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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

Do You Work Out on Vacation?

Written on May 27, 2011 at 1:43 am , by

Do you exercise in paradise? (Photo courtesy of Gwen Flamberg)

If you’re traveling for Memorial Day: Will you stick with your workout and diet plan or reward yourself with a (deserved!) day or two off?

Only 45 percent of Americans say they try to avoid gaining weight on vacation, according to a survey of 1,000 people commissioned by Marriott’s SpringHill Suites. Other interesting stats:

  • 55 percent say walking or jogging is their favorite way to exercise on vacation
  • Three times as many travelers use cardio machines compared to jogging outside
  • The top three ways that women stay fit while traveling:
  1. Cardio machines (31 percent)
  2. Jogging path (9 percent)
  3. Pilates, yoga or stretching (6 percent)

Now tell us: What are your favorite ways to get a fitness fix and eat right during a trip?

Hot Body, Hot Vacation!

Written on April 21, 2011 at 9:36 am , by

Wish you were here! Win a vacation while you get fit. (Photo courtesy of Flickr user BEST PHOTO)

By now, the middle of April, it seems like everyone is hitting the gym hard, cranking up their workouts and really getting their bodies into gear for the summer season (hello, sunshine where are you?). Vacations may be booked, perhaps weddings are on the agenda and there will be many occasions penciled into your calendars where you’ll have to wear sundresses and tank tops.

But if you’ve fallen behind schedule and haven’t gotten your rear in gear, I highly recommend checking out Crunch gyms Beach Body class offered nationwide. Why? Besides getting an amazing total-body workout, you will be entered for a chance to win a vacation to Mexico (more details T.B.A.!). The only caveat: you must attend eight classes in order to be considered as a candidate for this dream trip! Can you commit to two classes each week for a month, like I am?

Each week, the class focuses on a different body part, so the longer you stick with this the better you’ll work every inch of your body. The contest ends May 22nd, so check this out today and you’ll: A) have a new summer goal, B) get a hot body and C) possibly win a free week of luxury! Count me in.

For more info about the program, click here.

Here are two moves from the class that you can try today:

Chest Fly with Ab Challenge

  1. Lie on back with legs extended straight out and lifted a foot off the floor.
  2. Hold 5- to 10-pound dumbbells in each hand, raise arms over chest with palms facing each other and elbows slightly bent.
  3. Lower arms to the floor for two counts and return to starting position for two counts. Be sure to keep abs engaged and lower back pressing into the floor.
  4. Do 15 to 20 reps, lower legs and rest for one minute, then repeat.

    Glute Press

    1. Beginning on hands and knees, raise right leg up (keeping knee bent) for two counts keeping, then lower down for two counts. Repeat 10 times.
    2. Then raise leg for single counts 10 times.
    3. Finally, hold at the top and pulse for ten counts.
    4. Lower leg and repeat on left side. Repeat the whole circuit twice on each leg.

    Don’t have a Crunch near you or prefer working out at home? The You Can Do It! Beach Body Boot Camp program is a must. To snag a diet plan, track calories and win amazing prizes—sign up today!

    Image via

    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!

    My New Favorite Workout: Stand-Up Paddleboarding

    Written on March 16, 2011 at 11:38 am , by

    Paddleboarding off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island (That's me, third from the right)

    Paddleboarding off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island (That's me, third from the right!)

    Alright, so living in New York City doesn’t exactly permit me to paddleboard any old day of the week. However, I recently got the chance to tour Hawaii’s Big Island courtesy of the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort, where I took the opportunity to learn how to paddleboard in their gorgeous, ocean-fed lagoon.

    If you’re not familiar with stand-up paddleboarding, it’s exactly how it sounds: standing up on a surfboard while using a paddle to propel you through the water. Our guides from Hawaii Ocean Sports started our group off in the resort’s protected lagoon, which allowed us to get the hang of balancing on the board without the added challenge of the ocean waves. I was surprised to find myself engaging muscles I hadn’t used in awhile (hey there, lower calves!) and getting a pretty great ab workout as I used my core to stay upright.

    When standing up on the board, your upper body does most of the work to pull you through the water. But once we started to make our way toward the open ocean, our guide instructed us to drop to our knees (first to duck under a low bridge, second to avoid falling into shallow, rocky water). On my knees it was a whole new workout — though I no longer needed to work as hard to stay on the board, being low to the water required lots of ab strength to pull my big paddle through the water.

    This was, by far, the most fun workout I had in Hawaii (and I tried Aqua Zumba! More on that later…). It was amazing to be so mobile in the water, as opposed to simply riding waves back to shore on a traditional surfboard.  And, as you can see in the photo above, the scenery was unstoppable. I paddled past sea turtles and got up close to fish of every color imaginable — which sure beats my usual view from the treadmill!