Fitbie Burn fat in less time with fitness tips, weight loss plans, exercises, and healthy eating tips you need to get fit and have the body you want from Fitbie. http://www.fitbie.com/ diet and fitness weight tips nutrition tips exercise tips fitness plans exercise plans weight lifting cardio diet Copyright © 2014 Rodale Inc. "Fitbie" is a register trademark of Rodale, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:21:57 -0500 Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:21:57 -0500 Fitbie Find: Columbia Glacial Leggings http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/24/fitbie-find-columbia-glacial-leggings Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/24/fitbie-find-columbia-glacial-leggings Sat, 24 Jan 2015 10:00:13 -0500 Fitbie
columbia leggings

We're easing into prime skiing and snowboarding season, which means it's time to gear up. It's just as critical to rock the right base layers as it is to tote a warm jacket and glove combination. That's where this week's #SaturdaySaver comes in, the Glacial Leggings from Columbia. Made with soft and lightweight microfleece, these leggings will help insulate you from the cold without the extra bulk under your ski pants. Bonus: They also tote a body-slimming fit with a wide elastic waistband. (Read: Anyone up for some apres ski afternoon brewskies?)

Was: $45
Now: $21.98
Buy: sportsauthority.com

UP NEXT: A Killer Thigh Workout You Can Do At Home

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Emily Abbate
Kristin Cavallari Reveals How She Does It All With New Lifestyle Book http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/23/kristin-cavallari-reveals-how-she-does-it-all-new-lifestyle-book Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/23/kristin-cavallari-reveals-how-she-does-it-all-new-lifestyle-book Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:06:24 -0500 Fitbie
Kristin Cavallari

Kristin Cavallari isn't your average 28-year-old. The former Laguna Beach star is now a fashion designer, mother of two, has more than 1 million Instagram followers, and oh -- did we mention she's married to Chicago Bears quarterback (and total hunk!) Jay Cutler? Cavallari recently revealed to E News! that she'll be able to add author to that laundry list of credentials. That's right, the fashionista is penning a lifestyle book with Rodale, titled Balancing on Heels.

"It's basically an intimate look at my life," Cavallari told E!. "It's going to be a lot of fashion and beauty. Because I'm such a big health nut, it's also going to be health and fitness. And then a lot of recipes because I love to cook and a lot of mommy and wife stuff. So really just everything in my life ... and I think it's just a great way for my fans to connect with me." 


More from Fitbie: 8 Reality TV Stars Who Went Through Outstanding Transformations

The star, who's constantly sharing snippets of her life on Twitter and Instagram, is hoping to depict how she balances everything in her life with this title. Part-memoir, part-jam-packed with advice, fans will get a peek into the life of the celebrity, which includes four to five workouts a week and trying to add vegetables into every meal, including breakfast. 

"I try to always get a vegetable in somehow," Cavallari tells E!. "Even in the morning if you're making a smoothie, you can throw some spinach in it and it's an easy way to get a serving of greens." 

Cavallari's book will be available in spring 2016.

UP NEXT: Jillian Michaels' 5 Must-Follow Rules for Weight Loss

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Emily Abbate
The Playlist That'll Make Your Next Spin Class Magical (LISTEN) http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/23/playlist-thatll-make-your-next-spin-class-magical-listen Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/23/playlist-thatll-make-your-next-spin-class-magical-listen Fri, 23 Jan 2015 10:11:38 -0500 Fitbie
spin bike

Every week Fitbie features rad playlists from rad fitness instructors. This week Victor Self, lead instructor at Flywheel Los Angeles, shares his with us. 
 
"Music creates magic and allows people to go on a journey physically and emotionally," says Self. "When I create a playlist, I create it with the awareness and appreciation that what I play is as important (if not more important) as what I say in creating dynamic and motivational experience for our riders. Music has power and can make us all more powerful when we let it work its magic on our bodies, hearts and minds."

Looking to try out Flywheel for yourself? The popular cycling studio is launching their Flywheel Challenge nationwide on Monday, January 26. Riders can choose from the Flywheel Challenge, FlyBarre Challenge and the FlyPlus Challenge -- all three are four week long programs. Snag all the details on the Flywheel Challenge, here.

UP NEXT: The Emotional Playlist That'll Help You Slay Your Workout (LISTEN)

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Emily Abbate
Fitbie Find: Fitbit Surge http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/22/fitbie-find-fitbit-surge Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/22/fitbie-find-fitbit-surge Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:35:50 -0500 Fitbie
Fitbit Surge

It's been a few months now since Fitbit announced three new products: The Charge, Charge HR, and the Surge. Whereas the Charge models upped the ante on the fitness tracker's classic technology, the Surge is new territory for the company -- their first GPS watch, and this week's #FitbieFind. From the get-go, I've been super interested in what the Surge had to offer, a little more than your typical GPS tracker, heart rate recognition built into the unit itself, no chest strap required. 

I was almost sold completely before even putting the band on, as the box totes inspirational lingo encouraging athletes to kick things up another level. (Appropriately put on the inside of the packaging: "Every moment counts when you're striving to be the best. Don't just start. Surge.") What I loved the most, however, from the moment I removed the Surge from the packaging is its slim size and lightweight feel compared to other GPS watches I own. 

More from Fitbie: Your Fitness Tracker May Be Overestimating Your Calorie Burn By 23 Percent

But let's talk bread and butter, other specifics and functionality. The watch constantly tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and floors climbed just like previous models, and does so really well. What I was most interested in, though, was how it handled an outdoor run. There's no doubting that the watch stands up to the competition when it comes to pairing time with GPS satellites (roughly 15 to 30 seconds). As running progresses, you can check heart rate, calories, pace, average page, steps, total distance, and the total activity time. And when you're done, it's super simple to navigate all of the date from your workout on the Fitbit mobile app. 

As for distance measured, I've never tried two watches that gave me the same readings. However, this distance count's pretty on point with the Nike+ Sportwatch I've used regularly for a few months now (and dramatically more accurate than any app-based tracking such as MapMyRun or Nike+ when used without a watch/chip pairing). It also paired well on the "Treadmill Run" setting. Granted, new users will need to configure their stride length to get accurate readings. (Find out how to calculate your stride length, here.) 

The coolest thing this watch offers (tied with the ability to read text messages on the watch face) is the heart rate monitor, hands down. DIY interval training has never been easier, with the heart rate monitor enabling the user to gauge different cardio zones with one simple tap. When paired with your mobile device, users can see real-time tracking, and compare resting heart rate over time. So now, aside from aiming for those 10,000+ steps per day, the user can also see exactly how an upper level in activity can affect resting heart rate. 

So the question: Do I recommend it? If you're a Fitbit user who's down with wearing a bigger model 24/7, for sure. It's cool to have all the functionality of my classic Flex with that extra oomph. Looking for a performance-based GPS watch in a world dominated by Garmin, Tom Tom, and Nike? Fitbit's a contender, for sure. I'm interested to see what grows from here.

