All Articles Tagged "fitness"
Half the struggle of getting yourself motivated to go the gym is finding the time and energy to pack your gym bag. But trust me, once it’s packed, shoes, sports bra, colorful ensemble inside, you have something pushing you throughout the day to make sure you visit your gym before calling it a night. That bag you’re carrying.
The bag you take with you, if attractive enough, can store not only gym clothes but serve as a handbag too. Like the Sole Society Leighton stripe duffle bag above. So to help keep you in good spirits about working up a sweat, and to help you move on from stuffing your things in your tote bag or whatever bag you can find, here are five very cute and very affordable gym bags that you should treat yourself to. If you’ve been keeping up with your New Year’s resolution and getting that body right and tight, you deserve a little treat.
Don’t want anything too flashy? Keep it simple with this sleek, black Nike gym bag.
Love bright colors and prints? Steve Madden’s Bvoyagee bag is about to be your best friend.
As a lover of all things green, I love this Under Armour Big Logo Tote. And a tote bag definitely gives everyday purse vibes when compared to bigger, bulkier gym bags.
The mix of bright pink and melon make this durable Puma bag flashy, and a must-have item.
You might not love the gym, but you’ll love carrying this bag to the gym. The ban.do is covered in hearts and will help you be stylish but also prepared with all your go-to workout items when you hit the streets.
Look, when I first got back in the gym, I never was that concerned with trying to change my posterior. I just wanted to drop the pounds. But when I started working with a trainer, it became apparent that we were going to spend at least 10 minutes out of every session, squatting for dear life. There were even classes in my gym dedicated to a better butt. I was not here for it.
But all that inadvertent squatting eventually paid off in ways that I never imagined. I wouldn’t say my booty is anything you would turn your head at on the street, but as someone who used to have more belly than backside, it’s definitely sitting up high these days. Bootylicious. Seriously, ask my fiancé…
So with that being said, if part of your fitness goals include perking up your derriere, these are my favorite (actually, they’re terrible but effective) exercises to get the job done.
Full lunges aren’t really my cup of tea because of a knee injury, but pulse lunges go a long way in helping that butt sit pretty.
As you can see, you need to get in a typical lunge stance (one foot to the front, the other to the back). As you dip down, instead of doing a full lunge where your knee almost touches the ground, dip about halfway and pulse up and down at a quick pace. Three sets of at least 15 each on each leg will have your backside burning–but that’s a good thing.
I got hip to the benefits of a good hip lift after doing bridge poses in my yoga classes. And while both feet are on the ground, and the hips are lifted up high in that pose, the one-legged hip lift variation can really get those muscles in your glutes tight.
Lay on your back, arms flat next to you. Bring one leg close to your butt and bring the other one up high. Using your core and tightening the muscles in your butt, bring the high leg up and down–without bringing it all the way to the ground.
They call them donkey kicks for a reason! This exercise is a beast on your backside.
Get on all fours with your hands right under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Bend your right knee, flex your right foot and lift said limb up to your hip. Lower your knee back down, but don’t let it touch the floor. That’s one full rep. Switch legs and repeat three times on each side for 15 reps.
Weighted Sumo Squats
Drop down low. Sounds fun, right? Not really. Especially not when you’re doing a sumo squat with a dumbbell or kettlebell. Still, it works wonders.
Get yourself a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell (I would recommend a 12-15). You can hold it horizontally or vertically. Hold it out in front of your waist. Spread your feet out wide. Tighten your core and lower your body down, pushing your hips back and keeping your knees behind your toes. Pause and then come back up. That’s one rep. Repeat.
These are actually a little fun, but they’re also quite intense.
So many people think they’re doing a squat correctly, but often, that’s not the case. When doing the typical squat, you want to get low, try to keep your chest up (unlike the woman in the gif) and keep your knees behind your toes. Once you have that down pat, when it’s time to come back up, jump, extend your arms to your side and lower back down into your squat. That’s one rep. You know what to do: repeat.
