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Fit Blogger We Love: The Concrete Runner

Written on December 13, 2012 at 8:30 am , by

Kristen takes advantage of a jogging stroller to still fit in her workouts – we love it!

When we sign up for running races, we’re usually just happy to be outside, soaking in the weather and enjoying the camaraderie among all the happy-to-be-there runners. But for Kristen, there’s a little bit more to it: this girl actually wins races! We can’t help but be in awe when we click over to The Concrete Runner and soak in her different experiences, especially now that she’s balancing life as an athlete and new mom (and OK, we admit it: we can’t stop looking at the photos of her adorable daughter). Who knows, maybe some of her speedy secrets will rub off on us?

My favorite way to workout: I love to run! It’s always the best part of my day and keeps my stress levels down (for the most part).

My biggest indulgence: Frozen custard or ice cream – I eat ice cream for dessert almost every night. It helps curb my craving so I don’t overdo it!

My “I Did It” moment: Winning my first 5K. I’ve never worked so hard or raced smarter than I did that race. It was one of the best moments of my life!

My biggest motivator: My daughter. I want to be a healthy role model as she grows up, and I hope that someday she’ll want to run with me!

Olympic sport I’d love to try: Gymnastics! I’ve always loved tumbling, but was told I would be too tall for gymnastics. I wish I was as athletic as Olympic gymnasts are!

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

Tools to Conquer Your Cardio

Written on December 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm , by

Bye, bye boredom! Cardio Star gives you the extra oomph you need to power through your routine with your very own personal trainer. (Photo courtesy of Motion Traxx)

Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern

Running on the treadmill—or should we say “dreadmill”—can become monotonous, especially during the winter months. Spare the hefty cost of a personal trainer but get the same challenging workout (and results!) with Cardio Star by Motion Traxx. The audio workouts feature power walking, running, cycling and more with leading fitness instructors. In need of some fitness mojo? The custom, interval-based music mixes offer positive yet intense routines that give beginners and super fit athletes the extra push they need to burn calories fast.

“We designed the Cardio Star albums to make it easy to do High Intensity Interval Training—a very effective training technique,” said DJ Deekron, the creator of the tracks. “Plus, the albums give the listener access to coaching from top instructors they normally would not have access to.”

Very effective? You can say that again. This method helps you burn nine times more fat than regular cardio. Take it from us, we gave it a try and loved it—you will, too! Cardio Star audio workouts are available on iTunes and Amazon for $9.99.

“The album helps lead you through the workout,” said H.I.T.T. mix coach, Jessica Smith. “I’m there to help coach you, motivate you and guide you.”

More from FITNESS:

Running Across America on the Great Lung Run

Written on November 21, 2012 at 8:16 am , by

Despite common misconceptions, lung cancer isn’t just a disease for smokers. One in five American women who contract lung cancer this year will be non-smokers. To raise awareness and funds for this disease, and to honor a friend who lost her battle to lung cancer at only 22, Kelcey Harrison, a 24-year-old Harvard grad, is running across America. We caught up to the runner in the middle of her journey (she is expected to reach San Francisco on December 1st!) to find out more about her quest.

Kelcey running across the country in style to honor her friend and support lung cancer research.

What made you decide to run across the country to raise funding for lung cancer?

I had graduated from college and moved to New York City after my childhood friend, Jill Costello, passed away from lung cancer. She was diagnosed in June 2009 and passed away almost exactly one year later in June 2010 at just 22 years old. She had never smoked and was the picture of health until her diagnosis. She was a college athlete – a coxswain at Cal Berkeley and continued to row with the team even after her diagnosis and as she endured numerous rounds of chemo, radiation, and doctors visits. She also continued to attend classes and graduated from Cal in May 2010. In addition to all of this Jill began working with the San Francisco based Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation to raise funds and awareness for lung cancer. The main goal was to begin to erase the stigma that faces lung cancer patients. This stigma has drastically stymied fundraising and research. After Jill passed away a group of us formed Jill’s Legacy to carry out her last wish to “beat lung cancer BIG time.” We aim to motivate the young generation to mobilize and really raise their voices for lung cancer. As a member of the board, but living in New York City, I felt that I was unable to contribute as much to our cause as I would have liked. I was trying to come up with something that I could do for Jill and for our board when I began developing the idea to run across the country in honor of Jill and in order to raise money and awareness for lung cancer.
How did you prepare for this journey?

