All Articles Tagged "fitness"

When #TravelTuesday And #FitnessGoals Meet: Gabrielle Union Takes On The Great Wall

July 26th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Gabrielle Union takes on pregnancy rumors after fans begin questioning whether or not she has a bun in the oven.

Source: Splash News

It’s #TravelTuesday, folks!

I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I enjoy taking part in physical activities more than anything else. That includes learning how to surf, going for a jog in front of some beautiful scenery and hiking with friends. (My personal recommendation includes the Diamond Head Summit Trail in Oahu, Hawaii.) So imagine my excitement when I saw that Gabrielle Union is down for finding time for fitness with a fun twist during vacations.

The actress has been in China with husband Dwyane Wade as he takes part in the Way of Wade Tour. It’s an annual opportunity for the NBA baller to get to meet fans abroad, promote new products that are a part of his Way of Wade line, and put on basketball demos for kids. But not only did she go to support Wade, she also went to launch her own shoe as part of his line — the Zen Pandas. Those shoes, according to the actress, sold out during a launch in Beijing. And as she told Vogue.com about her foray into fashion, “More recently, I’ve become a sneakerhead and love to get creative with styling for my sneakers. I’m excited to debut my new Li-Ning high-tops I designed, the Zen Panda. I’ve discovered you can be sexy and comfortable.”

But back to the fitness focus. In between all of those activities, Union made time to take on the Great Wall of China with friends. She wasn’t playing around:

Focused… The Great Wall Adventure ❤❤❤

A photo posted by Gabrielle Union-Wade (@gabunion) on

Of course, she didn’t conquer the entire thing. That would take more than a day (reportedly 18 months). Still, she enjoyed the sights and sounds that accompany such a trek, and at the same time, got a damn good workout in on one of the seven wonders of the world. And such fitness feats are what keep the 43-year-old looking so flawless. 

Freedom x Joy = Love #thegreatwallofchina

A photo posted by Gabrielle Union-Wade (@gabunion) on

Here she is with friends, including Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem (who is glistening in the back) afterward.

The Pharaoh @ud40 x @mistadubb x @xoxofaithhaslem x ME = Always Fam

A photo posted by Gabrielle Union-Wade (@gabunion) on

Love it! What challenges would you love to take on abroad?

She Tried It! Want To Push Past A Plateau? STRONG By Zumba Is The Challenge You Need

July 26th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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STRONG

Instructor Irena Meletiou and I drenched but feeling “STRONG” after class.

Remember that joyous and eclectic Zumba class I told you I took part in recently? Well, STRONG by Zumba is nothing like that.

I tried out the newest offering for fitness enthusiasts from the dance fitness company, and I will admit that I did leave feeling strong — but also feeling like I got my a– kicked. As I’ve said before, that’s not a bad thing…

Here is a little bit of background first: STRONG by Zumba is a class meant to have you move in sync with music as opposed to just doing the same dance moves and routines expected of you in traditional Zumba sequences. You literally move your feet, your arms and your entire body at a very quick speed to the music, which has been “crafted to drive the intensity in a challenging progression that provides a total body workout,” according to the Zumba website.

Having to stay on beat, or “in sync” with the music made the routine much harder to keep up with, making it the perfect challenge for anyone who is looking to move past plateaus and who feels bored with their usual workout routine. Knowing all of this, I was psyched to try out the class, which was being taught by Irena Meletiou at my favorite Zumba fitness club in the city: Z Club NY (301 East 57th St.). It was the first time the class was being taught at the club, therefore, it was sold out. Packed in the studio on a 93-degree day, I greatly underestimated the heat and the workout that was to come.

STRONG by Zumba II

Instructor Meletiou before class, breaking down what we needed to know about the workout.

You are literally in constant motion. Whether you’re jumping back into a Spider-Man plank, doing ski jumps or fast feet, there is no rest. Literally. Zero actual breaks. In the hour-long class, we did three to four full intervals with music that went up and down in pace before getting down and doing floor work. The latter included oblique twists, regular as well as side planks, and a whole host of other extensive core moves. I ended up sweating so much that I had to take my shirt off midway through class, joining a number of women who needed a reprieve from stifling clothing and heat while busting a move.

When I spoke with Meletiou after the class, she stated that after training to teach the class, her body changed in ways that she didn’t see coming. Despite not utilizing any sort of weights, resistance bands or the like, but rather, solely relying on body weight, she attested to the fact that you build muscle endurance. As a result, a toned and defined body that keeps burning calories even after you stop moving is what you can obtain from taking the class consistently.

