Blog Posts by FITNESS Magazine

  • How to Ditch the Sugar Habit

    Doron Gild/FITNESS MagazineDoron Gild/FITNESS MagazineBy Maura Kelly

    I consider myself a pretty healthy eater. I chow down on a variety of fruits and veggies, lean protein and whole grains, and I do my best to keep my sweet tooth in check. So I never really worried about how much sugar I was getting -- that is, until I recently heard one doctor say that high doses of sugar were poison and another that he was eliminating the refined sweetener from his diet. Uh-oh. Was the sugar I sprinkled on my oatmeal and stirred into my coffee -- and okay, the occasional cookie or three -- hurting my health?

    If I'm eating too much of the sweet stuff, I may have reason to be concerned, doctors say. Sugar is made up of roughly equal parts glucose and fructose. When we consume it, the pancreas releases insulin, which helps our cells use glucose as fuel. However, if we eat more sugar than our bodies can process, insulin instructs our system to store the excess as fat, and we gain weight. The more you weigh, the greater your risk for such health conditions

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  • The Unhealthiest Ballpark Foods to Eat

    Denise Crew/FITNESS MagazineDenise Crew/FITNESS MagazineBy K. Aleisha Fetters

    Some of our favorite food traditions are a swing and a miss. Learn how to sub out those unhealthy ballpark eats this summer, plus find out what the biggest calorie bombs in the stands are.

    Related: 10 Foods to Never Eat

    The Strikeout: Nachos
    A standard serving of nachos contains more than 1,000 calories, but perhaps the biggest issue is the additives, says Laura Cipullo, RD, owner of Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services in New York City. The chips are brimming with salt and the nacho cheese is probably more chemical than it is cheese. "Processed cheese foods" only have to be composed of 51 percent cheese. The rest can be anything the manufacturer thinks will make you eat more. Gross. Plus, let's face it, you'll devour those nachos in five minutes and still be hungry.

    Sub it out:
    Soft pretzelGranted you don't dip it in that gnarly cheese, a soft pretzel contains roughly 450 calories, says Cipullo. Make it healthier by skipping on sodium: Ask for a salt-free

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  • How to Run in the Heat Safely

    Bryan McCay/FITNESS MagazineBy Jessica Cassity

    Baby, it's hot outside -- but what's a devoted runner to do? "Match your workout to the weather by slowing down during exercise and seeking shade afterward," says Samuel N. Cheuvront, PhD, a research physiologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. To beat the heat, heed his 411.

    Related: The 15 Best Marathons for First-Timers to Run

    Pick sunrise or sunset.
    Your best bet on a hot day is to head out in the early morning or evening, when your shadow is twice as long as you are tall. According to the National Weather Service, exposure to direct sunlight can increase how hot it feels by as many as 15 degrees.

    Mind the 90-degree line.
    "When the mercury is above 90 -- the temperature of the surface of your skin -- you'll gain heat from the air around you, and your body heat will have nowhere to go," Cheuvront warns. At that tipping point, you'll sweat more and your body temperature will rise rapidly, making you more susceptible to heat-related

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  • Hiking Guide: What You Need to Know Before You Go

    Peter Ardito/FITNESS MagazinePeter Ardito/FITNESS MagazineBy Kimberly Daly

    One morning last summer, after yet another subway commute spent spooning strangers on a crowded train, I decided to burn up my vacation time, blow my savings, and just go hiking. In the 11 years I'd lived in New York City, I hadn't so much as seen a trail, but I had always wanted to do a multiday trek someplace way off the grid. I kept thinking, Maybe my pal, Jennifer, will come with me when her schedule clears up, or, Maybe my next boyfriend will be into backpacking. Finally I figured, What the heck, I'll go solo.
    With a few clicks, I signed up online for an excursion to Mount Everest Base Camp. Before I knew it I was standing at 17,598 feet in Khumbu, Nepal, having spent eight days climbing the equivalent of eight 100-story skyscrapers. Now back in my fifth-floor walk-up, I've discovered easier ways to get my nature fix than flying to the Himalayas.

    "You can find a hiking tour and trailheads a short ride from just about any city," says Jessica Wolinsky, a

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  • Happily Ever Fatter? How to Avoid Post-Wedding Weight Gain

    Lisa Lee/FITNESS MagazineBy Caroline Tiger

    I had two important men in my life during the months leading up to my wedding: my loving fiancé, Jon, and my intense trainer, Jason. While I'd been a three-times-a-week gym-goer for a decade, now I was suddenly spending more time with Jason than Jon. Military-drill-style commands ("Drop and give me 20! One more!") rang in my ears instead of romantic sweet nothings.

    It was thrilling to watch as speed, distance, and calories burned climbed higher on the treadmill while my dress size plunged. I even maintained the intensity of my sweat sessions on our Hawaiian honeymoon, hitting the gym at our resort. Once home from paradise, though, life took over and my routine relaxed. My portion sizes began to mirror my husband's, and I even started to follow his lead after dinner, treating myself to ice cream most nights. By our first anniversary I'd gained back every pound I'd lost, and then some.

