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. 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, 01 Sep 2014 21:54:59 -0400 Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:54:59 -0400 Fitbie Find: Asics Kayano Classic Low Cut Socks Blog entry Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:00:31 -0400 Fitbie
Asics Kayano Socks

No one ever talks about socks. We can't blame you, really, it's not like they're the most entertaining thing in the world. However, they are necessary. And if you've ever swapped those classic cotton cuts for something with a little bit more pizazz when it comes to your workout, then you know they can be a total game-changer. That's where today's #SaturdaySaver, the Asics Kayano Classic Socks come in. 

More from Fitbie: Beginner's Guide to Running a 10K

A top-of-the-line run sock, this isn't what your father used to leave behind in the dryer. With anatomic fit, moisture and friction management, and articulated arch support (yes, in a sock!) -- these are both comfortable and functional. And would you believe us if we told you all that moisture wicking helps with stench, too? Spoiler alert: It does. 

Was: $14
Now: $7

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Emily Abbate
Demi Lovato's Body Image Is Inspiring, Plus More Hot Health Headlines Blog entry Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:46:14 -0400 Fitbie
Demi Lovato instagram VMAs

Overly critical of your body? Then you need to see pop star Demi Lavato's recent Instagram snap featuring her previous VMA looks, along with an insightful body image comment that'll inspire you to treat your body well and give yourself a break! [People]

Whether you're caught up in the U.S. Open frenzy or not, tennis players can teach you a thing or two about staying fit and motivated (all that grunting isn't JUST for show). Lucky for you, we hit up 2011 U.S. Open champ (and 2014 hopeful) Sam Stosur for her best advice on leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle -- on and off the court. [Fitbie]

Tracking your sweat sessions with watches and bracelets is cool sure, but what if you didn't have to add anything to your workout wardrobe to monitor your fitness? That's the premise behind these awesome new Ralph Lauren Polo Tech fitness tracker shirt that use biometric technology to calculate your heart rate, breathing, activity levels, and calories burned. So cool! [Women's Health]

If you've ever returned back from a vacation full of fried foods, sugary treats, and other diet-unfriendly dishes, only to find that you've lost your taste for your favorite healthy fare, then prepare to be validated. This week, new research revealed that eating junk food for an extended period may change our dietary preferences. [Science Daily]

To eat breakfast or not to eat breakfast? That is the question if you're sick of hearing conflicting information regarding the most important (maybe?) meal of the day. Adding to the dietary doubt: A new study discovered that skipping your morning meal has no effect on weight loss. [Fitbie]

UP NEXT: Make Your Workout Work for More Than Just You

Cathryne Keller
Fresh Pick: Watermelon Blog entry Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:02:07 -0400 Fitbie
Watermelon Cucumber Salad

Although it’s hard to top the experience of eating watermelon as is -- cutting into the fruit’s ruby red flesh, slicing it into wedges, and taking that first bite which sends juices pouring down your elbows -- its texture and refreshing sweetness also lends itself to a variety of dishes. The more adventurous we become with using watermelon in drinks, salads, and even throwing it on the grill, the more we fall in love with it as one of our favorite summer fruits.

More from FitbieYour Guide to Summer Blueberries

In season: Watermelon is available pretty much year-round, but peak season is generally June to September (and July is national watermelon month).

How to pick it: Other fruits may be easier to “read” (apples show bruises, peaches get soft, cantaloupes smell sweet), but the cannonball-like watermelon has some telltale signs of quality and ripeness, too. It’s still a bit of a crapshoot, but for the best chance of bringing home a winner, look for a watermelon that:

1. Is firm, symmetrically shaped (an indication of even watering/growing), and free of big bruises or scratches.

2. Feels heavy for its size. The ripest, juiciest melons have the most water, so lift a few for comparison before committing.

3. Has a creamy yellow patch on one side. That spot is where the melon sat on the ground while it matured on the vine. If it’s white or pale-green, the melon may have been picked too early.

There’s also the tap test. Some believe that if you firmly knock on a melon and it gives off a deep hollow sound, it’s ripe. This may be the least reliable method for finding a good watermelon, but try it yourself and see how it goes.

How to store it: Like tomatoes, watermelons suffer flavor- and texture-wise when stored in the fridge. If possible, store uncut melons at a little cooler than room temperature and cut them as close to serving time as possible. If you prefer your watermelon cold (we do!), try not to refrigerate it for more than a couple days. And if you cut it first, wrap it in plastic or seal it in a container.

How to use it: We enjoy watermelon in a variety of meals, both sweet and savory: We add it to smoothies along with coconut water and lime juice, puree and then strain it to make ague fresco (the juice is also terrific when added to a margarita), and grill it and then chop with chiles, onions, and herbs to make a terrific salsa for grilled chicken or meat -- but we especially love it in a salad.

Although a combination of watermelon, feta, and tomato is more traditional, we discovered while working on our weeknight dinner cookbook KEEPERS that cucumber is also a perfect companion (they’re practically cousins, and they typically appear at your farmer’s markets around the same time).

Marrying the two along with shallots and a bit of pecorino cheese opens up a whole new dimension of flavors, and the vinaigrette that pools at the bottom of your plate is an addictive dip for any crusty bread. Bring it to an end-of-summer barbecue and we promise you’ll get raves.


Cucumber and Watermelon Salad from the award-winning cookbook KEEPERS

You'll need:

1 large shallot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1⁄4 cup olive oil Salt and pepper

4 cups 1⁄2-inch cubed seedless watermelon (from about 1⁄2 small watermelon)

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes

Wedge of pecorino or Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces will be used)

How to make it:

1. In a large bowl, combine the shallots and vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes to soften the flavor. Whisk in the oil, then season with salt and pepper. Add the watermelon and cucumbers and gently toss to combine.

2. Check the seasonings, then divide the salad among plates. With a vegetable peeler, shave a few long slivers of cheese over each portion, reserving the remaining cheese for another use, and serve. You could also put the salad on a platter and then top with the cheese.

Tip: If we’re grilling when we make this salad, we sometimes throw the watermelon on the grill, too. It gets a smoky edge and tastes more intense. Cut the watermelon into slices so they don’t slip through the rack, brush the rack with olive oil, and grill over medium heat until lightly charred, about 2 minutes per side. Cut the watermelon into cubes before mixing with the cucumbers.

UP NEXT: 10 Fresh Fruit Salad Recipes

Make Your Workout Work For More Than Just You Blog entry Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:29:40 -0400 Fitbie
Woman looking at her phone

It took five months and 3,200 miles for Anna Judd to run on foot from California to New York City one marathon at a time. Yup, you read that right -- girlfriend ran between 26 and 40 miles per day, all to raise awareness for issues faced by American war veterans.

Though running started as a way for Judd to deal with her nervous energy, she says it's become invaluable in bonding and connecting her with people and issues all over the country. "At this point I’ve run with thousands of people across America, and it’s been life-changing," she said. Before setting out on her journey, she interviewed a dozen vets to jumpstart the Face America Project, a collaborative effort that harnesses art, music, and more to confront issues in America. Now that her journey is complete, her activism will take shape in the form of a documentary and book about veterans' issues. You go, girl.

More from Fitbie: The Tasty Treat That Can Reduce Body Fit

And while we might not all have the endurance to run across the country as Judd did, we can take a page from her book on the topic of simple fundraising: She used Charity Miles, a mobile app that turns any old amateur into a sponsored athlete, to raise money for her cause. Bikers raise 10 cents per mile, and walkers and runners clock in at 25 cents per mile, funded by the app’s $1 million sponsorship pool. It’s as simple as downloading the app and picking a charity.

Inspired to make your workout really count? These apps are a good place to start:

Why we love it: It has everything we love about running apps -- mileage, pace, route, and calorie tracking -- while also contributing to the fight against childhood obesity. Reach your monthly mileage challenge and Saucony will donate to charities that help keep kids active and healthy.

Mizuno Baton
Why we love it: For every mile you run, Mizuno will donate $1 to Back on My Feet, a nonprofit that helps the homeless turn their lives around through running.

Why we love it: Spice up a fitness challenge (or any challenge, really) by making a friendly wager. "Losers" forks over the wage amount to charity.

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Fitbie Find: Reebok ZJet Blog entry Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:19:01 -0400 Fitbie

If you're looking for a running shoe with some serious cushion, look no further than today's #FitbieFind, the Reebok ZJet. Not typically thought of for their running footwear, Reebok has upped the ante with this new design. With full-foot air channels, the design offers an incredibly cushioned ride that flexes with a runner's feet. Our Fitbie tester loved how well they flexed with her during her workout, and said they provided a super "cushiony" ride. (Check out more information in our Ultimate Beginner Sneaker Guide.)

