Monday, February 29, 2016

Avocados Steal the Show (Again) in These Creamy, Decadent Recipes

Like any great love, our love for avocados is unconditional and truly knows no bounds. Whether we're eating it on toast or on a pizza, or fawning over avocado tattoos, these creamy green fruits have cemented their place in a healthy culture and our hearts.

Add avocados to smoothies, pasta sauces, or dressings for a creamy, dairy-free, and delicious base with a smooth texture. Try these 17 recipes to seamlessly incorporate all the creamy, omega-3 decadence of this popular health food into your everyday.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

15+ Smoothie Recipes For Anyone Following the Paleo Diet

If you follow a Paleo lifestlye, it's likely that breakfast is the toughest meal of the day. (More eggs, anyone?!) Whether you're too busy to whip up omelettes every morning, or just plain sick of another egg breakfast, relief is here.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Feel Less Guilty at McDonald's With These New Low-Cal Breakfast Items

There aren't many low-calorie options from McDonald's breakast menu to choose from, but two more items are being introduced that health-conscious eaters can now enjoy. Beginning this week, McDonald's is offering Tex-Mex-inspired breakfast bowls in its Los Angeles and San Diego, CA, chains, according to CNN Money.

For a little more than $4, customers can order the egg white and turkey sausage bowl with kale and spinach, which has 250 calories and 27 grams of protein. Option number two - the scrambled egg and chorizo bowl - is heavier in calories and includes hash browns, salsa, and pico de gallo, coming out to 460 calories and 26 grams of protein.

The 800 Southern California restaurants where these new breakast bowls are being tested will also start incorporating Chobani greek yogurt in McDonald's parfaits and McCafe smoothies. McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb told ABC News that it's still too early to say whether these changes will roll out to other regions.

Although McDonald's isn't the first place that comes to mind when looking to eat healthy, we're pretty excited to see some menu items we can feel less guilty about.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

bye, sugar monster

Hi friends! How’s the day going? I hope that my newsletter friends enjoyed the new workout calendar. I’ll keep ‘em coming until Summer Shape Up is here! So March is an exciting month. The PBB site launches next week with a full 12-week workout plan + all of the things I learned about postpartum fitness. […]

from The Fitnessista

Sculpt an Oscars-Worthy Back With 1 Move

Last night, the leading ladies in film stunned us with their floor-length couture gowns, glittering accessories and jewelry, perfectly coiffed hair - and sculpted backs. It's pretty safe to say that backs are the new butts, and both fashion and Hollywood are making that clearer than ever.

Ready to rock your own backless look? Strengthen and tone your shoulders and back with this simple move.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Prep For Short-Sleeve Season With This Upper-Body Workout

The following post was originally featured on Jill Conyers and written by Jill Conyers, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

Are you ready for short sleeves and tank top weather? I know the winter has been mild and that is nothing less than awesome, but not mild enough to leave the coat at home and definitely not mild enough to wear short sleeves or tank tops.

My daughter and I have been planning a girl-cation for spring break in Florida so you can imagine the dreams of sunshine, blue skies and sandy beaches. And the warm weather clothes that go with it!


This upper body workout can be completed in about 15 minutes. Combine it with this Tone and Lean Legs Circuit and the 12-Minute Ab Workout for a total body sculpting and strengthening session.

Time: approximately 15 minutes

Equipment needed:

  • dumbbells 8-12 pounds (depending on your fitness level)
  • timer
  • mat (optional)


  • Don't skip the warmup or cooldown.
  • Use proper body alignment and good form.
  • Weights and intensity should be based on your fitness level.
  • Modify as needed to meet your fitness level by increasing/decreasing weights, reps or rest.
  • Gradually increase intensity and/or repetitions based on your progress.

Make modifications as needed. Intensity and rest periods should be based on your individual fitness level. See your physician before beginning any exercise program. This website is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice and supervision of your personal physician.

Mac Raise (1) Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and hold the weight dumbbells in front of your thighs palms facing inward. (2) Brace your abs. Keep your shoulders down away from your ears. Simultaneously perform a straight-arm front raise with your right arm and a bent arm lateral raise with your left arm to shoulder height. Arm should be bent to about a 90-degree angle. DO NOT swing the weights or raise your arms above shoulder level. (3) Lower the dumbbells with control back down in front of your thighs in start position. (4) Switch sides and repeat. Targets: shoulders

Shoulder Press (1) Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand just outside of your shoulders, with your arms bent and your palms facing each other. (2) Set your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. (3) Keeping your core braced press the weights upward directly over your shoulders until your arms are completely straight and elbows locked. (4) Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Targets: front deltoids, middle deltoids, triceps

Triceps Kickback (1) Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. (2) Bend over at the waist so your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Bend both elbows so that your upper arm is locked at your side and parallel to the floor. Your forearms should be perpendicular to the floor. (3) Keeping your upper arm still, straighten your arms behind you until the end of the dumbbell is pointing toward the floor with your palms facing in toward your body. Hold for a beat and inhale, slowly lowering your arms back to the start position. Repeat. Keep your abs tight and your back flat. Do not let your upper arm move during the entire exercise. Targets: triceps

Push-Up to Side Plank (1) Start off in a push-up position on the floor with your toes extended out and arms at shoulder level. (2) Perform a push-up and then come back up shifting your weight to one side of your body twisting to one side and bringing the arm on the twisted side up toward the ceiling. (3) Hold this position for a count then return back to the starting position for another push-up, alternating sides. Targets: chest, shoulders, triceps

Crescent Lunge with a Row (1) Hold a dumbbell in your right hand and stand with your feet together, arms at your sides. (2) Lunge forward with your left leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor. (3) Lower your torso as close as possible to your left knee as you raise your left arm out to the side to shoulder height, palm facing down. Allow the dumbbell to hang down arm straight. (4) Row the dumbbell straight up until your right elbow passes your torso. Return to start position. Repeat the prescribed number of reps and repeat on the opposite side. Targets: middle and lower traps, rhomboid major and minor, upper traps, rear deltoids

Pike Walk Push-Up (1) Stand with your feet closer than hip width apart, but not touching. Bend over, keeping knees slightly bent if needed, and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Keep your neck in line with your spine throughout the exercise. (2) Walk your hands forward until you're in push-up position and do 1 push-up. (3) Keeping your hands in place walk your feet up to your hands, as close as possible. Repeat for the prescribed number of reps. Targets: Pecs major, front deltoids, triceps

Like the workout? Share it with your friends and family. They'll thank you and I will too.



Don't forget to check out Jen's workout for the week!

Let me know if you have any questions about the workout or if you have a specific fitness related topic you'd like to know more about.

be the best version of YOU

Jill xoxo

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Why You Should Love Deadlifts (and How to Do Them Correctly)

If the deadlift isn't part of your regular routine, it should be. While the move's name may conjure images of meaty bodybuilders, the exercise is an amazingly effective move for your lower body, especially your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Not only that, it's great for your core muscles, too. "The act of keeping the core tight while the load is trying to pull you forward is extremely beneficial," says Tim Rich, a personal training manager at Crunch. Basically, the deadlift is a great exercise for just about anything.

Another reason to love deadlifts? It's the ultimate functional fitness move. "The deadlift is a must-have skill to keep your independence," Tim says. "Proper loading of the spinal column will keep you active and mobile in the later years. You will always have to pick things up for the rest of your life." Regularly doing deadlifts also does wonders for your posture, so if you spend a lot of time at a desk, you should be doing this move.

Ready to add deadlifts to your workout circuit? Read on for tips on how to do a deadlift correctly.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Dear Mark: Grass-Fed vs Grain-Finished, Lamb Feedlots, and What About Grass-Fed Eggs?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a few questions about grass-feeding several of you raised in last week’s comment section. First, is there a difference between grass-fed and grass-finished?What is the difference between grass-fed and grass-finished? Next, is it true that lamb is by definition grass-fed? Are there actually lamb feedlots, or can we […]

from Mark's Daily Apple

you win some…

Hiiiiii friends! Happy Monday! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Ours was a perfect mix of fun, relaxing, and productivity.  (The girls were so happy their daddy is back!) We ordered takeout from OB Noodle House for madre’s last night in town, (Vegas, baby!) we took a walk down by the ocean, (Liv was still […]

from The Fitnessista

Testimonial: Paleo As A Strategy For Managing Food Allergies

Written by: Brad Rudner   It’s not easy having a child that has severe food allergies. Some allergens are easier to handle than others and some, like peanuts, are so widespread that awareness and strategies are fairly well established in many communities. However, when your child has multiple food allergens requiring them to carry epinephrin,… Continue Reading

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

These Protein Bars Have a Shocking Special Ingredient

As the newest addition to the POPSUGAR Fitness team, I've been seeing a lot of surprising new products for the first time, from foods to supplements to fitness gear, but the single most jarring thing I've encountered so far has been - wait for it - a protein bar.

