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4 Charity Races On Our Bucket Lists

Written on March 6, 2012 at 10:50 am , by

Wacky costumes for a very worthy cause! Runners take on The Lemon Run course. (Photo courtesy of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation)

I’m currently in training mode for my first half-marathon and am enjoying the experience so much that I’m already looking ahead to find more events to keep me motivated all year long! Having upcoming races on the calendar gives you a goal to work toward. Plus, visualizing yourself crossing the finish line with a personal best will inspire you to lace up your shoes (or clip into your pedals, slip on some goggles, etc.) when you’re feeling less-than-inspired. Bonus points if you’re raising money for a good cause at the same time!

With that in mind, we found four unique events held across the U.S. that we can’t wait to try.

Four Courts Four Miler

  • When and where: March 10 in Arlington, Virginia
  • Why: It’s a little late notice, but if you’re free this Saturday, try to beat the leprechaun in this fun run! The man in green begins 10 minutes after the gun goes off and tries to pass as many walkers and joggers as he can on the way to the finish. Snag a prize if you beat him, but don’t feel bad if you see him run on by. For every person the leprechaun beats, one dollar is donated to a local police charity.

Urban Assault Ride

  • When and where: March 26 in Tucson, Arizona; April 1 in Charlotte, South Carolina; June 3 in St. Louis, Missouri; June 10 in Minneapolis, Minnesota; June 24 in Austin, Texas; July 15 in Fort Collins, Texas; July 22 in Denver, Colorado; August 12 in Des Moines, Iowa; August 19 in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Why: Bored on your bike? Not during this race! Find a partner and tackle checkpoints around town, pedaling between each stop. Adding to the fun factor: There’s no set route or order to the checkpoints, so it’s up to you to pick what you believe is most efficient. Proceeds from each race benefits two or three charities in the host town.

Read more

Fashion Diaries: A Mexican Adventure

Written on December 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm , by

Hola from Playa del Carmen! I’m blogging straight to you from the gorgeous and brand new (like no one has slept in the sheets yet, new) all-inclusive resort, Paradisus Playa del Carmen, for the next few days! Crazy, I know. I’m pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to experience all that this resort has to offer and I am so excited to be here on behalf of FITNESS Magazine!

I arrived yesterday afternoon to a glass of champagne (hard at work, or hardly working? I’ll let you decide) and a lovely staff. Shortly after, I ate a fabulous lunch by one of the resorts many pools and then got to experience a tequila tasting with a few other editors who are on this amazing adventure with me. I learned so much about one of my favorite liquors, and here is a little secret tip for you…you can actually sip on tequila! Most of us are used to the quick shot, lime and salt tradition, but if you sip your tequila, like you would a scotch or brandy, you will be less likely to drink multiple glasses (or in some cases shots), therefore saving yourself some calories. See, I’m working here!

The rest of the afternoon was spent touring the massive resort, which is actually split into two separate sides: a family side and an adults only side. There are tons of pools, lots of restaurants, an amazing gym (which offers yoga, spinning, Pilates and basic aerobics!), a gorgeous spa, and so much more. You could spend hours walking around this place—which we did. Can someone say unexpected workout?! I love my job!

I’ll be back with more on Monday, including details about the spa. I’ll be getting a much needed deep tissue massage! Can’t wait!


7 Tricks For Stress-Free Travel

Written on December 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm , by

Take note to make any adventure more enjoyable, affordable and fun. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

John DiScala, or Johnny Jet as road warriors know him, is no amateur when it comes to hitting the road. The Travel Channel expert has flown 127,467 miles this year alone! Since a day at the airport can be more exhausting than a day at the gym, we screened Johnny Jet for his secrets to book, fly and sleep—minus the stress—just like an expert jet-setter.

  1. Be flexible! “I just bought a ticket to Florida a couple days ago and only paid $168 because I left a few days earlier than planned (the 21st). You can sign up for airfare alerts to be notified when the best deals are available.”
  2. Go postal. “Ship bags and gifts ahead of time via FedEx or UPS ground five to seven days before your trip to make it affordable. If you do pack presents, don’t wrap them, because there’s a good chance the TSA will unwrap them.”
  3. But do come bearing goodies. “Bring a box of chocolates for the gate agents and flight attendants! You will get the best service and possibly even an upgrade.”
  4. Come early, come prepared. “You might have to sit around at the airport longer if you leave extra early, but it’s so much better than getting stuck in traffic or long lines and rushing. Bring something to keep you busy after you make it through security, like a computer, book, magazine or knitting project.”
  5. Try self check-in. “Always print your boarding pass at home so you are already checked in. You won’t miss the cutoff point, but I still recommend arriving two hours before domestic flights at large airports or 75 minutes at smaller airports.”
  6. Eat well on-the-go. “Your best bet is to go to a supermarket before you leave and bring non-liquid eats. But you can find some healthy options at major airports. I always get a shot of wheatgrass from Jamba Juice.”
  7. Mix it up. “When booking a hotel, try doing so with loyalty points and cash. For example, Hilton HHonors members can book a standard rooms with the a Points and Money reward. It’s a great option for those looking to save on a room who haven’t accumulated enough points for a free stay or prefer to save their points for future use.”

