s with a bud or a personal trainer, we recommend pairing up to slim down! Photo by iStockphoto.

ICYMI: Our week 2 #GetFitParty Instagram challenge was to show us your pics of working out with a buddy. Studies have shown that working out with a partner improves weight-loss results, which could be because you push yourself harder, have more fun, and have the all-important accountability factor influencing you.

But if scheduling a workout sesh with a bud or even just getting to the gym creates a problem, we’ve got a stellar recommendation for you: Skypercise. Whether you’re partnering up with a pal to workout over the world wide web or enlisting a professional trainer to help you out virtually, it’s an excellent way to ditch the excuses so that you can stick to your resolutions.

Which is why we’re thrilled to offer a lucky reader a fabulous Skype prize package, courtesy of Skype!

One lucky FITNESS reader will score a $100 Skype gift card and two one-on-one sessions with Marc D. Thompson, a fitness trainer, personal coach, owner of Virtufit.net, and Skypercise pro. All you have to do is enter here by January 31, 2014. [Official Rules]

Good luck! Now get to work, #GetFitParty crowd!

Related Links:

Have You Joined #GetFitParty? You Could Win a Trip to Aruba!

Written on January 20, 2014 at 9:51 am , by

In the beginning of 2014, there are a lot of hopes and dreams. Not only about goals you want to accomplish (and will!), but about trips you want to take, places you’re eager to explore and adventures you’re excited to experience. If you’ve joined the #GetFitParty, you’re already well on your way to crushing those goals (one reader has already dropped 5 pounds!). If you haven’t joined, well, what are you waiting for?! Between the four-week workout plan that sheds unnecessary pounds off your figure, the “I refuse to starve or eat tasteless food” meals that energize your bod, and the digital support that’s waiting for you around every social media corner (with weekly prizes happening on Insta), there’s no reason to miss the fun. But if that’s still not enough, we have one more thing to entice you.

A four-night getaway – on us! – to Aruba, where you’ll stay at the swanky Hotel RIU Palace Aruba. Guys, I’ve seen this place up close and personal, and I can tell you one thing: it’s gorgeous. But that’s not all, of course. The winner of this trip gets to bring a date, and both of you will head off on a snorkel-and-sail excursion (I saw ship wrecks on mine!) and be treated to a blissful spa massage. Because every fit girl deserves a little down time to unwind and boost muscle recovery. And if that’s not enough for your adventurous selves, there’s plenty more to do – you can see our top recommendations here, but I love the idea of taking a jeep ride through the rugged Arikok National Park, swimming in Conchi, the Natural Pool or kayaking in the crystal-clear ocean waters.

After all that, we know you’re ready to get in on the action. So sign up for the Better Body plan here, which enters you to win this fabulous trip (or you could score a StairMaster!). And don’t forget to follow – and use – the #getfitparty hashtag online to keep you motivated on the journey of your “fit in ’14″ goals.

Get More #GetFitParty Action

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

Music Monday: Are the 10 Most Popular Workout Songs on Your Playlist?

Written on January 13, 2014 at 4:40 pm , by

Ever wonder if you’ve got the same taste in music as the girl on the treadmill next to you? If she’s busting a move to Katy Perry’s “Roar” or rapping in her head to Eminem’s “‘TIll I Collapse?” Turns out both of those songs are likely beating through your gym pal’s ear buds as often as they stream through yours – despite being released more than 10 years apart, both are on the latest list of top workout songs. Spotify decided to satisfy your curiosity about other songs, too: below are the top 10 songs people across the U.S. are sweating to. Might we suggest adding them to your #GetFitParty playlist?

Want more music? Check out our list of Top 100 Workout Songs or use any of our editor-selected playlists.

Location #6: India

Written on January 13, 2014 at 9:55 am , by

Local indian girls share a laugh and bright smiles with Paige's team. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

Local indian girls share a laugh and bright smiles with Paige’s team. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

Paige climbed in India to support Apne Aap Women Worldwide, which works to combat sexual exploitation of women and girls. Help Paige raise $10,000 for Apne Aap on her Crowdrise page and don’t miss this bonus video from Louder Than 11 about the three million women currently trapped in prostitution

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By Paige Claassen

In our society, we strive towards a similar ideal. Whether that comes in the form of a high ranking, high paying job, a slender waist, or elegant clothes, the model women of magazines all look much the same. We’re praised for creating our own paths and for defining ourselves as individuals; but if we step too far outside the box, our motives might be questioned. I, for example, am currently traveling around the world to rock climb. I’m not earning a salary, I haven’t worn makeup or fixed my hair in months, and I don’t have a permanent home. The path I’m taking is not straight, it’s not predictable, and I don’t know what’s around the next bend.

I spent the month of December in India, and my goal was to climb the hardest route in India, called Ganesh and graded 5.14a. Unfortunately, the hot Indian sun beat down on Ganesh all day, making it nearly impossible to climb. I woke up at 5 a.m. each day to put in my attempts before the sun rose at 7 a.m. My day ended at 9 a.m., when I walked away from the cliff, dripping in sweat, hair disheveled, and frustrated with my efforts. This route lent itself better to a male’s strengths. The moves were long and powerful and I would need to channel all my strength and motivation to complete this climb.

