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. Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:01:11 -0400 Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:01:11 -0400 5 Simple Tips for Better Sleep http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/21/simple-tips-better-sleep Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/21/simple-tips-better-sleep 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

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Fitbie Find: Nike Premier Maria Tennis Skirt http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/21/fitbie-find-nike-premier-maria-tennis-skirt Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/21/fitbie-find-nike-premier-maria-tennis-skirt 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, nike.com

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

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Emily Abbate
Eating 5 Servings of Fruits & Vegetables Daily Wasn't What I Expected http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/21/eating-5-servings-fruits-vegetables-daily-wasnt-what-i-expected Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/21/eating-5-servings-fruits-vegetables-daily-wasnt-what-i-expected Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:51:15 -0400 Fitbie
produce aisle

By Julia Merz for rodalenews.com

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.) 

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

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Julia Merz
How to Handle a Frisky Personal Trainer http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/20/how-handle-frisky-personal-trainer Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/20/how-handle-frisky-personal-trainer 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 editors@fitbie.com. 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

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Emily Abbate
Major Almond, Peanut Butter Recall Involves Trader Joe's, Whole Foods http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/20/major-almond-peanut-butter-recall-involves-trader-joes-whole-foods Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/20/major-almond-peanut-butter-recall-involves-trader-joes-whole-foods 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 

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Emily Abbate
4 Little-Known Benefits of Exercise http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/20/little-known-benefits-exercise Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/20/little-known-benefits-exercise 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 

 

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Allie Burdick
How Jennifer Aniston's Fitness Regimen Really Stacks Up http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/20/how-jennifer-anistons-fitness-regimen-really-stacks Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/20/how-jennifer-anistons-fitness-regimen-really-stacks 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

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Fitbie Find: CamelBak Relay Water Filtration Pitcher http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/19/fitbie-find-camelbak-relay-water-filtration-pitcher Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/19/fitbie-find-camelbak-relay-water-filtration-pitcher 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, camelbak.com 

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

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Cathryne Keller
8 Random Things Everyone Thinks During a Group Fitness Class http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/19/random-things-everyone-thinks-during-group-fitness-class Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/19/random-things-everyone-thinks-during-group-fitness-class Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:42:30 -0400 Fitbie
Fitness class

Just like iPhone apps and, come fall, pumpkin spice lattés, group fitness classes are an essential component of life for many women. Whatever your poison -- cycling, yoga, boot camp, or something else -- sweating in swarms is a great way to make sure you're squeezing in your workouts and staying accountable. Plus, group fitness can be a whole lot more entertaining than, say, running a few lonesome miles on the treadmill. 

More from Fitbie: 11 Things That Happen the First Time You Go to a Gym

Even so, loving workout classes in general doesn't mean you're going to love every single second of a 60-minute session -- or that things won't occasionally get a teeny bit awkward. Take a look at these 8 random things everyone thinks during a group fitness class:  

1. "Where on earth does this lady's energy come from?" It's 7 a.m., and your instructor is so peppy she must have already downed six cans of Redbull today. You instantly wonder if you've ever been on her level.

2. "Am I doing this right?" Clap left, step right? Or is it clap right, step left? As the instructor does some sort of pony left-to-right motion looking flawless, you feel like the odd man out. 

3. "Gah! Does she know her pants are see-through?" You can see the woman in front of you's polka dot underwear clearer than the Empire State Building on a sunny day. 

4. "I wonder what I look like when I do a push-up ..." Before you realize what you're doing, you're checking yourself out in the wall lined with mirrors.

5. "What's the least obnoxious moment to take a water break?" The instructor hasn't paused yet, and you don't want to scare 20 people out of downward-facing dog when you un-pop your bottle cap, but, boy, do you need some H20. (We say just go for the water!)

More from Fitbie: 10 Thoughts You Have the First Time You Lift Weights

6. "Is this almost over yet?" Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. We can't blame you for wanting to get your workout over with, but do yourself a favor and choose a sweat strategy that you really, really love. That way, you won't be watching the clock. Check out these 21 ways to make fitness fun.

7. "There's no way I can do another set of push-ups/burpees/crunches." You lost count of just how many sets you've already completed shortly after wiping the sweat from your elbow. (You didn't even know you could sweat there!) You tell yourself to keep pushing through it—just like this little guy:

8. "This is so much more fun than logging time on the elliptical." Despite having a slight grudge against your instructor's pep, when the class comes to an end and you all cool-down, the sense of accomplishment is very real. 

UP NEXT: 10 Random Things Runners Ponder While Pounding Pavement

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Emily Abbate
4 Expert Tips for Easier Weight Loss http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/19/expert-tips-easier-weight-loss Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/19/expert-tips-easier-weight-loss Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:33:23 -0400 Fitbie
woman talking

Great! You’ve decided to take the plunge and start a new "diet." The thing is, diets are hard, and the second you restrict yourself it seems that the only thing you crave is, uh, everything you’re not supposed to have. A recent study published by in Obesity, A Research Journal followed 2,327 participants through a 12-month weight-loss journey. Testers who lost more than three percent body fat after two of months of dieting were 11 times more likely to achieve weight loss success at the end of one year versus participants who lost under two percen, who were only 5 times as likely to lose weight successfully. Translation? According to the study, weight lost in first month of dieting can predict longterm diet success. 

More from Fitbie: 3 Inspiring Walking Weight-Loss Success Stories

However, if the number on the scale isn’t dropping as fast as you’d like, don't get discouraged. “Strictly measuring progress in terms of pounds is misleading," says Dr. Bianca Chiara, of Hoboken Family Medical & Women’s Health Clinic.  "You have to take into consideration possible muscle gain with exercise masking the fat loss.” Consistency, hard work, and motivation are KEY when you’re starting a new routine. To help you stay on track, try one of these 4 healthy diet tips for beginners:

1. Drink water. Before you reach for that cookie, drink a full glass of water. You may think you’re hungry when really you’re just thirsty. If you’re still craving something afterward, look for a healthy alternative. Furthermore, “Water is important for detoxification and helping to keep your GI system moving well,” says Chiara. 

2. Make sustainable changes. Dropping weight doesn’t happen overnight, and keeping it off takes work. “Be honest with yourself about realistic changes you can make that you will be able to keep up long term,” suggests Chiara. Being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a temporary quick fix. 

More from Fitbie: 12 Genius Healthy Eating Tips

3. Find your cheerleaders. Having friends and loved ones behind you is key, says Chiara. "Support from others, friends or family, is a good motivator to help you continue to make significant lifestyle changes."

4. Make a vow to keep moving! Some days, the gym is the last place you want to go, and that’s OK. "Scheduled exercise is necessary, but there are also small decisions you can make daily to burn extra calories," says Chiara. Simply vow to move, in any capacity, on days that you’re feeling sluggish or lazy. Some suggestions? "Take the stairs, skip the cab, walk more, etc." Once you start to see results it will be easier to make these choices and continue to feel motivated. 

