Written on August 20, 2014 at 10:09 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
Major #fitnessgirlproblems: when your struggling smartphone never seems to stay charged past the one-mile mark, leaving you music-free and potentially data-less. The solution? It could be those beads of sweat you’re forming.
A team of researchers at the University of California San Diego have created a sticky, temporary tattoo that acts as a bio-battery and uses lactate to generate power. Where does the battery get lactate? Right from your sweat.
“We’re trying to use our own body to generate power,” says Wenzhao Jia, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher at the University of California San Diego who led the project. “This happens when sweat contacts the bio-battery, and it’s less toxic than a [standard] chemical battery.”
But there’s one caveat: if you tend to be a heavy sweater, you can’t assume your device will be ready for an Instagram spree. “You won’t necessarily be creating more power,” explains Jia. In fact, it’s the other way around. The harder your body works, the more lactate it produces. In other words: “The fitter ones produce less power; the less fit make more,” she says.
While this form of power serves up some motivation to push through that last set, Jia says she and the team still have a long way to go before the bio-battery becomes powerful enough to charge electronic devices. Still, it’s an interesting development we’ll anxiously be tracking. Who needs wall outlets these days, anyway?
Photo courtesy of UCSD
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Written on August 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm , by Bethany Cianciolo
Prancercise creator Joanna Rohrback just added some major accessories to her fitness wardrobe: horses. They’re completely fitting, given the creatures are what inspired her to invent the ”springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse’s gait and is ideally induced by elation,” which she demonstrates (flawlessly, of course) in her new video.
We listed Prancercise as one of the biggest fitness moments nearly a year ago (the original video—uploaded in December 2012—has over 10 million views). Naturally, this is a much-needed entertainment break for a Monday, even though the horses look miserable (scared?) the entire four minutes and 30 seconds of the video.
But at 62, Rohrback looks pretty amazing, so the galloping, skipping and frolicking through fields must be working for her. That said, we don’t necessarily encourage canceling your gym membership or calling your morning runs quits anytime soon. But when you want to let it all out, find a park and prance, girl. You won’t find any judgment here.
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Written on August 15, 2014 at 10:10 am , by Samantha Shelton
What it is: The latest boutique studio to make its mark on indoor cycling, Swerve Fitness caters to those who want a blend of popular studios like SoulCycle and Flywheel Sports, or anyone who grew up participating in team sports.
Good for: Anyone who loves to get their heart rate up, work as a team and sweat—a lot. This workout is perfect cross-training for runners in the midst of training for a race (marathon season baby!) since it provides the analytics you crave after each workout. There’s also a healthy portion of upper body work incorporated into the class, so your arms get a hit of firm-and-burn power.
Where you go: The Flatiron District in New York City, specifically 30 W 18th Street, with plans to expand throughout the city.
How it works: Riders are divided into three team colors—red, blue and green—that compete against each other during class. Your bike is hooked up to a monitor to track personal metrics (think energy output, miles biked, calories burned, RPM), and the team’s average scores are displayed on boards at the front of the class. Riding on the beat is heavily emphasized, and you’ll encounter a 3- to 5-minute arm workout about halfway through class. Otherwise, there’s a ton of interval training throughout, alternating speeds and positions in and out of the saddle.
What you need: Comfortable, form-fitting clothing. Since you’re inside, we usually opt for capri leggings and a tank top (it can get hot in there!). Remember to bring a water bottle if you don’t want to pay for one, but good news: clip-in shoes are included in your class purchase.
Bonus feature: A smoothie bar is within the studio and you can either place your order pre-ride or right after. That way your refueling drink is ready as soon as you’re ready to go, or it’s prepared while you shower.
What it costs: $30 per class, but first-timers score 2 classes for the same price. Keep an eye out for their special deals online too, like their wedding package you can purchase with your sweetie or the refer-a-friend program. Don’t forget to share your #swervescore on social media too. Every time you do, you’re entered to win prizes like a free drink from the smoothie bar or a free class.
