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Weight Loss

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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13 Ways to Eat Healthier in 2013

Written on January 15, 2013 at 1:41 pm , by

Veggies with hummus is an ideal snack, according to Skolnik. (Photo by Mike Dieter)

We’re about halfway through January. How’s your healthy eating resolution holding up? We spoke with sports nutritionist Heidi Skolnik, who’s worked with the New York Knicks, Olympians and dancers at the School of American Ballet, among others, to snag 13 easy upgrades to make our diets more well-rounded all year long.

  1. Be flexible. “It’s easy to add nutrition to a meal with frozen vegetables, which are a great stand-in for fresh when certain items aren’t in season,” Skolnik says.
  2. Go with the trends. Ginger is the flavor of the moment, she says, and grating some of the root into your dish can add a lot of flavor for minimal calories. Try it (and some frozen veggies!) in our Sesame-Tofu Stir-Fry.
  3. But stick with what’s tried and true.Greens have been, and always will be, a healthy choice. Kale, of course, is one of my favorites right now!” Skolnik says.
  4. Warm up to comfort food. Cold-weather meals don’t have to weigh you down. Instead of filling up on gooey casseroles (think macaroni and cheese), “try soups and stews,” she explains. “They can be satisfying and nutritious if you fill them with the right ingredients.”
  5. Time it right. What you eat and when you eat are both important. “It’s really bad for body composition, cholesterol and blood sugar to skip breakfast,” Skolnik says.
  6. Snack before you sweat. If you’re working out right after you roll out of bed and don’t want a full meal yet, grab as little as a 60- to 100-calorie snack to give you energy (15-25 grams of carbohydrate). A serving of whole-wheat pretzels will do the trick.
  7. Better your breakfast. Since skipping is not allowed, you might as well get the most out of the first meal of the day! Skolnik’s top picks: eggs, whole grain toast and 100% Florida Orange juice; or use the OJ to make a delicious breakfast smoothie and pair with a Greek yogurt sprinkled with some nuts. A peanut butter and banana sandwich with a glass of milk also works! Click for one of Skolnik’s favorite smoothies.
  8. Find balance.“If you use starch as your entree, serve protein elsewhere in your meal,” Skolnik suggests. For example, if pasta is your main, start with chicken satay or shrimp cocktail. If you begin your meal starch heavy (garlic bread, anyone?) stick with protein and vegetables for your entrée (sea bass with a mango salsa and sautéed spinach). Try pairing a baked sweet potato with grilled lean beef or whole-wheat pasta with grilled chicken. Read more

The Scoop on Jane Fonda’s Latest Workout DVD and Her Stay-Fit Secrets

Written on December 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm , by

Fonda is proof that fitness has no age limits. (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment)

Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern

When Jane Fonda released her debut exercise video in 1982, Jane Fonda’s Workout, it became its own genre, leading her to create 20 additional fitness videos and selling over 17 million copies combined, more than any other workout series. Now at 74, she’s looking great and feeling better than ever with her latest DVD Jane Fonda’s AM/PM Yoga for Beginners, which breaks up yoga into a rejuvenating morning session and an unwinding evening one.

We got the chance to chat with Fonda, who is one of our fitness icons about her latest workout routine and how she’s staying in shape these days.
What made you decide to create this new routine?
I started my new brand Prime Time three years ago aimed it at the baby boomer generation and older. I realized that there was a hole the series and yoga was that missing link.

Describe this new workout in one sentence.
It is yoga that has been marinating in Pilates. But it’s not pure yoga; I didn’t want it to be intimidating. Read more

Hot Topic Tuesday: Does Your Dog Need A Gym?

Written on December 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm , by

Are sneakers and a leash enough to bring your pet’s fitness back up to buff?

Written by Deanna Cioppa, editorial intern

We know health is important to you, but is there someone else who could use a couple rounds on the treadmill or yoga mat? Someone who has four feet and is furry, perhaps? And would you spend as much (or more) on your pet’s workout as your own?

