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Everything You Need to Know About The Biggest Loser Controversy – Including ‘Extreme Weight Loss’ Trainer Chris Powell’s Opinion

Written on February 12, 2014 at 7:59 pm , by

Frederickson’s before and after photos (courtesy of NBC).

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’re aware of all the controversy that’s been swirling around The Biggest Loser season 15 finale and its winner, Rachel Frederickson. But if you’re not clued in to all the dirty details, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what’s been happening:

After competing on the show and being monitored closely for seven-and-a-half months, Frederickson went home (unmonitored and without trainers) for the final stretch before the finale, working to get down to her lowest weight and hopefully claim the $250,000 prize and title of the Biggest Loser. She shocked viewers; the audience; trainers Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels and Dolvett Quince; and host Alison Sweeney when she strutted a 0-2 sized figure and clocked in at a startling 105 pounds. At the start of the show, Frederickson weighed in at 260 pounds. With a 5’4″ frame, let’s do the math: this girl shed 155 pounds fast, and she brought her BMI (body mass index) down to 18, which places her in the underweight category – a first in the show’s history.

Now, we know by now that BMI is not the end-all, be-all for telling whether or not a person is healthy. There are many other factors at play, like muscle mass. Had she gone too far? Despite the media storm, NBC stands behind their latest champion, and when People magazine asked Frederickson point blank whether or not she had an eating disorder, she told them, “I am very, very healthy.”

That being said, when you’re training for six hours a day and only eating 1,600 calories per day like this contestant was, the cause for concern seems warranted (however, that does not justify mean, negative comments). After all, it was widely reported that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps chowed down a staggering 12,000 calories a day when training for the Beijing Olympics, and we all heard about how track-star-turned-bobsledder Lolo Jones consumes 9,000 daily calories to beef up for bobsledding. Even Olympic cyclists take in more than 3,300 calories, on average. Granted, Olympians aren’t trying to drop weight the way Frederickson was, but it’s the closest comparison we get when athletes are logging so many hours of exercise.

But before we all point fingers at the 24-year-old athlete (which she is, no question), let’s face the facts: The Biggest Loser is a competitive reality show, and Frederickson did exactly what she signed on to do: win a weight-loss show and bring home a life-changing amount of money. Whether she stays at the same weight or gains 20 pounds before the end of the week doesn’t matter – and with the amount of challenges she won throughout the season (4 out of 5 once they moved to singles, including the first-ever Loser sprint triathlon), we bet that played a strategic role. After all, we’ve heard time and time again how she’s always been an athlete and Loser helped her find that in herself again.  She knew that as long as she trained hard and got down low enough, she was bringing home the goods. Also, let’s not forget that her 105-pound weight isn’t set in stone – the show’s winners generally gain back a good amount of weight post-finale to settle into their natural healthy weight.

Click through to find out what Extreme Weight Loss trainer Chris Powell has to say!

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Location #7: Turkey

Written on February 12, 2014 at 1:15 pm , by

Paige and Heather sit among ancient ruins in Turkey. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11)

Paige and Heather sit among ancient ruins in Turkey. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

Paige climbed in Turkey to support CARE, which combats global poverty. Help Paige raise $10,000 for CARE on her Crowdrise page.

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By Paige Claassen

A marathon runner will likely earn sloth status in a sprint. A road cycler is prone to a few bruises on a mountain bike course. Put a technical sport climber on a horizontal roof and watch them flounder and fall. We’re all assumed to be experts in our respective sport, career, or hobby. But seemingly subtle variations from the outside actually make a big impact when you’re the one in the driver’s seat.

I spent the month of January climbing the steep limestone roofs of Geyikbayiri, Turkey. Typically, I prefer vertical climbs that require precise footwork, strong fingers, and technical movement. Alternatively, the rock in Turkey offers a much steeper, more powerful and physical style of climbing. My attempts to navigate the stalactite roof features left me feeling disoriented, as though I was underwater and didn’t know which way was up.

As with other styles of climbing, roof climbing is a very specific skill that requires dedicated practice. Roofs often require climbers to lead with their feet rather than hands. Surprisingly, roof climbs often offer “no hands rests,” whereby a climber can wedge their knees against features and let go of the rock with both hands. Unfortunately, my skillset does not lend itself to this style of climbing. I struggle to identify sections of the route where I can let go with both hands, or where I should climb feet first.