UP NEXT: An Open Letter to my 'Skinny' Jeans

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15 Hilarious Tank Tops Every Female CrossFit Fan Should Own (PHOTOS) http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/19/hilarious-tank-tops-every-female-crossfit-fan-should-own-photos Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/19/hilarious-tank-tops-every-female-crossfit-fan-should-own-photos Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:53:03 -0400 Fitbie
CrossFit tank top

If you're anything like us, then you take fitness seriously. You love the feeling of a good sweat and as much as you may complain about it, that next-day soreness always feels like a mega accomplishment. That doesn't mean, though, that you don't want to have fun while you get fit. 

We spent a little time on Pinterest (tough, we know) to find the most popular funny CrossFit tanks as pinned and repinned by Pinterest users. If these fun fitness picks give you a laugh, follow Fitbie on Pinterest for more of our favorite pins!

More from Fitbie: 70 Thoughts Every Woman Has While Doing CrossFit

UP NEXT: 8 People Who Should Have Their Gym Memberships Revoked 

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Emily Abbate
Pro Runner Lauren Fleshman Says Marathons Aren't Everything http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/18/pro-runner-lauren-fleshman-says-marathons-arent-everything Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/18/pro-runner-lauren-fleshman-says-marathons-arent-everything Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:17:41 -0400 Fitbie
Lauren Fleshman

Running wasn't always Lauren Fleshman's favorite sport. The woman who went on to rank 7th in the IAAF World Championships 5K in 2011 (with the highest American finish in history), almost chose softball cleats over running shoes in high school. Luckily, the softball coach convinced her to join the cross-country team, and she hasn't stopped running since.

More from Fitbie: Just 5 Minutes of Running a Day Can Change Your Life 

Fleshman's other accomplishments include being a member of six World Championship teams (three cross country; three track), leading the USA to a team bronze medal in cross country with an 11th place finish, and winning the USA track and field 5K in 2006 and 2010. 

When Fleshman isn't working out, she's helping to manage Picky Bars, the energy bar company she cofounded with her husband, triathlete Jesse Thomas, and her friend and fellow professional runner Steph Rothstein. 

On top of all that? She regularly writes columns for her website Ask Lauren Fleshman as well as Runner's World, and, oh yes, is also a new mom to her 1 year-old son Jude. 

We chatted with the Oiselle pro athlete -- and today's #MondayMotivation -- about her biggest running challenges and how her "screw ups" have only helped her grow.

What's the best advice you can offer for beginner runners? 
Don't be in a rush to move up to a marathon. There's this misconception that "real runners" do marathons and everyone else is "just doing the half" or "just a 5K." As a professional runner I find this ridiculous! Do a marathon if you are so inclined, but take your time to move up, and do the distances that bring you the most joy and make running something easy to sustain in your lifestyle. The most important thing is longevity, in my opinion, so that means you need to protect your relationship with running by being wise.

What's the biggest misconception about runners?
That running was always easy for us. If you work at it for two months consistently, then you will be able to find your flow, and then one day you will forget you are even running! But it takes discomfort and dedication to earn that feeling and that fitness. That is true for all of us. Even for me -- when I came back after an 18-month injury, and again after a long layoff from pregnancy, running felt torturous at first! It was like I'd never run a day in my life. But it comes back.

When did you start running? Why did you start?
In 8th grade I got punished for being chronically tardy to gym class. My PE Teacher gave me a choice for my punishment: Pick up 150 soda cans from my peers at lunch and recycle them, OR run the 800 and the mile in the junior-high track meet. I chose the latter and got 2nd place in both.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when you first started, and how did you overcome it?
Being small was a challenge. I felt nobody expected anything of me, and deep down I wanted to be a force, a leader, and a performer people could count on, but because of my size (I was 4'10 and 78 pounds as a 9th grader) everyone treated me like a child. I overcame it by being humble and learning everything I could from those with more experience, gradually earning their respect. Growing 10 inches as a sophomore helped a lot too!

To date, how many marathons have you run?
One! New York City, 2011. I was 16th place overall and the second American with a 2:37 finish time. I was on pace to run under 2:30 until mile 20 and then ... yep, you guessed it, I hit "the wall." My experience was written about in the New York Times, and on my blog if you want to read about it!  

More from Fitbie: 8 Top Training Mistakes You Could Be Making

What do you eat the night before a big race?
I try not to get too dependent on any one meal because I race all around the world and may not have access to what I want when it counts. It's important to be flexible. So my general rule is to eat something balanced and simple the night before, with chicken as my first choice of protein, a hearty serving of carbs (rice, quinoa, potatoes are my favorites), and a small portion of cooked vegetables. I make sure there is enough fat in the meal to hold me over, whether its in the sauce, or the way the food happens to be prepped. 

I don't prefer to eat processed wheat, or desserts the night before a race because it makes me feel a bit bloated, but if all there is is pizza, then pizza it is. I'll have a little dark chocolate or fruit if I have a sweet tooth, and if I'm feeling particularly uptight, I'll have a glass of wine with dinner.

What's the most important advice you can give to prevent running injuries?
Don't move up in race distance dramatically without building your core and foot strength appropriately. If you want to train hard, you also need to recover hard, and do some of the little things to prevent injuries like rolling on a foam roller, getting massage at the first sign of pain, and fueling correctly after exercise with 200 calories of balanced food, like a Picky Bar, to make sure you aren't catabolizing your muscle tissue and robbing your body of the things it needs to repair the tissues you are breaking down every day.

How often do you replace your running shoes?
Every 250 to 350 miles, which for me is every 4 to 6 weeks!

More from FitbieThe Ultimate Beginner Sneaker Guide

What are 3 guilty-pleasure songs on your workout playlist?
The weirdest song I like to play regularly to get pumped up is "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa. Justin Timberlake is always a good bet, too. And the entire album "An Awesome Wave" by Alt-J is phenomenal. 

What workout do you absolutely despise?
I don't do anything I despise anymore. If I don't like something that is necessary for me to be my best, I try to see if there is another approach that I like better, and if there isn't, than I figure out a way to change my perspective and like it. This is hardest for me on long tempo runs over 6 miles in length, so I pop in my Blue Buds and listen to music to get me through.

What did you eat for breakfast today?  
Noosa strawberry rhubarb yogurt with some generic granola and some blueberries. And a huge french press coffee with beans from a local place in town, BackPorch. 

What's your most popular content on social media (beginner tips, marathon advice, etc.)?
People seem to appreciate my failures the most. Or times when I'm vulnerable. The times when I'm honest about my shortcomings, or offer a view into how I'm dealing (or not dealing) with disappointment. Before I started a blog, I always wished people at the top of their field would be more transparent about their "screw ups" and "flaws" because those things are critical parts of the puzzle to how they become great. 

But human nature is to hide those things and show only our best side, giving the impression that a life without flaws is the pathway to greatness. And this is a dangerous lie. Greatness is only possible with adversity. You HAVE to screw up to learn. You have to have these learning moments to adapt and grow into who you are eventually meant to become. I've been told that in sharing these learning moments, others feel more comfortable doing the same, which removes this weight we so often carry around thinking we need to appear put together.

How do you use social media to help others? How do you think social media helps people stay on track?
I use social media to share my experiences, honestly -- to make connections with interesting people, to entertain and be entertained, to learn things, to educate, to share the things that make an impact on me, and to encourage others who are living a lifestyle I admire. Liking and commenting on content that puts positive energy into the world is a way we can all encourage the types of behaviors we want to see more of. That encouragement helps people stay on track. And conversely, blocking or avoiding content that is degrading or negative is just as important. It doesn't mean everything has to be all lollipops and roses, but my preference is to use social media in a way that encourages growth.