What else we love:
• Low-cut design for added mobility
• Three fun designs

The Details: Reebok ZJet, $129.98,

In the New York City-area? Then you're in luck. Sure, New Yorkers are used to getting everything they need delivered to their home or office. But today (August 28) the popular athletic brand is offering a Human Dispatch Service for ZJet sneakers. That's right, Reebok is sending a fleet of swift-footed messengers to hand-deliver kicks directly to people's feet, no matter where they are in the city. Interested in snagging a pair for yourself? Tweet @Reebok using the hashtag #ReebokHDS.

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The Wheat Belly Diet Challenged My Views on 'Healthy' Whole Grains Blog entry Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:48:07 -0400 Fitbie
whole wheat bread

As a firm believer in moderation, I’ve always been wary of diets that require you to completely give up an entire food group, like carbs. So when I first heard about the argument William Davis, MD, makes in his bestselling book Wheat Belly, I was a bit skeptical. Why would I want to give up wheat (and grains) entirely when I’ve always believed that whole grains were a healthy and necessary part of a balanced diet? Don't whole grains even occupy their own food group? 

More from Fitbie: 10 Rules for a Healthy Low-Carb Diet

Despite my hesitation, I couldn’t help but feel intrigued by the theory that one of the world’s most popular foods is destructive to weight loss and overall health, so I started reading. 

The gist: According to Dr. Davis, the wheat we're consuming today is not the wheat that our grandparents enjoyed, due to a slew of genetic changes that began in the 1980s to produce high-yield, semi-dwarf strains of wheat that aren’t necessarily genetically modified, but just intensely crossbred using methods that wouldn’t naturally occur. 

Davis claims our overconsumption of wheat and grains today is responsible for appetite stimulation, sharp spikes in blood sugar, and the release of endorphin-like chemicals that get our brains hooked on bread, pancakes, crackers, cereal, and the like.

He also argues that increased wheat consumption is linked to higher incidences of celiac disease, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, acne, and schizophrenia. In other words, people who eat wheat are not only addicted to it, but also low on energy, constantly battling cravings, and suffering from increased belly fat (AKA a "wheat belly") and skewed energy levels. 

Well, there goes my appetite for a grilled cheese.

More from Fitbie: 5 Easy Gluten-Free Recipes

The experience: Since I decided to give up wheat for a week on a whim, I didn’t have much time to prepare, which I regret. There are so many wonderful wheat-free recipes out there (like the tasty options in Davis's Wheat Belly 30-Minute (Or Less!) Cookbook) that I would have liked to take advantage of before my week started, but because I didn’t plan ahead, I was on my own.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that breakfast was going to be the most difficult wheat-free meal of the day. Just think about it: oatmeal, toast, cereal, pancakes, granola -- all grain-y options that weren't gonna fly. Instead, I opted for Greek yogurt with nuts and seeds, smoothies, or eggs with fruit. The good news: I found that, due to these high-protein breakfasts, I wasn’t craving a mid-morning snack like I usually do.  

Lunch was typically a large and colorful salad often with kale, beans, tomatoes, avocados, cucumber, carrots, and some sort of lean protein such as grilled chicken breast. I had a hard time giving up my beloved granola bars as afternoon snacks, but I made do with an apple or banana with almond butter, or a bowl of berries. For dinner, I had chicken or fish with lots of veggies (my favorites are broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, and cauliflower). 

My take: Before the week started, I was nervous that I would suffer from a painful period of wheat withdrawal and find myself waking up in the middle of the night to scarf down a bagel. In all fairness, I did experience a fair share of wheat cravings as my body was adjusting to my low-carb diet, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, maybe because I followed a few of Davis's tips for easing wheat withdrawal. I made sure to stay hydrated, sprinkled sea salt on my food, and consumed a liberal amount of protein, fats, and oils.

More from Fitbie: 8 Reasons Wheat Is Making You Gain

One tip that I regret not following is the exercising one. Dr. Davis recommends not participating in any sort of strenuous exercise when first starting a wheat-free diet; however, because I'm currently training for a half-marathon and didn't want to fall behind, I thought to myself: How bad could it be? I learned my lesson in the middle of a 7-mile run when I had to stop three times because I was so exhausted. My body was trying to adjust and I was forcing it to endure long runs. Not my smartest move. 

Will I continue now that the week is over? I'm going to be completely honest with you: Going grain-free can be pretty tough, especially when you're living with people who aren't on the same diet page. Also, it doesn't help that wheat is in EVERYTHING -- even salad dressings and soy sauce! That said, I would still really like to continue giving grains the boot, or at least drastically cut down on the amount of wheat I've been eating. I feel great, have tons of energy, and am more confident about the food that I'm putting into my body. 

If you're anything like me, you're still a bit skeptical about this whole wheat-free thing, and I don't blame you. We've constantly been told that whole grains are a healthy way to stay slim and satisfied, so hearing evidence that proves the contrary can be quite jarring. So just try going wheat-free for a week and experience the difference yourself. And remember: NO STRENUOUS EXERCISE! 

For more help losing weight and staying healthy with a wheat-free lifestyle, order your copy of  Wheat Belly Total Health today.

UP NEXT: Is Skipping Breakfast Really That Bad?

Cathryne Keller
Another Reason to Get Your Heart Pumping Today Blog entry Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:41:41 -0400 Fitbie
Woman working out

If you've ever hit the gym to clear your head, you know a good sweat session can do wonders for your state of mind. But the body/mind benefits don't end there: New research shows that cardio fitness can protect us against losing our overall mental edge as we age. The reason? Arteries naturally stiffen as we get older, and vessel hardening starts in the aorta -- the main blood vessel coming out of the heart -- before moving on to the brain. 

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"Indeed, the hardening may contribute to cognitive changes that occur during a similar time frame," explained Claudine Gauthier, first author of the study. "We found that older adults whose aortas were in a better condition and who had greater aerobic fitness performed better on a cognitive test. We therefore think that the preservation of vessel elasticity may be one of the mechanisms that enables exercise to slow cognitive aging." 

Researchers recruited 31 young people ages 18 to 30 and 54 older participants between 55 and 75. They were tested physically and mentally with workouts, brain teasers, and MRI scans. And while cognitive function, vessel activity, and cardio fitness did predictably decline with age, the good news for exercisers is that adults with healthier vessels and cardio fitness outperformed their less-fit colleagues on the cognitive tests. 

"The more you move the better you think, whatever your age," said Jordan Metzl, M.D., sports medicine physician and author of The Exercise Cure. "The added bonus of exercise is that it also slows the natural loss of cognition that is associated with aging. I tell my patients that crossword puzzles are fine, but the best data on cognition and aging suggest that exercise is the world's most potent drug to keep your brain in tip top shape."

More from Fitbie: 5 Benefits of a Cardio Workout 

And unlike complicated antiaging regimens for skin health (uh, what's a peptide again?), Dr. Metzl's fitness prescription is simple. The best workout plan for any age, he said, is picking something you like and something you'll do regularly at a minimum of four to five times per week. "Understand your training zones," he explained, "with zone one allowing easy conversation, zone two marked by harder breathing, and zone three as huffing and puffing." His tip? Spend half your workout in zone one, 25 percent in zone two, and the remaining 25 percent in zone three for the best results. Now that's a simple plan we can stick to.

UP NEXT: The Brain-Boosting Benefits of Cardio Exercises

Is It Possible to Tone Your Knees? Blog entry Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:21:57 -0400 Fitbie

Q: "I know this is weird, but I really don't like my knees. Is there anything I can do to change their shape?" -- Anonymous

A: "Knees are part of your skeletal structure, so changing their shape is unfortunately not really in the cards," says Brick New York head coach and general manager Will Lanier. "Instead, focus on strengthening and toning your legs. Think long, lean, and mean! The body deserves to be loved, acknowledged, and embraced.” 

Lucky for you, Will's given us his 5 moves for longer, leaner legs.

Editor's note: If you find yourself overly obsessing over one particular body part (as in, thinking about it constantly -- on average more than three hours daily) you may have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Learn more about BDD over at Everyday Health

More from Fitbie

The Triple-Threat Toning Workout

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Emily Abbate
New Study Doubts Breakfast As the 'Most Important Meal of the Day' Blog entry Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:57:04 -0400 Fitbie

The phrase "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is one we're all too familiar with. Get ready to have your mind blown though -- a recent study found that breakfast, whether you take it or leave it, has no effect on weight loss

When comparing groups of overweight and obese adult dieters, researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Nutrition Obesity Center found that there was no change in the amount of weight lost over a 16-week period by those who ate breakfast vs. those who didn't. One thing worth noting: This study did not take into account the type of food eaten at breakfast or how the weight gain among normal-weight or underweight people.