Paige navigates the sea of roof features, such as the stalactite in the foreground. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11)

Paige navigates the sea of roof features, such as the stalactite in the foreground. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

Challenges within our own field of expertise can leave us frustrated and disheartened, when we struggle with a feat that we “should” be capable of performing. However, these obstacles offer unique opportunities to grow within our field. Likely, improvement in one area of our trade can only help us in our given specialty.

With this in mind, I tried to learn all I could about roof climbing in Turkey from my friend and fellow visiting American climber, Heather Weidner. I observed Heather’s seemingly effortless roof maneuvers. She gracefully twisted around the same stalactites I had tried to climb over. Whereas I saw a blank section of rock with no holds, save a 90 degree angle I couldn’t possibly grab, Heather saw an opportunity to “knee bar” and let go with her hands. After a few weeks of Heather’s instruction, I felt more comfortable identifying rests and tricky movements. What once felt impossible suddenly didn’t seem so unreasonable.

This is why I love to climb. Each route offers a new obstacle, a new chance to learn, and a fresh start. Thanks for showing me the way through the roofs, Heather!

Heather Weidner demonstrates a "no hands rest." Photo by Paige Claassen.

Heather Weidner demonstrates a “no hands rest.” Photo by Paige Claassen.

Did you know that women and girls make up 70 percent of the world’s 1 billion poorest people? Or that a child born to a literate mother is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5? These are statistics from CARE, a Lead Now supported organization that helps the poorest communities in the world unleash their full potential. Help Lead Now support CARE by donating online at http://www.crowdrise.com/leadnowturkey. Contribute $27 or more for a chance to win a Marmot two-person tent!

To get involved and donate online to help, visit Crowdrise.

Check back next month for a video and update about Paige’s next location. And stay tuned for the video of Paige’s time in Turkey! FitnessMagazine.com, with thanks to Marmot and Louder Than 11, will have the first-look exclusive video .


What’s Next for the Tone It Up Girls

Written on February 11, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

Photo by John Segesta.

Photo by John Segesta.

With so many fitness influencers on the web, it’s been fun to see the uber-popular Tone It Up girls, Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn, get the television spotlight for the past few weeks. Last Thursday was the final episode of Bravo’s reality TV series, Toned Up, which has followed the pair as they navigate both professional and personal challenges.

What’s next for the girls and what did they think of the reality TV experience? Find out:

FITNESS: How has your fan base changed since the show premiered?

TIU: It’s incredible how much the Tone It Up community has grown.  There are more women than ever getting together all over the globe for meet-ups, workouts and just making new friends.  The community welcomes each new member with open arms and we’re so grateful that we can make a positive impact in women’s lives.

FITNESS: What do you hope viewers took away from watching you run your business?

TIU: There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of Tone It Up; and on Bravo you just catch a glimpse.  We just hope that we can inspire other women to follow their dreams and do what their passionate about.

FITNESS: What has been your favorite part in general of this experience?

TIU: The entire experience has been a blast!  Since the start of Tone It Up we have been approached for TV, but nothing felt right.  Once Bravo came to us, we loved that we were able to show behind the scenes of our lives and how Tone It Up is run without having to quit our ‘day jobs’.

FITNESS: Now that the show is wrapping up, what’s next for you girls?

TIU: This year is huge for Tone It Up!  We’re gearing up to film and plan our 4th annual Bikini Series that launches in April.  It’s 8 weeks to get ready for summer!  We’re expanding our Perfect Fit product line with a multi-vitamin for women, coconut water and more flavors of bars.  Our new bikini line is releasing in March, our signature series of sunglasses with Oakley releases in June and we’ll be shooting a another self produced DVD series this summer.  We’re also having our first official Tone It Up Retreat in September!  We’re really excited about this, it’s a weekend of workouts, beach time, surfing, beach volleyball, music and fun with all our TIU Team! Hopefully we will have Season 2 to capture it all so everyone gets an inside look!