*Bonus* Barbell Squats
This one is a personal favorite as I’m doing a lot of arm and shoulder work these days. Barbell squats are like normal squats, except you’re holding weight on your shoulders as you come down into position. When you squat down, be sure to position your weight at the front of your feet.
Good luck and happy booty lifting!
Retailers are finally realizing not only do big girls workout too but we like to be cute while we do it. That news is even more exciting when the retailer creates a wide rang of options women can actually afford.
Cue Forever 21 which has finally extended their activewear line to include a plus-size collection. The newly launched
offering features super trendy items for low-, medium-, and high-performance activity from yoga to cycling and even running, plus all items have anti-odor technology that will keep you smelling as sweet as you look.
Prices run from $15.90 for basic active leggings and pullovers to $17.90 for sports bras designed for different impact levels, all the way up to $27.9o for some of the more athletic leggings with control paneling, mesh cut outs, and contrast trim piping. Anyone who’s ever purchased workout gear before knows those prices are a steal. Plus, the collection is being touted for its tight form fit, wicking, and inclusion of key pockets for cute, functional comfort.
Check out the full collection, available in sizes 0x-3x, here.
There’s a reason I haven’t written a Working It Out column in a while: I haven’t been working it out. In fact I’ve been doing the opposite of what I should be doing — skipping workouts instead of pushing myself to go to the gym; buying high-fat (not to mention high-priced) lunches when I should be making my own food at home, and struggling to find the motivation to continue on my fitness journey.
I haven’t stepped on a scale in a while, but the last time I did the numbers weren’t pretty. Between September of last year and this month, I’ve regained about 15-20 of the 92 pounds I was so proud to have lost in one year. I feel the difference. My pants are a little more snug, the definition that was just starting to form in my arms has just about dwindled, and there’s no more confusing quadriceps for tumors. I’ve gone far off the deep end and I know I have to quickly get back on the boat if I don’t want this weight loss success to turn into yet another relapse where I regain all, if not more, of the weight I worked so hard to get rid of for, what I thought would be, forever.
A series of unfortunate events led to my regaining. For starters, when I returned from the wedding I attended at the end of September (which was during the time the picture above on the right was taken) I found myself without a personal trainer for the first time in a year. Though I was ready — or so I thought — to not have to answer to someone else about every move I made or every piece of food I ate, I obviously failed to create a personal plan of attack for how I’d pursue my fitness goals on my own and, most importantly, hold myself accountable. A week after my last session, my family from Australia came to visit which meant hanging out with them after work every night and on weekends instead of going to the gym and introducing them to the finer delicacies of the states — like chicken wings. A week after their departure, I headed off to Manila and Beijing for a week where McDonalds and KFC were my daily fixins’, and by the time I returned near the beginning of November, my discipline was as good as broken.
I’ve mentioned before I’m an all or nothing person. When I’m on, I’m exceptional — hence the successful weight loss from October 2014-October 2015 — but when I fall off, I fall off. Hard. So here I am four months later, about 20 pounds heavier, but oddly enough, a little happier. I needed a break from obsessing over food measurements and calorie intake versus output, not to mention belly fat. Instead of weighing myself every morning (because I never broke that bad habit) and eyeing back fat and seeing if enough progress was made from week to week — sometimes day to day — most days I get dressed and think, wow, I look pretty good. This dress hugs me nicely. I like my body.
More than that, when I look back at pictures of myself at the time of my friend’s wedding in September, I finally recognize how good I actually looked then as well. I’d put so much pressure on myself to get into a particular dress for the event, that even when I did I couldn’t stop scrutinizing the rolls and folds I still had and fantasizing about getting to the next weight loss goal instead of appreciating my body in the far slimmer and healthier state it was in at the time. While I’m a little disappointed in my lack of self-control for the past few months, I’m grateful for the setback because it’s served as a reminder to stop being so anxious about the destination that I don’t even enjoy the journey and each milestone along the way. I still want to get to my ultimate goal weight because I know I can, but I also know that being stronger and slimmer then shouldn’t take anything away from being healthier now and looking better than I did a year ago. Sometimes part of working it out is working out your mental demons so you can apply the appropriate attention to your physical self.
