All Articles Tagged "exercise"

Summer Remedies: Quick Fixes For Chafing

July 25th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Thick thighs are a blessing. You may have even heard that they save lives. But during the summer, those blessings can rub together in a way that it is pretty hard to be grateful for.

Summer workouts and summer skirts can be hard on your legs. The trouble is moisture and friction. #Thighgaps may be popular on Instagram, but for most women, they’re not a reality. With that being said, things can get rough pretty quickly when you’ve been walking for some time in the heat. Before you know it, you’re looking for any place to sit to give your legs a break. And we haven’t even talked about the possible scarring from legs that have rubbed together too long and in a harsh manner.

Thankfully, chafing — of any kind — doesn’t have to be a problem. There are lots of ways to prevent it, stop it in its tracks, or fix the damage it has done. So don’t be afraid to put on your walking or running shoes and your shortest skirts and dresses this summer. We’ve got you covered. We gave you five options before, here a few more to ensure you stay chafe-free.

Summer Workouts That Are Easiest On Your Hair

July 25th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Shutterstock

If you’ve skipped gym day because you don’t want to sweat out (or have to redo) your hair, then join the club. When you can barely squeeze a workout into your day, trying to find even more time to to fix what an hour at the gym can do to your hair seems like a big chunk of the day that will be lost. Who has time to pencil all of that in?

And while protective styles and dry shampoo can make workout hair presentable, there’s another option: You can just change your workout.

These summer workouts will help you burn calories and tone up without sweating out your hair. So if you’re tired of choosing between keeping fit and keeping cute, or want a way to squeeze in a workout without a wash and dry too, read on.

Anxious Thoughts We All Have When We Go To The Gym (And Why They Don’t Matter)

July 14th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Real talk? Going to a gym for the first time, whether co-ed or a women-only facility, can be intimidating. You’ve come there to get in shape, but everyone else seems like they’ve got it down already. They’re fit, know where all of the machines are, and is it just you or are they looking at you like maybe you don’t belong?

A recent study found that you’re not the only one who has felt that way. In fact, 75 percent of women have found themselves skipping out on the gym because they felt anxiety about working out among the crowd of people who go to fitness facilities.

The gym can seem like a really intimidating place, but you don’t need to feel embarrassed. It’s easier than you think to conquer your gym fears and stop them from keeping you on the couch. The trick? Remembering that you’re not alone. These thoughts run through everyone’s head when you start a new fitness routine at the gym — but these are reasons why none of us should worry about it.

10 Easy Ways To Burn 100 Calories Before Lunch

July 11th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

We’ve all had mornings when the breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks call our names, even though we know we should just stick to the nonfat iced vanilla latte. And let’s not even get started on your lunch outing at the restaurant where it’s a crime to pass up on the cheesecake. What we’re trying to say is that it’s hard out here for those of us trying to eat better and stay at a recommended calorie count.

Even if you were good during your morning coffee run, some days it pays to burn 100 extra calories during the day — especially when you don’t have time to get to the gym. These easy moves can be tackled at home or at work and only take a few minutes out of your day. They prove that a little more physical activity in the day really can go a long way to helping you reach your health and fitness goals.

Midsection Makeover: 5 Moves To Help You Feel Confident In That Crop Top

July 6th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Shuterstock

I’m not sure where you reside, but here in New York City, it’s currently hot and humid. I could do without the latter, but I’m pumped about the former, because who hasn’t been waiting for some consistent warmth? And with consistent warmth comes a wide variety of clothing options — including crop tops. No, crop tops don’t have to be the old-school version that has your whole midsection out like Janet Jackson during the “You Want This” days. We all know there are now options available for those who want to play peek-a-boo too. With that being said, anybody can wear a crop top. However, if you want to tighten up your core so those abs will pop when you wear it, you still have time to make it happen. Check out five ab exercises you should integrate into your workouts to see some results before summer ends and crop tops (and stomachs) have to go back in hiding for fall.

