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The Fit Stop

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of Element Hotel 

More from FITNESS:

Everything You Need to Know About Bicycling and Spinning

What’s Your Bike Type?

FITNESS Gear Guide: The Best Biking Gear

How to Fight Allergy Season and Still Sweat Outside

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from FITNESS: 

5 Seasonal Allergy Remedies

6 Outdoor Workout Hazards 

How to Train with a Running Buddy 

 

Tara Stiles Wants To Bring Your Yoga Game to Bali

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

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

Did you do it?

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

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

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

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

More from FITNESS:

Win a Trip to Punta Cana – On Us!

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Yoga for Beginners

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

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

Written by Katie Maguire, fashion assistant

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

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

Photo courtesy of APL 

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Lighten Your Stride: How to Transition into Minimalist Sneakers

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

 

‘Bachelor’ Bad Girl Courtney Robertson’s Inner Winner Secrets

Written on June 19, 2014 at 9:54 am , by

Flip open any dictionary and you’ll find “villain” to be defined as some version of “an uncouth person who does bad things.” But when we sat down to chat with notorious Bachelor contestant Courtney Robertson about her new memoir, I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends, the alleged villain wasn’t the reality TV rogue the media has cast her as over the years. In fact, Courtney was quite the opposite—sweet and sincere, bubbly and funny with a confidence that somehow shined brighter than her dewy complexion. “I learned a long time ago that I can’t be anyone other than me,” our April 2011 cover model told us. “I’ve learned to embrace and love myself for all the parts that make me, me—flaws and all!” Preach, girlfriend. Preach.

The past few years haven’t been easy, Courtney admitted, and her short—but very public—relationship with season 16 Bachelor Ben Flajnik cued a barrage of backlash and gossip when it ended privately. To set the record straight once and for all, not to mention give fans an inside look of what the showmance is really like, Courtney shared her love story in book form for your beach bum pleasure. “I was trampled in the press and I had people that I’ve never met writing about me, pretending they knew my story. I decided to take matters into my own hands,” she said with conviction, adding that it was a very cathartic process.

So how does Courtney brush off the haters? Positive thinking is key, she dished—only you can control your own attitude and happiness. “I always try to put on a happy face and act like my best self even if I’m exhausted or have had a stressful day,” Courtney told us. “You never know why someone feels the need to be mean or hurtful. I try to be brave and put on my big girl panties.” Humor has also become a coping mechanism. “The best thing to do in uncomfortable situations is address the awkwardness in all of its glory,” she said. “I just remind myself that it will make for a great story to tell my grandkids someday!”

It doesn’t hurt that she has a killer bod, too. (Insert girl envy here.) The LA-based model tries to squeeze a cardio workout in every day—even if it’s just a 20-minute walk around the block—and lives by the motto “a little goes a long way.” Courtney’s go-to gym routine includes 10 minutes on the StairMaster, 2 miles on the Elliptical and treadmill interval training followed by a stretching sesh. Before calling it a day, she’ll also crank out a quick circuit of push-ups (on her knees), butt raises, wheelhouse crunches and squats…15 each! And we all know that a solid diet is the key to success too, and Courtney swears by a clean-but-not-”perfect” diet. Instead, she “tries her best” on most days and allows for the occasional indulgence. “I enjoy pizza, Thai food and, of course, a good bottle of wine.” A girl after our own hearts.

Get more of Courtney’s tips and tricks (oh, and you know, The Bachelor dirt and dramedy you’ve always craved!) in her new memoir, on sale June 24.

