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Mark Your Calendar for “The Ugliest 5K on the Planet”

Written on November 5, 2013 at 10:14 am , by

Get your spirit and sweat on in the wackiest holiday ensembles you can sport. (Photo courtesy of The Ugly Sweater Run)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Looking for a fun, fit way to spend time with loved ones this holiday season? Dig that hideous sweater out of the depths of your closet (yes, we know you didn’t actually throw out that awful gift from grandma) and sign up for a 5K that celebrates these unsightly creations—jingle bells, blinking Rudolf noses and all! November 9 marks the beginning of the third annual Ugly Sweater Run, also known as “the ugliest 5K on the planet.”

Since its inaugural race in Louisville, Colo., in 2011, the Ugly Sweater Run has expanded to share their fashion faux pas-inspired event with 32 cities across the nation and Canada. Gather up the family—kids and furry friends are welcome—in celebration of the most wonderful time of the year. Each race features holiday-themed rest stations stocked with hot chocolate and a post-race winter wonderland celebration full of holiday-themed games, contests, prizes and more.

The best part (besides the sweaters and cocoa, of course)? After crossing the finish line, each participant donates a gift under the giant inflatable Christmas tree for Toys for Tots, the run’s philanthropic partner. Cheers to the season of giving! Every runner also receives a custom vintage knit hat and a mustache.

The Ugly Sweater Run series only lasts for six weeks, so be sure to secure your spot soon. Whether you’re a beginning runner or a marathoner, everyone can join in this fun run for a bit of cardio and a brightened holiday spirit!

More from FITNESS:

Slim Down Your Cinco De Mayo Spread

Written on May 2, 2013 at 3:49 pm , by

Guac that won’t wreck your waistline. Ole! (Photo by Paul Elledge, courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc)

Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern

Fruity margaritas, creamy guacamole, crunchy chips…there’s a reason Cinco de Mayo is such a popular holiday!  We love Mexican fare (and plan to fully fiesta), but the high calorie content can be a real party pooper.  To keep our waistlines and tastebuds happy, we consulted Rick Bayless’ new cookbook, Frontera, full of unique spins on classic Mexican recipes.  Here are just a few delicious ways to slim down and spice up that classic chip dip.

Grilled Corn and Poblano Guacamole

Makes about 4 cups


  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced crosswise into 3 rounds
  • A little olive or vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 1 small ear of fresh corn, husked and cleaned of silk
  • 1 fresh poblano chile
  • 3 ripe medium-large avocadoes
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Mexican fresh cheese (queso fresco) or other fresh cheese, like salted pressed farmer’s cheese or goat cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh epazote (or cilantro)


Heat a gas grill to medium. Lightly brush both sides of the onion slices with oil, sprinkle with salt and lay on the grill. Oil the corn and lay it beside the onion. Grill corn and onion 4 to 5 minutes per side,. Roast the poblano for 5 to 7 minutes, turning evenly until blackened.

Remove onion and chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Cut kernels off the cob..  Rub the blackened skin off the poblano, pull out and discard the stem and seed pod. Tear open and briefly rinse to remove stray seedss. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces.

Halve avocadoes and remove pit, scooping the flesh from one avocado into a large bowl. Scoop flesh from the other two onto a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Mash the avocado that’s in the bowl.

Pour diced avocado into the mashed avocado bowl, along with the grilled onion, corn, poblano and 2 tablespoons of fresh cheese. Sprinkle with lime juice and epazote, then gently stir mixture.  Taste and season with salt. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Read more

Jane Krakowski Talks Giving Back, Busy Holidays and Exercise

Written on December 20, 2012 at 10:00 am , by

Jane’s workouts these days consist of chasing her son and fitness classes on the fly. Clearly it’s working for her! (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern

With everything going on this time of year, we can sometimes forget the most important part of the holidays–giving back. That’s what 30 Rock‘s Jane Krakowski is doing with the help of Bank of America, who will be donating this season to Feeding America, which supports hunger relief in the U.S. Jane made the first donation using the mobile transfer function on Bank of America’s mobile banking app, while chatting with us about her holiday plans and her post-baby fitness secrets!

How do you stay organized during the busy holiday season?

I’m still trying to figure that all out. I do a lot of multitasking and things at odd hours of the day and night. I’ll take a nap then wake up at midnight to write Christmas cards. It’s a lot but it’s also a fun time of the year and we’re looking forward to making Christmas special this year.

