Written on October 29, 2013 at 10:09 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Michelle Bridges means business. In addition to appearing on television and authoring eight health and fitness books, The Biggest Loser: Australia star trainer has helped people across the globe lose a collective 1.6 million pounds with her online weight loss program 12 Week Body Transformation. With the program’s United States launch approaching in January 2014, we just had to try this Aussie’s at-home workout. The FITNESS verdict? Two thumbs up.
We met up with Bridges during her recent visit to New York City for a fat-blasting, 30-minute interval-training session, and man did we break a sweat! Her one-step-at-a-time weight loss strategy resonated in her workout design, which broke the routine down into 5-minute intervals. Within each interval, we pushed through 10 different exercises for 30 seconds at a time, earning one minute of much-needed rest before starting again.
Incorporating cardio and total body strength-training moves, the workout utilized pure bodyweight training to target every single muscle. The intervals also alternated the dominant muscle groups every 30 seconds to keep the body strong and balanced. Bridges combined old-school moves in inventive ways, like plank jack pushups and reverse lunge front snap kicks. And as if burpees weren’t already challenging enough, she had us lift and hold alternating arms and legs during the plank portion. Oh yeah, we felt the burn.
Tough moves aside, the format of the workout made time fly by. With only a few repeating moves, the routine required constant focus and kept the body guessing. And as the body fatigued, it felt far easier to dedicate 100 percent effort to an exercise when we knew it was only for half a minute. The mini goal design not only feels more doable, but also achieves a more effective workout. As far as at-home workouts go, Michelle Bridges knows how to help you make the most of little time and persevere through the pain.
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Written on October 7, 2013 at 9:46 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by editorial intern Gabriella Rello
Danni Allen proves it’s not so bad to be a loser. The season 14 winner of NBC’s The Biggest Loser shed an incredible 121 pounds during her 12-week stay on the show and gained something much greater in the process: a bright future. “It was about winning a life that I never knew I could possibly have,” Allen says. A new life that includes half-marathons, triathlons and daily 10Ks. What’s next for the Loser-alum? Running her first 26.2 before her 26th birthday! We caught up with the speedy long-distance runner and chatted training. Here’s what she had to say:
What was your biggest motivation to lose weight?
The biggest thing for me was when my dad got sick in February of last year. He was actually rushed to the hospital and I get the call that no daughter wants to hear that says, “Bring the whole family in.” In my head, I was like, “If I keep following in his footsteps, that is going to be me at 50.” A miracle happened and he’s okay, but that was my “Aha” moment that I needed to change.
You’re running in the Chicago Marathon on October 13–was this always a long-term goal of yours?
Goodness, no! Before The Biggest Loser I thought running was stupid. I was like, “Who would do this? My knees hurt, my legs hurt; I can’t breathe!” When I got on the show, I knew I needed a goal beyond the finale. I told myself, “If you find something you love, then continue with it.” Running was one of the first things I found I loved, so I really wanted to follow through. In past seasons they’ve always run marathons. Our season didn’t get to because we were so short. I felt short-changed! I’m running with St. Jude now. It was really fun to start doing that.
How are you training for the race?
I’ve had to be pretty strict with it. It’s all about getting your miles in. If you talk to anyone who’s training for a marathon, they have one long run a week. My trainer wanted me to learn how to run on dead legs, so whatever my long run is, I’m running half of it the day before. On Sunday I ran 20 miles, so on Saturday I ran 10. I have an awesome running partner, too, and we turn our long runs into our gossip time. We won’t talk all week and then we’ll get it all out on the road. She’s turning 40 next year and her goal was to run a marathon before her birthday. Mine was to run my 26 at 26.
How do you get yourself excited for races?
I have two pump up songs: “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys and “My Songs Knows What You Did In The Dark” by Fall Out Boy. I just get into it and my head starts banging.
Written on June 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Ever dream about hanging with a celebrity trainer every week while you get your sweat on? Now you can – just head to Flywheel Sports and look for Brett Hoebel on the schedule (you watched – in awe, we’re sure – his capoeira skills on season 11 of The Biggest Loser). He’ll be teaching at their Los Angeles studios, and making guest appearances in New York City. We scored seats in his debut ride at Flywheel’s Flatiron studio, and couldn’t stop raving about his crazy beats on our walk back to the office. But you know we’re not the type of girls to keep those tunes all to ourselves, so of course we nabbed the playlist before we left. Now get on a bike, blast each song and prepare for a serious dose of sweat.