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Fit Blogger We Love: Danielle Abroad

Written on November 10, 2011 at 3:47 pm , by

Danielle loves sampling exotic, healthy cuisine.

Staying fit, healthy and balanced while away from home is a difficult task, which is why Danielle Abroad resonates so much with us. This passport-toting 20-something details how she balances indulgences with exercise, whether she’s near or far from familiar territory.

Here are five fun facts about the fit food blogger who offers a “nourishing glimpse” at life.

On my fit life list: I’m working towards being able to hold a handstand in yoga class, and eventually I’d like to run a half-marathon (preferably overseas).

I’m happiest when I’m: Visiting friends or family. So many people I care about live in other cities, or countries, and I love the opportunity to spend time with them and get to know the place they call home.

My biggest indulgence: Wine. I could probably do without dessert (not counting holidays) but I thoroughly enjoy the visual, aromatic and flavorful qualities of wine too much to ever give it up. Plus, it also has quite a few benefits, right?

My fitness mantra: “Just keep swimming.” I don’t actually swim all that often, but this phrase keeps me going whenever workouts get tough. It always helps me maintain optimistic perspective when my mind is telling me I can’t.

Olympic sport I’d love to try: Fencing. These days it may mostly be under-appreciated but I love the historical combination of speed, endurance, precision, flexibility and even strength. It’s a beautifully competitive dance of sorts.

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

Aloha Hawaii: My Must-Have Packing Picks!

Written on June 9, 2011 at 11:34 am , by

One of the places I'll be, the Grand Hyatt in Kauai—absolute paradise! (Photo courtesy of Grand Hyatt)

I’m off to a very beachy, sporty and sure-to-be fabulous Hawaii vacation on Friday! It’s also my long-awaited honeymoon (we got married in February!)—so I’m counting down the minutes until we’re in paradise. I’ll surely miss my SoulCycle classes, hot yoga sessions and runs, but I’ll definitely be getting my burn on even while I’m away! Our agenda includes learning how to surf, going for hikes, cliff jumping, ziplining through the forest (I’ll need lots of upper body strength for that!) and running on the gorgeous beaches of Kauai and Maui.

Like all vacations, packing the right stuff is crucial—especially with weight limits and extra fees for luggage.You really have to think about what you’re putting into those bags! Here’s my packing list that will guarantee that I’m well suited for any occasion:

So cute! (Photo courtesy of O'Neill)

O’Neill Superkini

When I’m learning how to surf at the Ty Gurney Surf School in Oahu, I’ll need the right bikini that will stay in place when I get hit by waves. O’Neill has introduced their newest style, which offers twice as much stay-put protection as the standard bikini. When I first tried on this suit, it felt and looked the same as any of my other bathing suits, except the interior fabric is extra soft and made with a material called Nanofront (which will stick to me when it gets wet). I’m psyched to wear it when I try to ride those waves!

The Ty Gurney Surf School specializes in individualized lessons catered to your surfing needs, and they’ll have their work cut out for them with me! I’m scared, frightened and totally nervous to try this sport. Surfing is one of those bucket list dreams for me, something I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve put it off because I’m pretty scared of big waves and the possibility of playing with sharks. Yes, I love scuba diving and have enjoyed this many times so I don’t know where my fear of surfing comes from. But I’m ready to tackle this challenge and cross it off of my list! When you’re in Hawaii, I thinksurfing is something you have to try. And since pro Ty Gurney himself will be teaching me how to do it, I’m feeling more confident about this. He’s been surfing as long as he could read and even won a major championship on Hawaii’s North Shore when he was seven! I’d say I’ll be in good hands. (Check back in a few weeks for an update on how I did!)

For more luggage musts, Read more

Fit Blogger We Love: Iowa Girl Eats

Written on May 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm , by

Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats.

Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats loves to indulge with anything sweet.

We adore the gorgeous food photos, tempting recipes and down-to-earth attitude that Kristin shares on Iowa Girl Eats. And her philosophy of “Eat Well. Run Often. Travel Far.” is something we certainly support! Kristin recently told us about her top three go-to snacks and the song that helps her ab exercises fly by.

