Blog Posts by FITNESS Magazine

  • 12 Strategies to Have More Energy for Your Workout

    Cheyenne Ellis/Fitness MagazineBy Marisa Cohen

    One morning not long ago my motivation was at a major low point.

    I had plans to meet a friend at Zumba, but when I woke at 7 a.m., it was raining, I had a cramp in my leg, and, frankly, staying in bed and finishing that dream about Jake Gyllenhaal seemed a thousand times more appealing than yanking off the covers and heading out into the gray gloom. But then I heard an urgent whisper in my ear: "Get up and get your workout out of the way now; you can always rest later!" It was Janet Evans speaking. Yes, that Janet Evans, the Olympic swimmer who won four gold medals at the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games. She mentioned this mantra in an interview I watched decades ago. I stuck it in my back pocket back then, and I pull it out for the ultimate kick in the butt when I need it most.

    Mantras, rewards, and other little tricks of the mind can be the perfect way to jump-start your motivation on days your energy is lagging, says sports psychologist JoAnn Dahlkoetter, PhD, the

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  • Think Spice: 8 Spices with Health Benefits

    Linda Pugliese/Fitness MagazineLinda Pugliese/Fitness MagazineBy Jessica Girdwain

    If you've ever tried chia seed pudding, you know that superfood doesn't always equal superdelicious. Before you buy another bag of something that looks as if it belongs in a bird feeder, consider this: Just a pinch of oregano can turn even grilled cheese into a disease-fighting dish. "Technically, spices are vegetables in concentrated form," says Wendy Bazilian, RD, the nutrition adviser for the Golden Door Spa & Fitness Resort in Escondido, California. "Like veggies, they contain thousands of healthy phytonutrient compounds, including antioxidants." But spices are calorie-free and require no prep. Pop the tops on these eight pronto.

    Related: The 10 Best Foods for Flat Abs

    Curry Powder
    Health Perks

    The starring role in this blend of herbs and spices belongs to turmeric, which contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory "that's 50 times more potent than vitamin C or E," says Bharat Aggarwal, PhD, a professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer

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  • How to Choose the Best 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.

    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 improved sense of wellbeing? Once you decide, read on to

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  • 5 Steps to Become a Morning Person

    By Bethany GumperSara Forrest/Fitness Magazine

    I have always wanted to be one of those women who jump out of bed and into a pair of running shoes at 7 a.m. What an amazing feeling: to stroll into work after a three-mile jog, a Spinning class, or a series of sun salutations. I wouldn't know.

    "Um, really?" my husband asks on Monday night when I tell him I'm going to the gym the next morning at seven. Why the skepticism? He shoots me a knowing look.

    Related: 5 Editor-Tested Sleep Gadgets

    7:00 a.m.
    Alarm blares. Ugh, I should get up. SNOOZE
    7:15 a.m. My gym clothes are right there! I laid them out on my chair last night! SNOOZE
    7:30 a.m. I should at least get up and do a workout DVD. SNOOZE
    7:45 a.m. Too late to work out; might as well cozy up and sleep some more.SNOOZE
    8:00 a.m. Now I have to get up or else I'll be late.

    Clearly my morning sluggishness is cramping my workout style. But can I change my night-owl ways? Because I've snoozed through the better part of three decades, I'm pretty sure I'm just

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  • 7 Ways to Save on Health Care

    Photo courtesy of ShutterstockPhoto courtesy of ShutterstockBy Kenrya Rankin

    $3,157. That's how much the average American paid out of pocket for health care in one recent year. (We can think of better uses for your green: say, new running sneakers or that awesome Garmin GPS watch.) Alarmingly, a Harvard Medical School study found that 62 percent of all bankruptcies are caused by medical bills or loss of income due to illness. Here are seven simple steps to cut your health care costs -- no messy calculations necessary.

    Related: 5 Shocking Ways Your Cell Phone Is Hurting Your Health

    Your Savings, Decoded
    Use this key to see how much moola these strategies could net you. Ca-ching!
    $ You save $$ You save $100 to $1,000
    $$$ You save > $1,000

    Double-check your insurance.
    Never assume that your doctor is still in your insurance network. Physicians typically reevaluate their list of accepted plans at least annually, so ask each time you book an appointment. If your MD now works with your plan on an out-of-network basis, her services will often be

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  • Should You Swallow? Vitamins and Supplements You Really Need

    Claire Benoist/Fitness MagazineBy Paige Greenfield

    Taking vitamins to stay healthy seems like a no-brainer. But new research has found that supplements aren't the magic bullet we've been led to believe. One recent review of 78 studies found that antioxidant supplements don't reduce the risk for death from disease; in fact, in some cases they actually raise it. And now calcium supplements, which so many of us have been dutifully popping for years, have been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks. Say what? But don't trash your stash just yet. Read on so you can make the best decisions for your body.