Written on May 28, 2013 at 10:04 am , by Samantha Shelton
If you’re looking for a charismatic personal trainer who knows how to turn into a drill sergeant the second it’s time to work, look no further than Dolvett Quince. He makes up one-third of the trainer team on hit reality show The Biggest Loser, and now that we’ve met the man, we see why so many of the contestants love him. In NYC to promote Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles, Quince put us through a quickie circuit full of step-ups, squats and burpees, convincing us to keep pushing with his mega-watt smile shining after every set. We chatted with him in between gulps of water afterward to find out his favorite part of being on Loser.
Why did you choose the moves that you did for us in this workout?
Everything that I do is a combination movement. I love combinations. Why? Because I don’t have a lot of time. Most people that I train don’t have a lot of time. So what can I do to work the glutes, the legs, the shoulders and the core all at the same time? Do more than one movement in more than one way.
Do you like to do a lot of workouts just using body weight?
I love weights personally. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have them in their homes or offices. I like to show people they don’t need a gym or weights to get in a great workout. You can still do amazing things using just your body weight.
What are some of your favorite workouts personally?
The combination movements. I’m a huge fan of squats, lunges, core stuff, chest. I love doing both cardio and strength training every time I workout. Commit the same time frame – 10 minutes here, 8 minutes there – to maximize my time; maximize my results.
Written on May 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm , by Samantha Shelton
Ever wonder what goes on behind-the-scenes in Hollywood, where celebs strut their stuff and their publicists work tirelessly to make sure they look good? If so, then we recommend picking up The Star Attraction by Alison Sweeney. Available now, the first fiction novel from the host of The Biggest Loser takes us into the world of Sophie Atwater, one of the best publicists in Los Angeles. She loves her boyfriend, Jacob, her job and the thrill of working with the stars. But when hottie actor Billy Fox (think Ryan Gosling-level here, ladies) becomes a client, Sophie’s life quickly spirals out of control as sparks fly and she starts to fall for a client for the first time.
We breezed through this story in a few days, making it a great choice for devouring while lounging poolside or at the beach. Just don’t forget the sunscreen because you might get sucked into the story and lose all track of time. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
And if you want to know what compelled Sweeney to pen her first piece of fiction, we’ve got you covered there, too. We sat down with the actress and author to find out whether the scenes she created come from experience, and if we can expect a sequel sometime soon.
What made you want to dive into fiction writing?
I love to read. I gobble books up left, right and sideways. But I also love telling stories. And being apart of Days of Our Lives for 20 years has given me a million stories to tell. I’m so grateful for that. But you know, sometimes it doesn’t go the way I would want it to go as a fan. I wanted to write something that had the ending that I wanted it to have. It was so fun to get sucked into this girl’s life and tell her story.
You’ve said you read all of the time. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Well, my favorite author alive today is Jodi Picoult.
Yes, it was amazing! I did this book club on Twitter and Facebook and we read it right when it came out. It was amazing. She’s so inspiring and I just love her controversial topics. She’s amazing.
OK, back to your book. Sophie seems like she’s at a very different point in her life than where you are. Did you relate to her at all, or did you pull from your own experiences when creating her character?
Oh yeah, there’s a lot of her that’s in me, and vice versa. I think that her story is so interesting to me because she is growing and learning and finding herself, and that’s such a great thing for people to see and relate to. And the steamy, fun, romantic stuff – all the red carpet gossip – it’s all stuff I’ve seen in Hollywood, been a part of or witnessed, so it was fun to pull the curtain back a little bit.
Written on February 21, 2013 at 10:22 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Don’t be fooled by Brett Hoebel’s new 20-Minute Body workout. It may be quick, but this high-intensity routine is no joke. As the Fit or Flop judge and Biggest Loser’s Season 11 trainer recently tweeted, “We can not become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” Brett’s routine reflects just that, challenging every muscle group with the Brazilian art form of Capoeira. The fluid technique, rooted by movements invented by African slaves to mask self-defense training, shreds and sculpts for a long, lean look.
We recently got a taste of the speedy (but efficient) cardio-kickboxing session with Brett and trust us when we say our buns have never hurt so good after all of the executed squats, lunges, dance and martial art moves! The best part? All you need is a 4’-by-4’ space and your own bodyweight.
