Friday, July 31, 2015

Family: Weeks 27-29

Random thoughts/things that I’ve noticed: -I’m definitely sloooowwwiwng down. Naps have always been one of my favorite things, and I’ve been indulging pretty often lately on the days that Liv will nap. If I can get a lot of my work done in the morning and at night, during Liv’s nap I’ll tie up some […]

from The Fitnessista

The Mathematical Myths of Weight Loss

The Mathematical Myths of Weight Loss

Debunking the idea that weight loss is merely calories in vs calories out. Again. Another day ending in 'Y.'

The post The Mathematical Myths of Weight Loss appeared first on A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss.

from A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

A 140-Calorie Snack That Offers the Fiber and Protein You Need to Lose Weight

Looking for quick and easy snack? Packed with healthy fats and protein, this one will keep you feeling full all the way until dinner, so you can avoid late afternoon nibbling that can lead to weight gain.

  1. Cut an avocado in half. Use the side without the pit, and save the other half for later since the pit can help keep the green flesh from browning.
  2. Fill the hole with three ounces of lowfat cottage cheese.
  3. Use a spoon to scoop bites right out of the avocado peel. You don't even need to bother with dirtying a dish.

Source: Calorie Count

from POPSUGAR Fitness

11 Chilled Soup Recipes to Beat the Heat

Chilled soup is one of those light lunches you could have every single day in the Summer. It's healthy, tasty, refreshing - what else could you ask for from a hot-weather meal? Ahead, we've rounded up recipes that go beyond the chilled soup you're used to (think beet bases, avocado creaminess, and peach gazpacho). Get ready, get set, and start sipping!

from POPSUGAR Fitness

The Truth About How Sex Affects Your Athletic Performance

Even though we're well aware that fit people are better in bed, we haven't necessarily explored how the act can affect one's athletic performance. Luckily our friends at Details have an answer for you - read on to find out!

The idea of abstinence before sport has been around since, well, sports were invented. The ancient Greeks believed in it. Muhammad Ali would reportedly abstain from sex for the six weeks before a big fight. But is there any truth to the idea? Science doesn't seem to think so.

One study took 14 married males, all former athletes, and had them perform a maximum strength grip test the morning after sex and after a six day period of abstinence. No significant difference was found. Another study took 10 fit, married men ages 18 to 45, and tested for "grip strength, balance, lateral movement, reaction time, aerobic power (stair-climbing exercise), and VO2max (treadmill test)" (VO2 max is a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen an athlete consumes during exercise). Again, the results did not change due to sexual activity. And if you're worried about those bodybuilding forums and the know-it-all guy at the gym spouting their "facts" about ejaculation decreasing your testosterone levels, don't pay them much mind. Science has largely disproved this theory. In fact, in one very unscientific survey of 1,000 male and female runners by Brooks Running, 48 percent of respondents under 40 years old said that having sex before races helped their performance.

There's another vein of thought in this debate which focuses on the idea that sex burns valuable energy best saved for your competition or race the next day. But as it turns out, unless you're going at it aggressively for hours on end, the energy you expend is pretty negligible. If you weigh 150 pounds and get down for 15 minutes, you're only burning about 70 calories, the equivalent of climbing a few stories of stairs. Up the minutes to 45 and you're still only burning about 200 calories. Not negligible, but not much either.

It's not all about science, though. As anyone who pushes themselves to the limits at the gym knows, competition and performance is just as much mental as it is physical. Athletes who subscribe to the abstinence before competition theory often cite the belief that sex can sap one's aggression and motivation. As Marty Liquori, a US Olympian in the 1500 meters in 1968 and the third-ever American high schooler to break the four-minute mile mark once said, "Sex makes you happy. Happy people do not run a 3:47 mile." The effect of sex on aggression was a key reason Ali would abstain, too.

In the end, the theory of abstaining may be rooted more in the idea of chasing sex before a competition than in having some quick coitus before laying down to sleep. Leave it to Casey Stengel, the legendary New York Yankees manager from 1949 to 1960 (the Yanks won seven World Series championships during his tenure), to possibly sum up the debate better than any scientific study or research paper ever could. "It's not the sex that wrecks these guys," said Stengel. "It's staying up all night looking for it."

Related Links:

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Should You Focus on Diet or Exercise to Lose Weight?

from POPSUGAR Fitness

17 Healthy Lunches That Aren't Salad

If you're trying to take off weight, salads are bound to be part of your life, but they don't have to be an everyday occurrence. Sometimes you're craving something that's a little more substantial that's just as easy to pack up for work - that's where these 18 recipes come in handy! All of these dishes will help support your goals and keep you satisfied until dinner rolls around. Many can be made in advance and packaged up in appropriate portions to enjoy all week.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Friday Faves

Hi friends! Happy weekend! What are you up to this fine Friday?? Livi and I are off to a check-up appointment -excited to talk with the midwife about our following steps and get answers to a long list of questions- and then hitting up Whole Foods and the park. It should be a lovely morning. […]

from The Fitnessista

Positively Primal: A Merry Makeover

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep […]

from Mark's Daily Apple

10 Salad Dressings With 50 Calories or Fewer

With all those iron-packed greens and fiber-rich veggies, a fresh and delicious salad is super filling without a ton of calories, so it's a great go-to meal for weight loss. That is, unless you douse your bowl in high-calorie creamy dressings. Don't let your salad cause weight gain by limiting the extras like nuts, dried fruit, croutons, and avocado (yes, it's full of healthy fats, but you don't need an entire avocado on your salad). And drizzle your bowl with one of these salad dressings, all with 50 calories or fewer per two-tablespoon serving.

  1. Annie's Lite Gingerly Vinaigrette: 40
  2. Seeds of Change Organic Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette: 50
  3. Annie's Lite Honey Mustard Vinaigrette: 40
  4. Newman's Own Organic Lite Balsamic Dressing: 46
  5. Maple Groves Farms Maple Fig Vinaigrette: 30
  6. Annie's Lite Herb Balsamic Dressing: 50
  7. Maple Grove Farms Fat-Free Poppyseed Dressing: 35
  8. Annie's Fat-Free Mango Vinaigrette: 20
  9. Maple Grove Farms Strawberry Vinaigrette: 30
  10. Annie's Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette: 40

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Guess the Secret Creamy Ingredient in This Lightened Up Pumpkin "Cheesecake" Mousse

How 1 Woman Finally Lost Those Last 10 Pounds

The struggle to lose weight is very real, so you'll completely relate to Wendy Mehaffey's story. This 37-year-old chiropractor and mother of two was fed up with carrying around that extra 10 pounds. She had tried losing the weight before, but what she was doing wasn't making a big enough impact. Here's how she finally did something about it.

Wendy: Before

POPSUGAR Fitness: What was your daily diet like? Any off-limits foods? Was it different on the weekend?
Wendy Mehaffey: I always felt like I made healthy choices for the majority of my meals. I stay away from soda and sweets. My downfall comes in the form of bagels/breads/rice. I am a carbavore, and that's always been something I've had to work at. I would treat myself to Starbucks two to three times a week for a latte, too! However, my main issue was portion control. I would eat more than I should, going back for a little extra on most occasions. I never restricted any foods from my diet and believe in moderation. But it doesn't matter when you're eating two servings at each meal how healthy it is. It still adds up.