I would recommend trying this new offering, STRONG by Zumba, because it’s a challenge I think many of us need to be pushed out of our comfort zones. Like working alongside a trainer, the class forces you to exert an insane amount of energy and strength out of a reserve that, if left to your own devices, you likely wouldn’t tap into. And while I love to leave a class sweaty and knowing that I got a good workout in, I didn’t foresee myself being drenched, exhausted, and a little (or a lot) stank after the fact. It was uncomfortable, but boy did I feel that burn — and end up loving it.

For those interested, you can see if it’s being offered in your area by using the class finder tool on the Zumba website. Because it’s new, many instructors are still being trained in it so there may not be many ready to go just yet. However, classes are already being offered for STRONG here in NYC. Check out a sneak peek of all that can be expected from this kick-ass class via the workout trailer below:

“The Whole Thing Just Fell Apart”: Are Fitbits Really Fit For Long-Term Physical Activity?

July 25th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

I’ve often said in the past that if it weren’t for my Fitbit fitness tracker, I probably would not have made as much progress as I have in my weight-loss journey. The wearable technology devices are worn by millions of users around the world. Being aware of your number of steps, while also being motivated by the progress of friends and family, is what gets you moving. And while many laud the product for its impact on their health and wellness, many have also complained about the durability of them.

When I reached out to a representative from the company about this, I was told the following:

“The quality of Fitbit products and the health and safety of our customers are our top priorities. The experiences reported are not typical for the tens of millions of users around the world who enjoy our products every day. We conduct extensive testing and consult with top industry experts to develop stringent standards so that users can safely wear and enjoy our products.”

However, customers from the U.S. all the way to even India tell a different story.

“My Fitbit Charge is falling apart and I’ve only had it since Nov 8, 2014!” said a Fitbit user in a comment directed at the company’s page on Facebook last year. A thread I shared with the Fitbit rep. “I don’t do anything crazy, I go to work, do my workouts, go to bed. I take it off to shower and when it needs charged. The button fell off yesterday while I was on my treadmill and today I noticed the wrist band is coming apart from the display!”

Once the user shared her disappointment with the product, further complaints came flooding in. This was particularly true for the popular Charge and Charge HR devices.

“Thank goodness other people are having this issue because I thought I was going crazy! The rubber on my band has been separating from the tracker for a while and tonight the whole thing just fell apart.”

“My charge hr has broken in the same place as my first one. The store exchanged my first one which broke in 3 months and now the replacement has broken in the same spot as the first one in 3 months. What is going on?”

“So sorry I didn’t know this a year ago. My fitbit lasted hardly ten months. It started with button falling off and then the entire side.”

I too have had 2 replacements sent as the back of the display breaks off and it can no longer charge. The customer service is awesome and keeps sending new watches, but I wish they’d improve the product to last more than 3 months.”

With less than a year’s worth of wear, my sister, brother and co-worker, whom I’m often in workweek challenges against, either had the bands on their Fitbit Charges break or the battery wouldn’t charge. They were eventually sent replacements. And for the Fitbit Flex, I know a few people who found that the slot that holds the battery was tearing–including my own. And while sending replacements to appease customers is great (their customer service gets high marks), the fact that some of their most in demand products seem to fall apart easily isn’t a good thing in the slightest. Not to mention that the Charge, specifically, gave some users rashes, which the company acknowledged.

But when I talked to that same representative to ask if measures were being taken in manufacturing new and older models to ensure the bands are more durable, I was more so informed of what customers could do better to keep the products from falling apart.

I was told that users need to regularly clean their band and wrist. This is especially true after working out or sweating. “Rinse the band with water or wipe it with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Do NOT use hand soap, body soap, dish soap, or household cleaners which could get trapped beneath the band and irritate the skin,” they said. “Always dry the band before putting it back on.”

Users are also encouraged to remove lotions and oils, as well as sunscreens and repellents that can get trapped under the band. And if you’re wearing it too tight, it could cause damage and skin irritation. “We recommend wearing the band loosely enough that it can move back and forth on your wrist.” Charge HR or Surges that show you your heart rate measurement need to be worn a little bit higher on your wrist (“about 2-3 finger widths above your wrist bone”) during activity. Afterward, the band can be lowered and loosened after exercise. And most importantly, users are encouraged to “give your wrist a rest.”

But what does proper cleaning and drying have to do with wristbands tearing apart from where they meet on the face? Or buttons popping out? Fitbits are pretty great devices, but what’s the point in having a fitness tracker that is supposed to track your active lifestyle if being active causes it to break? And telling people to give them a rest kind of goes against the whole purpose of them, especially when you’re instructed to wear some devices that track your sleep patterns at night.

