Blog Posts by SHAPE magazine

  • 5 Ways Peer Pressure is a Good Thing

    by Joe Donatelli

    Why peer pressure can be a good thing!Why peer pressure can be a good thing!Most people think of peer pressure as this awful thing that makes teenagers drink beer, have sex, and make regrettable fashion choices, but it turns out there is a positive side to this type of influence. New research reveals that peer pressure combined with diet or exercise can be a force for good. Many health-conscious individuals have discovered that a "just say yes" approach to peer pressure and other social stress can help them get (and stay) fit. How? Let us count the ways…

    1. The buddy system works: Here's one to remember for New Year's Day. Planning an endeavor and partnering with someone helps you stick to your resolutions. In one British study, researchers split government employees into four groups: Group one was left alone to exercise and improve its diet, group two was asked to recruit a partner, group three was encouraged to develop "if...then" contingency plans (IF I feel hungry, THEN I will eat an apple), and group four made "if...then" plans with a

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  • Winter Meals You Can Pull Straight from Your Pantry

    by Elizabeth Goodman Artis

    Red bean vegetable soupRed bean vegetable soupBuying canned goods in bulk may seem a slightly paranoid, Doomsday Prepper-esque endeavor, but a well-stocked cupboard can be a healthy eaters' best friend-as long as you're choosing the right stuff. Many canned goods are notorious salt-bombs, which not only cause unflattering bloating but also high blood pressure, and other nonperishables contain trans fats or questionable-and often unpronounceable-preservatives.

    With a little shopping guidance and these recipes from Anthony Stewart, head chef at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, FL, however, you can whip up a healthy, low-sodium lunch or dinner in no time by tossing together a few ingredients you're almost guaranteed to have on hand.

    1. Red bean vegetable soup: While you could grab one of the many pre-made bean and veggie soup options on your supermarket shelves, making your own soup is bafflingly easy-and exceedingly better for your health. Homemade versions have about 100 milligrams of sodium or

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  • One-Minute Fixes for Happier Holidays

    by Greg Presto

    Try these quick fixes for happier, healthier holidays!Try these quick fixes for happier, healthier holidays!All of the gift buying, wrapping, and party hopping can be overwhelming. Don't let your magical memories get lost in a fog of exhaustion. Recharge and reinvigorate your holidays with these one-minute tips so you're at your festive finest all winter long. (Bonus benefit: They'll help you slip a little fat-fighting exercise into this season of gym-skipping indulgence.)

    1. Step away from the shopping to walk taller:
    If a day of holiday shopping makes you feel slumped over, it's not just because all those bags are filled with goodies that aren't for you. Lugging sacks of gifts around can roll your shoulders forward, making your chest tighten and close, says Chrissy Carter, a yoga teacher and trainer at YogaWorks in New York. Instead of looking and feeling defeated-and not getting optimal breath while you stride around-take a break from the card-swiping grind and try this shoulder and heart opener.

    RELATED: Stay Fit on the Fly! The 12-Minute Do-Anywhere Workout

    To do it,

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  • 8 Dinner Foods You Should Eat for Breakfast

    by Elizabeth Goodman Artis

    8 dinner foods you can eat for breakfast8 dinner foods you can eat for breakfastIf you've ever had breakfast for dinner-pancakes, waffles, even scrambled eggs-you know what fun it can be to swap a meal. Why not try it the other way around? "Many cultures eat what Americans view as dinner foods for their first meal of the day," explains Mary Hartley, R.D., an online nutritionist from New York City. And since breakfast is still the most important meal you can eat health-wise, adding new foods to your repertoire not only varies the nutrition, it keeps you from getting bored. Plus, eating a heartier "dinner" meal helps fill you up so you eat less throughout the day. Here are eight foods-and serving ideas-to make over your morning meal.

    1. Soup:
    Miso soup specifically, though any broth-based soup is a good choice, especially if it's packed with veggies and lean protein (stay away from the bisques or cream-based soups). Miso soup, popular in Japan, is fermented, and according to Hartley, fermented foods can help populate the digestive system

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  • Is He the One for You?

    by Jené Luciani

    How to tell if he's How to tell if he's He may leave his dirty socks on the floor, but at least he opens the door for you. When it comes to relationships, you take the good with the bad. But when you're dating a guy you think just might be Mr. Right, how do you determine if he's really the one you're destined to spend the rest of your life with?

    We went to the experts to find out how to tell if a guy truly is Mr. Right-or just Mr. Right Now. Here are five tests your soulmate must pass.

    1. The chivalry test: Patti Stanger, Millionaire Matchmaker, author, and Bravo TV star, says chivalry is not dead-at least not when it comes to the 'good' ones.

    "Things like opening the car door or immediately giving you your portion of food when you're splitting a dish at a restaurant-these are all important signs to look for to know if he'll ultimately treat you right," Stanger says.