Music Monday: Bring It Back with the Beatles

Written on February 10, 2014 at 9:32 am , by

It’s hard to believe, but 50 years ago the Beatles made their first appearance in the United States. The iconic band has made an impact on our society in a way like no other, and fortunately for us, we can relive their music in more ways than one (we all remember Across the Universe, and I highly recommend seeing Cirque De Soleil’s Love). But rather than sitting through a performance that takes you back in time, try sweating instead. This 50-minute playlist from our friends at Run Rock ‘n’ Roll honors the monumental anniversary of the guys jumping across the pond, so take it for a whirl during your next workout. Better yet? Consider signing up for the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool Marathon and Half-Marathon, and make sure to bring these tunes along for the ride. Nothing like a little John Lennon to get you through a tough training run, especially when you’re going to his homeland.

More from FITNESS:

FITNESS’  Half-Marathon Training Guide

100 Best Workout Songs

Pump-You-Up Playlists


Pucker Up: Reap the Health Benefits of Kissing on Valentine’s Day

Written on February 10, 2014 at 9:02 am , by

She’s thinking about how healthy she’s getting right now.

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

We’re sure you know by now that the biggest date night of the year is swiftly approaching. While some are thrilled to be spending a romantic evening with their beaus and others are boycotting the holiday altogether, we’re concerned about something else entirely: our health. Unfortunately, Valentine’s Day coincides with the peak of cold and flu season, making us wonder if we’ll regret cozying up to that special someone when we wake up the next day with a fever, runny nose, cough or worse – all of the above.

To calm our over-anxious hearts, we reached out to kissing experts William Cane, author of The Art of Kissing, and Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips are Telling Us, to find out if a flirty make-out sesh is worth the risk. Luckily, there’s good news:

It’s safer than shaking hands. “You’re a lot more likely to get sick from shaking hands with people during the day than from the people that you kiss,” says Kirshenbaum. “You’re touching a lot more stuff with your hands than you are with your lips.” So now we have one more reason to stress about work, but at least our love lives are in the clear.

It helps us chill out… and possibly eat less. Kissing makes us less likely to feel stressed by reducing the cortisol levels in the body, says Kirshenbaum. “That’s the bad stress hormone, which is also associated with overeating.” Being in an emotionally healthy relationship plays a key role in maintaining your physical health—and maybe even your waistline if you tend to handle stress with excessive snacking.

It puts us on cloud nine. Both Cane and Kirshenbaum noted how kissing increases our endorphin and serotonin levels, explaining that head rush you feel after a deep kiss or being intimate with someone you love. Cane calls it the afterglow, Kirshenbaum calls it the giddy, walking on air feeling—either way, its presence is undeniable after a really good smooch. These chemicals don’t necessarily boost our immune system, but they make us feel good and less depressed, therefore making us less susceptible to getting sick.

It helps us live longer. Kissing sends another powerful hormone circulating through the body that actually helps keep us alive and well. “Oxytocin is associated with bonding, connection and that sense of attachment you feel in a relationship,” says Kirshenbaum. “These kinds of bonds keep us healthier and less likely to die by any given cause.” Additionally, Cane noted a study that connected greater oxytocin levels with lower blood pressure. Sweet!

It helps us find that deeper connection. It’s not surprising that kissing makes us feel more connected to the people that we love. But according to Kirshenbaum, “it’s the most powerful, intimate way to show someone how you feel, beyond even sex.” Women use kissing subconsciously to identify compatible life partners, she notes. “It’s the ultimate way to get close—I would absolutely be promoting it all times of the year, but especially now.”

Alright, someone hand us the cutest gloss they can find. We’re ready to score some health benefits this holiday.

More from FITNESS:

Burn Off Those Valentine Treats

Some Sexy Stats to Keep in Mind for Valentine’s Day

Low-Calorie Cocktails to Enjoy on Valentine’s Day


Eat Like an Olympian: Healthy, Travel-Friendly Breakfast Ideas

Written on February 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm , by

Bake scones at the beginning of the week for an easy grab-and-go week-day breakfast! (Photo courtesy of Grain Foods Foundation)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Establishing healthy eating habits can be simple enough at home, especially when it comes to squeezing breakfast into a morning routine. We all know how much it helps us to fuel our minds and bodies through long days, tough workouts and stressful periods of life. But when you throw traveling into the mix, making smart food decisions suddenly becomes a struggle. Even Team USA is having a rough time getting their Greek yogurt fix over in Sochi!

And as we know all too well, available fast food options rarely measure up to the munchies we choose at home on a daily basis. Luckily, Grain Foods Foundation Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D. has some tried-and-true recommendations up his sleeve for those mornings when eating off of a plate just isn’t in the cards. Trust us—prepping homemade breakfast items before a big trip can make a world of difference when you’re standing in that ticket line.