What else we love:
• 7 days of battery life
• Available in three colors: black, tangerine, blue
• Available in three sizes: small, large, extra large
• Multi-sport modes to record cross-training, running, and cardio workouts

The Details: Fitbit Surge, $249.95, fitbit.com

UP NEXT: How to Find The Right Activity Tracker for You

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Emily Abbate
The Health-Boosting Benefit to Involving Friends in Your Fitness http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/22/health-boosting-benefit-involving-friends-your-fitness Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/22/health-boosting-benefit-involving-friends-your-fitness Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:41:59 -0500 Fitbie
Couple Running

Whether you're getting out of bed for that morning HIIT class or simply heading out for a 3-miler, working out with a friend can be a total game-changer. Aside from helping you stay accountable, new research reveals that enjoying fitness with friends can also help reduce the risk of stroke, depression, heart disease, and other life-threatening conditions. The specific fitness researchers followed? Group walks

According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, those who took regular group walks had lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and resting heart rate. Of the 1,843 study participants spanning 14 countries, 74,000 hours of group walking occured. And the findings? Overall, participants experienced improvements in lung power, overall physical functioning, general fitness, and they were less depressed than before they started walking regularly.

More from Fitbie: Another Reason to Take a Walking Break

"People who walk in groups also tend to have a more positive attitude toward physical activity, a shared experience of wellness, and say they feel less lonely and isolated,” said co-author of the study, Sarah Hanson of the University of East Anglia. “Taking regular walks can also be a catalyst for adopting other healthy behaviors.”

Want to reap the benefits of exercising with others? Here are three ways you can get social with your sweat sessions:

1. Try a CrossFit class. Like other group-focused fitness regimens, CrossFit is a great way to workout with others. Besides the group dynamic and cardiovascular benefits, you’ll have fun and make new friends while you’re at it! CrossFit breeds community, says Will Lanier, general manager and head coach at Brick New York. “Whether you like it or not, the minute you step into a CrossFit box, you're family,” shares Lanier. “The community is what drew me into CrossFit almost five years ago and it’s what keeps me coming back every single day.”

2. Workout with your partner. Looking for some new date night ideas that don’t involve dinner and movie? Turn up the heat, literally -- by sweating with your significant other. A  recent study found that people are more successful in adapting healthy habits if their partner commits to making these positive changes too.

3. Join a fitness meetup. Your fitness interests might run the gamut of rock climbing and kayaking to dodge ball or adult gymnastics. If this sounds like you, then a fitness meetup is calling your name. Check out fitness.meetup.com to connect with local individuals that are interested in the same activities as you. 

UP NEXT: The Best New Group Workouts

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Fitbie Find: Carrington Farms Flax Chia Paks http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/20/fitbie-find-carrington-farms-flax-chia-paks Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/20/fitbie-find-carrington-farms-flax-chia-paks Tue, 20 Jan 2015 13:23:50 -0500 Fitbie
chia flax paks

Chia is the new flax (#nutritionnerd), and with good reason: Not only do chia seeds offer higher levels of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, but a single ounce packs 11 grams of fiber -- roughly half the daily recommended amount! Combine that impressive stat with the fact that chia seeds are also super hydrophilic (absorbing up to 12 times their weight in water in just 10 minutes), and you have an excellent reason to keep them in the rotation: They'll fill you up without filling you out. 

More from Fitbie: 18 Healthy Ways to Eat Chia Seeds 

But like I always say, why stick with one super seed when you can reap the benefits of two in one shot? (I've never said that before.) Carrington Farms' new Flax Chia Paks, today's #fitbiefind, combine the nutritional merits of flaxseeds and chia seeds into convenient packets, perfect for getting extra nutrients away from home. 

You can add 'em to oatmeal, smoothies (my move, since it makes them thicker), yogurt, or any other food that could use a boost of fiber and healthy fats. What else we love:

• No refrigeration necessary

• 50 calories and 3 grams of fiber per pack

The details: Carrington Farms Flax Chia Paks, $7.99 for box of 12, carringtonfarms.com 

UP NEXT: How to Blend the Perfect Smoothie

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Cathryne Keller
52 Thoughts You Have on Winter Runs http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/20/thoughts-you-have-winter-runs Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/20/thoughts-you-have-winter-runs Tue, 20 Jan 2015 10:30:16 -0500 Fitbie
Macaulay Culkin

There are a two different types of runners: the kind that don't dare go running the second December hits for fear of hypothermia, and those that brave the chill despite sub-32° mornings. First things first: Kudos to you for finding the motivation to stride in less-than-stellar conditions. Now, while we can't stress enough the importance of safety during your winter runs, we can totally appreciate your decision to brave the elements. Thus, we present you with 52 thoughts you have running in the winter.

1. Am I really going to get up and do this right now?
2. Base layer. I need a base layer.
3. Where is my damn ear warmer?
4. If I don't drink wine tonight, do I need to do this run?
5. I should've washed this after my last run.
6. How the hell did my headphones get this tangled?

7. Will fingerless gloves be warm enough?
8. I really need to update this playlist.
9. Where is my debit card? 
10. Are leg warmers socially acceptable to wear outside?
11. None of this matches.
12. These effin' headphones.
13. Four miles or six miles?

More from Fitbie: A Beginner's Guide to Running Shoes

14. Do I need more layers?
15. I look like a massive marshmallow and not in the least bit attractive.
16. Gu. I need Gu. 
17. Holy HELL, it's cold out here.

18. Maybe I should just run to the gym.
19. ... or maybe I should go back inside.
20. I'm not waiting for this watch to calibrate.
21. HOW are you out here in shorts, man?
22. If only you could pay other people to workout for you.
23. I'm out of my mind.
24. Of COURSE these touch screen gloves don't want to work now. 
25. The sooner I pick up this pace, the warmer I'll be.
26. Six miles. I can do this.
27. My nose. My nose. My NOSE.
28. Can't. Breathe.
29. I have to pee. No, I don't. Do I? I should've peed.
30. HOLY ZOMGAEIRHGIH WIND.

31. Keep. Moving. Keep. Moving.
32. There's no way in hell I'm taking these layers off to pee.
33. I said uptown funk you up, uptown funk you up
34. Alright, this isn't so bad.
35. HOT, I'm feeling HOT. 

More from Fitbie: 80 Thoughts Every Woman Has While Running a Half-Marathon

36. It hasn't rained in days, where does this ice even come from? 
37. Oh, she has a much cuter [cold weather jacket, flexi chute, running leggings] than I do.
38. Coffee or macchiato, post-run?
39. No. Ramen. Need to find ramen.
40. Am I hurting my lungs by being out here?
41. My thighs feel numb.  
42. Is this what a penguin feels like?

43. Should I register for [a 5K, half-marathon, marathon]?
44. This is going to be the best shower of my life. 
45. Wind tunnel. This is a wind tunnel. 
46. Maybe I shouldn't be so focused on food.
47. What is it that I needed to get done today?
48. Maybe if I grab onto my thumbs now, I'll get some feeling back.
49. I really wish this water fountain was still working. 
50. Snot. Won't stop. Snotting.
51. I wonder if these gloves are machine-washable?
52. DONE. Man, I'm amazing. 

UP NEXT: What It's Really Like Working Out With Big Boobs (PHOTOS)

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Emily Abbate
Fitbie Find: Athleta Spacedye Seamless Jacket http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/17/fitbie-find-athleta-spacedye-seamless-jacket Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/17/fitbie-find-athleta-spacedye-seamless-jacket Sat, 17 Jan 2015 10:00:08 -0500 Fitbie
athleta jacket

It's cold out there. Really cold. Which means now more than ever, your workout wardrobe deserves a much-needed upgrade to keep you warm and toasty when it comes to those chillier sweat sessions. Enter this week's #SaturdaySaver, the Spacedye Seamless Jacket from Athleta. Say goodbye to the shivers, and hello to the perfect, insulated run.