Follow Fleshman on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Are you a nutritionist, food blogger, or fitness expert with a large social media following? Email us at editors@fitbie.com or Tweet us @Fitbie using the hashtag #MondayMotivation to be featured as our next Fitbie Spotlight.

UP NEXT: Vegan Blogger Kathy Patalsky Says Vegans Aren't Judging You 

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Kayda Norman
Fitbie Find: Impact by Jillian Michaels Ruched Capri Pants http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/16/fitbie-find-impact-jillian-michaels-ruched-capri-pants Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/16/fitbie-find-impact-jillian-michaels-ruched-capri-pants Sat, 16 Aug 2014 10:00:07 -0400 Fitbie
Impact by Jillian Michaels

Think of inexpensive activewear and a few different outlets come to mind: Old Navy and Target for C9 by Champion, for starters. Well Kmart is stepping their game up with Impact by Jillian Michaels, a new line of activewear that includes everything from training and running essentials to lifestyle and yoga pieces. Our eye's on the ruched capri athletic pants, today's #SaturdaySaver.

More from Fitbie: 10 Random Things Runners Ponder While Pounding Pavement 

Aside from the great price -- the capris look cute and they're practical too. Made for performance, these lightweight pants feature a mesh lining and a woven design that keeps you cool and dry. Plus, the banded cuffs have light ruching, which give 'em that extra style oomph.

The Details: ruched capri athletic pants, $21.99, kmart.com

Like our saver series? Let us know by tweeting us @Fitbie and using the hashtag #SaturdaySaver. Come back every Saturday to check out some of the great deals the bargainista Fitbie editors have found around the web! 

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

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Emily Abbate
The Factor That Predicts Diet Success, Plus More Hot Health Headlines http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/15/factor-predicts-diet-success-plus-more-hot-health-headlines Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/15/factor-predicts-diet-success-plus-more-hot-health-headlines Fri, 15 Aug 2014 13:49:02 -0400 Fitbie
woman measuring waist

Another reason to feel good about the pounds you're dropping with your new healthy lifestyle: A study in the journal Obesity found that dieters who lost a significant amount of weight in the first month of their weight loss plan were more likely to be successful in the long run. [Wiley

Mexan Fox looks super trim and toned in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and we're happy to report that starvation isn't the secret to her slim look. The sexy star's trainer Harley Pasternak recently revealed that balanced meals and consistent workouts are responsible for Fox's, um, foxy bod. [US Weekly

If you feel a little guilty about your cheat day, you might find comfort in the fact that even supermodels splurge. At least Victoria's Secret model Candice Swanepoel does, as the world found out this week when the South African beauty shared a shot of her pizza party for one. [Instagram]

Toned thighs and a strong core are fine reasons to work out, but new research reveals another source of motivation that'll push you to go all in during your next sweat session: Jay Z. A study out of Northwestern University discovered that a little music -- especially base-heavy tunes -- can go a long way toward helping you reach your fitness goals. [Fitbie]

You've probably heard about the harmful health effects that can result from not working out enough, but you may be surprised (we were!) to learn that working out too much may come with its own set of health risks. According to new research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, when it comes to  exercising for heart health, more is not necessarily better. [Fitbie]

UP NEXT: 10 Random Things Runners Ponder While Pounding the Pavement

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Cathryne Keller
Fresh Pick: Tomatoes http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/15/fresh-pick-tomatoes Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/15/fresh-pick-tomatoes Fri, 15 Aug 2014 11:00:09 -0400 Fitbie
candied tomatoes

To me, tomatoes bursting with vine-ripened sweetness are the ultimate edible symbol of high summer. If you’ve ever plucked a ripe sun-warmed tomato from the vine on a hot summer day, you know the magic of this fruit (which, of course, is more commonly used like a vegetable). Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants and potassium, making them healthy as well as delicious.

While I’m particularly fond of the intense sweetness of “dry-farmed” tomatoes, I revel in the gorgeous array of tomatoes gracing every market come the peak of summer: From green zebra stripes, to beefy heirlooms in sunshine hues, to the tiniest yellow pears and garnet red cherry tomatoes … there is literally a rainbow of tomato goodness to indulge in!

More from Fitbie: 10 Fresh Fruit Salads for Summer 

In season: While a trickling of nice cherry tomatoes finds its way to market in late spring, tomatoes really start to hit their stride in mid to late July. And thanks to a strong dose of summer heat, it’s a tomato bonanza come August. In parts of the country where the hot weather continues into September, tomatoes will maintain their reign until the cool fall weather takes over.
 
How to pick it:
Unless you want to specifically cook green tomatoes (a la Fried Green Tomatoes fame), let the fruit fully ripen before picking. If you see a green area surrounding the stem, the tomatoes aren't ripe and will be disappointing in flavor. Look for a consistent, vibrant coloration on your tomatoes -- deep reds, yellows, and oranges. The best tomatoes will be full and juicy, firm to the touch with just a little give when you squeeze 'em. FYI: Never eat the leaves -- they’re toxic!
 
How to store it:
Don’t keep your tomatoes in the fridge -- cold temps can negatively impact the flavor and texture. Store your tomatoes on the counter top out of direct sunlight. And don’t cut them until you’re ready to eat them: Once cut, tomatoes will spoil quickly. Like most produce, ripe tomatoes are best eaten within a day or two of purchase.
 
How to use it:
Add it to oatmeal for a savory twist, muddle it for a cocktail, toss it on the grill -- tomatoes have a place in nearly all your meals. In high summer, we eat tomatoes every which way -- from Insalata Caprese, to Greek salads, to simple tomato-basil bruschetta to quinoa taboulleh, to gazpacho to fresh bloody mary’s … We can’t get enough! You can also try adding a few cherry tomatoes to your next kebab skewers: You’ll find that the heat of the grill only heightens the sweet juicy nature of the fruit. And if you’re anything like my family, you’ll find yourself unable to resist picking up a ripe tomato, sprinkling on a little sea salt, and eating the juicy beauty over the sink.

Recipe: I love to prolong the pleasure of eating tomatoes into the winter months. By roasting tomatoes in a low oven with a little olive oil, salt, and sugar or agave nectar, you end up with a slightly caramelized and intensely flavorful “candied” tomato that lends itself well to storage. In August and September, I roast up crates of Dry-Farmed Early Girl tomatoes, tuck my candied tomatoes into freezer bags, and savor them throughout the colder months. Nothing tastes more heavenly come January than adding Candied Tomatoes -- a taste of summer brightness -- to your winter stew.

Candied Tomatoes from Yummy Supper
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups)

You'll Need:

4 pounds tomatoes (I'm partial to dry-farmed Early Girls -- they may not look fancy, but the flavor is unbeatable)

2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt for sprinkling

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar or 1 tablespoon light agave nectar

How to Make It:

1. Preheat your oven to 250°F. 

2. Slice small or medium tomatoes in half and spread them out, face up, over a large baking sheet. (If you are using huge heirloom tomatoes, cut them into large wedges.) Lightly drizzle the olive oil over the tops of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt. I like to sprinkle on a bit of sugar or drizzle on a bit of agave nectar to enhance the caramelization of the slow roast. Slide the baking sheet into the warm oven.

