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.
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Written on October 29, 2013 at 10:09 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Michelle Bridges means business. In addition to appearing on television and authoring eight health and fitness books, The Biggest Loser: Australia star trainer has helped people across the globe lose a collective 1.6 million pounds with her online weight loss program 12 Week Body Transformation. With the program’s United States launch approaching in January 2014, we just had to try this Aussie’s at-home workout. The FITNESS verdict? Two thumbs up.
We met up with Bridges during her recent visit to New York City for a fat-blasting, 30-minute interval-training session, and man did we break a sweat! Her one-step-at-a-time weight loss strategy resonated in her workout design, which broke the routine down into 5-minute intervals. Within each interval, we pushed through 10 different exercises for 30 seconds at a time, earning one minute of much-needed rest before starting again.
Incorporating cardio and total body strength-training moves, the workout utilized pure bodyweight training to target every single muscle. The intervals also alternated the dominant muscle groups every 30 seconds to keep the body strong and balanced. Bridges combined old-school moves in inventive ways, like plank jack pushups and reverse lunge front snap kicks. And as if burpees weren’t already challenging enough, she had us lift and hold alternating arms and legs during the plank portion. Oh yeah, we felt the burn.
Tough moves aside, the format of the workout made time fly by. With only a few repeating moves, the routine required constant focus and kept the body guessing. And as the body fatigued, it felt far easier to dedicate 100 percent effort to an exercise when we knew it was only for half a minute. The mini goal design not only feels more doable, but also achieves a more effective workout. As far as at-home workouts go, Michelle Bridges knows how to help you make the most of little time and persevere through the pain.
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Written on October 28, 2013 at 10:59 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Nelly was one of the first rappers I listened to. Although I consider myself more of a country girl (um, his collab with Florida Georgia Line in this summer’s smash hit “Cruise (Remix)” was the soundtrack to my windows-down car rides…), back in my early teens my friends and I would “Ride Wit” him en route to field hockey games, sporting Band-Aids on our cheeks and all—just like he did. Yes, it was a trend that lasted a few weeks in my preppy shoreline town. Don’t ask.
I’ve followed Nelly’s career ever since, and when his seventh album, M.O., was released last month, I couldn’t pop it into my running playlist fast enough. “There’s a bunch of good workout songs on it,” Nelly told me when we recently chatted. “From top to bottom, I think you’ll find there’s a lot of great music on there to do your thing.” He called me “sweetheart” at the end of our conversation, I might add, but I digress.
Featuring Nicki Minaj, Pharrell, Nelly Fertado, T.I. and others, Nelly’s newest pace-pushing beats are sure to get your rear in gear as you take your runs indoors. And if you’re anything like Nelly, maybe that athlete mentality will translate into your career. “The competitiveness, the will not to quit and basically being in attack mode definitely helped me,” he says, explaining that the new album’s title not only stands for his home state of Missouri, but also “Method of Operation.”
So what is the workaholic’s method of staying in shape? I mean, don’t mess with those biceps! “The majority of the men in my family are super duper skinny, so the hardest part is putting the weight on,” he admits. “If I’m working, I probably get to the gym three times a week. I’m not going as heavy, just trying to maintain.” And when it comes to cardio, you won’t find the singer on the treadmill, but on the court. “I think basketball is the best cardio in the world, especially with all of the movements—the stops, jumps, the agility part of it and just the constant running.”
When I asked the former vegetarian about his diet, Nelly couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of watching what you eat. To keep his pumped-up physique, the artist tries to take in a lot of protein and loves turkey burgers. “When I started filming The Longest Yard—they wanted me to play a running back—I started eating chicken and turkey again because I only had two months to get as big as possible.” Another staple in Nelly’s daily eats? Oatmeal. “I eat a whole lot of oatmeal with cinnamon. I’ll chop up some bananas and put some raisins in it.” Whoa, Nelly! We’re impressed!
In honor of his new album, here’s a Nelly-fied playlist (a nice mix of old and new) to “Shake Ya Tailfeather” to. Sporting a Band-Aid? Optional, but strongly encouraged.
Written on October 22, 2012 at 9:35 am , by Karla Walsh
We’ve all been there: It’s an “off” day at the gym. Your workout feels more challenging than usual and the clock can’t move fast enough. Then the right song comes pumping through your earbuds (cue Kanye West with “Stronger”) and everything falls into place. Your feet start stepping to the beat, you forget about your worries and are finally happy to be exercising.
Matt Basso, president of Iron Lotus Personal Training, is a strong believer that the right playlist can transform a sweat session. So much so that he’s produced all of the music for each of the workouts in his new DBX3 program so that the pace lines up perfectly with the routines for an extra motivation boost. Read on for his dance and pop music picks, and a workout tailor-made for this Music Monday mix.
- “Too Long/Steam Machine” The consistent pulse builds, and since it’s live, “it’s like they’re cheering you to get started,” says Basso.
- “Don’t Wake Me Up” The intro allows you enough time to grab a kettlebell and swing along to the driving beat, Basso suggests.
- “Cry (Just a Little)” Do jumping jacks during this tune with 120 beats per minute (BPMs), the ideal tempo for cardio and dance.
- “The Way You Make Me Feel” “Do I even need to explain how hard Michael Jackson grooves? This song is ideal for some seated rows and push-ups,” Basso says.
- “The Night Out (Madeon Remix)” Get inspired by the 17-year-old DJ who created this remix (“he could make you happy doing the hardest exercises,” Basso says) and knock out burpees for as long as you can for the duration of this 120 BPM song.
- “Electric Feel (Justice Remix)” The tempo slows a bit, so pick the kettlebell back up and swing again.