Now, I stick very tightly to portioning out my meals. Every meal goes into my portion containers (the same ones from the 21-Day Fix). I felt the most confident when I measured out my lunches and dinners. I preplanned each meal, as to not make bad/wrong choices when I was hungry and needing something quick on the fly. This made it a foolproof plan. I was extremely strict six days per week. On the seventh day, I allowed myself a cheat day. This way, I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything that I may have craved (similar to the Body For Life). Here's an example of a typical day's meal plan:

Breakfast: Three egg whites, one egg, three pieces of turkey sausage
Snack: Protein shake (GNC natural whey protein powder natural chocolate flavor mixed with water) and a piece of fruit
Lunch: Broiled veggies (a mix of broccoli, squash, green beans, zucchini, onions, mushrooms)
Snack: Zone Perfect Protein bar (all-time fave is Chocolate Mint) and 10 to 12 nuts
Dinner: Grilled turkey burger (no bun) on salad or grilled chicken with steamed veggies, and occasionally wine or beer

When I would get a sweet craving, I would have a strawberry. Works like a charm!

PS: What was your workout schedule?
WM: I love running, and I play ice hockey. I typically maintain 15 to 18 miles per week. When the Spring approached, I increased mileage since I've always been a fair-weather runner. By this Summer, I was up to 30 miles per week, which was also a big help. I have a great neighborhood filled with moms who love to run. One of my neighbors suggested we start running together at 6 a.m. a few times a week [that was me, BTW!]. It's been fantastic! Very motivational to know there is someone waiting for you to run with. You can't let them down so you drag yourself there, and when you're done, you feel great! It was an easy way to boost my mileage and get my workouts in without taking away from my family and work responsibilities.

Wendy: After

PS: How long did it take you to lose the weight?
WM: I decided to start with the portion control and clean eating about four months ago. It took me about 2.5 months to lose 10 pounds (I've lost 20 in total).

PS: How did you stay motivated? Did you have a goal?
MW: There are two things that have kept me motivated. One is a post from a friend on Facebook. She said something to the effect of, "I'm sick of not giving things 100 percent." This resonated with me. I would always make excuses of why I would not wake up early to work out. I went to bed late, or my kids were up all night, or a million other excuses. I wasn't even giving it 50 percent! I was just full of excuses. They all sounded so legitimate at the time. Also, another friend said something to me that has also stuck. I hear it every time I'm feeling weak and wanting some food that might take me off track. He told me, "I think you look great, but you must not be serious about losing weight if you're not doing what it takes to lose it." That has been huge for my motivation. I completely agree with it! It's not easy, but it's worth the way I feel to forgo the extra scoop of dinner. My goal was to feel and look like the mom I always envisioned I would be. I am finally there!

Wendy: After

PS: How are you maintaining your weight?
MW: I still use the measuring cups to portion out my food. I feel like if I didn't, portions would be getting a little larger and a little larger and I would run into the same problem again of overeating portion sizes. So this way I know that I don't have to question myself. I still stay away from carbs at lunch and dinner, but I have added back in a few more calories. I will put avocado and cheese on my salad, and I have added in nuts with my afternoon snack. And I still incorporate my cheat day.

PS: Any advice for other women trying to drop those last 10 pounds?
MW: We all have a bunch of excuses that all seem so real in our heads. We don't have the time, we didn't sleep enough, we have to get up too early, etc. If you can just commit to doing it - 100 percent this time - you'll find it feels AMAZING. It's also important to have a supportive network of friends. Find some neighbors or an exercise group that you can be held accountable with.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Q&A Wednesday: Do I Have to Eat Every 3-4 Hours?

Q&A Wednesday: Do I Have to Eat Every 3-4 Hours?

Q: Is it really important that I eat every 3-4 hours to keep my metabolism revved?

The post Q&A Wednesday: Do I Have to Eat Every 3-4 Hours? appeared first on A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss.

from A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

The Advice You Need If You're Training For a Race

Whether you're training for a race or are finally at the start line, when you've got a long run ahead of you, you need a strategy to tackle it. Take your pick from these three ways to make every long run a success.

  1. Take it slow: Go on - enjoy your run. Taking it slow is a smart strategy even if you are training for a marathon, since long runs, no matter what the pace, prepare your body for the feeling of running for so many hours while increasing your stamina. "The purpose of the long run is obviously to run long! Don't try to race yourself and attempt to figure out what you can possibly run for the race distance," says running coach Ben Hwa. "Build endurance and learn what running (or being on your feet for that matter) for the duration feels like." If you're trying to improve your time, you can focus on your pace during shorter tempo and sprinting runs, he says.
  2. Do a negative split: The last thing you want to do is hit the wall when you're in the middle of your run, so doing a negative split is a smart way to conserve energy while still running for time. Negative splits also help your body warm up safely and help you recover after your run quicker. To do negative splits, run at a slower pace during the first half of your run, and then pick up speed for the latter half. Read more reasons to do negative splits and strategies to do them here.
  3. Walk-run-walk: Called the Galloway method after Olympian Jeff Galloway, who popularized it, mixing running intervals with walking breaks can actually help you have a faster time overall, because incorporating walking breaks into your long run helps you prevent leg fatigue by distributing effort across all muscles. Walk breaks can also help you recover from your long run faster, which is especially important if you need to fit in several runs a week. Many people plan for a simple ratio during their runs, like running for four minutes and walking for one; learn more walk-run techniques here.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Learn How to Unwind After a Stressful Day With These Tips

Some days are exponentially more stressful than others, but don't panic because these tips from YourTango will help you to relax and unwind.

You've been in overdrive all day - juggling logistics, people, project deadlines, and endless to-dos - or maybe putting out fires, squeezing in errands, finding lost toys, and making sure you've filled out all the forms for school tomorrow.

All day, you eagerly anticipate finding just 30 minutes to chill out, catch up with your significant other, and relax into sleep.

But the problem is . . . though your body is ready to plop down on the sofa and decompress, your brain is still going a mile a minute.

It's stuck in "go-go-go" mode. As a result, you're there with your loved ones, but you're not really present. You think, "What's wrong with me? Why can't I relax?"

The answer: Nothing is wrong with you!

Physiologically, it's actually really challenging for your mind and body to transition from navigating the stress and potential "dangers" of the day at breakneck speed to suddenly letting go into the peaceful, relaxed, "safe" state you crave. Harvard researcher Herbert Benson, MD says it may sound counter-intuitive, but you have to train your mind to relax with ease.

You have to give your brain permission to unwind.

After hours of driving "fast and furious," there's a fear of letting go. After all, what if you drop the ball on something when you let your guard down? What if you lose your edge or can't ramp back up into productive mode again? People even become addicted to the rev of busyness, making withdrawal downright scary.

So how do you let your body relax AND bring your mind to rest with it? The answer is to create series of simple transition rituals that alert your mind and body that it's time to wind down and takes them through the process (versus just shifting gears abruptly). Here's how to do it:

1. Close your day. Before you even try to walk away from the bustle of the day, take five minutes to "capture" any loose ends on to-do lists and calendars. This reassures your brain that it doesn't need to keep scanning all night for any misses nor stay alert, reminding you to schedule the vet appointment.

2. Practice "going neutral" during the day. You will not lose your edge and, in fact, you'll actually be more productive if a few times each day, you bring your mind and body back to a more relaxed state. Athletes know these rituals are the key to sustained performance.

You can set a reminder alarm, or use an app like Good Habits to cue yourself to pause. Take some slow deep breaths, look around, stretch, move, look out the window, and renew your energy in whatever way you need in the moment.

3. Create a "Relax Time Ritual" that trains your mind and body to let go. Just as bedtime rituals help children learn to settle down, relaxation or transition rituals help adults unwind.

Unfortunately, the usual screen time approach is not brain friendly. But, there are a zillion ways to help your body and mind invoke the "relaxation response," from simple breath work and meditation to quick walks around the park, warm baths and music. The critical key is to pick a routine you like and can practice regularly. The more wired and amped you are at the end of a day, the more you need this ritual.

The good news is, it really only takes a few weeks to make your ritual a habit. So, start taking advantage of your precious downtime to better connect with your loved ones and yourself - improve your sleep quality, and awake refreshed to tackle the next day. Ready to experiment?