3. After 4 to 5 hours of roasting, your tomatoes will be ready. They will have shrunk in size significantly and the flavors will have concentrated. The tops will be caramelized, but the tomatoes will still be nice and juicy.

Tip: To save some Candied Tomatoes, fill a resealable plastic bag or two and store them in your freezer. When you pull them out in deep winter, you'll smile as you taste a bit of summer.

Not sure what to do with your in-season produce? All summer long, our experts are bringing you the facts on the freshest fruits and veggies at your local supermarket

UP NEXT: Your Guide to Summer Blueberries 

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4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Workout http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/14/ways-get-most-out-your-workout Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/14/ways-get-most-out-your-workout Thu, 14 Aug 2014 17:19:26 -0400 Fitbie
Woman exercising

It's safe to say that, yes, working out is a good thing. There’s a lot of scientific data supporting the benefits of exercise on not only your body, but also your mind. Like all good things, though, too much of it is bad. While studies have shown that a regular fitness regimen like brisk walking or jogging helps to manage the rehabilitation of cardiovascular disease and lower the risk of death from hypertension, stroke and type 2 diabetes, a new study reveals the potential downsides of too much exercise. 

In the study published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers found a reduction in cardiovascular related deaths in around 65 percent of the 2,400 heart attack survivors surveyed who were running less than 30 miles or walking less than 46 miles a week. They also found that doing any additional miles did not have much health benefit.

More from Fitbie: Just 5 Minutes of Running Can Change Your Life

"These analyses provide what is to our knowledge the first data in humans demonstrating a statistically significant increase in cardiovascular risk with the highest levels of exercise," says Paul T. Williams, PhD, of the Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Paul D. Thompson, MD, of the Department of Cardiology, Hartford Hospital.

According to Ben Booker, NASM Certified Personal Trainer at Daily Burn, a fitness regimen should enhance your quality of life, not take it over. If you find yourself spending too much time at the gym (Read: neglecting your family, friends, and other important relationships) it’s time to restructure your workouts. 

"Moderation and consistency have proven to be the most effective elements in many aspects of wellness," adds Kelly Lee, CPT and trainer at Grokker. "Too many people are stuck with the old mindset that they have to work out for an hour (or more!) or it is 'not worth it.'"

The problem with that? Those that just don’t have to the time to put in a full 60 minutes or more end up skipping the gym completely or go extra hard to make up over the weekend, says Lee.  

So what’s an effective workout that will give you the most return on your time investment? For Booker, it’s a good strength training program that incorporates proper form, pushing yourself as hard as possible, with controlled timed. Pair this with proper nutrition and you’re golden! 

We’ve got 4 tips from our fitness experts to help maximize your efforts and smartly use your time.

1. Utilize a stopwatch. It will help you keep rest periods between 30 to 90 seconds. This is a huge benefit that will allow your heart rate to stay in the fat burning zone more consistently, equaling bigger results in a shorter amount of time, shares Booker. 

2. Learn how to continually push your body to it's max power, while staying safe with good form. According to Booker, this concept usually gets him in and out of the gym in under 45 minutes about 95 percent of the time. And he sees better results than 95 percent of people staying in the gym 2 hours on end.  

3. Start incorporating more high-intensity training. You give 100 percent of your effort during the quick bursts, followed by shorter recovery periods. This is a highly effective calorie burner shares Lee. And the good news: you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to feel the results!

4. Get educated. Start reading up on what it means to train, how the body response to stress, and look for a program that fits your lifestyle, says Booker.  Coming in the gym everyday is no different than building a career. If you show up to your work place with no plan, no schedule in place, and little knowledge of how to achieve optimal results, you will most likely stay stagnant in your work environment and not move up the ladder.  If you continue to walk into the gym with no plan, you will continue to get no results.  

UP NEXT: 7 Benefits of CrossFit

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4 Common Treadmill Mistakes You Could Be Making http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/14/common-treadmill-mistakes-you-could-be-making Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/14/common-treadmill-mistakes-you-could-be-making Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:16:02 -0400 Fitbie
Running on the treadmill

Hitting the treadmill is a great way to get your blood flowing and sweat dripping, but there's more to it than simply turning the thing on and chugging away at one speed. That's right: Even avid gym goers are guilty of misusing the popular cardio machine. 

We asked Rock Tate, a group fitness instructor at Intrepid Gym in Hoboken, New Jersey, to go over the most common treadmill mistakes you might be making. Do yourself a favor, and avoid these 4 common treadmill faux pas. 

Mistake #1: Skipping your warm-up and cool-down. Do you jump onto the belt and crank up the speed? Don’t! “Ease into your run with a 5 to 10 minute warm-up,” suggests Tate. “Start with a brisk walk, moving steadily into a jog, and then punch it up to your desired run pace.” 

More from Fitbie7 Treadmill Workouts That Beat Boredom

Your risk for injury, or pulling a muscle, greatly increases if you don’t take the time to properly prepare your body for an intense workout. Tate suggests using the same method when you’re wrapping up your session: “Take a few minutes to cool-down with a slow jog or walk and reflect on how far you made it.”

Mistake #2: Not following a plan. Haphazardly making up your own routine rarely ends with the best workout you’ve ever had. “Following a plan not only pushes you to keep going when you’re ready to quit, but it also forces you to hit distances and paces that you might not have otherwise.” says Tate. 

Mistake #3: You hold the bars. Stop that! The only thing you’re cheating by grasping onto the sides of the treadmill is YOU. “Holding onto the sides of the machine greatly reduces calorie burn because you’re supporting part of your body weight,” says Tate “not to mention how badly it affects your posture and stride.” His advice? If you can’t keep up with the pace, lower the speed until you can crank it up again. 

More from Fitbie: The Best Treadmill Accessories

Mistake #4: Not using the incline. Utilize the incline to create a more realistic run path. “When you’re running outdoors the terrain is never consistently at zero.” Tate says, “Varying the incline and speed not only helps to burn more calories, it also hits different muscle groups like your hamstrings and glutes while you’re jogging, or even walking, up a steep hill.”

UP NEXT: 7 Fitness Fails Sabotaging Your Goals 

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Fitbie Find: Reebok Skyscape Chase http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/14/fitbie-find-reebok-skyscape-chase Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/14/fitbie-find-reebok-skyscape-chase Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:00:26 -0400 Fitbie
Skyscape Chase

Since their release in March, I've been a huge fan of Reebok's Skyscape Runaround. That's exactly why as soon as the Skyscape Chase came out I had to get my hands on a pair. An update from Reebok's original design, featuring a sleek jogger silhouette for an added dash of style, the Chase is an even better version of the to-and-from sneaker and also today's #FitbieFind.

More from Fitbie: The Ultimate Beginner Sneaker Guide 

A lightweight, machine-washable shoe, saying that the Skyscape Chase is comfortable is an understatement. Literally, it feels like I'm bouncing down the street every morning on my way to the office, which brings me to my next point: Functionality. The Chase is a shoe, albeit sportier than its sister, that can be worn walking around with yoga wear or paired with a skirt and leather jacket. And that, my friends, is why it's my go-to.