To get the blood pumping, Brett started off by leading us through a cardio series full of crosses, jabs, upper cuts, sidekicks and a bit of fancy footwork. Just when we thought we knew what was coming next, Brett asked the burning (literally!) question, “What time is it?” Throwing our hands in the air, we echoed enthusiastically in unison, “Bootytime!” before getting low for 60-second rounds of pulsing squats. Our glutes thanked us later…
A circuit with four sets of minute-long explosive isometrics came next, featuring low runner’s lunge-squat combos, crossover walking planks, jump squats and abs. Brett upped the difficulty each round, adding a “shake ‘n bake” shimmy/kick to the ab roll-ups and a mountain climber variation to the planks. Wobbly legs didn’t hold us back from giving Brett our all. His own beading sweat and encouragement helped us finish strong!
Brett’s new routine is expected for release soon with a soft launch of classes offered through March at 24 Hour Fitness locations in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. Until then, be sure to check out his other programs, RevAbs and reVamp, for a revolutionary total body tone.
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Written on May 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm , by Jenna Autuori
Usually I give you all a sneak peek into the trainers’ lives who create our popular Express workouts, however, this man really needs no introduction. But so many things are happening for our favorite TV and all-time trainer, Bob Harper, that I had to fill you in on some of his latest projects!
Bob’s first book, The Skinny Rules, was released this month (it’s already a New York Times bestseller!), he’s got a line of supplements called Smart Success on the market, and his new interactive website, BobHarper.com powered by Watch It Now Entertainment, is a totally cool online fitness club that anyone can be a part of. The website is the closest you’ll get to working out with Bob himself, without taking a trip to the ranch. You’ll also get daily videos of Bob leading workouts, giving cooking demos and providing you with motivational tips so you’re inspired to stay on track. Plus, the thinking is done for you—get new workouts to try everyday, three circuit exercises to incorporate into your routine each week and a group fitness class to join to get your social fix from. Of course, you’ll find a place to track your weight-loss progress, food journal and workouts as well as chat with other members (and other Bob-fanatics too). It’s only $9.95 a month, and compared to other weight-loss clubs, this one is truly a deal. And let’s be serious, part of the reason we couch-potato it up every Tuesday night is to see Bob make others sweat on national TV, so why not indulge every single day?
Check out my one-on-one with our beloved renaissance man, Bob Harper and see what he had to say about our 20th anniversary issue!
I love that Ben Ward, husband to Olivia Ward season 11 winner of The Biggest Loser, was part of the reason you were inspired you to write your book, The Skinny Rules. He said he followed you on Twitter and from that guidance he was able to lose 100 pounds before Olivia came home. That’s amazing! [Check out Bob's article "Eat What I Tweet!" HERE.] Do you have one rule that you make sure you never break to stay in shape?
I wanted to give people what I have been doing with my contestants on The Biggest Loser for a long time and that is a set of rules that they could live by that was going to give them the results that they wanted. I think the number one rule that you make sure you never break is to NOT DRINK YOUR CALORIES. All those sugary sodas, coffee drinks, and smoothies add up to a lot of calories and sugar. I would rather eat all my calories.
Written on February 14, 2012 at 9:51 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Kate Branciforte, editorial intern
It’s Valentine’s Day and we all know what that means—a day filled with flowers, cards and showing others just how much you care for them. But remember, you need to show yourself a little love too! February is American Heart Month, and the American Heart Association has released a one-of-a-kind Heart Health Forever Stamp to remind you how to be heart-healthy.
In addition to a new design, the stamps also come with heart-health prevention tips. Each sheet includes suggestions for how to eat well, manage stress, fit in exercise and successfully deal with health screenings.
“Prevention is the key to eliminating heart attacks and strokes,” U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D said at a recent press event. “We are giving Americans information and tools to make healthier choices to prevent tobacco use, access healthy food and find enjoyable ways to get regular exercise.”
There are 50 million of the 45-cent stamps available nationwide for sale in sheets of 20. Purchases can be made at most post offices, or at usps.com/shop.
And don’t forget to tune into weight-loss reality show The Biggest Loser tonight: Benjamin and Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe have teamed up with the popular show to help spread the word about these heart-helpful stamps. A new “Watch it. Write it. Win it,” 11-week sweepstakes launches during the show and amazing prizes are up for grabs: an all-expense paid trip to the Biggest Loser Ranch, four weeks of Biggest Loser-prepared meals delivered straight to your door, or two tickets (plus airfare!) to the show’s season 13 finale. All viewers have to do is send letters of encouragement to their favorite The Biggest Loser contestant(s). The more you send, the better the odds of winning—as long as they arrive separately and addressed to one contestant at a time, one letter guarantees one entry and there is no submission limit. Time to put your writing skills to the test!