With a full-zip front, raglan sleeves for easy movement, and knit-in ventilation that lets sweat escape, the Spacedye Seamless Jacket is the perfect piece for that early workout. Also, it's unstinkable, which means that you can wear it more and wash it less. Oh, and there's thumbholes. Which is clearly a bonus, since "I don't like thumbholes," said no one ever.

Was: $98
Now: $48.99
Buy: athleta.gap.com

UP NEXT: Cold Weather Workout Tips That'll Keep You Safe (and Warm!)

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Emily Abbate
The Cardio Benefits of Yoga http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/16/cardio-benefits-yoga Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/16/cardio-benefits-yoga Fri, 16 Jan 2015 10:00:39 -0500 Fitbie
Woman doing yoga

This post was originally published by Michael Easter for Men's Health.

Should you be doing sun salutations more often? Yoga may protect you from heart disease just as much as jogging and cycling, according to a study in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology.  

The researchers looked at over 30 studies on yoga and heart health. The science indicates that people who do yoga reduce their risk of heart disease just as much as people who do traditional forms of cardio, says Myriam Hunink, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author. Indeed, both forms of exercise are shown to significantly decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and resting heart rate. Meanwhile, the studies showed that people who don't work out experience—perhaps not surprisingly -- an elevated risk of ticker disease. 

More from Men's Health: 5 Ways Sitting All Day Messes With Your Health

"We think yoga is beneficial to your heart because it combines exercise and relaxation," says Hunink. That mind-body relaxation element might also make yoga better at reducing stress and anxiety compared to other fitness activities. 

But many guys avoid yoga because they think it won't give them as much of a burn in what precious time they have for sweat sessions, says Craig Ballantyne, creator of Turbulence Training. While yoga may not burn as many calories -- the Mayo Clinic estimates that it expends just 228 calories in an hour while lifting and running use up 455 and 755, respectively -- the activity still has a critical place in the routine of any fitness fanatic. 

"Yoga helps your body recover after a tough training session and improves your flexibility and mobility. That leads to faster gains, and better form and athleticism," says Ballantyne. "It also makes you stronger. Yoga -- especially Vinyasa yoga -- is a tough core and isometric strength challenge. Replacing boring planks with yoga moves works your abs to a greater extent." And holding most yoga moves for time gives you a great pump, which can make you buffer. (To find out why, read How a Good "Muscle Pump" Can Build Your Biceps.) 

More from Men's Health: The Absolute Best Way to Relax Tonight

Ballantyne says you should add 10 to15 minutes of yoga onto the end of a tough training session as a cool down, or do longer sessions of it on your non-lifting days. If you exercise four total hours a week, here's what a perfect, abs-shredding program might look like:

Monday: Do 30 minutes of metabolic weight-based circuits, followed by 15 minutes of yoga

Tuesday: Rest.

Wednesday: Do 30-45 minutes of weight-based circuits, such as The Spartacus Workout

Thursday: Rest.

Friday: Do 30-45 minutes of metabolic weight-based circuits.

Saturday: Do 45 to 90 minutes of yoga—preferably at a class with a lot of girls and a good instructor, says Ballantyne. 

Sunday: Rest. 

More from Fitbie:

5 Stress-Reducing Yoga Poses

3 Yoga Poses for Perfect Posture

11 Surprising Perks of Practicing Yoga

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The Workout Playlist That'll Help You Better Your Best (LISTEN) http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/16/workout-playlist-thatll-help-you-better-your-best-listen Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/16/workout-playlist-thatll-help-you-better-your-best-listen Fri, 16 Jan 2015 10:00:38 -0500 Fitbie
Mile High Run Club

Every week Fitbie features rad playlists from rad fitness instructors. This week Lucas Lombardo, coach at the Mile High Run Club, shares his with us. 

"The beautiful thing about music is that it helps people break free of their anxiety that holds them back," says Lombardo. "Music has the unique ability to help us break free of our self doubts that ultimately impact our ability to truly trust our body. Finding the right song or the right beat can have a powerful effect on our ability to simply be present in the moment and realize that our body is truly stronger than our mind often gives it credit for."

UP NEXT: The Emotional Playlist That'll Help You Slay Your Workout (LISTEN)

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Emily Abbate
'Biggest Loser' Trainer Bob Harper's Top Tips for Getting in Shape http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/15/biggest-loser-trainer-bob-harpers-top-tips-getting-shape Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/15/biggest-loser-trainer-bob-harpers-top-tips-getting-shape Thu, 22 Jan 2015 09:31:48 -0500 Fitbie
Bob Harper

Like his former The Biggest Loser co-star Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper knows what it takes to make a total-body transformation. His tough yet tender approach has helped the 49-year-old trainer (who doesn't look a day over 39, I might add) take hundreds of the hit reality show's contestants from flabby to fit in a matter of months. And now, thanks to his latest venture with The Daily Burn, anyone can sweat with Bob.

More from Fitbie: Jillian Michaels' 5 Must-Follow Rules for Weight Loss

He recently collaborated with the on-demand nutrition and fitness site to create Black Fire -- a diet and workout program that uses high-intensity training to help subscribers get stronger and leaner in 60 days (and it works, if my sore triceps are any indication).

After he tried to kill -- err, train-- me at a Black Fire launch event at Crossfit Solace in NYC yesterday, I sat down with the tattooed Tennesseean to get his best tips for getting lean and eating clean. Listen in:

Don't go too hard, too fast.
"What I would say to people starting out is -- it's all about looking at the big picture," says Harper. "If you're getting in three days a week in the beginning, or maybe every other day, you're going to be making good progress." Once you've settled into a steady sweat routine, though, it's time to kick it up a notch: "Eventually I would want you working out five or six days a week," he says.

Beware of cardio overkill.
"There's a time and a place," says Harper. "I would never tell you I don't want you to do your Soul Cycle class -- I do it about once a week -- but working out at a higher intensity for a shorter amount of time is what really fires up your metabolism, and it's also made my knees and joints stronger. Plus, too many miles logged can be hard on your body. "I've seen studies showing that endurance cardio, like running, can accelerate the aging process -- and who wants that?"

Set manageable fitness goals.
"Some people start off their New Year's resolutions biting off more than they can chew -- they're trying to do too much," he says. "If you give yourself goals that you know you're going to be able to reach, you're more likely to keep going -- that's what I do."

More from Fitbie: How to Think Like a Winner to Reach Your Goals

Don't fear fruit. 
Some experts say fruit is not your friend when it comes to weight loss, but Harper thinks it has a place on your plate: "I will never tell you not to eat fruit, because that makes no sense," he says. "However, I don't want you overloading on fruit, or snacking on it later in the day when you don't have time to burn it off. It's hard -- I know! Some nights I've been so hungry, and I'm just, like, 'I just want an apple -- an apple is good for me!'"

Be patient with your tastebuds.
"When it comes to diet, people are always like, 'I'm bored with this. I wish my food was more exciting,'" says Harper. "You know why? Because if you go from eating pizza and ice cream to eating sensibly and eating clean, it's going to be an adjustment. I get it. I love nachos -- I wish I could eat nachos every single day." His best advice for getting through the boredom: Have patience, and add flavor with herbs and spices. 