More From YourTango:

Everything You Need to (Finally!) Love Yourself Naked
20 Ways to Be Good to Yourself Today
How to Have the Best Orgasms of Your Life

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Khloé Kardashian's Insane Workout Shoe Collection Is Basically Sneaker Porn

If you don't already consider Khloé Kardashian a fitness inspiration after her incredible body transformation and obvious passion for working out, she's about to give you some serious healthy lifestyle goals. Khloé's jaw-droppingly gorgeous fitness closet - yep, you read that right - is like her own personal Nike store, featuring dozens of stylish exercise outfits and a bevy of colorful workout shoes.

Organized by color, Khloé's shoe collection is like something out of a fitness addict's wildest fantasies. We count 95 pairs of sneakers, but since the L-shaped shelves also have pullout drawers, there could be even more hiding! The Kardashian sister's workout stockpile has officially redefined shoe envy.

If you can manage to pick your jaw up off the floor, you've got to check out the rest of her 150-square-foot fitness closet over at Self. Trust us when we say that you'll want to pin every single photo of the custom-designed workout haven . . . because it never hurts to dream, right?

from POPSUGAR Fitness

This Fruity Twist on Balsamic Vinaigrette Is Low in Cals and Big on Tangy Flavor

Zoe Saldana's Gym Selfie Is an Inspiration to Anyone Trying to Lose Weight

Zoe Saldana's body is already inspiring, to have grown healthy twin boys born last January. She's been working hard to get back to her strong prebaby body, and now look at her! She posted this incredible selfie at the gym on her Facebook page with the caption, "Almost there! It's been difficult but so rewarding. I feel strong. All it takes is determination! Mommies we can all do it, damn it!!!"

Yes! Determination, setting goals, following through, and making the time to put yourself and your health first are key. Some haters commenters of course had to say something about Zoe being superrich and having the ability to afford personal trainers, and that's why she can look so amazing after having two babies just seven months ago. But she still had to show up and do all the work herself - no amount of money in the world can pay a trainer can't do burpees for you! Thanks, Zoe, for the motivation to keep at it and hit the gym!

from POPSUGAR Fitness

These Common Misconceptions Are Keeping You From Killer Abs

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Avoid Running Injuries With This Move!

If you're a runner and you want to increase your speed, build your endurance, and have the ability to tackle hills with a breeze, you need to have strong quads. Strengthening your thighs can also prevent injuries such as runner's knee. This common injury, which often happens to new runners, is tied to a combination of weak quads and tight hamstrings and calves. Wall squats (also called wall sits) are the perfect exercise to strengthen your upper legs.

  • Stand with your back against a wall, placing your feet about two feet out in front of you. Feet should be hip-distance apart.
  • Bending your knees, slide your back down the wall until your knees are at 90 degree angles. Your knee joints should be over your ankle joints, so you may need to inch your feet further from the wall to create proper alignment. Your thighs should remain parallel.
  • Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, and then stand up. Repeat for a total of three reps.
  • To make this move more challenging, alternate between lifting your left heel for a few seconds and then your right. This helps to target your calves.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

PHD for MMA: Podcast with Toby MacEachern

Interested in mixed martial arts? I was pleased to appear on Toby MacEachern’s TNA4MMA podcast to talk abut what fighters can do to obtain terrific health while maximizing athleticism. The podcast can be found on: Podbean iTunes Thank you Toby! …

Read more »

The post PHD for MMA: Podcast with Toby MacEachern appeared first on Perfect Health Diet.

from Perfect Health Diet

How to make workouts low impact

(without decreasing the intensity!) Hi friends. Happy almost-Friday! I’m so glad the weekend is almost here. One step closer to our Tucson trip -I’m seriously itching to get out there- and lots of fun events coming up this weekend. I’ve been on a cooking roll lately! (Bumpin’ in the kitchen. I made an insane turkey […]

from The Fitnessista

Great Expectations: Why Good Health Is Awesome (but Not a Panacea)

How often do we bemoan people’s lack of expectations around their health? Their passivity. Their inertia. Their apathy. (Perhaps our own.) They just don’t seem to care or even expect that good health would offer them enough to justify the effort. I can feel heads shaking out there. Personally, I don’t get it either. On […]

from Mark's Daily Apple

Popcorn Tofu - It's Just Like Popcorn Chicken But WAY Healthier

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

These Pregnant Workout Warriors Will Inspire You to Hit the Gym

There are a lot of mixed messages out there about expecting mamas hitting the gym, but a healthy and active mom leads to a healthy belly and baby! These strong and sexy pregnant women will inspire you to hit up the gym or try a new class after you see all they can do with a little extra weight around their middle.

A safe fitness routine looks different for every pregnant woman, so don't start a brand-new workout program once you're expecting without talking to your doctor about what makes the most sense for your body.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Lena Dunham Will Inspire You to Run ASAP

No one is more surprised to see Lena Dunham on a run in NYC than Lena Dunham, a self-proclaimed hater of running her whole life. But things recently changed while shooting a new season of Girls. Lena shared her proud moment and what led to this big shift on her Instagram account:

"Not usually one to post a paparazzi shot but this fills me with pride. Basically my whole life I have hated running and run like a wounded baby Pterodactyl. It was embarrassing and honestly I did not trust myself to escape a burning building or even move briskly towards a buffet. @jennikonner is directing the season finale of Girls and decided that as Hannah evolved so would her run, so she got me a training session with Matt Wilpers from Mile High Run Club. Within an hour I had a different relationship to this formerly torturous activity. I felt strong, swift and proud. I'm not about to embrace that triathlon life but it's a true joy to continue getting more connected to my body and its powers."

If you too have been a longstanding member of the running haters club but would love to redevelop your relationship with this effective and inexpensive form of cardio, let Lena serve as your inspiration! Check out these essential running tips that every beginner needs to know.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

A Pilot guest post: workout plans

Hey, everyone – pilot here. I hope you’re all doing well. We’re getting ready to welcome the new little lady to the world, so life’s getting pretty busy over here. With everything going on, Gina asked if I could help out with a blog post about the workout plans I’ve been using since they’re fairly […]

from The Fitnessista

21 High-Protein Dinners That Won't Break the Bank

Certain lean proteins like chicken, beef, and pork (especially when buying organic or grass-fed) require more funds than others, but you'll be happy to know that each healthy dinner on this list costs about $5 per serving! It's proof that with the right combination of ingredients, high-protein meals don't have to come at an exorbitant cost. Click below to see dishes that use your favorite choice of protein, or click through them all to find inspiration for your next meal.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Burn Serious Calories and Have Fun With This Science-Recommended Workout

If somebody told you that there was a workout that didn't require much effort but was fun and yielded awesome results, you'd probably have some doubts . . . and understandably so, because it sounds way too good to be true! But according to The New York Times, there's a new exercise method that is scientifically proven to burn calories and improve athletic performance in less training time than traditional workouts. On top of all that, people who follow this method also enjoy their workouts more - it's pleasurable! No, you're not dreaming. Meet the 10-20-30 method.

In a nutshell, 10-20-30 training is a strategic sort of interval workout. It all starts with gentle exercise (be it jogging, biking, or another cardio activity) for 30 seconds, then a moderate pace of that same exercise for 20 seconds, culminating with 10 seconds of intense effort. After you finish this one-minute cycle, repeat the process four more times and rest for two minutes. Perform five more 10-20-30 intervals without rest periods in between, then cool down. In only 12 minutes, you've performed a high-intensity interval workout that improved the blood pressure, athletic performance, and mood of regular runners over two months of scientific testing.

While regular exercisers can obviously up the number of 10-20-30 sessions in their daily regimen, this 12-minute workout is a great way for beginners to fit effective, fun workouts into their everyday lives. You could even try the jog-run-sprint version of this method during your lunch break at work! If you're not totally sold on the method, try replacing one workout a week with a 10-20-30 session . . . your mood will improve and your run times will likely grow faster!

from POPSUGAR Fitness

How do you get your kids to eat vegetables?

