Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Easy Eating Formula For Getting Strong, Sexy, and Sculpted

So you've lost the fat, and now you're ready to get lean and strong and create some definition - congrats! We're here to help. Beyond exercise and healthy habits, your diet plays a massive role in the creation of lean muscle mass - i.e., that sculpted, toned look and strong body you're working for!

There's a simple formula for both putting on muscle and boosting your metabolism, and believe it or not, it has nothing to do with elimination dieting!

Ensuring your diet has the right macronutrient distribution is essential for building a bit of muscle. A quick refresher: macronutrients (macros) are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates - the body's essential building blocks. How much you eat of each of these has an effect on your weight, your muscle mass, and your metabolism.

The formula? A superhigh protein, moderate carbohydrate and fat diet. Specifically, 40 percent protein, 35 percent carbohydrates, and 25 percent fat.

Here's how it works:

  • Determine your caloric intake based on your height, weight, age, and fitness activity level. Start with a free calorie calculator.
  • Download a macro counting app, like MyFitnessPal or the My Macros+ app.
  • Log your food. You can eat anything you want, as long as it fits your macro proportions (IIFYM, or "if it fits your macros," is the common term).

Focus on higher protein, lower fat meals. Lean proteins like chicken breast, fish, and even tofu are great options. Try these high-protein salads or a Paleo breakfast bowl.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Work Out With Class FitSugar on the Z Living Network

We're here to make sure you never miss a sweat session! You can now catch 30-minute Class FitSugar workouts on the Z Living Network. Watch the video below to get a taste of the workouts.

No gym? No problem! You can build muscle and burn calories with some of our all-time favorite workouts and our Class FitSugar host and trainer Anna Renderer will be there showing you moves to do during commercial breaks. Yep! We want to keep you moving. The show premieres July 5 at 5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT. So tune in (or set your DVR) and get ready work it!

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Let's Talk About the Weight-Loss Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Trying to lose weight? Eat more. No really . . . just eat more vegetables. Adding in more plants and plant-based foods into your diet - and thus replacing more caloric, fattier foods made from animal products - has been shown to be one of the most effective weight-loss tools.

We asked Kate Geagan, MS, RD (who recently teamed up with Silk to advocate for more plant-based additions to the modern diet) about the weight-loss benefits of a plant-based diet. "Some studies indicate that individuals following a plant-based diet are less likely to be overweight and are at a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a combination of disorders linked to heart disease and diabetes," she said.

Kate noted that you don't have to adhere to strict veganism to take advantage of the benefits, either. In this case, it's more about focusing on what you add in, not what you eliminate.

We also talked to Nicole Centeno, founder of the plant-based soupery Splendid Spoon, and she too discussed the advantages of adding more plant-based meals into your diet to aid in weight loss. She stands by this idea so much that she's releasing her first cookbook, Soup Cleanse Cookbook, comprising 75 entirely plant-based recipes aimed at healing and helping the body.

Mark Bittman is the evangelist of what he calls a "semivegan diet." The author of VB6: Vegan Before 6:00 believes in the 80/20 rule and in adding more unprocessed plants back into the diet, while still getting essential vitamins and minerals from animal protein. Again, it's a greater focus on what you add in, not what you eliminate.

Although Bittman says meat is "healthy part of many traditional diets," he emphasizes that we can improve our health by consuming less.

Kate suggests making small changes by swapping one part of your diet for another - for instance, you could swap the skim milk in your coffee for unsweeteened vanilla almond milk, which can save you over 50 percent of the calories. The change may seem small, but if you're doing something like that every single day, it can add up. In fact, we spoke with a woman who lost over 100 pounds with a series of small changes - one of which was adding in one green vegetable to every meal.

Similar to Bittman's meatless daytimes, some people are opting for "Meatless Mondays," with one day of meals being entirely plant-based - both as a means to lose weight and help the environment.

Although research is still coming out about the exact reason behind veganism and weight loss, reported that plant-based diets show more weight loss without focusing on calorie cutting. One could assert that foods made from animal products are, by nature, more caloric than those made from plants, and thus focusing on a diet mostly comprising plant products would seamlessly eradicate excess calories.

Meats and animal products aren't the only groups you'll skip out on with a plant-based meal - in most cases, you're also eliminating excess sugar, added sugar, processing, and additives.

A quick recap of the benefits:

  1. Fewer calories. By nature (and generally speaking), vegetables and fruits have fewer calories than animal products. You can fill yourself up on veggies with a significantly lower caloric intake than you would if you were to fill up on meats, cheeses, and processed foods.
  2. More fiber. There's a strong link between more fiber and more weight loss. Whole fruits and veggies (and legumes) = more fiber. You're full, and you're digesting better.
  3. Lower cholesterol. Most of the time, plant-based foods are lower in fat and cholesterol. This isn't including things like cashew or coconut milk, obviously, but when most of your meals consist of plants, you're cutting a significant amount of cholesterol out of your diet.
  4. Less risk of obesity. As mentioned, many studies have shown the link between veganism and a reduced obesity rate.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Celebrate the Fourth With These Protein-Packed Patriotic Pops!

This Slacklining Superstar Is Heads Above Most Guys in the Sport - Literally!

Kimberly Weglin is making our hearts race as we watch her dominate incredible stunts in the air. Watch her incredible journey, from slacklining to highlining.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Why You Should Never Say These 7 Words to Someone Who's Lost Weight

I had to lose weight three times in my life. First, in my 20s when I gained 40 pounds during college, secondly, after my first pregnancy where I gained 45+ pounds, and thirdly, after my second pregnancy where I gained 50+ pounds. All three times it sucked. There is nothing fun about having to lose weight. Nothing.

But the worst part, worse than the hangry, crankiness you feel all the time because you're not able to eat whatever you want, worse than the fatigue and soreness from all those intense workouts, worse than looking in the mirror and realizing you still have more weight to lose; the worst thing is the comments. I never thought seven little words would make me cringe so much and conjure up so much anger. Every time someone gleefully smiled and said, "You look great, have you lost weight?" I wanted to punch. them. in. the. face.

I know, I know. They had good intentions. It was supposed to be a compliment. But it's a shitty compliment, that could actually be hurtful. Think I'm overreacting? How can I not? All I can think is did I not look good before? Was I ugly when I was fat? Am I only beautiful and worthy of love and attention when I'm thin?

And then the panic sets in. What if I gain the weight back, and every time those people see me, they'll just see a fat, ugly me? For someone who's really sensitive about their weight like I am, it can cause some pretty unhealthy behaviors like working out twice that day or depriving myself of dessert later.

And another side to the coin is that losing weight sometimes isn't a good thing. Maybe the person was really depressed about a recent breakup or a death in their family. Or maybe they're suffering from being sick, or they're battling with an eating disorder. You just don't know.

Maybe you disagree. Some people would love it if another person noticed all their hard work in slimming down, but there are other ways to convey that. "Wow you look really strong, I'd love to work out with you!" Or, "You seem full of energy, have you been doing something differently?" Or maybe, "You have this glow about you!" Or how about, "You look really healthy, can you share some tips with me?" Of course you could always just avoid the issue altogether and say, "You seem really happy and that makes me happy!" All of these show genuine care for the person's well-being without focusing solely on their size. It makes them feel proud and inspires them to keep on their healthy path in a positive way.

So the next time you notice someone's dramatic weight loss, keep this in mind. Words are more powerful than you think, and choosing yours carefully can make the all the difference in how a person feels. Be the one that lifts them up.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Damn, Working Out Is Hard!

It's not called a workout for nothing! That sh*t is hard! And these Instagram pics prove it.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

See How a Woman Battled Thyroid Cancer and Weight Gain With BBG and Friendship

I met Whitnee Karuga at the Kayla Itsines Sweat Tour in Los Angeles. In a sea of about 1,000 women, I spotted Whitnee and her two friends, Bree and Catherine. Decked out in bright pink with smiles on their faces, I gravitated toward their energy and wanted to know more about their journey.

