Written on July 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern
By now, it’s likely you’ve caught wind of 24-year-old Kacy Catanzaro, the first-ever female to qualify for the finals of NBC and Esquire Network’s sports competition show, American Ninja Warrior. After completing a nine-part obstacle course during the Dallas qualifying round (and making it look like a walk in the park), the former gymnast proves she packs a real punch as an athlete and competitor. And after speaking with her, we’re convinced that this girl really is a ninja—all 5 feet and 100 pounds of her.
Congrats on your awesome run for “ANW!” How did it feel?
It is definitely a lot of pressure stepping out there. There are a lot of lights, cameras, and you know the whole world is going to see it on TV eventually. Before I run, you can see that I’m kind of bouncing around and a little bit anxious. It’s funny: Once they count down and they say, “3,2,1, go,” it’s like a wave of relief washes over me. Then I just kind of take it one thing at a time. After I finish one obstacle, I just calmly take a few deep breaths and get ready to attack the next one.
How has your gymnastics career prepared you for ANW?
I started gymnastics when I was 5 years old and then I got a scholarship to a Division I school—Townsen University in Maryland—and I competed all four years there. So from the time I was 5 until the time I was 22, it was my whole life. Gymnastics really mentally prepared me for the course: being able to take that kind of pressure and not let it affect me in a bad way, but actually use it as fire to get excited and to get out there. And if things don’t go my way, it doesn’t mean it’s over. I just have to overcome them by making adjustments in order to make it happen.
How do you stay in such amazing shape?
I try and strength-train anywhere from four to six times a week, based on where life is taking me or what is coming up. Brent Steffensen—my boyfriend, coach and an ANW veteran—and I train together and do strength-training and bodyweight-circuit training on a regular basis. We do lots of bodyweight exercises in a row—pushups, pull-ups, lunges, squats, lots of abs—to really build strength and endurance. For the obstacle courses, we want to be as light and lean as possible, and doing exercises with your bodyweight is the most efficient way to get there.
What’s your diet like?
I just try to eat as clean as possible—greens, veggies, fruits, nuts and things like that. For my protein, I like fish a lot because it is lighter and cleaner. Definitely stay away from anything that is processed and avoid eating too much sugar. So if I can’t read an ingredient listed in an ingredient label, I try to stay away from it. It’s so important to be aware of what you are putting into your body and what good or harm it will do.
What motivates you to stay fit?
I’ve always had a competitive nature—I love getting out there and competing—but one thing people don’t realize about fitness is that people don’t just work out out to look good. Obviously it’s very nice to look good and to have that body you dream of, but the most important thing about fitness and living healthy is being able to get the maximum out of your life. If you are as fit as you can be, you can do more and you aren’t held back by your weight. I think that staying fit, not being held back and being able to go out and try to accomplish whatever it is that I want is the best part of it.
In case you missed it, check out Kacy’s crazy performance below, and be sure to watch the St. Louis finals tonight at 9 on NBC.
More from FITNESS:
Written on June 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern
“Oh this? It’s just this thing I wear that tracks my sleep … and my steps … and calories burned.” A furrowed brow, accompanied by a silent, slow nod is the usual reaction I’ve received, following my Fitbit Flex fitness tracker spiel. But, for the many fitness fanatics who’ve embraced the tracker world, they’ll be excited to know that Fitt has just launched a new app that will seriously challenge Jawbone UP, Moves and Fitbit lovers to hit new goals.
The app (available now in the iTunes app store!) creates a fitness community for tracker users to join in on group challenges and motivate each other. Even better, getting started couldn’t be easier. All users have to do is download the app and sync it to their fitness tracker app. Instantly, you’ll be connected with friends, no matter what kind of fitness tracker they are using.
After you’re synced up, go ahead and add friends, scope out user profiles and most importantly–join group challenges. The day I signed up, the app showed that there were two challenges in progress. The first was a Fitbit-Jawbone UP face-off, challenging each team to take the most average daily steps for a month. The second challenge is the “June 18K a Day” challenge where all participants aim to take 18,000 steps a day in June. Yes, you heard that right: 18K per day. Cardio anyone?