This post is sponsored through my partnership with Bitsy’s Brainfood. We’ve always been thankful that for the most part, Liv is an adventurous eater. She loves things that I didn’t enjoy until my 20s (like quinoa, artichokes, pho, chia pudding, and green juices to name a few), and I’m glad that she’ll at least try […]

from The Fitnessista

This OITNB Star Has a Body-Positive Message For Instagram

Weight-Loss Wonder: Ways to Snack on Cottage Cheese

Greek yogurt may be having all the fun, but cottage cheese does just as well when it comes to mixing into your granola, fresh fruit, or smoothies. At 81 calories per half-cup serving, cottage cheese packs an impressive 14 grams of filling protein, more than most Greek yogurt varieties. Here are delicious reasons to stock up on the unassuming diet standby.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

The Lazy Girl's Guide to a Low-Cal Dinner

Rumor has it that it takes a lot of extra work to cook up a healthy meal - not true! Without dieting or sacrificing taste, we have simple tips, tricks, and swaps that will easily lighten up your dinner without much effort. It's as simple as downsizing plates and choosing wine over a cocktail. The best part? Before you think this all sounds too good to be true, read our lazy girl's guide to find out how easy and tasty it truly is.

  1. Pack up the leftovers: Going back for seconds and sometimes even thirds can easily make a good meal go bad. If you're guilty of eating more than your fair share, pack up the extras before you sit down for your first serving. Not only will you have your next day's lunch ready to go, you'll be less likely to overeat.
  2. Trade in white rice for brown: While white rice may be a guilty pleasure, try your best to choose brown. Brown rice is significantly higher in nutritional value and can even reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  3. Break up with butter and bread: Break the habit of having bread and butter before dinner. If you must have something before dinner, opt for a fiber-filled option like veggies with dip or even rice crackers to significantly cut calories.
  4. Rethink your pasta: A simple way to save about 130 calories is to switch whole-wheat spaghetti for squash. It's not hard to make and can lend itself to a variety of pasta dishes, including one with roasted shrimp.
  5. Become a wino, not a mixologist: Although fruity cocktails are great, they can often add up to around 400 calories! If you're looking to wind down at dinner, stick with wine. It's rich in antioxidants and around 100 calories per glass.
  6. Ditch the dried fruit: Rather than opting for dried fruit in your salad (around 130 calories per a quarter cup), save yourself by sticking with the fresh stuff.
  7. Bake, steam, but never fry: Fried foods are a diet buster. If you're still craving that crispy, crunchy texture, turn on the oven. These fried alternatives will leave you satisfied, minus the extra fat and calories. Plus, the cleanup will be easier too!
  8. Size down: To avoid eating more calories than you intend, serve up dinner on salad plates instead of your larger, entrée-size ones. Because we take visual cues when it comes to eating, this will help with portion control and save you calories.
  9. Trade in chips for veggies: If you're enjoying an appetizer before dinner, stay clear of the chips and dip. Instead, replace the chips with veggies and whip up one of these healthy dips.
  10. You'll get more from vinegar than cream: No need to go dressing-free, just switch out your creamy favorite for a simple balsamic vinegar dressing or one of these salad dressings under 50 calories.
  11. Spice it, don't sauce it: Rather than slathering your protein in a heavy BBQ or butter sauce, add flavor through spice. Not only are spices calorie-free, they're loaded with flavor, too.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

How Many Calories Do You Really Burn During a CrossFit Workout?

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Own a FuelBand? Nike Might Owe You Money

Nike FuelBand Lawsuit - own a FuelBand? You might have money coming!

Nike is providing those who've purchased FuelBands between January 19th, 2012 and June 17th, 2015 with gift cards. But why?

The post Own a FuelBand? Nike Might Owe You Money appeared first on A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss.

from A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

Be Your Own Personal Trainer

Master this killer workout from Self, no trainer required!

"I'm not the kind of trainer who can show up to the gym and kick my own butt on the fly-I need a plan," says Claire Gould, Fit Xpert at BFX Studio in New York. It's a common summer struggle: When it's too hot outside to run, you head indoors to your favorite gym for a quick sweat session. But as soon as you walk inside, you feel a little overwhelmed with the rows of complicated-looking machines and endless toning tools. That's why we asked Gould to create a plan of attack for the gym. "This efficient, effective circuit workout is perfect," she says. It targets your entire body using equipment found at most gyms. Let's get started:

The Workout: Do each exercise for 45 seconds, completing as many reps as possible. Repeat the circuit for a total of 3­5 times.


Start with the TRX bands anchored (most gyms already have this set up for clients). Face bands and stand with feet together. Hold handles and extend arms; palms facing in. Walk back three to four feet and lean back to create resistance (the steeper the angle the harder the exercise). Roll shoulders down and back; squeeze shoulder blades together and pull torso to meet handles. Slowly release to complete 1 rep.

Assisted Pull-­Up

Grab the bar of an assisted pull­up machine with palms facing each other. Hang with straight arms, knees bent. Squeeze shoulder blades together and pull chest toward bar. Pause, then slowly lower back to start to complete 1 rep. Note: If you're able to do an unassisted pull­ups, go for it! Otherwise this is a great modification to help build upper body strength.

Cable Rotation

Stand facing machine with cable on right side. Grab one handle with both palms and lower hands next to right hip, rotating torso to right. Glide hands on a diagonal, across torso and up over left shoulder, rotating torso to left. Slowly reverse movement to complete 1 rep. Halfway through your allowed time, switch sides.

*Note: Gould is demonstrating the exercise on the Technogym Kinesis equipment.

You can use any cable machine at your gym (or even an anchored resistance band to complete this move).

TRX Squat Jump With Taps

Start with the TRX bands anchored (most gyms already have this set up for clients). Face bands and stand with feet hip­width apart. Hold handles and extend arms; palms facing in. Continue to hold handles, hinge at hips and bend knees to squat. Jump up and tap heels together in air. Land and immediately lower into next rep.

Medicine Ball Plank With Alternating Knee Pull

Start in a high plank position with hands on top of a medicine ball. Keep abs tights and move feet slightly wider than hip distance. Slowly pull right knee in, under torso. Return right foot to plank and repeat on the opposite side to complete 1 rep.

More from Self:

from POPSUGAR Fitness

The Best Kind of Health Insurance

I’m not interested in talking about Supreme Court decisions, the Affordable Health Care Act or for-profit versus non-profit business models. No, today I have something else in mind. It’s a perspective on health insurance that gets almost no attention at all despite the high costs and even higher stakes. Let’s look at an actual definition […]

from Mark's Daily Apple

My Path to Powerlifting: How the Field’s Best Influenced Me

Written by Kevin Cann I typically write scientific nutrition articles, but I am deciding to break away from that to share some experiences I have had lately. Many people might not know that I am a strength coach. I am actually the Director of Strength and Conditioning at Total Performance Sports in Everett, MA, just… Continue Reading

from The Paleo Diet - Robb Wolf on Paleolithic nutrition, intermittent fasting, and fitness

Paleo Perfection: Eat Like a Cavewoman For 1 Day

The Paleo diet is all the rage, but committing to it translates to major lifestyle changes. If you're considering going Paleo, start with a one-day meal plan to help you decide if it's something you're ready to try long-term.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Acu love, lavender latte, and PiYo lower

Hellooooo. How’s the day going? New Family post up if you’d like to check it out.  Acupuncture this morning was DREAMY. To my local friends: this was an awesome spot. Brent was kind, knowledgable, didn’t hurt me with the needles (this needle-phobe is so thankful) and very affordable. He specializes in pregnant women, and said […]

from The Fitnessista

Own a FuelBand? Nike Might Owe You Money

Nike FuelBand Lawsuit - own a FuelBand? You might have money coming!