When Whitnee described how she got into the BBG program - and why she continued - I was captivated. Her story truly inspired me and showed incredible strength, courage, and insight into the power of friendship in fitness.

Finding Cancer Before Her Wedding

Whitnee has had a history of thyroid problems - it runs in her family, and she told us her parents have suffered from similar ailments. In 2014 - just a few months before her wedding - Whitnee was on a routine trip to the doctor for an ordinary thyroid check. "The doctor felt a lump on my thyroid," she told us. "I had an ultrasound, and there were two lumps. . . . [They] were too big to go without being biopsied." The results came back, and they were cancerous.

From there, she underwent a full thyroidectomy - not the way she imagined preparing for her wedding. Although she had a beautiful, happy wedding, her health issues became severe. "I think I struggled with a bit of depression," she told us. "The effects of low thyroid kicked in . . . as our first year of marriage passed, I kept gaining weight." It started with feelings of bloating, and eventually Whitnee couldn't "move or bend down anymore." She told us she gained at least 40 pounds within her first year of marriage.

The Breaking Point

"I had been asked if I was pregnant three times in one month . . . that was the breaking point." Whitnee looked back on not only the physical transformation she had undergone, but the emotional one as well. Her thyroid issues had seemed to overtake her health and her life.

Because the thyroid regulates metabolism, energy, mood, hair growth, hormones, etc. - and Whitnee is now living without a thyroid - she has to take medication to balance out her body. But it wasn't enough. She started looking into clean eating. That's when things started to change.

"I had been asked if I was pregnant, three times in one month . . . that was the breaking point."

Finding Hope . . . and a Team

"I had been following some clean-eating Instagrams, and Kayla [Itsines] kept coming up on my search feed," she told us. "I kept seeing the transformations of these women. . . . I didn't think I would ever look that good in a bathing suit." But she didn't lose hope. "I wanted to lose some of the weight and get my health back."

The Bikini Body Guide (BBG) program sparked Whitnee's interest for the same reason as many other women - "it seemed so doable yet had such good results." Whitnee also loved that the women featured on the page "were all sizes, all fitness levels" and that it "seemed genuine." Through more research, she learned about the meal plan, which she called "well balanced."

But what personally resonated with Whitnee was how relatable Kayla herself appeared. Whitnee recalled times when Kayla admitted to "failing at things but getting back up. . . . She allowed a cheat meal, [and] she dealt with PMS and being tired." Whitnee loved that Kayla was "human."

After following Kayla on Instagram for six months, Whitnee knew it was time to take action, and she opened the discussion up to her friends. "I was telling Bree how I hated what I looked like and wanted to do this Kayla program but couldn't do it alone. She said she would do it with me."

Bree recruited their friend Christine, and by Februrary 2015, all three of them had begun their BBG journey.

Whitnee, center, with friends Bree and Catherine

A Healthy Journey Begins

Whitnee refers to herself, Bree, and Catherine as the "three originals" - their group has fluctuated in size over the past year, but the three women I got to meet at the LA Bootcamp have stuck it out together.

Bree told us how she hosts the BBG workouts at her house three days a week. At the beginning, they kept up the program consistently for four straight months - three days a week, every single week. Whitney mentioned she had seen "substantial changes physically." She expanded to say, "I had lots of muscles that I had never had before; I had lost up to four inches in places. . . . I felt better physically, mentally." For someone who had dealt with physical and emotional issues for years, this was huge.

But their journey hasn't come without hiccups. "A lot of things changed in all of our lives [last year]," Whitnee said. "I started working 50-plus hours a week, Bree's grandpa died, [and] Catherine's mom died." The women stuck to the program as much as they could, but when times got tough, they decided to start all over from square one.

Their commitment to the program and willingness to restart all came from the amazing results they felt. "We took measurements, pictures and kept track of our progress." Tracking progress, teaming up with friends, and realizing a setback isn't permanent, that's the exact Kayla Itsines equation for staying motivated. These women didn't realize it, but they'd positioned themselves perfectly for a long, healthy journey.

Charging Ahead

Setbacks and breaks included, Whitnee has lost and kept off 15 pounds so far. "I still am struggling with my low thyroid issues, but I'm now seeing a naturalist for the past month who has put me on medication that seems to be really working."

"I know if I put my mind to it, with some self-discipline, I can keep feeling good about myself."

She attributes her success to the easy ability to maintain and sustain the workouts and nutrition from Kayla's BBG program, as well as her friends for keeping her strong and Kayla for being a constant source of inspiration. "Her posts still draw me in," she said. "She is someone who genuinely cares about helping women."

Her goal from the beginning was to feel good. "I never really focused on my weight, so much as how my clothes fit me," she said. "I still feel like this program fits me and my abilities." She also loves that she depends on herself for motivation but looks to her friends and her "original BBG girls" for strength. "I feel so much better than I used to," she told us. "I know if I put my mind to it, with some self-discipline, I can keep feeling good about myself."

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Back in the game with Old Navy

This summer, I am back in the game. It feels like I really had a year and a half off limitations, since I was pregnant (and was advised to ditch the impact workouts to resolve a pregnancy-related complication) and my surgeries following the birth. I was able to implement bits and pieces of my *normal* fitness routine while I was pregnant and recovering, but haven’t felt free rein of the gym quite a while. While recovery and healing is so important, it can be hard to get back into your routine afterwards because… it’s no longer a routine. The habits you set in place are no longer there (oh hi, couch time and wine instead of nights teaching fitness classes) and you have to create new ones. In many ways it feels like starting over completely, and while it can be a little bit intimidating, that excited feeling of a fresh start is invigorating.

I teamed up with Old Navy to create a fitness goal this summer, and mine is simple: consistency. Finding the balance of my old healthy habits, and making consistent steps each day to be active. A huge component of this is strength training. It seems like it’s the easiest one to fall off the radar -especially when I depend on cardio for mental clarity and stress release- and also something that gives me significant results in strength and fitness gains.

This summer I will strength train 3x a week. 

Workout2 11

Will you join me?!

We have Summer Shape Up starting NEXT week, and I also created the workout plan below if you’re just getting back (or started!) in the fitness game.

Here are some of my tips as you start to work towards consistent training and re-establish healthy, active habits.

Walk, then run. If you’re usually a runner, experiment with walking first to build up your cardio base. From there, you can start to add in running intervals. Start off with 30 seconds of running and 1-2 minutes of walking. Decrease your walking time and increase your running time gradually, until you’re able to maintain a steady run.

Walk before you run

Stretch! Researched is mixed on stretching, but I find that it feels good, particularly after a tough workout.


Also, if it helps to reduce muscle soreness, it’s worth it! Take some time to breathe and stretch if you find that you enjoy it and it works for you.

Stretch 2

Ditch the jumping. If you’re doing a workout that calls for explosive movements, and you haven’t done that in a while, you can still perform the movement while keeping your feet on the ground. See how you can modify your favorite plyo exercises to keep one foot on the ground at all times. 


Start with lighter weights than your usual set. You can always go heavier! I find that when I’m getting back into it after a hiatus, ALL weights make me feel sore. šŸ˜‰ So I start with super light weights to get used to the movements again -muscles have amazing memories!- and build up from there.

Lift lighter weights


(Wearing “Gym Hair, Don’t Care” graphic tank, Go-Dry Printed run short, Go-Dry seamless light support bra. I wore this outfit to teach spin and loved the lightweight and wicking material.)

Here is a workout I created for those who might also be getting back in the game, or getting started on your fitness journey. As always, talk with a doctor before making any fitness changes and honor your body. Modify as needed. 

