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5 Tricks to Train Better From “Warrior” Movie Pro

Written on January 19, 2012 at 11:49 am , by

Written by Lauren Cardarelli, editorial intern

Two brothers face off during an MMA battle in Warrior. (Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

Keeping a balance between realistic action scenes with “the Hollywood of it all” was one of the obstacles technical adviser and mixed martial arts (MMA) trainer legend, Greg Jackson, had to overcome in the new movie, Warrior.  The film, which stars Tom Hardy (who you may recognize from Inception), shares an inspiring story about two brothers fighting for their family.

Jackson grew up in a family of wrestlers and has developed 10 world champions. He was responsible for ensuring the authenticity of the MMA aspects in the film, which was released on DVD last month. Besides the jabs and takedowns in the cage, Jackson found it important to convey the culture (specifically the coach-fighter bond) of the MMA world. “We’re real people and we have normal lives. We’re not these extreme and crazy, as we’re sometimes portrayed,” Jackson said.

Here are five tips from Jackson to train like the stars.

  1. Shop around. Go online and find a reputable school in your area that provides kickboxing, jiu-jitsu and wrestling classes. Make sure it is an atmosphere that you feel comfortable in before committing.
  2. Exercise smarter. Explosive training and the work-to-rest ratio is the key to success.
  3. Keep an eye on your plate. “One word: diet.” According to Jackson, you can exercise all day long but if you really want to lose weight, it’s all about what you put into your body.
  4. Allow for recovery. Greg refuels with protein like MusclePharm Re-Con. A tall glass of chocolate milk is another great alternative!
  5. Find a “why.” “Inspiration is our most precious commodity,” Jackson says. “Everyone has their own muse.” Find what moves you and don’t give up.

Now tell us: Which movies or characters inspire you to get active?

Get Fit Like the Stars of the Scorpion King Movies

Written on January 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm , by

Selina and Krystal face off in the film. (Photo courtesy of Universal Studios)

Written by Lauren Cardarelli, editorial intern

Ab-tastic actresses Selina Lo and Krystal Vee trained rigorously for their roles in the new Scorpion King 3 movie so they could not only look the part, but also perform their own sword fighting stunts. The starlets’ moves in the action-packed flick, available Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray, are enough to inspire both yogis and runners alike to sign up for a martial arts class.

We got to chat with Selina and Krystal about The Battle For Redemption and their portrayal of the ancient art of Muay Thai for the film. Here’s what we learned about how to kick some butt!

  • It’s hard work, but they make it look so easy! “I train six days a week as my normal routine but before the film started I had specific training for the movie where I trained with the Seng Stung team,” says Selina, whose background lies in a less fluid Wushu style. “I had to learn some choreography as well as Muay Thai moves and adapt to using the film swords.”
  • Get started with a group class. “It is always much easier when you are doing something interactive and you have other people to support you. Start slow and build up your workout as it’s easier to conquer things in progressive steps,” Selina says.
  • Don’t give up. “The spinning kick was one of the few ones that was hard to achieve. With determination and discipline, I was able to nail it down,” Krystal says. “Finally I was able to do the spin and open up my hip to get that power kick going.”
  • Replenish after training. “I increase my complex carbohydrate intake by 600 calories when filming to fuel my body for a day of combat. It’s important to give your body the necessary ingredients to perform your best,” Selina says. “I generally eat a lot of complex carbs and white meat, but I’ll also have things like peanut butter sandwiches on set for quick energy releases.”
  • Mix up your workouts. “It’s tough to start with, but if you’re looking for a whole body workout that’s not boring, Capoeira is the one,” Krystal says. “Ballet is very good, too. It works with your core and strengthens every part of your body. Plus it’s fun!”

Now tell us: What flicks inspire you to stay fit?

Yoga During Pregnancy: Jessica Biel Does It (in New Year’s Eve)—Would You?

Written on December 7, 2011 at 10:57 am , by

Biel flaunted her fit figure at a premiere in 2010. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

The holidays are sure a fun time to head to the cinema. Whether you prefer lighthearted family fare or awards show bait, it’s one of the best times of the year to take in a flick.

FITNESS was lucky enough to attend an advanced screening of the star-studded film New Year’s Eve last night, and besides being dazzled by the sheer number of A-listers in each scene, we were entertained by Jessica Biel’s antics as a soon-to-be mom. During one scene, she practices an amazingly graceful yoga headstand—while pregnant!

In our September issue, we reported that expectant moms often are able to achieve strength gains moderate-intensity resistance training routines (skipping on-your-back moves). But what about yoga? We turned to one of our advisory board members to learn more about om-ing while expecting.

“One recent study showed that yoga reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which, in turn, should lower the chance of premature birth,” says Michele Olson, Ph.D, professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama.

A couple other words to the wise from Olson:

  • “‘Gentle’ yoga is often practiced by pregnancy women. Hot yoga is out, though, because of the extreme heat. So are any serious seated flexion moves, like crunches or sit-up exercises, after about three months or when the abdomen is larger.” (This is true for yoga or any workout—skip the on-your-back moves while preggers.)
  • “Joints are more lax during pregnancy due to hormonal shifts, so pregnant women need to be careful not to over-stretch in yoga or any other activity.” *

So ladies who have or have had a baby on board, was exercise on your agenda during the nine months? If so, what was most comfortable and beneficial for you?

*Note: Pregnant women should always check with their doctors before starting any new fitness routines.

