Written on November 14, 2013 at 11:42 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
While many of my peers growing up were glued to Power Rangers and Nickelodeon Guts, I was completely and utterly consumed with the Disney classics. I strived for Ariel’s sense of adventure, Mulan’s fearlessness and desperately wanted to be Jasmine because, come on, her outfit rocks and she has a pet tiger.
So when I was invited to join Team New Balance—the official shoe of runDisney and Disney Resorts—for last weekend’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon, naturally my inner-kiddo was jumping for joy. Three spectacle-filled parks with a nightcap waiting at the finish line? Count me in. My princess idols would totally approve.
But like any other race, I had a few reservations, mainly concerning timing. Despite being a night race veteran, this go-round was especially late for an early bird workout gal like myself: 10:00 p.m. (past my bedtime) with a two-minute wave start. Gulp! What do I do all day to prep? Heck, what do I eat?
Like Ben Greenfield recently told us, I stuck with what works when it came to fueling. (Lots of fresh Florida oranges and Larabars!) And as far as being tired, the positive energy coming from more than 12,100 runners is contagious and kicks the sleepies to the curb. The fireworks that erupt for each corral certainly fire you up with a bang, too. Would you expect anything less from “The Happiest Place On Earth?”
All in all, this was the most fun fit venture I have done. Ever. From jogging Minnies (timeless!) and fairies to Cruella de Vils—a few of her dalmatians included—innovative ensembles are a must and add to the fun in true Disney fashion (special thanks to Sparkle Athletic for my polka dot threads!). All the more magical: the character photo opps along the course. Guessing who will pop up next is a mind wandering game that helps the miles fly by. My personal fave was running into Rafiki during our Animal Kingdom loop.Want to get your selfies on? Be sure to sign up (and train for) a speedy corral so you can beat the long lines. Our group averaged 8:30-minute miles and never had more than two people waiting in front of us. Talk about pace-pushing inspiration.
To get the 13.1 distance in, there are a few boring stretches between all the pomp and circumstance, but nothing friendly runners can’t get you through. I actually loved seeing the behind-the-scenes hubbub, like a disco-themed costume warehouse in Hollywood Studios. It really made you appreciate how the magic is made day in and day out! Oh, and the cast members (Disney employees) along the route that worked after hours to cheer us all on? The best.
Written on November 13, 2013 at 9:42 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
As Thanksgiving swiftly approaches, it’s difficult for us to contain our enthusiasm. From the gathering of family and friends to football face-offs, we’ve all got quite a bit to be thankful for. So why not celebrate a few days early this year by giving back to those who could use the support?
On Saturday, Nov. 23, 75 cities across the country will host the St. Jude Give thanks. Walk, a noncompetitive 5K that helps raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The event has raised more than $11 million to date and hopes to increase that number with the help of you and your loved ones.
If you’re ready to take your Thanksgiving spirit to the next level, join the walk as a team to help with the fundraising process. All money raised helps St. Jude families forego the cost of treatment for their children, and supports the hospital’s research efforts. As if that isn’t enough of an incentive, all participants who receive 10 online donations before November 22 will be entered into a drawing for a trip for two to New York City! While in the Big Apple, the lucky couple will attend a live taping of LIVE! with Kelly and Michael and take a photo with affable co-host Michael Strahan.
Visit the St. Jude website to find a walk near you. (Most are free to register!) Can you think of a better way to celebrate the Saturday before Thanksgiving? We definitely can’t.
More from FITNESS:
Written on November 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Last month, I headed over to the Astro Turf Pier on the West Side just before sunrise to meet up with celebrity trainer Lacey Stone. Her neon orange sweatpants glowed against the green field filled with her local followers ready for another day of her SWEAT Week NY outdoor boot camp. The hour-long leg and butt workout began promptly at 6:30 a.m. when she blew the whistle hanging around her neck. What a way to start your day!
Stone’s training persona was even more vibrant than her workout apparel, barking orders all the while joking excitedly and sharing quite a few cheesy puns with the group. I laughed more than I winced through her tough routine, something I had yet to experience in any other group fitness setting. Combining just the right amount of high intensity cardio moves and bodyweight strength training, Stone’s contagious enthusiasm motivated the entire group through non-stop exercises.