For more information about the sweepstakes, visit usps.com/biggestloser.
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Written on January 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm , by Karla Walsh
Don’t you ever wish you could take a peek in the pantry or gym of the fitness and diet pros you see on TV to see if they really practice what they preach? We do too! That’s why we asked Jillian Michaels, celebrity personal trainer, author, motivational expert and soon-to-be mom(!), to share her top snack picks that keep her energy high on even the busiest of days.
“These snacks are quick, easy and they all taste good. Plus they’re preservative-free, contain no trans fats, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners,” Michaels says.
- Hummus and veggie sticks.“This is an incredibly healthy snack that’s filling and tasty,” she says. The protein from the chickpeas in the hummus and the fiber from the veggies will keep you satisfied.
- One hard-boiled egg and one piece of fruit. This combo offers an ideal proportion of healthy fat, protein and carbohydrates.
- Barbecue or sweet potato popchips. “A serving of popchips is packed with flavor and a great savory, salty crunch,” Michaels raves, and the 100-calorie bags are handy for on-the-go eating.
- Ciao Bella sorbet. Perfect “for when your sweet tooth kicks in,” she says, and it’s all-natural.
- 22 Days Protein Bars. “These bars taste amazing! Mocha Mantra is my favorite flavor,” Michaels explains. She loves that they use hemp protein, “which is great for you.”
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Written on December 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm , by FITNESS Editors
Guest post by Lara McGlashan, freelance writer
Though it was 45 degrees outside, the atmosphere inside the home of Chef Devin Alexander was warm and inviting, as more than 40 guests gathered over a healthy meal on the top floor of her southern California home. But these weren’t just any guests: these were Biggest Loser veterans!
With cast members in attendance from seasons 2 through 11, the camaraderie at Devin’s was palpable as she hosted the pre-finale dinner for season 12. Raucous laughter, insider stories and endless ribbing charged the evening with festive fun, as Devin served up a delicious meal featuring Jenny-O turkey, plenty of salad and greens, and some of her delectable brownie bites.
As they ate the delicious food and sipped Zevia soft drinks (and perhaps a glass of wine here and there—but who’s telling?) the group bonded over war stories and successes. Though many were meeting for the first time, somehow their collective journeys had already made them family.
FITNESS snagged a few choice sound bites from the festivities:
- Austin from season 11 has a serious girlfriend and a steady job working for a radio station in the Los Angeles area. His pick for the winner of season 12? Antone. “Because he’s young and funny, like me!”
- Seth and Pete from season 2 looked incredible, have kept off all their weight and are living healthy lifestyles. “Next time FITNESS needs a cover model, you know who to call,” joked Seth, making a muscle.
- Don and Dan Evans, the twin brothers from season 11, looked fit and trim, and joked and finished each others’ sentences as they enjoyed their meal. Rat bastards? We think not.
- Tara from season 7 related that she completed her Ironman in Hawaii and is gearing up to do another one in Lake Placid in the spring. Her pick for the winner: John.
- Jerry and Estella Hayes from season 7 came early and stayed late and looked every bit the fit couple that they were and still are! “We used to be the oldest success stories from Biggest Loser—until this season!” laughed Jerry.
As dinner wound down, Frado from season 10 put his booming baritone to use to corral everyone together to take a group photo. “He just has to hear himself talk, doesn’t he?” laughed Hannah Ward who was there with her sister Olivia, the winner of season 11 (Hannah was runner up). The powerhouse pair revealed that they have recently signed with an agency.
“We were getting all kinds of offers and we had no idea what to do with them!” said Hannah. “We needed someone to field them for us.”
“Yeah, they’re always too busy to see me,” joked Austin. “They text me when they fly into town, only to tell me they have a meeting and can’t have lunch, then fly out again. They’re so LA!”
As the evening wound down, everyone hugged and exchanged digits, Facebook addresses and emails. Tonight they will sit in the audience and watch as season 12 comes to a close, remembering what it was like when they were up there and welcoming a whole new generation into their family.
For the latest scoop from the sisters who appeared on the FITNESS September 2011 cover, click below.