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Fit Blogger We Love: Run To The Finish

Written on June 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm , by

Amanda laces up her sneaks often, but isn't afraid to branch out!

Amanda from Run To The Finish sure loves pounding the pavement, but we dig her passion for all things athletic. Although running is her true fitness passion, her experiences with yoga, kickboxing and stand up paddle boarding prove that she’s willing to share the love! To return the favor, we found out which sport she’d be aiming for gold in if she hopped over to London, and what running gear she simply can’t live without.

I’m happiest when I’m: In the middle of a long run, having found a rhythm that allows me to simply move while sorting through my thoughts and visualizing an amazing future.

My motivation comes from: A sense of pride that I feel each time I accomplish a new speed, distance or workout. It’s a reminder that in life I can do more if I move past my perceived limitations.

My gym bag must-have: Oakley sunglasses. I didn’t realize how much energy I was wasting squinting during every run here in Miami, and they’ve stopped my headaches!

Olympic sport I’d love to try: Beach volleyball! If I could have picked a sport to do for a job it would have been this. I love being outdoors and these women are serious athletes.

My fave fit snack: Dessert hummus has become my go-to because I love sweets, but need protein. Here’s how I make it:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots (sometimes I swap for zucchini!)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 dropper vanilla stevia

Blend the above ingredients in a food processor and then stir in some fruit! I love cherries, blueberries, peaches or whatever else is in season.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

Serve Up an Eco-Brew for Dad This Weekend

Written on June 12, 2012 at 11:00 am , by

Every six-pack comes with its own churchkey, and instructions for easy opening. (Photo courtesy of Churchkey Can Co.)

Trying to think of something thoughtful and creative to get Dad for Father’s Day? If you’re on the West coast then step away from the ties and buy him some beer instead!  The Churchkey Can Co., a craft beer line created by former Entourage star Adrian Grenier and friend Justin Hawkins is out just in time for beer fanatics to enjoy for summer.

Developed as an ode to the original 1935 flat top canned beers this Pilsner is nostalgic, light and organic. Dad will have to use an old churchkey to punch two holes into the can, which was the originally method of opening beers before the pull-tab was invented. The vintage look of the can makes it a great collectible when it’s empty or to use around the house as a pencil holder, planter or anything else you can dream up of.

These beers are doing some social good, too. The cans are made up of steel beam, which is 70 percent more recycled than aluminum and infinitely recyclable. And by buying craft beer, you’ll be supporting small, local businesses that will help the craft community flourish.

Churchkey is available in Seattle and San Francisco but will be rolling out to New York, LA, Chicago and Austin and online sales in August. For more information and store locations visit churchkeycanco.com or the Churchkey Can Co. Facebook page.

6 Exercise Boosters to Fuel Your Next Workout

Written on June 7, 2012 at 11:00 am , by

Mix some raisins in your morning bowl to get your muscles ready to work later. (Photo courtesy Chris Gallo)

Imagine eating an entire pizza and then going for a 3-mile jog. You’d feel pretty gross, right? Though that’s a drastic example, it’s no secret that what we eat is directly related to how our bodies feel, especially when exercising. To help you get the most out of your next sweat session FITNESS advisory board member and author of The Flexitarian Diet Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D. shared the best snacks to eat before, during and after your workouts on behalf of Vita Coco Coconut Water to keep your energy levels high and recovery time low.


  • Raisins: Blatner says that studies show raisins works just as well as sports gels at providing pre-exercise muscle fuel. Aim for two tablespoons right before you head out.
  • Green Tea: Research suggests that the compounds in green tea called catechins may help burn more fat while you exercise. Plus, the caffeine in green tea will help you shake your sluggishness and is much healthier than chugging a soda.


  • Vita Coco Coconut Water: Perfect for casual fitness buffs or hardcore exercisers, coconut water hydrates just as well as a sports drink. It contains all the good stuff, like carbohydrates, electrolytes and potassium that your body needs when you exercise and none of the bad stuff, like loads of sugar and artificial sweeteners.
  • Water: On days you work out 30 minutes or less water should be your main hydrator. Blatner suggests doing the weight test to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids during your workouts. Weigh yourself before and after you exercise, the goal is to not have any change, since weight loss is a sign that you’re not drinking enough. If you do see your weight drop, drink an extra 16 to 24 ounces for each pound lost.


  • Tart Cherries: Studies show cherries may decrease muscle soreness and inflammation. Eat a cup of unsweetened frozen fruit or 100 percent juice.
  • Green Smoothie: Latest research shows a healthy compound called nitrate in leafy green veggies helps muscles work more efficiently. In a blender, puree a cup of leafy greens, like spinach, 8 ounces of low-fat milk and 1/2 cup frozen berries to recover faster.

More from FITNESS: The Top 7 Foods for Runners


The Skinny Food Every Girl Should Start Eating

Written on June 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm , by

Chobani yogurt has three different strains of probiotics, which aid in digestive health and immune function. (Photo courtesy of Chobani)

When chatting with experts this month for our story, 10 Skinny Foods You Should Have on Hand, there was one snack all pros agreed on– Greek yogurt. True, it’s a great source of calcium, and an easy way to satisfy a sweet tooth craving without diving head first into a pint of ice cream, but what exactly is it about yogurt that makes it such a superstar snack? Chobani registered dietician Kara Lydon gave us the dish on why you should incorporate more Greek yogurt into your diet, and what to look for before you stock up.

