Blog Posts by SHAPE magazine

  • The Benefits of Boxing and Martial Arts

    By Joe Dowdell

    Have you tried an MMA workout yet?Have you tried an MMA workout yet?We hear a lot about boxing and martial arts, so we went to our resident celebrity trainer, Joe Dowdell to get his opinion on it. His answer? This is the best workout you're not doing! See what he had to say:

    Before I answer this question, I must give full disclosure: I'm a huge fan of mixed martial arts (MMA) and the techniques involved such as striking (kicks, knees, and punches) and grappling (holds, sweeps, and throws). Not only do I incorporate boxing and Jiu-Jitsu into my own weekly training plan, but I also work with MMA fighters on a regular basis.

    That being said, I think that every woman, regardless of age or athletic ability, can benefit tremendously from incorporating some boxing and/or martial arts into her training program. Whether you want to improve overall health and fitness, lose weight (fat), or simply boost your mood, martial arts can help you reach your goals and more. In terms of physical qualities, some of the benefits include:


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  • The Top 5 Summer Foods for Weight Loss

    By Jessica Smith

    One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fruits and vegetables that are in-season come June. You've worked hard all year to stay toned and healthy; now keep your momentum going by adding some of these superfoods into your diet:

    MulberriesMulberries1. Mulberries: These sweet, juicy summer berries are tasty both fresh and dried in trail mix or in a salad, says Lisa Dorfman, a registered dietitian and author of The Reunion Diet. "At just 43 calories per 3.5 oz serving, they contain 61 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, and they're also chock full of potassium, fiber, and resveratrol, a phytonutrient shown to protect the heart."

    RELATED: The 10 Most Misunderstood Diet and Fitness Strategies

    CilantroCilantro2. Cilantro: "Cilantro has numerous health benefits and is packed with nutrients such as fiber, iron, thiamine, zinc, folate, phosphorous, folate, vitamin K, and more," says Ellis. Plus, it has a great aroma and flavor that screams summer! Cilantro may increase the production of digestive

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  • 6 Things You Didn't Know About Happiness

    by Jené Luciani for

    We know money can't buy happiness (or can it?) and that we all have the right to pursue it. But what are some things we don't know about this emotional state we all strive for? We tracked down several recent studies to reveal six things you don't know about happiness.

    Money can buy happiness--kind of!Money can buy happiness--kind of!1. Money can buy happiness--sort of: Making more money will boost more than just your income. According to a 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a person's level of happiness and emotional well-being increased along with their paycheck-but capped out at about $75,000 a year. People who made more than that didn't get any happier after they hit that 75k mark.

    RELATED: 10 Inspirational Older Women We Love

    Meditation can beat depression. Meditation can beat depression. 2. Meditate to beat the blues: Several studies have linked regular meditation to actual physical changes in the brain that are similar to what anti-depressant drugs (or so-called 'happy pills') do. People who meditate are not only happier and nicer to

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  • Marathon Training for the Real World

    Tips to breeze through the metaphorical finish line of life's unexpected marathons.Tips to breeze through the metaphorical finish line of life's unexpected marathons.You may have no problem pounding pavement for 26.2 miles, but what happens when you're faced with real-life endurance challenges: a sleepless night on a red-eye flight, packing and lifting boxes to prepare for a move, or a six-hour road trip?

    In general, several global principles apply to most real-life marathons, says Cindy Trowbridge, PhD, ATC, CSCS, associate professor and clinical educator coordinator of the athletic training education program at the University of Texas at Arlington. "All too often during real-life marathons we forget to drink or we drink dehydrating beverages such as coffee or alcohol, for example. Even a two to three percent loss in body weight is significant dehydration."

    As in any marathon, in addition to proper hydration, nutrition, preparation, and rest all play major roles to help you cross the finish line in good form.

    RELATED: 11 All-Natural, Instant Energy Boosters

    1. Stay fit on a long road trip: Sitting for hours on end can be a pain in

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  • 8 Forgotten Fat-Loss Weapons

    Why hormones are your secret weight-loss weapon. Why hormones are your secret weight-loss weapon. Hormones can be the cause of weight gain, but they can also be your body's secret weight-loss weapons. Here's how to use nutrition to help maximize your weight-loss progress:

    1. Ghrelin:
    Ghrelin is your hunger gremlin. It is produced in your stomach and, like many fat-loss hormones, works with your brain to signal that you are hungry. Reducing calories, in an effort to lose weight , causes an increase in ghrelin. Even after 12 months of a reduced-calorie diet, research shows that ghrelin levels stay elevated. In other words, your body never adapts to eating less and constantly sends the "I'm hungry" signal, which is why maintaining weight loss is often harder than losing it in the first place.

