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Fit Blogger We Love: Running to the Kitchen

Written on March 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm , by

 

Gina zeroes in on her CrossFit workouts to drum up a good dose of sweat.

After a tough workout, the first place we tend to head isn’t the shower, but the kitchen – gotta squeeze in that recovery fuel within a half hour! As someone who loves food just as much as we do, it’s safe to say Gina of Running to the Kitchen does the same thing. After all, it’s in her blog name! This CrossFit junkie makes us drool with all of her beautiful recipe images, and she’ll make you do the same. Go ahead and check it out – we bet you can’t prove us wrong.

My favorite way to work out: CrossFit! I know, I know, it’s all the rage right now and that’s a totally predictable answer, but I started CrossFit when it opened in my town last July and have been hooked ever since. It’s efficient, effective (hello, muscles I’ve never seen before) and an absolute blast. I think every box (read: gym) has  different vibe, but something that seems pretty consistent across the board is the rapport among members. It’s not only my workout for the day, but a time I get to hang out with like-minded people and have fun. An hour of endorphins pumping, music blasting and people cheering each other on beats any other workout I can think of.

On my fit life list: A strict unassisted pull-up. No marathons, no triathlons. Just one darn pull-up without a band or kipping.

My “I Did It” moment: Finishing my first half-marathon in less than two hours. 2010 was a year of a lot of change for me. I lost 20 pounds, revamped the way I ate (slowly) and started running. Having played sports all my life as a kid, running was always something I was “forced” to do, not a sport I enjoyed. When I decided to pick it up as an adult in an effort to live a healthier lifestyle, I had no idea I’d grow to love it as much as I do. What started as a little competitive bet with myself to run my first 5K ended with my first half-marathon seven months later. Finishing it in under two hours, when I couldn’t even run one mile eight months prior, was pretty awesome.

I’m happiest when I’m: Doing anything with food. Eating it, cooking it, photographing it – anything. As cliche as it may sound, food is definitely my life passion. I contemplated going to culinary school in my mid-twenties, and while that didn’t actually happen, my blog has become the perfect creative outlet for that passion.

Olympic sport I’d love to try: While I think I’d be horrendous at it, I would pick gymnastics! Considering I can stay in an unassisted handstand for about three seconds, at best, and still haven’t come close to mastering the muscle-up in CrossFit (both gymnastic-type skills), it would be interesting.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

Fit Blogger We Love: Cherie Runs This

Written on March 14, 2013 at 9:45 am , by

Cherie lost 82 pounds and is now a certified personal trainer!

The fit woman you see at right, Cherie, used to weigh 230 pounds. Can you believe it?! We hardly could, until she shared her amazing transformation story with us for the April issue (on newsstands now). Flip to page 16 to learn more about the amazing moment that motivated her weight-loss journey and how she went from struggling to walk up the stairs to finishing a half-marathon.

For now, keep reading for a few details about the inspiring woman behind the tip-packed blog, Cherie Runs This!

My gym bag must-have:  iPod Shuffle, weight lifting gloves, protein powder, water bottle and my Polar heart rate monitor!
I can’t live without… My baby blanket, cell phone, coffee and my family.
My biggest indulgence: Crusty French bread with real butter. The perfect part of my cheat meal!
My favorite way to work out: Weight lifting and running.
My fitness mantra: “Suck it up so you don’t have to suck it in.” That phrase gets me through my workout each time!

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

More from FITNESS:

Jennie Garth on Giving Back, Weight Loss Secrets and Staying in Shape

Written on March 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm , by

No Jock Jams here! Jennie Garth listens to mellow music to stay in the zone during a sweat session. (Photo courtesy Lindt)

Have you ever walked into a Lindt store before? I had not, until this week when I went to go see actress Jennie Garth kick off the Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction to raise funds for Autism Speaks. Let me tell you, it is a deliciously terrifying place if you have a sweet tooth. The walls are covered with chocolate, not to mention the gold bunnies that basically spoke to you as soon as you walked in the door. (I swear one of them whispered to me that I could take all their chocolate ears and no one would care). But luckily, watching Garth sign her bunny and looking more in shape than ever was enough motivation to keep me from ransacking the walls. Below, Garth chats with us on her latest fitness routine, weight loss tricks and how she stays in shape.

What made you decide to get involved in the Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction this year?
I have three daughters and Easter is a big family time holiday for us. It’s also a valuable time to tell them about the importance of giving back, so partnering up with Lindt for this is just something I can really feel good about.

What’s your fitness routine like these days?
I’m really into hiking and jogging with my dog right now. I recently got a really big dog and he needs exercise all the time, so that is something that is new for me. I work out in a gym with a trainer two to three days a week on top of that. Read more

Breakfast Fact vs. Fiction: Do You Know the Difference?