    Mine is a familiar story, as it turns out. Research suggests that "newlywed

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  • How to Choose the Right Workout for You

    James Michelfelder/FITNESS MagazineBy Rebecca Brown

    Is your workout really working? Here's how to choose the right routine to help you reach your fitness goals.

    Related: QUIZ: What's Your Fitness Personality?

    So, What's Your Fitness Goal?

    If you want to squeeze everything you can out of your jaunt to the gym, you'll first need to establish your long-term objective. We're all motivated by different factors, but trainer and Equinox fitness expert Keli Roberts says there's one pretty common one -- and we bet you can already guess what that is. "The number one reason women come to me is for weight management, or to lose that extra 10 pounds," she says.

    But it's not always so black and white -- there's a lot of overlap when it comes to intentions. Some people want to build muscle, but also improve their endurance or flexibility. Either way, it's important to narrow down your intentions as much as possible. So sit down and think about it: Are you interested in weight loss, building and toning muscle, or an overall

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  • Time to Tweet? Then You Have Time to Eat!

    Devin AlexanderDevin AlexanderBy Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RD

    We'd all cook healthier meals, if only we had the time, right? But with the average American spending two hours per day on social networking sites, chances are we have more opportunity than we think. If you're able to find a couple of minutes here and there to update your Facebook status or check Twitter, you already have all the time you need to throw together a nutritious meal. We asked eight healthy living pros to tweet us their favorite fast eats -- good-for-you meals (and one dessert) that can be rattled off in a flash and prepared almost as quickly. Read on for their delicious "tweats."

    Related: 15-Minute Meals: Easy, Healthy Dinner Recipes

    In-a-Pinch Pizza
    BBQ Chicken Pizza under 500 calories: Wheat lavash bread, BBQ sauce, grilled chicken, red onion, goat cheese, cilantro.
    -- Devin Alexander, The Biggest Loser chef and New York Times bestselling author (@chefdevin)

    Really Fast Rice Bowl
    Top spinach with brown rice, oven-roasted mushrooms,

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  • What to Eat Before and After a Workout

    Chris Gallo/FITNESS MagazineChris Gallo/FITNESS MagazineBy Kati Mora, MS, RD

    Ready to sweat? Not so fast! Here, the best foods to eat before and after a workout so can fuel up the right way. Munch on these for your best sweat session yet.

    Related: The Truth About Common Nutrition Myths

    Before: Whole Wheat Toast with Sliced Banana and Cinnamon
    When it comes to gearing up for workout, carbs are your gym BFF. The key is to have a mixed bag of complex and simple ones so that the release of energy during your workout is slow and steady throughout your routine. Whole-wheat toast with fruit gives you both types of carbs with the bonus of being super easy to digest. Complex carbs will keep your motor humming, while the fruit adds an extra kick of energy. For those training for a race, bananas are perfect in raising potassium levels, which drop when you sweat a lot. For an added bonus, add a dash of cinnamon. The spice has been linked to stabilizing blood sugar and improving brain function.

    After: Grilled Chicken and Mixed Vegetables

    Your body

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  • Secrets from Weight-Loss Spas

    Bill Diodate/FITNESS MagazineBy Nicole Yorio Jurick

    You don't need to shell out thousands of dollars to stay at a swanky resort to slim down. We got the pros to spill their best insider strategies so you can lose five, 10, or even 20 pounds -- at home.

    Related: 10 Ways to Make Weight Loss Easier at Home

    The One Number to Read on the Nutrition Label
    No, not calories -- it's fiber. Fiber helps absorb fat and cholesterol as it travels down your digestive tract, reducing the amount of fat the body absorbs, says Linda Illingworth, RD, the director of nutrition for Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in Vista, California. Here's a sample day's diet to help you get the recommended 30 grams of fiber daily.

    Breakfast: 1 cup Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup granola and 1/4 cup raspberries
    Snack: 3 cups air-popped popcorn
    Lunch: Salad with grilled chicken, 2 cups romaine, 1/2 cup chickpeas, and 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
    Snack: Large apple and 10 almonds
    Dinner: Baked fish with 1/2 cup cooked quinoa and 1/2 cup broccoli
    Daily fiber total: 30

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  • Outsmart Your Appetite

    Bonnie Holland/FITNESS MagazineBonnie Holland/FITNESS MagazineBy Meghan Rabbitt

    You work out regularly, and you watch what you eat -- so why do you have to lie down to button your skinny jeans?

    Things around you, from the candles on your dining-room table to those super-cute dessert plates, are setting you up to overindulge. "But if you understand the external forces that make you buy and eat more, you can avoid the pitfalls," says Brian Wansink, PhD, a FITNESS advisory board member and the author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. Here's how to spot -- and sidestep -- 15 diet traps.

    Related: How to Banish Belly Bloat

    Diet Trap: Eating Slowly
    Mom's been telling you for years to stop shoveling in your food, and you know that this bad habit makes you consume more calories. But eating too slowly can also backfire. Research shows that the longer a meal lasts, the likelier we are to reach for a third glass of wine or dinner roll. "Just sitting at the table means a greater chance of nibbling on something, even if you're not hungry,"

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