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Music Monday: Flo Rida Can’t Sweat Without This Music

Written on June 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

Whenever I work out, I need to be listening to music—not want, but need. Whether it’s Katy Perry’s new hit or a classic from the King of Pop himself, there has to be an up-tempo, catchy sound reverberating in my ears. Studies even show that music can push us through that final mile, that extra set of squats.

So it’s no surprise then that rapper Flo Rida, a self-proclaimed fitness lover, is a man who lives and breathes that connection. A workout fiend since his football days in high school, the musician is constantly on the muscle-building grind both in the studio and on stage. In fact, he considers himself lucky that his profession allows—actually, kind of forces—him to incorporate music with exercise and vice versa. “You get a two-for-one with what I do.”

He’s not kidding: Flo constantly runs back and forth on stage, spewing out his lyrics at an incredibly fast rate. This not-much-time-for-breathing rapping style requires him to hit the pavement regularly. “I love doing a lot of cardio,” he says. “My records are up-tempo, so I have to make sure that I can go for over an hour.”

But just as any well-rounded fitness aficionado knows, cardio isn’t the end-all, be-all. The artist loves to regularly lift weights, and occasionally steps into the boxing ring for a few punches (and sips on Celsius when he needs a boost).  And despite a hectic schedule, Flo manages to get in two-a-day routines. Guess that explains why his shows are so fun to watch.

While I prefer to put in miles to tunes by the rapper (“Wild Ones” is a fave), we always wonder: do artists listen to their own tunes? We found out LL Cool J does now and then, and it turns out Flo is no different. Along with David Guetta and Pitbull, you’ll find his own tracks sprinkled through a playlist. “I love listening to my music because it definitely has all the attributes to enhance a great workout in the gym.”

So while we wait for his latest album, The Perfect 10, to drop later this year, we made sure to get Flo Rida’s current sweat-it-out playlist. Plug in, shape up, and try not to groove on that treadmill. On second thought, go ahead. We won’t tell.

Photo courtesy of Celsius

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What Jessica Alba Eats That You Don’t

Written on June 27, 2014 at 9:50 am , by

Jessica Alba loves salt.

Did that catch you by surprise? We about fell out of our chairs when she said it during a private cooking class last week with Chef Anthony Sasso of New York’s Casa Mono restaurant, but then again, it just means she’s up-to-date on her nutrition news. Maybe she reads FITNESS…

So why were we cooking with Alba? As the new brand ambassador for Zico Coconut Water’s “Crack Life Open” campaign, the actress helped Sasso create various dishes that can all be made using coconut water: a chicken marinade, salad dressing, ice pops, or even chocolate cake. Umm, yum!

Alba is no stranger to flavor (her weaknesses: cheese, crackers, wine, French bread, and all things Mexican—we can totally relate, girlfriend), but she knows what foods to stay away from. “I try to eat as much fresh and natural food as possible,” she says. “I don’t eat a whole lot of processed food or packaged food.”

Well, that explains her perfect bod. She loves kale and butter lettuce, and keeps an abundant supply of fruits and veggies at home for hubby Cash Warren and daughters Honor, 6, and Haven, 2. (When she’s on the go, it’s dried fruit and nuts.) She even has a hanging felt wall that she uses to maintain her herb garden. Amazing!

“We use bananas a lot in the house,” she says. “We use apples, strawberries, and watermelon, but then it also depends on what’s in season. We get a monthly delivery of organic fruits and vegetables and it’s whatever is in our box that we just use.”

Her secret to dishing up the perfect kale salad? “Massaging the kale was something that changed my life,” she says.  “I tried to make it so many times at home and it’s just not the same when you don’t.”

Try it yourself: mix ¼ cup of Zico Coconut Water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper to get the dressing. Knead the kale with your hands into the dressing until the kale becomes soft. Sweeten it up with some peach, plum, and nectarine slices, toss in some blackberries and almonds, and violà! You have a refreshing summer salad with dressing you didn’t just grab off the shelf, and are one step closer to following a Jessica Alba-approved diet. Sign us up!

