Blog Posts by Erin Kurdyla, Fresh Fitness Tips, SELF Magazine

  • The Workout that Burns 30% More Calories

    Conde Nast Digital StudioConde Nast Digital StudioErin Kurdyla, SELF magazine

    With the official first day of summer just around the corner, what better way to blast through a weight loss plateau than taking your runs off the pavement and to the sand of your favorite beach? You'll love the cool breeze, the ocean mist, and the 30% more calories you'll burn. Want to know how to safely make the transition off-road, we did! That's why we asked Crystal Milligan, Private Trainer at The Sports Club/LA, to share a few Dos and Don'ts to make the most of your beach workout.

    Tips for Running on the Beach:

    1. DO start on the hard sand, near the water, first. It will be best to ease yourself into sand running, otherwise your joints and calves can become unusually sore. Keep in mind though, ultimately sand running is much better for your joints than running on pavement--it's much softer than asphalt and builds great stability in your knees and hips.

    2. DO make sure you're running on an even path and not on a slant. Again this can wreak havoc on

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  • 4 Ways to Avoid Gym Germs

    Conde Nast Digital StudioConde Nast Digital StudioErin Kurdyla, SELF magazine

    Let's face it; it's tough to avoid germs when you're breaking a sweat. And it's even harder to keep bacteria at bay if you're sharing space with hundreds of other fitness fans at the gym or in the studio. What's an exerciser to do to stay healthy and safe? Clean up your act with the help of these antimicrobial tools that will make your workouts anything but a dirty job.

    Carry your own gym towel: Your hands aren't the only ones reaching for a towel from the stack at the front desk. Toss your own in your bag instead. A good choice, Silver Sport's antimicrobial eco-friendly bamboo towel ($34.99). It's amazingly soft and it uses Terra Silver antimicrobial technology that mitigates 99.9% of surface bacteria. That means if you're towel touches down on a dirty surface and then touches your hands/face you're still safe from the germs. Mine also went unwashed for days (oops left it in my gym bag) and remained surprisingly odor-free.

    Related: How to Make DIY Cleaners

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  • 4 Tips for Treating Shin Splints

    Conde Nast Digital StudioConde Nast Digital StudioErin Kurdyla, SELF magazine

    Nothing slows a runner down like the nagging pain of shin splints. Ouch! Soothe the aches of your sore shins with a few helpful tips and stretches from Ann Bruck, ACE-personal trainer and registered yoga teacher of The Sports Club/LA-Boston.

    Shin Splints Solutions:

    1. Wear proper fitting shoes: Choosing a shoe that is suited for you foot type based on gait, cushion, arch support, fit and sport will help decrease the risk of injury. Also, be sure to change your shoes every 3-6 months or every 500 miles.

    2. Ice the affected area: Once you feel the achiness in the front of your legs apply ice 4-6 times a day for approximately 15 minutes to decrease inflammation of the shins. Be sure to protect the skin by placing a cloth or wrap between the skin and ice.

    3. Active rest: Rather than avoiding physical activity all together, try non-impact exercise such as biking or swimming.

    Related: Six Scientifically Proven Stretches

    4. Stretch: Tight calf muscles are

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  • A Beginner's Guide to Spinning (Don't Be Intimidated!)

    Tip #1: Stay hydrated!Tip #1: Stay hydrated!Erin Kurdyla, SELF magazine

    Peeked in, but still intimidated by the loud music and sweat covered bodies of the spinning room? Don't be! Spinning is a great indoor cardio workout that blasts up to 400 calories a class, tones legs, and sculpts abs. Bonus: Once you're in the seat (or saddle) it's your class, your ride because you control the tension of your bike. Turn it up and push yourself, or turn it down and recover (no one will know)! Still worried? Here are a few helpful hints from my favorite spinning instructor, Michelle Napell. Get ready to lose yourself in the music and enjoy the ride!

    Hint, Hint:

    1. Head to Class Early
    Make sure to get to class early and introduce yourself to the instructor. Be sure to let her know that you are a new to the world of spin.

    2. Bring a Towel and Water
    You'll need both!

    3. Skip the Boot Cut Pants
    Loose material around your legs has the potential to get stuck in the bike pedals. Avoid the red face by opting for more form-fitting pants.

    4. Rule

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  • What's a UGI Ball? 3 Moves That'll Make You Want One

    By Erin Kurdyla, SELF magazine

    You'll be ready to show-off your curves in a two-piece this summer after working out with the Ugi ball. This fun new fitness tool, which has the squish of a beanbag and the bounce back of a stress ball, lets you do versatile moves that have the power to change your body head-to-toe.

    Related: Why You Feel Embarrassed at the Gym (And Why You Shouldn't)

    Why it's different:
    The Ugi ball is different than a medicine ball because of its squish factor! You can kneel on it, stand on it, and plank on this ball. The softness makes the surface unstable, so you're body has to work extra hard (which means extra great muscle tone!).