The early bird boot camp utilized all of the surrounding elements of the park: the cement side walls served as plyometric boxes, the poles lining the turf field marked each leg of suicide runs, and the pier itself served as a timed running loop on which we raced one another. Toward the end of the hour, as we started losing steam, Stone grouped us into teams to instill a fun sense of competition that made everyone give it their all.
Stone’s no-frills approach to fitness made each participant leave excuses at home and commit to the butt-blasting workout—and it worked! It’s always interesting to see how using back-to-basic moves in a unique outdoor space can make such a difference. Plus, few workouts can beat getting your butt kicked by the hilarious Lacey Stone as the sun rises over the Hudson River around you.
More from FITNESS:
Written on November 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm , by Samantha Shelton
After watching season 3 of The Voice, I wasn’t sure I wanted to hop on the Christina Aguilera bandwagon. Her actions and clothes were a bit too provocative for my taste; she seemed to be grasping for attention. But after taking a step back from the show in season 4 with fellow coach Cee Lo Green, and reportedly spending more time with her family, the megastar is back for season 5 with a vengeance and I could not be more in love. Her look is more classic, the advice she doles out is top notch and she seems to really care about the contestants. Although we got a glimpse of Xtina’s season 3 behavior in last week’s performance of “How I Feel” with Flo Rida (girl wants to show she’s still got sass!), she reeled me back in with her performance of “Say Something” with A Great Big World the following night.
While I could go on and on about my reignited love for the singer (I mean, I did grow up working it to “Genie in a Bottle”), it’s her svelte figure that I’m going gaga over. And it turns out you are, too – you told us one thing you’re most curious about is how she slimmed down. Ask, and you shall receive! Reports say she’s worked with trainer Tee Sorge to peel off the pounds, citing yoga and hiking as two of the fat-blasters that worked for her. We personally recommend this yoga routine, where you’ll burn 500+ cals in a speedy 45 minutes.
We’re not sure if she jams to her own tunes (after all, sometimes LL Cool J catches his own hits), but I certainly will. Download these old and new hits to your next rise-and-grind playlist. There’s something about “Fighter” that’s guaranteed to bring out your inner badass.
Written on November 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm , by Samantha Shelton
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- You pay a lot of money for your personal trainer, but are they worth it? Here’s 10 signs you should ditch ‘em for good. -Daily Burn
- So you want to do an Ironman? This is your race-day breakdown of what to expect (with an extra dose of inspiration). -Meals and Miles
- Research shows that electro-pop music makes you move the fastest. Pump up your pace with this heart-throbbing playlist. -Songza
- This woman has run 100 marathons, so we take her word from it when she says these are the products for getting through 26.2 miles. -50 by 25
- Bucket list items are all the rage today. Make sure these six are on yours. -Thought Catalog
Written on November 5, 2013 at 10:14 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Looking for a fun, fit way to spend time with loved ones this holiday season? Dig that hideous sweater out of the depths of your closet (yes, we know you didn’t actually throw out that awful gift from grandma) and sign up for a 5K that celebrates these unsightly creations—jingle bells, blinking Rudolf noses and all! November 9 marks the beginning of the third annual Ugly Sweater Run, also known as “the ugliest 5K on the planet.”
Since its inaugural race in Louisville, Colo., in 2011, the Ugly Sweater Run has expanded to share their fashion faux pas-inspired event with 32 cities across the nation and Canada. Gather up the family—kids and furry friends are welcome—in celebration of the most wonderful time of the year. Each race features holiday-themed rest stations stocked with hot chocolate and a post-race winter wonderland celebration full of holiday-themed games, contests, prizes and more.
The best part (besides the sweaters and cocoa, of course)? After crossing the finish line, each participant donates a gift under the giant inflatable Christmas tree for Toys for Tots, the run’s philanthropic partner. Cheers to the season of giving! Every runner also receives a custom vintage knit hat and a mustache.
The Ugly Sweater Run series only lasts for six weeks, so be sure to secure your spot soon. Whether you’re a beginning runner or a marathoner, everyone can join in this fun run for a bit of cardio and a brightened holiday spirit!