Back in the game workout


(Wearing the Go-Dry Fitted Performance seamless tank, Go-Dry strappy cami light support sports bra, and the Go-Dry High Rise Stripe Compression crop. The tank is made of luxe tech material and is very light, and I loved the flattering higher waistband of the crops with gentle compression. This outfit was perfect for a sweaty barre class.)

So tell me, friends: what fitness goal are you working towards this summer? Who’s joining me for 3x a week strength training?



This post was sponsored by Old Navy. Thank you so much for supporting this blog! I truly appreciate it. <3

Photos by Henry Young

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from The Fitnessista

Here Are The Tips I Used to Grow My Long Natural Hair

A collection of the most common questions I get about my thick natural hair, but the answers would help whether you're natural or not.

The post Here Are The Tips I Used to Grow My Long Natural Hair appeared first on A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss.

from A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss

13 Portion-Control Hacks Guaranteed to Prevent Overeating

Eat less, lose weight. Sounds simple enough, but it's so hard with all the delicious food surrounding us and companies pushing oversize everything. If you need help cutting down your portions, try these tricks.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Michael Phelps Has Now Qualified For 5 Olympics - a First in US Men's Swimming

Michael Phelps made US men's swimming history with his latest win on June 29 at the US Olympic Team Swimming Trials. He qualified for the Olympics for the fifth time with his victory in the 200-meter butterfly - the same race that first qualified him at 15 years old and made him the youngest male to break a world record. The life of this 31-year-old athlete has come an emotional full circle, as he had thoughts about giving up his professional career back in 2012. He's since gotten engaged and had a baby boy named Boomer.

"I think that means the most to me," he told The Baltimore Sun after his race. "With everything that's happened to me, sort of being able to come back, that was probably harder than any swim I've had in my life . . . Just being able to finish [my career] how I want to is so important to me."

This is amazing news for Phelps, and we can't wait to see how he performs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this August.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Preorder Power Your Happy by POPSUGAR Founder Lisa Sugar!

You know you are in a career rut when you're looking forward to the weekend as soon as Monday begins. If that sounds familiar, spend this Summer pursuing your passions and trying new things. Whether you're on break from college, taking a long vacation, or just using the slower months to enjoy more time for yourself, Summer is the ideal time to clear your head and reconnect with what you love. Then come September, pick up a copy of Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice, and Build Your Dream Life, a new book by POPSUGAR cofounder and President Lisa Sugar designed to help you turn your passions into a dream career.

"I believe that what you find yourself doing in your spare time is the passion you should pursue," Lisa told us. "Don't decide what you want to do with your life; let your life tell you what your path is." So take some time this Summer to do what you love; you never know how it could end up shaping your career path or your future self.

"I absolutely loved Power Your Happy. It's a must-read for any recent grad or anyone who is looking to find their passion in life," said novelist Brenda Janowitz, author of The Dinner Party. "Told in Lisa's signature style, you'll feel like you're reading a really smart email from a trusted friend. This book will motivate you and get you on the right track to finding your own happy."

Power Your Happy comes out Sept. 20, and it's now available for preorder here! To stay up to date on all the news about the book, check out, visit Lisa Sugar's Facebook page, or follow Lisa Sugar on Instagram.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Why Fear May Be Blocking Your Primal Path (and How to Overcome It)

Why Fear May Be Blocking Your Primal Path (and How to Overcome It) FinalGetting healthy. It’s an admirable, enviable endeavor, you think. In fact, it’s what you’ve wanted, maybe desperately, for a long time. And then you came across Primal. You’ve been convinced for a while now that it’s a good guideline for how to live—reading the blog, maybe trying a Primal-friendly meal now and then. You’ve even read a book (or cookbook)—or two. You have the knowledge. You have the interest. Maybe you even feel a fire lit under you by a recent diagnosis, an additional medication, or an added 10, 20, or 50 pounds. The next logical step would be to put a Primal plan into action, right? Take it on, make it happen. Change your life for the inconceivable better. But, for many of us, that’s where fear rushes in to gum up the whole process.

It isn’t that fear is an unnatural emotion. It’s one of the key primal instincts. What, after all, could be more steeped in clear evolutionary purpose? Fear is what’s enabled survival for eons. But no one is facing down a large-fanged predator here as they consider retooling their health. There’s no inter-band skirmishes to charge into, no earthquakes convulsing beneath one’s feet. There’s not even a precipitous cliff—at least not a literal one.

Regardless of the evidence, and all the positives to be gained, for some of us fear is still the loudest voice in the room. And it can immobilize us. It can keep us locked in a way of life and a condition of health in which we have no real interest in staying.

Sure, sometimes there are genuine logistical concerns that get in the way of pursuing our health goals. But when the legitimate considerations are covered to all reasonable extent, it’s time to look at the emotional phantoms straight on and put them in their place.

Many fears are the fears of endeavor—grounded in unsupported anxieties and false distinctions. These are the fears that we fumble to determine solutions for or simply ones that undermine our ability to be confident in our capabilities at all. Some tell us we’re somehow different than other people. Some raise specters of self-doubt, insecurity, or inadequacy. These are particularly slippery, and they’re often the fears people deal with when they envision taking on significant health and lifestyle change.

Let’s look at some of the most common fears that come into play when people of different bodies, ages and backgrounds move toward Primal-aligned health goals. And let me offer (and invite you to share your feedback on) some practical takeaways for overcoming situational fears as well as a few emotional insights for calling fear’s bluff.

“I feel like I’m too far along in life to make significant changes. What if I’m just too old or too steeped in chronic illness to make a real difference in my health?”

The body is a resilient organism, and it remains so into advanced age. And although more care is needed to shift or reverse interconnecting dysfunctions in the case of chronic illness, the body’s resiliency is nothing to be underestimated. I’ve knocked out 60 years and then some, and so have many others in this community. Even if you’re well past 60 or 70 and just starting major health change, know that the Primal Blueprint is as applicable to you as it is anyone else.

Research supports our ability to get into great shape and even be as fit as those decades younger than us. Yes, the body benefits from being in good health throughout life, but taking up an exercise program or shifting to a better diet in later years can still slow or reverse aging processes. The same can be said of mitigating or even reversing chronic illness. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Are you more inspired by personal accounts rather than research? Check out Faye’s success story. Even after a heart attack and years with diabetes, her choice to go Primal teaches what’s possible at 87-years-old.

“What if I can’t do this the way other people can? How can I live up to what other people in the Primal community do?”

You’d be surprised how often I hear this. It’s a case of comparison, which can at its best inspire us and at its worst can paralyze us.

Everyone is on their own path, and ours is intended to be entirely its own landscape.We come to the PB with unique histories, varying tastes, individual interests, and different emotional states. It pays to be patient with each of these and expect that they’ll all play a part in transitioning to a Primal way of living.

Because here’s what I’ve found. The people who take the mentality of undoing, of exchanging themselves for a “better” version, are the ones who ultimately struggle the most. On the other hand, those who move into the Primal Blueprint with a mindset of “intactness”—an assumption that who they are and what they enjoy will find a comfortable place in this lifestyle—tend to be much happier and more successful over the long term.

I promise you there are no Primal police that will be watching you. Everyone in this community does Primal their own way, and all of them I know have nothing but support and admiration for anyone looking to take up the lifestyle.

Read the stories and posts when they truly inspire, but give yourself space to grow into new practices. Focus on the beginner articles and forum threads for a while to let yourself be in the transition and feel encouraged there. This also applies if you’re a Primal veteran who’s hit some snags. It’s never a bad time to go back to the basics.

“I don’t know how I’ll be able to afford this way of eating.”

As significant and legitimate as this fear is, it’s thankfully one of the simpler anxieties to quash.

Let’s start with diet. There are the basics of primal eating, and then there are the ideals. The basics (e.g. low to moderate carb intake, ample protein and healthy fat intake) are what set the stage (supported by the non-dietary aspects) for a healthy metabolic profile and fat-burning default. The additional, “ideal” features of organic, pastured, grass-fed, etc. are preferred when possible. Few people can conform every day and definitely every meal to this standard. It’s never about perfection.