So it begs the question of what the company plans to do to ensure their future products hold up better — which is something they’ve haven’t explicitly shared with the many customers who complain about damage, nor what is a question I received an answer to during my brief Q&A. But putting the time in to actually construct bands made of materials that are durable instead of continuously sending people new ones that eventually break down would go a long way to appease customers. There’s gotta be a better way. Because at this point, people aren’t getting what they’re paying for. And with devices ranging in price from $59.95 to more than $200, they’re paying a lot more than peanuts for products that aren’t really holding up.

14 Fitness Gadgets And Accessories New Moms Love

July 22nd, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Corbis

Corbis

New moms find themselves trying to keep up with the demands of their newborn and other day-to-day operations…on little to no sleep. It’s challenging but not impossible. One way to keep up your energy — and receive much needed endorphins to relax you  — is with a good workout. Here are some fitness gadgets and accessories to consider.

 

Women's Black and Gold-Tone Pro-Fit Digital Fitness Tracker Watch

Fitness tracker

Glam moms will love these fitness tracker watches from Armitron. Water resistant to 99 feet, you can count your steps, monitor your sleep and calculate your calories in style. The interchangeable face also allows you to coordinate with your outfits.

$120, available at Armitron

7 Things To Know About Brooklyn-Born Fencer Nzingha Prescod Before Rio

July 20th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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When you think about women Olympians going to Rio next month, you hear about the usual lauded ladies: Gabby, Simone, Serena, Allyson, and so on and so forth. They’re pretty awesome, right? But there are quite a few gifted women of color you may not have heard of yet who will be competing for the United States in sports that don’t often feature Black women front and center. That includes fencing. But 23-year-old Nzingha Prescod is hoping to change the elitist image of the sport and take home gold at the same time. Here are seven things you need to know about the Brooklyn-bred athlete leading up to the Olympics in Rio.

She started fencing as one of many activities meant to keep her out of trouble.

Raised by a single mom in Brooklyn, according to The New York Times, Prescod and her older sister took part in a little bit of everything and had packed schedules. They tried their hand at piano, gymnastics, karate, swimming and ballet. Prescod’s mother was hoping to keep the girls away from trouble by keeping them busy.

When her mother heard about the Peter Westbrook Foundation and its work as a nonprofit to offer young people from underserved communities the chance to try fencing and be tutored, she signed Nzingha up. After a year of taking free lessons, she won a national championship at the age of nine.

She’s named after a queen.

As she told ESPN The Magazine: “I’m named after a 17th-century queen from Angola, Nzinga Mbande. During the colonial period, the Europeans would try to come to Africa and take their land, and she defended her territory. I think it’s not a coincidence that I’m named Nzingha and I go off with my sword and fight people for my country. I was always told that I’m a strong woman, and I was named after a strong woman, and I think it’s not a coincidence that I’ve become this top fencer.”

She may have some history-making blood in her lineage.

According to AmericanSport.net, Prescod is “believed to be” a relative of Samuel Jackman Prescod. Considered a national hero in Barbados, Samuel was the first person of African descent to be elected to Barbados’ Parliament back in 1843. He also helped to found the Liberal party.

A photo posted by Nzingha Prescod (@nzinghap) on

She’s pretty groundbreaking.

At the 2013 Grand Prix, Prescod became the first American woman to earn a gold medal for foil (one of the weapons used in fencing). In 2015, she was the first Black woman to take home an individual medal at the Senior World Championships.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Sounds like she’s following in Samuel’s footsteps! When she wasn’t training, Prescod went to Columbia University and studied her way to a degree in political science in 2015. Her emphasis? Race and ethnicity. She’s hoping to pursue a career in policy work.

She’s teeny, but packs a lot of punch.

Prescod is only 5’4″ and 138 pounds. But after years of doing ballet and gymnastics (thanks, mama Prescod!), the Olympian became very flexible, making her more than capable, with her strong legs, to lunge to great lengths at her opponents.

She’s hoping to inspire Black girls.

As she told ESPN The Magazine, aside from winning gold, she wants to show young black girls that they can do anything. “I want to show them that they can do this and give them a platform to achieve. Erinn Smart [a black fencer who won a silver medal at the 2008 Games] has done that for me. I don’t know without her what I would be doing. She made it very clear that this was possible. I saw her have success when she was training and competing, so I knew what I was working toward was achievable.”

We’ll be rooting for Prescod next month. It’s great to see her as the new face of fencing.