What else we love:
• 6 fun color options
• Scotchgard-treated upper makes it stain resistant

The Details: Skyscape Chase, $74.99, reebok.com 

UP NEXT: 50 Thoughts Every Woman Has When She Wakes Up Early to Workout

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Emily Abbate
Beginner CrossFit Class BX Had Me Seriously Sweating http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/14/beginner-crossfit-class-bx-had-me-seriously-sweating Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/14/beginner-crossfit-class-bx-had-me-seriously-sweating Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:26:09 -0400 Fitbie
BX Brick class

If you’re looking for a high-intensity workout that features a unique blend of fast-paced cardio and interval weight training, then look no further than the BX group fitness class at Brick New York (or Brick LA!). I’ve always loved a good boot camp-type workout, and BX offers just that but with a trendy twist: The 60-minute interval-training session also incorporates CrossFit-inspired movements, minus the heavy lifting.

More from Fitbie: 7 Benefits of CrossFit

The gist: BX blasts a ton of calories by focusing on cardio, flexibility, muscle tone, and agility training. Did I mention you work up a sweat? Because, oh man, do you -- don't make any immediate post-class plans because your spandex will be DRENCHED (TMI?). The reason: You never stop moving and the exercises incorporate both your body weight and fun toys like plyometric boxes, kettle bells, dumbbells, medicine balls, and the rowing machine.

“BX is most definitely an endurance gainer and a massive calorie burner,” says Heidi Jones, head coach at Brick New York. "Once the clock starts on the workout, it almost never stops. This means very little rest, which means more of that deep, result-producing burn.”

According to Jones, the high-intensity nature of BX keeps the body in a “heightened state for hours after the WOD (workout of the day), which means metabolically the body is burning more fat and calories.” So yeah, you could say it's an effective workout.

More from Fitbie: TRX Suspension Training Left Me Sore For All the Right Reasons

The experience: Our warm up included three rounds of deep squatting, lunging, and back stretching. I was feelin’ pretty good after the last set, but then came the planks. Planks are one of those moves that I have a love/hate relationship with (like burpees). On a good day, when I can hold the pose with surprising ease, I love ‘em. Other times (as in, this time), the pained expression on my face says it all.

Come time for the actual workout, my muscles were warmed up and ready to go! We cycled through five different stations, with three types of fitness moves (for a total of 6 minutes) at each station. The circuits varied and truly delivered a full body-workout. Some of the moves Jones took us through: box jumps, box dips, burpees, v-ups, and, oh, a casual 100-meter sprint on the row machine (yep). My racing heart rate and the streams of sweat running down my face are just a little indication of what this workout did for my body.

My take: BX was a really great experience for me because it pushed me to a higher level, as compared to other boot camp-inspired classes I've tried. The group atmosphere and encouragement from the instructors and class really got me motivated to give just that little bit more! I loved how varied and fast-paced the moves were, too. You didn’t have time to make excuses to slow down or let yourself become complacent. It was also great to get such a high-intensity workout in essentially 30 minutes, not counting the warm-up (the class usually ranges from 45-60 minutes). One thing's for sure, I’ll definitely be feeling those box jumps and burpees tomorrow! #sorrynotsorry
 
UP NEXT: 5 Things All CrossFit Begginers Can Expect

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Cathryne Keller
The Real Reason Why You're Running to the Bathroom on Your Run http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/13/real-reason-why-youre-running-bathroom-your-run Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/13/real-reason-why-youre-running-bathroom-your-run Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:37:01 -0400 Fitbie
Woman Running

Q: "I have to poop every time I run. I know, it's not sexy to talk about but I can't help it. PLEASE tell me how to stop running to the bathroom instead of running where I want?" -- Anonymous

A: So there's some good news: According to a review, published in the International SportsMed Journal, of gastrointestinal problems in distance running -- 37 to 71 percent of runners actually experience the same symptoms. You can now rejoice that you are not the only person running the 5K who wishes they could find a port-a-potty, STAT.

More from Fitbie: Just 5 Minutes of Running a Day Can Change Your Life 

According to the study's author, Dr. Stephen Simons, the "up and down movement of running coupled with the body's temperature increase -- think about it as a bit of an egg beater effect -- just kind of emulsifying the bowel contents."

OK, so you're wondering what you can do to fix it? Well, there are a few things. First of all, try to get your system going before you run by having a snack or some coffee. This will trigger your bowls, encouraging you to hit the bathroom before starting activity. 

Another helpful tip? Try doing a brief run before your real one, which can help you empty things out, so to speak, before you commit to some longer distances. 

And lastly, watch what you're consuming. The last thing you want to do is overdo it on high-fat or high-fiber foods before enduring longterm exercise. Will you get this all down right out of the gate? Of course not, and that's OK. The best thing you can do is trial and error, experimenting with what options work for you and your body. 

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 editors@fitbie.com. We'll get the answers you need, and promise not to embarrass you in the process.

UP NEXT: A Beginner's Guide to CrossFit (CHECKLIST)

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Emily Abbate
10 Random Things Runners Ponder While Pounding the Pavement http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/13/random-things-runners-ponder-while-pounding-pavement Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/13/random-things-runners-ponder-while-pounding-pavement Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:03:45 -0400 Fitbie
Woman listening to music while running

Lacing up your sneakers and heading out the door for a run? Good for you! While the goal of your workout may be to boost your health and fitness, we can't blame you for letting your mind wonder a bit while you're racking up miles. Check out these 10 random things runners ponder while pounding pavement

1. "Did I lock the door?" Sure, you remembered to grab your keys and tuck them into your sports bra, but what about checking the lock? You continue your run hoping your iPad, shoe collection, and DVDs of OC seasons one through four are still there when you return. 

2. "Mexican food. No, fro-yo. No, sushi." Realistically, choosing your next meal may consume your thought process for a solid 75 percent of your workout. We don't blame you -- just make sure you're choosing foods that restore your energy reserves. The ideal mix? A 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein. 

3. "Don't forget to send boss email when I get home. Don't forget to send boss email when I get home." Someone needs to invent a way for runners to write to-do lists on the go.

4. "I really hope there's not sweat visibly pooling below my butt." I guess that's what you get for choosing neon pink leggings over your go-to black pair. They are super cute, though. 

5. "When was the last time I washed this sports bra?" You consider also adding sports-bra shopping to that hypothetical to-do list.

More from Fitbie: The Ultimate Sports Bra Guide for Women With Big Boobs 

6. "I really need a running buddy." Motivating yourself to tackle evening sprints would be a lot easier if you could do them with someone else. Now you just need to convince your friends that runs > happy hour. 

7. "If I don't text him back, he'll definitely text me again later." A workout is the perfect time to debate your love life. Even if things aren't coming up roses with the new guy, at least this run will give you an extra boost of confidence on your first date with the next one. 

8. "If running this interval just slow enough to check my Instagram feed is wrong, I don't want to be right." #runningselfie

9. "It's SO back to sweatpants and Say Yes to the Dress reruns when this is over." Getting out there to work out is a lofty accomplishment and you deserve to reap the benefits. (Maybe just make sure that binge-watching TV session isn't accompanied by a pint of ice cream.)