Photo courtesy of Harper Collins

More from FITNESS:

‘The Bachelor’ Workout: Can Juan Pablo Make You Sweat?
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Sean Lowe’s Post-Bachelor Fitness Challenge

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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The Fitness Gear You Don’t Have (But Really Need)

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The New Stylish, Sporty Sunglasses from Oakley and the Tone It Up Girls

Written on June 18, 2014 at 9:53 am , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

Equal parts fun and fit is how we’d describe the dynamic duo that is the Tone It Up Girls, Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn. They developed their own fitness following through YouTube workout videos, fitness products, a Bravo reality TV show and a bikini line. Now Karena and Katrina have teamed up with Oakley, creating a fashionably fit sunglasses line. Available at BeachBabe.com, the “Oakley Sunnies” range in price from $170 for the “Katrina” aviators, and $190 for the “Karena” activewear frame. While many activewear sunglasses traditionally have a sportier look, these styles still function as activewear shades, yet they are ultra stylish for everyday wear as well. Finally, the best of both worlds!

We met up with the California cuties at the launch party in New York City last week to chat about their new sunglasses line and get the inside scoop on their bikini body secrets.

What inspired you to collaborate with Oakley to make a sunglasses line?

Karena: We were like, “Let’s do it!” Oakley is actually the only brand of active sunglasses I’ve ever worn. I have been wearing them for like 8 years—way back when I first started competing in triathlons.

Katrina: We love all of their sunglasses. They are lightweight—so, you don’t get headaches.

Karena: Kat and I do painting and drawing and we love design—so it seemed like the perfect match to design sunglasses. We incorporated some of our artwork. The blue and green colors from my painting of the wave, which hangs in my house, and they are on the inside of the “Karena” frame. And, the colors in Kat’s painting of the mermaid inspired the color of the “Katrina” aviators.

What are some features women should look for when buying a pair of active wear sunglasses?

Katrina: I think it’s good to have someone fit you so you can get a good pair for your face. If the lenses are resting on your cheeks, then maybe you need a smaller frame, or they just need to tighten up the nose pad—there are so many things that I didn’t even know about sunglasses until I started working with Oakley, [so getting that fit right is important].

Read more

Free Workouts in NYC You’ve Gotta Try This Summer

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

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of Discover Outdoors

 More From FITNESS:

Get Motivated: The Benefits of Outdoor Exercise

10 Exercises to Turn the Outdoors into a Gym

Hiking Guide: What You Need to Know Before You Go 

The Fitness Gear You Don’t Have (But Really Need)

Written on June 16, 2014 at 6:43 pm , by

When we think of Bluetooth chips, we usually don’t think of them in relation to water bottles. And when we think of yoga mats, we usually don’t think sensors and LED lights will be involved. But with personal trainers continually developing new ways to crank our calorie burn, and nutritionists creating new recipes that are easier, tastier and healthier, it’s no wonder the products meant to streamline our journey to a healthy lifestyle are nearly lapping the experts in innovation. These soon-to-be available high-tech gadgets are meeting—and potentially exceeding—our expectations, and you better believe they’re on our wish lists! Check ‘em out:

Dehydration affects nearly half of us, which is how the creators of BluFit came up with its concept. It’s a glass water bottle that syncs with your phone to keep track of how much water you need (based on weight, age, humidity levels, etc.) and how much water you drink. When it’s time to grab another sip, BluFit alerts you via sound and light to drink up. Not near your water bottle? It’ll alert your phone, too. The rechargeable battery lasts for about six days, so you’ll be good to make this little guy your running buddy or your staple between gym sessions.

A yoga class in the comfort of your own home? Sign us up! That’s basically what the Tera mat provides. Also a wool carpet, the mat uses sensors to identify where you are on the mat and guide you where to go next based on each workout you do. You can even tailor the workouts to help you reach your personal fitness goals. The mat syncs with the Tera app to record and analyze your movements, while the app itself provides step-by-step guides for completing each movement correctly. You can also use the mat for Zumba, Pilates or Thai Bo. Versatile, convenient and stylish? Talk about every fit girl’s dream!

Photos courtesy of BluFit and Tera Mat

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Google To Give Health Another Try, This Time With App

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Find Your Calm in the Middle of Times Square

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

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of Derek Goodwin

More from FITNESS:

The Beginner’s Guide to Yoga 

You’re Overthinking It! Tips to Stress Less

3 Ways to Take Control of a Stressful Day