A package showed up on my desk with tape reading, "Crickets are delicious," and inside, to my horror, I found five flavors of protein bars, each of them with CRICKETS as the core ingredient.

I'm by no means a picky eater, but the concept of consuming an insect absolutely disgusted me. To be honest, it still might. But when your senior editing team forces strongly encourages you to try something, you try it. Or . . . you host a blind taste test in your office and invite all of your colleagues to try "special new protein bars" (colleagues, now you know the truth, and I understand if you never forgive me).

The result? They really just taste like protein bars. Some people liked them, and some people didn't. Read on to see what the deal is with these bug-fueled bars.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

The Benefit (and Downside) of Eating Breakfast

Sure, the adage "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is burned into our brains, but how much truth is there to this phrase? Our friends at Shape are here to share the facts behind a new study on the subject.

You've heard it a thousand times: skipping breakfast is bad! But have you ever wondered why? Well, a new study from the University of Bath in England sheds some light on the benefits of breakfast (besides the fact that you get to eat these delicious breakfast bowls).

Researchers looked at how eating breakfast impacted the weight and overall activity levels of obese adults. The breakfast-eating group was asked to consume 700 calories by 11 a.m., while the fasting group was only allowed water until noon. The findings? Eating in the a.m. boosted overall physical activity levels throughout the day. So if you're hoping to have enough energy to bike to work and hit the gym in the evening, the findings suggest that eating breakfast will help keep your energy up all day long.

But even though the breakfast eaters were indeed more active, they didn't end up losing any weight and ended up consuming more calories overall than those who fasted. "You do eat a little more at later meals if you haven't had breakfast, but it's not enough to make up for all the calories you 'missed' at breakfast time," says James Betts, PhD, one of the authors of the study. (And remember, the people ate 700 calories in this particular study.) "The net effect is that people skipping breakfast end up consuming fewer calories - and nutrients! - than those who have breakfast."

This study comes as a follow-up to a 2014 study of the same design in lean adults. The findings there were the same: breakfast equals an activity boost but not weight loss.

That can obviously be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your fitness goals. If you're trying to shed some weight, eating breakfast every morning isn't necessarily the secret to weight-loss success - despite all that hype that eating first thing jump-starts your metabolism for the day. Meanwhile, if you're trying to achieve a more active lifestyle and up your energy for more fitness-focused activities, breakfast is about to become your new BFF.

Another caveat to the study: researchers gave the participants the freedom to eat whatever they wanted for breakfast. Seven hundred calories from sugary cereal and 700 calories from an egg white omelet and fruit are obviously very different meals and would impact weight differently.

The bottom line? Skipping breakfast may not be the cardinal sin it's been made out to be, but if you want to maintain your active lifestyle (duh), it's definitely an important meal. Just make sure you're getting your morning cals from a balanced meal. Think whole grains and plenty of protein over empty carbs. We love these 5 Power Breakfasts to Start Your Day Off Right.

Check out some other great stories from Shape:

from POPSUGAR Fitness

5 Workout Ideas to Take Advantage of Leap Day

Today's not just any old Monday; it's Leap Day. Having an extra 24 hours in 2016 is a good reminder that we have the time to make exercise a priority, even when lives are hectic. In honor of the day, use this extra time to your advantage with a full, effective workout. Here are five workout ideas to "celebrate" Leap Day.

  1. Perfect your squat: Or deadlift, or any other basic move that is a mainstay of your routine. When workouts become routine, it can be easy to do them on autopilot, so even if you've been doing these exercises for a long time, take a few extra minutes today to check your form in the mirror. Learn how to do a perfect squat here and how to do a deadlift here.
  2. Go longer: Having an extra 24 hours this year is a good reminder that we can always make time for exercise. Even if you can't double your workout, you can add a few extra minutes to your total. You'll be done before you know it and you'll burn a significant number of extra calories while you're at it. To get an idea of just how effective a few extra minutes can be, here's how many calories you burn from just five extra minutes of exercise.
  3. Try a new workout: If you're not branching out because you don't want to spend the time learning another workout, Leap Day's the perfect time to take a chance on a new workout. Peruse the class schedule at your gym, try a new intense elliptical workout, or otherwise change up your normal routine.
  4. Take time to stretch: When we're pressed for time, post-workout stretching is often the first to go. But tight, sore muscles the next day will only dampen your enthusiasm to stick to a workout. Spend time today on your muscles with these essential post-workout stretches.
  5. Slow down: Intense, calorie-torching exercises are great, but sometimes you just need a nice slow jog or restorative yoga class to combat a busy schedule. And what better time to refresh and re-energize than the middle of the week? If you need some ideas, here are some slow, low-intensity workouts to try.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Sunday, February 28, 2016

When It Comes to Fitness, Perfectionism Will Hold You Back!

The following post was originally featured on Fit Bottomed Girls and written by Alison, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

I'm a recovering perfectionist. For years, I believed my "condition" was a blessing and that some day it would drive me to achieve - you guessed it - perfection. Boy, was I wrong.

It's not just me, though. Perfectionism is often viewed as a necessary trait for all ubermotivated gym goers and the super fit. But I'd argue that, somewhere along the line, we got perfectionism confused with determination.

So what's the difference? Determination is a goal-focused and steadfast pursuit of your purpose. Perfectionism, on the other hand, doesn't actually care if you reach your goals. It only cares how you reach your goals - and that's where it gets hairy.

When you accomplish the thing you set out to do, perfectionism is the little voice in your head that says, "I should've pushed harder," "I wish I would've gone faster," and "I could've done it better." It's not super helpful, and quite frankly, it's a major downer.

Being a perfectionist is not an efficient long-term strategy. It'll never lead you to the promised land. In fact, it could end up stalling out your progress. Here's how:

4 Ways Perfectionism Holds You Back

  1. You do too much. Constantly trying to do more and go harder usually leads to insufficient recovery. It may show up as feeling like you need "breaks" from your workouts or like your body is getting weaker and is constantly achy. This, my friends, is called burnout. Ultimately, the search for perfection can lead to injury if you push through burnout and fatigue when you know you shouldn't. Injuries and burnout are the No. 1 killers of progress.
  2. You take an all-or-nothing approach. A "go big or go home" mentality can also lead you to skip workouts when you're feeling time-crunched, tired, or a little funky, or when you otherwise know you'll be dragging yourself through the workout. Fear of turning in a less-than-stellar performance means that half-assing it or easing up is not an option for perfectionists, resulting in frequently missed workouts since no one can be "on" all the time. Inconsistency will most definitely halt your progress in the long term.
  3. You're your own worst enemy. There's an important distinction to be made between self-improvement in areas that are holding you back and actively searching for things to improve in the hopes of nitpicking yourself closer to some image of perfection. No one stays motivated long-term when they're constantly made to feel not good enough. This includes you.
  4. You make yourself pay. It's not OK to "make up" for something you did or didn't do by doing something you know is not good for you, such as routinely skipping a meal after missing a workout or overeating. Look, I get that you think this is how to get "back on track," but doing damage control by intentionally depriving your body of the fuel it desperately needs as punishment for anything is just plain mean. Balance is key when it comes to getting sustainable and permanent results.

Bottom line: if fitness isn't making you less stressed, more confident, healthier, and happier, then you're doing it wrong. Workouts and proper nutrition should be tools that you use to take care of your body and mind, not to punish them or run them ragged as you journey toward a destination that doesn't actually exist.

Rather than trying to attain some impossible ideal of fitness perfection, seek improvement in all areas of your life. You'll find - as I did - that this approach is sustainable and far more likely to lead to lasting happiness.