I’m happiest when I’m: Exploring a new city, state or country with my husband. We love to travel, and the best way to learn about a new place – and stay fit while you’re doing it – is to see it on foot.

My fave fit snack: A sliced Honeycrisp apple and sharp cheddar cheese is my ideal snack, with sliced bananas dalloped with Justin’s Maple Almond Butter or Honey Graham Clif Z Bars getting honorable mention.

My biggest indulgence: Candy. I have the sweet tooth of a 12-year old! Sour Patch Kids, Starbursts, Skittles and Sour Punch Straws—I love it all!

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: I can’t help the fact that Pour Some Sugar on Me,” by Def Leppard happens to have the perfect beat to do crunches to…

My fitness mantra: My favorite form of exercise is running, and whenever I feel like quitting mid-run I use a variety of techniques to keep myself going. Repeating “pain is temporary, accomplishment is forever,” or “anyone can do anything for 5 minutes!” in my head always gets me a little bit farther!

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

Fit Vacation Location: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Written on April 19, 2011 at 11:53 am , by

Look Ma, it's a moose!

Look Ma, it's a moose!

Want to ski, snowboard, run, mountain bike, white water raft or practice yoga, all while being surrounded by absolutely gorgeous scenery? Head out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I recently had the opportunity to check out what Jackson has to offer, thanks to the folks at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Hotel Terra, a LEED certified (translation: super eco-friendly) hotel located right on the mountain. While spring temps were starting to warm up back at home, I was lucky enough to be in town during the last week of ski season. I hear it’s just as incredible in the summer—with lots of sun and tons of activities to choose from, no snow needed. The highlights:

It snowed every day (550 inches this season—and it’s still snowing!). I spotted Olympic Gold medalist Hannah Teter at breakfast. Need I say more? It’s the number one reason travelers and ski pros alike hit Jackson Hole: It’s snow nirvana.

Editors, ready to hit the slopes!

Editors, ready to hit the slopes (I'm on the right!)

I was super excited to try my feet, and apparently my arms, legs and core—hello, burn!—at snowboarding (for the first time ever). I suited up in comfy Smartwool base layers and Eddie Bauer First Ascent outerwear, ready to hit the mountain…and had a blast! The instructors are super knowledgeable; had I not had a lesson, there’s no way I would have made it down without a few bumps and bruises.

Yoga (at altitude) was a welcome stress and soreness reliever. The yogis from Yoga Today, a website that allows members to download hundreds of virtual classes anytime, hosted a session full of centering and energizing poses.

Grand Teton National Park—a stunning sight, along with nearby Yellowstone—was still closed to all traffic due to feet and feet of snow, so instead, we headed down to the National Elk Refuge where we spotted bighorn sheep. They get right up close, munching on the grass behind you.

If you’re looking for fun, fitness and a wilderness-filled vacation, check out Jackson Hole. It’s absolutely beautiful.

Need more fit vacation ideas? We’re highlighting destinations for summer fun in our July/August issue. Keep an eye out for it in June!

Yoga Vacation + 5 Perfect Yoga Songs

Written on February 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm , by

At last year's Wanderlust Festival (photo courtesy of Tinywater)

This looks hard! (Photo courtesy of standard.wanderlustfestival.com)

Yoga + beach + live music = The perfect girlfriends’ getaway. Wanderlust Festival is coming up at The Standard Spa in Miami Beach, Florida, so get your om on from March 17 to 20.

Learn from a slew of different yoga teachers, including Cameron Shayne, founder of Budokon (that’s the yoga-meets-martial-arts practice that’s adored by celebs such as Courtney Cox and Malin Ackerman). That’s his picture — impressive, right?

In addition to poolside meditation workshops and live music performances, there will be more than 30 yoga classes offered. We’re intrigued by Christy Nones’s “Twist and Shout into Backbends, the Anusara Way.” We caught up with Nones, who teaches the popular H2OM yoga class at The Standard Spa, to get her go-to yoga playlist (it’s about 30 minutes):

OMg (Photo courtesy of standard.wanderlustfestival.com)

“All I Need” – Air
“Calling” – Nightmares on Wax
“Indra” – Thievery Corporation
“La Femme D’Argent” – Air
“Marilyn Set Me Free” – Casino Versus Japan

The festival isn’t cheap, but you get some serious yoga bang for your buck: Rates start at $1,530 (that’s three nights/four days and includes yoga, music, lodging and access to the spa). If you share a room with two of your yoga-loving pals, it breaks down to $750 per person. For details, check out the festival’s website.