Naturally, I jumped on the bandwagon for both. (… Go Fitbit!)
With Fitt there is nothing to lose (except the occasional pound or two). And let’s be honest, most of us could use an extra reminder to get active every now and again, right?
More from FITNESS:
Written on March 28, 2014 at 5:12 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern
What if there were a studio that cost less the more you exercise? That would be crazy, right? I mean, talk about motivation! Enter fitmob, a new group workout startup taking root in the San Francisco area on a mission to change the face of fitness and “re-invent” the gym. “The existing system doesn’t really work,” says co-founder and CEO Raj Kapoor. “There is $75 billion being spent globally every year on gym memberships and over 60 percent of people don’t even use it that [much to] pay for it.” With the help of P90X’s Tony Horton, Kapoor and co-founder/CTO Paul Twohey developed fitmob to help people get fit, stay motivated and have fun without breaking the bank. Five thousand San Fran residents have registered so far!
So what’s the skinny on this budget-friendly startup? We got the lowdown:
Sweat for Less: “The more you work out, the less you pay,” explains Kapoor. Each class starts off at $15. If you go two times in one week, it drops to $10 per workout. But if you go three or more times per week, it’s only $5 each. You can’t beat that! Plus it’s as flexible as you need it to be. “There’s no up-fronts, no monthly commitment, no long contracts,” says Kapoor. “You just use it when you use it.”
The Workouts: Aside from the price deals, they offer various strength, cardio and yoga-fusion classes with some pretty enthusiastic names, too. Their most popular workout, “Weapon’s of Ass Reduction,” is an hour-long group strength class that focuses on your core and lower body strength (including your booty, of course!). Come on, who wouldn’t want to attend a class with a name like that? Some other winners: “Sweat Soiree” and “Guru Gone Wild.” Check them all out here.
Get Connected: “Gyms have traditionally been about expensive real estate and fancy equipment,” says Kapoor. But for him, it’s the social element and group dynamic that keeps people moving. “We’re bringing people back into fitness!” Sign up for classes, check out instructor reviews and see who else plans to attend the class all through their site and mobile app.
Location, Location, Location: Sick of the sterile gym? fitmob’s sweat sessions take place in various venues—both indoors and outdoors. “Part of the fun is that it’s in a different place all the time,” Kapoor shares, adding that they’ve held classes in parks and nightclubs (sweet!) with 10 to 25 people in attendance.
What’s Up Next: Currently, fitmob offers classes in four San Francisco neighborhoods—SOMA, The Mission, The Marina and The Presidio—but they’re looking to expand. “One of the hardest things in fitness is that everyone will try things but they won’t continue on,” explains Kapoor. “We think we’ve constructed an experience that’s going to have better retention than most. Once we are convinced of that, then we can expand.” Want fitmob to come to a neighborhood near you? Reach out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #nextmob and a photo of where you want them to come next.
More from FITNESS:
- Natalie Uhling’s NUFit Workout Takes the NYC Fitness Scene by Storm
- Fit to be Tied: The Best Sneakers for Your Favorite Workouts
- We Tried It: Lacey Stone’s SWEAT Week NY Outdoor Boot Camp
Written on October 29, 2013 at 5:22 pm , by Lauren Cardarelli
True Life: I’m addicted to Pinterest. I mean, what’s not to love? From pinning my fave workouts and recipes (courtesy of FITNESS, duh!) to saving photos on how to spin summer dresses into fall-friendly ensembles, the site has the answer to anything and everything you need to know about.
So when I heard about registered dietician Mitzi Dulan’s new book The Pinterest Diet: How To Pin Your Way Thin, I couldn’t wait to gain her insight on how to pin it to win it, wellness-wise. Known as America’s Nutrition, Mitzi has 3.5-million followers, and after trying her Skinny One Pot Chicken Caprese Pasta (a recipe she created from Pinspiration, see below) I understand why. So tasty!
So how can you use the social media platform to improve your diet? Here are Mitzi’s top three tips:
Banish Boredom. Sick of that same old salad? Time to mix things up. “One of my Pinterest Diet rules is to make at least two new recipes a week,” Mitzi explains. Use the site to keep things fresh in the kitchen and at the gym.