Written on March 4, 2013 at 8:09 am , by

What are your best breakfast options? Skolnik sifts through loads of info to get you the right answers. (Photo courtesy of Heidi Skolnik)

Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern

Did you eat breakfast this morning? Of course you did. So here’s a better question: what exactly did you eat?  Thanks to low-carb crazes and high-cholesterol concerns, it can be difficult to make a morning meal decision that leaves you not only feeling full, but energized and ready for the day. To debunk some of the most popular myths, we turned to nutritionist Heidi Skolnik, owner of Nutrition Conditioning, Inc. Can you separate fact from fiction?

Why are there so many misconceptions about healthy breakfast options?

I think we’re just bombarded with information. Nutrition is such a popular topic, and everyone is interested in it.  But we get information from all different kinds of places; it’s hard to sift through it and figure out what’s credible and solid and what isn’t.

What’s one of the biggest myths you continually set straight?

“I’m going to save my calories for later. I don’t like to eat breakfast because I can control myself in the morning, and then I can save those calories and eat them at dinner.” That really sabotages anyone who’s trying to lose weight. We know breakfast skippers have higher BMIs (body mass index) than breakfast eaters. When you skip breakfast, you’re way more likely to overeat later. Of course you get hungry later, but you can eat and be satisfied as opposed to eat dinner and raid the refrigerator for the rest of the evening. It’s hard for people to put together that what they eat in the morning affects their appetite at night, but that connection exists.

With that being said, what are some of the healthiest breakfast options?

The very most basic guideline is to include a whole grain, a protein, and a whole fruit or 100 percent fruit juice. An example of that would be a breakfast sandwich: go ahead and get an English muffin with egg and eight ounces of 100 percent Florida Orange Juice, which will give you vitamin C, potassium, folate, phytonutrients – all of those wonderfully occurring nutrients in oranges.  Or you can make yourself a yogurt parfait. I happen to like Greek yogurt because it’s high in protein. Add some fruit, granola and some healthy nuts on top.

What are the best on-the-go choices?

If you’re commuting, a whole-wheat pita with some peanut butter and sliced banana is really easy to take and go. You can eat it in the subway, on a train, in a taxi, on a bus – however you commute. Or, if you’re one of those who can’t get it together until work, then keep instant oatmeal at your desk and pair that with some yogurt and juice for a more balanced meal.

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One More Time: 3 Healthy Foods for Your Heart!

Written on February 25, 2013 at 2:45 pm , by

Photo by Flickr user Boz Bros.

Photo by Flickr user Boz Bros.

You know by now that February is American Heart Month…but since heart disease is the #1 killer in America and this month is a shorty, it’s worth reminding you about some healthy foods that can lower your risk:

1. “Good” Fat. The low fat craze in the early 90‘s had it all wrong. Our favorite healthy fats are olive, canola and fish oil.  The last you can’t cook with, but the first two are great to use in place of less healthy options like soybean oil, shortening, or margarine.

As for fish oil, there are a lot of data suggesting adding fish oil — AKA omega 3 fat — can drastically improve health, including the health of your heart.  In our house we use, like, and trust Nordic Naturals — our children (a 3 ½ and 1 year-old) both take it daily.

2. Dark Chocolate. The key is picking a quality dark chocolate; we use 100% raw cacao if baking or making hot chocolate. (Aim for 70%+ cacao if eating it by itself, which it usually tells you on bar). Dark chocolate can help improve cholesterol, circulation, and insulin resistance, while reducing blood pressure.

3. Eggs.  Say what? The “high in cholesterol” whole eggs? Absolutely. Here’s the sunny side of eggs—we love the data on how eating eggs can help you lose weight.  One study compared subjects eating a bagel breakfast vs. an equal amount of calories from eggs. The result? The egg group lost almost twice as much weight and had an 83 percent greater decrease in their waistlines.

-Chris and Kara Mohr, mohrresults.com

 

Food Network Gina Neely’s New Healthy Lifestyle

Written on February 20, 2013 at 9:02 am , by

Neely made a few healthy eating swaps and dropped 20lbs in 12 weeks! (Photo courtesy of Spectrum Brand Holidngs, Inc.)

Written by Rachel Torgerson, editorial intern

Anyone who watches Down Home with the Neelys on the Food Network knows that Gina Neely likes buttery, southern cooking.  So when we heard that she was participating in George Foreman’s Weight Loss Challenge—a 12-week food and exercise plan complete with week-by-week grocery lists—we were more than curious to see how it would pan out. Fast-forward twelve weeks later and Gina’s lost 20 lbs and gained a new, healthy lifestyle. We chatted with her about what changes she’s made (and sticking to!), her favorite recipes and even her Billy Blanks workout tapes.