Nike is rewarding those who've purchased FuelBands between January 19th, 2012 and June 17th, 2015 with gift cards. But why?

The post Own a FuelBand? Nike Might Owe You Money appeared first on A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss.

from A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

From Training Schedules to Meal Plans: What's Needed For Your First Race

Race season is in full swing, and whether you consider yourself new to the running scene or a seasoned vet, it's never too early to start training for one of Fall or Winter's big races. From a 5K to beyond, here are all the tips and training plans you need to make yourself race ready.

The Beginning: 5K

Running 3.1 miles might seem like a daunting feat, but with a plan in hand, the process becomes so much easier. A 5K is considered a gateway race, and once you complete it, it's likely that you'll want to take on longer distances.

  • Get started with our beginner 5K program. It's a six-week training schedule that incorporates everything you need for a successful first race. It'll have you running three days a week and cross training on the side.
  • Before hitting the starting line, read these tips for running your first 5K, and make sure to download one of our 5K playlists that will help you keep pace.
  • Once you finish, set goals for a new personal record using these tips and our training plan on how to run a faster 5K.

Doubling Up: The 10K

Once you have a 5K under your belt, it's time to tackle a 10K. The 6.2-mile race means adding to your weekly mileage to help build up endurance.

Going Halfsies: Half Marathon

When you're ready for the challenge of running 13.1 miles, the half marathon begins to call your name. Upping your mileage to cover this much ground requires careful planning.

  • This 16-week half-marathon training schedule for beginners starts with weekly mileage of just under 10 and builds up to 25 miles in seven days, before tapering before the race. If you already run on a regular basis, this six-week half-marathon plan should get you to the finish line. Before starting this plan, be running for at least two months with a base mileage of about eight to 10 miles per week.
  • Not sure if you're ready to meet the challenge of a half? Learn what it takes to go from a 10K to 13.1 miles, from what you should be eating to how much of a time commitment training takes.

All the Way: Marathon

Once you start, it's hard to stop. A good mindset will only get you so far when it comes to running 26.2 miles, but a solid plan will have you crossing the finish line.

Trying It All: Sprint Triathlon

If pounding the pavement day in and day out isn't your thing, mix it up a little and train for a sprint triathlon. The blend of swimming, biking, and running builds cross training into your schedule.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Second Trimester Faves

Hi friends! Thank you again for all of the kind and wonderful wishes on yesterday’s post. We sincerely appreciate it, and I will definitely keep you updated as time goes on. <3 It’s so hard to believe that we’re already in the 3rd trimester! While some part of me feels like I’ve been pregnant forever […]

from The Fitnessista

Chocolate and Protein Combine For the Ultimate Guilt-Free Desserts

Dessert doesn't have to be decadent without offering some health benefits. Here are some recipes that offer a punch of protein while still tasting scrumptious and gloriously chocolaty. Keep reading for more delicious high-protein dessert recipes.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Refresh and Caffeinate With Green Tea Popsicles

Skip the Ibuprofen and Do These Yoga Poses For Menstrual Cramp Relief

Got cramps? You're not alone. Many women suffer from severe menstrual pain (known as dysmenorrhea) with sharp, throbbing, burning, or nauseating cramps in their lower abdomen and back. The cramps may come right before you get your period or during, but thankfully they go away when your period is over.

These crippling, can't-get-through-your-normal-day kind of cramps are caused by uterine contractions and can be aggravated by emotional stress. They tend to cause headaches and a really heavy flow - twice the fun. Some women take pain meds to deal, but you may want to give these yoga poses a try, since getting your body moving (and out of fetal position on the couch) can really help with cramps.

Half Bound Squat

Hip pain can be part of the whole cramp scene, so stretching them out feels really good. Here's how to do Half Bound Squat.

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hips-width-distance apart. Bend your knees, and lower your hips all the way down. Take a peek at your feet, and see if you can press your heels out, bringing your feet parallel.
  • Press your elbows against your inner knees, and lengthen through your torso. Hold like this in a Wide Squat for five breaths.
  • Then bring your left arm between your knees. Lower your left shoulder as far under your left knee as possible, so you hug your knee with your armpit as you reach your left forearm around your back with your palm facing away from your body.
  • Reach your right arm up as high as you can, bend your elbow, and bring the back of your right palm to your lower back. If they're close enough, hold your right wrist with your left hand, with the right palm facing behind you.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths. Come back to Wide Squat for one complete breath to release the pose, and repeat on the right side.

Arching Pigeon

Pigeon Pose also opens your hips, but sometimes it feels better to work one side at a time. This variation will also stretch out the lower belly.

  • Sit on the floor with your right knee bent and your left leg extended behind you.
  • Place your hands on your hips, and gently arch your back. You should feel a nice stretch in the front of your left hip, but if this variation is painful, then lean forward, placing your hands on the floor in front of you. If you want more of a stretch, raise your arms in the air.
  • Hold for five or more breaths, and then repeat this pose on the other side.

One-Armed Camel

Stretching out your abs and the front of the hips can also relieve cramps. Here's how to do One-Armed Camel.

  • Stand on your shins so your knees are underneath your hips.
  • Reach your right hand back, placing it on your right heel or on the mat behind your right toes. Extend your left arm in the air.
  • Shift weight forward onto your knees to increase the stretch in your quads, belly, and chest. Lower your head behind you, and stay here for five breaths.
  • Switch sides, holding for another five breaths, and then lift the torso up to release.

Wide Child's Pose

If you feel cramps in your lower back, then Wide Child's Pose is sure to offer relaxation and relief.

  • Place your knees on the floor, widen them to a comfortable distance, and then fold forward, extending your arms in front of you.
  • Rest your forehead on the mat or turn your head to one side, holding for five breaths. Turn your head to the other side for another five relaxing breaths.

Reclining Twist

Here's a relaxing way to increase side-to-side spinal flexibility, which can also help relieve pain in the lower belly and lower back.

  • Lie on your back, and cross your left knee over to the right side.
  • Extend your arms out wide, gazing to the left.
  • Hold here for at least five breaths, feeling your spine lengthen and twist. You may even hear some "cracks."
  • Use your abs to lift your knees back to center and repeat on the other side.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Tried-and-True Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Save Calories and Feel Fuller Longer at Lunch With These Food Swaps

If you want to save money and calories every week, brown-bagging it is the way to go. But are your lunches from home as healthy as they can be? Find out which food swaps you should be making that offer more protein, fiber, and healthy fats to keep you feeling fuller longer.

Skip This Pack This Reasons Why
Deli meat Sliced tofu, roasted meat, or grilled chicken They'll offer protein without added sodium and fat.
Regular chicken salad Low-cal chicken salad Use Greek yogurt instead of mayo for this lightened-up recipe.
One whole-wheat wrap Two slices of whole-wheat bread A wrap might offer fewer calories, but the whole-wheat bread is a great source of protein and fiber.
Mayonnaise Avocado To save on saturated fat and increase the fiber, spread avocado on your sandwich instead of mayo.
Croutons Sunflower seeds The sunflower seeds will add the crunch you're after in your salad as well as protein and healthy fats.
Wheat Thins Triscuits Triscuits are made with whole-wheat flour instead of enriched flour, so they offer more fiber per serving, plus fewer calories.
Cream cheese on a bagel Natural peanut butter on a bagel The nut butter might offer more calories, but it's also higher in fiber, lower in saturated fat, and higher in protein.
Orange juice Orange Opt for the actual fruit to increase your lunch's fiber content and save you liquid calories.
Regular pasta Whole-wheat pasta Whether it's your kid's mac 'n' cheese or lasagna for yourself, always opt for whole-wheat pasta for added fiber.
Brown rice Quinoa Although brown rice is an excellent source of fiber and protein, quinoa offers more of both, and for fewer calories too.
Applesauce Apple The apple peel offers extra fiber and nutrients, plus chewing food always makes you feel more full than slurping it.
Lay's Potato Chips Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Chips If you're craving something salty, the corn chips are lower in calories and sodium, but are also higher in fiber and protein.
Raisins Grapes Pop some cold grapes in your mouth and even toss them on your salad instead of raisins for extra fiber and fewer calories.
Yoplait Gogurt Chobani Champions Greek yogurt offers four times the amount of protein, which is so important for kids' development. Choose Greek yogurt for the grown-ups too.
Goldfish Annie's Whole-Wheat Cheddar Bunnies The Cheddar Bunnies are made with whole-wheat flour instead of enriched flour. They're also lower in saturated fat and offer more fiber per serving.
Cookies Dark chocolate Everyone is entitled to finish off with a sweet treat, so go for the antioxidant-rich dark chocolate rather than a cookie bursting with white flour and butter.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Say Hello to the First-Ever Female NFL Coach

