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The Fitness Gear You Don’t Have (But Really Need)

Written on June 16, 2014 at 6:43 pm , by

When we think of Bluetooth chips, we usually don’t think of them in relation to water bottles. And when we think of yoga mats, we usually don’t think sensors and LED lights will be involved. But with personal trainers continually developing new ways to crank our calorie burn, and nutritionists creating new recipes that are easier, tastier and healthier, it’s no wonder the products meant to streamline our journey to a healthy lifestyle are nearly lapping the experts in innovation. These soon-to-be available high-tech gadgets are meeting—and potentially exceeding—our expectations, and you better believe they’re on our wish lists! Check ‘em out:

Dehydration affects nearly half of us, which is how the creators of BluFit came up with its concept. It’s a glass water bottle that syncs with your phone to keep track of how much water you need (based on weight, age, humidity levels, etc.) and how much water you drink. When it’s time to grab another sip, BluFit alerts you via sound and light to drink up. Not near your water bottle? It’ll alert your phone, too. The rechargeable battery lasts for about six days, so you’ll be good to make this little guy your running buddy or your staple between gym sessions.

A yoga class in the comfort of your own home? Sign us up! That’s basically what the Tera mat provides. Also a wool carpet, the mat uses sensors to identify where you are on the mat and guide you where to go next based on each workout you do. You can even tailor the workouts to help you reach your personal fitness goals. The mat syncs with the Tera app to record and analyze your movements, while the app itself provides step-by-step guides for completing each movement correctly. You can also use the mat for Zumba, Pilates or Thai Bo. Versatile, convenient and stylish? Talk about every fit girl’s dream!

Photos courtesy of BluFit and Tera Mat

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Google To Give Health Another Try, This Time With App

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Find Your Calm in the Middle of Times Square

Written on June 16, 2014 at 10:01 am , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

Honking cars, a sea of people, lit-up billboards and a naked cowboy serenading tourists. It sounds like a place of chaos (and trust us, it is most days), rather than a serene place to practice yoga. This Saturday and Sunday, however, the Athleta “Mind Over Madness” two-day yoga event is back again, taking over the heart of Times Square and challenging NYC-based yogis to restore the body, mind and spirit in the midst of city life.

So why would you want to submit yourself to a crowd of half-naked people getting bendy, when you can do it in the comfort of your own home (or just a clean studio)? Besides the fact that it’s a crazy fun and challenging way to celebrate the summer solstice, the money raised by MINDBODY Connect will benefit Bent on Learning, a nonprofit organization committed to teaching yoga to NYC public school children, and Urban Zen, an integrative therapy program.

And just in case you forgot what the summer solstice is (hey, we’ve all been there), it’s the one day of the year, usually around June 21st, that signals the official start of summer. In addition to it commencing the blissful time of year for flip flops, days at the beach and all things warm and wonderful, it is also the one day when the sun reaches its greatest height, shines longer and sets later, meaning more time for all sorts of outdoor fun (and calorie burning, obvs).  

Although day one is already sold out, day two on Sunday, June 22, is still open for registration, with the first class starting at 8 a.m. and the final class beginning at 2:30 p.m. Classes run for 1.5 hours, cost $20 and are taught by master instructors, including renowned yoga teacher Rodney Yee and meditation guru Alan Finger.

So go on and register for an altogether unique experience to find peace of mind amidst a crazy-busy schedule. And don’t forget to tag us (@FitnessMagazine) and use #SolsticeTsq in the swoon-worthy Instagram shots we know you’ll take—after all, you’ll get to tell all your friends (thus making them jealous) that you did yoga in Times freaking Square. How cool is that?!

Photo courtesy of Derek Goodwin

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Google To Give Health Another Try, This Time With App

Written on June 13, 2014 at 3:39 pm , by

After an unsuccessful attempt at popularizing two different health services for users (Google Health and Google PowerMeter: more info about that here), Google is planning to try again, this time with Google Fit, Forbes reports.