The prep work for this journey was mostly in the planning–figuring out the exact route and where I would sleep, creating a website, and working with Jill’s Legacy to determine how to publicize the run. I played soccer throughout my childhood and on the Women’s Varsity team at Harvard University as well as have run several marathons and a number of half marathons, so I have always been an athlete. In terms of training for this run I simply began running longer distances and once I was able to do 30 miles in one day I knew that I would be able to do that distance for consecutive days. I settled on a goal of covering 30 miles a day from New York City to San Francisco and determined that it would take about 4 months. Read more

Fit Blogger We Love: Live Run Love Yoga

Written on November 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm , by

Whitney always gives us the reminder to show our bodies some love.

While some of us discover our passions later in life, Whitney from Live Run Love Yoga found hers early: running and yoga. The fitness enthusiast has been active since she was a young girl and hasn’t stopped since! Now an accomplished marathoner who loves flowing through sun salutations just as much as she enjoys lacing up her sneaks, Whitney’s page is one we often turn to when in need of a good stretch (we admit, we don’t always practice as much as we should!). Keep reading to find out which races she has her eye on and what beauty product might need to make its way into your gym bag.

My favorite way to work out: I love to hit the pavement for a run and then find my way to the yoga mat to stretch out my tight muscles. Not to mention it works my abs and upper body!

On my fit life list: Complete the World Marathon Majors! I’ve run the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon and the Chicago Marathon. Next up, London and Berlin! I also really want to run the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco!

I’m happiest when I’m: Doing anything that involves running or yoga! Whether it’s running or working a race, talking or blogging about those subjects, or being in the studio practicing, teaching or learning. I’m fortunate that my jobs are my passions!

My gym bag must-have: Yes To Cucumber or Yes to Blueberry Facial Towelettes. They’re so refreshing; I love them!

My motivation comes from: Myself! It’s my own love of running and yoga that gets me out of bed at 5am or through a 20-mile long run. I love the satisfaction and sense of confidence that my runs and practice provide; it’s what keeps me coming back for more each day!

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

Visit Vegas to Run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Written on November 6, 2012 at 11:15 am , by

Before 2012 comes to an end, I’m squeezing in just one more thing. I’m heading out to Las Vegas—my first trip there!—to run in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series Strip At Night Half-Marathon taking place on December 2. I’ll fit in all my sight-seeing needs as I run 13.1 miles along the infamous strip! It’ll be my first race that doesn’t have me waking up at the crack of dawn to line up, and an added bonus for me: My husband is coming too and he’s running his first half-marathon! (Proud wife over here!)

This race attracts over 20,000 runners and it’s after the sun sets—so Vegas style! (Photo courtesy of Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series)

As a runner and triathlete, I’m always squeezing new races into my calendar, but as you can see this one leaves me with only 5 weeks to train! And let’s just say I haven’t pounded the pavement nearly as much as usual these past few months. That’s why I was in desperate need of a quick, but manageable half-marathon training plan that fits my needs. Luckily, two-time U.S. Olympian, Alan Culpepper, and Operations Director for the Rock ‘N Roll series, whipped me up an amazing plan that I began last week.