Did you overcome perfectionism? Tell us how you did it!

- Alison

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Weekend Link Love – Edition 389

My buddy and co-author Brad Kearns recently appeared on KCRA Sacramento to talk about Primal Endurance and fat-burning versus sugar-burning. Research of the Week The human equivalent of 17-18 eggs per day cures diabetic rats. Not all drops of blood are identical. A mix of interval and traditional endurance training boosts strength and size gains from […]

from Mark's Daily Apple

9 Outdoor Voices Pieces on the Top of Our Wish List

There's been a shift in my SoulCycle classes recently, and it has nothing to do with the choreography. In fact, it has nothing to do with the workout - the shift has been in what people are wearing. The gals in the front row who've typically been entirely clad in Lululemon have begun to don fresh new longline bras and leggings featuring a logo I hadn't seen before. I noticed it on my best friend at a class we took together the other day. The brand? Outdoor Voices.

I was immediately drawn to the subtle sophistication, the minimalism, and the ultraflattering silhouettes. While I tend to reach for bright colors on the racks, I'm absolutely in love with the soft pastels and neutrals OV has on offer. But then, as I went to add every item to my cart do a little online shopping, I realized something horrifying: I'm not the only one who is obsessed. These pieces are flying off the shelves faster than you can say, "TAKE MY MONEY," so there are quite a few items on my wish list.

Amazing news, though: a little OV bird told us these things are going to be back in stock. So get your accounts and credit cards ready, and start making your wish list. Scroll through to see my favorite picks from this gorgeous brand.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

5-Minute Stretch Session to Leaner and Longer Limbs

Get strong and flexible with this sweet little stretch sesh. But wait . . . it's not just about stretching. We've rounded up our favorite strength-training moves that lengthen as they strengthen. Press play, and get ready to feel long and lean.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Saturday, February 27, 2016

5 Superfoods to Jump-Start Your Weight Loss

All the choices at the grocery store can be quite overwhelming, but thankfully dietitian Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite For Health has some simple advice: put these foods in your cart for health and weight loss.

Feeling overwhelmed at the supermarket? There's a reason. The typical grocery store is bursting at the seams with over 30,000 items - all possessing varying levels of health and weight-loss benefits. So, you don't want to toss just any old item into your shopping cart. The selections you make at the grocery store can shore up nutrient gaps, build stronger bones, keep your mind sharp, fend off diseases - and may also help you peel off pounds.

Here are five superfoods to toss into your cart today.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Stylish, Sporty Swimwear For Your Spring Break Workouts

Not all workouts are in a studio or gym - or on land, for that matter. For those of you who prefer to spend your fit sessions in the water, we have great news: sexy and sporty are not mutually exclusive entities, and you don't have to sacrifice function for fashion - or vice versa. From aquatic yoga and SUP to lap swimming and surfing, we've searched for the cutest 'kinis and one pieces that'll make you look as good as you feel when you're working out in the pool or the sea.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Beef Bone Broth Variations

Bone broth has been getting so much buzz, it doesn’t need a lengthy introduction. By now, you probably know that sipping a warm mug of broth is not only soothing, but also a nourishing source of gelatin. So you keep a supply of bone broth in your refrigerator or freezer*. And you’re sipping mugs of it, […]

from Mark's Daily Apple

Friday, February 26, 2016

This Heartbreaking Viral Video Shows What Eating Disorders Really Look Like

Eating disorders aren't always visible, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. A new video for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week shows that even people who don't appear to be suffering from the disease are still struggling.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

The Latest Health Food Trend Is Here and We're Obsessed

Before our obsession with avocado toast has even had a chance to peak, a new food trend has us ditching our loaves of bread for good: avocado pizza. Uh, yes - you read that right. Delicious pizza dough topped with the goodness of avocado seems to be popping up all over social media, and it has us running to our kitchens to make STAT. The bonus, of course, is all the good-for-you nutrients avocado contains like fiber and heart-healthy fats.

Related: Healthy Avocado Recipes For Every Time of the Day

from POPSUGAR Fitness

My Horrible Body Image Sabotaged Every Relationship Until I Did This

Sometimes it's harder to love yourself than a partner, but it's an incredibly important element to being in a relationship. Our friends at Your Tango are here to share one woman's journey to self-acceptance.

I was truly my own worst enemy.

For as long as I've dated, I've always been the relationship type. I was never interested in one-night stands, friends with benefits, or anything casual.

My older sister met her now-husband of over 10 years during her sophomore year of college. When I started college, I was also on a mission to find my husband. I desperately wanted to find my soulmate.

My friends dated and began coupling off, but I didn't. I stressed about it so much that getting into a relationship became less about having a special connection with someone, and more about proving to myself and others that I was worthy of being with someone.

My desperation and lack of confidence must have shown. Because every single guy I dated through my junior year of college may as well been the same person:

  • Emotionally unavailable
  • Didn't respect me
  • Probably just wanted to get laid

I couldn't figure out why this was happening. I was dating the same person over and over again, just in a different body. How was it that I had friends who seemed to always have boyfriends and I couldn't even manage one?

Finally, in my senior year, I got into the most amazing relationship.

We had been best friends since our first semester of freshman year in college. He was smart, sweet, Jewish, and could make me laugh like nobody else could. He'd been my go-to person who comforted me after every heartache of my failed attempts at relationships over the years.

Then at the end of our junior year, he confessed his love for me. That is a long story in itself, but let's just say after some back and forth, we started a very happy relationship. It was a beautiful love story.

We dated for about a year and were having an amazing relationship, but then I broke up with him. I broke up with him because he was skinnier than me. I thought I was too fat and he too skinny.

You see, the part of my story that I've left out so far is that since I was 12 years old, I thought I had five pounds to lose. I was never fat, but I thought if I just lost those last five pounds, then all my problems would be solved. I believed that without those pounds, I'd have no problem attracting guys and I'd be able to get into any relationship I wanted.

So in my dream relationship, I tried and tried and tried. But I couldn't get comfortable with him potentially seeing a roll in my belly or grabbing a love handle when he went to put his arm around me. I believed that intimacy was about being comfortable with another person, which required me to be skinny enough, or at least not care if he saw an imperfection in my body.

I actually remember gazing at him longingly, believing that if only he were a bit bigger, he truly would be my soulmate. So after a year of dating, I made up a bullsh*t excuse and broke up with him, even though what I had with him was exactly what I had been desperate for.

Fast forward five years.

I'm at a bar in Washington, DC, and I noticed my friend's cute friend. At this point, I had gone through a huge transformation. I had stopped counting calories and stopped going to the gym (the gym had always been another way for me to control my weight).

After a couple of hours of flirting, Stevie put his hand on my knee and he asked me how my skin was so soft. Without skipping a beat, I looked at him and said, "Kale."

We look back and laugh at that. Stevie thought I was crazy, but it was the first time in my life I was eating and moving my body to take care of myself. I was off the diet hamster wheel for good.

I wish I had known dating wasn't about playing games or being perfect. I would've saved myself so much heartache. Attracting the right person for you is about treating yourself the way you want to be treated.

For years, I didn't treat myself well, so I attracted all the wrong men for me, most of them jerks. During the years I didn't treat myself well, I was lucky to find someone who did. But because I wasn't treating myself well, I was never able to let him in in any real way.

Intimacy is just "In to Me I See." And since I couldn't bear to look at myself in the mirror, I certainly would've never been comfortable with any other man seeing me, too. It wasn't until I truly started to treat myself the way I wanted to be treated that I not only attracted the right man for me, but was able to let him in.

Almost three years later, Stevie and I are still together. I continue treat myself in ways that make me feel loved and happy. I take care of my body rather than torture myself with counting calories. I give myself rest and white space if that's what I need. And I've taken responsibility for my own happiness.

The funny thing is, once I stopped seeking those things from men, and instead brought them to the relationship, I received more love and happiness than I ever thought possible. I've never told Stevie what to do or how to behave to make me feel loved or happy. He knows how I want to be treated because he sees how I treat myself.