If you’re trying yoga for the first time, then this list is for you! Yoga sessions are much more pleasant when you have all the necessary things you will need! For doing yoga indoors as well as outdoors, you’ll need a lot for your practice, including a yoga mat, proper gear and maybe even a meditation chair to name a few. When you click continue, you’ll be fully equipped with where to shop for your must-haves for your next yoga session.
Magic Carpet Yoga Mats Baja Smoke Yoga Mat, urbanoutfitters.com, $98
Design Notes: “Magic Carpet Yoga Mat’s evocative yoga mat, inspired by the salty shores of Baja California and the textiles produced in that region. Phthalate- and latex- free and sustainably made. Best for dry yoga practices, will become stickier with use. Designs are hand-painted and then printed on the mats by Oakland artist Sophie Leininger.”
Marled Pink Ultimate Yoga Leggings, victoriassecret.com, $60
Design Notes “Super smooth and fit to flatter—our best yoga fabric yet. Now in soft, marled colors. Only from Victoria’s Secret PINK.”
Meditation Chair, amazon.com, $349
Manduka Mat Restore Travel Spray, urbanoutfitters.com, $5
Yoga Bag, etsy.com, $24
Yoga Direct 1-lb. Weighted Pilates Ball, kohls.com, $9
Gaiam Beginner’s Yoga Kit, kohls.com, $30
La Vie Boheme Yoga Mandala Yoga Mat, urbanoutfitters.com, $84
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF announced the launch of the 2016 UNICEF Kid Power school program, expanding to 13 cities across the country and empowering more than 70,000 elementary school children to get active and save lives. More than 3,200 teams of third through fifth-graders in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Phoenix, Portland (Maine), Sacramento, San Francisco/Oakland and Washington D.C. will join the UNICEF Kid Power Team beginning in early 2016 and help save the lives of severely malnourished children around the world.
Each city will kick-off its own 30-day “UNICEF Kid Power Month” challenge for participating teams of students who will do their part to make the world a healthier place. While taking steps to end global malnutrition, students will learn about the importance of physical activity and becoming global citizens.
UNICEF Kid Power is a program of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, and is made possible through the generous support of Presenting Sponsors Star Wars: Force for Change and Target, as well as local supporters, parents and fans. Thanks to this funding, participating students from high-need schools will have the opportunity to take part in the UNICEF Kid Power school program, a teacher-led classroom experience that leverages easy-to-use technology and standards-based curriculum to promote fitness and global citizenship. The technology includes UNICEF Kid Power Bands for students and classroom tablets for syncing and tracking progress. The curriculum includes lessons, engagement opportunities and quizzes on malnutrition and global citizenship to keep kids inspired and engaged. Students will be cheered on by their parents, communities, city officials and local sports teams to inspire them to stay active during Kid Power Month and beyond.
By playing, running, jumping and more with the UNICEF Kid Power Band – the world’s first Wearable-for-Good™ – kids earn Kid Power Points. Points unlock funding from Kid Power sponsors and supporters, and funding is used by UNICEF to deliver lifesaving packets of therapeutic food to severely malnourished children around the world. The more kids move, the more points they earn and the more lives they save.
“When UNICEF Kid Power is introduced in classrooms from coast to coast, tens of thousands of students will improve their lives and help save the lives of their peers around the world, creating a powerful kids-helping-kids movement,” said U.S. Fund for UNICEF President and CEO Caryl M. Stern. “Every step they take will bring us one step closer to ending global malnutrition and ensuring that every child has a strong and healthy future ahead of them.”