Over the decade this blog has been around, we’ve had many a post highlighting cost saving strategies for everything from low budget veggie ideas to cheap meat cuts. Likewise, we’ve talked sourcing with tips for hunting and gardening, purchasing direct for meat and produce shares, and most recently, benefiting from the bulk power of wholesale pricing and online retailers.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you in the direction of the MDA Forum as well. Let me tell you, I learn something there every day. This community will take up any question you have about shopping and living well.

“How will I explain my lifestyle to people outside the Primal community? What will people think of me?”

I don’t profess to have sway over all the people you’ll come across. Probably a fair number of people will at some point have a question or be thrown by your aberrant shoes, food, sleep schedule, or other Primal quirks. Some will participate in an annoying chorus akin to “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Others will be intractably and personally offended at your rejection of conventional practice. (These are generally people who have a hard time separating choice from righteousness.) The good thing in life (and one of the upsides of living in large communities these days) is you can ignore what the vast majority of people think of you because you won’t see them that often.

For the people you have to and want to see on a regular basis, understand that you’re under no obligation to explain yourself. Even if you feel following that will be hard, accept this truth and then decide if you want to respond to their questions or concerns. Viewing it through the lens of choice automatically lets you off the hook and opens up possibilities. Know, too, that you aren’t responsible for how others feel.

If you wish to say something about your decision to live and eat Primally, keep your explanation simple and personal. It’s an individual choice that makes you feel good and that has offered you benefits. Give yourself the freedom to not proselytize. Some people will be genuinely interested in hearing more and may want to try it themselves. In those situations, you can feel free to share your stories, but keep it simple and encouraging for those who are fearful or concerned. Finally, for the truly antagonistic, walk away when you can and set a clear “to each his/her own” boundary when you can’t. You answer to no one but yourself.

“Conventional wisdom seems so diametrically opposed to what the Primal Blueprint is all about. What if I make my health or weight issues worse?”

I understand this fear. I truly do. It feels risky to go out on that limb when you’ve heard contrary messages your whole life. If the health condition you’re in is already serious, it can feel scary to think about the prospect of making things worse.

I can give you every scrap of science here supporting the Primal method of taking charge of one’s metabolic health and greater well-being, but I have several books that would do a better job than a paragraph here. And in these cases, I think it’s more personal than taking my word for it or even science’s word for it. It’s a fear of losing control, of surrendering power over one’s health. Because in these circumstances, we already feel so disempowered.

More than anything else, I’d suggest you hold onto that self-authority. I’m not saying run back to CW. I’m saying try the Primal Blueprint for yourself on your own terms with full skepticism in play. Don’t come at the PB as truth. Come at it as a completely self-directed trial—a rational, strategic exercise in self-experimentation. That’s all. If you can even consider 21 days, that’s generally enough to give you a good view into what the PB can change for you when you approach it earnestly.

If you genuinely follow the Primal principles and get negative results, you’ll simply know something isn’t working for you. But for now, start it—knowing you can dump the whole thing whenever you want. You can always get your previous health and weight back with no questions asked.

But chances are (because I’ve seen it thousands of times again and again) you’ll see changes, feel changes, and suddenly start believing in change again. Having tasted the initial benefits, you’ll want more, and more time with the lifestyle. Experimenting your way to how it works best for you long-term will bring you more of those shifts, more of the vitality you’d given up on, more of the life you thought wouldn’t be yours to live.

In this as in all cases, let fear inspire an attentiveness and deliberateness for the path in which you seek out the answers, the support and the experimentation that will let you truly claim this plan as your own. Because there’s inconceivable potential to come if you just keep going.

Thanks for reading, everyone. What fears have you faced when going Primal, and what advice do you have for others in dealing with those fears along their Primal path?

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from Mark's Daily Apple

You Can Combat Summer’s Worst Diet Wreckers - Here's How

The seasonal treats of the Summer can easily interfere with your weight-loss goals, but dietician Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite For Health, has found common summery saboteurs as well as solutions to keep them in check.

You probably worry more about weight gain during the Winter holiday season thanks to all the hearty food and endless parties, but Summer habits can also pack on the pounds. To enjoy a slimmer Summer, check out five common warm-weather diet wreckers and tips for avoiding them.

Summer Saboteur: High-Cal Sips

Many beverages are nothing more than calorie bombs. This includes iced coffee concoctions, cold-pressed juice, energy drinks, sweet tea, lemonade, and flavored waters - not to mention cocktails like frozen daiquiris and margaritas.

Slim Solution:
Liquid calories don't provide the same satiety as those from food, so it's best to stick with water and other calorie-free sips, such as unsweetened iced tea or coffee, or diet soda (OK in moderation). A study in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics reported that increasing your water intake by one to three cups a day could help you cut as many as 205 calories.

Summer Saboteur: Ice Cream (and Fro-Yo)

Chilling out with a serving of ice cream or fro-yo is fine on occasion, but if you let a double scoop of your favorite flavor become a daily indulgence, you could be in trouble. Half a cup of premium ice cream can pack more than 300 calories and six teaspoons of sugar. (And really, who eats just a half cup?)

Slim Solution:
Enjoy these treats in moderation and look for "whipped" or "slow-churned" ice cream options, as they have fewer calories. Or try a frozen fruit bar like Outshine, which is made with real fruit and fruit juice, is an excellent source of vitamin C, and has 60 (for yummy flavors like strawberry and tangerine) to 90 calories per bar. I also make my own fro-yo by freezing containers of healthier Greek yogurt, like Chobani. It's made from natural, non-GMO ingredients and has twice the protein and 40 percent less sugar than regular yogurt.

Summer Saboteur: Grab-n-Go Foods and Snacks

Regular trips to the beach or ballpark can mean filling up on high-cal concession-stand hot dogs, burgers, fries, and pretzels.

Slim Solution:
Pack your own meals and snacks. For a lunch that satisfies, pack a hummus and veggie wrap. Pump up the protein by using a protein-rich wrap like Flatout Light (9 grams protein, 8 grams fiber for just 90 calories).

In place of snack chips, I bring my own snack nuts like pistachios. Pistachios are one of the lowest-calorie snack nuts with plenty of protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. Look for Wonderful Pistachios 100 Calorie Packs for a convenient, on-the-go snack. For 100 calories, you can enjoy about 30 in-shell pistachios that may help keep you fuller longer, compared to empty-calorie snacks.

Summer Saboteur: Backyard BBQs

A typical menu of burgers, brats, dogs, and creamy salads can cost you more than 2,000 calories - that's more than you should have in an entire day!

Slim Solution:
Make burgers using the leanest ground beef possible (like ground sirloin) or try "meaty" portobello mushrooms for a vegetarian spin. Opt for skinless poultry. For hot dogs, go with a turkey or chicken frank. An Applegate turkey hot dog has just 50 calories and one gram of saturated fat compared to 150 calories and five grams of saturated fat in most beef hot dogs. And go easy on the sides - mayo-rich pasta or potato salad can have as many calories as a burger.

Summer Saboteur: Your Hard-Earned Vacation

Many people equate vacation from work with a vacation from their diet and fitness plans, too!

Slim Solution:
Do some prevacation planning. Figure out where and when you're going to get your daily workout in (aim for at least one every day), whether it's swimming, hiking, jogging, or taking a local CrossFit class. To keep your eating in check, allow yourself one "vacation" meal a day, and for the other two, have a healthy meal similar to what you'd eat at home. You can also use an online diet tracker, like MyFitnessPal, to help you stay on track.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

These Lightened-Up, No-Bake Key Lime Balls Make the Perfect Summer Treat

The following post was originally featured on Peanut Butter Fingers and written by Julie Fagan, who is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

These no bake key lime pie bites are sweet and tangy and give you a zip of energy when you need it most! Enjoy them as a pre-workout or on-the-go snack or a healthy dessert after dinner.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you guys are all having a great Thursday! I wanted to pop in and share a festive recipe with you guys today inspired by one of my Cinco de Mayo favorites… Margaritas!

