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#140Wednesdays: What’s Your Quickie Go-To Workout Move?

Written on April 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm , by

Tweeps agree: Jumping jacks are a fast way to get your heart rate up and torch calories! (Photo courtesy of Jay Sullivan)

Unless you are a personal trainer (oh, you lucky folks who get to work out all day!) squeezing in a gym session can get tricky on a time crunch. We’ve all pulled out a living room plank once or twice and were probably pretty surprised with how effective on-the-go moves like this can be. So we’re curious– if you only had five minutes to exercise, how would you do it? Read below to see what our Twitter followers said and get the most sweat for your seconds!

@anji_rae: Burpees! As long as I have time to clean up after since I’ll be sweaty!

@conformistdiary: Mountain climbers!

@Jensosinfull: Jumping jacks, and lots of them! Maybe some jump rope, too.

@caityrogo: Planks are always a good way to go. A 5-minute plank would hit multiple parts of your body.

@_ChaCha_love: Spiderman push-ups and crunches.

@FITNESSkarla: Can I have five? One minute each of jumping jacks, jumping lunges, burpees (as hard as they are), push-ups and a plank hold!

@Stina_NY: If I only had five minutes I would do squats and lunges!

@stacysbootcamp: Jump squats, burpees, side-to-side push-ups, high knees and pull-ups. Ouch!

@Fab_ByNature: Two minutes of jumping jacks, two minutes jumping rope and one minute of abs.  #WORK

6 Moves to Feel Super Light From New Balance Fitness Ambassador Holly Perkins

Written on March 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm , by

Holly gets in a deep quad stretch while showing off the new 895 New Balance SuperLight/SuperFresh collection. (Photo courtesy of New Balance)

Last week I got the chance to enlighten my mind and my feet while testing New Balance’s latest walking shoe (featured in our 2012 FITNESS Sneaker Guide!) with a tour of the Guggenheim Museum in NYC. While I enjoyed soaking in the art, my feet were pretty pleased as well. The 895 SuperFresh/SuperLight collection is made with REVLite cushioning technology in the midsole. That paired with an egg crate-like design on the outsole makes slipping on these sneaks feel like a tiny massage for your toes.

As a special bonus, New Balance Fitness Ambassador Holly Perkins led our walking tour and shared six exercises every woman should be doing. Since only a few of these make a regular appearance in my gym routine, I shared them below so you can add the moves you are missing.

1. Sumo squat: Start with feet wider than shoulders width apart, toes pointed out and knees over toes. Sink into a deep squat, thighs parallel to the ground and your back straight. Push off with your heels, squeezing your glutes and inner thighs back into starting position. Try 3 reps of 10.

2. Single leg deadlift: Balancing on right leg with left leg slightly behind you and off the ground, reach down and touch the ground with your fingers. Return to starting position and repeat. Try 3 reps of 10 for each leg.

3. Calf raises: Holding onto a chair or other steady surface, raise your heels until you are on your tiptoes. Balance weight at the balls of your feet and pause. Lower slowly and repeat. Try 3 reps of 15.

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A Day in the Life of Olympic Alum Rebecca Soni

Written on March 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm , by

Just another day at practice? Soni steps up on the starting block to film a commercial for Kellogg's. (Photo courtesy of Kellogg's)

Here at FITNESS, we start bubbling with Olympic excitement a little earlier than the average fan. With only three months to go we’ve hit the point where it is perfectly acceptable to start decorating our cubes in red, white and blue. And we’re sure we aren’t the only ones that feel this way. Athletes are competing now to swim, run and vault their way into the London Games come June as they compete for a chance to represent their country. To get a glimpse into the schedule of a hard working Olympian, we got U.S. swimmer and three-time Olympic medalist Rebecca Soni to break down an average day for us on behalf of Kellogg’s. Warning: Just reading her hectic schedule may cause exhaustion!