10. "I'm getting pretty good at this." Another run down, another workout for the books. 

UP NEXT: 80 Thoughts Every Woman Has While Running a Half-Marathon

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Emily Abbate
The Awesome Way Music Can Affect Your Workout (LISTEN) http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/13/awesome-way-music-can-affect-your-workout-listen Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/13/awesome-way-music-can-affect-your-workout-listen Thu, 14 Aug 2014 11:36:45 -0400 Fitbie
Woman Running listening to music

Think of the last time you pushed yourself through a grueling workout. What helped you finish strong? Chances are, a blaring song with a good beat had you tough out those last five burpees or two rounds of boot camp class. It's true: Music has the ability to push us to do our best according to the research gathered by a team at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
 
More from Fitbie: The Fitness Tools Used By Top Athletes
 
Researchers found that the potential strategic use of music, especially in situations where people need to feel empowered, can enable them to reach peak performance. But what kind of music are we talkin' about? To find out, participants listened to 30-second clips of 31 pieces of different types of music, including sports music, hip-hop, and reggae. The top-rated most powerful songs were “We Will Rock You” by Queen and “Get Ready for This” by 2 Unlimited. 

More from Fitbie: The Cool Way Music Can Fuel a Better Workout
 
"Results revealed that the participants who listened to music with heavy bass reported higher feelings of power and formed more power-related words in a word completion task, compared with those who listened to music with low base," said researcher Dennis Hsu. 
 
How can you harness the same power of music to motivate you? Joey Gonzalez, celebrity trainer and partner at Barry’s Bootcamp in New York City, uses the power of music everyday to keep his classes pumped. 
 
“Music really drives our classes here at Barry’s Bootcamp,” says Gonzalez, “we designed the workout format and the aesthetic of the studios themselves to reflect a club-like atmosphere, so our class playlists are key!”
 
“When you think you can’t push yourself any further, a motivational song with a great beat can really pump you up and help you power though that last uphill treadmill run, sprint or rep with weights," he says.
 
Are you ready to put it to the test? Try Gonzalez’s personal power playlist during your next workout and feel the power!

UP NEXT: 4 Motivating Tricks To Move More Daily

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Allie Burdick
Fitbie Find: Nuts.com http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/12/fitbie-find-nutscom Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/12/fitbie-find-nutscom Wed, 13 Aug 2014 09:46:45 -0400 Fitbie
Nuts.com bags

I'm known for my appetite for nuts (especially when they come in chocolate butter form), so when I came into work yesterday to find a big box from Nuts.com on my desk, covered with cute little phrases like "Let's Talk Nuts" (Yes please!) and "Open Me!" (DONE.), I knew I wouldn't be disappointed with its contents.

But what makes Nuts.com today's #FitbieFind is that the bulk food-delivery site offers a lot more than their namesake snack: We're talking healthy staples like alternative flours,  trail mixes, coffee and tea, and flax and chia seeds, as well as Cheat Day-worthy fare like chocolates and baking mixes.

The goods are made with fresh, quality ingredients, and they come by the pound so you can stock up and save yourself multiple trips to the grocery store. Plus, depending on your products of choice, you'll probably save some cash, too (a pound of almond flour for $8.99, for example, is cheaper than any others I've seen).

What else we love:

• Organic, raw, gluten-free, and sugar-free options 

• Fast shipping

• 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed

• Cute packaging 

The details: Nuts.com bulk foods, prices range from $4.99 to $16.99 per pound, nuts.com

UP NEXT: 5 Paleo Dessert Recipes That'll Blow Your Mind

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Cathryne Keller
4 Motivating Tricks to Move More Daily http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/11/motivating-tricks-move-more-daily Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/11/motivating-tricks-move-more-daily Tue, 12 Aug 2014 09:37:46 -0400 Fitbie
Women exercising together

Young or old, stepping up your fitness game has some seriously positive results. According to a recent study led by Camilo Ruggero, professor of psychology at the University of North Texas, improving fitness may be part of an overall strategy for reducing the risk of depression.

The study, which focused on middle school girls, analyzed one year's impact of cardiorespiratory fitness on depression. Researchers found that being active for one calendar school year lead to lower levels of symptoms of depression.

“We don’t know why exactly there is a link between fitness levels and depression, but it is probably a number of things,” says Ruggero, “better self-esteem, healthier weight or getting more positive reinforcements that go along with being active.” Ruggero noted, “depression is linked to higher body mass index (BMI), a measurement used to assess if a person has a healthy weight for their height.”

More from Fitbie: 4 Easy Home Improvements for a Slimmer Waistline

No time to pump iron? No problem. We asked Adam Kant, certified personal trainer, and owner of Intrepid Gym in Hoboken, NJ for some easy tips on how to get moving when you may not have an abundance of extra time (or the motivation):

Count your steps: Stash a pedometer in your pocket or wear one on your wrist to reach your daily activity goal. You may think you walk a lot, until you see the number staring you back in the face. “Most people overestimate how many steps they take daily,” says Kant. “Wearing a pedometer and setting a daily step goal helps to motivate you to go farther than you might’ve otherwise.” 

Make it a priority: Making a commitment to become more fit can be quite intimidating, "Wake up everyday with the simple goal of doing something that makes you sweat,” says Kant, “It can be anything from walking the dog at a slightly faster pace to doing push ups during TV commercials,” Moving on a daily basis will get you mentally prepared to tackle larger fitness goals, like joining a gym, or signing up for a 5K. 

More from Fitbie: Does Food Addiction Exist? 

Join a local team: Fitness can be fun -- we swear. Not only does having a schedule help you commit to moving, it’s also a great way to meet new people who enjoy being active.

Workout with a group: Sweating among friends is one of the best, and fun, ways to burn calories. Not only are you working toward your fitness goals, you’re making friends while doing it. “Being surrounded by people that have the same goals is a great motivator. You might be ready to throw in the towel until you see the person next to you still pushing themselves.” says Kant, “Group fitness is about sweating together and supporting your fellow classmates. Having some laughs while you’re working out makes getting there a lot easier too.” 

UP NEXT: 3 Simple Tweaks For a Healthier Home 

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Can Losing Weight Make You Happier? http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/11/can-losing-weight-make-you-happier Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/11/can-losing-weight-make-you-happier Mon, 11 Aug 2014 16:09:58 -0400 Fitbie
Jennifer Aniston

Many dieters are on a mission to achieve their "happy weight" -- you know, the weight at which you feel most comfortable in your skin and clothes -- and even super-fit celebs obsess over those "last 5 pounds." Case in point: In an interview for Yahoo Beauty, Jennifer Aniston recently told makeup artist Bobbi Brown that she "would love to drop five pounds." She went on to say, "That is just where I have always been really comfortable -- at about 110 to 113 pounds. But it is harder to get that down, at this age."

Regardless of how you feel about Aniston's ideal weight -- she looks perfectly slim and healthy to us! -- her body confession brings up an important question: Can losing weight truly make us happier?

More from Fitbie: 8 Surprising Side Effects of Weight Loss

Not necessarily, according to a new study published in the journal Plos One. Researchers at University College London looked at 1,979 overweight adults and found that despite seeing significant health improvements like lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease, those who had lost at least 5 percent of their body weight were about 50 percent more likely to report feeling depressed, after accounting for other depression culprits like losing a loved one.