Whenever I think of margaritas, my mind immediately takes me back to my college days when $1 margaritas at a local restaurant – Amigo's for my fellow UCF students – were all the rage. The ridiculously cheap price for a margarita drew us in and every Wednesday the restaurant was packed with students who wanted to take advantage of one heck of a stellar drink special. Amigo's wasn't cheap with their special either… Chips and salsa were FREE, too! It was basically a college student's dream. And if we were feeling fancy, we'd spring for the queso and really be livin' large.

Side note for anyone in the Orlando area whose mouth started watering at the thought of $1 margaritas: I have no idea if Amigo's is still running this promotion but when I was in college ten years ago (WHAT!?), it was the jam.

A lot of people veered off and ordered different flavored margaritas at Amigo's. I got suckered into a strawberry margarita a time or two but always came back to the classic. Something about a frosty margarita with the perfect amount of tequila and tangy lime flavor is hard to beat for me!

Today's recipe is inspired by my love for margaritas but since the likelihood of you making these bars today on Cinco de Mayo is in the zero-to-none range, we'll call them No Bake Key Lime Pie Bites because there isn't actually any tequila in these bites (unless you choose to add it, you party animal, you) and the lime flavor in the bites reminds me a lot of a subtly sweet slice of key lime pie.

To read the rest of this post, click here.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Best Beginner Cardio Workouts For the Gym or at Home

When you decide you're ready to bring some cardio workouts into your life, the process can be a bit overwhelming. The options are endless, but you need workouts tailored to your fitness level to learn the ropes while getting stronger. We've rounded up our best beginner cardio workouts for you to try, whether you have access to a treadmill or an elliptical or you're looking for an equipment-free sweat session you can do at home.


  • 40-Minute Walking and Running Workout: The fastest pace in this workout is 5.8 miles per hour, and the running intervals never top two minutes. Plus you can print out this workout to take with you to the gym.
  • 60-Minute Workout Mixing Walking and Jogging: Perfect for when you're ready to push your endurance, this hour-long workout will burn close to 300 calories. The workout alternates between 4 MPH intervals of walking and 5 MPH jogs.
  • 50-Minute Hill Walk: While you never go faster than 4 MPH in this workout, you work the incline button - a lot. Adding the elevation works your glutes and hamstrings nicely.


  • 20-Minute Elliptical Plan: This plan makes for an excellent lunchtime workout. It's perfect for beginners and will get you well acquainted with the versatility of the machine.
  • 35-Minute Elliptical Workout: This workout is easy on the incline but incorporates the handles to fit in some upper-body conditioning, along with pedaling backward to work the glutes and hamstrings.
  • 60 Minutes on the Elliptical: This workout is tailored for beginners but will push you a bit as you play with both incline and speed. All the variations make the hour fly by.

At-Home Cardio

  • 10-Minute Cardio and Active Stretch Session: This video workout will get your blood flowing and your body limber. Your heart rate will rise through the first five minutes of cardio, which is followed by five minutes of active stretching.
  • 10-Minute Cardio Video: Get ready to hop, skip, jump, and punch your way through this quick sweat session. You don't need any equipment for this workout, so you can do it anywhere.
  • PlyoJam 10-Minute Dance Workout: This workout is more like a party! Bring your sexy as you mix plyometric jumping exercises with fun dance moves.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

29 Fitness-Inspired Tattoos That Show Off Your Love For Working Out

Obsessed with your fitness program? Enough to wear it on your body permanently? We rounded up 29 creative tattoos showcasing marathon mileage, Pilates poses, yoga Sanskrit, and dumbbell designs.

If you're ready for your first #FitTattoo, then look through to get inspired!

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Nutrition Breakdown: What Goes Into a Soup Cleanse?

I tried my first soup cleanse a while back, and I loved it. A tad apprehensive at first, but mostly excited, I decided to give it a go - by the end of the day, I was full and satisfied, and I felt great.

Although my reasoning for going on a soup cleanse had nothing to do with losing weight, a one-day soup cleanse can be an excellent weight-loss tool. While cutting out calories, dairy, gluten, and, most of the time, animal products, you still have fiber from whole vegetables and legumes, and you're getting a solid dose of nutrients. I talked to the founder of Splendid Spoon, Nicole Centeno, who said that souping "is a form of intermittent fasting, and it's a really efficient approach to maintain a healthy weight and increase energy without leaving you hungry."

She's right about not feeling hungry - during my cleanse, I was pretty stuffed by the end of the day. The idea of a soup cleanse is actually to create a healthier relationship with food. As Nicole put it, "simple adjustments can become lasting habits" that can help you "settle into a more relaxed relationship with your food." She continued to say although her company offers these one-day "reset" programs, you can also swap one meal a day for a plant-based bowl, which will help deliver nutrients while cutting out calories.

It's good to keep in mind that the one-day diet plan is intended for a rest day, as most plans do not deliver a sufficient number of calories to get you through a workout. While cleanses vary on how many calories they deliver, depending on your goals and your daily caloric needs, you can supplement with a whole fruit smoothie (no added sweeteners, honey, etc.) or additional soup, as long as you're sticking to the general blueprint of a cleanse.

To get an idea of what that looks like, read on.

Macronutrient Breakdown

"The full program is about 50 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent protein, and 25 percent fat," said Nicole. "The focus [of the soup ingredients] is on fiber-dense whole vegetables, legumes, and grains, which are associated with improved disease resistance, increased longevity, and a healthy cardiovascular system." Another reason they focus on carbohydrates? Gut health. "Complex carbs are the best fuel for the microflora in your gut!" said Nicole. "All those good bugs further increase your resistance to disease and help balance your metabolism."

The Daily Flow

In terms of structuring your day on a cleanse, there's a heavier load in the morning before tapering off. "We focus more fat and protein at the start of the day because it tends to keep you going longer," said Nicole. "It's important to wake up the system with the right building blocks in the morning. Graduating to a lighter meal at the end of the day can also improve sleep patterns and improve your ability to maintain a healthy weight."

Eliminated Foods

Splendid Spoon cuts out GMO products, gluten, meat, dairy, honey, added sugar, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. Most cleanses follow a similar format, with some nonvegan programs (like Soupure) including bone broth. If you're following this format, keep in line with the eliminated foods, as they can be common culprits in digestive woes.

Important Ingredients

If you're following the Splendid Spoon format, any additional soups or smoothies should be high fiber, high complex carbohydrate, and low sugar - and there are plenty of whole vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds that fall into that camp. Because this particular cleanse likes to focus on digestive health, its soups typically mix in ginger and turmeric, because as Nicole puts it, "they soothe the gut while also making it easier to digest some of the complex carbs [in the soups] and reducing gas." She also loves to capitalize on the protein and fiber-dense "powerhouses" known as legumes. She said they are "omnipresent in the diets of the longest lived communities all over the world, as well as being staples in Ayurvedic medicine." I noticed these in the chunkier bowl at the end of my cleanse, a delicious steel-cut oat congee with peanuts.

If you're supplementing your cleanse with additional soup or a smoothie, be sure to stick to this format, as it has been expertly designed to help your body digest, detox, and heal.

Nicole gave us a few general tips to keep in mind: "eat more veggies, stop when you're full, and above all, embrace food as a nourishing experience." She notes that you don't need to replace every single meal with a soup, but even by swapping five to 10 meals each week, you can make a huge difference in your body - and your weight.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

This Is What Happens When You Ignore Pain and Keep Training

There are times when you're sore from a new workout, and then there are times when you experience something a little scarier: DOMS. Delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is more intense muscular pain caused by microtears in the muscles and usually sets in between 24 and 48 hours after a new workout or intense physical activity.