Savor your indulgences.
"I don't believe in cheat days as much as I believe in a cheat meal," says Harper. "If you're living the way I want you to live 80 percent of the time, for the other 20 percent you can have those nachos. But don't let it be a whole day -- let it be one meal a week. And have FUN with that one meal -- make it count!" (You don't have to tell us twice!)

UP NEXT: A Q&A With the Tone It Up Girls

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Cathryne Keller
Fitbie Find: Icebreaker Merino Flexi Chute http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/15/fitbie-find-icebreaker-merino-flexi-chute Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/15/fitbie-find-icebreaker-merino-flexi-chute Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:31:00 -0500 Fitbie
Icebreaker Flexi Chute

Winter fitness isn't for the faint at heart. If the initial cool blast doesn't get ya, it's super difficult to regulate your body temperature once the sweating really starts. That's why it's critical to cover all of your extremities, including your neck. Sure, it's easy to throw on a cozy hate and gloves, but most scarves aren't exactly fitness friendly. That's where this week's #FitbieFind comes in, the Flexi Chute from Icebreaker Merino.

More from Fitbie: A Beginner's Guide to Running Shoes

A base layer for your neck, the Flexi Chute is made from super lightweight fabric, which is a nice change from the chunky scarves many of us wear to and from errands in the winter months. Still, it keeps the area super warm without extra added weight, making it perfect for a chilly morning run or a trip down the slopes. Perhaps our favorite part? It's machine washable, which is an essential. That last thing anyone wants is stinky outerwear. The catch: Make sure to lay flat to dry, not machine dry.

What else we love:
• 6 fun colors
• Non-itch

The Details: Icebreaker Merino Flexi Cute, $24.99, icebreaker.com

UP NEXT:Cold Weather Workout Tips That'll Keep You Safe (and Warm!)

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Emily Abbate
5 Free Apps That Make Losing Weight Easier http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/14/free-apps-make-losing-weight-easier Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/14/free-apps-make-losing-weight-easier Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:27:17 -0500 Fitbie
woman running staring at iPhone

By now, everyone knows that having a workout buddy can boost your ability to stick to your get-fit plan. But what if your friends are less focused on that new year, new you mentality? Good news: It turns out that a sim-buddy can be an effective alternative when your galpals are more Happy Hour-centric. 

According to recent research from Tulane University, new mobile apps take fitness tracking to the next level by offering daily text messages or videos to keep your fitness plan top of mind. And researchers say that people who use these interactive tools actually lose more weight than those who don’t. 

More from Fitbie: Your Fitness Tracker May Be Overestimating Your Calorie Burn By 23 Percent 

Ready to take the plunge? Here are five of our fave fitness-friendly apps to get you started:

1. Fitbit
What we love: It’s the Fitbit app we’ve come to depend on, souped up with some interactive features like new challenges to drive motivation and friendly competition, and improved friend-finding features. More than just tracking your steps, the Fitbit app allows you to log your food intake and other activities, too. 

2. Rise
What we love: Rise pairs you with a personal nutrition coach (all registered dieticians) who will customize a plan for you, help you set weekly goals, answer your questions, and keep you accountable.

3. Lark
What we love: Like other fitness trackers, Lark will log your activity, eating, and sleep data. But unlike others, Lark gathers some data by actually chatting with you via in-app texts. 

4. Vida Health Coach
What we love: Vida's life expert coaches have you covered on nutrition, health, fitness, and motivation -- and their weekly video check-ins will keep you on track.

5. Gain Fitness Cross Trainer
What we love: Gain's Cross Trainer app brings the specialties of bodybuilding, yoga, Pilates, interval training, CrossFit, and other experts right to you. Workout Mode coaches you through the exercises with voice commands from real trainers, and an upgrade to the Premium Pack (at $5 to $10) will bring you even more elite training advice.

UP NEXT: The Office-Friendly Workout You Can Do Without Feeling Like an Idiot

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The Office-Friendly Workout You Can Do Without Feeling Like An Idiot http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/14/office-friendly-workout-without-feeling-like-idiot Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/14/office-friendly-workout-without-feeling-like-idiot Tue, 20 Jan 2015 13:55:31 -0500 Fitbie
Woman sitting at her desk on an exercise ball

There's always a slump at some point of the workday when you need that pick-me-up. Sure, it's easy to gravitate toward snacking, but why not get your blood pumping, instead? A recent study found that lunchtime walks can drastically improve your workday by bettering "enthusiasm, relaxation, and nervousness," which goes a long way for an employee's productivity. If slipping away from the desk isn't as easy a task, have no fear -- there’s always a way to use your office as a workout. 

"Since most of your waking hours are probably spent at your desk, it’s important to sneak in any kind of physical activity while at work," says Liz Barnet, NYC-based CPT and instructor at Uplift Studios and SLT. "The increased blood flow could help prevent low back pain and hip flexor tightness from continued periods of sitting."

Barnet stresses how easy it is to get a workout in the comfort of your own cubicle. Check out her five office-friendly moves for a more active work day

1. Squat to chair
"Sitting is considered the new smoking in terms of possible negative health consequences,” says Barnet. Her suggestion? Take advantage of your chair and incorporate it into some basic squats. 

For beginners, start with a sturdy chair, potentially with arm rests. Start with your feet shoulder distance apart, sit your hips back until your backside touches the chair, and push through your heels to stand up. You can reach your arms out in front of you (or even touch your desk) as a counter balance, or put your hands behind your head for a challenge. Aim for 20 reps, three sets. 

More from Fitbie: The Squat, Supercharged

2. Desk pushups
While you may not want to drop down in your suit or high heels to churn out 20 push-ups, your desk serves as a perfect prop to make them accessible and acceptable. Place your hands on the edge of your desk, slightly wider than shoulder distance apart. Angle your body in a straight line from head to toe. Bend elbows out to the sides as you lower your chest toward the desk, and be sure to exhale and engage your core as you straighten your arms. 

Work up to 10 to 20 in a row, three sets.

3. Single Leg Lunge 
Your desk chair could also be an excellent lower body prop with these single leg lunges. In order to get more comfortable with the balance required in this exercise, start standing with your hands on your hips and feet together. Take one leg back and flex your foot onto your desk chair. Focus on tucking your tailbone, leaning slightly forward and contracting your core. Simply lunge towards the ground and back up to standing. 

Aim 12 reps, three sets.

4. Upper back and shoulder strengtheners
Sit up tall and extend your arms out in front of you at shoulder height but slightly to the side, in a V shape. Practice lifting your arms up overhead and back to shoulder height (like in a Y shape), then from shoulder height open them outward (like in a T shape). 

From the overhead position and the shoulder height position, bend and extend your elbows like you are pulling down from overhead and pulling back horizontally. 

Complete 10 reps of each of the four movements, all in a row, two sets.

5. Seated Pelvic Tucks
The key to performing a pelvic tuck is all about your posture. Bring your pelvis into a balanced position by aligning your pubic bone directly under the hip bones. In a neutral spine your back should feel completely released, abs and pelvic floor are still engaged. From here, less is more. 
Starting with your neutral position -- exhale and pull abs in and up while lifting through the pelvic floor. You will feel a very slight tipping up of the pubic bone with lower abdominal engagement. Lengthen your spine, reaching tailbone away from the crown of  head and firmly press your feet through the floor. 
Aim for 20 reps, three sets.

