Blog Posts by FITNESS Magazine

  • What You Need to Know to Get Flat Abs

    Fitness MagazineFitness MagazineBy Marisa Cohen

    The two figures standing in front of me one recent winter morning could not look more different. On the right is Carrie McCulloch, MD, a musculoskeletal anatomy expert and the medical director for Kinected Pilates studio in New York City, who is sizing up the shape of my waistline. Dr. McCulloch's own midsection happens to be perfectly rounded because she is only weeks away from giving birth to her first child. On the left is her assistant, Mr. Bones, one of those hanging skeletons that teach medical students how the thigh bone's connected to the hip bone. Mr. Bones doesn't actually have a waist, just a hollow space between his ribs and pelvis.

    Dr. McCulloch is demonstrating how this inner bony foundation can set the stage for your torso's outer appearance, tapping the stacked bones that make up her assistant's spine.

    I ask Dr. McCulloch how I ended up with a relatively slim 26-1/2-inch waist that has forced me to belt every pair of pants I've ever bought in order to

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  • 6 Destinations for a Fit Honeymoon

    Photo courtesy of Las Ventanas al ParaisoPhoto courtesy of Las Ventanas al ParaisoBy Colleen Moody

    If the idea of lounging poolside with endless margaritas makes you yawn, try booking your honeymoon at one of these fit resorts. You know what they say -- the couple that sweats together stays together!

    Related: The Best and Worst Foods to Eat on Your Wedding Day

    Las Ventanas al Paraíso, Mexico
    Tennis! Horses! Tequila lessons! This Los Cabos resort has a little bit of everything. Spend your days yachting, surfing, or on a desert excursion...and your nights wining, dining, and dancing. Newlyweds can also enjoy romantic perks like an aphrodisiac dinner menu, salsa lessons, or an ATV ride through the Baja desert. Visit for more information.

    Green Island Resort, Australia

    This destination gives you the chance to actually live on one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, as it's located on the Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland. Extremely eco-sensitive to guests and the surrounding areas, diving, snorkeling, and

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  • 7 Time-Savers for the Office

    Mary Lynn Blabutta/Fitness MagazineMary Lynn Blabutta/Fitness MagazineBy Sara Droman

    The clock strikes five, but you're not even close to being done with your day. Meanwhile, Ms. Perfect in the next cube is scooping up her purse and bidding all a cheerful goodbye. Want to know her secrets to getting more work done in less time? Our experts can help.

    Related: Grab and Go: The Best Breakfast Bars for Busy Mornings

    1. Feeling Good? Get to Work!
    Laura Stack, author of Leave the Office Earlier, says that one of the biggest ways that people waste time not is by not matching their tasks to their energy level. "During peak energy periods, you should be working on complex tasks, like writing proposals or number crunching." Save the filing and answering e-mails for low-energy times. Unfortunately, Stack says that when office workers are in a good mood they tend to socialize. "That's when they want to do the fun stuff. Then they feel energy lag and say, 'I guess I should get to work.' So something that would have taken 30 minutes in a peak zone could take 90

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  • Biggest Loser Host Alison Sweeney's Couch Workout

    Andrew Southam/Fitness MagazineAndrew Southam/Fitness MagazineThe Biggest Loser's Alison Sweeney may spend more time on TV than she does in front of it, but the multitasking mom has mastered the art of finding exercise options in her living room or hotel room. "When it comes to working out, I don't just let it happen; I make it happen. I think about it a day in advance," says Sweeney, who walks the talk on these pages. Got 24 minutes during your fave sitcom? Then sculpt sexy muscles at home. "Anyone can do it," says Sweeney's trainer, Stevie Sant'Angelo, who designed this fast allover firm-up exclusively for FITNESS using just a couch and a single resistance band. "You'll get your sweat on and tone all the top trouble zones on your own schedule." Do 15 reps of each move then repeat the circuit twice. Stash the band between your sofa cushions so it's always on hand to keep your body supersleek.

    Row Boat
    Targets: Back, shoulders, and biceps

    • Loop center of band around couch leg and sit on floor facing couch, holding ends of band in each hand,

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  • 8 New Diet Rules to Eat Better

    Jonathan Kantor/Fitness MagazineJonathan Kantor/Fitness MagazineBy Melissa Daly

    Quit playing hunger games. The new rules of dieting will surprise you -- and keep you slim and satisfied.

    1. Find your balance.
    Calories in, calories out. We've been told that dropping pounds or maintaining our weight rests solely on this simple equation. Wrong! "In reality, not all calories are created equal," says dietitian Ashley Koff, RD, a coauthor of Mom Energy and a FITNESS advisory board member. "Quality is just as important as quantity." Here's why: Munching two 100-calorie packs of cookies for your midmorning snack gives you a total of two to three servings, or about 36 grams of carbs, and very little protein. Your body uses just 15 to 20 of those grams of carbs for energy, and unless you're highly active, it will probably store the rest, Koff explains. As a result, you end up gaining weight rather than losing it.