What inspired you to make these changes in your life?

I think it was just when I went to the doctor and got my physical. She told me my cholesterol was getting a little high. I just said, “You know what? I’ve got to start changing that!” This is my body and if I’m not going to be good to it, it’s not going to be good to me. I said to my girls, “If I don’t do this and make time for myself, if you need me, I’m not going to be around.” And that’s just a really serious part of it: making sure that you’re healthy for your loved ones.

Was it hard to start the challenge?

The first week and a half I noticed my pants fitting a little looser and I was like, “Hey, hey, hey!” I was already doing little things like taking the bun off of my burger, but sticking to the challenge really helped me see the results. I lost 20 lbs and 12 inches by the end.

On the show and in your restaurants, you’re surrounded by food constantly. How do you stay focused and motivated?

When I’m in the restaurant, I’m around food a lot, so it’s kind of just picking at it and filling up. The George Foreman helped me stop doing that so much because it’s a fast meal, as opposed to a bunch of chopping. Because after doing that all day, you don’t want to put effort into dinner; you’re over it. The grill cleans up easy, it makes cooking fun and my girls can use it.

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Taste and Tell: Slow-Cooker Vegetable and Chickpea Curry

Written on February 18, 2013 at 9:05 am , by

Time to sharpen my knife skills!

The recipes in FITNESS magazine can’t really be as easy and tasty as the mouthwatering pictures in the magazine make them look, can they? Some readers write in and say they are a bit skeptical, so I (quite an amateur when it comes to the kitchen), decided to put a dish to the test. My hands know their way around a keyboard way better than a cutting board, so believe me when I say everything that I can do, you can as well!

The evening I needed dinner, I was going to indoor cycling class soon after work—meaning I didn’t have much prep time the day of. This also meant that I would need something filling (it was going to be a late meal) yet nutritious (so I wouldn’t undo all of that hard work at the gym). I stumbled upon a yummy-looking fix: Vegetable and Chickpea Curry.

The evening before, I took about 20 minutes to chop all of the vegetables and scooted them into my little slow-cooker dish with the rest of the ingredients to be cooked, which I then placed in the refrigerator. When I came home to change for my workout, I poured in the vegetable broth, put the meal into the slow-cooker and flipped it on high.

By the time I returned from class, my kitchen smelled like an Indian restaurant. I stirred in the light coconut milk and prepared some quick-cooking stove top brown rice, and dinner was ready!

I surprised myself and a pal who joined me for dinner with the gourmet result, which really looked fairly similar to the image in the story, and the taste lived up to the description from the recipe developer. Click below to see the side-by-side pictures and get the recipe to try yourself.

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3 Smart Superbowl Snack Ideas

Written on January 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm , by

Pigs in a Blanket

Step away from these little piggies. Photo courtesy of Flickr user kalebdf.

You’re just one month out from the New Year’s Resolutions you set.  And if you’re like many people, fat loss was at the top of that resolution list.

But can you guess the average amount of calories an American consumes while snacking during the Superbowl?

About 1,200. This doesn’t include meals or drinks. (!)

So what can you do? Swear off all the wings, guac, chips, and beer while cheering for your favorite team?  That’s certainly not realistic…so let’s instead share some options that would be better. Try these snacks this year:

1. In-Shell Pistachios – Yes, pistachios are high in fat, but it’s super-healthy fat. With all the other food options around, in-shell pistachios can help you slow down because it takes time to remove that shell and you won’t be mindlessly munching. Adding to this snack strategy: Keep a bowl in sight that has the shells that were removed  – seeing how much you’ve already had might just curb how much you eat during the game. (FYI, we’re personal fans of the Wonderful Pistachio Sweet Chili flavor.)

2. Pizza! Kashi now makes frozen pizzas that are great (and less expensive than what you’d pay from a traditional pizza chain!).  The BBQ Recipe Chicken pizza is a really good, unique, and may very well appeal to those guests who would normally crave wings instead.

3. White Bean Dip – A strong-flavored dip is a great trick because it makes you feel satiated, it won’t break the bank in terms of calories, and you can pair it with heathier chips. (We’re partial to the Food Should Taste Good brand.) But back to the dip… here’s a recipe from Food Network’s Giada De Laurentilis that’s a big hit in our house.

Happy munching!

-Chris and Kara Mohr, mohrresults.com

Sweatin’ It Out with Old Navy and Richard Simmons!

Written on January 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm , by

Editorial Assistants Lauren and Samantha (from left) strike a pose with Simmons. Fun fact: he chose the pose!