More from FITNESS:
- FITNESS Staffers’ Top Holiday Traditions
- Burn Off Those Holiday Splurges
- The FITNESS Healthy Holidays Checklist
Written on November 4, 2013 at 10:41 am , by Karla Walsh
Did you catch FITNESS reader Cassandra in the I Did It! section on page 20 of our September issue? (In case you missed it or need a reminder, she raised $5,420 for the Boot Campaign which helps military veterans and their families.) Now through Veteran’s Day, November 11, you too can make an impact and support our nation’s heroes. No sweat: You don’t have to drop and give us 20—although that’s never a bad thing to do!
The Believe in Heroes campaign, now in its fourth year, gathers funds to help wounded soldiers get back to their favorite activities (through programs like adaptive sports and rehab). Contributing can be as easy as visiting your local supermarket.
How to help:
- Donate at your grocery store. Thousands of supermarkets across the U.S. accept donations as you check out.
- Download free coupons. Coupons for some of your favorite food and drink brands will be available for free through December 2 at wwpbelieve.org. A contribution will be made to the Wounded Warrior Project for each coupon redeemed.
- Click over to Facebook. Learn about participating stores and learn more about Wounded Warriors’ personal stories at www.facebook.com/wwpinc.fans.
More from FITNESS:
- All-American Workout Playlist
- Military Wives Use Fitness to Overcome Grief
- Marathoner Amy Palmiero-Winters: Back in Action After Amputation
Written on November 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm , by Samantha Shelton
This week’s fit links from around the web, prepping everyone for racing or cheering the New York City Marathon on Sunday. Happy running!
- The best spots to cheer based on the experiences you’re after. Plus, a mile-by-mile breakdown for those first-timers tackling the famous course. -Losing Weight in the City
- Need a good race sign to cheer on your fave runner (and make a stranger smile)? All sorts of ideas wait for you here. -Best Race Signs
- How to not hit the dreaded “wall” during the marathon. -Mile Posts
- 7 reasons why this runner won’t be eating a pasta dinner the night before race day. -Run to the Finish
- Cross the final to-do’s off your list to make sure you’re ready to run. -Race Pace Jess
Written on November 1, 2013 at 1:56 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
Granola-topped yogurt or smoothie? Power bar or peanut butter on toast? Coffee or juice? Why is it that, come race day, we always question fueling? Lucky for those running in this weekend’s New York City Marathon (and anyone else looking to tackle a big race anytime soon), we got the 26.2 diet dirt from sports nutrition expert Ben Greenfield. The coach, ex-bodybuilder and Ironman triathlete is the go-to pro on prepping for peak performance. Here are Ben’s top five tips on eating for the run and recovery. Hint: Carb-loading isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Stick to what you know. OK, you’ve heard this before, but according to Ben, many athletes still break down mentally and try something out of the ordinary the week—or even day—of the race. Not a good idea. “Do exactly in the race as you have practiced in training,” he says. “Remember to train with what you’re going to use in the race about four to six times before the race. That’s what it’s going to take to train your gut to get used to the fuels you plan on using.”
Carbs: A yes…sort of. “If athletes limit carbohydrates, then taking in extra during race week become far less important,” says Greenfield. Should you decide to nosh on a bagel or big bowl of pasta, two to three days prior to the race will do the trick. Ben’s easy-to-digest suggestions: sweet potatoes, taro and white rice. (Phew, I guess we can still use the excuse that we’re carb-loading…)
Rule of yum. When it comes to pre-run drinks, err on the side of caution. “Juice is simply empty calories that actually has potential to cause blood sugar spikes,” explains Greenfield. But what about java? Stick to just one cup, so long as you have sipped on it prior to a long run in the past. No one wants an unplanned porta potty pit stop.
To GU or not to GU? That is always the halfway point question, and according to Greenfield, energy chews/replenishers may not be as necessary as you think. “The more sodium you take in, the more your kidneys are going to push out,” he says. Opt for electrolyte capsules such as Athlytes, Endurolytes or Salt Stick instead of the sugar-laden stuff. Effervescent tablets like Nuun or GU Brew are also good options.