If you're sore, is it still OK to work out? While general, mild soreness is OK, it's not the best idea to keep breaking down your muscles when you've got something more serious like DOMS. We consulted Jan Milano, CSCS and sports performance coach at DIAKADI in San Francisco, to learn more about overtraining syndrome, and sure enough, he had plenty to say about pushing through a workout when you're suffering from DOMS.

His advice? If you're dealing with this delayed muscular soreness, you need to take a break from intense workouts. If you've been training hard, he said, "doing another session of hard, intense physical activity while experiencing DOMS should be avoided." This is "due to several mechanical and biomechanical reasons," which he detailed for us.

  • You're prolonging the DOMS. If you're already sore, your muscles are recovering from microtears, which are "sensitive and fragile." If you keep going, you won't heal. "Overstretching of the muscle when sore can easily lead to the microtears getting worse, prolonging the recovery and repair time of the muscle," Milano said. More training, more paining.
  • You're inhibiting good hormone production. Milano told us that continuing with intense exercise while experiencing DOMS "can attenuate secretion of crucial hormones like growth hormone, which is a key factor for improvement on recovery, performance, and even body composition." If you're trying to get stronger or gain muscle, this is stuff you're trying to keep in your body - so don't mess with it!
  • It could cause long-term damage. If you overdo it while you have DOMS, Milano warned that it could lead to the dangerous effects of overtraining syndrome.

If you're in pain, take a rest day. However, you don't need to skip all workouts. In fact, according to Milano, research has shown that some lighter activities could actually help your recovery. "Activities like walking or light swimming, which are nonimpact activities, could positively affect the recovery time of the athlete or individual," he said. So if you can't rest and you're on some kind of training program, consider an active rest day with some LISS cardio or another exercise without impact.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

The Simplest Ways to Avoid Getting Sleepy at Work, No Caffeine Required

Working in an office all day can be painfully exhausting, and sometimes three cups of coffee just does. Not. Cut. It. There's nothing worse than a midmorning or midafternoon slump, and a few hours can feel as grueling as bumper-to-bumper traffic. Lucky for you, there's a way out! After working in an office for many years, I have discovered these three simple tips are key to staying alert and energized all day long. By the way, no, there's no caffeine involved.

1. Don't Pair Protein With Carbs

Celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder has a really important rule for her beauty detox plan: don't pair protein with carbs. Instead, eat protein with veggies or carbs with veggies and/or fruit, but if you pair protein with carbs, expect to feel drowsy. She explains on a blog post about food combining:

"If I had to isolate the worst [food combining] to violate, it would be 'meat and starch' - as those two foods require very different sets of enzymes and can lead to a lot of digestive difficulty and wasted energy. Animal protein takes a great deal of energy to break down, and should be consumed with veggies and not other dense foods. Examples of combinations that take a lot more work to digest are steak and potatoes and chicken and rice. It would be better to simplify those meals and have rice and veggies or chicken and veggies (if you eat some animal protein)."

When I first read this advice years ago, I really resisted it, because it seemed so extreme. But then, I decided to try it. Instead of a turkey sandwich for lunch, which always left me crawling toward the coffeemaker by 2 p.m., I opted for a salad packed with chicken and avocado. I waited and waited. Nothing but pure, satisfying energy all afternoon long. Yes, you can still have carbs, just not with protein. Try apple with almond butter or avocado toast as a snack, but forgo the carbs for lunch. This all said, I don't always stick to this rule, but I do notice a huge difference when a do, at least during office hours.

2. Work Out During Lunchtime

This is my absolute favorite time to work out. An hour away from your computer screen and desk is pure bliss. Usually there are 30- or 45-minute classes offered at the gym that make it easy to break away. When I get my blood pumping and take a quick post-workout shower, I return to the office feeling more fresh and alert. I always end up being more productive with a break than had I simply stayed at my desk all day.

3. Alternate Between Standing and Sitting

Studies have shown sitting with bad posture makes you feel sleepy, while sitting up straight makes you happier and more productive. Having a standing-sitting desk is a life changer. Changing between standing and sitting every 30 minutes forces me to double-check my posture and realign myself. If you can't get access to a standing desk, try taking a water break every 30 minutes so you can return to your desk and reset your posture each time.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

A Girl-Powered Workout Playlist to Pump You Up

Looking for the perfect pumped-up, girl-powered jams to get you through a workout? Get excited, because we've put together over two hours of hits, from Destiny's Child and Spice Girls to Rihanna and Selena Gomez. If you're into upbeat pop music and thrive off of songs like "Roar" by Katy Perry, then this is going to be your new favorite workout soundtrack. Download the free Spotify app to listen. If this mix isn't your speed or your style, check out all of our workout playlists to find something that suits your taste.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Hello, Short Shorts! A Workout For Sexy, Strong Legs

Grab your short shorts, your Daisy Dukes, your hot pants - whatever you chose to call them. You're going to want to show off your shapely gams after doing this workout. Each of these four exercise tones a different part of your legs, making this workout quick and efficient. We suggest using dumbbells between five and 10 pounds for this fitness quickie.

Directions: Warm up with three minutes of cardio - running in place, jumping jacks, and butt kickers. Then perform this four-exercise circuit three times. Stretch your quads and hamstrings to cool down.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

How Fitness Strengthened My Friendship as Much as My Body

In college, I met one of my best friends, Olivia. We bonded over our weird sense of humor, affinity for donuts and desserts of all kinds, Harry Potter, and a slew of other commonalities. Beyond that, we just "got" each other, and there was an instant trust, appreciation, and love from day one.

Post-graduation, after years of drinking and too many late-night visits to Del Taco and Panda Express, we decided to be "healthy." This began with attempts to "run" up and down the Manhattan Beach boardwalk . . . which ended up being casual walks, because neither of us had ever worked out, and running more than about 11 steps was - for all intents and purposes - impossible.

A couple years went by before we started truly dabbling in fitness. Neither of us had ever been to a gym, gone for a real run, or really taken a group fitness class consistently. All of that started to change a couple years ago. I started running (not an easy start, honestly), and Olivia started going to indoor cycling classes. Last year, Olivia introduced me to SoulCycle, which is now one of my favorite workouts.

Olivia taking me to my first SoulCycle class ever!

Because we started this journey together, we're making progress together and discovering things at the same time. As we share our new favorite workouts, healthy recipes, and recovery tips, it's like being in school again. We get to share in the triumphant moments (my first half marathon, her first headstand) but also the tougher moments.

Moving away from her to San Francisco this year was tough, because it put so many miles between us. But our new love of fitness has created a new dynamic and layer of our friendship and made our relationship even stronger. Better yet, we're both becoming better people in this process. It's almost like she's my virtual workout buddy; she's the first person I text when I've had a great instructor or try a new class, and she's always telling me about the new studios that are popping up in LA (like Rise Nation or Lagree Method).

This past weekend, I took Olivia with me to the Kayla Itsines Bootcamp in LA, where we witnessed a similar bond between so many women. Fitness is such a personal journey, and when you share that vulnerable part of your life with someone close to you, it truly strengthens your relationship and brings you closer.

Beyond the sappy stuff, I enjoy teaching Olivia how to shop for healthy pantry staples like quinoa and chia seeds as much as I love receiving the "I'm so sweaty I just got out of the craziest yoga class" texts. We constantly chat about our activewear favorites (like Outdoor Voices, Alo Yoga, and all the cute stuff at SoulCycle), and we make golden milk before bed at our sleepovers now.