The service—reportedly launching later this month during the Google I/O conference—will provide users with an easy way to track and collect health data from different health-related apps they’re already using. Forbes reports that the service will even be offered through a wearable device that will measure steps, heart rate, and will sync with Google’s cloud-based services. Google might sync the app with Android Wear’s smart-watches, too, so that anyone wearing multiple Android devices can use Google Fit to store all of the information in one place.

Interestingly, the news comes soon after Apple’s  release of Health (and its partner HealthKit), which similarly aggregates information from different health-based apps—basically creating a file cabinet that privately stores personal information like sleeping patterns and blood pressure, so you can easily access it whenever you may need to touch base with a doc.

We’re excited to see what the Internet giant rolls out later this month and how it will—or won’t—compare with Apple’s Health. Similar or not, we know one thing’s for sure: everyone’s excuses for not exercising and eating right are quickly shrinking. It’s about time!

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Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s New Health App

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We Tried It: Speed Camp, Part 3

Written on June 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Get Inspired By The Greats

Meet Mohamed “Mo” Farah

He’s a double gold medalist in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the London Olympic Games. Here, Mo’s top tips:

Take care of your body. If you want to get faster, the most important thing you can do is stay injury-free. “I do this by wearing the right shoes and training sensibly,” says Farah. “I also look after my body: take ice baths, get massages, do my weights.”

Have a race day ritual. Sticking to a routine will help you stay calm on the big day. “Most of my races are in the evening,” says Farah. “So I wake up and go for a little jog in the morning. When I come back, I have breakfast and shave my head. In the afternoon, I listen to some music and take a nap.”

Get in the zone. Feeling nervous? “Think back about your training and how hard you’ve worked,” says Farah. “That’s what really gets me going.” 

Now meet Carmelita Jeter

No wonder her nickname is “The Jet.” This Olympic gold medalist and American sprinter who specializes in the 100-meter is the fastest woman in the world. Down-to-earth Jeter is all about the three C’s:

Catnaps: On days when she has an especially rigorous workout, she takes a 30- or 60-minute nap to help her body recover. “Every night, I try to get at least eight to ten hours of sleep,” she says.

Core work: “During the season, I have a special trainer who focuses just on the core muscles,” she says. “It’s not just about lifting tons of weights. It’s about making sure I have a strong foundation.”

Cupcakes: Jeter started working with a nutritionist last year, who has her eating baked fish and chicken and lots of veggies and brown rice. But she doesn’t deprive herself. “People assume that because I’m an athlete, I never eat anything sweet,” says Jeter. “I will tear up some cupcakes. One cupcake is not going to ruin the diet.”

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Speed Camp, Part 1

Speed Camp, Part 2

Equinox’s Flow Play


We Tried It: Speed Camp, Part 2

Written on June 10, 2014 at 2:06 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Your Speed Secret Weapon

Alex Molden, a retired football player who spent eight seasons as a defensive back in the NFL, knows a little something about speed. I met him on the field at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium, where he played for the Ducks. Today he’s a master trainer for Nike—you may recognize him if you’ve played the Nike+ Kinect Training game for Xbox360; he’s the trainer.

One of the most effective ways to increase your speed, says Molden, is resisted running. That’s what I’m doing in the photo above. You run with a belt around your waist with a bungee cord attached to it. Your partner (in my case, an extremely ripped former NFL player) jogs behind you, holding on to the cord to provide steady resistance. We did 10-yard sprints—burn, baby, burn!

Another killer speed builder? Stair running.

Try them both, but keep in mind Molden’s sprint-form secrets:

Arms: Move them back and forward, not across the body. Think of your palms going from cheek (of your face) to cheek (of your bum).

Knees: Keep knees high, bring them up to 90 degrees.

Feet: They should be flexed and driving down.

Check back for Speed Camp, Part 3, tomorrow!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Speed Camp, Part 1

Doonya Fitness Party

NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up 


How One Granola Bar Brand Is Saving Lives—Literally!