Check out more stories like this from YourTango:

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Meet the Young Woman Who Is Crushing Workouts AND Ovarian Cancer

You Should Pack This Irresistibly Juicy Salad For Lunch

Try Not to Be Impressed By Karlie Kloss's Tricep Dips

Five Years After PCOS Diagnosis, I’m the Healthiest I’ve Ever Been

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

Friday Faves

Hi friends! Cheers to the weekend. <3 What are you up to? We have an event for Liv’s school, I’m teaching two Zumba classes, and am excited to hang out with the fam. It’s so nice have the Pilot home again… we kind of missed the man of the house. 😉 In standard Friday fashion, […]

from The Fitnessista

That's No Bloody Mary - It's Salad!

I love a good weekend brunch, and no shame here - it's especially because of the mimosas and Bloody Marys. Brunch can be a pretty heavy meal though, and the cocktails are no exception. On their own, most spirits average around 120 calories in a typical pour. Start adding fruit and veggie juice to the mix and that number quickly goes up - a Bloody Mary can easily add 400 calories and a ton of sodium to your meal. Before you completely give up on the classic brunch drink, try making a healthier version at home. Think of it as having a (spiked) salad in a cup.

  • If you're only going to change one thing about a classic Bloody Mary recipe, ditch standard tomato juice and don't use a mix. Most store-bought tomato juices are made with added sugar and sodium. Make your own tomato juice or look for one in the store with no added sugar and a low sodium content. The spices in a typical Bloody Mary make all that added salt unnecessary.
  • Think beyond celery, olives, and lemons and pile on the fresh veggies. In past concoctions, I've used green beans, asparagus, carrots, and radish. A friend of mine loves adding okra. Instant salad!
  • Besides veggies, think about adding protein to your drink. Turkey bacon, shrimp, and crab meat work well in Bloodys. Some people even add a small cube of cheese as a garnish.
  • Bring down the calories by swapping the vodka out for the Asian spirit shochu. Shochu tastes like vodka but has way fewer calories.
  • Hold the alcohol and make it a virgin. Skip the liquor but get all the benefits from the veggies, especially the antioxidant lycopene from all that tomato.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Thursday, February 25, 2016

100+ Vegan Recipes to Enjoy All Day, Every Day

Without the right recipes, choosing to go vegan can lead you down a road of Swedish fish, fake cheese, and Ben and Jerry's - not neccessarily the makings of a well-balanced diet. If you're looking for approachable recipes that are filling and full of nutrients, here is a virtual cookbook that vegan dreams are made of.

Table of Contents:
Lunch and Dinner

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Use This Coffee-Drinking Tip to Manage Stress Levels and Beat the Jitters

It's no surprise that coffee can make you jittery to the point of adding to stress levels. If you've been having a hard time giving up your daily cup of joe, we've got a pro tip from naturopathic Dr. Gabrielle Francis, author of The Rockstar Remedy.

One of the reasons caffeine and coffee add to stress? It's a diuretic. "Dehydration can heighten anxiety by causing mood swings, fatigue, tension, and difficulty concentrating," said Dr. Francis. So here's her tip: replenish lost fluids by increasing your water intake. For every cup of caffeine you drink, have two cups of water. Pretty simple, right? Just another reason to keep yourself extra hydrated.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Crush Your Weight-Loss Goals With These Four Drinks

Apple cider vinegar has become a mainstay in many a pantry, and if you haven't added it to your permanent kitchen rotation yet, it's time to start. With weight-loss and immunity-boosting powers, ACV has been known to detox, burn fat, and lower blood sugar levels. If you're new to ACV, the sharp taste and fragrance might throw you off initially, but try it in one of these four delicious recipes to start reaping the weight-loss and health benefits.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

If You're Obese, Here's Why You Only Need to Drop a Few Pounds to Get Healthy

More than a third of adults in the US are struggling with obesity, and for those feeling as if their weight-loss goals are insurmountable, a new study provides hope in the form of one very attainable benchmark:

Just lose 5 percent of your body weight.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered that the most profound health benefits come not from losing an extreme number of pounds on the scale, but by simply shedding a small amount relative to your total weight.

"Our findings demonstrate that you get the biggest bang for your buck with 5 percent weight loss," Dr. Samuel Klein, the lead investigator and director of the school's Center For Human Nutrition, told university newsletter The Source. "The current guidelines for treating obesity recommend a 5- to 10-percent weight loss, but losing 5 percent of your body weight is much easier than losing 10 percent. So it may make sense for patients to aim at the easier target."

Not only is that smaller hurdle more realistic, but it also leads to greater gains in overall health - namely, a lowered risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease and improved metabolic function in key organs like the liver - than even increasing levels of weight loss.

Related: Why Working Out Has Nothing to Do With Getting a Perfect Body

The study - which randomly assigned 40 obese individuals to either maintain their current weight or go on a diet to lose 5, 10, or 15 percent of their body weight - revealed that the biggest improvements occurred when the subjects lost the smallest percentage. They certainly showed continued success with additional weight loss, but the progress wasn't as significant.

So, what does this modest plan really look like?

To put these percentages into perspective, if you weigh 300 pounds, all you need to lose is 15 pounds – far more realistic than even a 10-percent loss, which is 30 pounds.

If you clock in at 175 pounds, dropping less than 9 of those pounds can make all the difference.

This study targeted obese patients – those with a BMI of 30 or greater – in particular, and the same results can't be guaranteed for those who are overweight or simply looking to get into better shape.

Still, it's a good universal reminder that if you want to improve your health, you don't have to make a complete, Biggest Loser-esque lifestyle change, which is often not only unsustainable but a precursor to chronic "yo-yo" dieting.

As Klein said: "If you weigh 200 pounds, you will be doing yourself a favor if you can lose 10 pounds and keep it off. You don't have to lose 50 pounds to get important health benefits."

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Carve Your Abs With the Butterfly Crunch

Don't let the sweet name fool you, this is a tough ab exercise. It works all four layers of the abdominal muscles, to create a flat belly and a sculpted abs. Lifting the feet toward the hands as you perform the double crunch ensures that the lower part of the abs engage to battle the pooch.

  • Lie on your back with your knees open and the soles of your feet together (in a butterfly position). Lengthen your arms overhead so they are resting on the floor.
  • Exhale and bring your hands and knees toward each other performing a full-body crunch. Your shoulder blades should be off the mat as you perform a small reverse crunch lifting your pelvis a bit off the mat. Hold this position for a moment and really feel your abs squeezing.
  • Slowly lower your arms and feet back to starting position to complete one rep. Focus on your low back staying in contact with the mat as you lower your feet.
  • Do 15 reps to complete a set. Do two to three sets.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

The Surprising Way Millennials Are Crushing the Running Game

Millennials aren't just texting and binge-watching TV; in fact, a new study revealed that they make up nearly half of the running community in the United States. Our friends at Shape are here to share the facts about these cardio-savvy 20-somethings.

Millennials might get a lot of flak for being glued to their phones or have a reputation for being lazy and entitled, but the 2015-2016 Millennial Running Study shows otherwise: they makeup nearly half of American runners today and seem more dedicated and driven than ever. (Heads-up: Millennials Are Totally Changing the Workforce too.)

The study (sponsored by RacePartner, Running USA, and Achieve) surveyed over 15,000 runners born between 1980 and 2000 and found that they're hitting the pavement like crazy; more than 80 percent are frequent or serious runners, logging miles as competitors or to improve their health and fitness. A whopping 95 percent ran some sort of event last year - but even when they're not training for one, 76 percent of millennials surveyed run all year long (now that's dedication).

They haven't always been runners, though. About half of respondents have been running less than five years, and about one-third have been running for six to 10 years. Basically, they're responsible for the creation and success of bouncy-house 5Ks, mud runs, dine-and-dash races, and every other wacky running opportunity you've heard of in the last few years. The attendance of running events increased by 300 percent between 1990 and 2013 (and that includes everything from fun runs, 5Ks, and 10Ks to half-marathons, triathlons, obstacle races, and other long-distance events).

The number one reason they're hitting the streets: to maintain or improve their fitness level. But the study shows millennials are ready to challenge themselves even more. While 23 percent of respondents ran a fun run in the last 12 months, 46 percent said they want to run one in the next year. Those figures jump from 48 percent to 66 percent for 10K races and from 65 percent to 82 percent for half-marathons. Perhaps the cross-training they're doing is serving them well: 94 percent of respondents supplement their running with some other type of physical activity. The most popular are weight training (49 percent); hiking, backpacking, and rock-climbing (43 percent); cycling (38 percent); and aerobics/fitness classes (31 percent). (If you're trying to improve your performance, find out why Biking Might Be The Best Cross Training for Runners.) It's proof that even the most avid runners don't just run.