The 2016 nationwide expansion of the UNICEF Kid Power school program follows activations during the 2014/2015 school year in Boston, Dallas, New York and Sacramento. An independent evaluation of Sacramento schools found that students engaged in Kid Power were 55 percent more active than their peers. A second independent evaluation of schools in Boston, Dallas and New York produced similar results, and showed a 30 percent increase in the number of days in which students met their daily requirements for physical activity*.Not only were kids participating in UNICEF Kid Power significantly more active than their peers, but this motivated group earned enough Kid Power points to unlock 188,850 therapeutic food packets, enough to save the lives of 1,259 children.
Globally, one in four children is malnourished – about 159 million children worldwide – while one in four children in the United States is inactive. Malnutrition is attributable to nearly half of all deaths of children under age five, and 16 million children suffer from the most life-threatening form of malnutrition – severe acute malnutrition – which can require specialized care with therapeutic food packets. The therapeutic food packets unlocked by UNICEF Kid Power contain a specially-designed protein and vitamin-rich peanut paste, which allows children who are severely malnourished to be treated in their communities and has the potential to transform the lives of millions of malnourished children around the world.
The growth in the Kid Power school program comes on the heels of the national retail launch of UNICEF Kid Power Bands in November 2015, allowing families everywhere to join the UNICEF Kid Power Team by purchasing a Kid Power Band, available at Target.com and in select Target stores, and downloading the free companion App.** Two Star Wars: Force for Change Bands are also available in “light side” white and “dark side” black. Kids and families everywhere can use the UNICEF Kid Power Band to get active, go on missions to learn about new cultures and earn points that help save lives.
The UNICEF Kid Power school programs and Kid Power Month will take place in:
• San Francisco/Oakland – January 18–February 12
• Phoenix – February 16–March 11
• Dallas – February 16–March 11
• Indianapolis – February 22–March 18
• Los Angeles – February 22–March 18
• Sacramento – February 22–March 18
• Minneapolis/St. Paul – February 22–March 18
• Atlanta – February 29–March 25
• Chicago – February 29–March 25
• Washington D.C. – February 29–March 25
• Boston – March 7–April 1
• New York – March 7–April 1
• Portland (Maine) – March 7–April 1
Being fit and fine is the new black. Daily, instagram is a testament to strong, vulnerable and triumphant women who have made the decision to share their fitness journeys with the world for the sole intention to inspire, encourage and uplift their followers and women who have had the same struggles.
Sometimes motivation in the form of talking isn’t enough. Pictures are everything and these women are being courageous and baring all in attempt to help just one not give up on their journey. Forget that one person, these ladies are encouraging thousands and should be commended not just for their personal triumphs but for setting a standard and acting as unofficial trainers and cheerleaders for others. These women should not go unnoted for their contribution in the health movement that is moving black women to being fit and fine and healthy.
This week we’re highlighting a curvy, Puerto Rican mommy of four. This beauty found at mommy_weightloss_journey is a yoga beginner that is documenting her weight loss journey. She started at 270 lbs, is now down to 225lb and reaching for her goal weight of 190lbs. Beautiful photos litter this timeline inspiring healthy lives, and if you need meal ideas she has them for you.
After admittedly losing herself in the hustle and bustle of being a wife and mom she is happy to be focusing her efforts on her health. 45lbs in six months is a great start.
Hard boiled eggs and guacamole toast. Healthy and tasty.
This fit curvy mom adds a little yoga into her routine. Beautiful.
As long as you get it done!
Giving face. After gaining 80lbs after getting married she is working her way back to where she was.
Cheat meals are allowed! Reward yourself every now and then for staying the course.
She started her journey at a size 20. This no scale victory is her fitting in these size 14 jeans.
She’s working toward yogi status.
Most people tend to work out more when the weather is warmer. The truth is you should work out all year round, but it is hard to stay disciplined and go for your early morning jog when the temperature is dropping. To keep you warm and motivated, we’ve complied a list of winter wardrobe pieces to keep you toasty. Click continue to view these winter workout wardrobe must-haves.