- “Right Round” and “Da Funk” Freestyle! Try something new or your favorite moves from above through the hip-hop and dance beats.
Written on December 9, 2011 at 8:30 am , by SparkPeople
By Jennipher Walters, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor, SparkPeople.com
Are you bored with your cardio workout? Are you already dreading the stair stepper workout that you have scheduled for tomorrow morning? When you’re in a rut, it’s easy to fall off the fitness wagon because motivation and excitement are G-O-N-E.
So how do you get your aerobic mojo back? You shake things up! Here are a few super-simple ways:
1. Change Your Soundtrack.
New tunes: Downloading news song is a fast way to bust out of your cardio rut and get you happily moving. When you have your headphones on, no one else knows what tunes you’re playing, so play whatever you want! Studies have shown that music is motivating, but if you’re bored at the gym, it may be time to shake that playlist up.
OR…Try no tunes: If new music isn’t doing it for you, try doing your workout sans tunes. Listening to your own breathing and the sounds and sights around you can be an incredibly meditative experience that can turn your cardio from boring to darn near spiritual. And if quiet isn’t your thing, try downloading a podcast or an audio book. You can get through your to-read list and get in shape. Now that’s multitasking.
2. Change Your Location.
Avoid the gym: If you’re a gym rat and pretty sick of the first half of that nickname, maybe it’s time for a change of scenery! Move your workout outdoors or create your own home gym. Even a new DVD or two can mix things up!
OR…Go to the gym: If you always hit the great outdoors for your cardio or always walk on the treadmill while catching up on TV, moving your cardio sessions to a facility with other exercisers and a fitness-centered environment may be just what you need to re-spark the love of your workouts. Sure, a health club membership costs money, but if it comes down to not working out or paying a monthly fee, wouldn’t you rather cut a few costs in your budget and stay motivated?
3. Change Your Intensity.
Try a longer, less intense workout: If you can usually only set aside 10 to 20 minutes for exercise, make those minutes intense, switch it up by setting aside extra time to make your workout longer and less intense. By doing a longer, less intense workout, you’ll give yourself time to really enjoy the activity without rushing or trying to burn as many calories you can in a short amount of time. Pick an activity that you love—dancing, walking, hiking—and enjoy it!
OR…Try a shorter, more intense workout: If you’re the type of exerciser who would rather walk for an hour than run for 5 minutes, then maybe it’s time for you to swap your low-intensity sweat sessions for shorter, more intense workouts. This is an especially good trick if you spend most of your mental energy watching the clock wishing your long workout was over.
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Written on March 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm , by Sarah D'Angelo
Looking for a fun way to burn extra calories? Check out the latest video game craze: Xbox 360 Kinect puts a spin on gaming by eliminating the need to hold a controller to play—you simply stand in front of the device as it scans you, and then YOU become the controller. Since there are no wires or wands to manage, you can just focus on the game—as you move to play, your hand, arm and leg movements are copied on screen.
Microsoft recently invited me to test out Kinect’s new get-fit titles and sweat alongside trainer and fitness DVD star Jennifer Galardi. On offer: The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout (Bob and Jillian guide you through the routines!), Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, EA Sports Active 2, and my fave: Kinect Sports.
Jennifer and I chose to battle it out in a boxing match, jabbing our way to a KO—after 3 rounds, I barely inched past and won—the surprise? My biceps and triceps actually felt a burn, and I had started working up a sweat! Though there are other similar titles out there on competitor’s game systems, playing without holding a controller takes the experience to the next level by getting your entire body in on the calorie-burning action. In addition to boxing, Kinect Sports lets you choose from soccer (“kick” the ball and see it fly!), beach volleyball, bowling, table tennis and track and field. If you’re looking for a more tailored workout with personalized training, check out the other fitness titles above—each one delivers results while making it fun.
Check out Xbox.com for more info—if you already have an Xbox 360, you can easily upgrade to Kinect by purchasing the sensor only and hooking it up to your game console.
So, tell us: what’s your favorite active video game? Do you feel the burn when you play?
Written on February 15, 2011 at 10:20 am , by Karla Walsh
February’s Top Workout DVD: Aerobarre
Why it’s a star: This knockout of a workout will tone you up from head to toe with a routine that fuses ballet and boxing. Each “round,” 11 in total, will keep your heart pumping with moves like punches with light dumbbells and graceful ballet jumps. Plus, having the DVD split into so many short bits makes time fly! It takes a try or two to keep up with the quick-moving choreography, but once you nail it, the workout only gets more fun.
Where to get it: aerospacenyc.com, $20
More from FITNESS: Our testers chose this as one of the Top 10 Workout DVDs of 2011! Pick up a copy of our March issue—on newsstands today!—to see what else made our list and enter here for a chance to win all 10 of our favorites!
Written on January 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm , by Karla Walsh
Jenna and I, your fearless fitness crew here at The Fit Stop, will be sampling the latest workout DVDs and highlighting our top picks here each month. Want to sweat along with us? We’ll also give you the lowdown about what equipment you’ll need and where you can pick up the DVD yourself!
January’s Top Workout DVD: Michelle Dozois’ Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn
Best for: Those with short attention spans, cardio cravers.
Why it’s a star: Dozois keeps you moving constantly during this hour-long workout, progressing through “Basecamp,” “Ascent,” “Climb” and the heart-pumping 30-second “Peak” category. The speedometer-like timer at the bottom of the screen keeps you motivated (“I’m already halfway through the climb!”). During the five, 10-minute circuits, Dozois builds the choreography in a natural way from start to finish. Bonus: No equipment needed…Well, except a towel to mop up your sweat!
Where to get it: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn ($19.99, getpeak10.com)