"We do not want to discourage anyone from trying to lose weight, which has tremendous physical benefits, but people should not expect weight loss to instantly improve all aspects of life," said lead author Sarah Jackson, PhD. Jackson also hypothesized that unrealistic expectations and missing out on food-focused celebrations could be factors in her team's new mood-weight findings, and was careful to point out that maintaining weight -- as opposed to losing it -- might not have the same negative psychological effects: "Mood may improve once a target weight is reached and the focus is on weight maintenance," she said.

Alright, so slimming down doesn't automatically make your paychecks bigger, your vacations longer, or your significant other more romantic (or give you Jennifer Aniston's hair). But, as this research points out, a healthy weight is definitely still a worthwhile pursuit for the physical benefits alone. And the good news is, there are other proven ways to lift your spirits that have nothing to do with a number on a scale. Whether you're slimming down or not, here are some of our best tips for boosting your body and mind:

How Exercise Can Make Your World a Better Place  

5 Stress Reducing Yoga Poses  

Happy Foods That Won't Make You Gain 

UP NEXT: An Open Letter to My 'Skinny' Jeans

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Cathryne Keller
An Open Letter to My 'Skinny' Jeans http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/11/open-letter-my-skinny-jeans Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/11/open-letter-my-skinny-jeans Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:30:41 -0400 Fitbie
jeans

Well, hello.

Mid-purge of the dust-ridden storage bins under my lofted bed, we meet again. In all fairness -- you were pretty snug when I bought you. You fit, but you were snug. There I stood, in a too-cold store somewhere in midtown Manhattan, rushed. Down more than 70 pounds after a four year weight-loss journey, I was thankful for my newfound figure but still trying to figure out how to dress it. There I stood, looking for the perfect pair of pants to wear to brunch with some girlfriends. You know, pants that would make me feel good. Better. Pants that didn't necessarily scream "I'm single," but more like "If you hit on me I won't mind." 

When I picked you up originally, I grabbed you and your sister bigger size. It was there in the dressing room with the burnt out light bulb and funhouse-looking mirrors that I debated. While you fit, you were snug. If I washed you (read: threw you in the dryer) I'd probably never be able to wear you again. The alternative? A pair that fit. A pair that albeit being a tad on the big side, fit just fine and if thrown in the dryer, would probably have been perfect. 

... in that moment, it didn't matter that the other pair fit. At that time, I was able to get into you. At that time, I wanted to reward myself for the hard work and time I'd put in. For the dusk workout sessions at the gym up the street. For the sweat-filled mornings when staying in bed, tangled in sheets felt like such a better option. For all those times I tried wearing yet another sport-friendly headband that wouldn't stay put after mile three. In that moment, I wanted to buy the smaller size. 

... And then you came home with me.  

More from Fitbie: The Gym Is For 'Skinny' People, Too

If I had to guess, I've worn you about 4 times. I've put you on about 20. I've stood there, thinking you don't fit quite right. I've done the dance, you know, the awkward one us women do when we're trying to slip into a skin-tight pair of bottoms? The one leg shimmy, leading to the mid-section worm. And once I've got you situated, I've stood. I've stood there thinking "maybe if I lost another 5 pounds," or perhaps tackled that new bootcamp class that meets on 72nd and Central Park West. Maybe, then, you'd fit my curves better. 

You want to know where I'm going with this? Well, I want to tell you that I'm sorry. I think I'm over it. You, my friend, are in Salvation Army territory. I'll never give away my size 16 jeans, but with you, it's just not the same. With you, I'm tired of feeling like what I'm working with just isn't enough. With you, I'm tired of wondering of the "What if" questions. I've got bigger fish to fry. 

It's not that we didn't have fun, you know, those four times. But after slipping you on this past weekend, I realized something bigger: Life is gonna go on whether or not I fit into the too-small "skinny" jeans. Shocking, I know. 

There will always be things, situations, circumstances in life that make us feel like our progress isn't enough. The reality? Obtaining goals is what we make of it. It's OK to get to your goal, and make a new one. For me, my goals no longer revolve around weight loss. Maybe it's lifting another 10 pounds at the gym. Maybe it's sticking to my training plan for my next race. For now, I'd like to branch out of my comfort zone and do things other than run. Do things that I know I'm not good at. 

I hope you find another home, another wearer, someone who doesn't feel as pressured at the sight of you. For me, I'll breathe easier knowing that I'm doing the right thing. I'm embracing the person I've become, and being the person I want to be. 

UP NEXT: Whatever You Do, Don't Call 'Exercise' Exercise

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Emily Abbate
Fitbie Find: Under Armour Tech Long-Sleeve http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/09/fitbie-find-under-armour-tech-long-sleeve Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/09/fitbie-find-under-armour-tech-long-sleeve Sat, 09 Aug 2014 10:01:06 -0400 Fitbie
Under Armour Long-Sleeve

Whether or not you want to admit it, cooler temperatures are in our not-so-distant future. Early morning runs will soon require longer layers and more coverage instead of tank tops and shorts. The only issue there? For someone who likes to save a pretty penny, more insulated gear (which requires more fabric) can tend to cost more. Not to fret, today's #SaturdaySaver is the perfect long sleeve for fall layering from Under Armour. 

More from Fitbie: 5 Decisions Every Runner Must Make 

This semi-fitted long sleeve is made of moisture-wicking material that will keep you dry and cozy during your workouts. Plus, it's got a 1/4-zip placket for ventilation where you need it most. And perhaps our favorite part? The drop-tail hem which gives us ladies a little extra coverage in the booty area. 

Was: $44.99
Now: $26.97
Buy: sportsauthority.com 

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

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Emily Abbate
5 'Healthy' Foods Messing Up Your Diet, Plus More Hot Health Headlines http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/08/healthy-foods-messing-your-diet-plus-more-hot-health-headlines Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/08/healthy-foods-messing-your-diet-plus-more-hot-health-headlines Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:39:11 -0400 Fitbie
energy bars

Making healthy choices is hard enough as it is, but it turns out that even your best eating intentions could lead you down a not-so-nutritious path. Yep -- according to this report, some so-called "health foods" could be secretly sabotaging your diet. [Rodale News]

You've probably seen your share of scenic run shots plastered all over Instagram, but San Francisco runner Claire Wyckoff recently gave new meaning to the idea of picturesque running routes with the hilarious courses she sketched with her Nike+ running app. [Fitbie

We recently reported that running can help you live a longer, healthier life, but hitting the road isn't without risk: A new study found that heat stroke is a common threat to long-distance runners. [Women's Health]

The term "bikini body" brings to mind a perfectly tanned, trim, and toned physique, but in the real world, bikini bodies come in all shapes and sizes, which is why we love mother of two Tanis Jex-Blake's confident Facebook response to her body critics. [Fitbie]

Men seem to have an edge in most athletic pursuits (they even get winded less than the ladies), so we were pretty excited to learn that when it comes to pacing marathons, that extra x chromosome can come in quite handy. [NY Times]

UP NEXT: Brooke Burke's Cinching Ab Workout

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Cathryne Keller
Brooke Burke's Cinching Ab Workout http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/08/brooke-burkes-cinching-ab-workout Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/08/brooke-burkes-cinching-ab-workout Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:23:53 -0400 Fitbie
Brooke Burke

Brooke Burke has had a long year. After recently battling thyroid cancer, the actress, entrepreneur, and mother of four was unexpectedly let go 'Dancing With the Stars.' Instead of letting life get her down, she made an effort to persevere and make new opportunities for herself (including filming a couple episodes of 'Melissa & Joey,' where she plays the mother of Joey's daughter). Burke's on the cover of Shape's September issue, and inside she talks about the unexpected departure from the hit ABC show, saying "If you can laugh during the stressful times in your life, it helps you get through them."