Stability Ball Transfers

Follow Serena’s lead by lying flat on your back, legs straight out in front of you, and arms above your head with a stability ball in your hands. As you begin, bring the ball up, crunching as opposed to sitting all the way up as you transfer the ball to your feet. Bring your feet and back down at the same time, engaging your core before returning the ball to your hands. Three reps of a minute of this move will leave your core sore — which isn’t a bad thing.

Spider-Man Plank

This variation on the Spider-Man plank calls for you to get in the traditional plank, shoulders above your hands, butt low and back straight, before bringing your leg out to the side. Whichever direction you start with, bring the opposite leg out in that same direction before switching to the opposite side with both legs. Try to pound this one out for at least 30 seconds, three reps. If you really want to test yourself, try a minute instead.

Hand to Forearm Plank

Talk about attacking the core. Start off in a traditional plank (butt low, feet spread out) on your hands and then move down to your forearms. Engage your core as you return to the starting position, going back up from your forearms to your hands. You will most definitely feel the burn with this one.

via GIPHY

Suitcases

With a medicine ball in between your knees (try for a 15-pound ball), your back on the ground and hands behind your head, turn your elbows inward, crunch at your core and bring your knees up all at the same time. Hold that crunch for a second before returning to the starting position, but don’t let your feet touch the floor on the way down. The heavier the ball, the more work it will be to bring those knees up and engage that core. I would recommend three sets of 15.

via GIPHY

Full Extensions

Start out flat on your back with a medicine ball (go for 10 or 15) above your head and your legs straight out in front of you. Use your core to bring the medicine ball to your shins and then bring the ball back above your head and let your legs fall back out in front of you. When you return to the starting position, don’t let the ball or your legs touch the ground. Three sets of 15? You’ve got this!

Take It Outside: The 5 Best Outdoor Workouts

July 4th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Shutterstock

We all love summer for a wide variety of reasons — the heat, the things to do, the trips. It’s a fantastic season. But fitness enthusiasts love summer, in particular, because it’s a time to take workouts to the next level: from inside to outside. And as the New York Times pointed out, you often work harder and exert more energy when you exercise outdoors, and walk away with less stress and more of a commitment to your fitness goals. And they don’t even have to feel like the same old tedious cardio or strength training sessions. In fact, outdoor workouts are actually known to boost your mood. That’s probably because you can work out while simultaneously enjoying the weather and having fun. With that being said, here are a few warm-weather activities that are both enjoyable and quite the full-body workout. 

Kayaking

There’s nothing more peaceful than taking to the water to kayak. Whether you’re doing it alone, riding tandem with a romantic interest or rowing along with friends, it’s a wonderful way to take in nature while also working- your entire body. Not only will you have improved cardiovascular strength, but your arms (moving the paddle), torso (rotating) and legs (applying pressure) will definitely feel the burn.

Beach Volleyball

As if volleyball wasn’t hard enough, you’ll expend quite a bit of energy attempting to run your way through the sand for balls. Trying to be quick on your feet to pass, jump, block, hit, dig and more will leave you drenched–trust me. How else do you think athletes like Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, three-time Gold medalists in beach volleyball, manage to stay so fit?

Biking

Who needs to sit in a hot car or wait for stuffy public transportation when you can hop on a bike, enjoy the wind in your hair and take part in an exhilarating bike ride? It can be tough, but the health benefits are pretty amazing. From cardiovascular improvements and major calorie burn to improved posture and muscle strength, consistent bike rides can help you drop all of the pounds — oh, and get you where you need to be.

Outdoor Running

Ditch the treadmill and hit the streets. You move your body on the pavement in ways that you just don’t do on the treadmill. And really, the resistance levels on a machine can’t compare to the feeling of facing and tackling a ferocious hill outdoors. Plus, I think we can all agree that running outside is much more enjoyable than running in place. The sun, the breeze, being motivated by your fellow runners — all of it can make a run feel less strenuous, and you can burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour or so of steady jogging.