Richard Simmons. Just hearing that name instantly conjures an image of candy-striped shorts, sequin-studded tank tops and neon-colored sweatbands. And that’s exactly what we got when we met the fitness icon himself last week while testing Old Navy’s new activewear collection. As girls who frequently popped in Sweatin’ to the Oldies VHS tapes with our moms, this evening was a dream come true; full of smiles, laughter and aerobic dancing. Talk about fitting in a workout without realizing it.

Not one to shy away from the camera, we chatted with Simmons post-workout to find out what’s kept him in the game for 38 years, with hopes he’d randomly burst into song. Spoiler: he definitely did, and we caught it on tape.

First of all, that was so fun! You definitely know how to keep a crowd smiling and laughing through a workout. What makes you love teaching so much?

It’s all about the people. I call about 50 overweight and house-bound people a day and I’ll make them laugh and give them hope. Because with hope you can cope, and without hope you’re in despair and go nowhere.

You’ve been in this industry for 38 years. Any special memories?

So many! Sometimes I’ll call somebody every day for 10 years and one day they finally get it and say, “Richard, I lost five pounds in the last two weeks. I get it now. I threw everything out of my house that doesn’t belong in my body and I’m moving.” I love those moments.

Why did you partner with Old Navy for their activewear collection?

Editor’s note: we’re letting Simmons answer this question via video, so you can witness his fun personality first-hand.

That was fabulous! What advice would you give someone who’s trying to become more active?

I think getting up in the morning with a positive attitude is key. Don’t just wake up and go, “Oh, woe is me. Oh, I’m unhappy. Pain, pain.” Instead, say, “Hey, God, I’m alive! Thanks for another day! I’ll be kind to people in every way!” And that’s what I do, whether I’m saying hello to someone on the street, taking pictures with someone who approached me, or teaching in my studio. Anything you can do to be positive and help others.

Now you tell us: Do you love Richard Simmons? Have you ever sweat to the oldies?

Jackie Warner Shares Resolution Success Secrets & Which Celeb She Wants To Train!

Written on January 23, 2013 at 9:57 am , by

Warner made us sweat, while Wisk helped us clean it up! (Photo courtesy of MarkVon Holden/AP Images for Wisk)

One of the perks of working at FITNESS is getting the opportunity to workout with celebrity trainers. So when we heard Jackie Warner had partnered with Wisk and wanted to personally hand us a sweat-dripping, butt-kicking workout, we just couldn’t say no. After 30 minutes of nonstop circuits that left our thighs burning and core shaking, we took a breather to get the inside scoop from the star.

First of all, what a great workout! And we didn’t use any weights.  If you only had 10 minutes and no equipment, what would be your quick routine?

I love to do a yard workout, something outside. I would tell you to sprint 50 paces, jump down and do sprawls. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start in a standing position. Lower your hands to the ground and quickly jump back into push-up position.
  • Shift your hips to the ground, then return to pushup position.
  • Jump back to standing position.

So that’s a sprawl; it’s the name of my training technique. Do 15 of those in a row, then sprint 50 paces and repeat. Complete four sets – you could likely do that in about five minutes, and it’s really intense. So if you want to go for 10 minutes, do eight sets.

Why would you say that’s such an intense workout?

The sprinting is getting your legs in place and the sprawls are getting your upper body and core in place. Your whole body is being worked in a short amount of time.

For those who are just starting to workout, what tips do you have to help ease themselves into the gym?

You shouldn’t ease yourself into the gym if it isn’t something you like. Don’t force a type of training on yourself that you do not like because you will fail long-term. Go to Google and find something you’ve always secretly wanted to do. There’s a wealth of information and classes out there, as well as trainers, that will find that one thing you like to do, whether it be mat Pilates, bootcamp, Spinning, or Muay Thai. There’s so much out there. So find the thing you secretly want to do and do that.

What advice do you have for those who struggle with morning workouts?

I prefer morning workouts, but we all have an internal strength clock. It’s a biological thing; we’re all built with it and it’s a unique clock that allows us to be stronger through time periods throughout the day. Some of us are stronger first thing in the morning, some mid-morning and others in the afternoon or evening. You need to experiment with it to find out what’s best for you and try to workout within that time. For me, my strength clock is between 9am and noon.

So don’t feel bad if you’re not working out first thing in the morning?

No, absolutely not. The good thing about working out in the morning is that you’re burning all throughout the day, which is fantastic. And you release a lot of hormones in the brain, which can give you more of a balance throughout the day. But if it’s not for you, then it’s not for you.

Keep reading to find out which celebs she’s loved working with, and who she would love to train in the future!

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