"Our simple question was (when it comes to weight loss), does it help to eat breakfast? And the answer seems to be probably not," says David Allison, director of the Obesity Center and lead investigator of the study. 

Not everyone is on board with the findings of this research. "Just like gas for cars, food is fuel and people need to eat breakfast to start their engines for the day," says Jaime Schwartz, a registered dietician and VP at Ketchum.  

When people don't eat breakfast, they can feel tired, sluggish and not be at their best, she shares. It's also important to remember that each of us has different dietary patterns, depending on factors such as schedules, preference and even culture. According to Schwartz, a healthy pattern should start with breakfast, and what you choose for that meal is super important. 

More from Fitbie: The Important Nutrient Your Breakfast Is Lacking

On her short list? Whole grains, dairy, fruits, and vegetables to provide protein and fiber that will keep you feeling fuller longer. Schwartz also notes that breakfast doesn't have to be a sit-down, extensively prepared meal. 

"Fruit or yogurt could be a 'full' breakfast depending on one's eating pattern. It's so individual," states Schwartz. "If people have yogurt and fruit for breakfast, then they will probably follow a dietary pattern that includes a mid-morning snack to hold them over before lunch."
She also points out that readers should keep in mind that the current study looks strictly at weight loss. The weight loss/energy balance equation is calories in (what you eat) vs. calories out (what you burn through exercise and activity). 

"It's not surprising that the study found that people can lose weight without eating breakfast -- there have been many 'study of the day' reports about how people were able to lose weight," states Schwartz. "But in real life, outside of a research lab, it's more important to develop healthy eating habits that can sustain weight loss over time that work for the individual."

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What You Should Wear for CrossFit Blog entry Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:16:44 -0400 Fitbie
woman with a kettlebell

CrossFit is known for its sense of community and comradery, but let’s face it -- it’s intimidating as hell to try for the first time.  And, as for any occasion, or first day of trying something new, a girl might ask herself, “What do I wear?!” Fret not, we’ve asked Liz Adams, CrossFit Coach at Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave in New York City for her recommendation on what to wear as a beginner, what’s worth the investment, and what not to wear to CrossFit. 
For the first timer: 
As a beginner, you don’t want to invest too much money in giving something a try for the first time -- you might not even like it! Not to mention, there's no need to walk in decked out if you’ve never done it before. Liz suggests a first time CrossFitter wear an athletic shirt/tank top and some sort of shorts or spandex leggings. "Something flexible that allows you to move freely," she adds. Water bottles are also important, as with any workout it’s crucial to stay hydrated.

More from Fitbie: 5 Things All CrossFit Beginners Can Expect

You loved it, now what? 
Awesome, you found your workout soul mate and are ready to look the part for this kick-ass class. Aside from wearing these accessories to help you get better at particular movements, there is something to be said for "suiting up" to dominate your sweat session. Here are 3 key pieces worth investing in:

Kicks: Footwear is important -– since CrossFit involves some weight lifting, "you want to make sure you’re wearing a shoe with a flat sole," says Adams. Running shoes tend to have cushy soles that lift your heels off the ground, which is not ideal for lifting heavy weights, or squatting. She suggests the Reebok CrossFit Nano 4.0, but any type of minimalist shoe would work. Another high-intensity workout favorite -- the New Balance Minimus 20v3 Cross-Trainer, great for weightlifting as well as mid-distance running.

Socks: Pre-CrossFit you might have looked at high-knee socks as a silly accessory. However, these kitschy style statements actually serve a purpose. High socks help to protect your shins during box jumps (you’re bound to miss the box at one time or another!), deadlifts, and rope climbs -- all exercises that have the potential to break skin. Wearing the socks adds an extra layer of protection between you and the bar/rope/box, scarred or scabbing shins do not look hot when you’re wearing a dress. Have fun with these -- they’re affordable, come in a variety of colors, prints, and fun designs.

More From Fitbie: Why You Should Try CrossFit

Hand protection: This investment isn’t all that glamorous, or expensive, but it’s necessary. Gymnast tape or straps are essential to keeping your hands from tearing or getting too rough. The result of working on pull-ups, cleans, and deadlifts will, unfortunately, be callused hands -- but it’s totally worth the sacrifice for toned arms and a tight booty, right?

What NOT to wear: 
Boxes (as CrossFit gyms are called) are not luxury gyms. There are no lavender scented towels, or a cleaning crew dusting down equipment on the daily. Case-in-point: Leave your white workout attire at home. "People tend to get pretty dirty and sweaty during a CrossFit workout," says Liz. The same goes for your jewels, "jewelry and barbells don’t go that well together," she adds. 

CrossFit leaves you dripping in sweat, having challenged yourself more than you ever have before. It’s not a workout wardrobe runway, nor is it place you leave looking pretty. But rest assured, after getting the swing of it, and seeing the results, you will be strutting your stuff with a new found confidence that you’ve never had before.  

UP NEXT: Everything You Need to Know About Adding Kettlebells to Your Workout

The Tasty Treat That Can Reduce Body Fat Blog entry Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:05:13 -0400 Fitbie
Probiotic Yogurt

When it comes to yogurt -- probiotic yogurt, specifically -- the health benefits extend to your waistline. A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that eating probiotics helped overweight and obese participants lose weight. Of the 75 individuals studied, researchers found that those who consumed a diet involving probiotic yogurt saw a decrease in fat percentage, leptin levels, and body mass index.

More from Fitbie: 15 Unexpected Ways to Use Greek Yogurt

So what's the deal with probiotic yogurt? Well, according to Marcia Nahikian-Nelms, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, not all varieties are the same. 

"Yogurt is by far the most commonly known and widely available probiotic food in the United States as probiotics have a short life -- placing them in dairy products makes sense," she shares.  When shopping, you should look for yogurts with "live active cultures" on the seal of the container. Nahikian-Nelms points out, however, that it's difficult to know the specific dose of probiotics in any particular yogurt.

While, there currently are no documented cases of probiotic overdose, excessive amounts will affect the normal bacteria in the digestive track, says Dr. Jake Deutsch, medical director and founder of CURE Urgent Care. He advises to increase your intake slowly. A good indicator that you’ve had too much: bloating and gas. If this happens, cut back your servings.

Individuals, especially women, who add probiotics into their diet more regularly could see double the weight loss than those who do not, states Dr. Caroline Cederquist, MD and co-founder of bistroMD.

"Probiotics are said to decrease appetite which makes maintaining a healthy diet easier," she shares. "Probiotics work by altering the intestinal wall, helping keep pro-inflammatory molecules from entering the bloodstream."

Other benefits? Cederquist uses probiotics in her practice to help reduce risks of weight-related illnesses like glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Looking to dive into probiotic yogurts at home? Look for "live active culture"-labeled yogurts. A few of our picks? Activia and Stonyfield Organic yogurts. 

UP NEXT: A New Reason to Love Yogurt (Aside From It Being Delicious)

Fitbie Find: Stonyfield Organic Petite Creme Blog entry Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:13:29 -0400 Fitbie
Petite Creme

I've been trying to get my mom to eat Greek yogurt for the past three years. I worry that she doesn't get enough protein, and most singe-size containers pack around 15 to 20 grams of the muscle-building, metabolism-boosting nutrient. Her objection: "It's too sour" -- partially due to the fact that I insist that she only eat the plain varieties, to avoid excessive added sugars. Me? I LOVE the tangy, creamy taste of plain Greek yogurt (add some nut butter and fruit, and I'm one satisfied snacker). However, if you share my mother's distaste for all things tart, but would love to reap the protein benefits Greek yogurt has to offer, then you'll love today's #fitbiefind: Petite Creme from Stonyfield Organic.

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It's thick and creamy like Greek yogurt and packs a similar protein punch, but since it's technically cheese, it doesn't have the aforementioned tangy kick my mom can't get down with. But even if, like me, you go gaga for the Greek stuff, you should still consider keeping this creamy cup in the rotation for a nice change of pace in your snacking routine. I also love that it comes in a plain, no-added-sugar option that's perfect for everyday eating. But if you want a more indulgent option, the sweeter flavors like strawberry and vanilla are delish!

