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The Fit Stop

Take Free Spin Classes at Revolve!

Written on September 9, 2014 at 9:24 am , by

New to New York City and trying to get fit on a budget? We’ve been there, girl (slash we’re still there…sigh). Gym membership costs are sky-high, and if you’re anything like us (which we know you are!), you’re probably dying to try every new fitness craze that’s out there.

Now the good news: Our spinning pals at Revolve Fitness are helping us out with an awesome program. You can volunteer to work a shift at the gym for an hour and 45 minutes, and they’ll pay you with a free class. You can expect to greet riders at the door, give tours, adjust bikes, do laundry and restock amenities. Whether you’re a student or a working professional, this sounds like a seriously sweet exchange.

The shifts the Revolve team needs help with are early weekday mornings, evenings and weekends, but you can email unionsquare@revolvefitness.com to see what time slots they’re looking to fill.

Happy (free) spinning!

Photo courtesy of Revolve Fitness

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Costa Rica’s Central Valley: The Fit Girl Essentials

Written on September 8, 2014 at 9:55 am , by

Written by Karina Dearwood, associate photo editor

Lush forests, colorful vegetation and a totally relaxed vibe are just some of the fantastic features you can expect from a visit to Costa Rica’s Central Valley. I spent a week in the region with stops in Bajos Del Toro, Arenal, and La Fortuna de San Carlos, and I’m already planning my next trip. Here’s what I suggest for yours:

Bajos Del Toro is in the cloud forest region of Costa Rica, which is exactly as it sounds.  Staying at the El Silencio Lodge & Spa, you’ll be treated to stunning views of lush green mountains with occasional wisps of white puffy clouds. Hearing the sounds of birds and water first thing in the morning was a refreshing wake-up call for this city girl! Hiking throughout the property is a must-do activity, where you’ll discover various colorful plants and come across three waterfalls, each more stunning than the one before, and all a must-see. Of course, the longer the trek, the more rewarding the food! Book a reservation for Las Ventanas Restuarant, where a farm-to-table feast full of nutritious, satisfying food awaits.

Next, stop by the Arenal area and don’t miss out on Rancho Margot. It’s a sustainable farm, restaurant and bungalow-style hotel all in one. Yoga classes are available twice daily and are taught in a large, open treehouse surrounded by a babbling brook and green forest. It’s not your typical Namaste, and we’re totally on board with that.

Wrap things up  with a trip to the Tabacon Grand Spa and Thermal Resort at La Fortuna de San Carlos. Natural hot springs? Check. Spa? Check. Incredible beauty? Check, check, check. At this point, you’ve earned some pampering. The hot springs are all broken down into several pools on multiple levels, with each pool at a different temperature. After romping through a few, relax with a Swedish massage at the spa. The setting is really what makes it one-of-a-kind: The body and facial treatments are all performed in small, secluded bungalows surrounded by natural vegetation. It’s completely private and you listen to the sounds of nature all around you. It’s only after this experience that you’ll be ready (albeit reluctantly) to take the flight back to reality.

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5 Things Every Football Player Wishes You Knew About Football

Written on September 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm , by

NFL season is officially on, and we’re pretty sure the men in your life (husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandpas, distant cousins, etc.) are already glued to Sports Center and planning what type of beer they’re going to grab for game time. And while most of us are led to believe the male-football obsession is the only one that exists, it turns out things aren’t so one-sided. In fact, nearly half of the NFL’s fans are female, according to recent Scarborough research. So instead of rolling your eyes at every angry gesture your man and his friends make at the television, let yourself get caught up in the emotion too. Because not only are there things they want you to know (trust us, they’ll find it incredibly sexy when you rattle off player stats), but the players wish you did, too. New York Giants linebacker Jon Beason gave us some scoop:

1. Football requires brain power. Yes, the game is actually more than just a mean arm and fancy footwork. The guys have to think fast and memorize each play beforehand, so nix the “dumb jock” stereotypes, stat.

