Written on May 8, 2013 at 12:32 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Care to step into the ring with 22-year-old amateur boxer Mikaela Mayer? Chances are this former model will knock you out—figuratively and literally. In 2012, she secured the title of U.S. National Champion and brought home bronze and gold medals from the World Championships and Continental Games, respectively. The Los Angeles native was an alternate in the London Games (the first year women could compete), and has her sights set on gold in Rio. We talked training and being bikini-body ready for summer (have you seen her abs?), plus her genius secret for keeping that sweet tooth in check.
How did you discover boxing?
I signed up for Muay Thai at a gym near my house, and was practicing to keep myself busy. A few months in, I suffered a slight back injury that prevented me from kicking, so my trainer made me take boxing fights to develop my hands. Once I tried it, fell in love and never went back! I remember telling myself only two or three months in that I was going to be the best female fighter in the world.
Clearly that’s working out! How often do you train?
When I’m in camp for a tournament, it’s six days a week, two to three times a day for six weeks. It’s nothing but eat, sleep, train, repeat! The workouts will vary week to week, but it’s a mix of interval running, swimming, strength training, boxing and sparring three to four times a week.
Well, that must keep you bikini-body ready year-round, right?
Even when I don’t have major competitions coming up, working out is still a part of my everyday routine. Partly because I enjoy getting stronger and more skillful and partly because getting back in shape after you have let yourself go is too hard! So I always try to maintain. Staying in tip-top shape requires working out consistently. You can’t make excuses for skipping the gym. It needs to be a priority.
Written on May 1, 2013 at 9:29 am , by Colleen Travers
An interesting stat: The average U.S. elementary school child gets just about 3.4 hours of food and nutrition education a year. And with over 43 million children overweight or obese, if this epidemic continues on this road, that number will rise to 60 million by 2020. Yikes! Take a stand and join celebrity chef and food activist Jamie Oliver on May 17 for Food Revolution Day, a movement to raise awareness or funds for better food education and cooking skills in your area.
Started last year as an effort to get back to basics with healthy cooking skills, Food Revolution has racked up 1,000 events in 664 cities across 62 countries. This year, Oliver is asking individuals, schools, businesses and organizations everywhere to host or attend activities in their areas to combat obesity and health epidemics that affect more than 500 million adults worldwide. Interested? Check out foodrevolution.org for a list of events in your city, recipes and ideas on how you can host your own Food Revolution Day. Below, Oliver shared one of his favorite recipes with us, proving that getting your kids interested in healthy eating doesn’t have to be a drag.
Jamie Oliver’s Berry Ice Cream
1.5 pound pack of mixed frozen berries
5 ounces blueberries
3-4 tablespoons of honey
1.5 pound tub of natural yogurt
1. Get ahead by putting 4 small glasses in the freezer for a few hours, or until nicely chilled.
2. Then, get the glasses and the frozen berries out of the freezer and divide the fresh blueberries between the glasses.
3. Put the honey and yogurt into a food processor and mix, then add the frozen berries and mix again until combined. Spoon the frozen yogurt over the fresh berries and serve.
Written on April 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Have you scooped out your first dish of ice cream this season? If warmer temps have you jonesing for this cold and creamy dessert—hey, we’re right there with you—then check out Yonanas, an appliance that turns frozen bananas into better-for-you “ice cream.”
Here’s how it works: Pop a frozen banana into the chute, along with any mixings for your desired flavor (think strawberries, mint or dark chocolate), use the plunger to push down and let it do its thing. High-torque blades cream the fruit, so it’s ready in less than a minute and tastes like the real deal. But instead of the fat and calories often laden with the standard frozen treat, you get nutritional boosts from the fruit’s natural flavor. Talk about a tasty trade up.
Oh, and don’t forget about sprinkles—or better yet, Frinkles: freeze-dried fruit, like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, that add a bite of crunch. These all-natural toppings come in four flavors, so you can indulge your inner child wishes without worrying about your waistline.
For a bright pop of red to your kitchen appliances, opt for the Elite version ($119.99, available this summer), which boasts a quieter motor and the ability to cream every type of fruit, regardless of how frozen. For a lower price tag, you can get the original Yonanas ($49.99)—just make sure you let the fruit thaw for a few minutes before tossing in the machine.
Now you tell us: Would you make at-home ice cream?