UP NEXT: Tips for a Better Walking Workout

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Jillian Michaels' 5 Must-Follow Rules for Weight Loss http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/13/jillian-michaels-must-follow-rules-weight-loss Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/13/jillian-michaels-must-follow-rules-weight-loss Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:38:07 -0500 Fitbie
Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels is kind of a big deal. OK, understatement of the century. The 40-year-old mother of two, best known for her stint on the hit NBC show The Biggest Loser, is a pint-sized powerhouse. A Jack of all trades, if you will. Aside from taking care of too-cute son Phoenix and daughter Lukensia with partner Heidi Rhoades, she's also an author, entrepreneur, the queen of at-home workout DVDs, and manages to upkeep that killer physique.

I recently had a chance to sit down and work out with Michaels (and her flawless skin) at an event promoting her new workout for Curves, featuring strength training machines in conjunction with functional bodyweight-based exercises all in a 30-minute circuit. I'll be honest, I've heard that in-person, she's kind of a hard ass. But then again, when most of us normal-folk are accustomed to watching the 5-foot-3 powerhouse yell directly in the face of drastically overweight people on prime time television, well, that kind of "rumor" doesn't seem all that farfetched.

More from Fitbie: 'Biggest Loser' Weight Loss Through the Years

The truth? She's an all-business, knowledgeable ... softie. She looks you straight in the eye. She's genuine. She wants the best for not only her clients but for anyone that'll listen. And while I could dispense such critical facts to the world like what Michaels had for breakfast that day (a yogurt with half an English muffin) or what her go-to workouts are (Flywheel, anyone?) -- what I found most interesting was her advice for people just beginning their wellness journey. Those with a lot to lose, and everything to gain. 

Read on for Michaels' 5 must-follow rules for weight loss. Oh, and for the record, she made me squat lower than I've ever squatted before. 

1. Establish a why, a lasting source of internal intrinsic, permanent motivation. "What that means is don't just say 'I want to be healthy,' and make sweeping generalizations. Identify the ways in which the quality of your life will improve and form an emotional attachment to them. What does healthy look like to you? Is it running triathlons with your 20-year-old? Is it having sex with the lights on? Is it wearing a two-piece at your beach vacation? IS it going to the prom? No matter what your age, what your goal is, there's nothing too profound or superficial as long as it's important to you ... Work with purpose is passion, work without purpose is punishment. That's critical."

2. Get informed. "Action with the wrong information is destructive in your life. Action that's informed is going to yield powerful and positive changes, but people do these dramatic cleanses and all of this stuff that damages their metabolic rate that is completely not sustainable that gives them no way of life moving forward in the long run, and I would just say simple is best. Weight loss is actually very simple. Easy? No. Simple, yes. It doesn't need to be complicated. 

3. Count calories. "Period. Sorry, but no matter what anyone tells you, a calorie is a unit of energy and if you eat too much energy, you'll store it as fat. Fat is stored energy. I've been very successful. I've taken hundreds of thousands of pounds off of thousands of people counting calories.

4. Moderation. "The body can consume sugar. It can consume these things in moderation, meaning don't let more than 20 percent of your daily calorie allowance come from a piece of pizza, French fries, a brownie. Up to 20 percent, and you'll be fine. That's balance."

5. Don't be fake. "What you should avoid is fake colors, fake sweeteners, fake fats, silicone, propylene glycol, bleach -- this is what's going to damage your biochemistry, subsequently your overall health. With an approach like that, you're fine."

UP NEXT: Jillian Michaels' 4 Tips to Boost Metabolism

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Emily Abbate
Fitbie Find: Camelbak Podium Big Chill Water Bottle http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/13/fitbie-find-camelbak-podium-big-chill-water-bottle Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/13/fitbie-find-camelbak-podium-big-chill-water-bottle Tue, 13 Jan 2015 16:18:00 -0500 Fitbie
CamelBak

Working at a food and fitness site, a lot of water bottles cross my desk -- and are currently on my desk -- so when I find myself going back to the same one over and over again, I know I've found a winner.

More from Fitbie: Drinking 10 Cups of Water a Day Is Really Hard (and Totally Worth It)

For the past few months the Camelbak Podium Big Chill, today's #fitbiefind, has been my go-to on-the-go water bottle. It's really light and has a lockable spout, which makes it perfect for toting to the gym and traveling. In fact, a recent trip home for the holidays is what solidified its superiority in my eyes. 

My mom's a nurse, and I lent her my trusty bottle to take to work one day when she couldn't find hers. She didn't want to give it back! When she mentioned how much she loved that her water stayed super cold all day and didn't "sweat" all over her papers, I realized how awesome this bottle really is (and bought her one for Christmas, of course).  

If you like your H20 cold and/or you're always on the move, this is the water bottle for you.

What else we love:  

• Large 25-ounce capacity

• Available in a variety of colors

• Double-wall construction keeps water colder, longer

• BPA-Free 

The details: CamelBak Podium Big Chill water bottle, $15.00, camelbak.com

UP NEXT: 8 Gym Bag Essentials That Make Life Easier

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Cathryne Keller
How Kate Hudson Got Her Red Carpet-Ready Body (PHOTO) http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/12/how-kate-hudson-got-her-red-carpet-ready-body-photo Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/12/how-kate-hudson-got-her-red-carpet-ready-body-photo Mon, 12 Jan 2015 12:08:37 -0500 Fitbie
Kate Hudson

Holy. Wow. Sure, there were loads of highlights to the 2015 Golden Globes. (Our personal favorite being George Clooney's proclamation of his love for new wife Amal Alamuddin while accepting his lifetime achievement award.) However, our attention's all on Kate Hudson. When the Fabletics mastermind hit the red carpet, our jaws literally dropped.

Donning a white Versace gown complete with a plunging neckline, open back, and side panel cutouts, to say that Hudson blew the fashion competition out of the water is an understatement. While the mother of two (yes, of two) completed the look with a chic updo, we can't help but say that her toned abs are what really complemented the outfit. And hello, did you SEE her backside?

The question on everyone's minds: How DOES she look like that? Hudson spilled on her ab routine to Women's Health last year, saying that she doesn't exactly have a favorite workout, but she definitely spends time on them.

More from Fitbie: Keri Walsh Jennings' 5 Insanely Helpful Workout Tips for Beginners

"Abs are nobody's favorite. Maybe some people, but not me," said Hudson. "I would say the ab workout that I love cause I hate it so much, is Pilates. It's the ab [exercise] where you bring in your legs up and your arms back and hold it and bring them back in again." 

As for the rest of her body, Hudson told The Zoe Report that her overall fit routine involves "everything!" She continued "I try to be active six days a week. My rule is to try and break a sweat six days a week, whether through an intense workout or running around with the kids. I just try to break a sweat."