What else we love:

* All organic ingredients

* Only 100-140 calories 

* 10-12 grams of protein per 5.3-ounce serving

The details: Stonyfield Organic Petite Creme, $1.89,

UP NEXT: This Could Ruin Your Love for Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Cathryne Keller
10 Signs You Practically Live at the Gym Blog entry Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:52:28 -0400 Fitbie
Woman Working Out

If you're constantly at the gym, we can't blame you for feeling like it's your second home. Think you may just spend more time there than at your real one? Check out these 10 signs you practically live at the gym

1. Everyone there knows you by name. Let's be real: They even know the nickname your high school soccer teammates gave you. 

2. You have a "regular" drink at the juice bar. The staffers refer to it as "The [Insert Your First Name Here]." 

More from Fitbie: What It's Really Like Working Out With Big Boobs (PHOTOS)

3. You use the same locker every time. And everyone knows it's yours, even if it's not technically reserved. 

4. You feel antsy when two days go by sans a sweat sesh. Who else will tell the locker room ladies about Big Sean and Ariana Grande holding hands in public? 

5. Speaking of, when you aren't around for a couple days, you then contemplate greeting your gym family like this

6. Your social life revolves around your gym's workout class schedule. It's not that you don't find drinks with the girls important, but that cardio kickboxing class is just killer, so ditching is a non-option.

7. Your gym bag doubles as your purse. Why even bother switching your wallet back and forth?

More from Fitbie: 58 Thoughts Every Woman Has at the Gym 

8. You get bummed when your treadmill isn't free. It's not like your initials are actually engrained in the side, but they may as well be. Besides, none of the other ones seem to be as flat or run as smoothly. (You know this, because you've tried all of them.) 

9. You don't even bother buying body wash, lotion, or razors for your home. The locker room has them, and you only shower at the gym, anyway.

10. Walking into your gym makes you feel like this:

... enough said. 

UP NEXT: The Secret to Wearing Your Gym Clothes All Day Long

Emily Abbate
A Former Fat Girl's Long Overdue Thank You Note to Her Parents Blog entry Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:02:08 -0400 Fitbie
Before and After Weight Loss

Mom and Dad,

Yesterday I told a colleague that throughout high school I was heavier than I am now. 70 pounds heavier. It's something that I've written about before (as you know), but it's not something I really reflect on often. And by reflect on, I mean revisit in photos. 

... yesterday I did that. You know what? It's weird. Yesterday, I looked over a slew of first day of school photos. Standing on the cracked brick walkway in the same place, year after year. Larger. Smiling, but larger. I weaved through different social media, family albums on iPhoto, loose photos stored in faded purple memory boxes next to my bed. You know what I noticed? I didn't have a lot of full body photos. I didn't take them often. I didn't take them often, because I was embarrassed. I didn't take them often, and now I have nothing to look back on. 

And I got to thinking: What did people say to you about your daughter? Did people ask questions? Did you feel like you were doing something wrong? 

How was that for you? 

I know how it was for me, being heavier. If I close my eyes, I can still envision stepping into the one pair of jeans that fit me the right way, one leg at a time, staring at the area on the inner thigh where the material was starting to wear thin. I inhale, and I'm back standing in front of the stainless steel refrigerator, gazing at Lean Cuisine frozen entrees alongside containers of Breyer's ice cream and those two bottles of vodka that no one ever drank. I exhale and I'm back in the back seat of Dad's car, wondering if there would ever be a time that I'd feel comfortable wearing shorts, the sun beating down on my neck and sweat pooling on the back of my thighs. 

When I open my eyes, I'm grateful

I can't imagine that as a parent, it's easy to watch your child struggle with their weight. I can't imagine it's easy to allow your child to make their own choices when you are the one who really knows what's best for them. In my teens, I didn't really comprehend what I was doing to my body with the bad eating. The French fries. The Chinese food. The constant craving for dessert. Bagels. Bacon. 

It wasn't your fault I was heavy. Mom and I had our fair share of diet stints, Weight Watchers trips, walks along the dirt trail in the valley on weekend mornings, shopping trips where tears were shed behind dressing room doors. We tried to live healthier, active lifestyles. We just weren't as committed as, at the time, I needed to be. I'm sure there were times you wondered if you should have been doing things differently. But you know what? I'm happy we didn't.

Fact: If I were to blame you for not being more strict with me, for my overall lack of commitment, it wouldn't make anything better. It wouldn't keep me accountable. It wouldn't change what was. 

So instead, again, I say thank you.

Thank you for letting me figure it out for myself. Thank you for knowing me well enough to believe that I could. For not exposing me to the other side, how my weight may have been affecting you. Throughout the years in so many different ways, through so many wonderful experiences, you've taught me what it means to be compassionate. 

You've taught me what it means to be courageous. You've taught me that beauty isn't just what people around you see on the outside. You taught me that it's fine to feel frustrated, as long as you do something about it, instead of simply complain. We all know that I certainly did a lot of that. 

Thank you for loving me despite me having a hard time loving myself. For being my cheerleaders. For never judging me. I can only hope that when I raise children myself, I'm half as understanding and supportive as you both are. I can only hope that, years down the road, small or large, you'll still be just as proud.


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Emily Abbate
U.S. Open Champ Sam Stosur Shares Her Diet and Fitness Tips Blog entry Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:09:18 -0400 Fitbie
Sam Stosur

The U.S. Open kicks off today, which means for the next two weeks, tennis fans everywhere will be glued to their seats and screens as they watch the sport's best of the best serve, sprint, and sweat all over the courts of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. And if you've ever sat through an intense tennis throw down, you know that despite those pristine sneaks and sophisticated spectators, wielding a racket is not for the faint of heart (no really -- that is some SERIOUS cardio, y'all). 

More from FitbieA Beginner's Guide to Tennis

Needless to say, whether you're into tennis or not, you could definitely learn a thing or two about staying fit and motivated from the A-list athletes who hit the court. Curious what it really takes to compete in a Grand Slam tournament? We chatted with 2011 U.S. Open champion (and 2014 hopeful) Sam Stosur to get the Australian star's secrets for staying fit, healthy, and motivated -- on and off the court. 

Do you ever not feel like training? If so, how do you get yourself pumped up and ready to go?
I actually love working out and don't see it as a chore at all. Even on my off days, I usually like to do some exercise, even if that means just going for a walk or a light bike ride. I don't really enjoy sitting around the house too much so I am always eager to go out and explore. 

What are your favorite cross-training workouts and why?
Swimming and boxing are two of my favorite cross-training workouts. Cross-training is an important element to staying fit, and I enjoy mixing up the training as much as possible. When I'm not on the court, I get into the gym for a weight session about three times a week. I mostly focus on lighter lifting, especially right before or during a tournament, to avoid being sore. Every training session I make sure I’m working all muscle groups and change my program every couple of months to keep my body from over working one particular muscle and so I don’t get bored -- when you’ve trained for as long as I have, it’s important to try new routines to keep things fresh and fun.

More from Fitbie: The Pool Workout You Have to Try

You have awesome arms and abs! What are your favorite upper body and core moves?
People often ask me how I get the muscles on my arms but there is no real secret. I think tennis is a great sport for the arms, legs, and core. To get toned arms, the key is to do exercises like rotations and raises for the rotator cuff. For abs, I actually do a lot of bodyweight squats because it requires your core to be tight. In addition to that, planks and any medicine ball exercises are an amazing way to strengthen your core.

Do you ever deal with body image issues, since you have millions of people watching you compete? If so, how do you handle them?
I grew up on the skinny side, but really started to see my muscles develop as I got into my late teens and started to work with a trainer. Working as hard as I do to stay fit has always been about improving my game and maintaining a healthy lifestyle rather than a way to “look good.” Now I’m as fit as I have ever been and it gives me great confidence to know I can compete for the duration of a match without worrying about getting fatigued. 

My mind is always entirely focused on the opponent and game rather than on what people think about my looks. I love collaborating with Asics as the outfits are really fun, form-flattering gear that allows me to stay focused on my performance. I think if you feel fit and comfortable, and know you have the best equipment, then it just comes down to your game.

More from FitbieHow to Think Like a Winner to Reach Your Fitness Goals

What do you have in your fridge right now?
I pretty much eat anything and everything. As a professional tennis player, I’m required to travel around the world for my job which means that I need to be pretty flexible and open to trying unfamiliar foods. Because of this, my tastes have grown and I'll pretty much eat anything. At tournaments, you need to be more careful about what you are eating because you are fueling your body to compete. I usually have a balanced meal of pasta, chicken or some sort of meat, and salad as pre-match food.