    Why it works:
    Ugi is the ultimate 30-min cardio, core, and strength conditioning workout in one. A series of one-minute exercises with the ball is effective enough to yield total-body results. And the best part is that the simple leather design makes this ball cool enough to leave out in any room instead of stashing it into your

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  • Coffee Talk: 5 Fun Caffeine Facts!

    By Erin Kurdyla, SELF magazine

    Java junkies rejoice! In honor of Starbuck's 40th anniversary (love the new logo!), here are some fun caffeine/coffee fitness factoids from our experts here at SELF:

    Related: 7-Day Superfood Diet Plan

    1. Breathe Better
    A pre-workout caffeine jolt reduces the severity of exercise-induced asthma symptoms, researchers from Indiana University at Bloomington report. Downing the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee an hour before a run was as effective as an inhaler at opening sufferers' airways. Plus, inhalers can become less effective over time. Ask your doctor about the java alternative.

    Related: 20 Superfoods For Weight Loss

    2. Get More From Your Workout
    Downing coffee and toast between back-to-back workouts can keep you buzzing, a study from the Journal of Applied Physiology reports. Athletes who drank a caffeinated carbohydrate beverage after cycling had 66 percent more glycogen (an energy reserve) in their muscles than those who had a caffeine-free

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  • Planning a Wedding? 4 Moves to Tame Stress

    By Erin Kurdyla, SELF magazine

    No doubt about it, wedding planning is stressful for any bride. Make it a "royal wedding" with 1,900 invitations mailed and multiply that stress level by 10! Keep calm, Miss Kate Middleton and all you other brides-to-be, in any stressful scenarios with these tension-taming moves.

    Related: 20 Superfoods For Weight Loss

    Situation 1. The (royal) family wants you to wear a frumpy dress with sleeves but your vote is tight and sweat! Try this kickboxing combo to punch, kick, and strike out some frustration.

    The Move: Punch Combo

    You'll Need: a small space

    How to Do It: Start with your right foot forward, feet about hip-distance apart, knees slightly bent and arms on guard (hands in fists up by your cheeks, with your elbows bent in by your sides). Do an "uppercut" punch from your right arm (arm bent at 90 degrees, closed palm faces you, punch up keeping elbow bent, rotating your right hip forward and lifting your right heel off the ground).

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  • Prep Your Legs to Wear Spring's Hottest Shoes

    By Erin Kurdyla, SELF magazine

    On most days I'm a jeans and sneakers kind of girl, but one look at spring's hot new wedges, and I'm reconsidering my casual look. My only hesitation is the thought of the post-wear aches and pains. To ease my worries, I asked Alexis Craig, private trainer and TRX Instructor from The Sports Club/LA-San Francisco for a few moves to help get me platform ready!

    Related: The Healthy Way to Shrink A Size For Summer

    Craig says: Lucky for your ankles, the wide base of wedges are slightly more stable to walk on than stilettos. But all heels contort the foot into an unnatural position, affecting the posture of the entire body. Wearing wedges can cause foot, knee and back problems that are not only painful, but possibly permanent. So what's a fitness fashionista to do? Try these moves to keep your joints healthy while prancing in your platforms.

    Wedges curl your toes back and bring your weight to the balls of your feet. Walking in this position often leads to

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  • St. Patty's Day Detox Workout

    By Erin Kurdyla, SELF magazine

    Happy St. Patrick's Day! Let's face it...everyone's a little Irish on this day and traditionally that means enjoying a green beer (or two), corned beef, and a few shamrock cookies. If you plan to dress in green and celebrate like a leprechaun, why not rev up that metabolism and burn off those calories before the festivities begin with this workout challenge from Irish trainer and fitness expert Sara Haley.

    Related: 20 Superfoods For Weight Loss

    Don't have time to sweat prior to the big night? This circuit is a great cleansing detox because it speeds up the release of all the toxins you consumed. If you're working out post-party, make sure to drink plenty of water before and only start sweating once you're feeling good. No green on your favorite workout pants, please!

    The Move: Irish Jig Warm Up

    Target: Dynamically stretches the quad, hips, and works hamstrings and inner thighs.

    How To Do It: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, hands on hips. Begin

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  • Would You Try This Outdoor Elliptical Bike?

    By Erin Kurdyla, SELF magazine

    Meet the StreetStrider! This crazy-looking contraption is the perfect cross between an outdoor bike and a stationary elliptical. It's powered by arm levers and foot platforms, which move like the popular gym machine, giving riders a total-body workout while cruising through the neighborhood.

    Related: The Part-Time Vegetarian Meal Plan

    More reasons you'll love this bike--studies show that riders can burn up to 50% more calories than riding a traditional upright bicycle and its easy on the joints. Now that the temps are rising, consider giving this newfangled contraption a spin!

    Why the StreetStrider gives a bigger burn:

    Related: 4 Sneaky Ways to Drink More Water

    1. No seat! You stand in a natural upright position while riding.

    2. It's powered by arm levers and foot platforms. That means arms and legs are fully engaged as you "bike," giving the rider a total-body workout.

    3. The StreetStrider is equipped with a lean-to-steer system; your body weight

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