What we think: Love it! Whether you’re competitive with yourself or others, this class taps into that inner drive. If you’re more of a team spirit, seeing your color’s average swerve score will drive you to keep up the pace so you’re not letting the other riders down—and seeing someone else in your pack take the leader spot is enough motivation to pedal harder. More the win-it-all type? Every sprint race will kick you into high-gear, as the screens in the front of the class update which team is in the lead (thus winning more points). And if you just like to improve on your own terms, we recommend saving your Swerve Scores, which are emailed immediately after class. Can you go further in 45 minutes than last time?
Photos courtesy of Swerve Fitness
Want us to test another workout? Post a comment to let us know and you may see it in a future We Tried It!
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Written on August 14, 2014 at 10:36 am , by Molly Ritterbeck
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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Written on August 13, 2014 at 2:35 pm , by Bethany Cianciolo
Mo’Ne Davis can throw a baseball 70 miles per hour. Davis is also a 13-year-old female Little Leaguer.
During a game against Newark National Little League on Sunday, Davis struck out six and allowed just three hits during a shutout, earning the Taney Dragons of Pennsylvania the Mid-Atlantic Region Championship title after an 8-0 win. The team will play in the Little League World Series that begins tomorrow (they’ll play Friday against South Nashville, 3 p.m. EST on ESPN), making them the first Philadelphia team to do so, and making Davis the first American girl to play in the tournament since 2004.
“More girls should join boys’ teams so it could be a tradition and it wouldn’t be so special,” she told The Philadelphia Inquirer. Well said, girlfriend. Davis is the only girl on her team, and she’s certainly setting the bar high for other females who aspire to play sports typically dominated by men. (Anyone else feeling some major Becky Hammon deja vu here? Maybe they should get together with the Harlem Globetrotters ladies and all pow-wow about how much they rock…)
Watch Davis strike out the guys below, and make sure to catch her during the tournament on ESPN.
Images and video courtesy of ESPN
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Written on August 13, 2014 at 10:24 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Mary Kate Schulte, editorial intern
We can’t help but swoon over any female athlete who fearlessly plays tough with the guys—and actually keeps up with them. So when we heard that three women—Joyce “Sweet J” Ekworomadu, Tammy “T-Time” Brawner and Fatima “TNT” Maddox—dribble, drive and shoot with an otherwise all-male basketball team, we couldn’t wait to get their stay-fit tips.
Members of the Harlem Globetrotters, a basketball team that travels across the globe mixing the game with a little comedy (audience chats, jokes, crazy moves, etc.), these ladies are three of just 12 women to EVER play on the team, and it’s been around since 1927. While we’re more than ready to see that number grow, we gotta admit: what they’re doing is pretty baller.
What are some of your favorite workouts?
Joyce: When I played for the Nigerian national team, we practiced in a really hot gym—it was like playing in a sauna. It was awful while I was doing it, but I was in the best shape of my life. Now I’ll try to go to a hot room to do an ab workout, or I’ll do cardio outside, because it’s a more challenging atmosphere. That way, playing on the air-conditioned court isn’t as rigorous as the way I trained. I always tell people to train harder than what your actual game-day situation would be.
Tammy: I like to stay away from weight machines. I really like natural exercises using your body weight or free weights. Every year I switch up my workout method. Last year I tried CrossFit, and it was one of the most insane workouts ever! Technically you’re not supposed to stop between each exercise and I was like, “Where’s my break?” No breaks! But I saw results almost immediately. This year, I’m boxing to work on my reaction time. I love it. It’s a full-body workout.
Fatima: I’ve always been big on core strength, but being on the road so much is hard. I’ve begun doing exercises I can do in a hotel room. I really like planks and side planks. I find them effective and easy to do while on the road.
What kind of diet do you follow to keep up with the cals you’re burning?