While parts of our relationship have stayed the same (chiefly the weird sense of humor), we've both grown and become better people, and we did so together. It feels pretty amazing to have someone who started their fitness journey at the same time I did, and someone to look to for strength and inspiration. Our bodies have definitely become stronger and more toned, but our friendship is even stronger.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

8 Sweat-Resistant Sunscreens For Summer Workouts

Exercising outside in the Summer is a much-needed break from the usual treadmill or elliptical routine. But it's exhausting, resulting in a whole lot of sweat and even more sun exposure. When it comes to working out in the great outdoors - or spending any time outside, for that matter - sunscreen is vital. It can be dizzying to comb through the dozens of options at the drugstore, especially when the labels are so darn confusing. But your skin deserves some lovin', and these sunscreens provide plenty of it. These eight products are dermatologist-approved and perfect for any sweaty Summer workout, whether you're running on the sandy beach or hitting the pavement in a bustling city. Be sure to throw on your runglasses and swipe one of these on your skin before heading outdoors to perfect your bikini bod.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

5 Megaformer Tips For a Lagree Method Newbie

I recently visited Los Angeles for the Kayla Itsines Sweat Tour - but made sure to pack my schedule with some other fun workouts in the LA area, too.

First on my list was a Megaformer class at The Studio (MDR) near Venice Beach, CA. One of my best friends had been telling me about the Lagree Method for months, and I was dying to try one of her favorite studios. In a frantic flurry of text questions, I asked her, "But wait, WTF is a Megaformer? Sounds terrifying. Is it like a transformer? Optimus Prime?" to which she responded with something to the tune of "It's a super gnarly version of a reformer machine - it's crazy." But her obsession with the class meant two things: it was a good workout, and it was working for her. I was sold.

Walking into the studio, my eyes locked on the room full of what looked like Medieval torture machines, and I knew right away they were the Megaformers. To be clear, I've never even taken a reformer Pilates class. So not only was I new to the Megaformer, I'd never even been on a similar machine. "That's great," said my instructor, Melissa Kusack, "because this isn't Pilates!"

I loved this class for many reasons, even though I jumped in as a total beginner (an intimidated one at that). My instructor was kind, helpful, and so informative; I didn't disclose ahead of time that I work for POPSUGAR Fitness, and Melissa still gave me tons of attention, help, and adjustments to ensure that I had an excellent first experience. The format of the class was straightforward, easy to follow, and easy to modify for a newbie. And you know what? The machine totally wasn't a torture device . . . my abs and obliques might be on a different page, but that's their problem.

I've gathered up some of the best tips my instructor shared during class, so if you're trying to check out a Megaformer class near you, get your grip socks on, grab a bottle of water, and read on.

  1. Get familiar. One of the best things you can do before you get started with the Lagree Method? Get there early. "Arrive to class 10 to 15 minutes early so that the instructor can meet with you and familiarize you with the Megaformer," said Melissa. "Be sure to wear grippy socks, have water and bring a towel - you will definitely sweat!" Once you're a little more familiar with the machine, you can follow along without stressing.
  2. Go slow! The slower you go, the faster you change; I can totally attest to this, because there were definitely moments in my first class in which I wanted to rush through a muscle-burning move. "The Lagree Method is all about slow and controlled movements, targeting each and every muscle in a concentrated and focused manner," said Melissa. "Not only do we move slow to keep it safe, but also to engage your slow twitch muscles." This is a great way to burn fat (and lose weight), and as Melissa puts it, it's "key in achieving a strong, toned body."
  3. Don't psych yourself out. Melissa's most important tip for beginners: "Don't be afraid to modify." You don't have to do everything to a T the first time! "The instructor will explain each exercise, and call out modifications throughout class," she said. "These [modified] moves work just as great and help to perfect your form, in order to get you to the next level." And a reminder, it's OK to be a beginner! "Remember, everyone starts as a beginner, and the person next to you was once in your grippy socks," said Melissa. She noted that it can take anywhere from five to 10 classes to get comfortable on the Megaformer, so "Don't get discouraged; this workout is truly life-changing!"
  4. Be consistent. But don't forget to give yourself breaks between workouts, so your muscles can adjust (trust me on this one - my abs were awakened). "Consistency and rest are incredibly important when it comes to the Lagree Method," Melissa told me. "Commit to the workout, but also pace yourself and take those rest days." The workout is 50 minutes long - it goes a long way.
  5. It's OK to shake! Very much like in barre classes, shaking is a sign of strength so Melissa recommends embracing it. She says, "The more you shake, the stronger you are becoming!" If the shaking is intimidating, Melissa reminds you to "believe in yourself, own your body, smile, and have fun!"

from POPSUGAR Fitness

5 Reasons to Start Meal Prepping, Now!

If you've come anywhere near Pinterest, Instagram, or the internet in general, you know that meal prep is a new way of life, adopted by ultra responsible A-types around the world.

But look, there are regular people meal prepping, too (us included)! It's not as intimidating as it looks, and there are some major benefits. Take a look at all the reasons you should get started, like, now.

  1. You'll save money Are you grabbing takeout from a restaurant at work every day? How much money are you spending your money on your lunch break? With meal prep, you'll save tons of money by buying in bulk (ingredients that are freezable or have a longer shelf life) and by eliminating restaurant markup.
  2. You might lose weight. If you're trying to lose weight, meal prep is one of the best ways to start.
  3. You'll waste less food Because you're in control of your portions (and have Tupperware on hand!), you're less likely to throw food away. How often do you end up tossing out extra food from a to-go order? By buying and preparing only what you need, you're in a better position to combat the food waste epidemic.
  4. You'll learn new, healthy recipes By focusing weekly on preparing meals for yourself, you'll get to learn and practice new recipes that you love. It might take trial and error, but before you know it, some of your favorite foods will be the easiest to make. Finally, your Pinterest dreams are coming to fruition!
  5. It's so easy! Although it looks like meal prep is for stay-at-home moms and obsessively organized kitchen goddesses, there are some simple, easy meal prep hacks that make the process streamlined, easy, and - dare we say it - fun. Even keeping it simple and planning out one meal each week can help you dabble in the world of meal prep before diving in head first. That said, if you're ready to plan your week, try our meal prep ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Shape Your Booty in Cycling Class With These Trainer Tips

We love indoor cycling. From boutique studios like Wheel House and SoulCycle to interval classes at the gym, indoor cycling is a great way to get a burst of cardio and, if done properly, can also give your booty a little boost.

Avery Johnson, one of my favorite instructors from Wheel House in San Francisco, had some tips to use on your next ride to start shaping up your bum.

  1. Adjust your bike Avery suggests arriving 10 minutes early in order to properly adjust your bike, especially if you're new to cycling. You can't give your butt a proper workout if you're not set up properly! "Proper alignment will maximize your ride and prevent injury. Don't be afraid to ask the instructor to help you with set-up."
  2. Have the right form "When you're out of the saddle, be sure to keep your core tight and your hips back," said Avery. "This stance protects your spine while giving your rear the lift you came for." Avery said to keep in mind that a little bit of light tapping (of the booty) on the seat during jogs or runs is totally OK.
  3. Squeeze! Avery reminded us to "squeeze those cheeks during jumps and any other time you pop up out of the saddle during class." This will help to activate your glutes and also helps with your form.
  4. Use resistance This is crucial. "Don't be afraid of resistance," she said. "Crank it up for seated and standing climbs to really use those glutes."
  5. Focus on the climb Avery says that when you Combine all of the above - proper form, squeezing, and resistance - the climbs, rather than the sprints, are the most crucial for booty-sculpting. "When doing a heavy standing climb, once again keep those hips back and squeeze your glutes. Concentrate on using those muscles to power you up your mountain!" And the results will come, she told us. "This [form] will give your booty a nice working while preventing you from dumping into your hips, which can cause tightness and injury."
  6. Don't skip the cooldown The cooldown is essential to building muscle recovery - and it's good for your brain! "Instead of being tempted to peace out after the final sprint, give yourself a few minutes to cool down with the rest of the class. This allows your muscles time to stretch out and recover."
  7. Train off the bike, too "Don't forget, your time out of the saddle counts," Avery told us. "Squats, lunges, and weight training classes will help further define and shape that booty." And those exercises will make you stronger so you can get an even better cycling workout!