Written on June 10, 2014 at 10:46 am , by

Severe acute malnutrition claims the lives of 2.6 million children each year (that’s one child every 12 seconds), but what if you could put a stop to that…by simply munching on your own afternoon snack? Now you can. This Bar Saves Lives has taken a bite out of Toms, Warby Parker and the like’s humanitarian business models to turn grub proceeds into good.

“The solution exists,” co-founder Ravi Patel told us during a recent FITNESS office pow-wow. “There’s just not enough of the life-saving food, Plumpy’Nut®, to go around.” So after returning from a trip to Africa where they witnessed childhood hunger first-hand, founders (and actors) Patel, Ryan Devlin and Todd Grinnell pledged to put an end to childhood hunger and started a movement with tasty treats of their own. And they started out by taste testing in their own kitchens. Don’t you just love that!?

For each purchased bar, This Bar Saves Lives’ non-profit partner makes one portion of Plumpy’Nut®, which is then sent to areas in the world where it’s needed most (primarily Africa, India and Haiti). And not only are you giving others the nutrition they need, you’re also receiving quality energy with natural, locally-sourced and non-GMO ingredients. Double-whammy! The clover honey in my fave Madagascar Vanilla Almond & Honey comes from Wisconsin, for example. And the roasted pistachios in the Wild Blueberry Pistachio? Californian, born and raised. Everything from the ingredients to the packaging (the pattern on the wrappers are from African textiles, which also have a feel-good, giving-back tie) is mission-based, something we at FITNESS truly stand by.

So what are you waiting for? Fuel up to put an end to childhood hunger. Place your order on their site and be sure to keep an eye out for new varieties in select stores and boutique gyms nationwide (another reason to hit up Whole Foods? See you never, paycheck). They’ll also be offering some pretty cool initiatives in 2015, so follow their social media platforms ASAP for the skinny!

Photo courtesy of This Bar Saves Lives

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We Tried It: Nike Speed Camp

Written on June 9, 2014 at 4:46 pm , by

FITNESS senior editor Bethany Gumper went to Nike Zoom Speed Camp, where she tried the new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 and trained with some of the fastest athletes in the world, then watched them make history at the Prefontaine Classic. Learn a few tricks to take your running to the next level.

***

Try This Workout! 

When I got the invitation to attend Nike Zoom Speed Camp in Eugene, Oregon, (a.k.a. Tracktown, USA), I was equal parts nervous and excited. Excited because I’ve had a love affair with running since I joined the high-school cross-country team as a tenth grader (how amazing to run on the track at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, following in the footsteps of Steve Prefontaine and dozens of Olympians). Nervous because I’ve never been particularly, well, speedy. My running style has always been more tortoise than hare.

I was shaking in my Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 sneakers when I met my coach: Rory Fraser, one of the best distance runners in the country and the second fastest 5,000-meter runner in the U.K. Gulp. Fraser put me at ease by insisting that speed work is for everyone, not just elite athletes. Then he put me to work on the track doing one of his favorite speed drills, a pyramid workout. You push yourself to run faster over increasingly longer distances, then come back down to where you started. Try our workout—don’t forget to do an easy jog to warm-up and cool-down, as well as some dynamic stretching beforehand. 

And for those who need a reminder, 400 meters is one lap around the track. So here you’ll be doing either a half lap, a full lap, or two laps throughout the workout. Happy sweating!

  • 200 meters fast
  • 200 meters jog
  • 400 meters fast
  • 400 meters jog
  • 800 meters fast
  • 400 meters jog
  • 400 meters fast
  • 200 meters jog
  • 200 meters fast

Check back for Speed Camp, Part 2, tomorrow!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Body Conceptions

JumpLife Gym

DailyBurn’s Inferno HR

 


Fast Food Gone Healthy: Panera Ditches All Artificial Ingredients

Written on June 9, 2014 at 10:18 am , by

Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern

Dining out, while following a balanced diet, is hardly ever as simple as it seems—especially when the seemingly “healthy” restaurants have packed their meals with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and preservatives. So we couldn’t help but give three major cheers when Panera Bread announced that it will swear off all artificial ingredients and preservatives by 2016.

