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The Fit Stop

We Tried It: Speed Camp, Part 2

Written on June 10, 2014 at 2:06 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

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Your Speed Secret Weapon

Alex Molden, a retired football player who spent eight seasons as a defensive back in the NFL, knows a little something about speed. I met him on the field at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium, where he played for the Ducks. Today he’s a master trainer for Nike—you may recognize him if you’ve played the Nike+ Kinect Training game for Xbox360; he’s the trainer.

One of the most effective ways to increase your speed, says Molden, is resisted running. That’s what I’m doing in the photo above. You run with a belt around your waist with a bungee cord attached to it. Your partner (in my case, an extremely ripped former NFL player) jogs behind you, holding on to the cord to provide steady resistance. We did 10-yard sprints—burn, baby, burn!

Another killer speed builder? Stair running.

Try them both, but keep in mind Molden’s sprint-form secrets:

Arms: Move them back and forward, not across the body. Think of your palms going from cheek (of your face) to cheek (of your bum).

Knees: Keep knees high, bring them up to 90 degrees.

Feet: They should be flexed and driving down.

Check back for Speed Camp, Part 3, tomorrow!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Speed Camp, Part 1

Doonya Fitness Party

NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up 

How One Granola Bar Brand Is Saving Lives—Literally!

Written on June 10, 2014 at 10:46 am , by

Severe acute malnutrition claims the lives of 2.6 million children each year (that’s one child every 12 seconds), but what if you could put a stop to that…by simply munching on your own afternoon snack? Now you can. This Bar Saves Lives has taken a bite out of Toms, Warby Parker and the like’s humanitarian business models to turn grub proceeds into good.

“The solution exists,” co-founder Ravi Patel told us during a recent FITNESS office pow-wow. “There’s just not enough of the life-saving food, Plumpy’Nut®, to go around.” So after returning from a trip to Africa where they witnessed childhood hunger first-hand, founders (and actors) Patel, Ryan Devlin and Todd Grinnell pledged to put an end to childhood hunger and started a movement with tasty treats of their own. And they started out by taste testing in their own kitchens. Don’t you just love that!?

For each purchased bar, This Bar Saves Lives’ non-profit partner makes one portion of Plumpy’Nut®, which is then sent to areas in the world where it’s needed most (primarily Africa, India and Haiti). And not only are you giving others the nutrition they need, you’re also receiving quality energy with natural, locally-sourced and non-GMO ingredients. Double-whammy! The clover honey in my fave Madagascar Vanilla Almond & Honey comes from Wisconsin, for example. And the roasted pistachios in the Wild Blueberry Pistachio? Californian, born and raised. Everything from the ingredients to the packaging (the pattern on the wrappers are from African textiles, which also have a feel-good, giving-back tie) is mission-based, something we at FITNESS truly stand by.

So what are you waiting for? Fuel up to put an end to childhood hunger. Place your order on their site and be sure to keep an eye out for new varieties in select stores and boutique gyms nationwide (another reason to hit up Whole Foods? See you never, paycheck). They’ll also be offering some pretty cool initiatives in 2015, so follow their social media platforms ASAP for the skinny!

Photo courtesy of This Bar Saves Lives

More from FITNESS:

How You Can Run One Million Miles to Fight Childhood Cancer
Yankees’ Relief Pitcher David Robertson Talks Baseball, Charity Work and What He Loves Most About Fit Women
Trade Miles for Moneyand Help Beat Homelessnesswith Mizuno

We Tried It: Nike Speed Camp

Written on June 9, 2014 at 4:46 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Try This Workout! 

When I got the invitation to attend Nike Zoom Speed Camp in Eugene, Oregon, (a.k.a. Tracktown, USA), I was equal parts nervous and excited. Excited because I’ve had a love affair with running since I joined the high-school cross-country team as a tenth grader (how amazing to run on the track at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, following in the footsteps of Steve Prefontaine and dozens of Olympians). Nervous because I’ve never been particularly, well, speedy. My running style has always been more tortoise than hare.