With Addition Of E-Cup Sports Bras, Nike Reminds Us That Fit Women Come In All Sizes

July 19th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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If you follow Nike Women on social media, you know that a lot of the images they share are of strong women, fast women, toned women, flexing their muscles in Nike shoes and apparel. It’s quite motivating — both in encouraging you to get active and giving you #fitnessgoals, and also in terms of getting you shopping for workout clothing on their website. And while I love the page, the ladies featured on it often look the same. However, the women out in the world trying to exercise and be healthy don’t look just one way. With that in mind, Nike has decided to think outside the box, and we’re all here for it.

On their @NikeWomen Instagram account, to promote the launch of the new additions to their Nike Pro bra collection, two images were shared of model Paloma Elsesser and a popular yoga instructor named Claire Fountain stretching in the sports bras. They are reminders that fit women aren’t necessarily one type of woman. They aren’t just short and stocky. They aren’t just lean and tall. They can be curvaceous and strong.

Followers of the page, and those in the media, in general, have applauded the images, saying that they are impactful in the fight for body equality.

As for the Nike Pro bra collection, it’s been out for some time (I own two of them and boy, do they hold those suckers down!), but now it comes in five silhouettes and is offered in a little bit larger range of sizes than usual. The Pro collections goes from a size 30A to a 40E. The new additions just hit shelves and start at $70.

I think it’s pretty cool that a brand as big as Nike is doing more to advocate for body positivity, and actually doing so without trying to label anyone as plus size, but rather, as another fit and fabulous woman. Let’s hope that this continues not only with Nike, but with other major companies focused in sportswear.

#FitnessGoals: Meagan Good Aims High With Intense Taekwondo Workout

July 18th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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#WerkWerkWerk Thx @SoneCama

A photo posted by @meagangood on

We’ve talked a lot about the pretty great options there are when it comes to finding an enjoyable workout to keep yourself motivated. There’s been Zumba, CrossFit, cycling, rowing and more. But how many of us have had the opportunity to learn martial arts, specifically, Taekwondo, as a form of exercise? And no, imitating Bruce Lee in front of the television as Enter the Dragon plays does not count.

To get you inspired to give this form of a workout a shot, check out all the fun actress Meagan Good has been having honing her craft, and the rock-solid body she’s earned thanks to all that jumping and kicking:

Meagan Good, Amazing talent! @meagangood

A video posted by Nilson Demacena (@sonecama) on

Seriously, who needs the treadmill when you can work up a sweat kicking imaginary a– and taking names?

Getting better @SoneCama

A photo posted by @meagangood on

Good aims high with Taekwondo workouts at the Soneca Martial Arts studio in Los Angeles. Outside of that, she also takes part in fight and endurance training, yoga, intense cardio, and couple’s workouts with celebrity trainer Don Brooks alongside husband DeVon Franklin. Her efforts are paying off royally:

Going on a Sunday ! Thanks @DonamatrixTraining @DBDonamatrix

A photo posted by @meagangood on

When speaking on making health and fitness a priority on social media, Good told her followers, “Every morning when I get up I nine times out of 10 don’t feel like working out. But I made a commitment to myself and to my purpose in calling in life and I believe part of that entails being healthy and being in good shape so I can be available for all God has called me to.”

Meagan Good in Taekwondo fighting stance!

A photo posted by Nilson Demacena (@sonecama) on

Anybody else ready to find a martial arts class and get their Karate Kid on? Saints better stop asking Good about how she dresses and get some tips from her on how to live a healthy, happy life because she’s definitely doing it.

She Tried It! I Did Not Only Traditional Zumba, But Samba, The Charleston And Twerking In One Class At Z Club NY

July 15th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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z club NY

It all started with a bra.

After reviewing the Sportee bra recently, I was sent a colorful sports bra from the PR person at a one Z Club NY. She said that she had read my review and hoped that the bra she was sending my way would aid in my fitness efforts — and that I could use it in a Zumba class offered by their studio.

And just like that, I was signed up for a Tuesday night Zumba class with renowned instructors Benjamin and Rodrigo Angello Richard. The men, from France and Brazil, were doing a residency of sorts at Z Club NY, and when I was introduced to them upon entering one of the studio’s locations on 57th street and 2nd ave (inside of Complete & Body Spa), I could feel their energy immediately. And yet, it was nothing compared to the energy exuded in their hour-long class.