Founded on the belief that “quick food could also be quality food,” Panera plans to further its mission by retiring artificial ingredients, such as MSG and artificial trans fats. Instead, the company has built a comprehensive plan that will have all locations using clean ingredients, along with a transparent menu. Translation: customers are gaining more control over what they eat, even when they’re not cooking it themselves. Everybody now: big sigh of relief!

So what specific changes can you expect when you visit a Panera? First, all of those delish dressings and sauces can be served guilt-free, because there won’t be any artificial preservatives. And the bakery items (mmm…bear claws)—actually, everything on the menu—will no longer contain high-fructose corn syrup, and natural alternatives will replace artificial coloring in icing.  Panera is even looking into different options for traditional deli meats, since those often have nitrites and artificial preservatives hanging around.

The problem with all of these artificial ingredients lies in what Panera is calling “a broken food system.” Even though many of us are health-conscious, the status quo over the past few decades has been to include artificial additives in pretty much everything—from snacks to fast foods and pantry ingredients. While choosing foods wisely can be somewhat of a chore, efforts like this will become a restaurant trend, improving the dining-out experience for those of us who are constantly on the go. Fingers crossed!

Photo courtesy of Panera

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Start Your OITNB Marathon, We Have the Healthy Snack to Hold You Over

Written on June 6, 2014 at 6:40 pm , by

Orange is the New Black is officially back for season two and I could not be more excited. And since I know I’m not the only one who will be glued to their television this weekend (because let’s be real, you can’t watch just one episode at a time), I knew we’d need a little sustenance to get us through Piper’s latest escapades. Enter celeb trainer Harley Pasternak, FITNESS’ go-to guy for healthy smoothie recipes. He’s whipped up an OITNB smoothie in honor of this momentous day, so we can quench our thirst and curb our appetites without diving straight into a bag of chips—while hopefully watching Red reclaim her kitchen. Bust your blender out, press play and happily sip away, friends.

OITNB Smoothie 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 large orange, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 medium frozen banana, chopped
  • 1/2 serving unsweetened protein powder
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ice cubes

Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed; add ice if preferred. Blend until desired consistency, adding water to thin out if necessary.

Oh, and if working out while you watch is more your thing, you’re in luck—you could win a trip to LA to workout with Harley! Simply snap a photo of you working out during your fave show, and send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using #tvworkout to enter. Check out the rules here, and get more details in our June issue, on newsstands now!

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Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s New Health App

Written on June 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

Attention, fitness junkies (and if you’re reading this, we’re going to assume that’s all of you): Apple has announced that they will be unveiling every runner, biker, yogi, and health-conscious person’s dream app—Health (and its tracking feature HealthKit).. The technologically advanced app is coming our way when i0S 8 becomes available, and can only be described as the self-obtaining, on-the-spot, no-doctor-involved, personal quantification of health. It is that hyper-organized file cabinet that we wish existed in our lives.

Okay, now that I’m done pumping it up, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Think of Health as the mega fitness drop-box. It pulls in health and exercise info from other applications and activity monitors you already use, and deposits them into one place. For example, the app recognizes data collected in Nike+ after you go for a long run, along with daily movement and sleeping patterns tallied in Moves and Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock. Then, Health takes that data and uses it to analyze your fitness level and general health, subsequently providing personalized wellness plans according to the goals you want to reach.

But what if you really want to see your heart rate, sleep patterns and miles logged, but don’t care about calorie burn? It’s simple: don’t include it in your settings. Health is completely customizable so you can pick and choose what information is available, and since the app also works with innovators in the health care industry (think Mayo Clinic), it promises to keep your personal health information private; only sharing it with the services you select.

In other words, shedding pounds, tracking calories, controlling your diet, and maintaining a fairly consistent blood pressure is now manageable, and won’t cause a traumatizing migraine. So forget bouncing between apps, and just bounce between your workouts. Health will cover the rest. 

Photo courtesy of Apple 

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