Want to move more but don't know the first place to get started? We've got you covered. Check out these beginner-friendly workouts

A Beginner's Guide to TRX Suspension Training

10 Interval Training Workouts That Melt Fat

Beginner's Guide to Running for Weight Loss

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Emily Abbate
Fitbie Find: C9 By Champion Molded Cup Sports Bra with Mesh http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/10/fitbie-find-c9-champion-molded-cup-sports-bra-mesh Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/10/fitbie-find-c9-champion-molded-cup-sports-bra-mesh Sat, 10 Jan 2015 10:00:11 -0500 Fitbie
C9 by Champion

There are few things most women can agree on, but one of them is the importance of a good sports bra. Now typically, awesome support comes with an awesome (read: high) price tag, but not with this week's #SaturdaySaver, the C9 by Champion Medium Support Molded Cup Sports Bra with Mesh

With molded cups and a racer back design featuring a back hook, the bra offers loads of support without the heavy price tag. Plus, the moisture wicking, stretch fabric is perfect for even your most intense workouts.

Was: $19.99
Now: $10
Buy: target.com

UP NEXT: What It's Really Like Working Out With Big Boobs

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Emily Abbate
The Best and Worst Diets of 2015 http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/09/best-and-worst-diets-2015 Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/09/best-and-worst-diets-2015 Fri, 09 Jan 2015 15:59:02 -0500 Fitbie
woman with cereal

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet. The reality: Whatever method helped your coworker shed 15 pounds in two months might do nothing more for you than make you hangry, and no one wants that. Not sure what diet's the best for you? To help consumers sort through the options, U.S. News and World Report has just released their list of 2015's best and worst diets. Reviewing 35 diets in eight different categories, the results of this year's survey may just surprise you.

More from Fitbie: Which Fad Diet is Best for Weight Loss? 

Topping the competition in the Best Diet Overall field? DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), a fifth-time winner in the category, while the Paleo diet came in dead last. The DASH diet, originally designed to help reduce high blood pressure, tfocuses on traditionally good-for-you foods like lean protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies, while limiting known enemies such as sweets, salt and red meat. As for Paleo, the diet centers on eating what our long-long-ago ancestors allegedly once vegged on themselves: animal protein and greens. Translation? Nothing processed. Dairy is out, as well as grains and refinded sugar. 

Chef Andrew Dole, RDN, culinary instructor at The Art Institute of Colorado and owner of BodyFuelSPN, isn't surprised that DASH took first place. 

"I’m not surprised at all the DASH diet won," says Dole. DASH, he says, is a good choice because nothing is eliminated completely. "It offers the ability to eat flexibily -- a little bit of everything in moderation. You can eat dessert if you want dessert. There’s nothing wrong with it."

More from Fitbie: The Best Apps to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions 

As for the Paleo diet, Dole says that it "relies too heavily on saturated fat," and is “setting you up for deficiency,” as it eliminates grains completely, which carry important nutrients such as foliac acids.

So how do you choose which plan is really right for you? "Know where you’re starting, so you know where you're going," Dole advises those who are seeking a new diet plan. "Diets aren’t persistent, but a lifestyle is. Find something you think you can stick with forever."

Interested to see where some other popular diets landed on the list? Check out the top three contenders in each of the categories, here:

Best Diets Overall
1. DASH Diet
2. TLC Diet
3. Mayo Clinic Diet

Best Weight Loss Diets
1. Weight Watchers
2. HMR Diet
3. Biggest Loser Diet

Best Diabetes Diets
1. Biggest Loser Diet (tied for first place)
1. DASH Diet (tied for first place)
3. Engine 2 Diet

Best Heart-Healthy Diets
1. Ornish Diet
2. TLC Diet
3. DASH Diet

Best Commerical Diet Plans
1. Weight Watchers
2. Jenny Craig
3. Biggest Loser Diet

Best Diets for Healthy Eating
1. DASH Diet
2. TLC Diet
3. Mediterranean Diet

Easiest Diets to Follow
1. Weight Watchers
2. Jenny Craig
3. Flexitarian Diet

Best Plant-Based Diets
1. Mediterranean Diet
2. Flexitarian Diet
3. Ornish Diet

UP NEXT: 3 Ways to Make Healthy Eating Easier

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The Workout Playlist That'll Get Your Toes Tappin' (LISTEN) http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/09/workout-playlist-thatll-get-your-toes-tappin-listen Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/09/workout-playlist-thatll-get-your-toes-tappin-listen Fri, 09 Jan 2015 12:42:01 -0500 Fitbie
Woman listening to music

Every week Fitbie features rad playlists from rad fitness instructors. This week Jaime McFaden, trainer for grokker.com, shares hers with us. 

"I love a mix of music and my taste ranges from hip hop to underground alternative and world music," says McFaden. "My tastes are all over the map when I'm working out. I like songs with a good beat and catchy tune so I can even sing/dance along. Music helps me drastically to get through tough work outs."

UP NEXT: The Emotional Playlist That'll Help You Slay Your Workout (LISTEN)

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Emily Abbate
The Post-Workout Recovery Beverage You Should Be Drinking http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/08/post-workout-recovery-beverage-you-should-be-drinking Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/08/post-workout-recovery-beverage-you-should-be-drinking Thu, 08 Jan 2015 17:35:28 -0500 Fitbie
Woman drinking milk

If your go-to recovery drink post workout is a fancy protein shake or fortified water, you might be missing out on the best hydrator around. Odds are it's probably already in your fridge.

A recent study in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that milk (yes, the kind you put in your morning java) helped those who had just completed a grueling workout to retain fluid. Yup, milk is an excellent post-workout beverage. Findings showed that the same goes for milk alternatives as well. 

More from Fitbie: The Best Cereals for Exercise and Recovery

In a test of 15 men, who went through four rounds of cycling on separate days,  researchers found that cow's milk, soy milk, a milk-based meal supplement, and Powerade had one thing in common: None of them made the participants more thirsty. When it came to fluid retention, however, the milk-based meal supplement worked best, followed by all the other milk-based products. While Powerade aided the least with fluid retention, the sports drink was reportedly the most pleasant to drink and did not cause that too full feeling (a likely result of protein in milk).

Milk naturally provides nine essential vitamins and minerals, without any of the added artificial sweeteners, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It and Sonima nutrition expert. "Milk as a recovery beverage provides protein, potassium, and the right balance of carbs. The whey protein in milk contains an ideal balance of essential amino acids and may boost physical performance."

The process of exercise depletes glycogen, which is what muscles use for energy. Indulging in milk as a post-workout meal replenishes glycogen stores and encourages protein building, shares Taub-Dix. When compared: one cup of skim milk has only 80 calories and provides 8 grams of protein, while most sports drinks are high in sugar, despite boasting a bounty of electrolytes.

"Without proper recovery beverages, one could experience fatigue, dehydration and prolonged muscle soreness," she notes. "And upon future workouts, there could be a lack of increased strength and endurance."

UP NEXT: Rest Right: The Best Way to Perform Recovery Intervals

 

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Forget Apples: Why You Should Be Eating an Avocado A Day http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/08/forget-apples-why-you-should-be-eating-avocado-day Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/08/forget-apples-why-you-should-be-eating-avocado-day Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:16:18 -0500 Fitbie
Avocado

Today is a good day for avocado aficionados. The American Heart Association put its stamp of approval on the beloved fruit with its latest study, which showed that people on a moderate-fat diet who ate an avocado every day had lower amounts of bad cholesterol (LDL) than those on a similar diet sans avocados. Also, the avocado eaters showed healthier amounts of cholesterol than those on diets with lower total fat contents.