A beautiful sunset and a monkey. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

A beautiful sunset and a monkey. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

Meanwhile, India offered a few additional obstacles of its own. The small, dusty town I visited had a reputation for inflicting the dreaded traveller’s diarrhea on visiting foreigners (which I did not avoid). A high risk of malaria in the region also had me taking preventative medication, rumored to have a variety of unpleasant side effects. Oily food, few fresh fruits and vegetables, and no opportunities to run or cross train provided further fitness challenges.

But I had traveled all this way for one route, which was one of the best in the world. I knew I was capable. So with that determination, the matter was settled. I punched through the long moves that a girl isn’t supposed to be capable of doing. I finished the route, and I finished it before the boys. A little extra icing on the cake!

It's one big move after another, says Paige about Ganesh. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

Paige Claassen becomes the first female to ever ascend Ganesh, the most difficult sport climb in India. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

I realized that my path, with all its turns and unknowns and new challenges each month, is a path of choices. Sure, India wasn’t the most comfortable month of travel, but it was a month I’ll never forget. The sites I saw, the people, and the colors each left their own special imprint in my mind and opened my eyes to a new world.

Paige got to know a few local Indian women while on her trip. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

Paige got to know a few local Indian women while on her trip. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

Part of that world is beautiful, but deep scars lay behind the beauty. Lead Now’s non-profit partner in India, Apne Aap, offered a glimpse into the struggles many women in India face.  Apne Aap says that “every year, nearly two million people are trafficked for sexual exploitation; of these, the vast majority are female, and half are aged 12-16.”  This is a statistic I can’t even begin to grasp, but I want to do what I can in reducing that figure so that other women can have the choices that I enjoy day to day. Join me by donating online at http://www.crowdrise.com/leadnowtourindia

To get involved and donate online to help combat sexual exploitation, visit Crowdrise.

Check back next month for a video and update about Paige’s next location. And stay tuned for the video of Paige’s time in India! FitnessMagazine.com, with thanks to Marmot and Louder Than 11, will have the first-look exclusive video .

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:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Get Your Sweat On with the New and Improved Nike+ Training Club App

Written on January 7, 2014 at 10:38 am , by

Say goodbye to stale workouts! Nike+ Training Club keeps your mind and body guessing so you’ll be in tip-top shape in no time. (Photo courtesy of Nike+ Training Club)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

If one of your New Year resolutions is to get lean, toned or strong (and let’s face it, that includes most of us), then it’s about time you download the updated version of the Nike+ Training Club app. We liked it so much that we included it on our must-have list for maintaining a fit lifestyle in the February issue (along with 17 other free apps we’re obsessed with – so grab your copy stat!).

The new version allows you to work through four-week exercise programs guided by a virtual personal trainer in your pocket. It translates your fitness level, exercise preferences and goals into workouts that motivate you to sweat (even on the days you don’t want to) and whip you into shape with varied routines.

If you’re not feeling the four-week design, you can also customize sweat sessions and download individual workouts from a library of more than 100 different routines. One of our faves: tennis superstar Maria Sharapova’s 15-minute New Year’s Crush Workout, which was designed by her strength and conditioning coach Yutaka Nakamura and added to the library last week.

And if you come across moves in a workout that you’re not a fan of, no sweat! The app lets you swap them out for ones you love to keep things tough and interesting. It also provides a data storage option that only holds onto the workouts you’ve designed or downloaded, making it lighter and faster than the previous version. Available for iPhone and Android phones, the app seamlessly connects with the Nike+ Running and Nike Fuel programs to make data measuring an afterthought. Now if that’s not motivation to get working on your 2014 sweat resolution, we don’t know what is. Happy downloading!

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It’s #GetFitParty Time! All the Details You Need to Join the Fun (And Score Swag!)

Written on January 6, 2014 at 11:42 am , by

Ready to shed 10 pounds and keep them off – for good? In our February issue (on stands now!), we give you the exact moves and foods that helped our testers trim up to 15 pounds from their figures in a mere four weeks. So first things first, go on out and pick up a copy (or download it to your tablet). Don’t worry, we’ll wait.

Got it? Good. Now that you’re ready to sweat in the gym and eat like a queen, we want you to share your journey with everyone. Your friends, fam and followers. Because we know you’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which means that YOU have followers, too. And come on, let’s be real – if you don’t post your hard work online, then it didn’t really happen. So go ahead, brag a little – here’s how:

All month long we’ll be dishing out digital support for you to reach those slim-down goals. Follow the guide below to see where and how you can join the fun, then log in on the respective dates and remember to use the hashtag above so we can brag about you, too.

MONDAY, JANUARY 6th (TODAY!): TWITTER

Follow @FitnessMagazine and the #getfitparty hashtag on Twitter from 2-4pm EST to score fresh ideas on healthy eating and exercise so you can slam-dunk your goals. Bonus: We’ll be giving away boxes of KIND Healthy Grains Bars to 15 lucky participants. Snack happy, friends.

