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Written on May 22, 2014 at 5:02 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern
You know her best as the hilariously vivacious housewife, Gloria, on Modern Family. Her thick accent, hysterical one-liners and constant nagging on Jay always have me doubling over in laughter. But one thing I didn’t know about the star? In 2000, at the age of 28, Sofia Vergara was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to have her thyroid removed. That resulted in a condition known as hypothyroidism, which in non-scientific terms basically equates to an underactive thyroid, and it’s usually marked by symptoms of extreme fatigue, depression and weight gain.
Since then, the Emmy-nominated actress says life is relatively normal, thanks to her doctors and regular checkups. “I’ve been very lucky, I never felt any symptoms,” admits Vergara. “[But] now I have to take a pill every day of my life.”
The treatment for hypothyroidism is a synthetic hormone called levothyroxine, explains Dr. Jordan Geller, M.D., Vergara’s endocrinologist. “It’s basically an exact chemical copy of the thyroid hormone that our body makes. It’s taken as a pill, once a day on an empty stomach and it’s usually life-long.”
OK, so what exactly does all this mean, and why should you care? First of all, the thyroid gland is a pretty important asset to maintaining good health. “From the minute we are born until we die, there is not a system in the body that doesn’t need the thyroid hormone,” explains Dr. Geller. And while nearly 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, according to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), about 60 percent of them don’t even know it. Yeesh!
It turns out women are 5-8 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems, too, notes the ATA. If you’re one of them, don’t panic about missing your beloved barre class quite yet. “If somebody’s thyroid levels are managed appropriately, then it really shouldn’t interfere with their ability to exercise or do anything throughout their life,” says Dr. Geller.
So how do you manage hypothyroidism? In 2013, Vergara and Dr. Geller teamed up with AbbVie (the makers of Synthroid, levothyroxine sodium tablets) to launch a campaign called “Follow the Script,” which aims to educate those with hypothyroidism about symptom and treatment information, helpful questions to ask your doctor and pharmacist, and create a community for people to come together and share their stories. You never know what fitness-minded friend you’ll find—and I never say no to a new workout buddy.
And while Vergara is known for her extreme aversion to exercise, she does admit to recently adopting a workout regiment since she’s “started seeing age changes.” While she doesn’t really have a favorite, you can find the actress currently doing a lot of SLT, Spinning or trying her hand at TRX (we recommend this routine). Fingers crossed she falls in love with one—or all—of them!
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Photo courtesy of Abbvie/Follow the Script
Written on May 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Memorial Day weekend is just a few days away (who’s ready for a long weekend?). Kick summer off on the right sandal-sportin’ foot by snacking smart. We rounded up three bikini-friendly recipes to dip into without the guilt—or bloat. The secret ingredient? Avocado, which research has linked to lower BMI and waist circumference, among a laundry list of other health benefits. Um, win! And forget the greasy munchie pairings. Late July Organics’ new SubLime will rock your socks off.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dip
4 ripe avocados
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup Stonyfield Organic Greek Plain Nonfat Yogurt (or their Fat Free Plain works, too!)
½ cup blue cheese (crumbled)
Peel, seed and coarsely mash avocados. Chop the green part of the scallions. Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Nutrition Info: 420 calories, 26g total fat, 65mg cholesterol, 890mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, 25g protein
Wholly Guacamole Chicken Salad
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 limes, juiced (and zest from one)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup Wholly Guacamole dip
Mix oil, salt, black pepper, cumin, sugar, chili powder, lime zest and juice of 1 1/2 limes. Combine with chicken to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes. Grill chicken on each side for 2 minutes. Finish cooking in 400°F oven for 8 minutes and allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes before dicing. Once cool, fold chicken in with bell peppers, onion, cilantro, Wholly Guacamole dip, the rest of the lime juiced and the remaining salt.
Nutrition Info: 340 calories, 17g total fat, 90mg cholesterol, 570mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 2g sugar, 35g protein
In a blender, blend the tofu, avocado, lemon juice, garlic, salt and cilantro until smooth. Place mixture in bowl and stir in onions. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve chilled.
Nutrition Info: 110 calories, 9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 4g protein
Photo courtesy of Late July
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- How to Make Avocado Pops
- Memorial Day Weekend Playlist
- Flat-Fighting Meals: 7 Flat-Belly Dinner Recipes
Written on May 13, 2014 at 12:10 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
“USA, USA, USA!” It was these patriotic chants echoing through the streets of Massachusetts’ capital last month that carried Meb Keflezighi to the end of the Boston Marathon…first. Winning the epic race “was the missing link” and career “exclamation mark” Keflezighi had been working toward for years, not to mention a fairytale finish driving home that Boston Strong spirit.
