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Dial This Hotline for a Holiday Fitness S.O.S.

Written on November 23, 2011 at 10:06 am , by

The trainers are ready and waiting for your fitness queries! (Photo courtesy of My Sports Clubs)

The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is open and ready to help with any cooking catastrophes, but what about the fitness ones that might occur when indulgent foods like green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and pecan pie move to the front burner (and your party scheduled pushes your exercise routine off the priority list)?

New York Sports Clubs are launching their first-ever “Don’t Be a Butterball” hotline, which will be open from 3 p.m. today through 11:59 p.m. on Friday. All are welcome to call the toll-free hotline at 1-855-IAM-FULL to ask live trainers their most pressing wellness-related questions! Bonus: Callers will receive a free one-week pass to the My Sports Club of their choice to stay fit all holiday season long.

Here are three pointers from the pros that will be staffing the hotline:

  1. Don’t think all-or-nothing. Try just 10 minutes of exercise if you’re feeling tired. The energy boost will help you make it through the busy day, and any activity is better than none!
  2. When you do find time, make it count. Burn more calories during the workout time you can carve out with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)—quick, intense bursts alternated with short recovery periods. Also remember to pump your arms during cardio. Doing so can boost your calorie burn by about 15 percent!
  3. Give yourself options. Visiting family for Thanksgiving dinner? Offer to bring a healthy dish so you’ll be sure there will be at least one nutritious choice for you and others.

More from FITNESS:

Hey, Busy Bees! Quick Tips to Fit in Fitness

Written on November 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm , by

Dumbbell and Stopwatch

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

What’s the No. 1 excuse for not working out? Lack of time. But if you look closer, you’ll discover that you do have the time to work out—and you deserve to use that time for yourself. Also, remember that “working out” doesn’t have to happen in the gym or last for an hour! Short 10-minute bursts of exercise, accumulated over the course of the day, can add up.

Here’s how to start fitting fitness into your busy life!

1. Be an active TV/Internet watcher. It’s unrealistic to never watch TV or to shun the Internet forever.  So when you do, try to incorporate some physical activity. When watching TV, make it a point to do some jumping jacks or push-ups during commercials. And instead of sitting in a chair when on the computer, try sitting on a stability ball.

2. Mix socializing with exercising. Do you normally spend time with your family or friends by going to dinner or going to movies? Make your social time more active by planning events that get all of you moving. Go for a family hike on a beautiful Saturday morning or make a date with your significant other or best friend at a group exercise class.

3. Turn chores into exercise. While cleaning might not be the most fun activity, it’s something we all have to do, and it can definitely be a workout if you want it to be. Set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes and see how much of the house you can clean. Try to be as efficient and quick-paced as possible, and you’re guaranteed to work up a sweat. If you’re doing lighter housework that is harder to get your heart rate up (like laundry or organizing), throw in some lunges or push-ups every few minutes.

4. Schedule an appointment. If you had scheduled a doctor’s appointment, you wouldn’t miss it would you? Working out is actually as important as going to the doctor or any other obligation that you prioritize. So whether it’s scheduling in an hour to go to that group exercise class, investing in personal training sessions or even making a date with yourself to do that workout DVD over your lunch break, write it in pen in your calendar and treat it like any other appointment you can’t miss!

5. Say no. If you’ve gone through this entire list of tips and don’t think a single one will work in your life, then it’s time to look at your priorities and responsibilities. Do you really have to bake cookies for that fundraiser? Attend that wedding shower of your second cousin? Remember that there’s nothing wrong in saying no. Yes, we all have obligations to others, but don’t forget about the obligation you have to yourself to take care of your body and your health!