Ear Warmers, $35
Product detail: “A softshell and fleece outer shell combined with a fleece lining provide warmth and comfort with the added protection of wind and water resistance. These ear warmers have built-in QuantumSound™ headphones that keep your ears warm while listening to music and also include a built-in hands free microphone.”
It’s easy to overlook buying gloves or not wanting to spend extra money on them but they are very essential to your winter workout wardrobe.
Product detail: “The Keystone quilting offers great warmth and protection in a fashion glove. Featuring the ALLTouch™ technology, you won’t have to freeze your hands when a call comes in because you can operate your touchscreen device with all your fingers without having to take your gloves off.”
Or Mittens, $45
Either way keep your fingers warm!
Product detail: “180s Phreez headband features QuantumHeat™ fabric that wicks moisture and captures body heat to keep you dry and warm. Snug fit keeps the cold out and the warmth in and provide full ear coverage. Reflective logo for added visibility in low-light conditions.”
Product detail “The Phrostee beanie is the perfect way to stay warm when it cools off. QuantumHeat™ fabric wicks moisture and captures body heat to keep you dry and warm. Snug fit keeps the cold out and the warmth in. Reflective logo for added visibility in low-light conditions.”
Face and neck mask, $30
Product Detail: ” Shiver balaclava face and neck mask for women make easy work of cold weather. QuantumHeat™ fabric wicks moisture and captures body heat to keep you dry and warm. Snug fit to keep the cold out and the warmth in. Reflective logo for added visibility in low-light conditions.”
In my Working It Out column, I talk a lot about how I love to track everything on my weight loss journey. When I say everything I mean calories in (measuring and logging all food and drink) and calories out (what I burn during exercise and every day physical activity). It’s the only thing that’s gotten me to the 90-plus weight loss mark, but I can admit that after a while having an Exerspy, switching to a Fitbit, and still having to go a specific site to actually log my food and upload info from my tracker, this task became cumbersome.
It’s for that reason that I was intrigued when I first laid eyes on the Samsung Gear S2. For starters, I was blown away by the vibrant display of the smartwatch and all the things I was told you can do on a screen only 1.2 inches in circumference, like check email, respond to text messages, change the song you’re listening to on your other bluetooth device, and, of course, track steps, calories burned, and more. Plus I knew you could view all of that data in the complimentary S Health app that every Samsung devices comes loaded with which meant I could eliminate at least one step in my logging routine.
Still, I don’t like watches and I haven’t worn one in over 20 years probably (most likely due to the fact I kept getting in trouble for losing mine as a kid) and as exciting as the thought of being able to do all those things on a device as small as an 11.4-millimeter thin device was, in my heart of hearts I didn’t think it was necessary, especially since I don’t consider myself a techie gadget kind of girl.
And then I tried it.
In terms of functionality alone, the Samsung Gear immensely outranks the Fitbit Flex which can only track calories and steps. If you’re going to wear something on your arm 24/7, why not wear a device that also logs your phone calls, gives you calendar notifications, tells the weather, has maps, news, and is essentially a tablet or smartphone in a wristwatch?
I can hear you saying “But I don’t need all that when I have a phone.” I thought so too, and then I actually took advantage of the apps on the Gear S2. Because I have Bluetooth headphones (the Level U from Samsung as well), there’s no need for me to have my cellphone in my hand all the time — except for when I want to skip to a different song. With the Gear, I could skip along right from my watch which is already handy right on my wrist, and the same is true for checking texts and emails and responding to them. For someone who carries a tote bag as an everyday purse, the convenience of simply hitting a few apps on my touch screen watch to do what I needed to do verses trying to find my phone in the bottom of my bag then find a new track or answer a call was incredible.