In addition to keeping bad cholesterol at bay, researchers found that adding avocados into daily menus also lowered total cholesterol more effectively than the two other cholesterol-lowering diets studied. The benefits don’t end there, either. Avocados are a great source of lutein, an antioxidant that may protect vision, contain about 4 grams of protein, boast more potassium than bananas, and clock in at about 11 grams of fiber. 

Ready to join the green scene? Here are 10 healthy avocado recipes to get you started:

1. Citrus Avocado Dip from Kitchen Konfidence

2. Avocado Cup Salads, Two Ways from Smitten Kitchen

3. Avocado Toast with a Kick from Cupcakes and Cashmere

4. California Chicken, Veggie, Avocado and Rice Bowls from Half Baked Harvest 

5. Chicken Avocado Pizza from The Pioneer Woman

6. Grilled Caprese Toast with Burrata Cheese and Grilled Avocados from Half Baked Harvest

7. Easy Lentil Tacos from Kath Eats Real Food

8. Autumn Avocado Toast from How Sweet Eats

9. Grilled Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing from For the Love of Cooking

10. ALT: Avocado, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich from Simply Recipes

UP NEXT: 7 Delicious Avocado Recipes (That Aren't Guacamole!) 

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Fitbie Find: SKLZ AccuBall http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/08/fitbie-find-sklz-accuball Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/08/fitbie-find-sklz-accuball Fri, 09 Jan 2015 09:50:19 -0500 Fitbie
Sklz Accuball

It's about time you kept the tennis and lacrosse balls for tennis and lacrosse. You've been there, right? You have tension or a sore point in your back, leg, or foot and immediately grab an dingy tennis ball you've had sitting in the closet for a solid 12 years. Relieve that soreness more effectively with this week's #FitbieFind: The SKLZ AccuBall

The dual-density ball, perfect for massage and trigger point release, is perfect to roll out the hard to reach spots. Plus, it has a convertible dual yellow "knob" that works like your favorite massage therapists knuckles or elbows. Never rolled out a kink using a ball of this type? It's really just as easy as it sounds. Simply apply pressure between the body and the sore spot, and allow weight to hold over that spot to soften the ache. 

What else we love:
• Durable, non-slip surface 

The Details: SKLZ AccuBall, $19.99, shop.sklz.com

UP NEXT:Foam Rolling 101

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Emily Abbate
Core Fusion Barre Had My (Pregnant) Body Screaming -- In a Good Way http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/08/core-fusion-barre-had-my-pregnant-body-screaming-good-way Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/08/core-fusion-barre-had-my-pregnant-body-screaming-good-way Thu, 08 Jan 2015 12:48:43 -0500 Fitbie
barre

When I first heard about Exhale Spa’s Core Fusion Barre class, I had some idea of what I was in for -- the barre classes I've attended in the past were no joke. But this one had me on my toes in more ways than one.  

More from Fitbie: A Beginner's Guide to Barre

The core-centric, ballet-inspired fitness class works your entire body, focusing specifically on isolation exercises, alignment, flexibility, and posture. Let’s just say that by the end my arms and legs were Jell-O, so much so that I couldn't walk properly when I left the class!

The Gist: Exhale Spa has several locations across the U.S., including New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, and they offer both traditional yoga classes and Core Fusion classes -- full-body resistance-training workouts that center on core strength. Core Fusion Barre (one of eight Core Fusion classes offered) is 60 minutes of ballet-based targeted muscle movements, designed to tone you up from head to toe. While each class varies in specific exercises, the structure of the class is consistent, as is the equipment: You utilize weights (anywhere from two to five pounds, but don’t be fooled into thinking lighter weights mean an easier workout!), resistance bands, and medicine balls. 

The Experience: Our instructor took us through a warm-up routine that involved a series of stretches to loosen our muscles and get us prepped for the butt kicking -- err, toning -- that came next. The music quickly changed from mellow beats to fast-tempo tunes as we picked up our weights. I chose five pounds thinking that would be challenging, but doable. Well, it was doable (in that, I physically did it) but my arms were screaming halfway through the first set of moves. 

We went through a series of exercises involving bicep curls, tricep extensions, and push presses (among others), which you might be thinking don’t sound that bad, but think again! The most challenging part was the quick pulses that followed each set. By the time you're done with traditional tricep extensions, for example, your arms are already burnt out, but then you add the core focus as you rise up onto your toes (while holding the same position you’ve been in for what feels like an eternity) to quickly pulse 20 times. Yeah.

More from Fitbie: 5 Moves for Tighter Triceps (That Aren't Kickbacks or Dips)

Following the arm work, our instructor transitioned us over to the bar where the real fun began. Being up on your toes makes every toning move that much harder. I had beads of sweat running down my forehead as I focused on squeezing the medicine ball between my legs as we moved through sets of chair squats. Oh and don’t you worry, there were, of course, more pulses! This time at the bottom of the squat. Oof.

The class was rounded out with additional ab mat work (I say additional because your abs are engaged throughout the entire class) and then a series of cool-down stretches -- which was much-needed for my burning muscles.

My Take: I thoroughly enjoyed Core Fusion Barre! It not only worked all of my muscles, but it also focused on proper posture and alignment, which you don't see in most fitness classes. Full disclosure: I’m 5-months pregnant and my belly is starting to get in the way of certain exercises, but with this class I could do it all! It truly is a workout for all fitness levels, just be prepared for the soreness that’ll hit you the next day(s).

UP NEXT: Beginner CrossFit Class BX Had Me Seriously Sweating

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Tough Mudder Adds Tear Gas to Their 2015 Obstacle Course – Seriously. http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/07/tough-mudder-adds-tear-gas-their-2015-obstacle-course-seriously Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/07/tough-mudder-adds-tear-gas-their-2015-obstacle-course-seriously Wed, 07 Jan 2015 15:58:27 -0500 Fitbie
Tough Mudder

The first Tough Mudder race was held in 2010 in Allentown, Penn. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have braved the popular endurance event, completing a 10 to 12 mile-long military-style obstacle course (and having mud-filled Instagram photos to brag about their accomplishment for days to come). The events of the course? Most notably including obstacles including "Electric Eel" (participants slide on their stomachs through freezing water, mud, and ice while electric shocks hang overhead), "Walk the Plank" (a 15+ foot high jump from a platform into freezing water), and the "Boa Constrictor" (participants pass through narrow pipes and mud) -- for starters. But the masterminds behind the adrenaline-junkie's fave race are adding something new to their line-up: Tear gas.

More from Fitbie: The Must-Add Component to This Week's Workout 

Yup, a "safe" form of tear gas is hitting the course come 2015, although it is unknown which of the 50 events slated for this year will feature the obstacle, appropriately called "Cry Baby." A writer who tested the new feat out for Sports Illustrated compared his "Cry Baby"  experience to "the feeling of Sriracha [being] poured into every one of our tiny cuts and abrasions." So, there's that. 

Are there people that will love this stuff? Of course. Is it for us? Eh, maybe not without some sort of protective goggles. And armor. Tough Mudder is expected to announce other new additions to the race next week.