What makes Greek yogurt a healthier option over other kinds of yogurt?

Authentic, strained Greek yogurt packs in about twice the protein of regular yogurt, so it’s sure to fill you up. For those concerned with about their blood pressure or sodium levels it also has half the sodium regular yogurt does. It takes three pounds of milk to make one pound of Greek yogurt, so going Greek typically means more naturally occurring sugar.

Not all yogurts are created equal. What are some things to look out for on the label before you buy?

Look for one that contains only natural ingredients, no funny stuff you can’t pronounce. If you spot any artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or thickeners in the ingredient list steer clear! Check the protein content too and make sure it’s relatively high. Also, choose yogurts that are non-fat or low fat to cut back on excess calories and fat in your diet.

How can Greek yogurt beat bloat for bikini season?

To beat bloat in general, you want to look for minimally processed foods with low sodium content. The probiotics in yogurt may help fight belly bloat, too. Bloating can be caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, probiotics can help replenish and restore that balance.

Read more to get the recipe for Cucumber-Feta Chobani Dip.

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7 Healthy Lessons Learned From Fad Diets

Written on June 5, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

They may work fast, but fad diets rarely last.

Constant dieting may not be the best way to maintain weight, but chances are you’ve been on one (or two, or a few!) at one point in your life. And that can mean a lifetime of dieting failures, but there’s always something to learn from your attempts. Here are some lessons learned from those fad diets.

  1. Steer clear of empty calories (Low-carb diet): Low-carb diets like the Atkins or Dukan diets can be hard to maintain and aren’t always the healthiest eating choices to make, since you’re at risk for eating too much saturated fat in lieu of nutrient-rich (but also high-carb) produce like carrots. But what a low-carb diet does teach you is to rely less on refined carbs like breads and crackers, too, which can be the source of many empty calories for lots of people.
  2. Stick with whole foods (Paleo diet): Processed foods aren’t exactly waist-line-friendly, so the Paleo diet’s focus on fruits, veggies, meat, and anything else our foraging ancestors could get their hands on is a healthy principle. While grains and dairy may be off limits, Paleo dieters fill up on fresh produce and lean proteins.
  3. Keep your heart healthy (Mediterranean diet) There’s a reason why those living on the Mediterranean coast are so happy; their diet has been proven to help people live longer. As a diet craze, people turn to the Mediterranean diet to lose weight with its focus on fresh foods and low-calorie seafood, but the benefits of the diet, which is full of healthy fats found in fish, nuts, and olive oil, include lowering your risk of heart disease and brain aging.

Read on for more lessons learned from popular diets.

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Reasons Women Risk Skin Cancer For a Radiant Glow (and Why It’s Nonsense)
Ways to Slim Down Your BBQ
Eat Healthy Like Bethenny Frankel With These Tips

Thinking About a Juice Cleanse? 4 Ways It Can Cause Weight Gain

Written on May 22, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

Save the cash on a cleanse and opt for a healthy diet and exercise routine instead. (Photo courtesy of Peter Tak)

Whether it’s to improve energy, clear acne, spring clean the digestive system or shed a few pounds, juice cleansing is all the rage now. Even celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Richie are buzzing about the benefits of liquid detoxing. Before you splurge on a juicer or lay down the dough for a liquid detox program, learn how a juice cleanse may lead to weight gain.

  • Hard-to-measure liquid calories: Since all the calories you’re consuming are liquid, if you’re not watching your intake, it’s easy to consume well over the daily limit. (A pressed juice averages between 100-350 calories per 16-ounce bottle.) Make sure you have a plan to follow and an accurate way to determine how many calories are in each glass or bottle you’re drinking. Most retail juicing programs provide calorie counts, but are also pricey to join.
  • Messes with metabolism: A typical juice cleanse lasts anywhere from three to seven days (or sometimes longer), where you drink 32 to 64 ounces of freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juice each day. When your body doesn’t get the all the nutrients (or the amount of calories) it’s used to, it stresses out because it thinks it’s starving. Often the body reacts to this by slowing down its metabolism, which can make losing weight harder in the future. And while juicing is an easy way to deliver phytonutrients to the body, the fruit-based juices tend to be high in sugar, which can negatively affect insulin levels in the body.

Continue reading for more ways a juice cleanse can cause weight gain.

More from FitSugar:

Undo the Weekend With These Detoxing Recipes For Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Detox Asana: 8 Yoga Poses Away From a Cleaner You
Why Running Isn’t Helping You Lose Weight

The Goods on Gluten-Free Eating

Written on May 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm , by

Sorry, just because it's gluten-free pizza doesn't make it any healthier! (Photo by Amy Postle)

This month celebrates National Celiac Awareness Month; a condition that due to the reaction of eating gluten damages the lining of the small intestine, preventing it from absorbing certain parts of foods the body needs to stay healthy. As the disease is more and more talked about more and more people are wondering if gluten-free eating is a healthier option for everyone. To help debunk some common myths, we asked Tricia Thompson, MS, RD on behalf of Kellogg’s to give us the scoop on gluten-free diets and how to manage your meals if you can eat gluten, but your kids can’t.

