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. Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:41:35 -0400 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:41:35 -0400 The Tasty Treat That Can Reduce Body Fat Blog entry Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:51:32 -0400 Fitbie
Probiotic Yogurt

hen 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 Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:46:58 -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.

More from Fitbie: 6 Meals & Snacks That'll Help You Burn More Calories

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 calories 

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

The details: Stonyfield Organic Petite Creme, $1.89,

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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 Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:35:54 -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


UP NEXT: How Jennifer Aniston's Fitness Regimen Really Stacks Up


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
8 Random Things Everyone Thinks During a Group Fitness Class Blog entry 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

Emily Abbate
4 Expert Tips for Easier Weight Loss Blog entry 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

15 Hilarious Tank Tops Every Female CrossFit Fan Should Own (PHOTOS) Blog entry 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 

Emily Abbate
Pro Runner Lauren Fleshman Says Marathons Aren't Everything Blog entry 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 or Tweet us @Fitbie using the hashtag #MondayMotivation to be featured as our next Fitbie Spotlight.

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Kayda Norman
Fitbie Find: Impact by Jillian Michaels Ruched Capri Pants Blog entry 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,

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 

Emily Abbate
The Factor That Predicts Diet Success, Plus More Hot Health Headlines Blog entry 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

Cathryne Keller
Fresh Pick: Tomatoes Blog entry 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 

4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Workout Blog entry 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

4 Common Treadmill Mistakes You Could Be Making Blog entry 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 

Fitbie Find: Reebok Skyscape Chase Blog entry 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, 

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Emily Abbate