I’m always amazed at what the body is capable of if you teach it what to do. Every day last week, I did my miles, adding on a few minutes each day, and by this weekend my body remembered all those miles it used to log and running began to feel natural again. Believe me, starting something is always the hardest step to take. Try this tip: Hop on your treadmill for 20 minutes (or two miles) and every day add on five minutes (or half a mile). You’ll be able to see how easy it is to progress when you break it down like this—and the miles won’t seem as intimidating too. (Read on for more training tips) Read more

Last Year’s ING Top American, Molly Pritz, Returns to NYC

Written on November 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm , by

“Although running is an individual sport, the support of others is the only way I could continue to pursue my dreams,” said Molly. (Photo courtesy of ASICS)

A year ago, Molly Pritz was the top American female runner to cross the ING New York City Marathon’s Central Park finish line, making a remarkable marathon debut with a time of 2:31:52. Molly, an ASICS elite, will be back this Sunday hoping to repeat her success in the Big Apple after battling an injury and moving across the country for better health and fitness resources. We talked with Molly about her training (she logs around 110 miles a week!) and found out the 24-year-old’s future running plans. Here’s what she had to say:

What went through your head last year as you crossed the finish line?
My blood sugar was so low for the final few miles, I honestly could not figure out how many miles I had left at mile 24. This left me unsure if I had even crossed the finish line when I did! Luckily, a nice volunteer informed me that I crossed the finish line and my immediate reaction was pure euphoria. The adrenaline and “runner’s high” going through my body after that was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I knew, immediately, that I was going to do everything I could to run the ING NYC Marathon again the following year.

What have you been doing to prepare and improve, compared to the past?
I went into last year’s marathon segment coming off of a stress fracture that left me with a short eight weeks to build back my mileage and regain my strength. Consistency with training is the key to increased fitness, so this time around I vowed to do everything I could to stay healthy. I moved from Michigan to Boulder, Colorado in order to have better resources for therapy to keep me healthy. I have also ensured that I am hitting hard workouts, but never making any week so hard that it puts my body over the edge. My training is very similar to last year, with a few longer tempos, but the paces are much faster even though I’m at altitude rather than sea level. For me, it is very exciting to track and compare my fitness level and workouts to other segments so I can see my hard work pay off. Keeping a training log has worked wonders for my motivation.

Besides running, what else does your training include?
I vowed to do strength and flexibility training three times a week to keep my body healthy and able to handle the high mileage and intensity needed to run a solid marathon. Full body strength training, not just core work, is essential to keeping me healthy and my stride powerful through those long tempos. Vinyasa yoga has also facilitated my recovery from hard sessions by bringing my body back in balance. Read more

Calling All Ultra Athletes! Run the US for a Good Cause

Written on November 2, 2012 at 10:21 am , by

Ashley Kumlien, the event’s founder running through Utah in 2010. (Photo courtesy of MS Run the US)

Tired of tackling marathons and ready to take on a bigger fitness challenge? If you consider yourself an ultrarunner (as in, running 20 miles a day doesn’t make you woozy just thinking about it!), then you could be the perfect fit for The MS Run the US 2013 Relay, taking place April 16 through September 17, 2013.

But don’t worry; you don’t have to tag along for the whole thing! The relay will cover approximately 140 miles per runner over the course of six days to raise funds and benefit The National MS Society for MS research, a disease that affects 400,000 Americans. The course, starting in Los Angeles, CA and ending in NYC will mimic the 2010 trans-continental run the event’s founder, Ashley Kumlien, ran on behalf of her mother’s 30th anniversary of her fight against MS.

There are currently 14 Running Partner spots still open for various cities, so if you’re interested, visit msruntheus.com for more information and an application. Not quite up for the challenge? Check out the page to see how you can donate or volunteer when the relay comes to your town.

Now tell us: Have you ever done a run for charity? Which one?

Fit Blogger We Love: It All Changes

Written on October 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm , by

We couldn’t agree more with Cynthia’s headband.

Change is  a big part of life, whether or not we like it, don’t you think? Sometimes, though, change can be a great thing. That’s what Cynthia decided back in 2006, when she decided that life at over 270 pounds was unacceptable and she deserved to be happy. So she made little changes and day by day, she dropped the weight. In fact, she’s lost 115 pounds and now lives a happy, healthy life! Sure, there are still every day struggles, but Cynthia openly blogs about them on It All Changes. And that’s why we love her -  without the struggles, there wouldn’t be triumph! Keep reading to found out more about her successes and why we love cheering her on.