2. It is a job. We all know players in the NFL are making some nice chunks of change, but they don’t just show up, play the game and leave. There’s a ton of preparation that goes into each game, and when they travel, they have a curfew and bed check. No special guests allowed!

3. Not all players are the same. ”The majority of guys have a lot of stuff outside of football that makes them unique,” says Beason. “Football is a reflection of who you are, but it’s not all you are.”

4. They, too, have fitness mantras. “Talk is cheap; play the game” and “No toughness; no championship” are some of the quotes we found splashed across the Giants’ locker room when we took a tour with actor Taye Diggs and Duracell. Right on, boys.

5. Those headsets the coaches use are crucial. Angry coaches screaming into mics ring a bell? Communicating to the guys on the field is harder than it looks! Games get really, really loud, and they need to get messages to their players fast. Before technology, coaches had to use hand signals. Yowza!

Want to see how NFL games are powered? Check out Duracell’s infographic for some interesting facts on the technicalities of the games.

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Watch Gisele Bündchen’s New Under Armour Commercial

Written on September 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm , by

Under Armour has been featuring some seriously badass women in its “I Will What I Want” campaign. On the list so far: Misty Copeland, Lindsey Vonn, Sloane Stephens, Kelley O’Hara and Brianna Cope.

Each fab lady comes from a different athletic background, but they all have one thing in common: Among the obstacles and the criticism in their respective sports, they’ve worked VERY hard to get where they are now. And if there’s one person who knows criticism, it’s Gisele Bündchen.

When word spread that the supermodel would be the next addition to the campaign, she received some serious backlash. And the way Under Armour—and Gisele—dealt with it is pure genius.

Check out the commercial. Gisele gets some cardio in with a major punching sesh. While she hits the punching bag, comments—both positive and negative—appear on the walls. The Brazilian beauty constantly receives contradictory feedback, but it clearly hasn’t slowed her down, as she’s currently the highest-paid model in the world. Oh, and she got 43 no’s at her first try at international fashion shows before hearing a “yes.” Now that’s inspiring.

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Fitness Kicks Off NYFW with Athleta’s Crush Of Adrenaline

Written on September 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm , by

Activewear as a fashion trend is not a new fad; for years, women have been spending increasingly more time and money on their workout wardrobes as fitness apparel becomes a norm for everyday attire. But Athleta has taken it to the next level with their adrenaline-pumping performance-turned-runway show, which acted as the unofficial start to NYFW—especially for us here at FITNESS.

Not your average runway show in the slightest, Athleta combined the athletic efforts of trampolines, jogging, yoga, breakdancing and more to showcase the wide range of sports and movement that can be done in the clothing. The show certainly lived up to the name “Crush of Adrenaline” and removed any traces of doubt that activewear can’t be a fashionable option.

The most important element to Athleta, as explained to us by senior design director Nancy Taylor, is that they create clothes that are fashionable and practical. “So it’s not extreme, overt athletic wear, but it combines both facets demonstrated honestly—not by traditional runway models—but true athletes performing in it in front of your eyes.”

“We’re seeing activewear and fitness emerge as a huge trend within fashion because women want to be healthy and active every day but not have to change a million times a day,” Taylor said backstage before yesterday’s show. One perfect example: the jogger pant, which, as Taylor described, would transition well through evening if paired with the right top.

We’re all about bridging the gap between chic outfits and heart-pumping workouts, so here’s to hoping there are more fitness-inspired shows at NYFW!

Photos courtesy of Athleta

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Triathlon Training: Mastering the Swim at Any Level

Written on September 4, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

If you’re lucky enough to come into triathlon from a swimming background, congratulations—you’re already one step ahead of most people! But if you’re just getting into it, don’t stress. You just have to brush up on the basics and dive right in. In fact, whether you’re a newbie Nemo or a seasoned shark, there are plenty of ways to improve your swimming skills and ace the first leg of your race. Jennifer Vogel, a triathlon coach and Zoot Sports sponsored athlete gearing up for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, shares some of her best tips for upping your underwater game at any level.

If you’re a beginner….