More from Fitbie: Brooke Burke's Smart Diet Advice 

As admirable as Burke's positive attitude is, we can't help but gawk over her impressive physique as well. Turning 43 this September, the actress says that working out regularly makes her feel like a better person. And wow, it shows. Lucky for us, Burke shared her 5 favorite ab flattening moves for cinching from ever angle with Shape -- and we're sharing them with you. 

“Throughout these moves, draw your belly button toward your spine and keep your rib cage pulled down,” says Burke. “This helps activate the muscles.”

What you'll need: 3 to 5-pound dumbbells 
What you should do: Perform 1 set of each move without resting 3 to 5 times a week. For maximum results, do calorie and fat-blasting cardio three to five days a week as well to help burn the fat on top of your ab muscles.

1. Cheek to Cheek
Get in modified plank position on your forearms, elbows aligned under shoulders, so your body is straight from head to heels. Slowly turn your hips and legs to the left and lower your left hip toward the floor, then repeat to the right.

Continue back and forth for 30 seconds.

2. Tap-Out Plank
Get in plank position on your hands so your body is straight from head to heels. Tap your right foot out to the side, bring it back to center, and then tap your left foot out to the side. Bring it back to center and hop both feet wide and then back to starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds.

3. Cross Chop
Stand with feet wider than shoulders and hold a dumbbell in right hand up and out to the right diagonal. Place your left hand behind your back or on your hip or thigh. Contract your abs and lunge to the left as you arc your right hand toward your left foot [B]. Rise up to starting position and continue for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.

4. Russian Twist
Sit tall on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of chest and lean back until you feel your abs engage. Keeping your belly tight and your chest lifted, rotate your upper body to the right, then left. Repeat for 30 seconds. (You can also do this move by passing the weight to your right hand and lowering it toward the floor as you turn to the right and then back to your left hand as you turn to the left.)

More from Fitbie: 5 Moves for Fierce Upper Abs 

5. Dead Bug
Lie faceup with knees bent and aligned over hips so shins are parallel to the floor. Extend arms straight over chest. Lower right arm and right leg toward the floor as you extend left arm behind you and draw left knee closer to chest. Switch sides and repeat for 30 seconds.

6. Side Crunch
Kneel on your right leg and right hand, palm aligned under your shoulder and knee aligned under your hip. Place left hand lightly against your head and rest left toes on the floor so your body makes a straight line from head to foot. Draw your left elbow and left leg toward each other as you squeeze the left side of your abs tightly. Return to starting position and continue for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

UP NEXT: Celebrity Trainer Noah Neiman Gives Us His Muscle-Toning Tricks 

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Emily Abbate
Fresh Pick: Blueberries http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/08/fresh-pick-blueberries Blog entry http://www.fitbie.com/2014/08/08/fresh-pick-blueberries Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10:38:34 -0400 Fitbie
blueberries

Small but mighty, blueberries are the superheroes of superfoods. They freeze beautifully, can outlast delicate strawberries, and pair well with almost any food -- from fruits to nuts, meat to dairy. 

More from Fitbie: 8 Healthier Popsicle Recipes 

While they certainly add visual appeal, they aren’t just a pretty addition to the table. They’re incredibly nutritious, delivering a range of health benefits along with intense flavor. High in antioxidants, they also boast plenty of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A and are a good source of fiber. They also support heart, brain, and eye health while fighting cancer, inflammation, and aging. Not bad for a bitty berry!
 
In season: Harvest varies greatly depending on where you live. They're usually ready when peaches are in season, which can be any time between June and September.
 
How to pick it: You can judge a blueberry by its cover -- a silvery-white bloom should dust the berries’ dark blue skin. They should be firm and round, not wrinkled. Avoid berries with a greenish tinge -- these have been picked too soon. If you're shopping at a farmers’ market, ask if you can taste a few before buying. While the individual berries will vary in flavor, within a few bites you’ll know if the crop is ready to be devoured.
 
How to store it: Blueberries will keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days providing you don’t wash them, since moisture will make them go mushy. Place dry blueberries in a sealed container lined with a paper towel, and wash them when you're ready to use them. Frozen berries will keep for up to a year.
 
How to use it: Blueberries bring their nutrients and flavor to any meal. At breakfast they can top hot or cold cereal and blend perfectly into waffles, pancakes, muffins, and smoothies. For lunch, they pair well with nuts and/or cheese to turn a boring green salad into a delicious, filling meal. At dinner, they bake up well with pork and chicken. 

Dessert fans, of course, will love them in pies, tarts, ice cream, and crisps. And cookie fiends will find dried blueberries a delicious substitute for some (or all) of raisins or chocolate chips. Frozen berries work well in baked goods, but don’t defrost them. Just toss them into the batter frozen, just as you would with fresh berries.
 
Extra-Crispy Peach and Blueberry Crisp from The Messy Baker
(Make 6 to 8 servings)

Total time: 1 hour or less

You'll Need:

Filling:
1⁄2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Peel of 1 orange, finely grated
3 cups pitted, peeled, and chopped peaches
4 cups blueberries
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping:
1 1⁄2 cups panko bread crumbs
1⁄2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1⁄2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄3 cup melted unsalted butter

How to Make It:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. To make the filling: In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, and orange peel until evenly combined.

3. In a large bowl, place the peaches and blueberries. Sprinkle with the vanilla and toss gently to evenly distribute the fruit. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture and toss gently to coat evenly. Spoon into an 8" × 8" glass baking dish. Level with the back of the spoon.

4. To make the topping: In a medium bowl, toss the panko, brown sugar, hazelnuts, and salt until well combined. Pour the butter over the crumbs and toss to coat well. Spoon the crumbs evenly over the fruit. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is crispy. Allow to cool for 30 to 45 minutes before serving. The crisp can be served warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: This dessert is best eaten the day it’s made. Any leftovers should be covered and refrigerated. Soggy topping can be rescued with a minute under the broiler.

Bonus Tips: Crisps are a great way to use up fruit that is almost past its prime. Be sure to remove bruises before chopping. For best results, try to cut the fruit into uniform pieces. 

Panko are coarse, extra-crispy bread crumbs often used in Japanese cooking. Once confined to Asian markets, these crumbs can now be found in most large chain grocery stores. Look in the Asian section or in the regular bread crumbs/melba toast aisle.

Not sure what to do with your in-season produce? All summer long, our experts are bringing you the facts on the freshest fruits and veggies at your local supermarket.

UP NEXT: 10 Fresh Fruit Salads for Summer 

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