I was shaking in my Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 sneakers when I met my coach: Rory Fraser, one of the best distance runners in the country and the second fastest 5,000-meter runner in the U.K. Gulp. Fraser put me at ease by insisting that speed work is for everyone, not just elite athletes. Then he put me to work on the track doing one of his favorite speed drills, a pyramid workout. You push yourself to run faster over increasingly longer distances, then come back down to where you started. Try our workout—don’t forget to do an easy jog to warm-up and cool-down, as well as some dynamic stretching beforehand. 

And for those who need a reminder, 400 meters is one lap around the track. So here you’ll be doing either a half lap, a full lap, or two laps throughout the workout. Happy sweating!

  • 200 meters fast
  • 200 meters jog
  • 400 meters fast
  • 400 meters jog
  • 800 meters fast
  • 400 meters jog
  • 400 meters fast
  • 200 meters jog
  • 200 meters fast

Check back for Speed Camp, Part 2, tomorrow!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Body Conceptions

JumpLife Gym

DailyBurn’s Inferno HR

 

Fast Food Gone Healthy: Panera Ditches All Artificial Ingredients

Written on June 9, 2014 at 10:18 am , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

Dining out, while following a balanced diet, is hardly ever as simple as it seems—especially when the seemingly “healthy” restaurants have packed their meals with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and preservatives. So we couldn’t help but give three major cheers when Panera Bread announced that it will swear off all artificial ingredients and preservatives by 2016.

Founded on the belief that “quick food could also be quality food,” Panera plans to further its mission by retiring artificial ingredients, such as MSG and artificial trans fats. Instead, the company has built a comprehensive plan that will have all locations using clean ingredients, along with a transparent menu. Translation: customers are gaining more control over what they eat, even when they’re not cooking it themselves. Everybody now: big sigh of relief!

So what specific changes can you expect when you visit a Panera? First, all of those delish dressings and sauces can be served guilt-free, because there won’t be any artificial preservatives. And the bakery items (mmm…bear claws)—actually, everything on the menu—will no longer contain high-fructose corn syrup, and natural alternatives will replace artificial coloring in icing.  Panera is even looking into different options for traditional deli meats, since those often have nitrites and artificial preservatives hanging around.

The problem with all of these artificial ingredients lies in what Panera is calling “a broken food system.” Even though many of us are health-conscious, the status quo over the past few decades has been to include artificial additives in pretty much everything—from snacks to fast foods and pantry ingredients. While choosing foods wisely can be somewhat of a chore, efforts like this will become a restaurant trend, improving the dining-out experience for those of us who are constantly on the go. Fingers crossed!

Photo courtesy of Panera

More from FITNESS:  

30 Surprisingly Healthy Fast Foods

Easy, Healthy 20-Minute Recipes

Fast Food Choices to Skip

Start Your OITNB Marathon, We Have the Healthy Snack to Hold You Over

Written on June 6, 2014 at 6:40 pm , by

Orange is the New Black is officially back for season two and I could not be more excited. And since I know I’m not the only one who will be glued to their television this weekend (because let’s be real, you can’t watch just one episode at a time), I knew we’d need a little sustenance to get us through Piper’s latest escapades. Enter celeb trainer Harley Pasternak, FITNESS’ go-to guy for healthy smoothie recipes. He’s whipped up an OITNB smoothie in honor of this momentous day, so we can quench our thirst and curb our appetites without diving straight into a bag of chips—while hopefully watching Red reclaim her kitchen. Bust your blender out, press play and happily sip away, friends.

OITNB Smoothie 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 large orange, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 medium frozen banana, chopped
  • 1/2 serving unsweetened protein powder
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ice cubes

Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed; add ice if preferred. Blend until desired consistency, adding water to thin out if necessary.

Oh, and if working out while you watch is more your thing, you’re in luck—you could win a trip to LA to workout with Harley! Simply snap a photo of you working out during your fave show, and send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using #tvworkout to enter. Check out the rules here, and get more details in our June issue, on newsstands now!