Hiking

I couldn’t appreciate the benefits of a good hike until I hit the trail with my best friends in Hawaii last year. What sounded like boring walking was actually both demanding and exhilarating. In the right shoes with the right people, a good hike can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol (if you do it consistently), and also burn mucho calories while avoiding a great deal of pressure on your joints. Set out on a train and you will quickly find yourself addicted to the rush you get from conquering it.

She Tried It! I Finally Did CrossFit And It Was Absolutely No Joke

June 29th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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I read an article earlier this month that attached horoscopes to the workout that fits them most. As a Leo, I was surprised to find that CrossFit was supposedly our go-to form of fitness. You see, I’ve been wanting to do CrossFit for more than a year now, but was always put off by the pricing for membership at a lot of the gyms in New York. Still, I always envisioned myself having the time of my life pushing tires around, doing deadlifts and swinging kettlebells around like it’s nothing. So when the opportunity arose for me to finally to try out a session, I was beyond excited.

I attended a WOD (Workout of the Day) & Wine event for the ladies at CrossFit Outbreak in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn late last week. It was an hour of extensive training, and then a cool down that included an array of bottles of wine that we were invited to consume after the fact. As a warm up, we played a light game where a group of women tried to walk around while balancing a small black cushion as the rest of the class tried to slap it out of their hand. If you dropped the cushion, you had to do 10 jumping jacks and then proceed to try and slap a cushion out of someone else’s hand to redeem yourself. I was pretty shocked by just how much sweat we all accrued from that 10-minute game, which also consisted of icebreaker moments where we asked each other about our favorite drinks and summer plans.

Eventually, we jumped right into the workout. Partnered up, we proceeded to do another warm-up workout, where we held planks, did high knees, and used barbells to do squats and deadlifts. Soon after, we brought out kettlebells of all sizes, wall balls (they look like massive medicine balls) and wooden steps. For the rest of class, we all did a circuit drill where we had to swing the kettlebells for a minute (I somehow ended up with a 25-pound weight), box jumps for a minute, and wall ball squats, lifts and slams for a minute, four times through. It started off pretty low-key.

And then sh-t got real.

By the last two rounds I was exhausted. No worries, though. I’m talking about the good kind of exhausted. I literally used my entire body during the event. My arms, my legs, my core, my back, my butt–every part of my body was engaged and worked out in the class, which was both fun and challenging. By the end, I was more enthusiastic about getting a free bottle of water than I was a glass of rosé (but you know I took that too!).

After speaking to the instructor, the owner and other women who were members of the gym, I felt really encouraged. Not only did the women say that they grew stronger through classes at the gym, their bodies changing and toning in ways they didn’t forsee (the evidence was quite visible), but they also were always excited to come to the gym to see such motivating people.

If you want to try out CrossFit Outbreak and you’re not a Brooklynite, the cost to drop in is $28 for a class or $78 for a week of classes. As for membership, they have three options. You can do about two classes a week, for a month, for $189. You can also do three classes a week, for a month, for $199. And there is the option to do unlimited classes each week, for a month, for $225. They have month-to-month plans so you’re not trapped in a membership if things don’t work out as planned. But I have a feeling that they will go better than planned if you try out CrossFit Brooklyn, and you will leave feeling like a beast when you walk out of the gate. A sexy beast that is.

For The Last Time, Please Stop Looking To Waist Trainers For A Weight-Loss Miracle

June 24th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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I don’t know how many more waist trainer ads on Instagram and Saran wrap with Vaseline recommendations I’m going to have to see and hear about before people get the memo: for one, you’re wearing a corset. Secondly, there is no quick fix for weight loss.

And yet, there are still women who are buying waist trainers and expecting weight-loss results, and successfully suing the companies who sell them when they don’t work as hoped.

As reported by The Daily Mail, Waist Gang Society, the company behind waist trainers that have been promoted by the Kardashians, recently settled a lawsuit with a customer. Sara Hawes of California filed a $5 million lawsuit stating that the Florida-based company, which is quite successful (allegedly raking in $2 million as of last year), has been out here selling people a bald-headed lie. As The Daily Mail pointed out, “The lawsuit goes on to explain that women, like Hawes, who want a smaller waist are targeted but the marketing is being done in a deceptive manner. The company’s website even quotes its founder, PreMadonna, who says ‘it’s a unique and efficient way to help women shed unwanted inches and feel good about themselves — no diet and exercise required.'”