Continued: 5 More Ideas for Fitting in Exercise

More from SparkPeople:

Small Bits of Fitness Add Up

Squeezing in Exercise

Get a Free Fitness and Weight-Loss Plan

Meet The Trainer: Barry’s Bootcamp’s Natalie Uhling

Written on November 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm , by

Meet trainer Natalie Uhling! (Photo by Denise Crew)

I’m really excited to introduce to you one of my favorite new trainers in the city. I met Natalie when she came by the office to model for a fitness story—her energy was so upbeat and contagious, not to mention she had a killer body, so I had to know more about her. Turns out, this model is definitely more than just a pretty face: She’s one of the most popular instructors at Barry’s Bootcamp here in New York City and a Pilates teacher at the just-opened SLT Studio we told you about last week. I’m sure she’s got more tricks up her sleeve and I’d love to one day see her working it out on a show like The Biggest Loser (watch out NBC!). Inspiring, fit, strong and healthy, this trainer has it all.

Read on to find out more about our November/December 2011 Express Workout trainer.

I’m writing a movie about your life, tell me the plot.

It involves a young girl chasing her dreams from Idaho to the big city of New York! She gets the chance to move as a junior in college from The University of Nebraska to the Fashion Institute of New York. This is where she realizes that fashion is amazing but fitness is really where her heart and passion belong. She graduates and works for Ralph Lauren while still making time to soak up her fitness classes. While at Ralph Lauren, she dreams of becoming a fitness professional and creating her own method. She finally makes the jump and her whole life changes. Things fall into place and all of her dreams start coming true.

And it looks like you’ve made it! Tell me about the NYC fitness modeling work? It really fell into my lap. A friend of mine was casting for Under Armour and told me to swing by. I went not knowing what to expect and I booked the job! From that moment I signed with Wilhelmina Models and things really started to take off. It has been such an amazing experience because I get to workout on the shoots and there is nothing better than that!

What do you consider to be the greatest accomplishment in your career so far?

Believing in myself and taking the leap of faith from my corporate job into a full time fitness professional. It was so scary but totally worth it!

How did you end up at Barry’s Bootcamp and what do you love most about your job?

A good friend of mine, Keoni, took me to meet the owner of Barry’s and I feel in love with the format. After seeing the space and feeling the energy around the workout style, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. I love the personal interaction I get with my clients. Since the space is small, it allows me to get to know everyone. It is like family there and plus the workout works! I love seeing the changes in people’s bodies.

For Uhling’s exercise of choice and her top three workout songs, Read more

Shedding for the Wedding Trainer Spills Her Own 7 Wedding Prep Secrets

Written on November 10, 2011 at 11:13 am , by

Jennifer Cohen is planning her entire wedding in just four months! (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Cohen)

As a fitness expert, author and trainer on the reality show Shedding for the Wedding, you might think that Jennifer Cohen would find preparing for her own big day to be a breeze. But just like any bride-to-be, Cohen has learned that it takes a lot of balance, patience and drive to keep fit and healthy during such a hectic time.

We spoke with Cohen just days before her wedding day (November 20!) to find out how she has changed her workout routine and diet leading up to the event.

  1. Sweat to abolish anxieties. “Planning a wedding is very stressful. I’ve found that exercise is one of the best ways to alleviate stress. The endorphins really help!”
  2. Buddy up. “Use your workout time to bring you closer together with your partner. My fiance and I live in L.A. and do a lot of hiking. I love to use my environment to inspire my exercise.”
  3. Tone your strapless zone. “I installed a pull-up bar in a door frame in my house and try to do a couple every time I walk through that doorway to help strengthen my shoulders and core while improving my posture. Upper body exercises can elongate you and make you look better in a strapless dress.”
  4. Ramp up the intensity. “High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, helps me get great results in less time. Twice a week, I do a HIIT routine for 20 to 25 minutes while using my Polar heart rate monitor to make sure I’m near my target heart rate—85 percent of my max. Try it by doing one minute of mountain climbers, take a 10 second break, and repeat that one-minute on, 10-seconds off pattern three more times. Then do the same with jumping rope and other cardio exercises.”
  5. Find the right fuel. “I really believe what they say about diet playing 80 percent of the role in terms of maintaining a healthy weight. You can work out all day, but you have to be conscientious of what you eat. I try to keep a pretty stable schedule with my meals and always start my day with a Muscle Milk Mocha Latte.”
  6. But allow indulgences. “Part of the fun of wedding planning is picking the menu. I don’t want to deprive myself, because that could lead to binging, but I also don’t want to make my efforts fruitless! I recently tried several cupcake flavors at the bakery that’s making our desserts, Design Cakes and Cupcakes, but told myself before we started that I would have one forkful of each flavor.”
  7. Make healthy food the centerpiece. “We haven’t solidified our menu yet, but I think we’ll probably serve, among other dishes, Ahi tuna for a healthy entree and perhaps grilled cheese bite-sized sandwiches as an appetizer option for those who prefer to indulge.”

