Blog Posts by FITNESS Magazine

  • 6 Things to Know About Nut Butters

    Only_CreativesOnly_CreativesBy Amelia Pavlik

    Start spreading the nut butter news. This superfood is packed with health perks, from improving breast health to lowering bad cholesterol. Read on for six reasons why you should be having a scoop a day.

    Related: 6 New Fat-Fighting Superfoods

    Almond butter is your weight-loss friend.
    According to Keri Gans, RDN, and author of The Small Change Diet, almond butter is the variety that will give you the most bang for your buck. "Per serving it has one of the least amounts of calories, it's a good source of protein, and the most fiber of all of the nut butters," she says. Oh, and almonds can play a key role in weight loss. "According to research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, a breakfast containing almonds may aid in stabilizing blood sugar levels for the rest of the day," says Gans. "When your blood sugar is steady you often have more energy and are less likely to be starved and give in to food cravings."

    But walnut butter packs a weight-loss punch.

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  • 3 Reasons Dressing Up for a Race is Completely Legit

    Courtesy of FITNESS MagazineCourtesy of FITNESS MagazineBy Samantha Shelton

    As someone who's raced 10 half-marathons, some for PRs and others just because I could, I can tell you one thing for sure: dressing up for races is FUN. Now, I haven't gone all out in a head-to-toe costume quite yet, but even just tossing on a Sparkle Athletic skirt with matching Sparkly Soul headbands is enough to add a little pizazz to my racing adventure.

    Related: The Top 7 Foods for Runners

    I'm not the only one inspired to costume it up, either. Just a quick search of "race costumes" on Pinterest brought up thousands of pins and hundreds of boards, all with creative, quirky and sometimes totally insane ideas of how to dress up for a running adventure. So, now that I know this trend is completely awesome to more than just me, I went to the experts. And it turns out, my friends, that if dressing up is what gets you from start to finish with a smile on your face, then you could totally have the best race of your life. Here's why:

    Related: 8 Beginner

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  • How to Resist Junk Food Cravings

    Doron Gild/FITNESS MagazineDoron Gild/FITNESS MagazineBy Sara Reistad-Long

    It was three days before my best friend's wedding when I saw it: a big slice of flourless chocolate cake, beckoning to me from the bakery case. Yes, I had a formfitting bridesmaid's dress hanging in my closet, but I'd been good lately, and I could always double up on my gym time. Just like that, my resolve went up in smoke.

    "We're at our most creative when we're trying to justify giving in to a craving," says David Colbert, MD, a coauthor of The High School Reunion Diet. Luckily, scientists know more than ever about using our powers of persuasion for good, not evil. Here's how to talk yourself out of temptation.

    Related: Rule the Grocery Store: Your Healthy Shopping List

    Old Excuse: "If I deprive myself now, I'll just eat more later."
    New Mantra: "I'm making a choice, not a sacrifice."
    We tend to want what we can't have. But when it comes to cravings, not getting what you want can dampen your desire. "Studies show that we crave what we eat," says

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  • Unfinished Business: My Journey Back to the Boston Marathon

    Tetra Images/NewscomTetra Images/NewscomBy Marissa Hill, as told to Courtney Rubin

    You hear horror stories about Heartbreak Hill, the famously steep climb at around mile 20 of the Boston Marathon, but even though I'd been running for more than four hours, I sprinted up it last April without even noticing.

    Related: Power Combos: How Fitness Brought Us Together

    I'm not the fastest runner, and I'd been tired since about mile seven, vowing with almost every step never to put myself through this again: This is too hard. I can't make it. I don't even like this! But sometime just before mile 20, I took out my earbuds and heard a spectator say: "You know what's happened, right? Something bad has happened at the finish line."

    Suddenly I started putting things together -- the police car that had just sped through the course, the onlookers who were trying to divert us to side roads -- and yet nothing made sense. Later I would find out from my fiance, Daniel -- who found out from Twitter -- that two bombs had exploded near

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  • Find Your Stress Sweet Spot

    Sam Kaplan/FITNESS MagazineSam Kaplan/FITNESS MagazineBy Paige Greenfield

    Most of us consider stress a negative, but it actually covers a spectrum from good to bad and is vital to our survival, McEwen says. "The sweet spot is achieved when the kind of anxiety and arousal you experience while giving a speech or taking a test boosts your performance," he explains. The stress hormones optimize brain-circuit function, temporarily increasing memory and focus. They also help ferry your immune system's white blood cells to wherever they're needed in the body to combat infection and repair tissue, bolstering your defenses. With each surge of short-term stress, an army of hormones is deployed to sweep away potentially harmful pathogens, McEwen says.

    Yet there's a fine line between intermittent, good-for-you stress and the chronic sort -- such as having financial problems or enduring a rocky relationship -- that wreaks havoc on your well-being. "If the hormones hang around too long or are released in very large doses, the body's immune

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  • How to Train for a Mud Run

    John Herr/FITNESS MagazineJohn Herr/FITNESS MagazineBy Lauren Cardarelli

    Still haven't tackled a mud run? Women make up 58 percent of the racers, so if you haven't, you're missing out on good, grungy fun. "Plus, simply training for one can take your running to the next level," says Miriam Wasmund, the official trainer for the Mudderella series.

