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winter blues

The Get-Fit Benefits of Bodyboarding

Written on February 8, 2012 at 10:16 am , by

Bitzer started competing at age 17. (Photo courtesy of Maciel Dias)

Hitting a sandy beach may be the last thing on your mind in early February, but certain athletes train and compete in the surf year-round! To beat the winter blues, we caught up with Brazilian-born bodyboarding pro Roberta Bitzer to discover how she stays in swimsuit shape and why she loves the sport (which is like surfing, but instead of standing on a longboard, you’re lying on your stomach on a smaller, lighter board).

  • Make it a family affair. “Growing up, I was inspired to start bodyboarding because I saw how much fun my brother was having surfing. While in college, I took a trip to surf in New Jersey where I met pro surfer Jason Bitzer, who I later married! We’re still together and are out in the waves daily near our Hawaii home.”
  • Fear not. “Riding without risk of getting injured by hard equipment, like a surfboard, was a big draw for me. A toned body is a great reward in addition to the fun you’re having!”
  • Head to the islands. “Hawaii offers the best waves in the world for experienced riders, but any beach with a well-defined wave will make for a fun day.”
  • Score a strong core. “The sport trains the upper body, core and legs, but when I’m off the board, I focus a lot on core strengthening workouts. Since you’re laying on your stomach—and land on it after an aerial move—a strong ab and back muscles lead to a long and healthy career.” [Bitzer especially enjoys resistance tubing exercises.]

Now tell us: What warm-weather workouts are you most looking forward to?

Fashion Diaries: Brighten Up!

Written on January 27, 2012 at 10:12 am , by

It is usually around this time of year—after all of the fun holiday festivities are over and the new year has settled in—that winter goes from fab to drab. The twinkling lights of Christmas trees dwindle, all of the yummy treats have been eaten and the cold, unwanted winter air sticks around for much longer than many of us would like. And dare I say SNOW—thinking about it makes me cringe! If you are feeling like winter is getting the best of you, fear no more. I have the cure: Fun, colorful pieces to brighten up those winter blues!

  • After hitting the weights to work off all of those cookies you ate during the holidays, swipe on some of this Bobbi Brown lip gloss in cosmic pink. It will instantly brighten your face for a fun and fresh look.
  • Did your New Year’s resolution of working out more fail after only a few days? Run out of your rut by trying out these awesome neon green Saucony sneaks which will be sure to put a little pep in your step.
  • Does your iPhone lack some spunk? We’re totally digging this bright green Incipio phone case.
  • Be proud of your sexy, toned arms and rock some wrist-candy like this technicolor Dannijo bracelet. It’s super fun, don’t you think?
  • Break away from the boring black sports bra, by trying something in a cool color or print. This girly and fun heart-printed bra from Forever 21 is most definitely a winner in our books.
  • Attention all surfers! We’ve found the perfect tide watch (it’s Nixon!) to brighten your surf sessions.
  • There are tons of iPad and tablet cases out there on the market, but we love the sporty yet fashionable take on the Marc by Marc Jacobs version. And it’s neoprene! What could be better than that?!
  • Tote all your stuff to the gym in a Puma bag that’s roomy enough for all of the essentials.
  • Wearing these sunny yellow Sperry TopSider boat shoes on a dreary day will have you wishing it was summer more than ever. A girl can dream can’t she?

The 4 Best Workouts to Boost Your Mood On “Blue Monday”

Written on January 16, 2012 at 11:36 am , by

Each Lighten Up class ends with a bright light-enhanced meditation. (Photo courtesy of My Sports Clubs)

If you listen to certain Debbie Downers, today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year, aka Blue Monday. Why? Cardiff University experts say it’s a combination of the time since the holidays, weather, low motivation, debt (holiday bills…eek!) and recently failed resolutions.

One of the best ways to boost your mood: Exercise. “Many people would agree that they feel better—mentally and emotionally—after any workout, compared to when they started,” says Martica Heaner, Ph.D., a nutritionist, exercise physiologist and obesity researcher. “Plus there’s a psychological component. If you planned to fit in a run and actually made it happen, you can be proud that you successfully achieved a task.”

Heaner, a fitness instructor at New York Sports Clubs, designed a 50-minute cross-training class specifically designed to help you ditch the seasonal doldrums. The first 30 minutes of the “Lighten Up” class involves high-intensity cardio designed to release mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in participants’ brains. For the final 20, those in the class will catch their breath and destress with meditation and bright light therapy (which has been shown to help some regulate their sleep patterns). Individuals near a New York, Boston, Washington D.C. or Philadelphia Sports Club can take advantage of the class starting January 23 through mid-February. (For class schedules, visit mysportsclubs.com. And as a bonus, all My Sports Clubs locations are allowing members to bring a guest free today. That’ll lift your spirits!)

But if you can’t make it to a Lighten Up class, here are three other fit activities Heaner recommends to help you beat Blue Monday:

  1. A long run outside. The repetition helps you “reach a meditative state,” according to Heaner, and the fresh air and sunlight can perk you up.
  2. Zumba class. Fun, joyful movements and music lift your spirits.
  3. A yoga session. You can tune into your body, reflect mindfully and loosen up tight muscles.

“Your mood may be enhanced for different reasons for different activities, but what’s important is that you keep doing it,” Heaner says. “If you stop, the physiological and psychological benefits do as well.”

Now tell us: What’s your go-to mood booster?

Fit Links: Perfect Post-Workout Eats and Banishing the Winter Blahs

Written on November 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm , by

Fruit and yogurt, in a portion with less than 200 calories, is an ideal post-workout treat. (Photo by Melissa Punch)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

The Happy Light Review: Does Light Therapy Work?

Written on January 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm , by

If this thing could talk: "Don't worry, be happy!"

If this thing could talk: "Don't worry, be happy!"

Someone once told me that seasonal affective disorder (ie, seasonal depression) is all mental. That it’s my choice to decide how I feel for the day.

You know what? I think that’s phooey. I know my body and my mentality incredibly well…and if I happen to be grumpy and sluggish every single winter, I don’t think it should be dumbed down to as if I’m making a simple decision. Skinny jeans or leggings? That’s a decision. Happy or cranky? That’s a bit more complicated, thankyouverymuch.

So in my quest to combat me morphing into a seasonal sloth, I’ve started taking advantage of light therapy. The point of a light therapy device is that it mimics outdoor light…thought to then cause a chemical change in your brain to lift your mood and ease other symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. The Mayo Clinic explains it pretty well, if you want more info.

Onto the good stuff: how it’s worked for me so far. The Happy Light 6000, an incredibly bright lamp device, now sits on my desk at work. A few rants and raves about it: Read more