Motivated to Move. Create a photo and quote-filled “Daily Inspiration Board” for a friendly eye-on-the-prize reminder. Toned tri’s, here you come!
Pin 10. Swap Facebook scrolling for Pinterest during downtime. “Blocking off 10 minutes helps inspire you to live healthy, eat better and exercise,” she says.
Skinny One Pot Chicken Caprese Pasta(Makes 8 servings)
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken breast, cooked and torn apart
- 13 oz whole wheat linguini
- 2 cans (14.5 oz) no salt diced tomatoes with liquid
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 3 large sprigs of basil, torn up
- 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
Add pasta, tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, basil and cooked chicken to a large stock pot. Pour chicken broth over the top. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer on low for about 8-12 minutes, stirring often. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated or as desired. Top with fresh mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, if desired.
Now you tell us: How do you use Pinterest for fitspiration?
Written on October 1, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Colleen Travers
Celebrities are constantly scrutinized for their looks, but add a pregnancy to the mix and the heat is really on. With the abundance of celebrity cherubs being born this year, here’s our rundown of the best A-list post-baby bodies from this year and years past. In a world of juice cleanses, fasting and paparazzi pressure to return to pre-baby weight in warp speed, these ladies got slim and strong all while keeping their sanity about their newfound curves.
1. Kristen Bell: The new mom to baby girl Lincoln has dropped 28 pounds since giving birth in March, by eating healthy and doing the Bar Method. But she’s doing it on her terms and in her own good time, declaring recently that she’s a woman whose self-worth cannot be determined by her size. “I’m proud to sit out of the baby weight rat race,” she tweeted this past summer. “I like my Lincoln Leftovers because they’re proof I did something extraordinary.”
2. Claire Danes: She stunned at the 2013 Golden Globes when she showed up in amazing shape just one month after giving birth to her son Cyrus. Though she joked to the pressroom that she was very strapped into her Versace gown, she credited being on her feet for a majority of her pregnancy while taping Homeland a big factor in not gaining too much weight to begin with.
3. Reese Witherspoon: With three kids under her belt, it’s clear Witherspoon has the winning formula to taking off the baby weight. As a frequent runner pre-pregnancy, she’s been saving time and slashing calories by jogging with friends and having gym dates with hubby Jim Toth. Though she knows there is no one easy fix, as she said after the birth of son Tennessee James in September 2012 that “you just have to be gentle and patient with yourself and just sort of you know…slowly get back to your health.”
4. Drew Barrymore: She admitted to gaining 40 pounds during her pregnancy with daughter Olive as well as giving in to cravings like cheeseburgers and ice cream. After enlisting the help of nutritionist-friend Kimberly Snyder, she’s shedding the weight by eating lots of whole foods, vegetables and making her own green smoothies at home, but said in an interview that when it comes to deciding between spending time at the gym or with her daughter, the gym will always lose. “We live in a society where everyone’s like, ‘Look at how amazing she looks two weeks out.’ I don’t want to be on that hamster wheel; that’s hell.”
Read more for the full list!
Written on September 10, 2013 at 10:12 am , by Colleen Travers
Maybe it’s the slew of emails and pitches editors get a day, but lately it seems like everyone is an expert at something. That’s far from the case, says Paul Juris, ED. D., executive director of the Cybex Research Institute. Even if the person is certified, there are some critical checkpoints you should look out for when choosing a trainer for your own fitness goals. See what he has to say below.
Oh, and did we mention that Juris used to be the strength coach for the Dallas Mavericks? If there is anyone who knows a thing or two about using personal training to reach your goals, it’s him!
More from FITNESS: What’s Your Fitness Motivation?
Written on March 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm , by Marianne Magno
We all have different motivations behind our fitness goals. Regardless of what they are, we’re happy to have you join us in getting fit and strong. Which is why we were touched after seeing Dick’s Sporting Goods’ “Every Runner Has a Reason” campaign. Each week for 13 weeks, Dick’s is sharing a runner’s story about why they’re lacing up and getting on the road. This week’s video is about Sally, who was encouraged by her friend Lisa to start running to help cope with her husband’s death from melanoma. She’s gone from barely running a mile to completing marathons. Watch it below and head over to DicksSportingGoods.com in the next 12 weeks for more moving stories.