    RELATED: 7 Tips for Your Best Orgasm Ever

    And in this case especially, actions speak louder than words. "Words are often used as a substitute

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  • The Weight-Loss Nutrient You're Not Eating

    by Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

    Fiber: Weight-loss superfood?Fiber: Weight-loss superfood?The U.S. often isn't the first nation to come to mind when you think of countries with healthy eating habits to adopt, but it turns out we may be influencing how our friends across the Atlantic dine.

    The "all things fiber" trend taking over American supermarkets is also on the rise in Spain, Germany, Poland, and the U.K., where 62 percent of people say consuming enough fiber is important, a new European report found. Fiber even trumps calories, as only 56 percent said reducing calories was important.

    This study intrigued me because while there are a number of foods with fiber added on the market-everything from pasta to yogurt-the latest nutrition data indicates that the average intake in the United States is less than half the recommended 14 grams per 1,000 calories (which works out to roughly 25 grams a day for women and 38 for men). And when I talk to my clients, most don't know much about this nutrient, other than it's generally good for you.

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  • 8 New Ways to Become and Stay a Morning Exerciser

    by Jessica Smith for

    Eight tips to help make rising and sweating with the sun second nature. Eight tips to help make rising and sweating with the sun second nature. Working out in the morning sounds great: It's one thing off your to-do list, it energizes you for the day, you may catch some amazing sunrises, and, of course, you're less likely to blow it off. "People who work out in the early morning tend to stay more consistent because there are less obstacles at 6:00 a.m. than there are at 6:00 p.m.," says Chris Freytag, a national fitness expert and American Council on Exercise board member.

    All well and good, but if actually waking up that early-and then sticking to routine for good-is still an obstacle for you, follow these simple tips, and you'll be up and running (or lifting, or swimming, or…you get the point) on a regular basis in no time.

    1. Be specific when you sweat:
    Don't just say, "I am going to work out tomorrow morning." Create an organized plan of action, pinpointing exactly what type of workout you will do at what time, says Patricia Friberg, a certified personal trainer and creator of the Power 4

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  • The No. 1 Trick to Never Get Sick

    by Joe Donatelli

    IFeel a cold coming on? Try this remedy!Feel a cold coming on? Try this remedy!f you smell onions in someone's socks over the next few weeks, do not be alarmed. That person is probably just fighting a cold.

    Everyone seems to have a custom "miracle cure" for the common cold, and it seems the more creative the solution, the less bashful they are about sharing. A recent poll of Facebook friends revealed the following methods, all of which the practitioners stand by (in their onion-filled socks, in some cases):

    • Heaps of vitamin C
    • Chicken soup, preferably homemade by Mom
    • Natural foods, fresh colorful veggies, and supplements
    • Chopping and eating a raw yellow onion (with a little salad dressing for taste) followed by a warm bath or a long shower to open the pores
    • Oscillococcinum, which is a homeopathic alternative medicine
    • Thieves Essential Oil
    • Coating feet with Vicks Vapor Rub and wearing a pair of socks overnight
    • Socks filled with peeled onion layers
    • Cardio, a few sips of whiskey, and cold medicine
    • Outdoor activity,
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  • 4 Hangover Cures that Work (and 2 that Don't!)

    by Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

    Hangover cures to try--and to avoidHangover cures to try--and to avoidTis the season to drink...and drink...and drink! Between the office holiday parties, family get-togethers, and happy hours, there's a good chance that you may be in need of some relief at least once this holiday season. If that's the case, here are four strategies imbibers swear by and how they actually work to help ease your misery (plus two hangover strategies to avoid!):

    Pickles: Pickles are salty and water is attracted to salt like a magnet, so bumping up your intake will help you retain more fluid. When you're severely dehydrated and suffering from a headache and dry mouth (classic hangover symptoms), every little bit helps!

    Coconut water or bananas: When you're dehydrated, you lose not only water, but also electrolytes, including potassium - and too little potassium can lead to cramps, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and heart palpitations. Both of these foods are loaded with potassium, and putting it back into your system can give you some quick

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  • 5 Strange but Effective Tips for a Better Marathon

    by Charlotte Andersen

    These strange marathon tips really workThese strange marathon tips really workWhen it comes to finishing 26.2 miles, these runners will try anything!

    1. Who needs bathroom breaks? "I have been known to show up to the start line of marathons with my toddler's diaper in my shorts just in case of emergencies. Those port-a-potty lines are long!" - Kristin Stehly of Stuftmama

    2. Sports bro: "I'm a man and I wear a sports bra. But only on long runs (over 10 miles)! It keeps my shirt from chafing my nipples and it doesn't rip out my chest hair like Band-Aids. It's nothing fancy (I like the cheap really stretchy ones) but I will admit to having several different colors!" - Anonymous

    RELATED: The Top 25 Marathon Training Tips

    3. On-the-go chafing solutions: "During long runs, I sometimes experience chaffing on my rear. To help prevent this, I keep a glob of petroleum jelly in a piece of Kleenex so I can do one reapplication during my run. The Kleenex is for storage, but it is a great way to stay sanitary (no need to use fingers) during

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