More from FITNESS: 

The Best Subscription Snack Boxes 

6 Ways to Snack Smarter

How To Resist Those Junk Food Cravings

 

Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s New Health App

Written on June 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

Attention, fitness junkies (and if you’re reading this, we’re going to assume that’s all of you): Apple has announced that they will be unveiling every runner, biker, yogi, and health-conscious person’s dream app—Health (and its tracking feature HealthKit).. The technologically advanced app is coming our way when i0S 8 becomes available, and can only be described as the self-obtaining, on-the-spot, no-doctor-involved, personal quantification of health. It is that hyper-organized file cabinet that we wish existed in our lives.

Okay, now that I’m done pumping it up, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Think of Health as the mega fitness drop-box. It pulls in health and exercise info from other applications and activity monitors you already use, and deposits them into one place. For example, the app recognizes data collected in Nike+ after you go for a long run, along with daily movement and sleeping patterns tallied in Moves and Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock. Then, Health takes that data and uses it to analyze your fitness level and general health, subsequently providing personalized wellness plans according to the goals you want to reach.

But what if you really want to see your heart rate, sleep patterns and miles logged, but don’t care about calorie burn? It’s simple: don’t include it in your settings. Health is completely customizable so you can pick and choose what information is available, and since the app also works with innovators in the health care industry (think Mayo Clinic), it promises to keep your personal health information private; only sharing it with the services you select.

In other words, shedding pounds, tracking calories, controlling your diet, and maintaining a fairly consistent blood pressure is now manageable, and won’t cause a traumatizing migraine. So forget bouncing between apps, and just bounce between your workouts. Health will cover the rest. 

Photo courtesy of Apple 

More from FITNESS:

Tech Support: The Best Fitness Gadgets

18 Free Apps That Make Life Easier

Run App-y: The Best Running Apps for Your Phone

Get Your National #RunningDay On with These Deals and Steals

Written on June 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm , by

In the FITNESS offices, National Running Day truly is a major holiday. It’s almost as big of a deal as Christmas. So many staffers love lacing up and pounding out a few miles, and the post-run high has been floating in the air all day. But there’s still a few of us who need to get their miles in, and for them—and you!—I have a few fun tricks up my sleeve.

First, if you feel like you’re slacking on motivation, my go-to cure is to sign up for a race. After all, there’s nothing like laying down some cold-hard cash to get my butt in gear. So the first thing I did today was head on over to one of my fave race organizers, Run Rock ‘n’ Roll, because as long as you sign up today, you’ll nab $20 off the registration price! And with options to run a 5K, half or full at almost all of their events (or if you’re really feeling ambitious, run more than one during a weekend and score special Running Festival bling), you can find the distance that makes your heart sing. I’ve got my eye on you, Windy City

Now that you’re signed up for a race, feed off that excitement and hit the road today! New York Road Runners is doing an amazing job of celebrating throughout the city, so if you’re nearby, hit up one of these group events to meet like-minded rock stars:

  • Manhattan: Team for Kids Happy Hour at The Parlour, 7 p.m. Runners will meet Team for Kids runners and coaches, and learn how to get guaranteed entry into the New York City Marathon. RSVP here.
  • Brooklyn: Brooklyn Bridge Park Water Stop and Giveaways, 5-7 p.m. Rehydrate mid-run, customize a National Running Day bib and score a free five-borough bandana. Want to run with new friends? There’s a group leaving the water stop at 6:30 p.m. and all are welcome.
  • Brooklyn: Singlets Mixer Happy Hour, 7-9:30 p.m. After you wrap up your run, head to Fornino on Pier 6, where you’ll meet people from more than 100 running clubs that you can join throughout the city. RSVP here.
  • Staten Island: Clove Lakes Park Water Stop and Giveaways, 6-7:30 p.m. Same deal as the Brooklyn Bridge water stop, but for runners passing by Clove Road and Cheshire. Head to Pepper Jack Grill afterward for an 8 p.m. happy hour.
  • Bronx: Van Cortlandt Park Giveaways and Group Run, 5-7 p.m. Join the Van Cortland Track Club leaders at 6 p.m. for a run from the Tortoise and Hare statue.