Written on April 22, 2013 at 11:08 am , by Colleen Travers
There should be no shame in your snacking game. That’s because a recent study by The NPD Group found that 83 percent of Americans snack, and those with the healthiest lifestyles are also the ones who snack most frequently. Score! Below, we chatted with Jessica Levinson, MS, RD, CDN and founder of Nutritioulicious, a nutrition consulting and counseling practice in New York about the benefits of snacking, especially when it comes to managing your weight.
Why is snacking so important?
This is something I’ve talked to clients for years about. Snacking is what really keeps your metabolism going. Think of the analogy of wood in a fire—the more you put in, the more you burn. The same is true with eating. Skipping meals or waiting too long causes your metabolism to slow down, while also putting you at risk for overeating the next time you do sit down to eat.
Does it matter when you snack?
It is a big nutrition myth that the time of day that you eat impacts your weight. If you have a 1,600 calorie allotment for your diet and lifestyle, then what matters more is if you’ve taken in that many calories or not. Let’s say you’ve consumed 1,400 calories by the time 6:00 p.m. rolls around. Now you only have 200 calories to get you through the rest of the day (taking exercise out of the equation here, which of course gives you some of those calories back). But if you’ve only eaten 1,000 calories by 6:00 p.m. then it doesn’t matter what time you’re eating or having a late-night snack, as long as you don’t go past your daily allotment.
How can you keep your snacking portions controlled?
This is a big issue for most people, because it’s hard to stop once you start! My biggest tip is to portion out in advance at home. For example, if you like almonds portion out an ounce (23 almonds) into 5 brown bags at the beginning of the week. Then you can grab a bag for your snack every day as you walk out the door. Just bring one bag at a time; if you take the whole stash you’ll be more tempted to dig into multiple bags. There are also a ton of companies who make portion controlled snack packs. Justin’s Nut Butter is great for baby carrots or a banana or a bag of 100-calorie air popped popcorn is perfect for salt lovers. And of course, fruit! You can’t really ever overdo it on fruits and veggies. Fruit especially is a good sweet tooth fix while also quenching your thirst and filling you up since so many have a high water content.
Now tell us: What’s your healthy snack go-to?
More from FITNESS: Healthy Food Awards: The Best Snacks from the Store
Written on April 17, 2013 at 10:09 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Listen up, ladies: Triscuit’s new brown rice crackers aren’t your mother’s snack. The brand has developed delicious spins on its classic namesake snack—like sweet potato and sea salt and black pepper—that get two nutritional thumbs up from celeb chef and FITNESS advisory board member Rocco DiSpirito. The bestselling author developed three healthy, easy-to-make recipes centered around the cracker, and after sampling his culinary creations in Times Square (the turkey chili recipe below is OMG good), we chatted with DiSpirito about his cooking inspiration, eating for the season and saving calories with simple ingredient swaps.
Your Triscuit-inspired recipes were delicious! Why did you partner with the brand?
When an established food company like Triscuit/Nabisco decides they’re going to put a lot of money, time and effort to make something better for you, I’m a big fan of that decision. It’s brave because most food companies are like, “Why change it? It’s perfect, we sell a ton of food, we make a gazillion dollars, we have big homes in the Hamptons, we don’t need to do anything.” But this shows recognition that America needs healthier choices, including their snacks, and I’m proud to associate with a company that feels that way because that’s what I do every day: I try to convince Americans to make healthier choices.
What’s your main goal when developing a recipe?
My priority is to make a recipe that people can reproduce at home very easily. So I work backward from what I find in grocery stores. Every time I start a book, I go to the grocery stores and research what’s available, and that changes all the time. From the time I wrote Now Eat This to now, a lot has changed. There are a lot more healthy ingredients available, so that makes my job a little easier and more exciting. The point is to get people to try it and understand that when they cook, they’re in control, and cooking is better than buying from a restaurant. So those are my priorities: to make it super easy for people to make it at home.
How do you “healthify” a recipe?
You want to swap fats, dairy and sugar: those are the ones that are the most calorically dense. One ounce of any of those has more calories than one ounce of vegetables, for example. For dairy, fat-free Greek yogurt is a great swap. For fats, using something like xanthan gum. So let’s say you want to make an ice-cream smoothie, but you don’t want to use any ice cream. Skim milk and xanthan gum is a great way to create that texture that you’d get from cream. And for sugar, my favorite new sweetener is monk fruit extract. It’s an amazing calorie- and sugar-free sweetener.