“I really [ran] with three goals in mind: win, top three or at least personal best,” Keflezighi told us during a cookie break at our office (he’s a fan of Wichcraft’s Peanut Butter Cream’wiches!). “I did all three and to run in 2:08:37 on this tough, difficult course, to become the first American in 31 years to win it…is beyond belief.”
Like many runners, Keflezighi, who left last year’s race five minutes before the bombings, trained for 365 days to turn tragedy into a positive moment. “We were running for something greater than just a race. It was an attribution to the people that had been affected,” he said. “As runners, we were resilient. We didn’t give up!”
Insert chills here.
So, how can you succeed like this speedster? Persistence is key, he said, both in running and life. “It’s not about the money, it’s not about the fame. It’s about doing what you were created to do on this Earth,” the ElliptiGO Project athlete said. “That’s what drives me every day, no matter what. Can I tap that potential?”
If you’re looking to PR this summer, listen up! Keflezighi will be pacing the 1:30 half-marathon group at the Suja Run Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon on June 1st. “San Diego is where I grew up and where I’ve won two titles in Rock ‘n’ Roll…I’m excited!” he said. Talk about runspiration! Register now, and get amped before race day with the play-by-play of his big win below.
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- One Year Later: The Boston Marathon
- Joan Benoit-Samuelson’s Secret to Success
- Get Running with Kara Goucher’s Ultimate Playlist
Written on April 24, 2014 at 9:14 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern
Planning your summer but strapped for cash? Wanderlust’s Yoga in the City (YITC) series is back and we couldn’t be more excited! Like previous years, the fast-growing evolutionary brand is offering free, all-day events with renowned yoga instructors and live music from local DJs. Plus you can snag some goodies from Kashi, LUVO, Spiritual Gangster and more. See? Being a free spirit really pays off.
“While our festivals are incomparable getaways, Yoga in the City celebrates what is local,” says Wanderlust co-founder Jeff Krasno. “It brings together the best local teachers, musicians and craft vendors in some of our nation’s most beautiful city parks. The events pull together the local yoga and mindful community around a great day of fun and practice.” So what are you waiting for? Grab your mat and get ready to find your zen. Here’s when and where you can join the movement:
For more information and to sign up, check out Wanderlust’s site to learn more.
Photo courtesy of Vincent Tran
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- For Love of Art and Yoga: Join the Global Lolë WHITE Tour
- Yoga’s Surprising Health Benefits
- Rockin’ Vinyasa Yoga Playlist
Written on April 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm , by Samantha Shelton
With a busy work schedule, the start of marathon training and, you know, having a social life, I thought I was a busy girl. That was until I chatted with Erin Andrews, an NFL sportscaster and co-host of Dancing with the Stars. She starts her week at 8am and goes nonstop until 7:30pm shooting DWTS. Add in nonstop travel for NFL interviews, covering the game and flying back on Sunday to land in the DWTS studio all over again, and I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Such a crazed schedule calls for tons (and I mean tons) of good-for-you energy. I’m not talking about eating whatever food your fingers land on, but rather reaching for smart choices that won’t send you on a sugar high, only to crash and burn an hour later. “The biggest thing for me is staying in shape and trying to make sure I get enough rest,” says Andrews. “Michael Strahan told me to start sleeping now because it’s our off-season, and he has an even crazier schedule than I do.” We hear you on that one, Erin—now that he’s co-hosting Live with Kelly and Michael AND Good Morning America, we can only imagine the pillow face plant he does at the end of each week.
Back to those energizing eats. “Making sure to keep nutrient-rich foods—like trail mix, yogurt and granola bars—and beverages on hand is key, which is why me teaming up with Florida Orange Juice was a no-brainer,” says Andrews. “When you talk about healthy beverages, 100 percent orange juice is huge because I can grab it on the go. I can get it anywhere, at whatever hotel I’m in. It has a ton of vitamin C and gives me natural energy without added sugars, so I don’t need to worry about staying in shape.” We couldn’t have said it better.
But OJ can’t be the only thing the snappy co-host sips on—or eats—throughout the day. How in the world do you stay slim when you’re always wining and dining? Especially when you’re entertaining big football guys who LOVE to eat? “They like to order a lot of food and they like to eat a lot of food. I do too,” she explains. “So to rationalize what I’m going to have for dinner and lunch, I get my butt in the workout room.”