    Related: 15-Minute Cardio Workouts

    Keep gear tight, not white.
    On race day, wear lightweight spandex that hugs your body, Wasmund suggests. Baggy cotton clothes chafe, easily get caught in netting and branches, and weigh you down when wet. Add runners' gloves and high socks to nix scrapes.

    Train like GI Jane. "You'll meet hills, wall climbs, mud pits, and other obstacles during arace," Wasmund says, and that requires adding muscle, not just mileage. Steal Wasmund's key strength moves.

    Get your feet wet. Some mud races boast being over-the-top tough. Start with these newbie-friendly picks: the Mudderella 5- to 7-milers (mudderella.com), the Pretty Muddy 3-miler

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  • The Eye-Opening Truth About Protein

    Chris Gallo/FITNESS MagazineChris Gallo/FITNESS MagazineBy Liz Plossner

    We all know her: that trim, toned woman who seems to live on grilled chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and nonfat yogurt. Convinced that her high-protein plan is your ticket to a better body, you've been trying to work more of the macronutrient into your diet. But is it really the secret to slimming down? And how much protein do you actually need, anyway? Read on for the surprising facts, then use your newfound knowledge to get all the muscle-building, fat-fighting benefits.

    Related: Your Protein Prescription: Sample Meal Plan

    You're already getting enough protein.
    "There's way too much hype about protein -- or rather, a perceived lack of it in people's diets," says Marion Nestle, PhD, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University. "The reality is, if you consume enough calories, you're probably eating plenty of protein." Most nutritionists agree that active women need about half a gram per pound a day, or approximately 65 grams for

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  • Make Over Your Metabolism

    Patrick Randak/FITNESS MagazinePatrick Randak/FITNESS Magazine

    By Alexa Joy Sherman

    More than 60 percent of Americans blame a sluggish metabolism for excess pounds, according to a recent Calorie Control Council survey. It's not just a flimsy excuse; resting metabolic rate (RMR), or the number of calories you burn at rest, slows with age, hormonal changes, and weight gain, and genetics also plays an important role. But don't despair. We identified six simple strategies that can stoke your calorie-burning fire. Give them a try and end the metabolic blame game once and for all.

    Related: 6 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight

    Hit the weight room.
    Pumping iron keeps your metabolism humming and your silhouette slim. But a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a mere 19 percent of women weight-train twice a week or more. It's time to rethink that: "Starting at around age 35, women lose 5 to 10 percent of their lean muscle mass per decade," says Michele S. Olson, PhD, a FITNESS advisory board member and

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  • 7 Surprising Health Habits that Drain Energy

    Michael David Adams/FITNESS MagazineMichael David Adams/FITNESS MagazineBy Kenrya Rankin

    We know you're dragging. And you're not the only one: Researchers have found that nearly 38 percent of working adults experience bouts of fatigue. Turns out, some of the things that you do to stay fit may be robbing you of your mojo. Learn which healthy habits are sucking you dry and ID other sneaky culprits that steal your get-up-and-go. Use our suggestions to fix these energy zappers, and watch your pep skyrocket.

    Related: Nutrition Labels to Look Out For

    That Ginormous Gym Bag
    All the stuff you might need adds up: running sneakers, Spinning shoes, boxing gloves (who knows what you'll be in the mood for?), dry shampoo and facial wipes for post-workout happy hour. But a too-big bag can throw off alignment and posture, which, studies show, makes it hard to draw full breaths. That increases your heart rate and makes you feel that you need a nap ASAP.

    Power Up: Swap your trusty duffel or tote for a backpack, such as the expandable Asics Ultimate Stash ($70,

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  • 8 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Belly Bloat

    Aaron Goodman/FITNESS MagazineAaron Goodman/FITNESS MagazineBy Ginny Graves

    Either your jeans shrank or your belly grew, and chances are it's the latter. You're exercising and eating right, so what's up with the bloating? Sometimes the culprit is obvious (hello, Aunt Flo and last night's burrito!), but other times your healthy habits are the cause. Read on for five surprising reasons your belly can balloon -- plus advice on how to deflate it fast.

    Related: 6 Foods That Fight Off Belly Bloat

    Tummy Puffer: Downing Fluids Before Your Workout
    It's important to drink plenty of fluids when it's hot out to prevent dehydration, especially when you exercise. Also, steadily sipping water encourages healthy digestion by keeping food moving through your system, says Christie Achenbach, RD, a dietitian in Destin, Florida, who specializes in nutrition for exercise. But chugging too much water before your workout makes your belly swell.

    Deflate-it fix: To avoid that sloshy, overfull feeling, drink about 16 to 24 ounces of water one to two hours

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