What are some of your go-to spring produce?
It’s ridiculous what happens in spring! I start with asparagus, which is fresh in early spring. White asparagus is one of my favorite things on the planet. I plant a garden, so I grow several kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, squash, watermelon, cucumbers—I look forward to all of those things. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like cucumbers, you’ve never had a home-grown one. Sometimes I pick off the leaves of squash blossoms and fry the blossoms, or make a squash blossom omelet. There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Click for the mouthwatering chili recipe we sampled, then recreate at home – it’s perfect for a party!
Written on April 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm , by Colleen Travers
Now that I have finally jumped the hurdle of being an early morning runner, there are a number of reasons I lace up instead of hitting the snooze. Fun weekend plans. My brother’s wedding. My wedding. Wanting to PR in the Pittsburgh Marathon next month. The list goes on. And of course, there are dozens of reasons that inspire others that aren’t on my list. To figure out what motivates healthy lifestyles among its consumers, Tyson Foods on behalf of the Tyson® Grilled & Ready® product line surveyed over 2,000 participants all across the country and found out what really sparks the masses to eat healthier and work out harder. Below, some findings we found particularly interesting:
- Nearly everyone surveyed–94 percent–is looking to make a positive change related to his or her health this year. Of those, 79 percent want to eat healthy. (Get started with our new Healthy Snack Finder, to make mid-morning and afternoon munching satisfying, without being total calorie bombs.)
- When it comes to motivation, 79 percent say their health motivates them to live a healthy lifestyle while 58 percent want their clothes to fit better. Around 52 percent stay motivated for their family (aww!) and 28 percent do it for an upcoming social event.
- In terms of the most motivating tool, there’s no surprise here–social media! About 43 percent said they were more motivated to work out after seeing a friend post or tweet about having a great workout.
Some other fun facts: For those wishing a celebrity chef would pop up in their kitchen and help them cook, 1 out of 4 picked Emeril Lagasse. As for favorite trainer, Jillian Michaels is queen by both women (45 percent) and men (41 percent).
Now Tell Us: What motivates you to live a healthy lifestyle?
Written on April 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
These national food holidays are seriously some of the best inventions ever. Nothing hits the spot quite like a warm and crispy grilled cheese sandwich, and if you’re looking to add some flavor and a boost of well, adulthood, to your comfort food game—without a ton of extra calories—then you’re covered here. We recently sampled gourmet sandwiches crafted by Jason Sobocinski of The Big Cheese with wine pairings from St. Francis Winery and Vineyard, and two sent our taste buds into a frenzy. Grill one up for a classy, no-fuss weekend meal that your guy will love. Because everyone needs to channel their inner kid a little bit, right?
Fresh Chevre, Caramelized Pear, Pickled Ginger and Honey on Sourdough
Paired with Sonoma County Chardonnay
What we think: Don’t knock it til’ you try it! The crisp chardonnay intensifies the cheese and pear flavors while the ginger and honey are great complements.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large ripe pear, skin removed, cored and sliced
- 1 tablespoon pickled ginger, drained and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 3 oz fresh goat’s milk chevre
- 4 slices sourdough bread
1. Coat a small sauté pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add pear slices, pickled ginger and honey and cook, stirring occasionally, until pear begins to color and soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour mixture into a bowl and set aside. Let cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, spread fresh goat’s milk chevre onto sourdough bread. Add 4 to 6 slices of cooked pears to 2 bread slices. Top with remaining bread.
3. Spread butter onto outsides of each sandwich. Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Toast sandwiches until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip sandwiches and repeat. Let cool slightly before serving.
Calories per serving: 488
Written on April 11, 2013 at 11:15 am , by Colleen Travers
We finally had our first glimpse of some warm weather this week in NYC and to celebrate, we did it with popsicles of course! To help kick off the launch of Fruttare Fruit Bars, Grammy-Award winning singer Ne-Yo and platinum-selling superstar Cher Lloyd are teaming to do a song collaboration–inspired by you!
To make it into the tune, all you have to do is log on to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and share what keeps you looking on the positive side of things, with the hashtag #itsallgood. And let’s be honest–when the sun is out and you’re heading on your long awaited vacation, beach trip, a hot and sweaty outdoor workout or whatever else you’ve got planned, there’s not much that’s not good.