Want to check out one of the most unique proposals ever? Watch Cohen’s fiance pull it off here.

More from FITNESS:

Got the Marathon Training Blues?

Written on September 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm , by

Visualize yourself crossing the finish line during tough training runs. (Photo by John Herr)

I’m halfway through my first marathon training plan, and let’s just say I’m in love with the idea of crossing that coveted finish line (and super-psyched to be part of such a big “club” here in New York City), but how the heck am I really going to run for 26.2 miles?! These are the thoughts going through my head as I do my long runs on weekends, passing each mile marker and thinking about the many many more I have ahead. I should be thinking inspiring things to move me forward, like how this is a goal I always wanted to check off my list or that if those older than me and some physically disabled can do this, then why can’t I?

However, the unknown and nerves surrounding 26.2 miles is playing games with my head! They say the most challenging physical demands you ask your body to do for you—like marathons, triathlons and even Ironman races—are also challenges of the mind. The mental component to accomplishing a goal is the will or desire to want to achieve it. So like Nike says, “Just Do It.”

So that I will, but not before I try some of these 11 mental tips from New York Sports Club Master Trainer and Running Coach, Monica Vazquez. (She’s run over 25 races: five full marathons, a handful of 5ks and many many half-marathons! Check her out at fitnessbymonica.com.)

For the smartest tricks to make it through your next long run, Read more

Train Smart in Warm Weather

Written on August 18, 2011 at 10:15 am , by

Written by Alexa Cortese, web intern

(Photo by Alexa Miller)

Listen to your body during outdoor workouts. (Photo by Alexa Miller)

Summer is winding down, but that doesn’t mean the hot days are over quite yet. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that almost 6,000 people per year go to the emergency room for heat-related illnesses that occur during sports or recreational activity. With young jocks heading back to practice (heat-related issues are among the leading causes or illnesses and deaths for young athletes) and weekend warriors possibly stepping up their routines before Labor Day, this is no time to ease up on your heat-smart habits.

A recent study from Roehampton University in London found that athletes were able to exercise longer and harder in the heat with a cool towel wrapped around their neck. When their bodies finally felt exhausted, their core body temperature was much higher than it was by the time they were tired without the neck cooling trick. While some outdoor exercisers may appreciate and take heed of this tip, do so with caution, as the body is pretty good at detecting when its core temperature is getting dangerously high, and this trick may confuse your body into pushing its core temperature into unsafe territory.

Here are some quick warm weather pointers from the CDC to also keep in mind:

  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start sipping and keep water on-hand during your workout. Our experts recommend drinking 16 ounces a few hours before exercise, another 16 ounces the hour before and throughout your sweat session. Cool water is OK, while freezing cold may not be the wisest choice, as it can cause stomach cramps.
  • Take a break in the shade. The minute the whistle blows for a water break or you are ready to stretch after your run, find a respite from the sun. Stepping into a space with AC or taking a cool shower is an even more effective way to chill out.
  • Choose your workout strategically. Taking your workout to the pool can help you stay safe while burning calories outdoors. Looking for some fun (and fat-blasting) swimming workouts for any fitness level? FITNESS has you covered.

Now tell us: Do you like to exercise when the mercury is high or do you prefer a workout in a temperature-regulated environment?