Do you ever eat junk food?  What are your favorite splurge foods?
Of course -- sometimes you have to treat yourself. For me, it's more about well-rounded eating and not depriving yourself of dessert. You want to eat as healthy as you can, but that's not always possible. I love exploring new restaurants in different cities and definitely have a liking towards Japanese and Indian food. I also love a good pizza sometimes, and chocolate is hard to resist! It’s more about being selective about those indulgences and balancing them out with healthy foods and exercise.

You obviously need to be in great shape for your sport, but what else motivates you to stay in shape? What do you love about leading an active lifestyle?
Even as a professional athlete, there’s always room for improvement and I love to see how far I can push myself. This often means that I’m trying novel exercises and constantly learning new things about my body and what it can do. I love leading an active lifestyle because it allows me to feel confident heading into matches, but even more so because it’s a great way to inspire others that there’s a right way to get fit.

Do you have any advice for everyday fitness fans trying to reach their personal goals?
To reach your personal goals, it’s about setting tiny benchmarks along the way and celebrating small victories. It’s about building momentum -- with tennis, the match may seem like the defining moment, but it's really all the drills, weights, runs, food, and recovery that I choose along the way. My best advice is to have that ultimate big fitness goal, but also to have smaller everyday goals that will help you achieve your bigger objective. Focusing on achieving those smaller goals will make you infinitely more likely to not give up on your end game.

UP NEXT: Pro Runner Lauren Fleshman Says Marathons Aren't Everything

Cathryne Keller
This Could Ruin Your Love for Pumpkin Spice Lattes Blog entry Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:55:27 -0400 Fitbie
Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte

Who has more fans: the pumpkin spice latte or Miley Cyrus? We hate to admit it, but it's questionable. Every year, the seasonal offering makes a splash, as fall fans hunt down its release starting in mid-August. Spoiler alert: While the drink typically emerges after Labor Day, it's now slowly sneaking into Starbucks stores nationwide, with its not-so-secret early release on August 26. (The official release is September 2.) Of course, the Seattle-based coffee company isn't the only pumpkin producer. Au Bon Pain released their line of fall beverages today, and there's no doubting that Dunkin' Donuts' offerings are just around the corner. 

More from Fitbie: 10 Ways to Boost Energy -- Without Coffee

But as delicious and awesome as the PSL (Tell us you got that one?) really is, there's something that a lot of people don't talk about: It's calorie wallop. 

So exactly how does the nutrition information stack up? A grande pumpkin spice latte made with 2 percent milk ranks in at 380 calories, 13 grams fat, 51 grams carbohydrates, and ... wait for it ... 49 grams of sugar. For the same sugar hit, you could eat two Hershey's chocolate bars! 

Still dreaming of that latte in the same fashion? We know, it's hard, and we don't blame you. Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH, author of The One-One-One Diet, suggests skipping out on the whipped cream (which will save you roughly 70 calories), getting it on every other trip to your favorite coffeehouse, and sticking strictly to a small size. Her other tip? Indulge in it alone. With 11 grams of protein in a tall PSL from Starbucks, do yourself a favor and don't burden your treat with a muffin or pastry. 

Our editor-tested suggestion? Get two pumps of your fall flavor fix in your coffee instead of going with the latte form. With the creamy consistency, you'll hardly miss that little latte. Plus, one pump of Starbucks' classic pumpkin spice syrup ranks in at roughly 33 calories -- a much safer bet for your waistline. 

UP NEXT: 10 Diet Splurges -- And How Often You Can Afford Them 

Emily Abbate
Nicki Minaj's Pre-VMAs Diet Is Anything But Healthy Blog entry Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:02:00 -0400 Fitbie
Nicki Minaj

To say that "Anaconda" singer Nicki Minaj killed it at this year's MTV Video Music Awards would be a major understatement. Despite a pretty drastic wardrobe malfunction, the singer sang her new song "Bang Bang" flawlessly alongside Jessie J and Ariana Grande. Oh, and did you see her backside? Silly question. Of course you did. 

More from Fitbie: A Twerking Workout Class Really Exists

Plain and simple: Minaj was the Miley Cyrus of this year's VMAs. And while we could spend hours gawking over Minaj's glorious assets (work on your booty with these 8 Exercises for a Firm Butt and Thighs), there's something else worth commenting on -- her pre-VMAs diet. In an interview with Us before the show, the artist said that she wishes she could eat whatever she wanted

The reality? "Every time I'm about to do something, I try to diet for like three days before it," confessed Minaj. 

The not-so-foreign concept of crash dieting, a constant in Hollywood when it comes to red carpet events. The problem? There's no way that the pounds shed in a quick time frame, like Minaj's 3-day slump, are going to stay off for good. Plus, when you aren't consuming enough calories (about 1,200 daily for most women) your body throws the brakes on your metabolism. The fix? Eating a meal every three to four hours, which will also prevent overeating later in the day. 

Looking to lose pounds the right way? If so, you'll need to make healthier, lasting modifications to your diet. Do it the right way with these helpful Fitbie links:

Your 1-Week Healthy Eating Plan 

7 Ways to Lose Weight Fast

Is Counting Calories a Total Waste of Time?

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Emily Abbate
A Twerking Workout Class Really Exists Blog entry Mon, 25 Aug 2014 10:07:01 -0400 Fitbie

Like it or not, ever since Miley Cyrus twerked against Robin Thicke at last year’s VMAs, twerking has become a thing. (For you twerking novices, click on over here for the lowdown.) So much so that you can even take a fitness class devoted to the dance move. That's right: San Francisco-based Tilt Fitness is now offering a new TwerkLab workshop. Their claim? That "Twerking is not just for the club, it's also a great workout." 

During TwerkLab, participants use muscles that are most commonly activated during the twerking movement, learn a routine, and then close with a free dance period. (Man, we'd love to see that!) One class participant, Maryanna Quigless, told us that “It was a tough workout on the thighs because you had to get low, but there were enough breaks that it wasn't too intense."

More from Fitbie: 4 Little-Known Benefits of Exercise

If twerking's not really your thing (or you're not in the San Francisco area) and you’re looking to really spice up your exercise routine, rest assured there are studios across the country that are offering up out-of-the-box classes. Take a look at these 5 other anything-but-average workouts: 

Cost: Varies per studio
Unleash your inner rock star with these drumming-based cardio workouts. Using weighted drumstricks, participants beat to the rhythym to get a full-body workout set to heart-pumping tunes. These 45-minute fitness classes fuse cardio, Pilates, isometric movements, plyometrics and Isometric poses. 

Underwater Spinning
Cost: $40 per class
New York City's Aqua Studio really puts a fresh "spin" on your average cycling class. Students at this Tribeca spot ride bikes in a pool filled with waist-deep water. Each session promises to burn up to 800 calories and even torch cellulite.

"50 Shapes" of Fitness
Cost: $150 for a personal session, $25 per person for groups of 4 or more people.
Area manager of Equinox in New York City, Kristen James, has created a "50 Shapes" workout designed to enhance your sexual life, stamina and health. Get ready to work your glutes, upper body, and core in this class. 

Cost: $15 per class 
You’ll grab a hula-hoop and shimmy in this sensual, low-impact workout. Move your hips as you spin and learn routines set to sultry tunes.

Cost: $10 and up
Doga gives a whole new meaning to downward dog. Kirkland, Washington-based BARKe Diem offers yoga classes you can take with fido. Each class aims to nurture the relationship between you and your furry friend by incorporating your canine into traditional yoga postures. 

UP NEXT: The Playlist That'll Amp Up Spin Class (LISTEN)

Control Your Cravings With a Healthier Gut Blog entry Mon, 25 Aug 2014 18:10:57 -0400 Fitbie
junk food cravings

By Julia Merz for

You know that that giant muffin is a naked cupcake, but it's not enough to block out the little nagging voice (or maybe booming roar) of a craving. So, even though it has no nutritional value or you're trying to lose weight by cutting out junk food calories, you find yourself chowing down. But new research published in BioEssays suggests that your gut bacteria, not your willpower, may be to blame.

"Bacteria within the gut are manipulative," said Carlo Maley, PhD, director of the Center for Evolution and Cancer at the University of California, San Francisco. "There is a diversity of interests represented in the microbiome, some aligned with our own dietary goals, and others not."

More From Rodale News: The 8 Best Foods for Your Gut

In a scientific review, the researchers found that the bacteria living in your gut (which outnumbers your own cells 100 to 1!) influence what you eat to get the nutrients that they want, even if it's not the healthiest choice for you. "Microbes have the capacity to manipulate behavior and mood through altering the neural signals in the vagus nerve, changing taste receptors, producing toxins to make us feel bad, and releasing chemical rewards to make us feel good," explains Athena Aktipis, PhD, director of human and social evolution at University of California, San Francisco's Center for Evolution and Cancer.