JANUARY 6TH – FEBRUARY 16TH: INSTAGRAM (SWAG ALERT!)

Tune in to @FitnessMagazine every Monday to catch each week’s fresh photo challenge (get creative!), then post your pics with #getfitparty. At the end of each week, we’ll select which one of you will win a bag of sweet fitness prizes (each valued over $250), and highlight your phenom photos in our feed. That gives you six chances to become FITNESS famous and score new workout gear. If that’s not an incentive to start sharing, we don’t know what is. We’re kicking things off by asking for your workout views; one lucky chick will score a pair of sweet hiking boots, jacket, and six months worth of Naturebox goodies!

JANUARY 13 – FEBRUARY 10TH: FACEBOOK

Start every week with a motivational kick in the pants from your drill-seargeant-with-a-heart trainer. Head to our Facebook page every Monday at 4pm EST to catch a video from Sylwia Wiesenberg, when she’ll be spilling her top stick-with-it strategies.

JUST BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU…ENTER TO WIN A TRIP TO ARUBA OR A STAIRMASTER!

To help you stay motivated (and envision yourself in that bikini), the prizes got kicked up a notch. Join the Better Body Plan online and enter to win these suh-weet prizes:

  • A trip for two to the swanky Hotel RIU Palace Aruba, including airfare, meals, a snorkel-and-sail excursion, and a spa massage (a $3,690 value)
  • A StairMaster StepMill 3 with a built-in heart rate monitor and more than 25 programmed workouts (a $3,000 value)

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get this party started!

Sanya Richards-Ross’ Secrets to Training, Staying Motivated and Finding Life’s Balance

Written on December 25, 2013 at 10:31 am , by

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Legs like whoa! Strength-training is a must for the Fastest Woman on the Planet. (Photo courtesy of Sanya Richards-Ross)

The impending winter weather can discourage even the most enthusiastic runners from finding their stride—and that goes for four-time Olympic gold medalists, too. Jamaica-born sprinting superstar Sanya Richards-Ross knows a thing or two about the dedication it takes to lace up and get out there each day.

A sprinter at heart, Richards-Ross has to really push herself through long runs during pre-season training, which typically coincides with chillier months. “After my season is over, I usually take about 6-8 weeks off before we start training again, and that’s always my least favorite part of training,” she says. “It’s long runs; it’s a lot of reps and light weight in the weight room. Just really preparing myself to take training to the next level. Once my training transitions to where I’m on the track doing repeat 200s, 300s and 450s, that’s the part I do like because my body just feels great.”

Richards-Ross takes a comprehensive approach to training, integrating weight lifting and Pilates for the crucial benefits of strength and flexibility, which is why she is so powerful in her cardio-based sport. And when it comes down to it, her favorite workouts are the ones that focus on building that incredible muscle! “I love when we are doing Olympic lifts like power snatching and power cleans and squatting. I love those powerful movements in the gym and I love to really push myself. It’s so full-body and so explosive, and it correlates to the track so well,” she says.

Most sprinters are known for preferring hot, dry weather, so the upcoming months will force Richards-Ross to put her motivational mantra to good use. Whenever her training days are less than exciting or she simply isn’t feeling 100 percent, “I refuse to lose” is the mindset that gets her through it. Not to mention she really bundles up, tunes into some power songs and tries her best to forget about the cold conditions. In case you’re wondering what music inspires her (we definitely were!), she switches off between the likes of Jay Z, Drake, Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin and Bob Marley, depending on her mood.

Her 400-meter solo and relay performances have earned Richards-Ross the reputation of the Fastest Woman on the Planet, but her talents extend past the track and into the academic setting. “My dad always encouraged me to not be one-dimensional, so even though I was having tremendous success on the track and doing really well, he always challenged me to read and do well in school because as much as I hoped to make it to the Olympics and be one of the best in the world, I didn’t want to put all of my eggs in that basket,” she says. This mindset not only helped her become a straight-A student, but also pushed her to work even harder when it came time to run. “When I had my homework and training, and I had a lot on my plate, it was easier to get everything done. When I only had one thing to do, I’d kind of procrastinate. I always just felt so fulfilled when I was able to accomplish all those tasks.”

When it comes to fueling up for and recovering from her grueling training regimen, Richards-Ross is all about the high protein diet. She reaches for protein shakes after a tough weight room session, grilled chicken before a meet and egg whites with fruit and smoked salmon for breakfast any day of the week. “I mostly juice my vegetables because I’m not really a big fan of them—I know that’s terrible for an athlete—but there’s a few I like, and the rest of them I just juice and knock them out,” she says. And even the top athletes in the world have guilty pleasures. “Mine are the purple bag of Skittles and rum raisin ice cream. Don’t put those in front of me before a race, because I’m going to eat them!”

At the end of the day, according to Richards-Ross, it’s most important to pick an activity you enjoy. “A lot of people go into the gym and bite off more than they can chew and just get totally turned off. Start at a level that is comfortable for you; do something that’s fun whether it’s Zumba or biking,” she suggests. “There are so many things you can do to be active and healthy that don’t mean you have to go and lift 100 pounds or run on the treadmill for an hour.”

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