Kickin’ It At the World Cup: Reflections From Soccer Player Amy Rodriguez

Written on July 28, 2011 at 9:48 am , by

(Photo courtesy of PUMA)

Amy's not just going to hand the ball to her opponents. (Photo courtesy of PUMA)

A few weeks ago, all eyes turned to women’s soccer. The sport that rarely gets the attention it deserves (those ladies are serious athletes!) finally got its due when the U.S. team made it all the way to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals against Japan. The Japanese won in a nail-biting shootout, but the tenacity of the Americans throughout the tournament surely inspired a new generation of soccer enthusiasts stateside.

Since coming in second place is still a “win” in our books, we wanted to catch up with one of Team U.S.A.’s stars, Amy Rodriguez, about her feelings post-World Cup.

What has been the most memorable part of this year’s World Cup experience for you?

Winning the quarterfinal game against Brazil. It was so dramatic, exciting, and exhausting. My team worked so hard to come back and tie the score up in the last minute of double overtime. Winning in a penalty shoot out made the game even more memorable.

It was amazing to see and feel the support we got from fans in the U.S. while we were in Germany, and I hope the excitement around women’s soccer is something that will keep growing!

Which is more exciting: The Olympics or the World Cup?

They both are in their own way, and both only come around once every four years. The World Cup is exciting because it is a soccer-specific tournament and the best 16 teams in the world compete. All different sports compete at the Olympics, including soccer, so the events are filled with the world’s best athletes.

Keep reading to find out how Amy trains her quick feet and to discover what artist pumps her up before a match.

Read more

What’s Your Summer Adventure?

Written on July 20, 2011 at 4:16 pm , by

Wait, what do I do?

Wait, what do I do?

In the current issue of FITNESS (July/August, with Jillian Michaels on the cover!), our Editor in Chief writes about the rewards of having an adventure and going out of your comfort zone. When she was writing her note, Betty asked some of the other staffers about their summer adventures. And at the time, I had no idea exactly how far out of my safe space I was going to go…

For me, the thought of learning to surf was on the same level as me becoming an astronaut. I just assumed it would never happen because I’m like a cat when it comes to water; I get very frazzled when submerged in the stuff. But as I was getting ready to go on vacation, I felt more and more inspired to try something totally new. The truth is that I had often fantasized about riding the waves and pretending to be a chilled-out beach babe, instead of a high-strung New Yorker. So I scheduled a lesson with Baja Outback in San Jose del Cabo, and before I knew it, I was wearing a rash guard and looking out at the ocean.

Paddle, paddle, paddle...

Paddle, paddle, paddle...

My instructors had taught me the basics (in the sand, of course!) and one pro, Jorge, was going to stick by my side the whole time. I told him I was nervous, but I left out just how nervous…and decided to go with the flow, literally. “You have to challenge yourself, see what you can do! It’s the only way to live,” one of the Baja Outback people had said. So that’s what I did.

And would you believe it? I actually managed to get up on my surf board!

Sure it took a little bit of courage, but it also helped that the folks at Baja Outback were so supportive and talented…oh, and that the water was nice and warm! If you’ve never been surfing before and are thinking about it, take it from me: You can totally do it! A few tips I learned:

1. If you think you’re bending your knees enough, go lower. As a beginner, you’re never as low as you think you are, and my (unpublished) pictures prove it!

2. Keep your cool. You’re going to fall and you might swallow a gallon of water in the process. It’s okay.

And I'm up! YEAH!

And I'm up! YEAH!

3. Don’t think twice about who’s watching you from the shore. “It’s not about your ego,” Instructor Denise had said. “It’s just about you doing your best.”

4. Consider wearing board shorts or boy-short bikini bottoms. You are not starring in “Blue Crush” and a string bikini will not hold up when you crash into the water.

5. Don’t try to stay on your board until you get to shore; that’s where there are usually the most rocks. Go ahead and fall off about 15-20 feet out!

