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Announcing: The Skinny Pins Contest!

Written on May 1, 2012 at 6:00 am , by

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Show us your go-to moves, recipes, inspiration and gear, and you could win a $100 American Express gift card!

Fitness Pin

When it comes to staying in shape, one great way to keep your eye on the prize is through visual reminders. That’s why we’re obsessed with Pinterest, the free social-networking site that lets you create your own virtual inspiration boards, instantly.

But it’s also fun to share what works for you! So in the spirit of good health, we’re inviting you to pin the stuff that keeps you strong and healthy: The exercise moves, recipes, motivating quotes, fitness gear, and more. A panel of FITNESS judges will check out the submitted boards and five winners will score a $100 American Express gift card.

Here’s How to Enter:

  1. Follow FitnessMagazine on Pinterest.
  2. Create a new Pinterest board entitled “The Skinny Pins Contest – Fitness Mag.”
  3. Fill that board with at least 10 pins. Of those 10 pins, at least 5 of them must be items (recipes, exercises, etc.) pinned from FitnessMagazine.com.
  4. Each pin’s description must explain why or how the pinned content keeps you in shape. Are tricep kickbacks your never-miss move at the gym? Do you keep the weight off with Greek yogurt? Tell us! This step is very important with the judging.
  5. Once your pinboard is complete, enter the contest by submitting the board’s exact url here.

Pinboards will be judged on effectiveness and believability of the pinned content, originality, adherence to the contest rules, and understanding of the FITNESS lifestyle and voice. The contest is open from May 1 through May 31.

Disclaimer: You must be a member of Pinterest.com to enter and you must follow Fitness Magazine on Pinterest. If you do not have a Pinterest account, you can sign up here.

Official Rules

3 Easy Ways to Break Out of Your Cardio Rut

Written on December 9, 2011 at 8:30 am , by


tired girl on stability ball

Photo courtesy of Spark People

By Jennipher Walters, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor, SparkPeople.com

Are you bored with your cardio workout? Are you already dreading the stair stepper workout that you have scheduled for tomorrow morning? When you’re in a rut, it’s easy to fall off the fitness wagon because motivation and excitement are G-O-N-E.

So how do you get your aerobic mojo back? You shake things up! Here are a few super-simple ways:

1. Change Your Soundtrack.

New tunes: Downloading news song is a fast way to bust out of your cardio rut and get you happily moving. When you have your headphones on, no one else knows what tunes you’re playing, so play whatever you want! Studies have shown that music is motivating, but if you’re bored at the gym, it may be time to shake that playlist up.

OR…Try no tunes: If new music isn’t doing it for you, try doing your workout sans tunes. Listening to your own breathing and the sounds and sights around you can be an incredibly meditative experience that can turn your cardio from boring to darn near spiritual. And if quiet isn’t your thing, try downloading a podcast or an audio book. You can get through your to-read list and get in shape. Now that’s multitasking.

2. Change Your Location.

Avoid the gym: If you’re a gym rat and pretty sick of the first half of that nickname, maybe it’s time for a change of scenery! Move your workout outdoors or create your own home gym. Even a new DVD or two can mix things up!

OR…Go to the gym: If you always hit the great outdoors for your cardio or always walk on the treadmill while catching up on TV, moving your cardio sessions to a facility with other exercisers and a fitness-centered environment may be just what you need to re-spark the love of your workouts. Sure, a health club membership costs money, but if it comes down to not working out or paying a monthly fee, wouldn’t you rather cut a few costs in your budget and stay motivated?

3. Change Your Intensity.

Try a longer, less intense workout: If you can usually only set aside 10 to 20 minutes for exercise, make those minutes intense, switch it up by setting aside extra time to make your workout longer and less intense. By doing a longer, less intense workout, you’ll give yourself time to really enjoy the activity without rushing or trying to burn as many calories you can in a short amount of time. Pick an activity that you love—dancing, walking, hiking—and enjoy it!

OR…Try a shorter, more intense workout: If you’re the type of exerciser who would rather walk for an hour than run for 5 minutes, then maybe it’s time for you to swap your low-intensity sweat sessions for shorter, more intense workouts. This is an especially good trick if you spend most of your mental energy watching the clock wishing your long workout was over.

Get 3 More Ideas for Breaking Out of Your Cardio Rut!