5:30 a.m. – I wake up, walk my dog and eat a bowl of cereal. I’ll usually have Raisin Bran or mix some of my favorite Kellogg’s cereals together with some fruit. I can’t get through a workout unless I eat breakfast first. It wakes me up and fuels me for my first practice.

7:30 a.m. – It’s time to hit the water for a two-hour pool workout. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I’ll start a little earlier to lead a spinning class with the USC college team.

9:30 a.m. – Hop out of the pool and use my break to run errands, rest and refuel!

2 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Time for a supplemental workout, which is either a session with my trainer doing body weight exercises, TRX suspension exercises, plyometrics or an additional pool workout. My third workout also happens in this time block. For this one, I like to incorporate Pilates and yoga into my routine at least three times a week. Pilates is great for toning smaller muscles I don’t get a chance to work on regularly and yoga is my time to work on breathing, strengthening my muscles, stretching and relaxing my mind. I also take my dog for a walk every day when I get home. Some people may not consider this exercise, but I think it’s a great way to recover from all the workouts I’ve done earlier in the day.

6:30 p.m. – I cook a healthy dinner and wind down so I can get to sleep by 10 p.m. Then it’s back at it for another day of workouts!

Read more to get Soni’s spinning playlist!

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#140Wednesdays: Which Celeb Would You Love to Work Out With?

Written on March 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm , by

How many calories does ogling burn? (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

They have access to the cream-of-the-crop trainers, nutritionists and gyms, and we want to know their secrets! Celebrities take fitness pretty seriously; after all looking good is basically one of their job requirements. And while we may not get to snag one as our fitness buddy, we can always dream! This week we asked you which celebrity you’d want to sweat with. The results surprised us, especially since not one person said Jennifer Aniston!

@JdorothygailW: Dolvett Quince. Celeb and trainer, right? (She’s not the only one! Dolvett was one of the most popular celebs our tweeters want to work out with.)

@NATAgneiD: @KELLYROWLAND—she looks healthy and fit!

@lil_ms_lovely: I’d love to get my fitness on with @ashleytisdale!

@Carter_Aubrey: Bob Harper, Tommy Europe, Tosca Reno, Dolvett, Jillian Michaels, Gina Carano, Gabrielle Reece, I could go on and on!

@JesicaLeaRD: Debra Messing and Lauren Graham.

@ChristieGriffin: Michael Jordan!

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4 Expert Tips For Getting Back Into a Healthy Routine

Written on February 21, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

A little bit of sweat every day goes a long way. (Photo courtesy of FitSugar)

Spring is around the corner, which means warmer weather and shedding clothes. But you don’t have to panic if the workout clothes you got for Christmas haven’t exactly been worn out. If you’ve been on a Winter hiatus, start anew with these tips for getting back into a healthy routine.

It’s common sense: The thing about living healthfully is that a lot of it is just common sense, says celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak (he’s responsible for Rihanna’s amazing Grammy body). When you can make a few healthy changes, do it. It doesn’t take much thought to know that moving around more burns more calories than sitting all day, or that you can get your exercise for the day by walking to the store instead of driving.

Every little bit counts: Harley also says that remembering this can also help you make the common sense decision. Instead of thinking of exercise as a huge daunting, boring task, think of your goals in smaller increments. When you walk around, every step or healthy food choice helps you to your goal.

Don’t overdo it: Going all out for it after not exercising for awhile can take its toll on your mind as well as your body. To prevent injury and a discouraged feeling, start small and work your way up slowly when you’re ready. “Take it slowly, bite off sizable aspects of your fitness routine that you can complete, don’t underdo but don’t overdo,” celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson recently told us. “Overdoing it is going to kill it. You can’t overhaul your entire fitness and health regimen in one day.”

Read on for more ways to get back into your workout routine.