Ne-Yo, who admitted to thinking of himself as a “fake freelance photographer” with his Instagram photos and Cher Lloyd, who loves Twitter (follow her @CherLlyod!) to connect with her fans and catch up on the news, will round up your responses to work them into their tune. The duo will also sing it live at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas this September. Pretty sweet, right?
To see Ne-Yo and Cher Lloyd in the studio and to purchase their song, visit the Fruttare Facebook page.
More from FITNESS: Tony Horton’s Sweat-Dripping Workout Playlist
Written on March 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm , by Samantha Shelton
After a tough workout, the first place we tend to head isn’t the shower, but the kitchen – gotta squeeze in that recovery fuel within a half hour! As someone who loves food just as much as we do, it’s safe to say Gina of Running to the Kitchen does the same thing. After all, it’s in her blog name! This CrossFit junkie makes us drool with all of her beautiful recipe images, and she’ll make you do the same. Go ahead and check it out – we bet you can’t prove us wrong.
My favorite way to work out: CrossFit! I know, I know, it’s all the rage right now and that’s a totally predictable answer, but I started CrossFit when it opened in my town last July and have been hooked ever since. It’s efficient, effective (hello, muscles I’ve never seen before) and an absolute blast. I think every box (read: gym) has different vibe, but something that seems pretty consistent across the board is the rapport among members. It’s not only my workout for the day, but a time I get to hang out with like-minded people and have fun. An hour of endorphins pumping, music blasting and people cheering each other on beats any other workout I can think of.
On my fit life list: A strict unassisted pull-up. No marathons, no triathlons. Just one darn pull-up without a band or kipping.
My “I Did It” moment: Finishing my first half-marathon in less than two hours. 2010 was a year of a lot of change for me. I lost 20 pounds, revamped the way I ate (slowly) and started running. Having played sports all my life as a kid, running was always something I was “forced” to do, not a sport I enjoyed. When I decided to pick it up as an adult in an effort to live a healthier lifestyle, I had no idea I’d grow to love it as much as I do. What started as a little competitive bet with myself to run my first 5K ended with my first half-marathon seven months later. Finishing it in under two hours, when I couldn’t even run one mile eight months prior, was pretty awesome.
I’m happiest when I’m: Doing anything with food. Eating it, cooking it, photographing it – anything. As cliche as it may sound, food is definitely my life passion. I contemplated going to culinary school in my mid-twenties, and while that didn’t actually happen, my blog has become the perfect creative outlet for that passion.
Olympic sport I’d love to try: While I think I’d be horrendous at it, I would pick gymnastics! Considering I can stay in an unassisted handstand for about three seconds, at best, and still haven’t come close to mastering the muscle-up in CrossFit (both gymnastic-type skills), it would be interesting.
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email email@example.com
Categories: Fitness, Motivation, The Fit Stop, Weight Loss, Workouts | Tags: cooking, CrossFit, fit blogger we love, half marathon, Healthy Eating, running, running to the kitchen, Workouts
Written on March 12, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Colleen Travers
Megan Fox. Jennifer Hudson. Amanda Seyfried. Katy Perry. Those are just a few of the celebs trainer Harley Pasternak has whipped into A-list shape. Here at FITNESS, we’ve been getting a lot of Harley time lately (lucky us!). Not only is he the newest member of our advisory board, he recently treated us to an exclusive staff workout to talk about his latest collaboration with New Balance with the New Balance 5 Factor997 for cross-training and his latest book The Body Reset Diet, which helps you lose weight fast (we’re talking five days fast) in a healthy, non-cleansing or detoxing way. See what Harley had to say about his new program below (spoiler–it involves quitting the gym!) and find out why if you don’t already have one, you should go get yourself a blender ASAP!
What prompted you to create this new plan for The Body Reset Diet?
I finally understood the sense of urgency women have in wanting to see a difference in the way they look and feel. They don’t want it to take weeks, they want to see a change this week. It made me realize that I need to offer them a healthy option to quickly drop weight and transform their body. I wanted to talk them out of doing cleanses and using diuretics and show them that there is a healthy way you can lose weight and feel great.
In the book, you map out a three-phase plan to slim down that incorporates smoothies in each phase. What are some common myths you’ve heard in the past from your clients about smoothies?
People definitely don’t know the difference between blending and juicing. They think blending is for body builders and they are all just forms of protein shakes packed with calories that bulk you up. But that’s wrong. Believe it or not, a fresh cold pressed apple juice can have twice the calories of an entire blended meal and four times the sugar! Read more