Blog Posts by SHAPE magazine

  • The Top 3 Abs Exercises of All Time

    the best abs exercises of all time!the best abs exercises of all time!Bring on the short-shorts and swimsuits! We went to our favorite celeb trainer, Joe Dowdell, to get his top three abs exercises. Here are the moves he swears by to rock those teeny-weeny bikinis:

    Instead of just giving you my three favorite abs exercises, I'm going to give you my top three choices for beginners as well as a few options that are great for intermediate/advanced trainees.


    Best Abs Exercises for Beginners
    1. Plank: Lie facedown on mat. Place forearms on mat, elbows under shoulders. Place legs together with forefeet on floor. Raise body upward by straightening body in straight line (don't let your hips sag). Hold position.

    RELATED: The Good Morning Workout

    2. Side Plank: Lie on your side on mat. Place your right forearm on mat under your shoulder, perpendicular to your body . Place your left leg directly on top of your right leg and straighten knees and hips. Raise your body upward by straightening through your waist so your body is ridged. Hold this position for 30-60

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  • Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Your Skin

    It's our body's largest organ yet there is still so much we don't know about our skin! From preventing wrinkles to the benefits of facial massage, we went to anti-aging expert Dr. Aaron Tabor to get the scoop on 10 things you don't know about your skin-but should!

    "Your skin reflects your overall health," Dr. Tabor says, "so the best thing to remember is to eat a healthy diet and avoid junk food, do not smoke, exercise regularly, and drink plenty of water. It is also important to read the ingredients on all skincare products and avoid any that contain "Glycols" or "PEGS," as they contain harmful chemicals."

    Since May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, it's the perfect time to start thinking about preventing future damage to your outer layer. Read on for more of Dr. Tabor's tips!

    Decode botanicalsDecode botanicals1. Decode botanicals: Botanicals, or a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal or therapeutic properties, flavor, and/or scents, can be very useful in skincare products.

    "Botanicals that contain

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  • Healthy Homemade Popscicles

    People's PopsPeople's PopsPicture one of your favorite desserts from childhood….but updated for grown-ups and healthy to boot. Cool, right? That's why the all-natural handmade treats at the People's Pops shops in New York City-featuring locally sourced fruits and herbs-are all the rage. Now, straight form the company's new cookbook ($12; amazon.com), come recipes for freezing some fat-free creations of your own.

    If you love the two healthy homemade popsicle recipes below be sure to pick up a copy of the June issue for the tangy and tasty blackberry, yogurt , and honey pops recipe (it's the pretty purple one featured top left)

    Peach and Bourbon Pops
    Makes 10 2.5-ounce pops

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine ⅔ cup cane sugar and ⅔ cup water and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Stir until sugar dissolves, then remove simple syrup from heat and let cool.


    RELATED: 12 Amazing Alternatives to the Ice Cream Truck

    Cut 4 to 5 peaches (about 1¼ pound) in

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  • The Best Sandwich Recipes Under 300 Calories

    Roasted eggplant sandwichesRoasted eggplant sandwiches1. Roasted eggplant sandwich: Roasting vegetables like eggplant and red onion with a small amount of olive oil is a great way to concentrate their flavors and keep the calorie count down. (Find out how many calories you should eat to lose weight). Add these roasted veggies to whole wheat bread with 2 tablespoons of white bean spread or hummus, and you have a great healthy vegetarian meal. 298 calories






    DON'T MISS: Salt Shockers! 5 Foods as Sodium-Packed as Soy Sauce


    Grilled mushroom meltGrilled mushroom melt2.Grilled mushroom melt: Grilled cheese may not have the reputation of a healthy sandwich, but add sautéed mushrooms and two slices of low-fat cheddar cheese, and you can enjoy your childhood favorite without guilt. Better yet, use whole wheat bread and cook your sandwich on an indoor grill pan instead of a buttery skillet. 271 calories






    Tuna BurgersTuna Burgers3.Tuna burgers: Using fish instead of hamburger is a great trick to make tasty low calorie burgers. Pack together 1/4 pound minced

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  • What's the One Change I Should Make to My Diet as a Woman?

    By SHAPE Diet Doctor Mike Roussell, phD

    What's the single most important change you can make to your diet?What's the single most important change you can make to your diet?If you want to make the biggest impact on your health as a woman, you first need to know the biggest threat to a woman's health. According to the Center for Disease Control, the top three causes of death for women in the United States are heart disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases. Nutrition isn't going to have a huge impact on chronic respiratory diseases, but it can make an immense difference with cancer and heart disease.

    Heart disease and cancer are huge public health issues and the span and scope of both diseases is rather broad, however there is one hormone that has been linked to both-and it can be controlled with your diet. I'm talking about insulin.