Avery has a superfun indoor cycling playlist to get that booty into shape, and she encourages all of us to "get out there and shake it!"

from POPSUGAR Fitness

5 Motivating Beach Reads For Runners

Hitting the beach or pool with a book in hand is one of my favorite Summer pastimes, but truth be told, I wrestle with the notion of extended relaxation. My solution: temper my restlessness with books about running. Odd but true: somehow, reading about running is almost as, if not more, satisfying than running itself. Here are a handful of books, both new and old, that will keep you glued to your poolside chaise but still inspire you to lace up your sneakers.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

I Took Karlie Kloss's Go-To Workout Class and This Is What I Learned

34 Colorful Oatmeal Bowls That Put an End to Boring Breakfast

There's a reason so many people make oatmeal a regular part of their breakfast routines. A bowl of oats is not only easy to prepare (especially if you whip it up overnight), but it's also loaded with protein and fiber to aid with weight loss and digestion and to recharge your body.

While oatmeal is a go-to power food, it can sometimes feel a tad bland. It's important to dress your oats up with healthy toppings to enhance its flavor and benefits and create a breakfast that looks as good as it tastes. If you've been looking for inventive ways to spruce up your oatmeal, we've rounded up some colorful bowls to get you inspired. Look through to check them out.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

The Top 4 Workouts to Avoid If You're Trying to Lose Weight

We encourage all types of fitness, for more reasons than just weight loss. While weight loss is an awesome side effect of working out and living a healthier lifestyle, exercise can benefit your brain, your mood, your sleep, and your overall health, too!

However, if you're focusing on dropping pounds, are there types of exercises you should flat-out avoid? We asked certified personal trainer John Rowley - International Sports Science Association (ISSA) Director of Wellness and founder of UX3 Nutrition - for his opinion on the matter. While we still encourage anyone to give these workouts a shot (in fact, we love all of them!), these four may not give you the results you're looking for if weight loss is your top priority.

  1. CrossFit "CrossFit is number one on the hit list," said Rowley in an email. "The risk-to-results ratio just isn't there." If you're just beginning your weight loss journey, you likely won't have the strength to get an effective workout without injuring yourself. "It's very popular, and I can see how fun and challenging it is," he noted. "But the way the exercises are done is very dangerous, especially for someone not in tiptop shape."
  2. Yoga Rowley explained that yoga "has a lot of benefits, but losing weight is not one of them." Although you'll gain strength and tone up, if you're aiming to shed pounds, "you want to work as much of your body as possible to lose weight and to stimulate your metabolism," and Rowley said yoga is not the most effective way to do so.
  3. Indoor Cycling While indoor cycling classes are great for exercise veterans, Rowley said, "they can get out of control as well," and the format of the classes can put you at risk for injury. "The rooms can get too hot, the movements can be too aggressive for some, and any vigorous exercise will make you hungry." More on that hunger in the next point . . .
  4. Cardio-Only Routines Rowley said these should be avoided if your only goal is weight loss. Why? The munchies. "Cardio will help burn calories but can often make you hungry, leading to excessive calorie-consuming after workouts," putting you at a higher risk for undoing your progress. Additionally if you're only doing cardio and not balancing with strength training, it can lead to muscle loss. "The loss of muscle destroys your metabolism; if you are going to do cardio, do it in conjunction with a well thought-out weight training workout."

Again, we love (and do) each of these workouts - and you absolutely can lose weight doing any of them. But if your number one goal is weight loss, Rowley warned, you might want to re-prioritize your workout schedule.

So what should you do? "The only way for lasting, healthy weight loss that will change your body composition is through resistance training," Rowley said. "Lifting weights stimulates your muscles; your muscles burn calories even when you are eating and resting." We encourage you to be open to all types of workouts - get comfortable with movement of all types! But start with a good, healthy balance of strength training (as recommended by this trainer) and a bit of cardio to help build up your endurance so you can keep shedding pounds and crush your goals.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

A Superfood Salsa to Slim Your Waistline

This refreshing salsa is loaded with all kinds of flat-belly goodness. It feature fruits rich in antioxidants, including blueberries, which can help fight belly fat, along with cilantro, which can help with bloating. Plus it's incredibly easy to make.

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Chloƫ Grace Moretz Slams Body Shamers on Twitter

Body shamers are everywhere, and the internet can be an even darker and crueler place when it comes to putting others down. Although we know that haters know no boundaries, celebrities are especially prone to attacks on their appearance, as 19-year-old actress Chloƫ Grace Moretz knows. Yesterday, she took to Twitter to slam body shamers for their "ignorant" and "hateful comments" in a series of tweets.

She also mentioned how she grew up being judged by strangers.

After her rant, she signed off in a way that made us love her even more.

You tell 'em, Chloƫ!

from POPSUGAR Fitness

Grain-free chocolate chip banana bread

Hi friends! How’s the day going? Hope you’re having a wonderful week. P’s 8-month update is up on the Family page here.

Yesterday was one of those wild and crazy days. I felt like I was running around constantly until teaching hot barre last night.

I thought last night was my first night teaching Cardio Barre, and I drove down to the studio a little stressed about teaching a new format. It’s been a few years since I’ve taught anything new, so I spent time mentally preparing the flow for my class. Turns out that I don’t switch to Cardio Barre until Thursday! Sweet. Relief. 

The day settled down with a nice glass of wine and date night with the Pilot.

Date night 2

(First time wearing my new kicks!)


We had an awesome dinner at Queenstown Public House:



(I Snapchatted some silly parts from the evening, including the fact that the Pilot’s pot pie had an ENTIRE chicken baked into it)

Chicken 3

and a treat from iDessert to cap off the evening.

Idessert 2

(Tower of floating meringues!)

Idessert 3

iDessert has kind of a lame name, but I can’t be mad about it, because it is an awesome place. They have a variety of freshly made meringues on display, which was enough to draw us in. You pick your meringue “crust” and fillings via an iPad in the lobby, and can include gelato filling, a cake base, liquid center (PEANUT BUTTER. Yas.), fresh fruit and crunchy toppings. We shared an M&M meringue filled with vanilla cake, chocolate cream, peanut butter center, and vanilla gelato. It was perfect. We can’t wait to take Liv to check it out because it will rock her world.


So today, I have a new banana bread recipe for ya! On our busier days, I’m always thankful when I’ve done some food prep and have healthy meals to choose from….

Grain free chococlate chip banana bread

or at least something with chocolate chips that I can eat with one hand. šŸ˜‰

It’s been way too long since we’ve had banana bread around here. I’ve been freezing sad bananas for smoothies, or turning them into pancakes, and when the latest batch decided to brown, I decided to switch it up. 

This version of banana bread is grain-free, packed with healthy fat, protein, and contains very little sugar. It’s similar to this other banana bread we love, but I added chocolate chips into the mix. 

According to Liv, “It tastes delicious, but I can taste the nuts.” 

The next day, she walked into the living room holding the last chunk out of a plastic baggie. She had grabbed it out of the fridge and decided to finish it off.

So there we go.  

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try! It makes a wonderful afternoon snack, or breakfast option with a side of scrambled eggs. My favorite way to enjoy it is toasted with a smear of almond butter and drizzle of honey.

Grain free chocolate chip banana bread

-Preheat the oven to 325 and spray a standard loaf pan with avocado oil or nonstick spray.

-In a large bowl, combine 2 medium mashed bananas, 1 eggs, 1 cup almond meal, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon molasses, a pinch of sea salt, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and mix well.

-Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until set and golden brown. Cool completely before serving. 



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