My biggest indulgence: An allergy-free treat from Sweet Freedom Bakery in Philadelphia. My mom lives near there and it’s one place I know I can get a dessert and not worry about my allergies.

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: I have a lot of 80′s music that I work out to. The most embarrassing is “Get Down On It,” by Kool and the Gang. I always rock out to it when I’m doing squats and lunges.

My “I Did It” moment: Running a 5K after major back surgery. My doctors said I probably wouldn’t be able to do it, but I worked hard in physical therapy and was given the OK to go for it. I ran even better than I did in my first 5K!

Olympic sport I’d love to try: Skeleton. It combines my love for insanity by jumping head first down an ice course, and I’d need to work my core to steer and prevent a crash. Sounds like a thrill, plus you get a fun helmet.

My fitness mantra: “You can either throw in the towel, or use it to wipe the sweat off your face.” A friend told me this several years back and it has kept me moving and working through many ups and downs.

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

The Best Running Leashes Fit for Fido

Written on October 8, 2012 at 10:14 am , by

Charlotte and her running buddy, Nala!

In the October issue of FITNESS (on newsstands now!), we pooch-tested a slew of running leashes to help you find one that will keep you and your pup happy on a jog together. Our tester, Charlotte, runs with her dog Nala (a mix of Australian Shepherd, Spaniel and Jack Russell) almost every day, running 3 to 4 miles in the summer (depending on the heat) and up to 6 in the winter months! Below, see what Charlotte’s criteria for testing was, and her thoughts on the winning leashes:

1. Length: The right length depends on how big your dog is and how big you are. I’m 5’2, so a long leash would be overwhelming for me, as I don’t want my dog that far in front of me. If the leash is too short, there’s not enough clearance for the dog to have her gait and for me to have mine. We’re going to clash and trip over each other.

Winner: Ruffwear Flat Out leash
Size-wise this was just right. If I had a bigger dog, I would have to tie some knots in it so I could have better control, but Nala is only about 30lbs. so the knots weren’t needed. Other than that, this leash is nice and light and perfect for shorter runs.

Read more

Fit Blogger We Love: STUFT Mama

Written on September 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm , by

Lifting up those adorable boys must have helped Kristin sculpt those unbelievable arms!

True, she’s a marathoner, group fitness instructor and personal trainer, but we’re pretty sure any busy mom—or woman in general—will relate to STUFT Mama‘s Kristin. In a recent post, she hilariously used her compression socks as an excuse not to shave her legs (love those time-saving tricks!).

We love her humorous approach to all things fitness, so we asked this speedy mom of twins to share the tips and tools that keep her energized and how she treats herself after all those hard workouts.

My fitness mantra: I have a couple:

  1. “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.” I tell my clients that every step towards health counts, even if it’s a small one. We have the opportunity every day to succeed instead of letting fear or insecurity hold us back. Being uncomfortable and going for it is not a bad thing.
  2. “You can do anything you want, anything you put your heart and your mind into.” —Ronald Miller, Can’t Buy Me Love

My “I Did It” moment: When I finished my very first marathon right after my twins turned one. I always told myself that I wanted to be that person who stayed fit throughout pregnancy and then ran a marathon after having kids. That’s exactly what I did and now racing is a part of who I am. In a way I got to live the dream I always wanted. I have since gotten a Boston qualifying time.

My biggest motivation comes from: Being the best mom I can be to my boys. It’s hard to balance motherhood, career and taking time to exercise and take care of myself, but every day I want to lead by example and show my boys the importance of healthy eating and fitness.

5 things I can’t live without: My BOB double jogging stroller, Mizuno running shoes, egg whites, dark chocolate and espresso.

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: I have more than one Kenny Loggins song on my current playlist. “Footloose” is my favorite.

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