Girl, I get it. Exercise is awesome, and I would definitely be doing the same to burn off the calories from heavy dinners. But when I’m constantly on the go and have a crazy work schedule, it’s really tough to squeeze in sweat time when all I want to do is sleep. So, I asked her to spill her secrets. Where does the motivation come from? “When I first started out in the industry, I was working for a hockey team and the head coach told me ‘when you get into the hotel, don’t lay around first. Go straight to the gym because if you lay around you’re not going to get up for the rest of the day.’ So that’s what I try to do.” Noted.
Written on April 7, 2014 at 12:46 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
I’ve been obsessed (like major #girlcrush) with singer Kellie Pickler ever since she was on American Idol—and I know that I’m not alone. Her bubbly I-won’t-let-fame-change-me charm and sheer talent has won the hearts of country lovers and loathers alike. So naturally, when Kellie was named one of the Dancing With The Stars contestants last year, she shined. And so did her abs. Each time Kellie made her way one step closer toward that coveted Mirror Ball trophy (providing me with more opportunities to drool over her dreamboat of a partner Derek Hough), I couldn’t help but wonder about her svelte secrets. Like, hey—can I get me some of that long and lean action, stat?
Well, last week I got the skinny from the Season 16 winner herself. “The trickiest thing for me is finding a workout that gives me somewhat of the same result I got from Dancing With The Stars,” Kellie says. “I started doing [Shaun T’s Focus] T25 not long ago and it’s been great for when I’m on the go, in a hotel room or on my tour bus. My husband and I love to do that together!” Noted. Starting the day on the right “and positive foot” sans shortcuts—Kellie always chooses stairs over escalators—is also key. “It sets the tone for your day,” she says, which she enjoys filling with hikes and kayaking trips when she has some downtime.
The vegetarian starlet also attributes her fit bod to maintaining a clean diet. “I love raw almonds and apples with peanut butter on them…[and] I do a lot of juicing,” Kellie dished. Her one indulgence: dark chocolate, a craving she often curbs with protein-packed Rockin’ Refuel drinks.
In honor of finally cracking the bombshell’s workout/diet code, not to mention the release of her new single “Closer to Nowhere,” we Picklered a playlist perfect for the gym, commute or workday. Enjoy!
Photo courtesy of Shamrock Farms Rockin’ Refuel
Written on March 26, 2014 at 3:45 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern
Are you a yogi with a love of fine art and an urge to travel to some of the world’s most beautiful museums? Ever have an itch to break out your mat and drop into a warrior pose in front the most powerful or inspiring statue? OK, so that notion might not be exactlywhat’s gone through your head during your last gallery visit, but if the notion sounds pretty cool, then the 2014 Lolë WHITE Tour is right up your alley. Taking place in five major museums in five major cities around the world, the series will bring together yogis—beginner, advanced and everyone in between—all dressed in white to experience a session dedicated to peace and set to the soothing sounds of a local symphony orchestra.
If this sounds like your keep-calm-and-om-on moment as much as it does to us, all you have to do is grab your mat, choose your date and sign up. These are the cities the tour will stop at:
- April 12: Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona
- May 8: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal
- May 22: The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York City
- June 12: Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
- July 2014: Specific date and location TBD, Edmonton, Canada
Last year’s tour brought more than 10,000 yogis together and this year promises to be just as grand. “The five prestigious museums—each one selected for its unparalleled space and atmosphere—will be transformed to provide the serenity of a yoga studio while accommodating between 500 and 1000 guests, for a yoga experience unlike anything else,” says Nathalie Binda, Lolë ’s vice president of marketing.
Ready to sign up? Tickets are $25 each and include a signature Lolë yoga mat (score!). But hurry! Space and mats are limited, so click here to secure your spot. And if you don’t have the required all-white attire, check out the new WHITE BY Lolë collection—100 percent of the proceeds go to support wellness programs that promote an active lifestyle in the communities visited by the tour.
Photo courtesy of Lolë
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Written on March 24, 2014 at 10:13 am , by Samantha Shelton
Daylight savings time has given us longer days (seriously, it’s so nice to leave the office and still have some sunshine) and a few days of warmer weather. Even though it still seems like Mother Nature can’t quite make up her mind about sending us into the next season, I’m ready to officially declare it Spring. And with that comes a myriad of refreshing—new clothes, cleaner diet (just say no to all the comfort food of winter) and fresh beats. I’m adding fun, poppy tunes to my workout playlist, inspiring me to push the pace just a bit more these days. Go ahead and steal ‘em yourself—I won’t tell.