Even if you couldn't care less about football or don't know the difference between a fumble and a blitz, you are still going to love this news that makes history. Jen Welter, a college rugby player who played 14 seasons of pro football in the Women's Football Alliance, is now a training intern coach for the Arizona Cardinals linebackers - the first female to coach in the NFL.

Head coach of the Cardinals, Bruce Arians, said coaching is all about being a good teacher. "One thing I have learned from players is, 'How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don't care if you're the Green Hornet, man, I'll listen.' I really believe [Jen will] have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors for her."

Bringing in Jen to coach is another step toward diversity, which has always been important to the owner of the Cardinals, Bill Bidwill. And she wasn't hired just because she was a woman. Jen's football résumé is long; she was the first female to play a nonkicking position in a men's pro football league when she played running backs and special teams for the Revolution in 2014 and also is the proud owner of two gold medals for Team USA in the International Federation of American Football Women's World Championship in 2010 and 2013. And if that's not enough, Jen holds a master's degree in sport psychology and a PhD in psychology as well. Bruce hopes this will open doors for other women to make an impact in an otherwise male-dominant field. We wish her the best on this amazing opportunity.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Grain-free dairy-free mug cake for one

Hi friends! How’s the day treating ya? Thank you again for all of the kind words and heartfelt comments. You’re too good to this girl. <3 It’s going to be a great morning because I have acupuncture on the menu. I’m trying out a new spot that came highly recommended by my chiropractor (and is […]

from The Fitnessista

Primal Kitchen Restaurants: Coming to a Town Near You? (With Your Help, Yes.)

For years, I’ve made the case for a particular way of eating: the Primal Blueprint. Based on nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, animals, fish, nuts, seeds, tubers, herbs, spices, and fats, it recommends against consumption of a few foods — grains, refined sugar, seed oils, excess carbs — but is overall very inclusive. A person can live […]

from Mark's Daily Apple

Episode 280 – Dr. Kirk Parsley – Sleep Cocktail Q&A

Download Episode Here   Featuring guest: Dr. Kirk Parsley (use code “robbwolf” at checkout for 10% off your order).     30 Day Guide to the Paleo Diet Want some extra help? Have you been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you?… Continue Reading

from The Paleo Diet - Robb Wolf on Paleolithic nutrition, intermittent fasting, and fitness

Monday, July 27, 2015

Hotel room circuit workout

Hi friends! Hope you’ve had a wonderful afternoon. Thank you so much for your kind comments and emails after this morning’s post. It means a lot to me, and I appreciate it more than you know. I posted an update on the Family page with more details. So today, I have an all-new circuit workout […]

from The Fitnessista

Cilantro-Lovers, This Troubling News From the FDA Will Make You Feel Icky

When it comes to cilantro, there is no middle ground: people either love it or loathe it. Thanks to a genetic property that makes the herb taste like soap to some, there are very passionate camps on either side of the cilantro debate. Now, thanks to a newly announced partial ban on the green plant, cilantro-haters are going to have a field day: human feces and toilet paper were recently found in a Mexican cilantro crop, ending with literally crappy results.

Following hundreds of cyclosporiasis cases in Texas, the Food and Drug Administration is now seizing cilantro for inspection at the Mexican border. The illness, an intestinal infection brought on by microscopic parasites, is often caused by fecal contamination and causes diarrhea. To combat more cases of cyclosporiasis, the FDA sent out an alert for districts to detain fresh cilantro shipments from Mexico dated between April 1 and August 31.

"It is good news that FDA has identified the problem and can now turn away potentially tainted cilantro at the border," read a Center For Science in the Public Interest release about the ban. "The real challenge, though, is for FDA and its counterparts around the world to stop food from being contaminated, and consumers from becoming ill, in the first place. In this particular instance, it means ensuring that farmworkers have the kind of adequate toilet, hand-washing, and sanitation facilities that will prevent the appalling conditions FDA found in Puebla [Mexico]."

So if you're a fan of cilantro, be wary of the herb throughout August . . . while the FDA is paying extra close attention to fresh cilantro at the border, "multi-ingredient processed foods that contain cilantro as an ingredient are not covered under this alert and neither is cilantro that has been processed in other ways besides being cut or chopped." And try to go easy with the "I told you so" statements, cilantro-haters; while this one crop might have been sh*tty, the leafy green herb is amazing on tacos.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

The Harmful Chemicals Hidden in Your Workout Clothes

Our friends at Shape Magazine tell us how harmful chemicals in our prized yoga leggings could be hurting rather than helping our health.

We consumers are good at telling brands what we want-and getting it. Green juice? Virtually non-existent 20 years ago. Mainstream organic skincare and makeup that actually works? Popped up in the noughties. Alternatives to plastic water bottles? Hello, Bkr. It's no surprise Whole Foods has more than 400 stores. Our hard-earned dollars demand healthy, better alternatives, and the market has started supplying them.

And now, we look smoking hot while we strive to be our healthiest selves, because workout clothes have become off-the-hook gorgeous. Function and fashion have merged to form a new breed of figure-flattering, high-performance activewear-for all budgets and body sizes. In fact, workout clothes are the daily uniform for a growing number of women, according to global information company the NPD Group. We've swapped our skinny jeans for yoga pants, athleisure is officially a thing, and our lust for stylish gear is single-handedly buoying fashion sales. (See the 10 Best Instagram Accounts to Follow for Athleisure.)

But therein hides the blind spot in our otherwise noble quest for a life healthily lived. We buy the cleanest products and food we can, avoid toxins where possible and exercise, but are the workout clothes we wear while doing all this undermining our efforts?

The findings from two Greenpeace reports on chemical content in sportswear and fashion suggest they might be. Their analysis found that sportswear from major brands contained known hazardous chemicals, like Phthalates, PFCs, Dimethylformamide (DMF), Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), and Nonylphenols (NPs). And a Swedish study estimates that ten percent of all textile-related substances are "considered to be of potential risk to human health."

In an article exploring toxic chemicals in sportswear, published by The Guardian, Greenpeace's Manfred Santen suggests we can't know the effects of these chemicals and how repeated exposure to them might affect us. "The concentration [of chemicals] that we find in clothing may not cause acute toxic problems for the wearer in the short-term, but in the long-term you never know," Santen said. "Endocrine disruptors [chemicals that can mess with the hormone system], for example, you don't know what the impact of long-term exposure is on human health."

This is new territory. There is little research on the topic (although it's growing), and right now many industry insiders dismiss this line of inquiry as a non-issue. We're reluctant to look our Spandex-clad gift horse in the mouth. Afterall, business is booming and we look so good that no one wants to return to the days before activewear brands knew the value of a well-placed dart.

The potential presence of harmful chemicals in any amount our workout gear, however, should be troubling in large part because it's designed to sit against and interact with the skin in high-friction, high-movement, high-heat, high-moisture environments-like when we work out. Independent Swiss company bluesign technologies-creator of the toughest textile certification system, which aims to prevent chemicals of concern from entering into materials in the manufacturing process-puts clothing for "next to skin use" and "baby-safe" in the same category, their "most stringent" one "concerning [chemical] limit values/bans."