But don't worry -- you have the power to manipulate your own gut bacteria. "Because microbiota are easily manipulatable by prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotics, fecal transplants, and dietary changes, altering our microbiota offers a tractable approach to otherwise intractable problems of obesity and unhealthy eating," report the researchers.

Let's return to that giant, carb-y muffin for a moment. William Davis, MD, author of Wheat Belly Total Health recommends taking a probiotic to evict the gut bacteria that are causing your cravings. "Taking a high-potency probiotic accelerates colonization by healthy flora once the disruptive effects of bowel-toxic grains are absent," he says. He recommends VSL#3, Garden of Life Primal Defense, and ReNew Life.

"You can view bacterial flora that inhabit the intestinal tract like a garden," says Dr. Davis. "If you fertilize it properly, provide sufficient water and nutrients, and avoid herbicides and pesticides that disrupt the natural balance, your garden will yield a bounty of vigorous, healthy crops." Unfortunately, he says, dietary grains seem to be the equivalent of Roundup to your healthy gastrointestinal flora.

More from Rodale News: 9 Weird Things Killing Your Gut

In fact, cravings may just be the tip of the ice burg when it comes to the influence of your gut bacteria. "A number of health conditions have been associated with changes of bowel flora," he says, listing multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones, acid reflux, ulcerative colitis, and food allergies. "Funny thing: Each and every one of these conditions has also been associated with grain consumption, especially consumption of wheat, rye, and barley."

He says that giving up grains is the best way to get your gut back on track. "Years of grain consumption disrupt the composition of bowel flora in your intestinal tract," says Dr. Davis. "Remove the disruptive effect of grains, and your bowel flora begin to shift back to a more healthy profile."

More from Fitbie:

5 Ways to Ease Wheat Withdrawal

10 Rules for a Healthy Low Carb Diet 

15 Painless Ways to Crush Sugar Cravings

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Julia Merz
The Playlist That'll Amp Up Spin Class (LISTEN) Blog entry Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:28:13 -0400 Fitbie
Spin class

Every week Fitbie is featuring rad playlists from rad fitness instructors. This week, Swerve instructor Dyan Tsiumis shares hers with us. 

"Music is the heart of most fitness classes and has a huge impact on how hard people work," Tsiumis shares with us. "When the beat drops and you turn the music up there's a shift in the room and people want to work. There's an energy that's created when people hear a song they love and they want to let it out!"

Over at Swerve, everything's about revolutions per minute (RPM), and the class' rhythym and cadence is entirely based on the music. Check out Tsiumis' favorite songs that he's playing in his classes right now:

UP NEXT: The Awesome Way Music Can Effect Your Workout 

Emily Abbate
Fresh Pick: Swiss Chard Blog entry Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:24:22 -0400 Fitbie
swiss chard

If kale is the up-and-comer, then chard is the senior statesman in our markets -- a burst of leafy health on every plate. There are many varieties: Some with rainbow stems; others with very dark green leaves. They all provide big hits of antioxidants and fiber, but chard is also a culinary winner with a slight, elegant bitterness behind its sweet crunch. Chard pairs well with eggs, goes great in stir-fries, and can even become a stand-out in nouveau modernist cuisine. It’s high time we recognized not only its health benefits but also its culinary creds.

More from Fitbie: 10 Easy & Delicious Ways to Eat Vegetarian

In season: These days, chard is available year-round in our supermarkets, but it's in the best shape from late summer to early fall -- with more varieties, to boot.

How to pick it: We search through the pile for large, floppy leaves with vivid color. We want the ones without rips or holes -- and we definitely avoid any yellowed or squishy bits. The stems must be firm, not limp. In the best of all possible worlds, chard should be stored in a chilled environment to keep it crisp.

How to store it: We usually eat it all the day we buy it! But if not, we won’t wash the leaves before we store them, since the water can quickly lead to rot. Instead, we stack the leaves into a tight packet and seal them with plastic wrap -- then refrigerate for up to 4 days. If we’re left with no choice but to buy leaves with imperfect bits, we cut these out before wrapping and storing.

How to use it: Now’s when we wash the leaves! And we leave that water on them afterwards to provide a little moisture to the sauté or stir-fry. Most leafy greens should be washed in a large bowl of water (rather than a colander): Add the greens, agitate them a bit, and leave them alone for a couple of minutes, letting any dirt or sandy grit settle to the bottom of the bowl -- then carefully lift them out and they’re ready to go. To make your life easier, chop chard before you wash it. (Chopping wet chard can be a nightmare!)

In terms of cooking, the operative word is “fast.” Drop the chopped and washed leaves and stems in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain well in a colander set in the sink; gently squeeze the bits dry and toss with lemon juice or your favorite vinaigrette. Or try a simple skillet sauté with olive oil, minced shallots, and fennel seeds -- drop in the chopped and washed leaves and they’ll take about 5 minutes. For a sophisticated blush, add a minced anchovy fillet with the garlic.

Despite all this wonderful simplicity, the multi-layered flavors of chard lend themselves to more complex preparations. Here’s our favorite recipe from our new book Vegetarian Dinner Parties. It combines chard, pistachios, and blackberries with a few surprises for a new take on this tried-and-true favorite. Serve it up as a four- to six-serving first course or a two-serving light lunch with some crunchy bread on the side. 

Wilted Chard, Pistachios, Lovage from Vegetarian Dinner Parties

You'll need:

1 3/4 pounds rainbow chard, washed well to remove grit

3 tablespoons olive oil

6 tablespoons shelled unsalted pistachios

6 tablespoons dried currants or chopped raisins

4 medium garlic cloves, slivered

3 tablespoons packed fresh lovage leaves, shredded

1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably flaked sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pint fresh blackberries

How to make it:

1. Remove the large stems from the chard leaves, cutting up into the leaves to get rid of any veins over 1/2 inch wide, but don’t discard them. Slice the stems and veins into thin bits and cut the leaves into 3-inch pieces.

2. Set a large skillet over medium heat for a couple of minutes, then swirl in the oil. Add the pistachios, currants or chopped raisins, and garlic; cook, stirring often, until the garlic begins to brown, about 1 minute.

3. Stir in the chard stems and cook for no more than 3 minutes until somewhat softened, stirring often.

4. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the rest of the chard, and toss for at most 2 minutes, just until wilted. Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the lovage, salt, and pepper. Use tongs to gather up small bundles of the greens and other ingredients and transfer these to small plates. Sprinkle the blackberries over the servings.

Note: Lovage is a leafy herb, common to European kitchens. It has a slightly bitter flavor, prized for the way it balances sweeter notes in salads. If you can’t find lovage, substitute the shredded leaves from celery stalks, a much milder alternative.

UP NEXT: Your Guide to Summer Peaches

Is Fake Sugar Making You Gain? Plus More Hot Health Headlines Blog entry Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:30:15 -0400 Fitbie
Diet Soda

If you think your daily diet soda is a step in the healthy direction, you'll want to check out this report on a new study in the journal Appetite, which found that drinking a beverage sweetened with a no-calorie sweetener led participants to make not-so-nutritious choices overall. [Women's Health]


Heard about the major recall of potentially salmonella-containing almond butter and peanut butter jars from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's? Here's everything you need to know to stay safe. [Fitbie] 


Office cupcakes always calling your name? You may be surprised to learn that if you want to crush your crumb-y cravings (ha!), you may need to pay attention to your gut: Fascinating new research reveals that your gut bacteria could be the masterminds behind your taste for junk food. [Rodale News


A new study showing that lack of sleep can make you gain weight isn't surprising, but it's a welcome reminder of how essential those Zs are to your healthy lifestyle. Make sure your time in the sack is well spent with these expert sleep tips. [Fitbie]


Curious about CrossFit workouts but not sure you're ready to hit "the box"? Turns out you can create your own WOD (workout of the day) with these tips from a New York City CrossFit coach. [Greatist


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Cathryne Keller
5 Simple Tips for Better Sleep Blog entry Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:31:50 -0400 Fitbie
Woman sleeping

We've all had a night of bad sleep or not enough sleep. Your next day is hell -- even with the ginormous cup of coffee. You’re exhausted, lack any sort of energy, and let’s not talk about those under-eye bags. Well a recent study focused on the harmful effects of a lack of sleep, and concluded that those who don't get enough sleep may become obese later in life. 