Remember to breathe.  This may sound like a no-brainer, but even the most fit people might not be able to swim the length of the pool at first. It’s not because they’re not fit enough, but it’s usually because they aren’t breathing properly. Practice bilateral breathing—turning your head to both the right and left sides—from the start to avoid forming bad habits.

Take it slow. It’s a natural instinct to hit the water at turbo speed because you don’t want to drown. But you’ll get winded and exhausted in no time, so start out slow and steady and build from there.

If you’re intermediate….

Meet with a coach. If you really want to take your sport to the next level, having someone analyze your stroke is important. It might set you back $60-$80 for a one-hour session, but that’s money well spent because you’ll get an expert eye and opinion. Ideally, they will take a video of you underwater, as well as above, so you can actually see what you’re doing wrong, rather than them just telling you. Swimming is mostly about technique, rather than strength, so nailing proper form will make you faster, require less energy and keep injury at bay.

Invest in a wetsuit. Depending on which races you sign up for and the water temperatures, a wet suit isn’t essential in the beginning. But once you know you want to continue competing in triathlons, it’s a smart investment. Not only will it make you more hydrodynamic (translation: traveling easily through water), it increases buoyancy and keeps you warm in colder water temps. Vogel uses a full sleeve option, but I opt for this sleeveless version so my arms and shoulders wouldn’t feel restricted. Check out more selections here.

Gain more open water experience. Training in the pool is easy and effective, but unless you’re racing in one, it’s best to get as much open water experience as possible. Pools don’t have a ton of waves, murky water and, well, potential fishies and seaweed lurking around. The more comfortable you are in that setting, the less pre-race anxiety you’ll have and the more energy you can put into kicking butt and taking names.

If you’re experienced…

Join a masters group. These are adult swim groups for ages 18 and over, typically comprised of triathletes or former swimmers. A masters team will provide structured workouts and drills, as well as a group setting to help  hold you accountable. It’s sometimes mentally easier when you can swim in a group setting like this as opposed to repeating laps in a pool on your own.

For everyone…

Focus on posture and core work on dry land. Swimming engages your entire core and that’s where most of your power comes from, so you need to hold it tight while keeping your extremities very fluid. It’s about maintaining this balance between effort and ease. Planks are one of the best ways to strengthen your core outside of the pool—we recommend busting out a 30- to 60-second forearm version daily or try this workout.

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CVS Officially Ends Tobacco Sales

Written on September 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm , by

Can we get a slow clap for CVS? As of today, the company is completely tobacco-free.

Now CVS Health, the corporation is wiping the carcinogens from shelves in an effort to promote healthier communities, and the decision comes nearly a month earlier than expected. “As a pharmacy innovation company at the forefront of a changing health care landscape, we are delivering breakthrough products and services, from advising on prescriptions to helping manage chronic and specialty conditions,” President and CEO Larry Merlo said in a statement.

Lung cancer is the most preventable cancer in the world, yet remains to be the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Want to help CVS raise awareness? Join its social media campaign, #OneGoodReason, and encourage others to live tobacco-free.

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Take the Bus to Lose Weight

Written on September 3, 2014 at 9:55 am , by

Big city turn you into a public transit kind of gal? We know it isn’t always a great experience—strange, sweaty bodies too close to you in the summer and bone-chilling wind greeting you with each station-to-office trek in the winter.

But don’t cash your bus coins in yet. A new study found that those who commute via public transportation have less fat and an overall lower BMI than those who drive a car. Ellen Flint, Ph.D., a researcher at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who led the study, says it’s the walks to and from your destination that are keeping you trimmer—an entire 6 pounds, in fact, for a 5-foot-4-inch woman.

Flint studied 7,500 men and women in the UK. Those who walked, biked, or used public transportation to and from work were not only 6 pounds lighter, but an entire BMI point lower than their car-commuting counterparts. “And that was despite adjustment for a range of other factors about the lifestyles of these individuals that we thought might be responsible for their weight status and commuting choices,” she explains. “So things like diet quality; how health-conscious a person is; income and socioeconomic status; the amount of physical activity that the person does in their job and in their leisure; their health and disability status: We really adjusted for all of those factors to try and distill the relationship between the level of activity in their commute to work and their bodyweight and composition.”