Joyce: In college, we worked out so much that I didn’t need to watch what I ate. But I noticed my body was not as lean as I wanted it to be—I was gaining bad weight. When I turned to professional basketball, I definitely started watching my diet. Now I’ll start breakfast with oatmeal and wheat toast, lunch is usually a salad or a tuna sandwich, and for dinner I have fish. I really like tilapia and salmon. I also started eating smaller portions, and because I eat every few hours, my metabolism sped up. I try to make good choices.
Tammy: I try my hardest to follow a healthy diet, but I’m also a junk-food junkie! We often get out of games late at night and our food options are limited. If we have to go to a burger place, I’ll get a turkey burger instead of red meat. I also eat a lot of seafood, and I love pasta for some energy when I’m working out twice a day.
Fatima: I try and eat as many fruits as I can. It gives me natural energy. It’s tough to have a daily regimen because we move to a different city every day. Often we get out of games late and you have to work with what’s available.
What keeps you motivated?
Joyce: Being passionate about what I do. Sometimes you don’t feel well or you’re having a bad day, but when you walk out on the court and see the kids start smiling and cheering, you get this energy out of nowhere. We get to have fun out there and crack jokes while playing basketball. Those are two of my biggest traits: basketball and fun. It’s me.
Tammy: For me, basketball has always been an outlet and an escape. It’s peace of mind. I grew up around a lot of negativity, but when I played basketball it was like I was in a different world. Nothing and no one else mattered except for the basketball and the defender in front of me.
Fatima: I’ve been in sports for so long it’s become a lifestyle for me. I don’t have to drag myself to workouts because it’s embedded in me. I have a certain standard of how I want to feel on the court. I don’t want to feel overly sore or like I’m dragging. So I try to keep at it.
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Written on August 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm , by Bethany Cianciolo
Calling all workaholics, mothers with screaming babies, insomniacs and general money savers: your excuses for slacking in the fitness department are officially inexcusable. (See: “I don’t have time” (yes you do), “I’m too tired” (eat cleaner), or “The gym is too far” (you don’t need one).) We get it. By the time you get home from a long day of work and meetings and spilled coffee fiascos and computer crashes and happy hours and crazy commutes, your pillow practically begs you to face-plant.
But that’s why you’ll need to check out FitFIT, a cloud-based service that will provide live-streaming access to gym classes across the country. The service is currently in four different California gyms, but CEO Michael Blake says they hope to expand to 10 to 12 other big-city gyms within the next year, like New York City and Miami. So if there’s a Yogalates class you’ve been dying to try but you can’t find a sitter (or you can’t find a studio that offers it), unroll your yoga mat and “om” at home using your iPad. If your friends are over and you feel like going to that cardio class like you feel like getting an unneeded surgery, whip out your smartphone and do a fun dance class together.
The classes never repeat, so you won’t get bored, and if you aren’t anywhere with Internet access to stream a class, you can watch it later on demand. Oh, and it’s only $10 a month. Pretty. Much. Genius.
While the FitFIT team is currently in the beta phase (they’re raising money through a Kickstarter), they hope to officially launch it this December (perfect timing for those cold gym commutes we love to hate). They’re aiming to offer access to more than 20 different gym classes (from TRX to barre to body-sculpting), and plan to release an iOS and Android app a few months after launch.
Stay up to date on the team’s progress by visiting the Kickstarter and following them on Twitter, but don’t wait to end the failed-exercise excuses. You’re overdue to toss those by the wayside.
Images courtesy of FitFIT
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Written on August 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm , by Samantha Shelton
When you commit to running a marathon, it’s pretty obvious that you’ll be doing one thing a lot: running. But what about all the other facets of fitness? I knew going into this that I’d be regularly cross-training (spinning, Barry’s Bootcamp and yin-style yoga are my faves), tons of foam rolling and squeezing in strength training. But I wanted to make sure that injury wasn’t waiting for me down the road, so I hit up my coach—Clif Bar pro athlete Stephanie Howe—for advice once more. Turns out there are a lot of myths out there, and she was there to bust ‘em all.
Myth: You gotta give all or nothing.