(You might want to have tissues handy for this.)
Now tell us: Why do you run?
Written on March 7, 2013 at 9:23 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
In case you haven’t heard of professional tennis player Vika Azarenka, we’ll catch you up to speed: She’s won two Australian Open singles titles (2012 and 2013) and two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles (2007 US Open with Max Mirnyi and 2008 French Open with Bob Bryan), plus an Olympic bronze medal for singles and gold for mixed doubles (with Mirnyi) at the London Games. Impressive for a 23-year-old, right? Before the BNP Paribas Showdown against Serena Williams at Madison Square Garden (Williams won the exhibition match 6-4, 6-3), we chatted with Azarenka about how fell in love with the sport, what she enjoyed about the 2012 Olympic Games and how she keeps her workouts fun.
When did you first pick up a racket?
I started to play tennis when I was seven years old. I was very close to my mom, and she worked at a tennis center. I couldn’t go anywhere without her, so after school, I would come back and walk around with her. She didn’t get a chance to work, so she had to distract me somehow. She gave me a tennis racket and a ball, so I started hitting it against the wall, and it was fun. One of the coaches saw me and asked if I wanted to join the group with the other kids. I was scared at the beginning, but once I started I was so happy. I really found a love for the game as a kid.
As they say, the rest is history! Aside from winning your medals at the London Games, what was your favorite part about the Olympics?
The whole journey. It was very tennis-oriented because we played far away from the other sports, so I didn’t get a chance to visit anything else. It was an amazing experience. The transformation from Wimbledon to the Olympics was completely different. Playing in singles and mixed doubles was incredible. Read more
Written on March 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm , by Colleen Travers
Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney might have been less than impressed with her vault silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, but her attitude these days is straight gold. I got the chance to chat with Maroney as she helped launch TEN, a line of 10 calorie sodas from the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group on the lessons she learned in London, recovering from injury and what she thinks about teammate Aly Raisman’s Dancing with the Stars announcement.
I love that the tagline for the TEN campaign is “McKayla is finally impressed.” Are you so sick of hearing about and seeing your not impressed face all over the Internet?
I wouldn’t say I am sick of it, but it definitely comes up in every topic with every person I talk to. It’s great that now I can turn it into something positive, and be impressed with TEN. My favorite out of the line is the Sunkist TEN; I have always loved orange soda so now I can enjoy it without all the sugar.
What are some of the lessons you learned from your time in London at the 2012 Summer Olympics?
The first thing I learned was how to deal with the media. I came to the Games and I had no media experience and I didn’t know how to take it all with a grain of salt. All of us on the team had our media issues, Gabby with her hair and then my face – so we had to learn how to let it roll off our backs. At the beginning it was hard, because I was just a gymnast. I was never famous, I was used to being in the gym eight hours a day and I never had anyone judging me because of my face, they were judging me on my gymnastics! Now I handle life way better and I’m actually happy that it happened because nothing hurts my feelings anymore. And since I want to get into acting I have to be ready for a lot more of that kind of attention. Read more
Written on February 8, 2013 at 10:00 am , by Colleen Travers
It’s no wonder February is considered the month of love. According to the National Association of Bridal Consultants, it is also officially National Wedding Month–due to the number of couples who start planning for the big day. And with an estimated one million couples who got engaged over the holidays, you might be one of them! If you’re planning a summer wedding, check out this move of the month plan from Stephanie Walker and Sarah Ashenden, personal trainers from Fitness Formula Clubs, located in Chicago. To start, they recommend strength training for 30 minutes twice a week along with 30 minutes of cardio 3-5 days per week. Get started with the first move below and then add on a different exercise each month.
February: Triceps Dip
Since you’ll be standing with your back to all your guests for your ceremony, you want the back of your arms to look sleek and toned. Sit on a weight bench with legs slightly bent, feet flat on floor. Place hands on bench by thighs and press palms into the bench to lift your butt. Slide your butt off edge and bend elbows to drop hips 3 inches from floor. Straighten arms and slide hips back without sitting down. Repeat 8 to 10 times for 3 reps. Read more