UP NEXT: 7 Fantastic All-Female Races

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Emily Abbate
The Must-Add Component to This Week's Workout http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/06/must-add-component-weeks-workout Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/06/must-add-component-weeks-workout Tue, 06 Jan 2015 17:14:20 -0500 Fitbie
weights at gym

It’s a cliche, but one that’s rooted in reality: after weeks of indulging (and maybe even overindulging) at holiday dinners and parties, January hits and suddenly the gym is a little busier than usual. The sign-up sheet for the elliptical is a little longer. The running paths in the park a little more crowded. Why’s that? Everyone’s racing to burn off those extra holiday pounds with cardio, cardio, cardio. But a new study shows that when it comes to managing waist circumference, weight training is actually more effective than aerobic activity.

More from Fitbie: The Strength Training Workout That Burns More Fat

Researchers found that adding in 20 minutes of weights every day was more effective at reducing waist circumference than adding in moderate to vigorous aerobic activity or other exercises.

Committing exclusively to cardio day-in and day-out won't yield the results you’re looking for, agrees Dr. Sean Wells, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS fitness expert at BistroMD. "The best way to see results is to change up your routine, shocking your body into working new muscle groups," says Wells. "Effectively rotating between cardio and resistance training is crucial if you are going to move forward."

Ready to hop off the hamster wheel for a change? Here are Dr. Wells’ tips for integrating weights into your cardio plan:

1. Try cardio intervals. “Break down your cardio into various time bouts of higher intensity and lower intensity,” he advises. And when you’re ready to incorporate resistance training, keep your reps on the low end to feel the burm.

2. Start slow. "Start small, and each week, increase your intensity or weight," says Dr. Wells. "Pushing yourself too hard, too quickly, can hinder your progress more than improve it."

3. Sandwich your cardio. Hit the weight room first, and get the most intense resistance training out of the way early, says Dr. Wells, then head for your dose of cardio. Finish up with easier exercises -- like bicep curls and extension exercises -- at the end of your workout.

UP NEXT:The 5 Best Strength Training Moves for Runners

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Fitbie Find: Vega All-In-One Nutritional Shake http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/06/fitbie-find-vega-all-one-nutritional-shake Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/06/fitbie-find-vega-all-one-nutritional-shake Tue, 06 Jan 2015 16:43:42 -0500 Fitbie
Protein shake

I'm pretty choosey when it comes to my protein powders. Can you blame a woman for wanting to drink something to refuel her stores that doesn't taste like chalk? Enter this week's #FitbieFind, the upgraded Vega One All-In-One Nutritional Shake. With only 160 calories (in the vanilla flavor) and an impressive 20 grams of protein per serving, you'd think it was too good to be true. Spoiler alert? It's not. Compared to others I've tried, it's creamier, even when made with simply 10 ounces of water in a blender. My favorite way to mix up the magic? With half of a frozen banana, a tablespoon of PB2, and 10 ounces of almond milk. 

Now I'll be honest: The vanilla flavor isn't my cup of tea, but to each their own. The chocolate? I could drink that for days.

What else we love: 
• 25 percent of your daily value of fiber
• 50 percent daily intake of food-based vitamins and minerals

The Details: Vega All-In-One Nutritional Shake, $3.99 to $69.99, myvega.com

UP NEXT: The Right Way to Add Protein to Your Diet
 

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Emily Abbate
Kirstie Alley Looks Stunning After 50-Pound Weight Loss (VIDEO) http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/05/kirstie-alley-looks-stunning-after-50-pound-weight-loss-video Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/05/kirstie-alley-looks-stunning-after-50-pound-weight-loss-video Mon, 05 Jan 2015 16:13:29 -0500 Fitbie
Kirstie Alley

Another year gone, another Kirstie Alley weight loss resolution fulfilled. Kudos to the Jenny Craig spokeswoman, who lost 50 pounds on the program during 2014 after committing to end her days of yo-yo dieting. The actress stopped by Today this morning, telling Matt Lauer that this time, it's different. 

"My goal is to keep this and maintain this throughout my life. … I feel like I've conquered that now. I'm sort of hardheaded. You know, when I used to do drugs, it took me a while to quit, quit, quit — and then it was done. And I feel like that's occurred for me [with my weight now]."

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The big question: Will Alley REALLY keep off her weight loss this time? According to Dr. Shilpi Agarwal, M.D., family and integrative medicine physician, she's really hurting herself if she doesn't. 

"When individuals yo-yo diet it makes it difficult for the body to maintain a stress free or 'steady' state," says Shilpi. "Suddenly losing a lot of weight or restricting calories increases stress hormones in the body and can even weaken the immune system over time. It can also affect your hair and nail growth (changes most people don't think about)."

So how can Alley and other yo-yo dieters keep the weight off? Shilpi says it starts with the way the weight was lost. If dieters have lost weight safely, for most people thats between 0.5-2lbs/week depending on your starting weight, the body naturally maintains weight if you stick to relatively the same healthy foods/calorie intake on most days. 

"The best way to avoid gaining it back is to give yourself a few indulges per week so you don't feel deprived by balance this out so you are not consuming too many calories or refined sugars/carbs again," suggests Shilpi. "Stick to healthy fiber like fresh fruits, green vegetables, and whole grains (true whole grains, not processed foods that are labeled whole grain) help us keep to a healthy weight. Also drinking plenty of water, at least 2 liters for most people, will help."

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Emily Abbate
The Emotional Playlist That'll Help You Slay Your Workout (LISTEN) http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/02/emotional-playlist-thatll-help-you-slay-your-workout-listen Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/02/emotional-playlist-thatll-help-you-slay-your-workout-listen Fri, 02 Jan 2015 10:00:08 -0500 Fitbie
Jess King

Every week Fitbie is featuring rad playlists from rad fitness instructors. This week Jess King, indoor cycling coach at Peloton and NASM-certified personal trainer, shares hers with us. 

"Music is a universal language that transcends physicality, connects us emotionally and propels our bodies to move," says King. "First I feel it, then I listen to it. However at that point, my body has already responded and you'll find me dancing irresponsibly. Be it on a Peloton bike or strutting the streets of NYC. Drink in the beat, pump it through your bones and let it all out with every soul-filled drop of sweat." 


UP NEXT: The Playlist That'll Make You Dig Deeper (LISTEN)

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Emily Abbate
Fitbie Find: Yonanas Elite http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/01/fitbie-find-yonanas-elite Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2015/01/01/fitbie-find-yonanas-elite Thu, 01 Jan 2015 10:00:07 -0500 Fitbie
Yonanas Elite

My name is Emily, and I have a soft serve addiction that knows no season. Hey, at least I'm honest. Currently living across the street from a self-serve frozen yogurt hotspot, it's not exactly easy for me to constantly avoid the temptation that is sweet, creamy deliciousness loaded with whatever toppings my heart desires. But there is hope: This week's #FitbieFind makes it a little bit easier. Meet the Yonanas Elite, a kitchen appliance that turns frozen fruit and other flavorings into a delicious, healthy soft serve-like treats. Seriously, input whatever fruits you like (my go-tos are bananas and strawberries) into the machine's chute, and instantly get an excellent alternative to soft servem without the added fat, preservatives, or sugar. 

My favorite thing to do? Make some on Sunday nights and save in the freezer for the whole week. And of course, throw a few dark chocolate nibs on top, for good measure. 

Note: Be careful cleaning this if you don't have a dishwasher. (Hello, apartment living.) The blades are sharp, so you'll want to make sure you're really paying attention. 

What else we love:
• Can be used with most frozen fruit
• Dishwasher safe

The Details: Yonanas Elite, $102.64, amazon.com

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Emily Abbate