Researchers at Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Public Health studied data on over 10,000 young people between ages 16 and 21 to garner the effects of insufficient sleep and weight gain over the years. Ready for the bad news? For a 16-year-old who gets less than six hours of sleep a night, the chances of him/her becoming obese by age 21 is 20 percent higher than teens who got more than eight hours. While information on what participants’ diets looked like was not available, research has shown that adequate sleep helps prevent junk-food binging

More from Fitbie: 5 Reasons You Need More Sleep

Sleep is key when it comes to proper functioning of all body systems, says Dr. Nancy Simpkins, Internist and Medical Advisor for the State of New Jersey. 

"If you do not sleep enough, your metabolism does not function correctly,” she adds. “When we sleep, we produce two hormones: ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells your body 'to eat' and when you are sleep deprived you have more ghrelin. Meanwhile, leptin helps to control appetite and is not produced well when you have limited sleep.”

A good night’s rest leads to a more clear-headed, focused, and energetic you! Here are 5 tips from Dr. Simpkins for your most restful night yet:

1. Set a schedule. Try to go to sleep at a similar time each night and wake at the same time each day.

2. Put down the technology. Avoid using electronic devices for at least 2 hours before bed. The LED is stimulating to the nervous system and makes your more alert.

3. Skip the afternoon coffee. Avoid caffeine after lunchtime, advises Simpkins, as it can cause some people to have a delayed effect that can interfere with sleep.

4. Open a window. Or turn on a fan. Cooler temperatures in the bedroom promote a much sounder sleep.

5. Relax your mind. If possible start to release the tension of the day and worry about tomorrow’s deadlines at least an hour before bedtime. That way when you actually do lay down to sleep, you’ll do just that. Try yoga breathing, herbal tea, or a warm bath. 

UP NEXT: The 9 Golden Rules of Sleep

Fitbie Find: Nike Premier Maria Tennis Skirt Blog entry Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:09:50 -0400 Fitbie
Nike Tennis Skirt

The U.S. Open is right around the corner, which means now is as good a time as any to pick up a racquet and hit the court. Whether or not you're a seasoned tennis pro, it's important that if you're going to lace up and channel your inner Williams sister, you have the right gear. Specifically, the right skirt. Hey, can you blame us for wanting to get a little girly when the time is right? Enter today's #FitbieFind: The Premier Maria Tennis Skirt from Nike.

More from Fitbie: A Beginner's Guide to Tennis (CHECKLIST) 

Made with sweat-wicking stretch fabric that keeps you dry from serve to lob, the Nike skirt is the perfect pick to up your court-side fashion game. The flat stretch waist fits snug for that necessary stay-in-place feel during your game, and the skirt's flat seams help minimize irritation that's commonly caused by chafing. Cute and functional? That's a yes in our book.

What else we love:
• Built-in compression shorts for support
• Laser-cut perforations at sides for enhanced breathability

The Details: Premier Maria Tennis Skirt, $66,

UP NEXT: Serena Williams' Body Confidence Can Teach Us All a Lesson

Emily Abbate
Eating 5 Servings of Fruits & Vegetables Daily Wasn't What I Expected Blog entry Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:51:15 -0400 Fitbie
produce aisle

By Julia Merz for

We were so excited a few months ago when research came out revealing that you only need to eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies to reduce your risk of death. Unfortunately, most adults would need to double the plant portion of their current diet to hit this minimum requirement, according to new research published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

A whopping 60 to 87 percent of adults (depending on geographic location), fall short of this 400-gram-minimum recommendation. So we decided to test it: How difficult is it to get five servings of fruit and vegetables per day? 

Day 0: The Baseline
I consider myself a person with a generally healthy diet, but I was surprised at how few fruits and veggies I actually eat when I'm not paying attention to it. Granted, I was traveling for work, but still, I didn't make the best choices. My "peach" oatmeal maybe had three chunks of fresh peaches on top; my lunch of chicken fingers and mac and cheese came with an OK portion of broccoli. And dinner on the road? You don't want to know. All told, I had about 2 1/2 servings of veggies. As the study suggested, I'd need to double my intake. 

Day 1: The Beginning.
I started day one a little cocky: I was traveling, so of course my baseline was low, I thought. Turns out, even at home I was barely hitting my fruit/veggie count, and that's only if you include the 2 servings of juice I had that day (which doesn't have the beneficial fiber, so I'm not going to count it). All told, on the first day, I had about 3½ servings from whole foods (blackberries, kale, blueberries, and a smattering of mixed veggies on a sandwich).

More from Rodale News: 22 Ways to Eat Fruits and Veggies Every Single Day

Another thing I discovered: I naturally have no clue how much a serving is. Every time I'd get ready to make a meal, I'd have to jump online and figure it out. However, I was pleasantly surprised each time to discover that a serving isn't an unmanageable amount. Usually, it's about a cup or half a cup—a nice snack or side portion.

Day 3: The Halfway Point
By this point, I had really gotten into a good routine: Berries with breakfast, a big salad for lunch, carrots on my commute home, a side veggie with dinner, and generally, a piece of fruit in the evening. Unfortunately, Day 3 was a weekend day. Lazy as I was, I wasn't about to make the same mistakes I had made while traveling during the baseline testing. When I went to the diner for brunch, I ordered an omelet loaded up with mushrooms and red peppers, and the homemade pizza we had for dinner that night featured a mountain of kale. While it was harder to measure exactly how many servings I had this way, my consistency (and making sure that snacking was fruit and veggie related) ensured that it accumulated to the five servings I'd need.

Day 5: Breaking Out of Boredom
Routine and consistency are great for establishing a habit, but a girl can't have carrots for a snack every day without getting bored. So by the end of the week, I was happy that I had branched out to trying new recipes with new veggies, such as beet greens! (See recipe below.)

Take the Five Servings Challenge Yourself
I'd highly recommend everyone try taking the five-servings challenge. You'll discover:

• Five servings is definitely a manageable goal. 

• How much non-fruit and vegetable food you're eating. (I found that the easiest way to hit my goal every day was to replace one non-veggie food with a fruit or vegetable.) 

• How much delicious produce there is to experiment with.

I did find that upping my produce servings did jack up my grocery bill. But even though I live in an apartment, there are still ways I can grow my own food. Use fresh-harvested veggies and herbs in recipes like this one.…

Big Bowl with Roasted Beets, Beet Greens, and Garlic Yogurt
Get started with your fruit and veggie challenge with this amazing beet and beet green recipe from The Simple Art of Vegetarian Cooking by Martha Rose Shulman. (I didn't have Greek yogurt on hand, so I swapped it out with goat cheese and I served it over quinoa.) 


2 bunches beets with generous greens (2 different colors, if possible)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill, parsley, or mint
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground pepper
1–1½ cups bulgur, quinoa, or rice, cooked
1–2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
1 cup garlic yogurt*
3 Tablespoons chopped walnuts


1. Cut the greens away from the beets, leaving about ¼ inch of stems. 

2. Scrub the beets and place in a baking dish or lidded ovenproof casserole. Start beets roasting (see roasting instructions below). While the beets are in the oven, stem the greens and wash them in at least two changes of water. Chop coarsely and place in a bowl.

3. Heat a large, wide skillet over high heat. Add the greens by the handful, stirring each handful until the greens wilt in the water left after washing. Once one batch has wilted, add another until all of the greens are wilted. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and turn the heat down to low. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. The greens should be tender but still bright. Stir in the remaining chopped herbs and turn off the heat.

4. Once the beets are roasted, allow them to cool in the covered baking dish. Once you've cut away the ends and slipped off the skins, dice the beets, toss with half the chopped fresh herbs, and set aside.

5. Distribute the grains among 4 bowls or plates. Reheat the greens in the pan (if necessary) and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Toss together and distribute among the bowls or plates. Top with the diced beets. Drizzle on the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and squeeze on another tablespoon of lemon juice—or more, to taste. Place spoonfuls of the garlic yogurt over the tops of the beets and beet greens, sprinkle on the walnuts, and serve.

Roasted Beets

1. Heat the oven to 425 degress Fahrenheit. Add ¼ to ½ inch of water to the dish. Cover tightly. Place in the oven and roast until easily penetrated with the tip of a knife: small beets (3 ounces or less) 30 to 40 minutes, medium beets (4 to 6 ounces) 40 to 45 minutes, and large beets (8 ounces) 50 to 60 minutes.

2. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the covered baking dish. Cut away the ends and slip off the skins when ready to use. 