I used to regularly freak out that I wasn’t using weights enough, and became paranoid that injury was right around the corner when my work schedule only allowed me to hit the weights once or twice a week. Full disclosure: I’m a worry wart. When you’re training for a big race (um, I’d like to say this marathon is big), 1-3 times per week is OK. As a pro athlete who trains for 50-milers and beyond, Howe determines her gym schedule based on where she’s at in the season. “In the off-season, I try to get there 2-3 times per week, but when I’m training, it’s usually only once.” Once you find what fits for you, though, stick to it, she warns. “Consistency is key. I go to a strength training for runners class every week, and meeting a friend keeps me motivated and accountable.” Anyone want to join me? Tweet me @FITNESSsamantha.
Myth: Running does the same thing to muscles that strength training does.
When you’re sore, you’re sore. Doesn’t matter how you got there, right? Wrong. Not only will strength training help balance your body and prevent injury, but it will also give your body a break from the wear and tear it gets from pounding so much pavement. “Running is a catabolic activity, meaning it breaks down the body for energy,” explains Howe. “Strength training is an anabolic activity that stimulates the muscles to build up.” So in order to reach marathon-running perfection, I need to have a balance of both.
Myth: Abs are the only focus during strength training.
Yes, your abs are really important, especially when training for such a long distance (it’s where a lot of your energy comes from). But it’s not the only area that should be ready for action. “If you just focus on the core, you miss many other large muscle groups, like your arms and legs,” says Howe. Fun fact: the leg alone has 13 muscles in it, and well, they’re used quite a lot in running. So giving equal attention to other body parts not only covers your bases, but it helps prevent muscle imbalances. When you do that, you prevent injury.
Myth: It’s OK to lift weights on back-to-back days.
There’s one big thing I’ve noticed in my training schedule week-to-week: I’m rarely doing a “hard” workout two days in a row. So if I hit up bootcamp on Monday, I can count on an easy run being on deck for Tuesday. What gives? “You need to give your body time to recover and build back up between sessions,” explains Howe. “All the changes happen when you are are resting. If you don’t give your body that time, then you are breaking it down even further.” And nobody wants that.
Myth: You should avoid heavy weights.
It may seem counterintuitive—why grab heavy dumbbells when I want to be light and speedy?—but lifting heavier is pretty important, says Howe. ”It sparks neuromuscular changes that will make your body more efficient,” explains Howe. “These changes happen independently, meaning the benefits are found without changes in muscle size.” Translation: lifting heavy weights for a lower amount of reps, paired with running, will not result in Schwarzenegger arms, but rather a stronger bod and faster finish times. Noted.
And just for good measure, I wanted to know: what are the best strengthening exercises for runners? Howe recommends a lot of basics that focus on your foundation muscles (abs, back, glutes, lats, traps), arms and legs. “I grab heavy weights and regularly do bench presses, lat pull downs, squats and lunges,” she says. Make sure to focus on any imbalances, too. “I have weak hips, so I try to include a hip exercise each time I lift. And always take time to stretch.” Girl just won Western States (that’s 100 miles), so her plan must be a solid one.
Photo by James Farrell
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Written on August 6, 2014 at 6:15 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern
Fit and fabulous? Check. TV personality Liz Hernandez embodies both of these qualities, and her rockin’ bod and flair for fashion are just two of the reasons we love tuning into Access Hollywood. Besides becoming one of the first Latina correspondent on NBC’s entertainment news program in 2014, this California native also sets a great example as a strong woman who knows what she wants and fights for it. After sitting down for a one-on-one chat with Hernandez, we should also probably mention that she’s totally down-to-earth, witty and bubbly. Yes, we know; swoon.
Being on TV and always in the spotlight, how does it affect your mindset about working out and staying fit?
I have never let myself fall into the trap of like, “Oh, I’ve got to look this certain way.” I’ve always been pretty healthy and kept myself in good condition. But, there’s never a worse feeling than when you’ve gone out the night before, you didn’t eat right and you get to set and they have this little skirt for you. You are like “Oh, God! I don’t want to go out there!” So, I have noticed that on the mornings when I wake up, workout and get to set, it’s like, I have energy, my body feels strong and I am projecting that. It’s just a positive reinforcement.