    The good news: Intense exercise decreases ghrelin levels, making it a key component to fat loss and weight maintenance.

    RELATED: 7 Quirky Weight-Loss Strategies that Really Work!

    2. Leptin: Leptin is a type of hormone called an adipokine that is released exclusively from fat

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  • 5 Things that Can Sink Your (or His) Sex Drive

    Sex used to be so simple (if you don't count birth control, STDs, and unplanned pregnancy). But as life gets more complicated, so does your sex drive. Whereas once you were ready to go at the drop of a hat (or pants, as the case may be), there are a number of emotional, physical, and psychological concerns that can easily dampen your drive. We talked to a handful of experts and compiled this list of the biggest libido busters. Find out if one is, ahem, coming between you and the sex life you deserve.

    Lack of sleep can cause your sex drive to take a nosedive. Lack of sleep can cause your sex drive to take a nosedive. 1. Six hours of sleep: We are a nation of chronically sleep-deprived adults. This is not only affecting our looks, health, and ability to deal with everyday stressors, it's also killing our sex drive. According to Dr. Robert D. Oexman, Director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Joplin, MO, chronic sleep deprivation, which can occur even if you get a solid six hours a night (the majority of adults need a at least seven), can lower levels of testosterone-the sex drive hormone-in both men and

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  • Summer Snacks Under 200 Calories

    Try one of these quick and tasty snacks to ease between-meal hunger.

    Guacamole. Yum!Guacamole. Yum!1. Spicy edamame guacamole:
    Per serving (1/2 cup): 110 calories, 6.3g fat, 5.3g fiber, 6.8g protein

    Pack some more protein into this summer party food by adding in edamame. Serve it with fresh, crunchy veggies like sliced peppers, carrots, celery, or cucumber to stay keep it under 200 calories .

    1 medium ripe avocado
    1 cup shelled frozen edamame
    2 cloves of garlic
    1 jalapeno pepper, washed and seeded
    juice of 1 lime
    2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves (approx 5-6 sprigs)
    1 tsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1 tsp black pepper

    In a medium saucepan, boil the frozen edamame for 4-5minutes, until bright green. Drain and set aside to cool (you can skip thisstep if you decide to use fresh edamame instead). In a food processor, combine garlic cloves, cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice and puree. Add cooled edamame and puree until smooth. In a mixing

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  • Metabolic Testing: Should You Try It?

    Should you try metabolic testing?Should you try metabolic testing?by Charlotte Andersen

    Nothing is more frustrating than the dreaded weight-loss plateau! When you're exercising regularly and eating clean yet the scale just won't budge, it can make you want to chuck it all and go back to the comforting arms of Little Debbie and reality TV, especially when we're repeatedly reminded that weight loss is as simple as "calories in, calories out." While that might be mathematically true, it doesn't tell the whole story, says Darryl Bushard, NASM-CPT/ISSN-Sports Nutrition Specialist, Certified Weight Loss Coach for Lifetime Fitness and Precision Nutrition Certified. "It's really not the calories that are important," he says, "but the nutrients in the calories."

    And there's a lot more to consider than your food. A host of other variables can affect weight loss, performance, and overall health, Bushard says. "You need to look at all the stressors in your life affecting your metabolism, including your workouts (are you overtraining?), environment, any

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  • Work 400 Muscles in Five Moves

    Work 400 muscles with just five moves!Work 400 muscles with just five moves!You don't need to spend hours in the gym each day to score a slim, sexy body. In fact, with this bodyweight circuit created by Jessica Smith, certified personal trainer and author of Thin in 10, you can work almost every muscle in your body without setting foot inside the gym.

    How it works: Complete the workout circuit-style, performing each move for the prescribed number of reps and then immediately moving on to the next exercise without rest. After you finish the last move, rest for 1-2 minutes and then repeat the entire circuit 1-2 more times, depending on how much time (and energy) you have.

    Bonus tip: Do this workout barefoot to fully engage your muscles and get even more out of every move.

    Chaturanga push pressChaturanga push press1. Chaturanga push press:

    Repetitions: 10

    This push-press combo engages (and stretches) your entire body.

    How to do it: Assume a pushup position, but move your feet forward and raise your hips so that your torso is nearly perpendicular to the floor. Your hands should be

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  • 10 of the Coolest Yoga Photos You'll Ever See

    SHAPE is challenging readers to get outside the studio and do "Yoga Anywhere." Here's some inspiration!


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