Any other surfing tips out there? What’s your summer adventure?

More from FITNESS: The Best 2011 Surf Gear

World Cup Fever: Former Soccer Pro Julie Foudy Talks Performing Under Pressure

Written on July 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm , by

She may no longer play professionally, but Julie Foudy still knows how to have a ball. (Photo courtesy of PUMA)

She may no longer play professionally, but Julie Foudy still knows how to have a ball. (Photo courtesy of PUMA)

For the past three weeks, the FITNESS crew has been captivated by the amazing action on the field at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. The incredible agility and endurance on display each match takes us back more than a decade, when women’s soccer burst onto the world stage after Brandi Chastain gave her famous sports bra show at the 1999 World Cup. So how fitting is it that we were able to connect with one of Brandi’s teammates (and one of our favorite sports icons of all time) Julie Foudy?

After retiring in 2004 and being inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007, Julie now keeps busy as a mom of two and a soccer commentator for ESPN. We caught up with her—she’s over in Germany for the World Cup as we speak and she’ll be doing commentary for this Sunday’s final match!—to hear about her impressions of this year’s team and how the sport has changed since she first stepped on the field.

The U.S. Women’s team is headed for the finals this Sunday against Japan! What are your impressions of the team and their performance so far?

Their courageous play has been awesome to watch. During the game against Brazil, they had to go a player down for almost an hour. They were still able to gut it out given the referee, some of those calls and everything else—it was tremendous. I think they can win it all, but the next level will not only involve that mentality, athleticism and great fighting spirit, but will also require combining in a little more possession play, especially against the Japanese team that’s so good.

Who do you see as the rising stars of U.S. women’s soccer?

Lauren Cheney is a name people are less familiar with, but she’s had an awesome World Cup. Lauren’s played from the middle of midfield to outside midfield, but her natural position is forward, so it shows how versatile she is. The youngest player on the team, Alex Morgan, scored a goal against France and scored it with class, I think. And Amy Rodriguez had an awesome game against Japan in May. I think their style suits her, so she’ll probably have a great game on Sunday. She has a confidence boost from playing well against them in the past. Amy may end up getting her first World Cup goal on Sunday, and that would be great to see!

Keep reading for more about Julie Foudy’s top career memory and her tips for keeping cool when the pressure is on.

Read more

Chef Giada De Laurentiis’ Tips for Healthy Cooking and Staying Fit

Written on July 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm , by

Written by Lauren Cardarelli, FITNESS Editorial Intern

Celebrity chef, TV personality, mother, author and entrepreneur, Giada De Laurentiis manages to find time to lead a healthy, fit lifestyle. How does she do it all?  We got her fitness tips, cooking secrets and menu for her lunch with the Royal newlyweds after interviewing the charming Emmy Award-winner. Here’s what we learned:

Lauren with Giada De Laurentiis

Lauren with Giada De Laurentiis

1. Adore your knife. “You need to have one knife that you absolutely love,” advised De Laurentiis. “This will give you confidence and make you feel good about cooking.” De Laurentiis grew up using mezzalunas in Europe, a curved blade knife with a handle on either side used to chop, and wanted to design an affordable, user-friendly product for just that. Her Stainless Steel Mezzaluna Knife, available at Target for $20.79, is lightweight, feels great in your hand and has a dip in its blade created for skilled and amateur choppers, alike. “It rocks back and forth so it makes chopping really easy and actually really fun,” she said. “It’s very unique to the market.”

2. Everything in moderation. Being a chef – with Italian roots, nonetheless – can certainly have its palatable perks, yet De Laurentiis always seems to maintain her petite, fit figure. What’s her secret? Small meals, several times a day. “I’m a big chocoholic and I like sweets a lot but I try not to overeat anything, basically, and I think that’s sort of the key. It’s calories in and calories out so if you overdo it one day, you have to take in less the next.”

Read on for Giada’s workout, creative cooking tips and what she plans to serve to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

Read more