I felt the same when it came to tracking steps and calories. Instead of having to look on a separate app on my phone to see my steps or my calorie burn, I could just turn the rotating bezel on the watch and check my steps, calories, heart rate, and see how close I was to meeting my goal for the day. The ease of having that same info automatically transferred to the S Health app where I could then log my food and check my calorie expenditure vs calorie intake had me hooked.
In just one week of using the Gear S2, I realized I actually might be more of a techie than I think. Sure, the device might not be a necessity, but everyone knows in the midst of buying gifts for everyone else around the holidays you should also treat yourself. Fitness goals are always at the top of everyone’s New Year’s Resolution lists, why not give yourself a leg up with a tool like the Samsung Gear S2 that can keep you on track to actually meeting those resolutions this time? And, you can even get one for bae too.
To purchase the Samsung Gear S2 or get more info, click here.
Let me give you a little backstory…
The moment I meet a new guy, my immediate reaction to them is: “Oh cool! A new friend!” I don’t know why, but my brain is hardwired to immediately put anyone I just meet into the friend zone.
I don’t know if it’s because I just love being single, or it takes me a moment to warm up to people in a romantic way, but that’s just how I am. Granted, some of my exes have been able to work their way out of it, but friend-zoning is standard behavior for me. I thought this was fairly normal until one of my friends told me that she’s the complete opposite. Any guy she meets is potentially “The One.”
Immediate friend-zoning has worked well for me in life, but has also brought along some uncomfortable encounters. Like recently, when after the gym my daughter and I were waiting for my mother to get dressed and an older man approached me. Being the friendly person I am, I didn’t think anything was wrong when he engaged me in conversation and I reciprocated. However, it became very awkward when I realized I was a sentence away from being asked to go to an early bird special with him.
On top of that, after I gently rebuffed his advances and his suggestion of being my daughter’s new stepfather (I’m not lying), when my mother finally popped up, he started hitting on her! (Dude was a live version of “The Todd.” He didn’t care who he got action from.)
Aside from that unpleasant moment, life at the gym has been going smoothly — or at least it was until I saw him and had to immediately look away.
Let me catch you up.
Ever since I was younger, if I felt immediately attracted to someone, I could not look at them. I don’t know what it was, but even if I wanted to send a nice little smile their way, my eyes treated them like they were solar eclipses and would go out of my way to avoid looking at an object of my affection.
I don’t know why this happens. It’s not one of those cheesy play hard to get attempts at attraction from a ’90s magazines. I honestly just cannot look at a guy who I have an immediate attraction to; I have to ignore them.
Though I try for it not to, sometimes it works for me, and it actually does bring the object of my lust to me. Other times, the crush doesn’t even know that I exist. Eeither way, I end up back in that same “Hi Cute Guy. Yes, I see you, and I’m ignoring you, now, off to crunches!” cycle.
Though this is fairly normal behavior for me, I realized this time that my reason for ignoring the cute guy wasn’t just due to his fine-ness, there was something else going on.
Ever since I first had my daughter, I’ve been engaging in a workout war where I workout for a a few weeks, and then stop. Now I’ve finally hit a good stride where I’m coming to the gym regularly, making healthy lifestyle choices, and seeing really good results. As my weight loss total creeps up to the 30s, I find that I need to ignore Mr. Cutie McCrush-Crush so that I don’t lose focus. I don’t want to get to the point that my desire to go to the gym is no longer based on being a better me, but on seeing him. As much as I think he’s adorable, my inner-feminist won’t allow for my successful weight loss to be due to a guy.
So, I ignore him. If he walks past my machine while I’m huffing and puffing, I don’t look his way. If I’m reading on the bike and he’s next to me, I won’t lower my book by a centimeter. If I’m in the weight zone, and he walks past, we’ll exchange a nondescript head nod, and I go back to finishing my reps.
Though he’s not a factor in my weight loss, like the solar eclipse that my eyes think that he is, he does make the initial arrival to the gym very bright. But after that, I immediately go back to ignoring him.
So thank you, Cute Guy, for your masculine beauty. It’s very appreciated, but also very ignored.