For those of you not expecting, you can still in shape like the New Year’s Eve stars do when not on camera:

A few last words of advice related to the movie: Stick around for the closing credits. You won’t be sorry!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Now tell us: What movie are you most looking forward to watching this season?

Got Inspiration? The Film Autumn Gold Sure Does!

Written on November 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm , by

One of the lifelong competitors highlighted in Autumn Gold. He can do a headstand! (Photo courtesy of Autumn Gold)

When searching for motivation to hit the gym, we often turn to pro athletes. Who wouldn’t want to have their speed, grace and talent (not to mention ripped abs!). But we were immediately struck by the passion and vitality of the amazing competitors highlighted in the upcoming film Autumn Gold.

The documentary follows five individuals from countries across the globe who are training to compete in the track and field World Masters Championships. You might not be able to tell by their quick feet and strong discus throws, but they are all 80 to 100 years old (or should we say young?)! The number of senior athletes continues to grow, although their talents are often overlooked on the news sports reports. But this underground trend is certainly something we can get behind since it’s clear that getting your heart pumping is an important way to boost longevity!

The athletes candidly admit that their lives are nearing completion, but their competitive spirit refuses to die. Rather than rest or fear what’s ahead, they keep fighting and aim to rack up even more gold medals.

“I’m wildly ambitious. I hate coming in second. I’d rather come in first,” one track star says. “Without sport, life would be too monotonous and easy,” another adds. That sounds like the drive of a pro athlete to us!

Check out the premiere of Autumn Gold on Sunday, November 27 at 8 p.m. EST on the Documentary Channel.

Now tell us: Who or what sparks your get-fit fire?

Fun Blockbuster Film-Inspired Recipes

Written on August 4, 2011 at 10:54 am , by

Who can forget Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates? Or Meryl Streep’s mastery of the kitchen as Julia Child in Julie and Julia? How about Violet Beauregarde transforming into a blueberry in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?

Similar iconic film food scenes etch themselves in our memories, and eating and movie watching often go hand in hand for viewers too. On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, one Whole Foods location is celebrating this partnership next Wednesday with a special in-store tasting tour. Guests will be able to stop by different stands spread throughout the grocery store’s floor to sample dishes inspired by favorite summer blockbuster movies.

You can throw a similar event at your home by whipping up these recipes that will also be served at the Whole Foods tasting. Get your Netflix queue ready now!

Chocolate Almond Smoothie

If you use frozen bananas, you can skip the ice. (Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

Serves 2, Inspired by: Like Water for Chocolate

  • 1 ripe fresh or frozen banana, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 6 ounces vanilla soy yogurt
  • 3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon evaporated cane juice
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  1. Combine ingredients in a blender and mix at top speed for about one minute or until smooth.
  2. Pour in glasses and enjoy.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 310 calories, 14 g fat (1 g saturated fat)

Grilled Salmon with Mustard Glaze

Omega-3s have never tasted better! (Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

Serves 6, Inspired by: Ocean’s Eleven

  • 6 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon tamari
  1. Prepare a charcoal grill. When charcoal is hot, spread around the coals for an even heat source.
  2. Season the salmon fillets with salt on both sides. Place the fish on the grill and cover with the grill lid. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, without turning.
  3. Mix honey, dry mustard, oil and tamari to make a thick glaze. If needed, thin just a bit with water to glaze consistency.
  4. During the last 3 to 4 minutes on the grill, brush fillets with the glaze. Turn fillets and replace cover until salmon is finished cooking.
  5. Transfer to plates and serve with grilled veggies, steamed spinach or a green salad.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 510 calories, 25 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat)

More from FITNESS: Cook like a gourmet chef with these seven dishes created by top chefs like Wolfgang Puck.

Surf Secrets Behind The New Blue Crush 2 Movie

Written on June 6, 2011 at 9:48 am , by

The stars of Blue Crush 2 soak up the sun—with SPF, of course! (Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

The stars of Blue Crush 2 soak up the sun—with SPF, of course! (Photo courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Tomorrow, the follow-up to the popular surfing movie Blue Crush hits stores on DVD! We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek (which made us dream to have those surf skills) and meet with the film’s stars (who seem to be great pals in real life). We asked the ladies for their best surf tips for beginners, and to top it off, we had them team up to create a killer beach playlist!

Blue Crush 2 Starter Surfing Hints

  • “Be safe and have fun! Know your boundaries when it comes to the ocean, but don’t be scared to get out there and give it a go!” —Sharni Vinson, also seen in Step Up 3D (Tara in the film)
  • “At first you’re going to fall a lot. But keep getting back up! And always wear your leash—never get into the water without it attached. Have fun and watch your body transform. It’s such a great workout!” —Elizabeth Mathis, also seen in Unstoppable (Pushy)
  • “Relax! Even if you don’t stand up on your first try, you can still enjoy being in the ocean. A lot of surfing has to do with muscle memory, so if you are relaxed and keeping in mind how you are feeling on the board you will learn a lot faster.” —Rosy Hodge, ROXY pro surfer from South Africa (Catherine)
  • “It’s very daunting and scary to go into the ocean at first, but I got the best advice from our free diving coach Hanli Prinsloo: When being tossed and turned underwater or held under, instead of being frightened, just smile and acknowledge that the ocean is ‘playing with you.’ It’s easy to feel very small and powerless when you first surf, but if you switch your mindset it changes your experience drastically.” —Sasha Jackson, also seen on One Tree Hill (Dana)

Blue Crush 2 Star’s Surf-Friendly Playlist

Now tell us: What sporty movie inspires you to get up and move?