We heard that you’re hosting your first Christmas, what are you doing to prepare for it?

I haven’t gotten to the preparing part yet. My fiancé and I are going to be those people at the stores shopping on Christmas Eve because of the 30 Rock finale. We’re shooting around the clock right now. So there will be many last minute preparations, but that’s fine because it’s just family members. He’ll be doing most of the cooking so my relatives are in good hands, they won’t have to eat my cooking. Read more

3 Ways to Avoid Holiday Heartburn

Written on December 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm , by

Turkey and white wine are two of your more heartburn-friendly options for your holiday dinner. (Photo courtesy Blaine Moats)

Looking forward to indulging in some red wine, a few pigs in a blanket and your family’s famous Christmas morning spicy shrimp grits? Not if you are one of the fifty million Americans who suffer from heartburn, says Dr. Su Sachar, a gastroenterologist based in LA. These are just a few of the things that can trigger holiday heartburn, among others like chocolate (the horror!), alcohol, garlic and peppermint. So how exactly is one supposed to make it through the buffet without breathing fire into 2013? Try Dr. Sachar’s tips below:

  • Know the triggers: Aside from foods that are tomato-based, fried, spicy, fatty and citrusy, stress can also be a trigger as it often makes someone turn to fatty foods or toss back a few glasses of wine to chill out. But the most surprising trigger is exercise. “Certain exercises put pressure on the abdomen and push the stomach into the esophagus, contributing to heartburn symptoms,” Dr. Sachar says. “For example, cyclists tend to get heartburn from hunching over handlebars. But that doesn’t mean you have to skip the gym! Exercising is good for stress levels and avoiding weight gain, both of which contribute to heartburn. Just go easy on the abs and try yoga or low impact cardio if you feel a flare up coming on.”
  • Navigate the dinner table: “Stay away from the fried and cheesy appetizers and focus on protein,” Dr. Sachar says.  “Chicken skewers and salads without raw onions or tomatoes are safe bets. Skip buttery mashed potatoes in favor of baked potatoes or sweet potatoes and light turkey meat over fatty beef or lamb.” As for dessert, Sachar says angel food cake, sugar and oatmeal cookies and apple pie will hit the spot without feeling the burn later. When it comes to wine, opt for white.
  • Be proactive: If you suffer from heartburn symptoms two or more days a week, consider Prilosec OTC. One pill each morning can treat frequent heartburn for up to 24 hours, so you can enjoy your holiday feast.

More from FITNESS: A Heartburn-Proof Recipe from Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn


Yael Cohen’s Holiday Ingredient Swaps and Clean Brownies

Written on December 12, 2012 at 12:27 pm , by


Yael travels a lot but plane/car time is no excuse. Tabata interval training and running are her on the road workout musts. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Lauren)

Yael Cohen, CEO of FCancer and proclaimed “Chief Cancer Effer,” is on a mission to educate about early detection—90 percent of cancers are curable in stage one. Part of her initiative, besides using humor to promote self exams (check out their hilarious video contest!), is to promote awareness that “everything you put into, onto and do with your body affects your health.” According to Yael, having a happy, healthy holiday season does exist by reverting back to the basics. “Eat clean, whole foods. Eat stuff that you know what it used to be. If you can’t tell what plant or animal it came from, try to avoid it. If it’s wrapped in tin foil or plastic, try to avoid it. If it doesn’t spoil, be scared,” she joked. Interested in baking lighter versions of your festive favorites? Try swapping out butter for coconut oil and use crushed dates or agave nectar over processed sugar. Chocolate lovers, embrace baking with carob for a low-fat, naturally sweet and caffeine-free alternative. Speaking of chocolate, we scored Yael’s famous brownie recipe sealed with a sweet tooth’s approval. Santa has nothing on this! Read more

Music Monday: Ringin’ in the New Year

Written on January 2, 2012 at 11:03 am , by

Written by Lauren Cardarelli, editorial intern

Toast to a fresh start! (Photo by Antoine Verglas)

Kick-start 2012 with a soundtrack that will celebrate the old and pump you up for all the new this year has to offer. After all of those holiday cookies and cocktails, who doesn’t need a little “fitspiration” to get started on the right foot? Here’s to another happy and healthy new year!

Bonus track (just for fun!): “Kiss Me at Midnight,” *NSYNC

Now tell us: How are you celebrating the beginning of 2012?