    RELATED: 10 New Ways to Eat Oatmeal

    Insulin is a hormone released from your pancreas in response to increases in blood sugar levels. Insulin's job it to get sugar out of the blood and into fat or muscle cells. If you constantly have high blood sugar levels, your muscles can

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  • 7 Workouts Inspired by Pop Culture

    Shoot like Katniss Everdeen, score like Harry Potter, and sweat like LMFAO (speedo optional!) with these seven new workouts inspired by pop culture:

    Sweat like LMFAO (speedos optional!)Sweat like LMFAO (speedos optional!)1. I'm sexy and I know it: For a cheeky take on, um, tanning your cheeks check out this BodyRock.Tv workout based on the number one workout song in America, "I'm Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO. To get yourself into bikini-rocking form like the party rockers, try this short (but intense) 15-minute routine. It uses just a few moves to work every muscle in your body. And to get some additional ab work, laugh yourself silly watching all the parody videos on the Internet.







    RELATED: Do You Really Need That? 7 Fitness Items to Ditch



    Train like a tribute from the Hunger GamesTrain like a tribute from the Hunger Games2. Train like a tribute: What gets your heart pumping faster than fighting for your life? Let out your inner Katniss Everdeen, the fierce heroine from Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy, with new workouts that cover everything from archery survival skills to hand-to-hand combat. One hugely popular class, the "

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  • Salt Shockers! 5 Foods as Sodium-Packed as Soy Sauce

    As any bloat-minded girl knows, it's always a good idea to ask for the low-sodium soy sauce when ordering that spicy tuna roll, as just 2 tsp of the regular kind can contain a whopping 680mg of sodium. But there are other foods-many seemingly healthy-that are also surprisingly high in salt, according to Amy Jamieson-Petonic, RD, spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

    Her recommendation: Aim for no more than 2,300mg of sodium per day (1500mg if you have a family history of cardiovascular disease). In addition to that jeans-and-rings-don't-fit-feeling, a high-sodium diet can also increase risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, so trimming the salt from your diet is a smart move. Here are five places to start:

    Cottage cheeseCottage cheeseCottage Cheese
    Cottage cheese is a dieters' mainstay, and while it's a good source of calcium and protein, it can be loaded with sodium, often containing 900mg per cup. If you love cottage cheese, look for low sodium versions whenever possible, but a

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  • The Best and Worst Chocolates for Your Body

    by SHAPE editors

    Chocolate: How do you pick the healthiest one?Chocolate: How do you pick the healthiest one?The once guilty pleasure has gone from sinner to winner in recent years, as a slew of research has uncovered benefits that range from protecting your heart to improving your mood. But not all varieties are created equal, warns Andrea Giancoli, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Chocolate's healthful effects derive from its plant source, the cacao bean, which contains flavanols (phytochemicals that act as antioxidants); different formulations have varying amounts of the magic ingredient. Here's how these sweets stack up.

    MILK CHOCOLATE
    With fewer flavanols than dark, milk chocolate isn't a top choice. But you can pump up the benefits by going for a bar with a medium to high level of cacao (around 40 percent) and some nuts or dried fruit for an extra boost of good-for-you ingredients.

    Try: Chuao Chocolatier Caracas ($5 for 3.5 oz; chuaochocolatier.com) The cacao clocks in at 41 percent; almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios offer

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  • The Best Stress-Relieving Workouts that Aren't Meditation

    Stress-relieving workouts that aren't meditationStress-relieving workouts that aren't meditationWhile following a regular exercise program is a great way to relieve stress, some workouts can actually cause a stress response in your body. Some research has linked exercise (endurance workouts in particular) with increased production of stress hormones and inflammation in the body.

    We're not suggesting you skip your workout-just make sure it's balanced and responsive to your body's needs. For example, if you find yourself under a lot of stress, you may want to restore your energy level with a flowing, gentle sweat session instead of that killer spin class. And while meditation is a proven stress reducer, it isn't for everyone (and who really has the time or patience for it?). If you prefer to stay in motion, we recommend trying any or all of these relaxing (but dynamic) mind/body workouts :


    RELATED: Beyond the Coregasm: 5 Workout-Induced Pleasures

    1. NIA: NIA, which stands for Neuromuscular Integrative Action, is a blend of martial arts, dance, and healing arts. Done

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  • Unconventional Ways to Treat Sore Muscles

    Whether you're getting back into the workout game or you just pushed yourself a little harder than you should have yesterday, sore muscles happen to the best of us. If ice packs just aren't doing it for you anymore, try changing your ow! to oh! with these unconventional tricks--they really work, we promise!

    Cherry juiceCherry juice1. Cherry juice: You won't need a spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down! Tart cherry juice has rapidly become one of the hottest super foods, thanks to its high level of antioxidants (even more than pomegranates!) and other benefits-one of which is decreased muscle soreness. Try adding a splash to your post-workout smoothie.









    RELATED: 8 Simple Ways to Detox Your Body

    CaffeineCaffeine2. Caffeine: Your morning latte just got a healthy halo, thanks to University of Georgia researchers who found that taking caffeine, about the equivalent of two cups of coffee, helped reduce muscle soreness in women after a strenuous workout. It works by blocking adenosine, a chemical released by your body in

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