So if you're tired of seeing friend's Facebook posts about crushing this half marathon and that obstacle race, try joining them (that's where the study says most millennials find out about these events). Haven't you always wanted to see what the runner's high is all about? Even better idea: Start with a beer or wine run to get double the buzz.

Check out some other great stories from Shape:

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Who’s Tanking the Cereal Industry? Not Millennials

Millennials aren't the ones tanking Big Cereal, and here's why.

The post Who’s Tanking the Cereal Industry? Not Millennials appeared first on A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss.

from A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

Primal Rage: How to Manage Unproductive Anger

If you ask the average person on the street to list “primal emotions,” I’d venture that anger would be one of the first examples they offer. I think we automatically connect a primal state with anger because anger’s power is more reminiscent of instinct than sentiment. It’s an emotion that can instantaneously engulf our entire […]

from Mark's Daily Apple

spring fitness faves

Hi friends! Happy Thursday! Hope you’re having a great day. <3 The Pilot has been gone this week, and he’s headed back today. We can’t wait to see him! Thankfully, madre has been here to tag-team it with me with the girls. Just as I finally got a handle of doing the nighttime routine by myself, […]

from The Fitnessista

Jeff Nobbs on the Perfect Health Retreat

Jeff Nobbs of Houston, Texas was a guest at the May 2015 Perfect Health Retreat. Jeff kindly recorded a video for us discussing his experience at the retreat. Some highlights: “Read Paul’s book, loved it … Perfect Health Diet was …

Read more »

The post Jeff Nobbs on the Perfect Health Retreat appeared first on Perfect Health Diet.

from Perfect Health Diet

Skin Care Essentials For the Fit Girl Who's Always on the Go

When you head to the gym or the studio, you typically have one thing on your mind: taking care of your body. Okay, that and did you pack an extra pair of underwear? But we're here with another friendly reminder: while you're taking care of your body, remember your skin! The excess oils and sweat from your fitness routine can build up on your face, which can lead to breakouts, rashes, and a slew of icky problems.

But sometimes you're squeezing in a quick workout on your lunch break, and you don't even have a spare minute to wash your face - don't worry, we've got a solution. And if you have a little extra time, we also have some pointers for a luxe post-workout mini facial.

Related: Gym-Bag Beauty Products

from POPSUGAR Fitness

10 Apps For Every Type of Runner

As we approach the year's warmer seasons and the weather becomes a bit more tolerable, it's time for many of us ditch the indoor treadmill and head outside for beautiful springtime runs. Whether you're in training for a race, just getting off the couch, or going for your weekly jog, make your next run a little more fun with these 10 tracking and coaching apps. They'll keep you motivated, regardless of season.

Related: Free Half Marathon Training Apps

  1. Couch to 5K: New to running? No worries. If you're currently reading this from the couch, daydreaming about the possibilities of a 5K, then Couch to 5K ($2) is the non-intimidating app for you.
  2. POPSUGAR Active: Our app (free) features interval runs, hills, and walk-run workouts. Choose from 42 different guides to take your run to the next level.
  3. Nike+: Join a challenge, start a coaching program, or just track your mileage. Go as fast or as slow as you like, all while syncing to your music or Spotify playlists with the Nike+ Running app (free). Added bonus: if you're looking for a good trail or running route in your area, there's a feature for that on the app, too.
  4. Fitbit: With the newest Fitbits being so stylish and trendy, one might forget they're a functional piece of athletic equipment. This is your friendly reminder to download the Fitbit app (free) and track your mileage.
  5. Garmin Connect: Do you prefer the Garmin to the Fitbit? Make sure you have Garmin Connect (free) for your GPS tracking and stats. If you connect your Garmin device to you smart phone app, you'll also receive current weather conditions and forecasts, as well as voice call and text message notifications.
  6. Adidas Train & Run: The Train & Run app (free) has GPS, plus distance and speed tracking. Like many of these apps, you can create weekly goals and training plans, or simply set reminders to go on daily or weekly runs.
  7. MY ASICS Run: We've mentioned before that the MY ASICS Run app (free) is the next best thing to having a personal running coach when you're training for a race, but you can use it well beyond marathon season.
  8. Runkeeper: Whether you're learning to run, prepping for a race, or trying to lose weight, Runkeeper (free, some in-app purchases) has a program for you. Set your goal and stay on track with their alerts and reminders.
  9. Map My Run by Under Armour: Sync with your devices or use it on its own. Map My Run (free), powered by Under Armour, allows you to track distance, location, stats, and goal benchmarks. You can share your running stats with friends or with your health apps on your iPhone.
  10. Strava: With really in-depth analytics, Strava's running and cycling app (free, premium $6-$60) allows you to track your routes, get nitty-gritty stats about your activity, climb leaderboards, and share with friends.

Related: Free Fitness Apps From Your Favorite Sneaker Brands

from POPSUGAR Fitness

This White Bean Basil Hummus Recipe Will Make Your Day

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Cutting Carbs Is Easy When You Use Leaves as Wraps

One of the most frustrating things when trying to cut carbs is finding a satisfying stand-in for bread, buns, tortillas, pita, etc. Bread-less sandwiches? Totally ridiculous, right? The solution: use romaine, collards, purple cabbage, and butter lettuce as grain-free bread doubles. Whether you are looking to lose weight, stick to a Paleo or raw diet, or avoid gluten altogether, these easy-to-assemble leafy boats, wraps, and cups will deliver the goods from plate to mouth. (Plus, they're fiber- and nutrient-rich.)

from POPSUGAR Fitness

What to do if you’ve never worked out?

Hi friends! Happy humpday! The weekend is in sight. How’s the day going? It’s been a little crazy over here -I had to get blood drawn which took 18 years and our shower broke in the “on” position- but I had some time to pop in and say “hey” before heading out to teach barre. […]

from The Fitnessista

Take a Note From This Health Coach: Bring Wine to Your Next Workout

Since today is #nationalwineday I thought it was only fitting to post another #wineworkout - this time focusing on #lowerbody 󾦆lace up your shoes, pour a glass, and let's celebrate together 󾦆(disclaimer: always drink responsibly and in moderation). #wine #winelover #nationaldrinkwineday #bestdayever

Posted by April Storey on Thursday, February 18, 2016

If you love wine but aren't super big on working out, this video might change your mind (if it hasn't already!).

We all know a glass of wine a day can be good for you. Some even use it as a motivator to work out and burn calories. But we've yet to see someone use wine in the way that health coach April Storey did in her viral video this past week. From lunges with a wine bottle in hand to taking a sip of wine in between push-ups, April certainly knows how to be effective with her time and energy - and she does it all in a "Will Run For Wine" tank. April may or may not be our favorite person.

But it gets better - have you seen OG Star Trek actor George Takei's take on it? His pun game is on fire. Check it out.

That's The Spirit

Quit wine-ing and work out. (Credit: Joe Menezes,

Posted by George Takei on Saturday, February 20, 2016

Our biggest takeaway from Coach April? Drinking wine and working out are definitely not mutually exclusive activities, and we're really grateful for that lesson.

Also, not to be a literal buzz kill, but as the coach said herself, "Disclaimer: always drink responsibly and in moderation."

from POPSUGAR Fitness

5 Life Lessons I Learned From My Marathon Coach

Late last year, I accidentally signed up to run a marathon. How, you ask? Well, it was in a part of the country that I've always been drawn to (Big Sur, CA), and I'd be running to raise money for a charity that means a lot to me (Every Mother Counts). As I clicked around on the website one bored day, feeling inspired by the scenery and the cause, one thing led to another, and before I realized exactly what I had done, I was signed up to run 26.2 miles. Dreadfully underqualified to take on such a feat, I was relieved to get to chat with the charity's resident marathon coach, who passed along some hidden life lessons as he talked me through how to cross the finish line in one piece.