Well, Ms. PreMadonna just shot herself in the foot now didn’t she?

And while it was an incredibly ridiculous idea to tell the public that you could drop pounds without having to eat better and work out in order to sell her products, I was more bothered by the fact that people actually believed her. I mean, as the saying goes, “if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.”

An agreement was made between both parties on Monday, settling the case out of court.  Hawes may deserve money to at least teach folks a thing or two about the consequences of false advertising, but really, can you expect anything less from someone looking to make money off of revamped corsets? The reality is, there are many women who sit on the Waist Gang Instagram page asking “How much?” They believe that binding their stomach in one way or another will help them lose weight, no frills involved. They see the Kardashians, Amber Rose, Porsha Williams and more wearing trainers, knowing good and well that these stars aren’t putting those things on for more than an Instagram picture. Have you ever seen video of Williams or Khloe Kardashian (who both post many workout clips and pictures), going hard in the gym with a waist trainer on? I doubt it. They’ve slimmed down and toned up because they work out extensively, and with trainers.

But you can wear whatever you want. You still won’t slim down without a change in diet and some exercise. You might alter your waist, but it won’t have anything to do with pounds falling off around your stomach. Wearing a tight corset for a long time can cause your natural waist size to be reduced, but only because you’re pushing your body to tolerate uncomfortable constriction of that area. However, the idea of losing weight in your waist solely just isn’t tangible. We don’t really have control of where we lose weight. You may want to slim down in your stomach or thighs but actually find more of a loss in breast weight or arm fat instead. When you work hard enough, you eventually see results all over — even in your feet.

As Christopher Ochner, Ph.D., a weight loss and nutrition expert at Mount Sinai Hospital told Marie Claire, you might lose consciousness from wearing a waist trainer too tight and for too long, but that’s about all you’re really going to lose. “You can’t reduce the collection of fat in any one particular area of your body. If you push your stomach in, all the fat will go right back to where it was no matter how long [you wear the corset] for.”

You could even end up with acid reflux. And as certified fitness enthusiast Lita Lewis told me last year about waist trainers:

“We like that quick fix. We like how we look when that waist trainer is tucking us in and now we have hips and an hourglass figure. I get that, I really do. But personally, I stand for and promote a healthier lifestyle for longevity. Therefore, I could never be associated with something like that because it is a quick fix, and it does play on misconceptions of weight loss. And really, all it’s doing is distributing body fat in different places.”

I’ve literally watched people enter into women-only gyms and sell waist trainers to women who happily buy them. I’ve even watched a woman show others how she puts petroleum jelly on her stomach and wraps it with Saran wrap to slim down at the same fitness center. It’s ridiculous. Because no matter what you’re sold or told about these trainers, teas and the like, the fact of the matter is that working on your diet and exercising are the best way to see results. Some of us aren’t lucky enough to have the genetics to look like a Barbie doll, and in that case, it’s best to just work on toning and accentuating what you have. Spending $20 and upwards of $100+ on a quick-fix corset will just leave you uncomfortable and a little bit broker. It can give you a certain look when you wear it, but when you take it off, it’s time to figure out Plan B, sis.

I Toiled In The Mud For Two Hours In The Mudderella Obstacle Race, Here’s How It Went

June 24th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Mudderella

In the past, if someone would have offered me the opportunity to jump in a pool of mud not just once but over and over again, I would have laughed in their face. Me? Playing in dirt? Hard pass.

But I’ve been making an attempt as of late to step outside of my comfort zone. And for first my first marathon-meets-obstacle-course race, Mudderella was very much outside of my comfort zone.