CNN recently reported on a new “retreat” in Florida that helps transform your pudgy pup back into the sleek BFF (Best Fit Friend) you first brought into a loving home. Opened in 2011 by certified canine massage therapists, Rocky’s Retreat Canine Health and Fitness Center in Orlando has a variety of services to bring your dog’s fitness level up to snuff, including Aqua Therapy and a 12-week weight loss program. The appointments, however, come with a hefty price tag – the 12-week service starts at nearly $500 under special introductory pricing.

Rocky’s isn’t the only center helping pups break a sweat, either. Pet fitness centers have popped up across the country, and manufacturers have begun marketing at-home equipment. A quick search on Amazon brings up a variety of at-home doggy treadmills with prices starting between $400 and $500. That’s a lot more than a running leash and a pair of sneakers.

Now, we all love our pets and want them to live long, healthy lives. In October, though, Reuters reported a troubling statistic: Approximately 53 percent of adult dogs are obese in this country. So the question isn’t about how much we love our furry friends, but how much are we willing to spend to get their weight down? And is an expensive regimen at a pet spa worth the time and money?

Now you tell us: Would you put your pet on a diet or take them to a retreat if your vet recommended they lose weight? If you aren’t willing to cough up the dough, but still want to get your pet back on the right, er, paw,  check out our guide to running with your dog!

Hot Topic Tuesday: Would You Drink A Fat-Blocking Soda?

Written on November 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm , by

Soda to aid fat loss? We’re not so sure. (Photo by Jack Miskell)

When it’s time to slim down and ditch unnecessary calories, one of the first things to go is soda. After all, nixing the sugary beverage can help you drop pounds and lower your diabetes risk. Turns out the cola industry is trying harder to stay on your healthy-living radar, though. Hitting shelves today in Japan is Pepsi Special, a new drink that contains dextrin, a fiber that reportedly contributes to fat loss.

We were curious what our Twitter followers would think of the new drink, and whether or not they would guzzle it down if it ever makes its way to the States. Here’s what you have to say:

@LynetteNicole07: Never been into any “help” and haven’t had soda in years. No need to have it now!

@FITNESSlauren: I’m skeptical…something seems fishy about soda and weight loss! I think I’ll stick to my seltzer with lemon.

@fitterafter50: Confessions from a carbonation addict: Maybe. I just need to kick the habit!

@LockLaces: This might be unpopular, but YES! I have a secret addiction and have to keep it out of the house at all times.

@NicolettaOnline: Are you kidding me?! No! It does too many other bad things to the body!

@KGGarner: Absolutely not! I’d rather eat REAL food that would help me lose fat!

Now you tell us: would you drink soda if it helped lower fat levels?

Fit Blogger We Love: It All Changes

Written on October 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm , by

We couldn’t agree more with Cynthia’s headband.

Change is  a big part of life, whether or not we like it, don’t you think? Sometimes, though, change can be a great thing. That’s what Cynthia decided back in 2006, when she decided that life at over 270 pounds was unacceptable and she deserved to be happy. So she made little changes and day by day, she dropped the weight. In fact, she’s lost 115 pounds and now lives a happy, healthy life! Sure, there are still every day struggles, but Cynthia openly blogs about them on It All Changes. And that’s why we love her -  without the struggles, there wouldn’t be triumph! Keep reading to found out more about her successes and why we love cheering her on.

My biggest indulgence: An allergy-free treat from Sweet Freedom Bakery in Philadelphia. My mom lives near there and it’s one place I know I can get a dessert and not worry about my allergies.

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: I have a lot of 80′s music that I work out to. The most embarrassing is “Get Down On It,” by Kool and the Gang. I always rock out to it when I’m doing squats and lunges.

My “I Did It” moment: Running a 5K after major back surgery. My doctors said I probably wouldn’t be able to do it, but I worked hard in physical therapy and was given the OK to go for it. I ran even better than I did in my first 5K!

Olympic sport I’d love to try: Skeleton. It combines my love for insanity by jumping head first down an ice course, and I’d need to work my core to steer and prevent a crash. Sounds like a thrill, plus you get a fun helmet.

My fitness mantra: “You can either throw in the towel, or use it to wipe the sweat off your face.” A friend told me this several years back and it has kept me moving and working through many ups and downs.

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

Fit Links: Rainy Day Workouts and Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

Written on October 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm , by

Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole, anyone? (Photo by Evan Sklar)

This week’s fit links from around the web: