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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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Get Your National #RunningDay On with These Deals and Steals

Written on June 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm , by

In the FITNESS offices, National Running Day truly is a major holiday. It’s almost as big of a deal as Christmas. So many staffers love lacing up and pounding out a few miles, and the post-run high has been floating in the air all day. But there’s still a few of us who need to get their miles in, and for them—and you!—I have a few fun tricks up my sleeve.

First, if you feel like you’re slacking on motivation, my go-to cure is to sign up for a race. After all, there’s nothing like laying down some cold-hard cash to get my butt in gear. So the first thing I did today was head on over to one of my fave race organizers, Run Rock ‘n’ Roll, because as long as you sign up today, you’ll nab $20 off the registration price! And with options to run a 5K, half or full at almost all of their events (or if you’re really feeling ambitious, run more than one during a weekend and score special Running Festival bling), you can find the distance that makes your heart sing. I’ve got my eye on you, Windy City

Now that you’re signed up for a race, feed off that excitement and hit the road today! New York Road Runners is doing an amazing job of celebrating throughout the city, so if you’re nearby, hit up one of these group events to meet like-minded rock stars:

  • Manhattan: Team for Kids Happy Hour at The Parlour, 7 p.m. Runners will meet Team for Kids runners and coaches, and learn how to get guaranteed entry into the New York City Marathon. RSVP here.
  • Brooklyn: Brooklyn Bridge Park Water Stop and Giveaways, 5-7 p.m. Rehydrate mid-run, customize a National Running Day bib and score a free five-borough bandana. Want to run with new friends? There’s a group leaving the water stop at 6:30 p.m. and all are welcome.
  • Brooklyn: Singlets Mixer Happy Hour, 7-9:30 p.m. After you wrap up your run, head to Fornino on Pier 6, where you’ll meet people from more than 100 running clubs that you can join throughout the city. RSVP here.
  • Staten Island: Clove Lakes Park Water Stop and Giveaways, 6-7:30 p.m. Same deal as the Brooklyn Bridge water stop, but for runners passing by Clove Road and Cheshire. Head to Pepper Jack Grill afterward for an 8 p.m. happy hour.
  • Bronx: Van Cortlandt Park Giveaways and Group Run, 5-7 p.m. Join the Van Cortland Track Club leaders at 6 p.m. for a run from the Tortoise and Hare statue.

And last but not least, I can’t send you out on a run without some fresh tunes! Aloe Blacc is a fave artist to listen to while banging out some miles, and he just so happened to be the headliner at Run Rock ‘n’ Roll’s half-marathon in San Diego last weekend. Since I already have a ton of his music on my playlist (obviously), my friends over at RNR sent over some fresh tunes inspired by the musician. Plug in and enjoy. 

More from FITNESS: 

 FITNESS’ Half-Marathon Training Guide

Hit the Fast Lane: The 5K Track Workout

The Workout for You and Your Running Bestie


Vending Machine Equals…Running Gear? Westin’s Social Media-Activated Machine Gives FREE Equipment

Written on June 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

It’s that time again—National Running Day! To celebrate one of FITNESS’ favorite holidays, Westin Hotels & Resorts has come up with a truly innovative way to make running interactive, fun and socially awesome. How, you ask? With a vending machine.

Wait…what?

Your typical vending machine dishes out lots of no-good sweets, chips and sugar-laden soda. Others are dispensing cupcakes and candy bars. But this one is more our style because not only does it require the use of social media (because let’s face it, we’re addicted), but it hands out New Balance workout gear…for free.  Yes, free!

The Westin and New Balance companies will unleash this cool, one-of-a-kind machine in New York City tomorrow outside of The Westin New York Grand Central. Stop by anytime after 8:30am to grab your gear, then head out to pound a little pavement.  

Oh, and I should mention one other feature about the vending machine: it runs through social media. What the heck does that mean? Instead of slipping coins into a junk food-filled contraption, the Westin vending machine accepts only one type of currency—tweets. Simply tweet “I want to run with @Westin”, include your gender and size, and the machine will distribute New Balance shirts, shorts, socks, and shoes (among other items) for free! All gear is completely complimentary, courtesy of Westin and New Balance.

And for you city folk who don’t want to go it alone, Chris Heuisler, Westin’s RunWESTIN concierge, will lead a 10:30a.m. 5K run. The Westin welcomes all, whether it be guests, employees, or those who just happen to be strolling through midtown in the morning (lucky ducks!). So basically, you have no excuse not to get your run on.

Whether you wish to attempt your best Usain Bolt impersonation or just jog with a friend, Westin’s National Running Day event will allow everyone to be active, and most importantly, to have fun. See you there!

Photo courtesy of Westin 

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A Running Workout for You and Your BFF

Hit the Fast Lane: The 5K Track Workout

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A Golfer’s Paradise: Vacationing on Amelia Island

Written on June 3, 2014 at 11:24 am , by

Written by Nichole D’Auria, art director

Nothing gives me greater hope than stepping onto a golf course and driving a ball 200 yards off the tee. Could this be the year I actually break 100? After suffering through what seemed to be the coldest winter on record, I was beginning to think I would never have the opportunity. Then, as luck would have it, the universe intervened and I was invited to spend three magnificent, sun-filled days at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort on the north coast of Florida.

From the moment I walked through the expansive lobby doors and past the two infinity pools, my eyes were set on the sand…the sand trap, that is. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A golf course on the beach? Was this heaven? After I made my way to my oceanfront room (all accommodations provide a view of the Atlantic), I knew I was in for a treat.

If you like adventure like I do, the Omni has a number of excellent options. With more than 1,350 acres, three world-class championship golf courses (which are so good that the Golf Channel’s popular Big Break reality TV series is filmed there), and an impressive tennis facility, guests can enjoy a wide variety of leisure activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, horseback riding, sailing and swimming. I should know—I tried almost all of them. The resort also offers seven miles of oak-lined canopy trails to tempt joggers, hikers and cyclists alike. I tackled the trails on a Segway, which was both fun and hilarious.

I left Amelia Island happy, relaxed and reenergized, but wishing I could stay longer. There was still another golf game to play, a kayak to paddle, a restaurant to sample. I vowed to go back. Honestly, how many vacation spots can motivate and inspire you to look better, feel better and be better, all while enveloping you in a spa-like atmosphere? And hey, I still need another day—or three or four—on the golf course to finally break 100!

More from FITNESS: 

 Florida’s Best Kept Secret: Port Saint Joe

Panama: Where You Can Play Hard, Day and Night

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Adriana Lima Is a Knockout (in More Ways Than One!)

Written on June 2, 2014 at 4:46 pm , by

On most any day in downtown New York City, you might spot a celeb or two ducking into hip Aerospace gym for a kick-butt boxing session. But last Thursday morning, supermodel Adriana Lima took over the studio—with a film crew and card-carrying Vegas showgirls in tow—to fight for a great cause. (She has the mean left hook to do it.)

Credit: Gary He for Insider Images

Lima led a sweaty 45-minute workout with longtime trainer Michael Olajide, Jr., to raise funds for the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti. “I’ve been supporting the St. Luke Foundation since I visited Haiti when I was pregnant,” says Lima, the mother of two little girls. “I had the chance to meet the inspirational people that volunteer there. As an organization, they provide education and medical outreach to more than 150,000 people a year.”

The Victoria’s Secret model had raffled off a spot in Thursday’s class to benefit St. Luke’s. Minus the rolling cameras—the event was being taped to promote the charity—the cardio-boxing session reflects Lima’s typical lean routine. “I have worked with Michael Olajide, Jr. for more than 10 years,” she says—and it shows, not just in her physique but her footwork. Part of the plyo-tastic session involved speed jump-roping with criss-cross maneuvers that would make your usual rope drill look like playground stuff. Lima didn’t miss a beat doing high knees, alternating one-legged landings and jacks. “My first few months of training, I tripped over my rope,” she admits. “The best part of boxing is that, after working out at least three times a week for 10 years, it’s still a challenge, whether with an opponent or with myself.”

Training with Olajide in fact helped Lima bounce back in record time for the Victoria’s Secret show in 2012 when she had only a month and a half to get lingerie-ready after having her second daughter.

Another go-to for Lima is coconut water. “It’s my pre- and post-workout drink,” says Lima. “I grew up in Bahia, Brazil where everyone of every age drinks coconut water—it’s healthy, delicious and of course reminds me of home.”

You can check out Lima’s real-deal punches and rope skills at http://www.aerospacehpc.com.

 

 


My 67-Mile Bike Race: FITNESS Advisor Dr. Jennifer Ashton Recaps Her Epic Ride

Written on June 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm , by

Written by Jennifer Ashton, M.D., FITNESS advisory board member and “The Doctors” co-host

Today I completed a 67-mile bike ride. It was, hands-down, the most difficult physical thing I have ever done in my life. It was also the most amazing, fun, emotional, inspiring, frightening and exhilarating feat I have ever accomplished. I had the privilege of riding along with an incredible 17-year-old girl named Lauren Sepanske. Lauren was born with clubfeet and had so many problems with her right foot, that one year ago, she made the decision to have her leg amputated below the knee. Soon after that decision, she appeared on “The Doctors” TV show, where I am a co-host, to share her story. During her segment, she announced on national television that she had planned to ride 100 miles in the Elephant Rock Ride in Castle Rock, Colorado in June! I vowed to do it with her (even though the farthest I had ever ridden was just 21 miles).

When the time came to confirm our race registration, I had just 6 weeks to really train for this ride. I was really only trained to one hour of strenuous cardio at this time, so I decided to sign-up for the 62 mile race part of Elephant Rock. For 6 weeks, I worked with my amazing triathlon coach, Andres Herrera, doing a combo of interval rides, endurance rides and threshold rides. Oh, did I mention that I was doing all of this training INDOORS ON MY SPIN BIKE??? I knew this wasn’t wise, but my schedule and fear of being hit by a car on my road bike told me that it would have to suffice. As the race date drew closer, I was feeling confident, but also was clearly in a state of denial. This ride was in Colorado, at an altitude of 7,500 feet! It was in a very hilly area south of Denver, I was using clips on my pedals for only the second time, and it was forecasted to be a very sunny day, with temps in the low 80’s. When I contemplated all of these separate challenges, I actually wondered if I would even finish the race. In fact, I was so nervous about the physical challenges that I asked my husband, who is also a doctor, to ride with me, because I thought there was a significant chance that I would need medical attention during or after the race!

We got to Colorado 40 hours before the race in an attempt to adjust to the altitude. I pre-hydrated and carb-loaded for 3 to 4 days in advance, like it was my job! For the maximum benefit of increasing glycogen stores, increased carbs need to be consumed for 3 to 4 days prior to an athletic event. When the race started, I took one look at Lauren, with her prosthetic leg, and thought, ‘If she can do it, maybe I can too!’  Early on in the race, I decided to stay with Lauren on the 100-mile course, and just try to make it as far as possible before I had to leave to catch my flight back to NYC and return to sea-level! The race was incredibly challenging on all levels: there were very strong headwinds, steep up-hill climbs, high altitude, hot weather and glaring sun. I managed to keep up with the priority of nutrition and hydration while on the bike, but I also managed a low-speed fall on a turn while forgetting how to use my pedal clips (rookie mistake). The spill left me bruised, scraped and embarrassed, but also left my bike gears badly bent. They were so damaged that I only had use of TWO gears (and sadly not the lowest ones) for the remaining 25 miles of the race. When I had reached the time in the race when I knew I had to leave for the airport, we had made it to mile 67! It had taken us 7 hours, including 3, 15-minute breaks at rest stations to use the porta potties, refill our water bottles, and grab some bagels, bananas and more sunscreen.

According to the heart rate monitor, my HR ranged from 130 to 175 during the race, with an average around 150. I knew that this ride was a massive stress test for my heart, my kidneys, my muscles and my lungs. But it was also a test of my spirit. There were hills that were so steep, I doubted if I would make it to the top. I thought of my children, and of Lauren, and their spirit and strength. At one point, as I reached the top of a 45- minute climb, I started to tear-up thinking of what I had just accomplished.  And now, as I sit on the plane, sore as hell, I realize what an amazing machine the human body is, but also how powerful the human will is. I did something that was WAY out of my comfort zone, and I will never forget it. I am a total beginner rider but I didn’t let that stop me. I took the appropriate medical and athletic precautions, and then pushed my body to a place it had never been. I think I can hear it whimpering, ‘Thank you!’

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Maria Menounos’ 5 Favorite Get-Fit Tips (Plus, Win A Signed Copy of Her New Book!)

Written on May 30, 2014 at 5:58 pm , by

“I really want to lose a few pounds.”

We’ve all been there, said that, amiright? But it’s one thing to say it, and another to actually do it. What with busy work schedules, taking care of the family and, you know, maintaining some form of social life, some days it feels like a miracle to squeeze a workout in—while remembering to eat mindfully—on top of it all. So if you feel like you’re swimming in unchartered waters with your head barely above water, don’t freak out: you’re not alone. TV host and journalist Maria Menounos lost 40 pounds over the course of a year, and she did it without cutting corners. Thankfully, she also decided to write a book about it that hits shelves on Tuesday, June 3rd. After you pre-order your copy (you can do that here), take a sneak peek at some of her tips below:

Set a Deadline. You can’t just say “I want to lose weight…someday.”It’s that kind of loose talk, without a guideline, that discourages you from getting started and undermines success. My goal was to stop overeating, make healthier choices and lose weight slowly over the course of one year. Trying to rush or do crazy crash diets does not give you sustainable results. And I never focused on losing a specific number of pounds. I just knew by the end of a  year I wanted to look and feel great, whatever my weight was. 

Keep It To Yourself. When you tell others you’re trying to lose weight, you’re just putting pressure on yourself. Weight loss is tough enough—why make it any harder?

Avoid the Scale. Though you may have a targeted number of pounds in mind, weight loss isn’t always mathematical. There’s no way to be sure you’ll lose exactly how much you want per week. Some weeks you might only lose a pound instead of two or nothing at all. You’ll just get discouraged if you weigh yourself a lot. Plus I don’t want you obsessing about scales or numbers. First and foremost, this is about gaining long-term health. After a few months, if your clothes feel a bit looser and you can’t resist, hop on the scale. But no matter what it says, stick with the program.

Eat Your Calories—Be Sure Not to Drink Them. A lot of drinks are full of sugar. Soda is the most obvious one, but sports drinks, bottled ice tea and flavored coffee drinks are usually packed with sugar, too. You can opt for artificially sweetened diet versions but they aren’t the healthiest alternatives. When I lost weight I chopped up lemons, pushed them into jugs of spring water and drank that instead of juice or anything else. I still drink lemon water and plain hot water.

If you Like Dessert, Have It. Dessert is not forbidden. I didn’t cut it out when I was losing weight and I still have it occasionally. However, that doesn’t mean you have to eat the most decadent options. You’ll find that as you get used to eating better, heavy treats with lots of sugar will leave you feeling blah and you won’t crave them as much. To keep dessert in your life, try lower-fat frozen yogurts. Or serve plain Greek yogurt with a little honey or fresh fruit. When you’re out to dinner, order dessert for the table and let everyone share. You’ll be surprised how much a little bit satisfies you. 

For more where that came from, remember to pick up a copy of The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness yourself. Want one—for free? Tune in to our Twitter chat with Maria next Wednesday at 2p.m. EST and you could win one of three SIGNED copies. See you there!

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How Maria Menounos Stays Fit with Basically No Workout Time

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Florida’s Best Kept Secret: Port Saint Joe

Written on May 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm , by

Written by Karina Dearwood, associate photo editor 

Out on the Florida Panhandle, about an hour east of Panama City, lies Port Saint Joe. The quaint Gulf County beach town offers a boatload of fun all in one spot—perfect for a fit gal! Earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to visit the hidden gem for a few days and naturally fell in love with the laid-back vibe, active lifestyle and finger-licking good food. Here’s why you should add Port Saint Joe to your “To Travel” list:

To start, Gulf County has the charm and flair of the south—in the best possible way. The food is fantastic (po’ boys, hush puppies, sweet tea, the works!) and the people are beyond friendly (Now I forget this, being a New Yorker and all, but people outside of the concrete jungle actually wave and say hello to strangers). The fact that residents are also deeply rooted to the area, whether they are recent transplants or have been fishing there for generations, makes you feel all the more welcome.

To kick off my trip, I headed out on a pontoon boat through Saint Joseph’s Bay, up to the Intercoastal, where my fellow travelers and I learned about how the area is the world’s foremost supplier of Tupelo honey. We got a tour of a Donnie’s Bees, a small honey producing facility—did you know that even in this day and age, honey can only be cultivated by humans and not machines? Crazy! Donnie put us to work feeding the honeycomb through the machine, but we were rewarded with our own jar. I’ve been swirling mine into my tea ever since!

We then hopped back on our boat for an excursion through the Dead Lakes, which were formed years ago when sandbars blocked the Chipola River. A resulting flood killed thousands of trees, leaving eerie-looking stumps popping out across the lake. Add some fog to that scene because of some rainy weather? A perfect, tranquil spot. We had a fantastic guide, Matt Godwin from Off the Map Expeditions, who navigated the strangely beautiful maze with ease. 

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How Lo Bosworth Pumps Up Her Menu with Pumpkin

Written on May 29, 2014 at 1:24 pm , by

Orange is the new black for Lo Bosworth. The Laguna Beach star-turned-chef is reinventing the face of LIBBY’S canned pumpkin because, let’s be real, the vitamin A powerhouse isn’t just for rich, Thanksgiving pies anymore. “I didn’t know that pumpkin was a superfood when I first started,” she recently admitted to us. “There is no added sugar or salt in LIBBY’S—just a simple, whole product, which is what I look for whenever I cook.”

The soon-to-be International Culinary Center grad has been incorporating lots of pumpkin into her meals and entertaining menus since her revelation. “It’s a really interesting addition to desserts,” Lo dished. “What’s cool is that you can substitute it for an egg or butter!” The result: spongy cakes, decadent cookies and very little guilt. Win. Lo also loves using pumpkin to cut fat in savory snacks like hummus, smoothies and peanut butter on toast. “It doesn’t taste like pumpkin!” she swears.

With all that food prep and casual sampling (which goes hand-in-hand with culinary school, right?), it must be tough to keep a svelte figure, right? But according to Lo, it’s all about control. “It’s really about tasting the food so that the seasoning and texture is appropriate, but I don’t actually eat much of the food I’m making at school. If I did, I think I would put on 25 pounds,” she joked. In fact, Lo has lost weight since starting her program—partly due to her SoulCycle obsession (she gets in the saddle four days a week) alongside being on her feet all day; running around the kitchen. “I also go to a great cardio dance class called 305 Fitness! It’s so fun because they have a live DJ every class,” she said. And since the FITNESS staff has hit up a 305 class before, we know she’s totally right.

So what’s next for Lo? “Right now, I’m working quite a bit on my blog and YouTube channel but long term, I would love to have my own lifestyle show with cooking as an element,” she said. Um, we’d watch it! As for her partner-in-crime LC’s upcoming wedding, Lo will definitely be in attendance (“I’m very excited. Her wedding will be beautiful, I’m sure!”) and who knows, maybe she’ll even bake some treats for the bachelorette party. Oh, come on. This fan girl simply had to ask…

More from FITNESS:

Two Pumpkin-Inspired Recipes to Get Pumped About
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New Clothing Site Lets You Shop Based on Shape, NOT Size

Written on May 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

I have a love-hate relationship with online shopping. I love it because it’s fast, easy and relatively painless. A few clicks of the mouse, a little indecision and one cringe-inducing moment of entering my credit card number and I’m done. I don’t have to stand in line for hours for the fitting room or rummage my way through crowded racks to find the perfect top. But when I tear into that pretty package promising to make me a fashion goddess, it almost always turns out that what I thought was a size eight fits like a size six around my bum, and that effortlessly flowy top actually looks like I stole a potato sack out of the pantry and tried pulling it off as a shirt. Not cool.

But it’s a new age and Australian fashion writer Larissa Thorne has made my day life! Her new website, Sizeable, launched last week and aims to revolutionize online shopping by taking the guess work out of what may or may not look good—and there’s shipping to the United States! Instead of showing clothes on models that all seem to have the same body type, Sizeable shows the item on six different models, all of whom have varying body shapes and sizes ranging from 6 to 14 (with full measurements and shoe sizes displayed). All you have to do is choose your model, then shop the site “with” her so you get a better idea of what an item might look like on you.

So why did Thorne venture into this groundbreaking realm of online fashion? “I find shopping online can be really demoralizing sometimes,” she told the Daily Mail. “It’s left me feeling really down on my body and we want to encourage women to embrace how they look. It’s a bit of a no-brainer, we all know there are millions of beautiful women out there who don’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model.” Preach!

Of course, Thorne’s six models don’t meet every body type, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. It’s certainly taken out a lot of guesswork out of my eternal search for fashion goddess-ness!

Would you shop at a site like Sizeable? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo courtesy of Sizeable 

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Sporty Swimsuits for Every Body Type 

Find the Perfect Dress for Your Shape 

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