Hell, it was even outside of my state. I had to travel to New Jersey from New York, and then drive an hour from Parsippany to the Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown last Saturday at the a– crack of dawn. So I was tired. I was also nervous before the race began, wondering if I had signed myself up for something I would soon regret. But after months of training, I knew there was nothing to it but to do it. What I came to realize as I ran from obstacle to obstacle, still uncomfortable due to a mix of sweat, the strong heat and having mud stuck in between my toes in the depths of my shoe, was that I also felt pretty spectacular. I was pushing my body to limits I never thought it could go. Just a year and a half ago I was overweight, out of shape, and far from possessing the athletic prowess I was known for as a teen. I had let myself go. But I had worked hard to get myself back, and was really getting to see what I was capable of during the course. So in no time flat I was saying, “Bring on the mud!”

I crawled in a muddy moat underneath tight wires while someone used a hose to pour cold water on me and hundreds of other women (and a few men). I carried tires. I climbed a rope ladder. I leaped down to a large inflatable. And I even had to climb a wall using a rope as though I were in high school all over again.

And while I was hot, walked around with cuts all over my knees and elbows from toiling in mud, my heart was full. There were so many people taking part in the course, strangers pushing one another to keep moving. Women giving each other a boost over walls, mud piles and a whole host of obstacles. I even had to carry my friend on my back at one point (and vice versa).The encouragement, the muddy hugs, the laughs and cheers, definitely made the struggle moments, and there were many, all worth it.

Okay, by hour two, I can be honest and say that I grew a little weary of jumping in muddy water and fighting to climb over the hills submerged in them (there were fewer and fewer “Bring on the mud!” commands after a while), but I’m definitely better for putting myself through it. I would come to love the feeling of being fully exhausted, arms weak from climbing, hands sore from pulling, legs tired from propelling my body in every direction possible. It was as though my body was telling me, “Job well done, sis.” Now, the dirt lodged in my toe and fingernails I probably could have done without, as well as my Fitbit being destroyed, but whatevs.

At this point, there are only four Mudderella events left this summer (and one in the winter), with races taking place in the New England area on July 30, Toronto on August 27, Whistler in British Columbia on September 24, and Melbourne, as in Australia, on December 3. But when the opportunity arises next year to take part in the races in cities around the country, I would definitely recommend that you try it. The sense of accomplishment you will feel at the end will leave you feeling incredibly proud–and ready to move forward with your fitness goals. Plus, after jumping, crawling and climbing in dirt, you will pretty much feel like you can do and handle anything like a boss.

 

#FitnessGoals: Ernestine Shepherd, World’s Oldest Bodybuilder, Celebrates 80th Birthday

June 23rd, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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If you’ve ever needed proof that being good to your body will help you live longer and look fabulous while doing so, check out a one Ms. Ernestine Shepherd. She celebrated her 80th birthday on June 16 and honestly, doesn’t look a day over 65. Check out her Facebook message about ringing in another year: 

According to Yahoo, Shepherd was named the oldest female bodybuilder by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010 and 2011. And one awesome way the bodybuilder celebrated her 80th year on this planet was with the release of her book Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined To Be Fit: The “Ageless” Journey of Ernestine Shepherd (the first part of that title is her mantra). In it she explains how she was able to change her life and go from being “an average middle-aged woman to a bodybuilding diva.” At the age of 56 she decided to start working out and eventually fell in love with it. As is the case for many fitness enthusiasts, she found it to be a route to happiness after a traumatic life event. Shepherd turned to fitness after the loss of her sister who passed after having a brain aneurysm. They had set fitness goals together, and after her death, Shepherd was determined to keep and eventually exceed them. She has since toned up and become quite popular on social media, inspiring women (and men) of all ages to live their best life by adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Shepherd, who sticks to 1,700 calories a day, wakes up early in the morning to read Bible devotions and go for a run. She teaches classes and does public speaking, sharing her story as often as she can. Working out has become a way of life for the 80-year-old, and it can be for you as well. As Shepherd told Oprah Winfrey, “Not everybody wants to be a bodybuilder. Not everybody wants to be a runner. But find what you like to do. I say to my senior ladies — and the men — ‘Don’t forget: Age is nothing but a number and you can get fit.’”

Happy belated birthday to Ernestine! She truly is an inspiration.