Are there any exercise routines you’re totally obsessed with?
I try to go to the gym no less than 4 days a week. I used to be like, “Cardio! Cardio! Cardio!” But then I was retrained to just get my heart rate up for 10 minutes on the treadmill. Then I do weight training, where I go grab free weights and I do jumping jacks with the weights, squats, lunges, abs…just so my full body is getting a workout. I try to do as much as I can with free weights because essentially you are burning calories while building your muscles.
What’s your diet like these days?
I am really strict during the week. I am very big on getting 30 grams of protein in the morning just to fill me up. That’s what really works for me and it usually holds me over for 2-3 hours before I have something like a bran muffin with fruit. I’ve also strayed away from all dairy products and red meat.
Any go-to snacks?
I am going to be totally embarrassing, but I have the same breakfast every day. I am a huge fan of thinkThin bars. They have 20 grams of protein in them! I have a white chocolate thinkThin bar every single morning without fail. They are low sugar and high in protein. I also keep my house stocked with fruit. Cantaloupe is my favorite.
I loved—loved, as in past tense—ice cream. Now that I’ve given up dairy, I use these little ice cube trays and pour juice into them. I pour white grape juice and add in real fruit. So when I have an after-dinner craving, I’ll have one of those and it cuts the sugar craving.
With your extremely busy schedule, how do you manage to do it all?
You know, it’s all balance. One of the things I really practice is thinking about my mind, body and spirit. It’s totally my mantra. In the mornings, before I even go to the gym or do anything, I have a gratitude journal and I write five things that I am grateful for. It’s a reminder for when my day goes haywire that it could always be worse.
Photo by Emilio Sanchez
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Written on August 6, 2014 at 5:45 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern
What’s more fun than looking super cute while training like a beast? Answer: nothing. Which is why we totally love a good running skirt. This fall, the brand behind the original, Skirt Sports, celebrates its 10-year anniversary with a “Virtual 10 on 10 Run” on September 13th. As you probably guessed, we’re joining the fun and are pretty pumped to sport this season’s trendiest styles.
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of what exactly a “Virtual 10 on 10 Run” entails, we must talk about just how crazy it is that the running skirt has officially been around for an entire decade. News like this can make a girl feel pretty old. I mean, we’re talking 2004 here, back when Usher’s “Burn” was the top pop single and movies like Mean Girls and The Notebook were rockin’ the big screen (We still love you, RyGos and Rachel).
It was also the year that professional triathlete Nicole DeBoom debuted the running skirt—while winning Ironman Wisconsin, no less—and used her prize money to start Skirt Sports, a brand that’s dedicated the last decade to making women look and feel great while running. Talk about major girl power.
So, what exactly is this virtual run, and how can you participate? From September 13-15, Skirt Sports invites women from around the world to run either a 10K or 10 miles (if you happen to live in Boulder, CO you can run with the Skirt Sports team!). Sign up here, and share your training and race-day adventures on social media—just remember to tag @SkirtSports. Every participant that registers will receive a gift certificate to Skirt Sports, a Lucky #10 race bib and a finisher’s gift post-race.
Still new to the world of running skirts? Check out some of our fave picks below. From the most fashionable styles to the best options for optimal performance, you’ll love the freedom that comes with wearing skirts while running your fastest. What are you waiting for? Time to suit up, sign up and pound some pavement. Happy training!
From Left to Right:
- Skirt Sports ($65, skirtsports.com)
- New Balance ($31, newbalance.com)
- Adidas ($45, adidas.com)
- Asics ($30, asicsamerica.com)
- Under Armour ($41, underarmour.com)
- Nike ($33, dickssportinggoods.com)
- Lululemon ($58, lululemon.com)
- Fabletics ($30, fabletics.com)
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