And last but not least, I can’t send you out on a run without some fresh tunes! Aloe Blacc is a fave artist to listen to while banging out some miles, and he just so happened to be the headliner at Run Rock ‘n’ Roll’s half-marathon in San Diego last weekend. Since I already have a ton of his music on my playlist (obviously), my friends over at RNR sent over some fresh tunes inspired by the musician. Plug in and enjoy. 

More from FITNESS: 

 FITNESS’ Half-Marathon Training Guide

Hit the Fast Lane: The 5K Track Workout

The Workout for You and Your Running Bestie

Vending Machine Equals…Running Gear? Westin’s Social Media-Activated Machine Gives FREE Equipment

Written on June 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

It’s that time again—National Running Day! To celebrate one of FITNESS’ favorite holidays, Westin Hotels & Resorts has come up with a truly innovative way to make running interactive, fun and socially awesome. How, you ask? With a vending machine.

Wait…what?

Your typical vending machine dishes out lots of no-good sweets, chips and sugar-laden soda. Others are dispensing cupcakes and candy bars. But this one is more our style because not only does it require the use of social media (because let’s face it, we’re addicted), but it hands out New Balance workout gear…for free.  Yes, free!

The Westin and New Balance companies will unleash this cool, one-of-a-kind machine in New York City tomorrow outside of The Westin New York Grand Central. Stop by anytime after 8:30am to grab your gear, then head out to pound a little pavement.  

Oh, and I should mention one other feature about the vending machine: it runs through social media. What the heck does that mean? Instead of slipping coins into a junk food-filled contraption, the Westin vending machine accepts only one type of currency—tweets. Simply tweet “I want to run with @Westin”, include your gender and size, and the machine will distribute New Balance shirts, shorts, socks, and shoes (among other items) for free! All gear is completely complimentary, courtesy of Westin and New Balance.

And for you city folk who don’t want to go it alone, Chris Heuisler, Westin’s RunWESTIN concierge, will lead a 10:30a.m. 5K run. The Westin welcomes all, whether it be guests, employees, or those who just happen to be strolling through midtown in the morning (lucky ducks!). So basically, you have no excuse not to get your run on.

Whether you wish to attempt your best Usain Bolt impersonation or just jog with a friend, Westin’s National Running Day event will allow everyone to be active, and most importantly, to have fun. See you there!

Photo courtesy of Westin 

More from FITNESS:

A Running Workout for You and Your BFF

Hit the Fast Lane: The 5K Track Workout

The Best Running Sneakers in Stores Now

A Golfer’s Paradise: Vacationing on Amelia Island

Written on June 3, 2014 at 11:24 am , by

Written by Nichole D’Auria, art director

Nothing gives me greater hope than stepping onto a golf course and driving a ball 200 yards off the tee. Could this be the year I actually break 100? After suffering through what seemed to be the coldest winter on record, I was beginning to think I would never have the opportunity. Then, as luck would have it, the universe intervened and I was invited to spend three magnificent, sun-filled days at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort on the north coast of Florida.

From the moment I walked through the expansive lobby doors and past the two infinity pools, my eyes were set on the sand…the sand trap, that is. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A golf course on the beach? Was this heaven? After I made my way to my oceanfront room (all accommodations provide a view of the Atlantic), I knew I was in for a treat.

If you like adventure like I do, the Omni has a number of excellent options. With more than 1,350 acres, three world-class championship golf courses (which are so good that the Golf Channel’s popular Big Break reality TV series is filmed there), and an impressive tennis facility, guests can enjoy a wide variety of leisure activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, horseback riding, sailing and swimming. I should know—I tried almost all of them. The resort also offers seven miles of oak-lined canopy trails to tempt joggers, hikers and cyclists alike. I tackled the trails on a Segway, which was both fun and hilarious.

