Blog Posts by FITNESS Magazine

  • Build a Better Smoothie

    Lisa Shin/FITNESS MagazineBy Juno DeMelo

    You don't need to hire a personal chef (as if!) or resign yourself to starvation to get bikini-ready. All you need is a blender. "Blending is one of the quickest, easiest ways to prep healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and veggies," says FITNESS advisory board member Harley Pasternak, trainer, nutrition expert, and author of the new book The Body Reset Diet. Get his favorite smoothie recipes plus details on how they can kick-start your metabolism and keep it fired up for good.

    Related: 8 Healthy and Refreshing Smoothies to Try

    The Slim-Down Formula

    Here are the four things you need to create your own tasty, healthy combos.

    A liquid base
    Pasternak favors milk -- 1 percent or nonfat -- because it's rich in vitamin D and calcium, which can help your body break down fat. But nondairy milks, like soy and almond, are fine too, he says, as is flavored water.

    Lean protein

    Getting protein at every meal helps you maintain lean muscle mass, which means you burn more

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  • Truth or Bare: What I Learned About Myself from Trying Naked Yoga

    Gabrielle Revere/Fitness MagazineBy Alice Oglethorpe

    I like to make decisions based on what my 80-year-old self would want me to do. Stay out dancing in Florence until the sun comes up? Absolutely! Volunteer to model white jeans on the Today show? Of course! But recently I forced myself to see just how deep that conviction went.

    Related: QUIZ: Which Yoga Style Is Right for You?

    It all started with an assignment from my editor at FITNESS: Get out and try the naked yoga trend, in which regular people strip down to nothing and do yoga as a way of becoming more accepting of their bodies. Or...something like that.

    "Why me?" I asked.

    "Because you're the last person who would normally do it," my editor replied. (She's right. I don't even like to change in front of other women in the gym locker room.) Surprisingly, I didn't instantly shoot down the idea, and that had nothing to do with the possible paycheck. At 32, getting naked in a room full of strangers wasn't high on my bucket list, but this was a chance to see how

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  • 5 Essentials for Healthy Snacking

    Peter Ardito/Fitness MagazineBy Danielle Solari

    Stock up on these healthy foods to make countless healthy, portable snacks that are delicious and good for you. Plus, these foods are proven disease fighters, energy boosters, and heart helpers so you can snack your way to better health.

    Related: Healthy Eating Planner 31 Days of Low-Calorie Snack Recipes

    Disease Fighters: Fruits and Veggies
    Munch on blueberries, apples, peppers, and spinach, which are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

    Plus, the potassium, magnesium, and calcium in most fresh produce may help lower blood pressure.

    Quick Tip: Buy extra cartons of your favorite seasonal berries, gently wash, and pat dry. Freeze in a zip-top plastic bag. Let the fruit defrost on your counter overnight, and mangia!

    Heart Helpers: Dark Chocolate

    Both regular and sugar-free dark chocolate decrease blood pressure in overweight adults, according to new research.

    Consuming just a small amount of flavanol-rich cocoa powder daily can increase blood flow to

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  • Lighten Your Stride: How to Transition into Minimalist Sneakers

    Peter Ardito/Fitness MagazinePeter Ardito/Fitness MagazineBy Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie

    Running in superplush sneaks may baby your feet, but they give your legs a beating, experts say. "When you have cushioning in the heel, you tend to land on your heel because it's comfortable to do so. This strike increases the force of the impact on your body," says Irene Davis, PhD, the director of Harvard Medical School's Spaulding National Running Center. To keep you on (the balls of) your feet, try Davis's simple steps to going low-foam in a more minimal sneaker.

    Related: Top Trail Running Tips for Beginners

    Lose your shoes.
    To nudge yourself into the right strike zone -- mid to forefoot rather than heel -- spend a few minutes at a time running barefoot on a firm surface. A smooth stretch of sidewalk is ideal for this, Davis says.

    Tone below the knees.
    Subtracting support from your shoes means the muscles in your feet and calves have to take on more work, Davis says. Build them up with single-leg calf raises and arch domes (while barefoot, press

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  • The All Day Energy Guide

    Laura Doss/Fitness MagazineBy Chee Gates

    You need high-octane fuel for your action-packed day. Gas up and go with our sunup-to-sundown engine-revving plan.

    Related: Healthy Habits That Can Zap Your Energy

    Wake-Up Call
    Good start -- you managed to peel away from your comforter with only minor separation anxiety. Now it's time to snap to it. First order of business? Eat! Or risk going into energy debt later in the day. "A balanced breakfast raises blood sugar, which perks you up, and it also stokes your metabolism -- your body's chemical 'on' switch, which helps you burn calories throughout the morning," says Molly Kimball, RD., sports dietitian at Oschner's Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans. To get the biggest bang, build your breakfast from these foods and drinks.

    Peanut or Almond Butter on Whole-Grain Toast
    Protein and heart-healthy unsaturated fat are digested more slowly than carbs, releasing a steady stream of energy.