Flint hopes the study sheds light on the fact that even though riding a bus to work doesn’t seem any more exerting than driving a car, the required body-movement bursts—like walking to and from the train station, standing on the bus, and climbing up and down stairs—really do make a difference.

“On a population health level, encouraging that incidental physical activity in the daily lives of the population could really add up to something which might help combat obesity levels,” she says. “It’s quite a large weight difference. It’s one that we think is clinically significant and it suggests that there is a large untapped potential for policy makers to consider the health benefits one might get if one was to really try and promote and facilitate greater use of public and active forms of transport.”

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Buy A Pair of ASICS to Support Pediatric Cancer Research

Written on September 2, 2014 at 10:16 am , by

Nothing makes our fit-girl hearts skip more than seeing some of our favorite athletic-wear brands support really great causes. Case in point: We practically ran to the ASICS store and kicked off our old sneaks as soon as we found out the company would be teaming up with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for the second time. It’s a nonprofit organization that raises money to support research on pediatric cancer, the number-one disease killer among U.S. children.

 

 

ASICS created an exclusive, limited-edition collection for the cause and will donate $10 for each pair of shoes sold (aren’t they gorgeous?!), $2 for each clothing item and $1 for each accessory. But regardless of how many items are sold, ASICS has promised to donate at least $100,000 to the organization. Buy ‘em while you can, though, because they sold out in just three days last year!

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Fight Ovarian Cancer This Month With Laura Mercier

Written on September 1, 2014 at 9:12 am , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

For many of us, September represents the beginning of autumn, chillier temps and backyard bonfires (with s’mores in moderation, of course—yummy indoor recipe here if you so desire). For former gymnast, Olympic gold medalist and cancer survivor Shannon Miller, September means raising awareness for ovarian cancer.

Like many women, Miller had a lot on her plate prior to her diagnosis back in 2011. The seven-time Olympic medalist had just given birth to her first son 14 months prior and was busy establishing her career as an advocate for women’s health.

“This came out of nowhere—completely blind-sided me—and it humbled me in a way that I had never been before,” says Miller. “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from, or how many gold medals you have. Cancer doesn’t care.”

Unfortunately, stories—like Miller’s—where patients show no sign of living with ovarian cancer, the fifth leading cause of death in American women, are not so uncommon. “The tough thing about ovarian cancer is that most of the time, the point at which you are having a lot of discomfort is typically a later stage of ovarian cancer, which makes it very difficult.”

Claudia Poccia, CEO and co-founder of the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund (LMOCF), is no stranger to the devastating effects of ovarian cancer either—her 39-year-old sister died in 2011 a couple of years after her diagnosis. With a mission to educate women about the disease, support those undergoing treatment, and fund ovarian cancer research, Poccia teamed up with French makeup artist Laura Mercier and co-founded LMOCF in September 2012.

“Laura and I were stunned to learn the terrible truth about ovarian cancer,” says Poccia. “Diagnostic tools are limited, and women lack information on ovarian cancer prevention. We also discovered that treatment options are few and funding for research is inadequate.”

In honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, LMOCF is teaming up with Miller to conduct public awareness campaigns to spread the word and educate others about this disease. Support their efforts by donating directly to LMOCF (proceeds go to programs that treat women with ovarian cancer), or by purchasing one of the four products that Laura Mercier developed: 100 percent of the proceeds will go to LMOCF. September 5 is National Wear Teal Day. Join in the movement by dressing in teal and tagging @LauraMercier, #SpeakOutForHope and #LMOCF.

Included in the product line:

1) Bonne Mine Healthy Glow for Face & Cheeks Crème Colour Palette, $48

2) Lip Glacé Peach Hope, $25

3) Bracelet of Hope, $35

4) Teal clutch, $300

Photo by Renee Parenteau

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