*Garlic Yogurt

1–2 plump garlic cloves (or more, to taste)
1/4–1/2 teaspoon salt
1–2 cups drained yogurt or Greek-style yogurt

Cut the garlic cloves in half lengthwise. Discard any green shoots running down the middle. Combine the garlic and salt in a mortar and crush the garlic with a pestle. Then grind and mash until the garlic is reduced to a puree. Stir into the yogurt.

UP NEXT: 10 Easy and Delicious Ways to Eat Vegetarian

Julia Merz
How to Handle a Frisky Personal Trainer Blog entry Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:41:33 -0400 Fitbie
Woman working out with personal trainer

Q: "I really like my personal trainer, but lately he's been a little too touchy-feely while trying to show me moves and stretches. Is there a way I can address it without making things super awkward?" -- Anonymous

A: There are only a couple times that personal trainers should actually touch their clients: For safety reasons or when manual stretching is required. Other than that, you're totally entitled to feel caught off guard when your fit pal takes things a step too far. 

You have two options: You can address the extra friendliness with the trainer yourself or speak to someone in management about the issue. Maybe they don't realize they're putting you in an uncomfortable position, and just grown comfortable training you. Still, that doesn't make it permissible. In that case, a simple "I can handle this without the extra help," or "Could you just back off a little?" should give them the hint.

If it doesn't, then definitely talk to gym management. You're the person paying to be there, so your comfort is their priority. The last thing they want to do is lose you over an inappropriate employee.

Have an embarrassing question you want answered? Post it to Twitter, tag us, and hashtag #FitbieAwkie. A little too shy to post it on the web? Email We'll get the answers you need, and promise not to embarrass you in the process.

UP NEXT: The Real Reason You're Running to the Bathroom on Your Run

Emily Abbate
Major Almond, Peanut Butter Recall Involves Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Blog entry Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:45:06 -0400 Fitbie
Peanut Butter

Peanut and almond butter fans, take note: Some varieties sold at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger, and Safeway are being recalled due to possible salmonella contamination. A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling nut putters sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills peanut butters and MaraNatha almond butters and peanut butters. A total of 45 production lots are affected, including other private label almond butters from the popular grocers, sold in the U.S., Canada, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates. 

More from Fitbie: Is Ground Turkey Safe? 

While there is no confirmation as to just how many jars of nut butter have been recalled at this time, but the FDA has a complete list of products involved in the recall on their website. At this time, the company is working with retailers involved to remove all potentially hazardous products from shelves.

Worried you may have ingested some of the tainted butters? If you've ingested salmonella-tainted food, you may experience symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours. These symptoms may also be accompanied by muscle pains, headache, chills, and vomiting, and can last up to seven days. 

According to the CDC, nearly 48 million people are effected by some sort of food poisoning each year.

UP NEXT: 10 Rules for a Healthy Low-Carb Diet 

Emily Abbate
4 Little-Known Benefits of Exercise Blog entry Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:02:23 -0400 Fitbie
Women Working Out

Ask almost anyone why they take the time to hit the gym, and 99 percent of the time you'll hear something along the lines of "because I want to stay in shape," with the words "bikini season" mixed in. Well a new study reveals another benefit to living an active, fit lifestyle. A research team from the University of Illionois at Urbana-Champaign’s Beckman Institute concluded that being active may actually improve your cognitive function and brain health. How so? Well, greater aerobic fitness is associated with more fibrous and compact white matter, a type of nerve tissue connected to learning and brain function. 
More From Fitbie: Boost the Health Power of Your Workout
This isn't the first study to detail the positive correlations between fitness and the mind. There's been research done proving that a morning workout can boost your efficiency throughout the day and even yoga can help crank up your brain waves
So what else can exercise do, aside from give your brain an added boost (and of course, all the fit positives)? Check out these 3 other little-known benefits of exercise
Assist with overcoming addiction: That runner’s high is real and you don’t have to get it from running. The brain releases dopamine, the “reward chemical” in response to any form of pleasure, and some people get addicted to it. With regular bouts of physical activity, recovering addicts can replace an unhealthy high with a healthy one.

More From FitbieHow Exercise Boosts Your Immunity
Influence creativity: Regardless of the mood you’re in, exercise has been shown to improve your creativity. Next time you’re stuck on a work project? Take a break, get some fresh air, and go for a walk. Sneaking in that extra added activity can supercharge your creative juices for up to two hours afterward. 
Amp up social relationships: Not only can you strengthen existing relationships by working out with your your friend or partner, but attending group fitness classes or joining your local running club makes it easier to meet new people with similar interests. You may be surprised by the kind of people you meet at that post-work bootcamp class! 
UP NEXT: Social Media Helped Her Get Fit 


Allie Burdick
How Jennifer Aniston's Fitness Regimen Really Stacks Up Blog entry Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:54:32 -0400 Fitbie
Jennifer Aniston

There’s no doubt about it that Jennifer Aniston is smokin’. At 45, the actress is not only radiant, but she’s in amazing shape! Obviously Aniston's fit routine is working, and according to her trainer -- it’s all about exercise and diet.

"Jen's a very consistent exerciser and eater," Mandy Ingber, Aniston’s yoga instructor, told ABC News of the prep for her recent Bora Bora getaway with fiancé Justin Theroux. "But when she has something she needs to focus a little more on, she just tightens it up a little bit."

More from Fitbie: 8 People Who Should Have Their Gym Memberships Revoked (PHOTOS)

According to Ingber, Aniston follows these 3 healthy tips to stay in shape:

Cut out (unhealthy) snacks. "She won't have the extra chips," said Ingber of Aniston's self-control. What you put in your body is essential. According to Ingber that’s 80 percent of it. "It's not a big deal if you have a bite of this or that if you are mostly eating well."

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Ingber shared that Aniston is a huge proponent of staying hydrated. Not only does drinking more water increase energy levels, it also helps you to feel full. "Sometimes when you think you're hungry, you're actually thirsty," stated the yoga instructor.

Mix up your workouts. "We up the cardio  a little bit, if she's looking to sort of trim down," Ingber stated. 

More from Fitbie: Jennifer Hudson Splits From Weight Watchers After 80-Pound Weight Loss 

So how do these tips actually stack up when it comes to helping slim down?

"I agree that it is important to keep your diet in check if you are aiming to lose weight," said Jenn Seracuse, Director of FlexPilates at Flex Studios. "Snacking can certainly be a bad thing if you are making the wrong choices, but healthy snacking can be a great way to slim down."

Also, eating more small meals throughout the day will help to keep your metabolism up, she added.

Patrick Frost, Master Trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp, agrees that water and good health go hand-in-hand. “Drink plenty of water,” he advised. "Not only will you be filtering your body, but hydrating helps curb your appetite and subsequently fight those pesky cravings."

When it comes to seeing results, increased cardio is a key factor, as is mixing up your workout routine. Frost tells his clients not to be afraid of change -- and suggests trying out new (and fun) activities and classes to keep your fitness regimen exciting. 

"Your body is a multifunctional entity," says Frost. "It wants to move in all directions. Unless you are a pro-athlete, there is no reason why you should stick to just one fitness routine."

UP NEXT: 4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

Fitbie Find: CamelBak Relay Water Filtration Pitcher Blog entry Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:45:58 -0400 Fitbie
camelbak relay

In our modern age of contradictory diet advice, where seemingly no one agrees on the best path to a healthy lifestyle, there's one expert health tip that always seems to rise -- err, float -- to the top: Drink lots of water! Why? It'll help you feel better, look slimmer, live longer, and text faster (I may have made that last one up, but it's probably true!). Simple as it may seem to down enough H20, though -- most experts recommend chugging half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day -- for some of us, drinking water is HARD. Which is why I welcome any product that makes it that much easier to stay hydrated.

More from Fitbie: 12 Ways to Make Water Less Boring

And today's #fitbiefind does just that. The new Relay filtration pitcher from CamelBak filters water at the speed of your faucet -- yep, no drip-by-drip waiting time -- so you have no excuse for not keeping that reusable water bottle full at all times. And it filters your water twice, too -- once when you fill it and again when you pour it -- so the taste is about is clean as it gets, which means even picky water drinkers won't find getting their fill hard to swallow. 

What else we love:

• The compact design means it fits in even small refrigerator doors

Holds 10 cups of water

• BPA-free and dishwasher safe

• Side-locking latches on the lid prevent spills

Filters last 4 months with regular use

The details: CamelBak Relay Water Filtration Pitcher, $36.99, 

UP NEXT: 10 Rules for a Healthy Low-Carb Diet

Cathryne Keller