In other music news, the song “#Selfie” has gone viral. While it’s not my cup of tea, I’d say it’s pretty perfect for those of you who love heavy techno beats during a hardcore sweat session. Or maybe I’m wrong, and it should be heard in dance clubs only? Give it a listen, and sound off in the comments below: workout do or don’t?
Written on March 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Attention, Zumba lovers: there’s a new program in town. Zumba Step is now offered nationwide in 24 Hour Fitness studios, and let me tell you, this program is a breath of fresh air. As someone who fully admits to her lack of dance skills, I’ve always shied away from the original Zumba program. Not because I didn’t have a good time whenever I did it—actually, I always had a blast—but I rarely gave myself the opportunity to let go and just dance. You know, that crazy moment when you really stop caring what everyone else thinks and you just shake it. It’s a pretty freeing moment, but alas, one that was regularly out of my reach.
Step programs, on the other hand, were right up my alley. More often than not, these classes incorporate the more traditional exercises I’ve come to know and love (lunges and squats, thank you very much), and add just a little bit of flair to satisfy those craving a bit of creativity in a cardio routine. So when I heard Zumba was adding the old-school step to their program, my curiosity was officially peaked.
Turns out, the one woman who has serious moves showed up, too. On her birthday. Yep, that’d be Kelly Rowland. As if watching her kill the warm-up in high heels while I grooved in my very-flat sneakers (yep, that really happened) wasn’t enough, she also confessed that the main reason she loves the program is exactly why the rest of us do it—because more often than not, you’re moving with your girlfriends. “I just really love to be around family…so I can still hang out with them and work out,” she said. “It’s all these people in the room that are excited about working out, excited about taking care of their bodies,excited about having a healthy lifestyle. So it’s fun.”
But alas, Zumba Step isn’t the only way Rowland gets that drool-worthy physique (seriously, have you seen her abs?). She works regularly with one of FITNESS’ fave trainers, Jeanette Jenkins, and when I asked about her all-time exercise, she listed my arch enemy: burpees. “I love to hate burpees,” she said. “I see what they do to my body and it’s like it just snaps your body into place so quickly.” #truthtalk
So now I’m going to get my burpee back on, in between Zumba Step classes. To keep myself motivated, I’ve added these tunes to my playlist. Consider ‘em yourself, and keep your ears open for more from Rowland: she said she’s headed back to the studio, and I’m more than ready to hear what comes out of those powerhouse vocal cords, stat.
Photo by Matt Peyton/Invision for Zumba Fitness/AP Images
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Written on February 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm , by Lauren CardarelliSlush and the resulting sloppy conditions were all the buzz in Sochi the past few weeks, but according to alpine skier Julia Mancuso, who snagged a bronze in the ladies’ super combined slalom, it wasn’t as bad as everyone cracked it up to be. In fact, Mancuso told us that she liked the hills in Russia! To put it simply, “it could have been worse.”
The Squaw Valley resident had yet another outstanding Olympic experience competing in three events and attending a handful of others to cheer on Team U.S.A. Adding a fourth medal to her accolades was the bling-a-licious cherry on top. “I was struggling going into this season so being able to get a medal was kind of a bonus,” she confessed. “I was hoping to use that energy into the next events and that didn’t happen. I was a little disappointed but looking back, I achieved something that so many athletes don’t get to do.”
So what’s her success secret? No Beyoncé dancing pre-race ritual here (although we still love you, Queen B). The most decorated woman in U.S. Olympic alpine history swears by one thing: getting her head in the game. “Ski racing is 99 percent mental, so for me it’s about getting to the start and relaxing—getting in the right mindset to go fast!” 81 miles per hour, fast. Talk about mind over matter!
Unlike other Olympians who are just arriving home, Mancuso skipped out on the Closing Ceremonies for a short stint in the States before finishing off her World Cup season. “Three more weeks and then it’s time to start training for next year,” she said a few days before jet-setting off to Switzerland.
And all of that traveling definitely adds up—especially when it comes to diet. “I try to eat healthy but it’s hard to plan ahead,” she said. “It’s one more thing to stress about if you’re not getting the right foods, so I try to control what I can and make good choices of the stuff I can’t control.” Her fuel of choice? ZICO-based smoothies. Check out her fave pre- and post-workout recipe below. Delicious and nutritious, perfect for whatever “podium” you’re looking to achieve.
So what’s Mancuso up to next, once she gets a little down time? She’ll be swapping snow for Hawaiian waters to indulge her surfing and paddleboarding interests, then flying to London to attend her BFF’s wedding. Sounds like a fun year ahead!