“Eating on the run doesn’t have to be a chore,” says Gaesser. “With just a little planning, travel-friendly options can help you start the day right. Just as Olympians fuel up to perform their best, your breakfast should contain a mix of carbs to give you energy, and protein to keep you satisfied till lunch.” So whether you’re about to log long hours in your car, trek to work via train or face the TSA’s air travel security line, be sure to bring one of these portable breakfasts for easy, instant energy.

Bake these raisin scones the day before heading out of town for a quick dose of whole-grain oats and fiber-rich dried fruit that carries well in your bag.

Prep a super-simple snack mix and pre-portion it into plastic bags for an easy breakfast or afternoon snack. We like this one.

Make healthy breakfast cookies out of your favorite cereal toppings for an easy alternative to your usual routine. The more fruit and nuts, the better!

Trade a bowl of oatmeal for baked oatmeal cups! Perfectly portioned, easily transported and oh-so-delish. Get your recipe here.

Pack a whole-grain pita pocket with peanut butter and banana or apple slices with a dash of cinnamon for an on-the-go breakfast sandwich full of fiber and the good kind of fats.

Want more healthy, travel-ready ideas? Check out this cool “Grains on the Go” infographic.

More from FITNESS:

10 Diet Tips from Olympic Nutritionists

10 U.S. Olympic Hotties in Sochi

No More Excuses: Breakfast Recipes for Every Morning


Hot Topic Tuesday: Should Disney Make a Plus-Sized Princess?

Written on February 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm , by

Should there be a new Disney princess? (Photo by Peter Ardito)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Take a moment and think back to when you were a little girl watching your favorite Disney princess movie. You idolized everything about Cinderella,Belle or Snow White – from the color of her hair down to the sound of her melodic voice, we bet we weren’t the only ones who wanted to embody the princess in every way possible. But what if you were that child who couldn’t quite find her perfect princess role model? One who didn’t quite look like any of the childhood heroines? Walt Disney Pictures moved to solve this problem in 2009 when it unveiled Tiana, its first African-American princess character in The Princess and the Frog fairytale, and again in 2012 with red-headed tomboy Merida in Brave. But that wasn’t enough. Now, 17-year-old Jewel Moore is asking for a princess of her own size.

A high school junior from Farmville, Virginia, Moore posted a petition on Change.org on January 24 requesting that Walt Disney Animation Studios create a plus-size princess. “I made this petition because I’m a plus-size young woman, and I know many plus-size girls and women who struggle with confidence,” says Moore. “Disney films are highly influential, and they impact the lives of many children, especially girls. It would be revolutionary for Disney to show support to a group of girls who are otherwise bullied by the media. It would make many young girls feel confident and worthy to see a strong character that looks like them.”

Her petition has received more than 18,000 signatures in its first week, and it’s inspired others to create similar campaigns. For others, though, it ignited a backlash of petitions for Disney to not feature plus-sized princesses in its future animated films. Why? Perhaps it’s too close to promoting childhood obesity, or it feeds into the idea of complacency regarding obesity in America. Regardless, this young woman’s goal of helping other girls realize that every body is beautiful and giving them a figure to look up for a boost of self-confidence is nothing shy of empowering. Strength is beautiful because it can take on so many different forms. Moore’s courage makes her strong on the inside, but her actions make it clearly visible for the rest of us to see.

But what do you think? Should Disney start working on their next princess debut? Or do you think that would be the first step down the wrong road? Sound off in the comments below.

More from FITNESS:

Living Large: How I Learned to Love My Body

Meet the “Real Girl” Barbie Doll

Body Proud: “Why I Love About My Body”


Game On! Slimmed-Down Recipes for Super Bowl Sunday

Written on January 31, 2014 at 3:06 pm , by

Get the recipe for these Chicken Fajita Bowls below! (photo courtesy of Miki Duisterhof)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

From fit men in spandex to flashy halftime shows and the best commercials of the year, we all sport different reasons for tuning in on Super Bowl Sunday (we obviously can’t wait for Bruno Mars and RHCP). But there’s one thing we can all agree on: game-day snack fest is a surefire way to destroy our diets. “Even a relatively modest consumption of Super Bowl fare—including pizza, potato chips, beef nachos and sodas—adds up to more than 2,000 calories and 81 grams of fat on game day,” says the Calorie Control Council, a non-profit organization that represents the low-calorie and sugar-free food industry. And those estimates don’t even include the meals before kickoff!