Fit Links: Build a Better Resolution and Make Gym Trips Easier

Written on December 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm , by

Resolution rule number one: Don't set six lofty goals at once. (Photo by Reggie Casagrande)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Fit Links: 30 Secrets to Happiness and Simple Homemade Holiday Gifts

Written on December 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm , by

One happiness hint: Tune into your senses. For example, enjoy the fresh taste and smell of citrus! Photo by Ericka McConnell)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

5 Entertaining Secrets the Stars (Like Oprah!) Adore

Written on December 14, 2011 at 1:18 pm , by

Your table can look like this in just minutes! Use the time you save for an extra stress-busting trip to the gym. (Photo courtesy of Safeway)

Throwing a holiday bash can be a huge undertaking. From the cleaning to the food, the decorations to the guest list, a big celebration has enough details to keep you up at night. (Not good—especially during this time of year!)

“It’s about turning the holidays from hectic to happy,” says Debi Lilly, celebrity event planner and Safeway’s entertaining and design expert. “Sixty percent of women don’t even enjoy the holidays because they’re so busy.”  So Lilly, who has designed parties for Oprah, Brooke Shields, Debra Messing, Cindy Crawford and more, passed along five tricks to turn your party prep from “Ahh!” to “Ooh!”

1. Plan ahead. “Preset the buffet before guests arrive so you can truly enjoy their company,” Lilly suggests.

2. Try Oprah’s flashy fave. Miss Winfrey loves the chic, corset details seen on the vases above. Here’s how to do it:

    • Start with 36 inches of satin ribbon. Wrap the middle of the ribbon around the back of the vase and bring ends to front.
    • When the ends meet in the front, twist them around each other and bring them to the back. Twist them again and bring back to front.
    • Repeat the twists on the back and the front sides until you reach the top of the vase; knot the ends together and finish with a single loop.

3. Reuse. After the party has wrapped, don’t toss that ribbon! It’s perfectly good to use for other holidays with similar color schemes. And the branches from your tree that hang too low? Gather them up around the bases of the vases for an additional festive touch (and aroma).

4. Outsource when necessary. Shh…Your secret’s safe with us! “Buy snacks from the frozen food aisle and garnish with fresh herbs. It will look like find catering,” Lilly says.

5. Serve appropriate apps. And if you have a little more time, try assembling these no-oven-necessary treats from Safeway’s Executive Chef Jeff Anderson.

Read more

Your Party Day—and Everyday—Seasonal Health Prescription

Written on December 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm , by

Roses, red wine and dark chocolate make for a heart-healthy gift. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

“Just like in store environments, the season is really busy for people,” says Dr. Josh Riff, Target’s chief medical director. So for that reason, he has cart loads of advice to share with shoppers and co-workers to stay healthy while still enjoying the fun that comes along only once a year. If you make smart choices during your everyday routine, you have more room to splurge when celebration time arrives, Riff adds.

Here are his three top prescriptions for everyday and party day, so when 2012 rolls around you’ll have little resolving to do!

Everyday Rx…

  • Rest up. “Get at least seven hours of sleep. It decreases levels of stress and cortisol, a stress hormone. You’ll feel so much better the next day if you make sleep a priority.”
  • Practice stealth health. “‘Moving’ is more important that ‘exercise.’ Host a walking meeting at work rather than sitting, or find fun family activities that are active, such as dancing or throwing a ball.”
  • Save your treats. “Pick one place, like at work or at the mall, and only eat food that you’ve made or brought. Pack snacks like apples, real fruit strips and granola bars to avoid grabbing a cookie every time you pass the platter at work or dessert shop at the mall. I also save calories by bringing my lunch to work Monday through Thursday, then treat myself to a cafeteria meal on Fridays.”

Party Day Rx…

  • Sneak in nutritious treats. “I make simple substitutions to transform typically indulgent recipes to more diet-friendly versions. For example, I add blueberries to chocolate cookies or muffins to add antioxidants and swap in sweet potatoes for white.
  • Share the gift of health. “The right gear can make fitness more fun. This year, I’m loving C9 athletic wear, Polar heart rate monitors and Gaiam yoga mats to motivate my loved ones. I also put together wellness-minded gift baskets, including freeze-dried fruit, a bottle of red wine and dark chocolate.”
  • Pick your pleasure. “There are no bad foods; there’s moderation. One piece of cake is great—six pieces, not so good. Fill one plate with the foods you will really enjoy and nurse that throughout the party.”

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Now tell us: When the ever-present cookies are calling your name for the fifth time today, how do you avoid temptation?