I left Amelia Island happy, relaxed and reenergized, but wishing I could stay longer. There was still another golf game to play, a kayak to paddle, a restaurant to sample. I vowed to go back. Honestly, how many vacation spots can motivate and inspire you to look better, feel better and be better, all while enveloping you in a spa-like atmosphere? And hey, I still need another day—or three or four—on the golf course to finally break 100!

More from FITNESS: 

 Florida’s Best Kept Secret: Port Saint Joe

Panama: Where You Can Play Hard, Day and Night

The Fit Girl’s Guide to Exploring Aruba

Maria Menounos’ 5 Favorite Get-Fit Tips (Plus, Win A Signed Copy of Her New Book!)

Written on May 30, 2014 at 5:58 pm , by

“I really want to lose a few pounds.”

We’ve all been there, said that, amiright? But it’s one thing to say it, and another to actually do it. What with busy work schedules, taking care of the family and, you know, maintaining some form of social life, some days it feels like a miracle to squeeze a workout in—while remembering to eat mindfully—on top of it all. So if you feel like you’re swimming in unchartered waters with your head barely above water, don’t freak out: you’re not alone. TV host and journalist Maria Menounos lost 40 pounds over the course of a year, and she did it without cutting corners. Thankfully, she also decided to write a book about it that hits shelves on Tuesday, June 3rd. After you pre-order your copy (you can do that here), take a sneak peek at some of her tips below:

Set a Deadline. You can’t just say “I want to lose weight…someday.”It’s that kind of loose talk, without a guideline, that discourages you from getting started and undermines success. My goal was to stop overeating, make healthier choices and lose weight slowly over the course of one year. Trying to rush or do crazy crash diets does not give you sustainable results. And I never focused on losing a specific number of pounds. I just knew by the end of a  year I wanted to look and feel great, whatever my weight was. 

Keep It To Yourself. When you tell others you’re trying to lose weight, you’re just putting pressure on yourself. Weight loss is tough enough—why make it any harder?

Avoid the Scale. Though you may have a targeted number of pounds in mind, weight loss isn’t always mathematical. There’s no way to be sure you’ll lose exactly how much you want per week. Some weeks you might only lose a pound instead of two or nothing at all. You’ll just get discouraged if you weigh yourself a lot. Plus I don’t want you obsessing about scales or numbers. First and foremost, this is about gaining long-term health. After a few months, if your clothes feel a bit looser and you can’t resist, hop on the scale. But no matter what it says, stick with the program.

Eat Your Calories—Be Sure Not to Drink Them. A lot of drinks are full of sugar. Soda is the most obvious one, but sports drinks, bottled ice tea and flavored coffee drinks are usually packed with sugar, too. You can opt for artificially sweetened diet versions but they aren’t the healthiest alternatives. When I lost weight I chopped up lemons, pushed them into jugs of spring water and drank that instead of juice or anything else. I still drink lemon water and plain hot water.

If you Like Dessert, Have It. Dessert is not forbidden. I didn’t cut it out when I was losing weight and I still have it occasionally. However, that doesn’t mean you have to eat the most decadent options. You’ll find that as you get used to eating better, heavy treats with lots of sugar will leave you feeling blah and you won’t crave them as much. To keep dessert in your life, try lower-fat frozen yogurts. Or serve plain Greek yogurt with a little honey or fresh fruit. When you’re out to dinner, order dessert for the table and let everyone share. You’ll be surprised how much a little bit satisfies you. 

For more where that came from, remember to pick up a copy of The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness yourself. Want one—for free? Tune in to our Twitter chat with Maria next Wednesday at 2p.m. EST and you could win one of three SIGNED copies. See you there!

More from FITNESS: 

How Maria Menounos Stays Fit with Basically No Workout Time

Extra’s Maria Menounos Talks Food and Fitness

Trade Miles for Money with Mizuno