Photo courtesy of ZICO Premium Coconut Water

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The New, Weird Way to Protect Yourself From the Sun

Written on June 26, 2014 at 9:54 am , by

Apply sunscreen. Jump in pool. Dry off. Repeat.

It’s the beat of summer, but imagine being able to skip one of ‘em—applying sunscreen—without any consequences. What are we talking about? Drinking sunscreen.

Say what?! Yeah, that’s how we reacted when we heard that Osmosis Skincare said it’s possible. The company recently released a drinkable UV Neutralizer, which apparently provides three hours of ultraviolet protection with just one teaspoon, claims creator Dr. Ben Johnson. He says he discovered how to print radio frequency waves on water molecules, and found waves that cancel out UVA and UVB radiation. When you ingest the Neutralizer, it supposedly vibrates frequencies that neutralize the sun.

While the product sounds wonderful and heavily researched, the FDA has yet to approve any of the product’s claims.

“If this thing really worked, the American Academy of Dermatology would be all over it,” says Elissa Lunder, M.D., owner of Dermatology Partners Inc. and FITNESS advisory board member. “This would’ve been presented at the American Academy of Dermatology meeting and it would be in all of the journals, and it’s not. I wouldn’t drink it, would you?”

Right now, we’re gonna have to pass, especially since the product has only been tested on 50 people. But the concept is weirdly cool. Jessica Weiser, M.D., a dermatologist at New York Dermatology Group, is also skeptical, but is convinced that ingestible sunscreen is where the future of sun protection is headed.

“They’re trying to say that this is going to give you the equivalent of an SPF 30, and I think that would be great if that was true,” she says. “Until it’s approved by the FDA, I don’t think it’s something that I would recommend replacing your normal topical sunscreen with. I think it’s a promising future—I just don’t think that we’re quite there yet.”

In the meantime, Weiser stresses the importance of reapplying sunscreen (most of them are only active for about two hours) and paying attention to water-resistant labels to see how long you can splash around in the water before needing to reapply. “The amount of a shot glass should cover your body every two hours, or about a teaspoon to the full face,” she says.

Lunder recommends using a sunscreen with zinc and titanium dioxide because they act as physical blockers rather than chemical blockers. “It’s sort of like the next best thing to wearing sun-protective clothing,” she says. “The zinc and titanium provides against UVA and UVB, which is really important.” (UVA radiation causes wrinkles, and UVB radiation causes burning.)

We’ll be using these easy sun-safe tips this summer, and in the meantime, remain hopeful that Osmosis Skincare’s new product will undergo the testing and credibility it needs to become an effective sun protectant. But for now, we’re not buying it.

Photo courtesy of Osmosis Skincare 

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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 

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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.

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5 Seasonal Allergy Remedies

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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.

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Fitness Trackers Unite! The New Fitt App Creates a Battle of the Bands

Written on June 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

“Oh this? It’s just this thing I wear that tracks my sleep … and my steps … and calories burned.” A furrowed brow, accompanied by a silent, slow nod is the usual reaction I’ve received, following my Fitbit Flex fitness tracker spiel. But, for the many fitness fanatics who’ve embraced the tracker world, they’ll be excited to know that Fitt has just launched a new app that will seriously challenge Jawbone UP, Moves and Fitbit lovers to hit new goals.

The app (available now in the iTunes app store!) creates a fitness community for tracker users to join in on group challenges and motivate each other. Even better, getting started couldn’t be easier. All users have to do is download the app and sync it to their fitness tracker app. Instantly, you’ll be connected with friends, no matter what kind of fitness tracker they are using.

After you’re synced up, go ahead and add friends, scope out user profiles and most importantly–join group challenges. The day I signed up, the app showed that there were two challenges in progress. The first was a Fitbit-Jawbone UP face-off, challenging each team to take the most average daily steps for a month. The second challenge is the “June 18K a Day” challenge where all participants aim to take 18,000 steps a day in June. Yes, you heard that right: 18K per day. Cardio anyone?

Naturally, I jumped on the bandwagon for both. (… Go Fitbit!)

With Fitt there is nothing to lose (except the occasional pound  or two). And let’s be honest, most of us could use an extra reminder to get active every now and again, right?

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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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‘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

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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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