    Stop the calorie obsession and focus more on balancing your nutrients. "Every time you eat, aim for ­unlimited amounts of nonstarchy vegetables

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  • Yoga's Surprising Health Benefits

    Headstand PoseHeadstand PoseBy Hagar Scher

    For centuries, yoga gurus have said this ancient mind-body practice can do more than just keep you fit and flexible. In fact, they believe that regularly twisting your body like a pretzel on a sticky mat will yield incredible health benefits -- staving off insomnia, extra pounds, even heart disease. Skeptical? We were too, at first, so we did some digging to see if we could track down legitimate research to back up these bold claims. Here's what we found:

    Lower-Back Pain
    Yoga increases the range of motion in your hips, which can reduce lower-back pain, says Loren M. Fishman, MD, coauthor of Relief is in the Stretch: End Low Back Pain Through Yoga (W.W. Norton & Company, 2005). In fact, a small study of older women (ages 44 to 62), presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting last year, suggests that yoga increases lower-back flexibility and diminishes pain. A word of caution: People suffering from persistent lower-back pain need a professional

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  • The Best and Worst Foods to Eat on Your Wedding Day

    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.comPhoto courtesy of Shutterstock.comBy Kati Mora, MS, RD

    The last thing you probably want to think about on your wedding day is the food you can and cannot eat. But you might be interested in knowing that what you munch on can make a big difference in how you feel on the big day. Here, the best and worst foods to nosh on before and after saying "I do."

    Related: 10 Sanity Savers to Be a Better Bridesmaid

    The Secret Superfood: Asparagus
    It might not be the first food that comes to mind when planning your menu, but according to Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD, munching on some stalks throughout the day has some big perks. O'Connor says asparagus has diuretic-like properties that can help fight bloating, along with keeping you fuller longer due to the high fiber content. And when you're trying to look good in a custom-fit wedding dress, these two things are kind of a big deal.

    For On-the-Go Grazing: Homemade Trail Mix
    Your wedding day will be the happiest day of your life and also the longest. It's important to have a stash of

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  • The Scoop on Antioxidants

    Peter Ardito/Fitness MagazinePeter Ardito/Fitness MagazineShould you take Vitamin E? What's the best source of Vitamin C? What are flavonoids anyway? We've got the answers.

    Related: The Top 10 Antioxidant-Packed Foods

    Vitamin C

    Research showing that vitamin C can damage cells' DNA has received a lot of attention, but these studies were done in test tubes, not people. Most experts say vitamin C is safe in moderate doses. And many people appear to be skimping on C. Experts say 20 to 30 percent of Americans may have low levels in their blood and up to 16 percent may be deficient. In a British study done last year, men and women with high blood levels of C had about half the risk of dying from heart disease, cancer and other ailments than those with low levels. In addition, C protects against cataracts. In a 14-year study of 478 women, Tufts University researchers found that those who took vitamin C supplements reduced their risk of developing cataracts by a third.

    Vitamin E
    Whether vitamin E can prevent heart disease is still an open

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  • The 21-Minute Ab Makeover

    By Lindsey Emery

    This super-effective workout routine designed by Susan Moran-Perich, vice president of Power Pilates in New York City, combines cardio and pilates to beat belly flab.

    The routine: Do all of the core exercises, followed by two minutes of cardio. Repeat the sequence three times; it'll take about 21 minutes.

    What you'll need: An exercise mat and a jump rope (optional).

    Single Leg StretchSingle Leg Stretch1. Single-Leg Stretch
    Minute 0:00-1:00
    Strengthens abdominals, stretches, hip flexors

    • Lie faceup, knees into chest, abs engaged.
    • Lift head, place left hand on right knee, right hand at right ankle, and extend left leg 45 degrees.
    • Pull right knee into chest while reaching left leg out and up.
    • Switch legs and hands.
    • Do 20 reps total, continuing to alternate legs.

    Related: Flat Abs Fast: Core-Strengthening Workout

    Double-Leg Lower/LiftDouble-Leg Lower/Lift2. Double-Leg Lower/Lift
    Minute 1:00-2:00
    Strengthens abdominals

    • Lie faceup, abs engaged.
    • Place hands under the bottom of your spine.
    • Lift head and extend legs over

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  • Do Self-Help Books Really Work?

    Sara Forrest/Fitness MagazineSara Forrest/Fitness MagazineBy Leah McLaughlin, Sharon Boone, and Amy Fishbein

    Walk into any bookstore and the titles calling out to help you can seem overwhelming: Change Your Life in 30 Days, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Time. Many have been on the bestseller list for years. Take The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People: It's stayed there for more than five years. But are these books really, well, helpful? Some experts say yes. "Self-help materials can be almost as effective as professional treatment," says John Norcross, PhD, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. "That is, if they give specific actionable steps and you have realistic expectations -- lasting changes are made gradually." To test his statement, we conducted our own (slightly unscientific) study: three former staffers each tried a book that addressed a personal challenge. Here's how we fared.

    Related: 5 Secrets of Happy People

    Achieving Breakthrough Goals
    Book 1:

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