1. Play to your strengths.

A lot of marathon plans call for track workouts or treadmill sessions to work specifically on speed and pace. That's all fine and good if speed and pace are priorities for you, or if you happen to enjoy running in place. Personally, I prefer trail running, and I feel strongest when I'm also including a couple days of circuit training into my routine. Determined to follow my initial marathon-training program to the letter, I cut out my typical circuit-training days to make room for more mileage, and I vowed to work on my pace with at least one treadmill workout per week. When I mentioned to my coach that I was actually getting slower and feeling increasingly fatigued on my long runs, he advised me to cut out one of the shorter weekly runs and add my circuit training back in instead. "It seems like that works for you and your body," he said, "so you should play to those strengths."

2. Don't underestimate your own happiness.

Perhaps the most surprising thing my coach said to me about switching up my training strategy was, "I think you'll be happier, and that counts for a lot." Happier? It hadn't really occurred to me that happiness was a metric that mattered in marathon training. But why wouldn't it? Why shouldn't it? I've always been a champion of choosing exercise programs that are actually enjoyable, but for some reason, I forgot to take my own advice when I embarked on my marathon plan. Making happiness a priority impacts the whole 18-week training plan, allowing me to find joy at every turn rather than just at the finish line. And really, how much sweeter will that finish line be when it marks the end of a journey in which I honored rather than ignored myself?

3. One size fits all usually doesn't.

As I asked my veteran marathoner friends for advice when I embarked on my training plan, one phrase emerged over and over: trust the plan. I took this advice as literally as possible, printing out my training plan, taping it to the wall, and promising not to deviate from it. I was shocked when my coach advised me to switch it up based on what was working for me and what wasn't. What about trusting the plan?! "We'll make a new plan!" he said. Once I recovered from my shock, it made sense. How on earth would one singular training plan be the best fit for every person who's ever set out to run 26.2 miles? Bodies are different. Schedules are different. Goals are different. People are different. So, sure, trust the plan, just make sure it's a plan that works for you.

4. Rely on fuel that lasts instead of a quick fix.

As a working mom, many of my training runs are squeezed into early morning hours or awkward spaces between school drop-off and meetings. Unsurprisingly, without taking the time to plan ahead and make sure that I had a good meal beforehand, I was running out of steam on a lot of those runs. My coach recommended that I fuel up on a hearty bowl of oatmeal at least one full hour beforehand, stressing the importance of fueling up on "something that will sustain you." You mean my kids' half-eaten toaster waffles and a hurried gulp of coffee won't cut it? The unplanned, quick-grab option is usually easy-come-easy-go fuel. If you want to sustain yourself for the long haul, you have to fill yourself with something substantial, even if it takes a little more work.

5. Foundation can make or break you.

"What shoes are you wearing?" This question caught me a little off guard coming from my world-class marathon coach. If I'm able to log the miles, does it really matter? He went on to stress the importance of shoes as the foundation for my whole body - every joint, every muscle, every potential source of injury. He advised me to get fitted for running shoes at a specialty store where my foot shape, running form, and body type could all be taken into consideration. Running in the wrong shoes - the wrong foundation, if you will - puts your entire body at greater risk of injury, even if everything else about your form and training is perfect. Don't underestimate the value of the right foundation.

To date, I am about halfway through my training plan. I'm learning as I go, both about running a marathon and, more importantly, about the rest of my life as well.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Eliminate Stress, Meditate, and Restore With These Soothing Sounds

Ready for some restoration? Wind down from your day or just carve out some time for relaxation, meditation, and a restorative yoga practice. This list of blissful tracks will help you focus your mind on breath and nothingness, and will likely leave you feeling very relaxed. If you're feeling stressed, this should do the trick. Mindfulness playlist and chill, amirite?

If this mix isn't your speed or style, then check out all our workout playlists here to find something that suits your needs and taste.

Remember, you will need to download the free Spotify software or app to listen to our playlists.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

A New Study Outlines How Obesity and Pollution Are Unexpectedly Linked

Researchers at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment have found a surprising link between air pollution and weight gain.

The study was done using rats and highly polluted air from Beijing. The newborn rats that were exposed to the polluted air were significantly heavier than those exposed to clean, filtered air. Pregnant rats exposed to the polluted air also showed the same results.

Using their findings, the researchers concluded that long-term exposure to polluted air can be considered a factor in childhood obesity and can also lead to adult weight gain. The team believes that when breathed in, particles commonly found in traffic fumes, soot, and cigarette smoke can lead to chronic inflammation, affecting the body's ability to burn energy. These findings are also in line with similar studies that looked at the link between pollution and chronic health issues.

While other factors like poor diet and a lack of exercise can certainly lead to weight gain, it's also worth noting that air pollution is a source of a slew of other health problems, like an impaired lung performance and even high cholesterol. So it appears that this recent development only adds to our preexisting concerns.

Related: What You Should Be Eating If You Want to Lose Weight

from POPSUGAR Fitness

49 Tattoos That Show a Serious Love of Running

For many people, running is so much more than a means of exercise; for some, it's a lifestyle, and for others, it's what they credit for transforming their lives. With city skylines from marathon locations to the chemical compound of "runner's high" drawn out, these creative running tattoos are a permanent medal worn with pride.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

17 Primal Tips for Vegans and Vegetarians

We all know vegetarians and vegans. And while we have our differences, they are our friends, our family, our partners, our spouses, even our children. We all have people in our lives who avoid meat and/or animal products in general for multiple reasons—health, ethics, the environment, squeamishness, animal welfare—but we care about them. We also […]

from Mark's Daily Apple

Are You a Videographer in the Los Angeles Area? We’re Hiring!

Are you a talented, fast-acting, multifaceted videographer in the Los Angeles area? Do you have start-to-finish experience, from shooting to post-production? Do you know someone who does? Then we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you. You’ll have the chance to work with all of us here at Mark’s Daily Apple in shaping the future look […]

from Mark's Daily Apple

Are Your Upper Traps Hurting Your Lifts?

Written by: Kevin Cann This article is inspired by the numerous athletes and clients that have come into my office complaining of shoulder pain. One thing that I have noticed in this group is that almost all of them have increased tone in their upper traps. This is not too hard to believe, as the… Continue Reading

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

11 Healthy 3-Ingredient Breakfasts

Excuses for skipping breakfast come in many forms: "I don't have time!" or "I'm not good at cooking!" are often the most popular choices. You may have to rethink these reasons with what we're about to throw at you - 11 healthy breakfasts that require only three ingredients. These recipes are so simple, you can't mess them up, and they take mere minutes to throw together. Dig in!

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Is Sleeping on Your Stomach Bad For Your Back?

As a Pilates instructor, I remember regularly lecturing my clients on the painful pitfalls of stomach sleeping. But somehow these conversations were completely forgotten a few months after the birth of my second daughter when I was tempted to sleep face down. Having been denied the option for so long due to my enormous pregnant belly, I was curious about what it would feel like. I flipped onto my belly at bedtime and quickly slipped into slumber. The habit stuck. Now, 10 years later I find I can only fall asleep lying on my stomach.

I began to second guess my earlier assertions and wondered is it really bad to sleep on your stomach? Unfortunately for my bedtime habits, it's pretty much considered to be the worst position to sleep in - its only plus: it can alleviate snoring, which is not my issue. I can attest, however, that it does leave you prone to some aches and pains come morning. Here's why:

Neck Pain

When lying on your stomach, you must twist your head to the side in order to breathe. And this twisting to one direction - as we stomach sleepers favor one side over the other - for a long period of time is not so good for the vulnerable vertebrae in your neck since it overstretches the ligaments and muscles that protect the cervical spine. Ultimately, stomach sleeping is not the most neck-friendly position. You can decrease the issues associated with this sleeping position by not using a pillow at all. Elevating and twisting the head in this position is definitely a no-no for long-term neck heath.

Back Strain

A healthy spine has natural curves that make a subtle S shape when looked at in profile. Sleeping face down exaggerates the natural curve in the lower back, over stretching and straining the ligaments that keep the spine stable. A night of stomach sleeping can leave you with an achy lower back and, over time, increases the tightness of the muscles on either side of your spine. And tight back muscles can make it harder to engage your abs properly. This muscular imbalance can negatively impact your core strength, since you want the front and back of your body to work together. You can try placing a pillow under your pelvis to decrease the stress on your low back. But I can tell you from experience as you move throughout the night, the pillow gets tangled in your legs and becomes more of a distraction than a sleep aid.