I was told before the class started that “We’re going to take you all over the world,” and they weren’t kidding. While we did do traditional Zumba for the most part (like salsa, squatting and a lot of pumping), I was pretty impressed with the variety of dance styles they were also able to integrate. One minute we were dancing to a samba remix of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” which is my new favorite style of dance after taking a few Samba classes since summer started. The next minute we were booty popping — right leg, left leg, and then hands on your knees, hands on your knees! We also managed to pull out the Charleston, yes, the dance made in Carolina, but to a hip-hop beat. And we even did some Big Daddy Kane-esque moves across the dance floor that would make Andre 3000 and Big Boi proud:

And throughout all this moving and shaking, sweat literally raining on the floor as we stepped left and right, Benjamin and Rodrigo kept a wide smile on their faces. It was clear that they didn’t just do Zumba, they live for it. And that enthusiasm rubbed off on the sold-out class, which included women and men, young and pretty old, who kept dancing even when it was clear that they needed a water break. I tell you, there is no better sight than watching a man in his 60s drop it like it’s hot without a care in the world.

I don’t know what the other Zumba classes entail in terms of the moves the instructors (and their are a wide variety of them) do, but based on the reviews online, people love the offerings. And I had the chance to meet the owner Edmee, who was warm, full of smiles and had hugs to give everyone. She invited me back to try out some other Zumba classes (including water zumba — amazing, right?) and I definitely plan to show up. Because while I love a good run, swinging a kettlebell during a strength training or CrossFit session and kicking an invisible ass in kickboxing, there’s nothing like working up a sweat while dancing to the beat of your own drum.

Want To Work Out With Serena Williams And Kevin Hart? Now You Can

July 13th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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If you’re always looking for a good workout but often find yourself struggling to put together the right combination of moves to work the areas you’re hoping to target, you need to download the Nike Training Club app. And now you have yet another reason to do so: You can work out with Serena Williams — and Kevin Hart, too.

Seriously though, who wouldn’t want to get those abs, those arms and that overall strength? Um, I’m talking about Williams, here — no offense to Hart, as he’s gotten pretty stacked in the last few years as well. Nike teamed up with the Wimbledon champ and the fit box-office champ for a new workout on the NTC app. Put together by trainer Ben Monk, they call it The Hart Serena. This is Williams’s second workout for the app, Hart’s first. 

The 15-minute workout is a high intensity level offering, but works for intermediate exercisers, classsified as those who do two to three workouts a week. It especially targets your back and arms, helping you develop upper-body strength and get a quick burn going. No equipment necessary, as moves include body weight squats, heel kicks, partner hand rows and push-up high fives, side planks, forward lunges, metabolic training in the form of split jumps, burpees, and more.

When taking a moment away from making each other laugh in the promotional videos for the app, both Williams and Hart spoke on the importance of partnering up for workouts like The Hart Serena.

“It’s hard to kind of push yourself,” Williams said, “but it’s easier when you have someone to push you.”

Hart added, “You’re making each other better.”

Fact. Plus, working out with a friend is always awesome — if they can keep up, of course. Get together with a good friend, download the Nike Training Club app and push one another by trying The Hart Serena for yourself.

 

Simone Biles Does No-Handed Flip To Throw First Pitch At Astros’ Game, And Yes, It Was Everything

July 7th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Because we could all use something to smile about right now, and also because gymnast Simone Biles is our BFF in our heads, I had to drop this gem of a clip your way. The 19-year-old, who is prepping for the Olympics next month (starting August 5), was invited to throw the first pitch at the Houston Astros’ home game for the Fourth of July. Residing in Spring, Texas, Biles’s family was present as she took to the pitching mound to bust out a side aerial flip before launching the ball at starting pitcher Scott Feldman. Of course, it could have been much simpler, but what fun would that have been? 

It’s no shock that the aerial cartwheel was pretty epic and that she stuck the landing. If she could perfectly execute such moves on balance beams, during floor exercises, vaults and more, a dirt-covered mound is a piece of cake. The real feat? That she managed to keep that smile plastered on her face throughout the entire thing. Check out her full flip and pitch below:

As someone on Twitter put it, she’s quite the tiny ball of greatness.

Announcements for the women’s U.S. gymnastics team will be announced this weekend (July 10). And while Biles did tell Us Weekly that she’s a little nervous, saying expectations of her for the Olympics are “a big thing to live up to,” we’re pretty confident that she’ll wow, per the usual. All of this talent packed into a young woman who, like Misty Copeland in ballet, is considered a late bloomer in gymnastics. It’s always the late bloomers who end up dominating, amirite?

“Gymnastics was not a sport that came to mind that I would have put Simone in in the first place,” Nellie Biles, Simone’s adoptive mother, told Us. “That just came by as an accident and it was a great accident. It was for a day care field trip that she went to the gym and she came back with a note, and to me the note was special, but probably was a note that everyone received. The note was a generic note saying that she attended the gym and that she enjoyed gymnastics. It was a choice between gymnastics and cheerleading, and I spoke to her about it and she chose gymnastics and that was it.”

The rest is history, and Biles is sure to make more of it come August.