Yet, retailer REI says that "some type of chemical finish is applied to nearly every synthetic fabric in order to boost wicking performance." A look at the tag in activewear garments reveals most are fashioned from synthetic fabrics. Plus, most trademarked technical fabrics-the ones we pay major bucks for-are chemically coated synthetic fabrics, says Mike Rivalland, director of activewear brand SilkAthlete. Santen agreed, telling us that "the bigger problem is that brands use additives to make gear stain repellent with per-fluorinated substances (PFCs) or to avoid unpleasant sweat odors by using toxic substances like Triclosan."

But don't despair. Adam Fletcher, Patagonia's global director of public relations, points out how difficult it would be to absorb a harmful level of some chemicals in question through the skin. "Wearing [a] jacket does not offer a significant risk of exposure," he says. "If one were to eat a closet-full of jackets, maybe then you would get on par with the exposure risk from food contact applications of these chemicals."

Some big brands are taking action, though, sourcing high-performance organic fabrics and recycled materials, and seeking natural alternatives to chemical finishes. Patagonia has invested in Beyond Surface Technologies, which develops "textile treatments based on natural raw materials" and is phasing out PFCs, similar to Adidas, which has promised that their products will be 99 percent PFC-free by 2017. Both brands partner with bluesign technologies, as do REI, Puma, prAna, Marmot, Nike, and Lululemon.

Smaller brands have also been producing outstanding non-toxic activewear with high-tech traits we demand. Ibex specializes in organic cotton and merino wool activewear. Evolve Fitwear only sells American-made gear with organic cotton (like LVR's 94 percent organic cotton leggings) and recycled materials. Alternative Apparel's soft, slouchy basics in organic and eco-fabrics easily transition from yoga to brunch. SilkAthlete's stylish silk-blend garments are not only naturally breathable and antimicrobial, they feel light as air and don't chafe like synthetic fabrics can. And Super.Natural makes high-performance, flattering workout clothes from engineered natural-synthetic fabrics hybrids. And these companies are a step ahead of the game in our highly health-aware, eco-concious culture. (And check out this Sustainable Fitness Gear for an Eco-Friendly Workout.)

What chemicals are in your favorite workout gear? Find out-plus, learn how to protect yourself.

What's Lurking In Your Yoga Pants?
Below, we rounded up some of the potentially hazardous chemicals that could be in your workout clothes-plus, why you should care.

Phthalates: Commonly used as platicizers in textile printing (found in tons of consumer goods), they're linked to certain cancers, adult obesity and reduced testosterone in men and women, and are on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list.

PFCs (poly- and per-flourinated chemicals): Used in water- and stain-proof gear. Clothing is one of the most common ways we're exposed to them, according to The EWG, which classifies them as toxic to humans.

Dimethylformamide (DMF): The CDC says DMF is "an organic solvent used in acrylic fiber spinning, chemical manufacturing... It is also present in textile dyes and pigments..." It warns people to avoid skin contact with the chemical as it's easily absorbed through the skin and "can cause liver damage and other adverse health effects."

Nanoparticle silver: Used in anti-odor and antimicrobial activewear but not tested for safety in consumer goods, says Pew Charitable Trust. A 2010 study found "exposure to silver would be 'significant' for anyone wearing these clothes, in an amount that's three times higher than the amount you'd get if you take a dietary supplement that contains silver." A 2013 study links nanomaterials to potential endocrine disruption and a 2014 MIT study found nanoparticles can damage DNA.

Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) and Nonylphenols (NPs): Used in detergents and dust-control agents. According to the CDC, they're absorbable through the skin and shown to have "estrogenic properties in human cell lines". The EPA says they're "associated with reproductive and developmental effects in rodents" and they wreak havoc on the environment. The European Union classifies them as "reprotoxic."

Triclosan: Used as a coating in antibacterial and antimicrobial garments and gear, triclosan has been linked to liver and inhalation toxicity and has been shown to cause liver cancer in mice.

Buy Less Toxic Workout Clothes
If you want to avoid some of the nastier things found to fitness gear, follow our tips for a "cleaner" workout wardrobe.

  • Avoid screen printing and plastic prints, a potential source of phthalates.
  • Buy natural and organic fabrics (or hybrids) like silk, cotton and wool. Natural fabrics are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial, good at thermal regulation, and breathable.
  • Seek the bluesign System certification. The bluesign label means hazardous chemicals are kept to a minimum (and are potentially absent) during manufacturing and in the end product.
  • Pass on trademarked technical "fabrics"-most are chemically coated synthetics that wash out.
  • When will you use it? If you're wearing something against your skin all day, invest in a piece with as few potentially hazardous chemicals as possible.

Wash Them Smarter
Whether you have a closet full of silk sports bras or you don technical fabrics 24/7, keep your fitness gear clean, intact, and functional for as long as possible.

  • Wash every item before use. Santen says, "washing removes adherent substances that could be potentially hazardous."
  • After a super sweat-inducing workout, wash clothes immediately. Synthetic fibers, particularly polyester, are breeding grounds for stink-producing bacteria.
  • Hand wash or use the gentle cycle on with cold water so garments aren't destroyed by high heat or agitation.
  • Line dry or lay clothes flat to dry. Some brands say using the lowest-heat dryer setting is fine, but anything hotter will break affect the coating on technical fabrics and could harm synthetic (i.e. plastic) fabrics, like Lycra, which becomes brittle if dried with high heat.
  • Use gentle wash or specialized wash. Harsh detergents can ruin or wash out properties for which you bought a garment in the first place, and sports wash helps break down oily sweat and odor buildup. (Try one of these 7 Safer All-Natural Homemade Cleaners.)
  • Avoid fabric softener and dryer sheets. They work by leaving a film on the fabric, which ends up blocking the wicking/absorbing/cooling/anti-odor ability of the garment.

More from Shape:

from POPSUGAR Fitness

"I've Never Felt as Comfortable in My Own Skin Than I Do Now," Says Khloé Kardashian

Khloé Kardashian has never been shy about her fitness regimen, frequently sharing photos of her workouts and giving insights into her diet. And soon, people worldwide will be able to read about the A-lister's journey in her book, Strong Looks Better Naked, set to release this Fall. The upcoming memoir, which includes "inspirational, revealing stories of her own struggles with weight, relationships, and her self-image," touches on the emotional roller coaster that Kardashian has endured when it comes to her own body.

But now, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians fan favorite has discovered a sense of peace with herself through a healthy lifestyle and exercise. In a fitness-themed cover story for Complex Magazine, she shared a bit of insight into her current body image. "I don't know if I'm ever gonna feel like 'Daaamn, you look good,'" said Khloé, "But I've never felt as comfortable in my own skin than I do now."

To Khloé, strong is the epitome of sexy . . . and the photos in the Complex spread prove it. Be sure to check out the full shoot (spoiler alert: there are dumbbells, medicine balls, and resistance bands featured), then stay tuned for her most shocking quotes from the corresponding interview.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

28 week ultrasound update

Hi friends! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Ours was a great time spent together, but Friday morning was a mix of positive and not-so-ideal news at my ultrasound appointment. I figured I’d share an update with you all since so many of you offered to send well wishes, prayers and happy placenta moving vibes […]

from The Fitnessista

How to Deal With Cravings to Addictive Foods

We've all seesawed between depriving ourselves then binging on cravings, usually because we crave things that we know we should avoid. According to Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., founder of The Natural Gourmet Institute and prominent author and lecturer on natural health and holistic medicine, we should listen to some cravings. They are the body's signal to search for nutrients it needs to operate properly. However, we often crave addictive foods and substances that are nonessential (and often harmful) to our body.