Myths of a gluten-free diet:

  • The gluten-free diet is a low carbohydrate diet. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending upon how you look at it), there is a gluten-free version of practically every wheat-based carbohydrate-rich food. Examples include cookies, cakes, donuts, pizza, pasta, muffins, rolls, etc. The list literally goes on and on.
  • All gluten-free food is healthy. Just because a food label says “gluten-free” does not mean it is healthy. Many gluten-free foods are made using white rice, milled corn and various starches. These refined grains are not very nutritious. You want to look for gluten-free cereals, breads, and pastas that are made with gluten-free whole grains or have been fortified or enriched—meaning vitamins and minerals have been added to the food.
  • The gluten-free diet is a weight-loss plan. The gluten-free diet is a medically prescribed diet for people who have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and dermatitis herpetiformis (the skin form of celiac disease). Anyone can lose weight by eating fewer calories than their body needs but you do not need to follow a gluten-free diet to do this.

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Whip Up a Guilt-Free Mother’s Day Breakfast This Weekend

Written on May 11, 2012 at 9:00 am , by

Devin's mouth-watering breakfast recipes will wake Mom up with a smile. (Photo courtesy of Theresa Raffetto)

Want to spoil Mom this weekend with some breakfast in bed? Devin Alexander, author of The Biggest Loser Cookbook and The Most Decadent Diet Ever shared two of her favorite recipes with us to treat her taste buds without the side of guilt. Try one of these this weekend for a better-for-you brunch. Don’t forget to tell her to share with the cook!

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Devin Says: These pancakes are chock full of chocolate chips, so I prefer them without butter. If you like a more buttery taste with just a hint of chips, use only 1 tablespoon of chips and spread 1 teaspoon of light butter over the top of each pancake. You’ll add 17 calories and 2 g of fat per teaspoon. You’ll also notice that the recipe calls for very little syrup. Each teaspoon has 17 calories and 0 g of fat. And remember–pancakes have much more sodium than most people realize. If you get even a half stack at your local pancake house, you’re probably eating more than half of your sodium allowance for a day. That said, I usually eat only one or two pancakes for breakfast as a treat to follow an egg white dish instead of eating a big plate of them. You may want to do the same, since pancakes require baking soda and salt to rise, and thus I couldn’t reduce the sodium much here.


  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup whole-grain oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray
  • 4 teaspoons pure maple syrup, divided

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#140Wednesdays: What’s the Best Piece of Advice Your Mom Has Given You?

Written on May 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm , by

You were right, Mom–I do need more sunscreen! (Photo courtesy of Ericka McConnell)

Set your iCal and remember to give your mom a big smooch Sunday because it’s Mother’s Day! We might grumble and groan over all the advice she’s given us over the years (whether asked for or not), but along the way we’ve managed to pick up some pretty useful tips from her. Below, the best advice our Twitter followers have received from their moms. Read and add yours in the comments below!

@SinnerEllaDeVil: Try everything you can so you can do what you love. And don’t worry what others think, just be you and be happy.

@bananasadvntres: My mom taught me never to be afraid and to put yourself out there and try new things!

@myinnershakti: If I keep my intentions pure and follow my heart, I’ll never go wrong.

Now tell us: What’s the best piece of advice your mom has given you?

More from FITNESS: Mom, Thanks for the Gift of Fitness

Celebrate National Orange Juice Day With an Easy Lunchtime Dip

Written on May 4, 2012 at 11:42 am , by

Beat your 3 p.m. slump with this springy snack. (Photo courtesy of FDOC)

Not only is today Star Wars Day (Did you show up at the office dressed like Darth Vader?), it’s also National Orange Juice Day. The popular juice has started our mornings for years, and rightfully so. Drinking a glass when you wake up gives you a boost of vitamin C, reduces inflammation and can decrease bad cholesterol levels. Skipped this healthy sip today? Then make this quick dip for lunch or as your 3 p.m. snack from The Florida Department of Citrus. It’s tasty and doesn’t require you to wear your hair in weird side buns all day.

Fruit Skewers with Orange Dip


Orange Dip

  • 2 6-ounce containers lowfat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon 100% Florida orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated Florida orange zest

Fruit Skewers

  • 1 cup orange sections (1 to 2 Florida oranges)
  • 1 cup tangerine sections (2 Florida tangerines)
  • 1 cup grapefruit sections (3/4 Florida grapefruit)
  • 1 cup each red and green seedless grapes
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved


For the Orange Dip: In a small bowl combine yogurt, honey, orange juice and orange zest. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. For the Fruit Skewers: Alternately thread oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, grapes and strawberries onto each of 24 (6-inch) skewers. Serve with Orange Dip. Serves 12 (2 skewers each).

Nutrition info per serving: 60 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 10 g sugars, 2 g protein, 4% vitamin A, 45% vitamin C, 6% calcium, 2% iron