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#140Wednesdays: This Week I’m Going to Work On…

Written on February 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm , by

The first step to any goal is to lace up and get moving. (Photo courtesy of Alexa Miller)

Setting goals is one of the keys to living a fit and healthy life. Whether you are a big picture goal setter or prefer little milestones along the way, having something to focus on can keep your priorities straight and help you stick to your weekly workout schedule. This week we want to know what you’re working on! Read below to see what our Twitter followers have on their to do list, you might even find a new goal to add to your own.

@LAcutieonduty: This week I’m going to work on my abs. (FIT TIP: Working on the same body part? Try these exercises to sculpt your core.)

@misschoclatrain: This week I’m going to work on my 5K training! (FIT TIP: This training plan will help get you started!)

@kristy_joy: This week I’m going to work on my miles. I’m trying to rack them up!

@Leslie_Wallace: This week I’m going to work on relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep. I think it will help with my morning workouts.

@HungryRunner: This week I’m going to work on running faster by running smarter! (Better technique, longer strides)

@ONeener: This week I’m going to work on PORTION CONTROL.

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Trail or Sidewalk? The Pros and Cons of Running on Different Surfaces

Written on January 17, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

Switch up your route to ease your knees! (Photo courtesy of Laura Doss)

Body-wise, running can be a high-impact sport, which can mean achy joints, irritated tendons, and other running-related injuries. Many runners use various methods to try to lessen the impact of constantly striking the ground.

For many runners, that means choosing a soft surface. But while you may think that running on soft surfaces may help lower the strain on your body, this may not always be the case. An article from The New York Times says that runners who preferred softer surfaces don’t necessarily have fewer injuries than those who ran on asphalt or concrete (and may have more, since softer surfaces can lead to accident-related injuries). In fact, some studies have shown that our bodies actually adapt to different surfaces no matter how hard they are, so the type of surface that we run on may not matter as much.

While the best running surface may be a personal preference, there are still benefits and drawbacks to each type. Whether you love to run on the street or on trails, check out the pros and cons of running on these surfaces.

Pros: Grass is soft and low impact, so it may be a better choice for people who have impact-related running injuries. It’s usually rated as one of the best surfaces for running.
Cons: A run in the park can be a little stressful! Besides hidden holes, rocks, and twigs, you also have to watch out for other obstacles, like pedestrians, dogs, and other distractions.
Don’t forget: Not paying attention when running on grass commonly leads to injuries like a twisted ankle, so make sure you keep aware of both the ground directly in front of you as well as the ground ahead.

Pros: Behind grass, dirt roads are also often rated as one of the best surfaces to run on. Dirt has just enough hardness and leeway to make for a prime running surface, especially if you suffer from shin splints, IT band syndrome, or other impact-related injuries.
Cons: The unevenness of dirt trails can be bad for your ankles, so avoid dirt roads if you’ve had an ankle injury.
Don’t forget: Like grass, dirt trails can be uneven, so pay close attention to where you’re stepping.

Pros: When it’s warm out, nothing beats a run on the beach. Besides being one of the most relaxing and scenic ways to exercise, running on sand offers a great way to work out little-used muscles as well as burn more calories than running on less-strenuous surfaces. Plus, since sand is soft, you can run on the surface without risking impact injuries.
Cons: Unstable soft surfaces like sand can wreak havoc on weak ankles and can lead to sprains and other accident-related injuries.
Don’t forget: Don’t start running on sand if you’ve never done it before. Try starting on the wet sand first for a sturdier running surface.

Pros: Even and relatively soft treadmills are a great way to run if you suffer from injuries or need a less-stressful running experience. Also, since the treadmill helps pull you a little as you run, you may find that it’s easier to run longer distances.
Cons: Running on a treadmill can get tedious, and there’s no beautiful scenery to distract you.
Don’t forget: Always run on an incline or do intervals to get the most out of your indoor running workout and to work more muscles. Also, don’t rely solely on the treadmill if you are training for a race — you’ll need to be familiar with the irregularities of road running beforehand!