More from SparkPeople:

Sneak It In and Tone It Up

Blast More Fat with These Workout Tweaks

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Carve Your Body—Not Just Your Pumpkin—This Halloween

Written on October 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm , by

Try the lurking lunge—it works your core, upper and lower body all at once! (Photo courtesy of NYSC)

Halloween is traditionally celebrated with more sweet treats than sweat sessions. The biggest workout many of us get on October 31 is from walking the kids from door to door in their cute costumes to trick-or-treat! But why not squeeze in a little strength training before you steal a few M&Ms or pieces of candy corn from the stash? (Hey, even Joy Bauer says it’s OK to splurge on five fun-sized items!)

New York Sports Clubs (NYSC) is offering a “Carve Your Body Pumpkin Workout” class to help Halloween revelers find a healthy way to enjoy the day. Members and non-members are welcome to attend a free holiday-themed class at the NYSC location on 41st Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan tomorrow or Monday at 2 p.m.

But if you’re not in the area, simply grab one of your uncarved pumpkins (or feel free to substitute a medicine ball for the pumpkin to do any of these moves year-round) and try this circuit at home.

  • Lurking Lunges: Stand in a split stance with right leg in front, left leg in back. Holding a pumpkin, extend arms in front of you. Bend knees and lower into a lunge, keeping front knee behind the toe. At the bottom of the move, rotate core 90 degrees to the right and then 90 degrees to the left. Do 20 reps.
  • Tombstone Twist: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and pumpkin in hands. Extend arms so pumpkin is at chest height. Rotate arms from and upper body from side to side, pivoting your opposite foot for more range of motion. Do 20 reps.
  • Creepy Crunches: Lie on your back with hands holding a pumpkin over your chest, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor about two feet apart. Lift legs vertically, toes pointing toward the ceiling. Lift your shoulder blades off the ground and extend pumpkin vertically toward toes. Do 20 reps.
  • Repeat circuit of lunges, twists and crunches twice more.

 Now tell us: Do you plan to exercise on Halloween?

10 Fun Ways to Burn Calories at the Beach

Written on August 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm , by


Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

There are tons of fun, active ways you can torch calories and get a workout during a beach escape, without even realizing it. Check it out:

1. Building a sandcastle: 100 calories/hour
Indulge the kid in you! If you dig sand and carry it, and place your castle further away from the water, you’ll make multiple trips to and from your castle/water using your legs, core and arm strength to heave full buckets. That’ll burn 2-3 x the calories and give you an “interval” type workout. Boost the burn: Add some isometric holds or try a few biceps curls when your buckets are full or sand or water to work your muscles!

2. Playing Frisbee: 175 calories/hour
Frisbee is a fun activity that engages your shoulders and arms while improving hand-eye coordination. Boost the burn: Add some running or jump up to catch the Frisbee. For a real challenge, try tossing the Frisbee with your non-dominant hand. That’ll get your partner running like crazy to catch it, assuming your aim isn’t as good as your dominant hand.

3. Boogie boarding: 200-250 calories/hour
Boogie boarding uses your whole body, much like swimming does, but unlike surfing or paddle boarding, you don’t need as much skill, coordination or balance to do it. Plus it’s FUN and it gets your heart rate up high enough to count as a cardio workout. Boost the burn: Keep on kicking with your arms and legs as long as possible. Stays moving instead of letting waves passively pull you, and you’ll blast even more fat.

4. Jumping waves: 300 calories/hour
Perhaps one of the most fun things about the beach, jumping in the waves uses all the major muscles of your lower body, helping you build explosive speed and power. Plus, that water acts as additional resistance for an ever greater calorie burn and toning factor than jumping on land. Boost the burn: In addition to jumping when the waves come, mix in a little water jogging and you’ll burn 400-500 calories per hour!

5. Beach volleyball: 500 calories/hour
Beach volleyball calls on your hips and legs for running and jumping and your upper body for striking the ball — it also builds team spirit among all participants. Boost the burn: The fewer people on your team, the better your workout. When you have to cover more of the court, you’ll be running around and working up a sweat—but having fun while doing it!

*Calories burned estimates based on a 150-pound female.

CONT: 5 More Fun Ways to Burn Calories at the Beach

More from SparkPeople:

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The Heat is On: Outdoors Precautions

Get a Free Fitness and Weight-Loss Plan