Stretches to Help

While I do switch positions and sometimes wake up on my side, I have found two simple stretches help me recover from my sleeping face down throughout the night. I start on all-fours with the Cat and Cow to remind my spine so that it can move. Then I sit back into a Child's pose to reverse the curve of my low back and really stretch out my spine. Best of all, I do both of these moves in bed!

from POPSUGAR Fitness

There Is a Chance You Will Orgasm While Working Out

If you have ever experienced arousal in the midst of an intense set of crunches or while holding a plank, it's actually not abnormal. Our friends at Self explain everything you need to know about the "coregasm" and how to have one, just in case you're interested.

Exercise and sex are similar in more ways than one. For instance, they can both turn you into a sweaty, endorphin-flooded mess, and they both offer plenty of heart-healthy benefits. So on its face, a "coregasm," or exercise-induced orgasm (EIO), seems like an easy way to kill two birds with one very pleasurable stone. But in reality, exercise-induced orgasms are much more multifaceted than that. Here, experts explain what a coregasm really is, why they happen, and how you can take control of your coregasm potential.

What exactly is a coregasm?

"'Coregasm' is a term used to describe orgasms that seem to occur from exercises or movements that engage the core abdominal muscles," Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., associate professor at Indiana University and author of The Coregasm Workout, tells SELF. The technical term is exercise-induced orgasms, although some women experience exercise-induced sexual pleasure (EISP) without going the full nine yards. In Herbenick's book, she discusses how instead of feeling overtly sexual, many women say exercise-induced orgasms and sexual pleasure feel different.

One woman said "her exercise arousal felt closest to her vaginal intercourse arousal, just less intense," also calling it "more dull" than the pleasure she felt during sex. When describing how that arousal felt while hiking, she added, "It's like the lead-up to an orgasm when you're having sex." Other women explained that their exercise-induced orgasms made them feel "tingly" in various parts ranging from their legs to abdominals to their actual vaginas.

How do exercise-induced orgasms happen?

Experts don't have a definitive answer as to which muscles cause EIO. Although the "coregasm" term is catchy, it's not 100 percent accurate. In a March 2012 study in Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 530 women shared their experiences with exercise-induced orgasm and arousal. When it came to the kind of exercise that caused these sensations, abdominal work was the clear winner, with 51 percent of the women surveyed reporting that ab exercises had led to an EIO within the past 90 days. But it also turns out the phenomenon can happen during exercises as varied as weight lifting (27 percent), yoga (20 percent), and biking (16 percent). So really, there's no singular surefire way to achieve it.

"It's similar to any other type of orgasm in that it's more a matter of what works for one person instead of one specific thing that works for everyone," Dean Somerset, C.S.C.S., an exercise physiologist in Edmonton, Canada, tells SELF. Somerset has been exploring the mechanisms behind exercise-induced orgasms and sexual pleasure, and he says a popular theory is that they occur because of some sort of external friction. But if that were really the case, exercises like biking would probably take the lead in bringing about EIOs. Instead, Somerset thinks it might come down to "pelvic floor recoil," or contractions of the same muscles Kegel exercises target. In a survey he did of 191 people, 52 percent of respondents agreed.

Herbenick is also of the mind that abdominal muscles are key in causing exercise-induced orgasms and sexual pleasure, but the exact process isn't clear. "Right now, we are actively recruiting women and men who experience exercise-induced orgasms to participate in a study about muscular movements," she says. So for now, the answer about which specific muscles are involved is still in the works.

Can you boost your chances of having an exercise-induced orgasm?

Even though experts aren't exactly sure how they happen, you can structure your workouts to potentially make exercise-induced orgasms more likely. That's the premise behind Herbenick's book The Coregasm Workout, which focuses on four key factors in triggering EIO:

  1. Challenge yourself.
    You're less likely to have an orgasm during some leisurely elliptical activity than a heart-pounding workout. "They tend to happen from intense or demanding exercise. For example, for women who experience them while doing crunches, they pretty much never happen on the fifth crunch and are more likely to occur after 50 or 100 crunches," says Herbenick.
  2. Order matters. Herbenick has found that EIO may be more likely if you first warm up with cardio for at least 20 minutes, then launch into the abdominal portion of your workout rather than doing strength, then cardio.
  3. Relax and receive. Just like during sex, if your mind is closed off or distracted when exercising, you're less likely to have an orgasm. That's not to say you should actively focus on sexual fantasies to have an EIO. If it works for you, go for it! But Herbenick has found it's not necessary to fantasize in order to induce an exercise orgasm, it's more about focusing on the workout so your body and mind are fully immersed in the experience. It's hard to truly work your core, or any part of your body, if your mind is elsewhere.
  4. Engage your lower abs. "Common coregasm exercises include leg lifts on the Captain's chair, pull-ups, chin-ups, and climbing exercises, probably due in part to how demanding they are of the core abdominal muscles," says Herbenick. In Somerset's survey, he found that hanging leg raises were five times more likely to cause EIO than any other move. "With these kinds of exercises, you have to contract your pelvic floor in order to bring your legs up," he says. Try performing different moves that loop in your ab muscles and see where that gets you.

Even though these are expert-approved guidelines, feel free to mix it up until you find what might work for you. Women have reported EIO and EISP from moves as diverse as glute bridges and hiking. But in the end, exercise-induced orgasm won't happen for everyone-Herbenick has found that about 10 percent of women and men have experienced one, which means it's not the most common thing in the world. "Just like not everyone orgasms from fantasy or from direct clitoral stimulation or from vaginal intercourse, not everyone will orgasm from exercise," says Herbenick. "We're all a little different, and that's OK. What's important is that women feel that they can explore their bodies and their sexuality in ways that feel good to them."

So, what to do if you don't think you can have one?

If you've tried various techniques but still aren't having an orgasm during exercise, you're still in luck. The good news is that working out can boost your sex life even if you're not actively orgasming while you do it. "Cardiovascular exercise helps to keep the heart strong and your veins and arteries in good condition," says Herbenick. That's essential for good sex, since blood flow is a necessary part of sexual arousal. "When you feel aroused, blood flow increases to the genitals, which helps with vaginal lubrication for women and erections for men," says Herbenick. There's also the fact that exercise helps you stay flexible and boosts your general endurance - great for the times you want to go all night.

- Zahra Barnes

Check out more great stories from Self:

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How I Fell in Love With Running Because It Changed My Life

The following post was originally featured on Fit Bottomed Girls and written by Alison, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

Dear Running,

When I first met you many years ago, I wasn't a fan of yours at all. I mean - let's be real here - all my previous encounters with you had been . . . well, pretty crappy. Typically, these encounters were of the punishment variety. You know like when you screw up during softball, volleyball or rugby practice and coach makes you run suicides or laps around the block.

In all honesty, for many years you actually made me feel quite miserable - aching legs, difficulty breathing and mind-numbing boredom. I couldn't see what others saw in you.

But over the past nine years, we've forged an incredible friendship and I've come to realize that - as much as it pains me to say it - you're definitely soulmate material.

You know me better than I know myself, and you accept me along with all those dark and lonely thoughts that tend to emerge hours into a long training run.

You've never asked me to be anything other than exactly who I am in the moment that I'm lacing up those shoes. No matter how bad I tanked a run, you'd be right there to greet me for the next one with a short memory and a smile. You never asked for explanations or wanted a justification for any failure on my part to follow through.

You were there for me through every major life change. And when the weight of the world on my shoulders was too much, you offered me a safe place to go and all the time I needed to wash my insides clean of what was plaguing me.

You've reminded me constantly when something was out of balance in my life - sensing the smallest imbalance even when I can't and even when it's not related to running. By never letting me escape from the choices I made, you kept me honest and on track.

You kept my ego in check (time and time again) and taught me that there's no outrunning the truth and there's no point in lying - you know when I'm "on" and you know when I'm "off", teaching me to be okay with both.

You see through every protective layer I wear and force me to face the one person I often can't - myself. When nothing in this world could make me accept that who I am is good enough, you gave me the space to be authentic - no bravado, no disguise.

Sometimes you pushed me beyond my limits when I wasn't ready, made me cry and wanna throw in the towel. I blamed you for stress fractures, lost toenails, countless blisters, strained muscles, fatigue and burnout.