    Smoked Salmon with a Scrambled Egg
    The fat fills you up and prevents an energy crash before

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  • 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Yogurt

    Jonathan Kantor/Fitness MagazineJonathan Kantor/Fitness MagazineBy Amanda Pressner

    Yogurt's got power-boosting protein and bone-building calcium. It can also help you lose weight and fend off a cold. Here's the scoop on what it can do -- and how much you should eat.

    Related: Cook with Yogurt: Our Favorite Yogurt-Based Recipes

    1. Yogurt can give you flat abs.

    Eat 18 ounces a day and you can drop a jeans size. People who ate that much -- in conjunction with cutting their total calories -- lost 22 percent more weight and 81 percent more belly fat than dieters who skipped the snack, according to research from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. They also retained one-third more calorie-torching lean muscle mass, which can help you maintain weight loss. "Fat around your waist produces the hormone cortisol, which tells your body to accumulate even more belly flab," says nutrition professor and lead study author Michael Zemel, PhD. When you eat yogurt, the calcium signals your fat cells to pump out less cortisol, making it easier for you to drop

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  • Food Allergies or Just Hype?

    Dan Saelinger/Fitness MagazineDan Saelinger/Fitness MagazineBy Virginia Sole-Smith

    When Gwyneth Paltrow gave up dairy, I rolled my eyes. And when Zooey Deschanel waxes poetic about "g-free" cupcakes, it makes me want to bake some gluten-licious ones stat. In the past few years celebrities have made wheat, dairy, nuts -- you name it -- into public enemies, mostly, it seems, because cutting out these foods helps them fit into their red-carpet dresses.

    But I found myself wondering if I'd been too quick to judge when my doctor prescribed an elimination diet after medication failed to get my chronic weekly migraines under control. He told me to give up alcohol, chocolate, and bacon -- in other words, joy -- plus nuts and any foods containing nitrates, sulfites, or MSG for an entire month. I did it and my migraines disappeared. Then I reintroduced these foods one by one. After some trial and error I figured out that red wine, nitrates (in my beloved bacon), and aspartame were my key food triggers.

    The experience made me more sympathetic to friends

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  • Top Trail Running Tips for Beginners

    Laura Doss/Fitness MagazineBy Colleen Moody

    Whether you need a break from your usual route or just want to get outside more, trail running is becoming the latest craze to lace up to. According the Special Report on Trail Running 2010 by the Outdoor Foundation in partnership with Montrail, trail running attracted 4.8 million participants in 2009, and the numbers have only increased since. And more than 82 percent of trail runners were roadrunners looking for a new scene.

    "Trail running is much more engaging than going for a run on the road," says Stephen Hatfield, REI outdoor programs and outreach manager in Portland, Oregon. "You have a limited corridor so you constantly have to sense what is around the corner and make sure you are fully engaged in what you're doing, as opposed to mentally checking out on a run around the block."

    Before you head out for your first trail run, check out this must-know info.

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

    Beginner Basics
    Before you tackle the trails, newbie trail

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  • 10 Foods to Never Eat

    Chris Fanning/Fitness MagazineChris Fanning/Fitness MagazineBy Jenna Birch

    Drop that spoon! Everyone deserves the occasional indulgence, but before you dig in there are a handful of foods you should steer clear of to avoid damaging effects on your body, skin, and waistline. Here, experts weigh in on 10 foods to push off your plate for good.

    Related: 10 Stay-Slim Foods to Stock Your Kitchen With

    Frosting
    That store-bought frosting from a tub might taste great on cakes and cookies, but it's packed with problems. "It's one of the only items in the grocery store that still has trans fats, which are terrible for your health and waistline," says Melina Jampolis, MD, physician nutrition expert and coauthor of The Calendar Diet. "Trans fat raises bad cholesterol, lowers good cholesterol, and causes inflammation, which can lead to belly fat and diseases ranging from heart disease to diabetes." On top of that, tub frosting is loaded with sugar, and high-sugar diets contribute to premature wrinkles. Yikes.

    Bagels

    If you're prone to skin

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  • Don't Sweat It: Your Post-Workout Beauty Woes, Solved!

    Miko Lim/Fitness MagazineBy Kari Molvar

    Whether you run, lift, or are into Spinning, we know you don't let beauty challenges get in the way of a workout -- especially when you're armed with these easy fixes for the biggest skin, hair, and nail bummers that affect active women.

    Related: 5-Minutes to Bouncy, Post-Gym Hair

    My hair is a frizzy mess after yoga.
    Before hitting the mat, mist a dry shampoo, such as Aveeno Pure Renewal Dry Shampoo ($8, drugstores), all around your hairline, including the nape of your neck, where sweat often collects and causes fuzz. If you have supercurly or hard-to-manage hair, comb a light leave-in treatment, like Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Overnight Miracle Repair Serum ($6, drugstores), through the ends to seal in moisture and form a barrier against frizz, says Gregory Patterson, a hairstylist for Blow, The New York Blow Dry Bar in New York City. Then pull hair into a high topknot and slip on a mesh head wrap, such as the Lululemon Athletica Bang Buster Headband ($14,

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