    Related: QUIZ: Test Your Vitamin IQ?

    5 Facts About Vitamins and Your Health

    Fact: Vitamins don't cancel out bad health habits.
    "There are so many different disease-causing culprits in our lives that one vitamin cannot protect against them all," says Mark Moyad, MD, a FITNESS advisory board member and the director of preventive and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center. "Vitamins can't

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  • Jillian Michaels' New Balancing Act

    Justin Stephens/Fitness MagazineJustin Stephens/Fitness MagazineBy Kelly Mickle

    Jillian Michaels barely has time to order an egg salad sandwich before the deli clerk begins telling her about his recent weight loss. "That's incredible -- good for you!" she says, as though rooting for one of her contestants on The Biggest Loser. Most of us wouldn't want our jobs to follow us wherever we go, but not Jillian. "This is what I was born to do," she says.

    It's hard to disagree, considering how she's helped inspire and shape up millions of people. But life has changed for the tough-as-nails trainer. Returning to the show after a two-year hiatus, Jillian, 39, is now a mother of two, having adopted a 2-year-old daughter, Lukensia, from Haiti and welcomed a baby boy, Phoenix, with her partner, Heidi Rhoades, last spring. Suddenly her no-nonsense approach to fitness isn't quite so black-and-white.

    "I used to say, 'If you're going to exercise, then you do it, and you do it 100 percent.' Now if I've got to answer e-mails while I work out on the StairMaster,

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  • 5 Surprising Superfoods You Should Be Eating

    iStockPhoto/Fitness MagazineiStockPhoto/Fitness MagazineBy Danielle Paquette

    Apples, almonds, broccoli. If you eat the same things every week, you may be missing out on an easy way to boost your health. "Many of us pass up foods that are nutritional powerhouses, because we don't know how to prepare them," says Angela Ginn, RD, a nutritionist in Baltimore. Bust out of your culinary rut with these five disease fighters.

    Related: 10 Superfoods for Gorgeous Skin and Hair

    Bamboo Shoots
    A great low-calorie, high-fiber veggie packed with antioxidants that help ward off cancer-causing free radicals.
    How to Enjoy: Find bamboo shoots in the canned-food section of your supermarket. Add to salads, stir-fries, and soups.

    Pumpkin Seeds

    Why? Rich in protein and phytosterols, these little treats have been shown to reduce levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.
    How to Enjoy: Eat them plain for an afternoon snack or sprinkle some on top of your salad for added crunch.

    Related: Live to 100: 10 Diet Tips to Live Longer

    Swiss Chard
    Why? This leafy green is

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  • How to Relieve Stress Naturally

    Laura Doss/Fitness MagazineBy Chee Gates

    Your misplaced wallet. A dead car battery. Stress is a thug we encounter almost hourly. The question is, do you have what it takes to stand up to the bully? If you're like most people surveyed last year by the American Psychological Association, you may be losing the good fight: Sixty percent said stressful situations left them irritable, 53 percent felt fatigued, and 52 percent were unable to sleep at night.

    Stress takes a toll on more than just your mood. All that tension puts a whammy on your waistline, thanks to the stress-related hormone cortisol, which rises during anxiety-inducing events and makes you crave fatty, sugar-packed foods. Those excess calories are more likely to be stored in the gut as visceral fat, the type that's been linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and gastrointestinal cancers. Visceral fat also increases the production of cortisol, perpetuating the cycle (as if you need any further assistance).

    Moreover, "chronic stress releases

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  • The Dirtiest Spots at the Gym

    Brian Klutch/Fitness MagazineBrian Klutch/Fitness MagazineBy Maridel Reyes

    You hit the gym regularly to be healthy and fit. Yet you may be getting more than flat abs and strong arms there. Gyms are hotbeds of germ activity, researchers say. Norovirus, which causes stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, can survive for a month on the surface of exercise machines. The fungi responsible for foot infections multiply at a blinding pace in the shower. And microbes like MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can lead to dangerous skin infections, lurk in the locker room. To help you stay safe, FITNESS asked top experts to ID the biggest danger zones in the gym and to share the best germ-beating strategies.

    Related: The 7 Worst Health Habits Ever

    Hot Spot: Free Weights, Weight Machines, Exercise Balls
    Germ Meter = High

    Because so many people handle it, this equipment is rife with bugs and viruses that can lead to colds and other infections. "I've even found MRSA on an exercise ball in a gym," says Philip Tierno Jr., PhD, a clinical professor

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