Recover like a champ. The old school ways of thinking—foam rolling, ice bath, massage, post-workout shakes—are instilled in our brain for a reason. They work! In addition, Greenfield suggests a few options that may not have crossed your mind. “I’ve found the occasional acupuncture session to be an incredibly useful method for everything from nagging aches and paints to full-blown adrenal fatigue,” he admits. Another tactic to consider? Deload (also known as an easy “recovery week”) every four to eight weeks, according to Greenfield. Hey, it can actually improve your fitness levels, especially since it takes a minimum of 72 hours to recover from a tough run.
Still concerned about what to eat the morning of your race? Greenfield suggests blending (it’s easier on your digestive system!) an energizing kale smoothie with coconut water or coconut milk. “Blending or juicing helps to pre-digest the food so your body doesn’t have to work as hard during digestion,” he says. This frees up precious energy for you to devote to your stride! For efforts greater than three hours in duration, add 20-30 grams of protein powder to the mix (Ben’s fave is Mt. Capra’s DEEP 30 protein). Ben also swears by ATP energy sources like X2Performance to naturally increase energy, enhance endurance and improve recovery. Best of luck this weekend, runners! You’re going to kick major asphalt.
Now tell us: How do you fuel up for a big race?
Written on November 1, 2013 at 10:35 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Earlier this month, world-class triathlete Paula Newby-Fraser traveled to Kona, Hawaii like so many times before to experience the Ironman World Championship. But this time the Hall of Famer enjoyed the race from the sidelines, supporting all of the athletes who dream of one day accomplishing as much as she has over the course of her career.
The Queen of Kona was an athlete from birth, competing on swimming teams in South Africa until she was 15 years old, but she didn’t fall in love with fitness until after college. With a little positive peer pressure, she began running and going to the gym with friends in lieu of extended happy hours. “I started with running a 5K, then a 10K and just generally working out, enjoying the benefits of being back in shape and being healthy,” Paula tells us.
One thing led to another, and when a pal learned of Paula’s swimming background, a triathlon became the new goal. The rest is history. She won a spot in the 1985 Hawaii Ironman, despite the fact that her newfound passion was her most challenging feat yet. “I had never ridden 112 miles and I had never run a marathon, so when I went to go and do that event, I pretty much did everything wrong,” she says. “But I knew that once I got through it, it opened the door and the possibility of pursuing it on a multiple-time basis.”
Almost 30 years later, Paula has won 24 Ironman Triathlon races—eight of which were Ironman Triathlon World Championships. She holds the Ironman world record of 8:50:24, and along with the “Greatest Triathlete in History” title from Triathlete Magazine in 1999. Her mental and physical connection to the sport kept her focused on the finish line every time she stepped up to the racing line. “I would say to myself, ‘There’s nothing I haven’t faced in training. I’ve had days where I felt brilliant, I’ve had days where I felt absolutely awful, I’ve had very average days,” she explains. “I’ve been out there when it’s cold, when it’s raining, when it’s windy, when it’s hot, when I’ve had mechanical problems and yet somehow you make it through all those workouts and just deal with what the day gives you. There’s nothing that I can’t handle.”
Outside of race training, Paula loves taking her mountain bike to the trails near her home in San Diego, California. “It’s so incredibly peaceful and interactive because you’re off road and on the trails,” she says. “Off-road running is also something that I absolutely love. Being able to go up a mountain is always something I think is special.” She even looks for good trails when vacationing—Utah and Colorado are two of her frequented spots.
What’s next after the current Ironman season comes to an end? Paula has a few more race ideas up her sleeve. “Running an ultra-marathon is definitely on my list of things I would love to do. There are also some ultra-mountain biking events that I just feel like I have to get to do once or twice before too many more years go by.” She literally never stops, which explains why this ambitious gal lives by one word: consistency. “Find a way to integrate consistency in no matter what you choose. Being able to make it a part of you, of your life, of your grounding routine will make something rewarding, will make you want to do it, and give you the benefits,” she says. “If you can do something and make it a part of who you are, it just throws open the possibilities.”
More from FITNESS:
- Ready, Set, Goal: Win-It Strategies from Top Athletes
- Unleash Your Inner Winner
- Conquering a Triathlon, Relay-Style