Even though I often blamed you - instead of myself - for these things, there was tremendous comfort in knowing that when I was ready to come back and really listen, you'd welcome me back with open arms.

Some days you built me up and some days you stripped me down. There have been days that made me feel on top of the world and days when I felt broken, vulnerable and weak. You made me doubt myself a hundred times … and believe in myself a thousand more.

Despite the fact that I sometimes wondered if we really were a good fit, every day we came together was another opportunity for greatness to emerge. It was through this process that I learned to hope. Because of you, I believe in miracles and I believe they happen every day.

You've taught me what it means to be strong by allowing me to feel weak. You've shown me the intense highs of great successes and the crushing lows of heart-breaking failure. You've made me feel boxed-in many times, but you've given me freedom every single day.

You're the truest friend I've ever known and one of the greatest loves of my life. Thank you for always telling me what I needed to hear, instead of what I wanted to hear. Thank you for your patience when I pushed you away and your forgiveness when I neglected, abused and ignored you.

There truly is no way that I could ever repay you for all that you've brought to my life and all the education you've provided to me over the years. But I know you don't need or expect anything from me in return because - as you've done every day for nearly a decade - you've only ever asked for one thing from me . . . just run.

All my love,


Got much love for running? Tell us how it's changed your life. -Alison

from POPSUGAR Fitness

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Hi friends! How’s the day going? Hope you’re having a wonderful one! The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, so we’ll be heading out for a walk and picnic. Do I have a spring recipe for youuuuuuu. We have had an awesome week so far, despite the fact that P is spitting up probably more than […]

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Oh, the woes of working out during that "time of the month." When not fending off bears on a trail run, you're evading sharks on your ocean swim or are simply debilitated by cramps and cravings. Even when you have every intention of getting to your Spin or bootcamp class, your period is there, waiting to ruin your life and your plans.

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Good For Your Gut: 9 Fermented Foods You Can Make at Home

If you suffer from stomach issues, then you already know the larger effect this can have on your day-to-day well-being. And whether it be constipation, IBS, or poor digestion, probiotics can help. The good-for-you bacteria help to protect the body from bad bacteria that may be to blame for the stomach issues plaguing you. Get your fill of the friendly bacteria by incorporating fermented foods into your diet; besides being rich in probiotics, the fermentation process also helps to create foods that are full of beneficial enzymes, omega-3s, and B vitamins. And speaking from experience, these foods are also pretty fun to make at home.

Related: How Probiotics Can Cure Digestive Woes

from POPSUGAR Fitness

A New Sleep Study Proves Why You Should Stop Those All-Nighters ASAP

A new study done by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention further proved the health benefits of getting more than seven hours of sleep a night - as if we needed it.

Analyzing data found in a 2014 sleep survey, the CDC definitively found that sleeping less than seven hours a night can put adults aged 18-60 at an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and mental distress. An unhealthy lack of sleep can also affect your day-to-day performance, leading to poor work productivity - at best - and more severe car and mechanical accidents - at worst.

Interestingly, the study also found that people living in the nation's Appalachian Mountains region get the least amount of sleep, while those living in the Great Plains states get the most.

If you find yourself having a hard time getting those hours in, try adopting a different nighttime routine . . . because it seems like your life may just depend on it.

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Grass-fed Vs. Conventional: When Does It Matter Most?

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from The Fitnessista

Your 16-Week Intermediate Marathon Training Schedule

Congratulation on signing up for a marathon! Now all you need a training schedule. This plan is geared for experienced runners - two-plus years of regular running - who have a background in running longer distances and also have some half-marathons and marathons under their belt. Following this schedule should give you the edge to hit a PR, which is definite motivation to stick with our 16-week training plan.

This plan is easy to follow with lots of speedwork and crosstraining built in. The longer training runs are scheduled for Saturdays so you have Sunday to recover, but if that doesn't work for you, just shift this schedule one day.

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Total Miles Run
1 6 miles easy 4 miles hills PSS/XT
5 miles easy 10 miles (SD) Injury Prevention 25
2 6 miles easy 4 miles hills PSS/XT Rest 5 miles easy 12 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 27
3 6 miles easy 5 miles hills
PSS/XT Rest 5 miles easy 10 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 26
4 5 miles easy 5 miles hills
PSS/XT Rest 3 miles easy 14 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 27
5 6 miles easy 1-mile time trial PSS/XT
Rest 3 miles easy 16 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 26
6 6 miles easy 5 miles hills PSS/XT Rest 3 miles easy 12 miles (SD) or Half Marathon
Injury Prevention 26
7 6 miles easy 4 miles hills PSS/XT Rest 2 miles easy 18 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 30
8 6 miles easy 1-mile time trial PSS/XT Rest 5 miles easy 15 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 27
9 5 miles / 5 SW 5 miles hills PSS/XT
Rest 2 miles easy 20 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 32
10 6 miles / 6 SW 7 miles hills PSS/XT Rest 5 miles easy 12 miles (SD) or Half Marathon
Injury Prevention 30
11 7 miles / 7 SW 1-mile time trial PSS/XT Rest 3 miles easy 22 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 33
12 7 miles / 7 SW 7 miles hills PSS/XT Rest 5 miles easy
14 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 33
13 5 miles / 5 SW 5 miles hills PSS/XT 6 miles easy 2 miles easy 20 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 38
14 6 miles / 6 SW 6 miles hills PSS/XT 5 miles easy Rest 12 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 29
15 4 miles / 4 SW 1-mile time trial PSS/XT 4 miles easy Rest 10 miles (SD)
Injury Prevention 19
16 5 miles easy Rest 3 miles easy Rest Rest Marathon! Rest 34.2

Easy: Go at a slightly slower than usual, consistent pace.

Hills: This run should be done where there are intervals of hills incorporated in the run and not just a flat distance. It is important to incorporate these types of grade inclines into the running routine to build strength and endurance in the legs while running longer distances. If you're on a treadmill, just pump up the incline every five minutes for 30-second to two-minute intervals.

PST/XT: Prehab stretch and strengthen (PSS) or Cross-Training (XT): To stay strong and healthy during training, commit to doing this injury-prevention workout once a week. The strength-training moves, focusing on the core and glutes, along with the prescribed stretches will help combat the wear and tear of your marathon training - or hit up a yoga or Barre class or another type of low-impact cardio such as cycling, Zumba, or swimming to target different muscles.

Slow distance (SD): Run at an easy pace that allows you to run longer distances at a comfortable speed. These runs are meant to build endurance of slow-twitch muscle fibers and allow the body to adjust to the repetition and impact of running.

Injury Prevention: Commit to foam rolling or yoga to help prevent overuse injuries that can accompany training for a race. Plus, it just feels good. Here's a foam-rolling routine that will certainly hit all your sore spots. And try a few of these Sun Salutations for runners followed by this yoga sequence for runner's legs, this yoga sequence for strengthening the core, and this total-body yoga sequence. Or do this 30-minute yoga sequence to hit, stretch, and strengthen every inch.

Rest: This is a complete rest day that allows stretching, foam rolling, and/or core-strengthening exercises while allowing the body time to recover.

1-Mile Time Trial: At a 400-meter track, after a 10-minute warmup at an easy pace, time yourself for four laps. Cool down with an easy 10-minute run. This one-mile time will improve over the course of your training and allow you to gauge your weekly running pace. Aim to run between one and two minutes slower than your time-trial pace on your average run days. If you ran the mile run in eight minutes, then try to keep a nine- to 10-minute mile pace on your next runs.

Speed Work (SW): Incorporate speed work during runs to improve your pace and increase fast-twitch muscle fibers. For about 100 meters, just pick up the pace 30 to 60 seconds faster than your regular pace - no need to go full speed. Slowly bring the speed down after 100 meters, and continue at a moderate to easy pace. You can space your speed intervals out as you like, but try to complete them all before the run is over.

Post-run Stretch Routine: After each run, it's a good idea to stretch out the muscles you've just worked using this post-run stretching sequence. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds to one minute to target your hamstrings, piriformis, hip flexors, calves, quads, glutes, and lower back.

If this plan seems too difficult, here is our Beginner Marathon Training Plan.

from POPSUGAR Fitness