People who experience a food addiction indulge in stimulants such as sugar, white flour, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol. Giving them up can lead to withdrawal symptoms like unpleasant headaches, intense cravings, depression, and anxiety. One bite can instantaneously alleviate these symptoms while propelling the body to pig out. Remember, easily ridding yourself of the symptoms won't reverse the addiction. Dr. Colbin says the first four days of a cleanse are the hardest, but the cravings will diminish with patience and time.

Let's take a look at the biggest culprit. We all know that white sugar is detrimental to our heath, but here's why sugar should be hard to swallow. In her book Food and Healing ($16), Dr. Colbin explains, "To metabolize refined sugar, the body draws out the missing companion nutrients (needed as catalysts in the digestive process) from other sources." The "other sources" can be additional foods eaten during the meal, or else your body strips the micronutrients from its own tissues. Dr. Colbin warns that to digest sugar, "We lose B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, [and] iron . . . from our own reserves." This is obviously a body's last resort, and the body will try to flash a hunger signal first to search for foods with essential nutrients. Instead of bulking up on unnecessary calories to find the right food to satisfy your munchies, Dr. Colbin has mapped out an easy-to-use chart.

Refer to Dr. Colbin's chart of "Common Cravings and How to Deal With Them" to figure out types of food your body really wants when you are craving food you shouldn't eat.

To Diminish Cravings For Have More Eat Less Substitute
Sugar (cakes, cookies, pastries, candy, ice cream) Whole grains, baked yams, squash, apples, dates, cooked fruit Meat, salt, dairy products Frozen bananas (for ice cream), desserts sweetened with barley malt, rice syrup, maple syrup
Alcohol Complex carbohydrates, vegetables, corn, leafy bitter greens Fats, salt, miso, soy sauce, animal protein Nonalcoholic beer, fruit
Coffee Vegetables, salad Meat, sugar, flour, grain, salt Grain coffee
Salt Seaweed, black beans, vegetables Sweets, fats, alcohol, meat, grain Natural soy sauce, miso (small amounts), herbs and spices
Milk Products Leafy greens, whole grains, beans, fish Sugar, baked goods, fruit, meat Tofu (small amounts), nut milk
Fats and Sweets Protein: beans, fish, chicken, eggs Grain, fruit, salad Try to eliminate from diet

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Why You Might Prefer a Mirena IUD Over the Pill

The pill, the patch, the ring - they're all great in theory, but if you constantly forget to take your pills or hate the waiting period for both the patch and ring, these might not be the best choices for pregnancy prevention. For a more long-term form of birth control, many women are using the Mirena.

What it is: The Mirena is a type of intrauterine device (IUD) that is placed inside your uterus by a health-care provider to prevent pregnancy for up to five years. It's a T-shaped piece of soft, flexible plastic less than 1.5 inches long that emits a small amount of progestin directly into your uterus (it's estrogen-free). There are two threads attached to the end that hang down out the opening of your cervix to help you check whether it's in the correct place.

Effectiveness: It's 99-percent effective at preventing pregnancy, but like the pill, it won't protect against STDs such as HIV. It is effective immediately if inserted within seven days after the start of your period, otherwise you'll need a backup form of birth control for the first seven days after getting the Mirena.

How it works: The small amounts of levonorgestrel (a type of progestin) released by Mirena thicken your cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering your uterus so they can't reach your egg, and thus can't fertilize it. It also thins the lining of your uterus, and may stop the release of your egg from your ovaries. In the unlikely event that a sperm does fertilize your egg and it survives, an IUD causes inflammation of the uterus making it harder for the fertilized egg to implant. To ensure the Mirena remains in place, insert a finger into your vagina, feel for the cervix, and check for the threads once a month.

Who should use it: Since this is a long-term form of birth control, it's recommended for women who aren't planning on having children for several years, are done having children, or don't want to have children. Since it doesn't offer protection against STDs, it's recommended for women who are in long-term relationships with someone they know is STD-free.

The pros: Insertion only takes a few minutes and it'll prevent pregnancy for up to five years. After a year of use, one out of every five users will have no period at all - think of all the money you'll save on pads and tampons! If you need birth control for longer than five years, you can choose to have another one inserted after the first one is removed. It's also easily reversible, which means if you decide you want to become pregnant, just have the Mirena removed and you can start trying right away. Since the hormones stay in the uterus, it won't cause significant weight gain like oral contraceptives sometimes do or increase breast tenderness.

The cons: Insertion can be very painful and can cause some women cramping, bleeding, and dizziness. Some women complain of irregular periods, spotting, and some have heavy bleeding for the first several months of use. IUDs also increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), although the percentage of women using the Mirena who develop PID is less than one percent. A rare life-threatening infection called sepsis could also occur within the first few days after Mirena is placed. The Mirena could also become embedded in the uterine wall, or even perforate it, and in either case, the user would no longer be protected from pregnancy, and the Mirena would need to be surgically removed. Another not-so-great thing about the Mirena is that since the threads hang down out the opening of your cervix, your partner may be able to feel them during intercourse.

How it differs from ParaGard IUD: The ParaGard contains copper and is completely hormone-free, so it won't interfere with your natural menstrual cycle. This is good news for women who don't want to take hormones and who like getting their monthly period to let them know they're not pregnant. Some women experience heavier periods or spotting while using the ParaGard, but this usually subsides after three months. Like the Mirena, it's also 99-percent effective at preventing pregnancy and is effective immediately after insertion, regardless of where you are in your cycle. The ParaGard, however, lasts twice as long as the Mirena, for up to 10 years.

How it differs from Skyla IUD: Another hormone-releasing IUD, it works just like the Mirena and is also 99-percent effective at preventing pregnancy. It's just over one inch, so it's slightly smaller than the Mirena and needs to be replaced every three years. Irregular spotting and periods may occur for the first three to six months, but after that, many women experience shorter, light periods or no periods at all.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

This Might Make You Feel Better About Cellulite

If you've been worrying about a bit of dimpling on your backside, at least you know you're not alone - 80 to 90 percent of women have cellulite somewhere on their bodies. If knowledge is power, here are a few things about cellulite to help you feel empowered about that puckering skin.

  • Cellulite is more prominent in women than in men due to the structural differences of stored fat between the sexes. The connective tissues that create these storage units in men works on diagonals, where as we lucky ladies store our fat in a large vertical honeycomb-like structure. This structural form unfortunately enhances the appearance of the dimples.
  • Genes also play a role, so if your mother has cellulite, or you tend to gain weight in certain areas, you may be more susceptible to that cottage-cheese-like skin.
  • Hormonal changes such as taking the pill or having a baby can trigger cellulite.
  • Lifestyle choices can also affect how your skin looks. Smoking, caffeine, poor diet, eating too much fat, yo-yo dieting, not drinking enough water, not exercising, and not getting enough sleep are also factors.

It is possible to reduce the appearance of cellulite. A combination of laser, massage, radio frequency, and suction treatments are available, but these remedies are pricey and only temporary. You'll end up needing to fork over the moola for ongoing treatments in order to maintain your skin's new look. Don't waste your money on cellulite lotions either since topical creams can't penetrate the three layers of skin to eliminate the fat. What you can do is decrease overall body fat by doing calorie-burning cardio; try 60 minutes of cardio five times a week.

Unfortunately, cardio alone will not decrease the dimples. Flaccid muscle can increase the appearance of cellulite, so strength training is highly recommended. Work the muscles in the areas where the dimpling is occurring two to three times a week. This means doing lunges in all directions as well as butt- and thigh-toning squats - try this 30-Day Squat Challenge. Or work your entire backside with these moves for toning your lower body as well as these inner-thigh toners. And best of all, remember that you're human, so embrace it because a little cellulite shouldn't prevent you from doing the things you love.

from POPSUGAR Fitness