Keep reading for more on how different surfaces affect your running.


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Yogis Unite to Help Somaly Mam Foundation

Written on January 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm , by

Taking a yoga class this month will benefit a lot more than your health. (Photo courtesy of Yoga Freedom Project)

If one of your fitness resolutions is to take up yoga this year, we’ve got the perfect opportunity for you to stick to it and do something good in the process. This month Off the Mat NYC is partnering up with Somaly Mam Foundation to create the Yoga Freedom Project, a global initiative to raise awareness and funding against sex trafficking.

By joining the Yoga Freedom Project, you’ll get connected to a global community of studio owners that will allow you to collect donations for the Somaly Mam Foundation throughout the month. To start collecting, you can either host a donation-based class, sell copies of Somaly Mam, founder of the Somaly Mam Foundation and survivor of sex slavery’s book Road to Lost Innocence, sell jewelry made by survivors of trafficking in Cambodia, or set up a donation box at one of the Yoga Freedom Project’s studios during a class.

On Tuesday,  Jan. 31 the project will end with a sun salutation event in NYC featuring Elena Brower, Dana Flynn, Cyndi Lee, Jodie Rufty, Alan Finger, Sri Dharma Mittra, Sierra Bender, Tricia Donegan and Suzanne Sterling. Buy tickets here to attend and help the fight against modern-day slavery.

For more information on the Yoga Freedom Project, and a list of studios involved visit offthematnyc.com.

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Websites That Offer Free (or Dirt Cheap) Yoga Classes

Written on January 10, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

You're just one click away from finding your Zen. (Photo courtesy of Chris Fanning)

Yoga may be blissful, but it isn’t cheap! Depending on where you live, classes can run you an average of $15 to $20 a pop. Dropping $50 or more for yoga classes each week isn’t an option for everyone, but we can all benefit from a regular practice. The internet is bursting with free full-length classes or shortened yoga routines. If you’re willing to pay a little, you’ll be able to view a greater variety of videos. Here are some sites to check out.

  • Yoga Today: This site offers one free class each week, and if you’re itching for more, download other classes for $3.99 each. If you’re really into it, pay $89.95 for a yearly membership, which includes unlimited classes. Store them on your computer and follow along anywhere you happen to be.
  • Yoga Journal: For beginners and advanced yogis, these videos, ranging in length from five to 35 minutes, are the high quality you’d expect from Yoga Journal. Some of my faves include hip opening sequence Bird by Bird and Heart Wide Open full of chest openers.
  • My Yoga Online: These videos may not be free, but they’re dirt cheap. Pay $9.95 per month or $69.95 for a year, for unlimited access to the entire library. The site also offers popular yoga DVDs such as Body by Bethany and Transform Yourself With Jivamukti. Another plus, you can sample a clip before you buy.
  • My Free Yoga: Site members upload yoga videos, so the classes may not be the most cutting-edge, but they won’t cost you a dime.
  • Gaiam TV: Sign up for a free 10-day trial to stream actual yoga DVDs like Seane Corn’s Vinyasa Flow Yoga or Rodney Yee’s Advanced Arms directly to your computer, phone (there’s a free Gaiam TV app), or iPad. If you like the service, it costs $9.95 a month.

Keep reading for more inexpensive ways to get your yoga on.

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Don’t Forget: The Best Body Ever Class Is This Weekend!

Written on January 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm , by

Shh! We've got the secret for slim-down success. (Photo courtesy of Ericka McConnell)

We can’t think of a better way to kick start a healthy new year then by sweating it out at our Best Body Ever Class with 24 Hour Fitness this Saturday, January 7. Check out the schedule to see if there’s a class happening in your area. If you’re not a member yet, use this free seven-day pass to join in.

If there’s not a class in your area, sign up here for the Best Body Ever plan to get weekly workouts and diet plans sent straight to your inbox year round!

Read more to get the class schedule.

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