Now, we’re not saying you have to be the drag of the party and nibble on lettuce while everyone else chows down on burgers. We love everything in moderation. But to help you keep the best Super Bowl flavor without the excessive calories and fat, we nabbed a few slimmed-down recipes—that taste just like the originals—from , Haylie Pomroy, celebrity nutritionist and best-selling author of The Fast Metabolism Diet. With clients like Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and several NFL athletes in her rotation, we know these football-ready recipes will have us cheering for our fave teams – and keeping our waistlines in tact.

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets

“This nugget makeover uses an unexpected ingredient — sprouted-grain pretzels — for crunch,” says Pomroy. “They’re great for dinner with the family, or as a healthy party snack.” They also use egg whites instead of whole eggs to get more protein without adding fat. Try dipping in mustard for an extra flavor boost.

Serves 5
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

  • 3/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup finely crushed sprouted-grain pretzels (Unique 100% Sprouted Pretzels work well)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning of your choice (such as smoked paprika, chipotle powder, garlic powder or Italian seasoning)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into bite-size pieces

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Natalie Uhling’s NUFit Workout Takes the NYC Fitness Scene by Storm

Written on January 30, 2014 at 4:09 pm , by

Courtesy of natalieuhlingfitness.com

Courtesy of natalieuhlingfitness.com

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

You may remember Natalie Uhling from her days as an enthusiastic trainer at Barry’s Boot Camp or even recognize her from those strong and sexy ads for Under Armour Women. She has sweated her way through New York City’s fitness scene throughout the last decade, and at the age of 29, we think it’s safe to say that she’s officially made it to the top.

Last fall this fitness instructor decided to channel her entrepreneurial spirit and endless drive into designing a killer workout program of her own. The result, called NUFit, combines dance cardio, kickboxing and toning in one high-intensity, music-blasting class for a workout that makes you feel nothing shy of empowered. Embodying Uhling’s fit philosophy, “a strong core makes you lethal,” NUFit will push you to new heights you never imagined possible. Not to mention her contagious energy will keep you motivated and moving down the last second!

KiwiSweat, a fitness company dedicated to discovering the newest and most exciting ways to work out, named Uhling’s NUFit workout the winner of their “Coolest, Most Awesomest Workout Ever” contest Wednesday. Judged by FITNESS’ very own fitness editor Jenna Autuori-Dedic, Well+Good editorial director Melisse Gelula, MizzFit founder Bianca Jade and celebrity trainer Lacey Stone, the contest sorted through dozens of kickass entries from the industry’s top trainers in search of the hottest new class in town.

Dare to give NUFit a try? Join Uhling and her Under Armour teammates this weekend at Grand Central Terminal for the biggest fitness party the Super Bowl has ever seen! Check out the sweat-filled schedule for details on when NUFit classes will be held.  You can also find Uhling teaching NUFit at Pearl Studios at various times throughout the week.

More from FITNESS:

 


Music Monday: Your Super Bowl Party Playlist

Written on January 27, 2014 at 6:48 pm , by

It’s almost game time, guys! You know I’m talking about the Super Bowl – or should I say Puppy Bowl? – and while I love watching men battle it out in tight pants, my beloved Patriots are not in the game, so I’m not nearly as interested as I should be. And let’s be honest, whether we’re big football fans or not, the half-time show is one of the best parts of the game (along with the commercials, obvi). Add on the fact that Bruno Mars will be performing (after securing a big Grammy win for Best Pop Vocal Album, no less) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are making an appearance, and well, you basically won’t be able to tear my eyes from the TV screen.

So whether you’re planning a big party for the game, or just want to take a trip down memory lane, I recommend plugging into this playlist. We’ve gathered hit songs that were performed during the iconic halftime show in the past – including the always-infamous “Rock Your Body” by J.T. and J.J. – and sprinkled in a few tunes we hope Bruno and the Peppers (New band name? Maybe? OK, no…) grace us with on Sunday.

More from FITNESS:

 10 Easy, Healthy Pizza Recipes

5 Ways to Make Your Super Bowl Party Diet-Friendly

How to Bring Tailgating to Your Home