An All-In-One Membership To Top City Gyms (now, why I didn’t think of that)


June 1, 2011

Featured in PowWow


An all-in-one membership to top city gyms

While there’s no shortage of NYC fitness studios, finding one you’re willing to commit to can be tough. After all, what if you want to try a 45-minute jump-roping session and a steamy, 105-degree yoga routine?

Now you don’t have to choose, thanks to FiTist.

Think of this just-launched website as your all-access pass to exercise classes across the city, specifically curated for different fitness goals.

Once you sign up, you’ll choose a plan which gets you a package of monthly classes at various city studios, including big-name places like Flywheel, Virayoga and Core Pilates–all bookable via the FiTist website.

Go with the “Slim” membership ($500 a month), for instance, and you’re registered to take six cycling, four Pilates, four boot camp and four yoga workouts. Pick the “Rookie” ($150), on the other hand, and you’re only committed to six monthly sessions, selected with your newbie status in mind. You can also opt for unlimited classes ($760 a month; plus our total admiration).

Have a sudden opening in your schedule? Check out the “Last Minute” section for serious discounts on top classes, all of which are posted the night before they take place.


Slimming Strawberries For Weight Loss

Category : HEALTH & BEAUTY

May 31, 2011

Featured on HuffPost Health by Leo Galland, M.D.

Red, ripe and delicious, strawberries are a little fruit that work overtime for your health.

Peak strawberry season is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to add strawberries to your menu for summer weight loss. From farm stands to your local supermarket, these luscious berries are sure to turn up just about everywhere.

The exciting research that is being done shows that the special nutritional components in strawberries might be able to stimulate your metabolism and help suppress your appetite. They can control blood sugar and can also help you lose weight.

It is no wonder that scientists across the United States, in Sweden and other countries have been researching the wonders of the strawberry and discovering more evidence of its health benefits. There is no doubt that strawberries have joined the other rock stars of super nutritious fruit such as blueberries, cherries, cranberries and pomegranates.

What Gives Strawberries Their Nutritional Punch?

Strawberries are a healthy food to eat to lose weight, because there are 49 calories in one cup of strawberries. They are also loaded with Vitamin C, 3 grams of fiber, and some calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Strawberries are rich sources of phenolic antioxidants that can help:

  1. reverse inflammation
  2. aid in weight loss
  3. reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Strawberries Promote Weight Loss

The ellagic acid and anthocyanins found in strawberries aid weight loss in at least three ways:

  1. Chronic inflammation blocks the hormones involved in keeping you lean. Anti-inflammatory foods like strawberries help restore normal function to weight-reducing hormones.
  2. Anthocyanins actually increase the body’s production of a hormone called adiponectin, which stimulates your metabolism and suppresses your appetite.
  3. Both ellagic acid and anthocyanins slow the rate of digestion of starchy foods, controlling the rise in blood sugar that follows a starchy meal. This effect is used to control blood sugar in people with adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes.

Organic Strawberries Have More Nutrition

I recommend organically grown strawberries. Organic strawberries have been shown to have higher levels of vitamin C and than conventionally grown strawberries, due to a higher content of phenolic antioxidants.

In a fascinating study, researchers from Washington State University compared organic strawberries and farms to conventional strawberries and farms. They found the organic strawberries to be higher in quality, and the soil to be healthier. Specifically, in comparison to the conventionally grown berries, the organic strawberries had higher total antioxidants, ascorbic acid, and total phenolics.


The Fast Track to a Fit Body

Category : HEALTH & BEAUTY

May 15, 2011

Featured on Women’s Health

Slash pounds and the time you spend in the gym with this new-attitude, high-intensity workout

By Jen Ator

Want to lose pounds fast and spend less time working out? It’s possible—but only if you push your body to its absolute sweat-dripping, out-of-breath max. In other words, up the intensity.

Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario had a group of cyclists do four to six 30-second sprints (with four minutes at a slower pace in between), while another group biked at a continuous pace for 90 to 120 minutes. After six sessions, everyone saw the same benefits, even though the second group was still slogging long after the first group had showered off.

The problem is, without someone egging you on, you may hit the brakes as soon as your workout gets the slightest bit uncomfortable. Luckily, you can learn strategies to help you power through when the going gets tough.

Think You Can

The urge to scream uncle during a butt-kicking workout may have more to do with your overprotective brain than your cramping muscles. The traditional school of thought is that fatigue strikes when you’re low on fuel, dehydrated, or overheated. But Timothy Noakes, M.D., a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, says that’s not necessarily the case. “Before you even start working out, your brain is figuring out how to pace your body so that you stop exercising long before you have an issue,” he says. Translation: You always have more in the tank than your brain leads you to believe.

While the world’s most hard-driving athletes (think Serena Williams and Dara Torres) know how to ignore that fake-out and get more from their bodies, most of us can’t help but fixate on our achy legs and burning lungs. But if that’s all you think about, your brain can produce a stress response that increases the ache.

“Our experience of pain is connected to our perception of it,” says Carrie Cheadle, a sport psychology consultant in Petaluma, California.

“If you decide the pain is unbearable, your tolerance for it will be lower than if you think you can handle it.” So give yourself a mental pep talk before you hop on the treadmill. Remind yourself of how strong and capable you are. After all, if women can endure bikini waxes, tattoos, and childbirth, you can survive a full-throttle workout.

But what if that bring-it-on attitude turns meek when the hurt sets in? Cheadle reveals ways to cope: Mentally repeat the word smooth with each pedal stroke on a bike or continuously count up to eight during a run (known as rhythmic cognitive behavior), sing a favorite song or go over your grocery list (distraction or dissociation), or remind yourself that this sprint will be over in just 30 more seconds (establishing an end).

Up the Intensity

Once your head is in the game, it’s time to get moving—and easy elliptical rides won’t cut it. “When it comes to high-intensity effort, you need to be at or above your aerobic threshold,” says certified trainer Stacie Clark, co-owner of Tiger Athletics in Minneapolis. Here’s how to know you’re there: You can say only two words at a time, it takes great mental focus to maintain this effort, and the pace is uncomfortable and not sustainable for more than five minutes at a time. “The goal is to reach that point, hold it, back off and recover, then repeat,” says Clark. Boost the intensity of any cardio routine with these drills from Clark.

Tempos: Warm up for about 10 minutes, then increase your speed until you’re at your threshold. Stay there for three to five minutes, then slow down to recover completely. Repeat five to seven times, then finish with a five-minute cooldown.

Builds: Warm up for about 10 minutes, then speed up for 30 seconds. Walk or jog for 30 seconds. Repeat six to 10 times, then jog at an easy pace for six minutes. Repeat the sequence four to six times, then do a five-minute cooldown.

Go Beyond Cardio

Picking up the pace during spin class isn’t the only way to pump up your routine. Programs such as CrossFit and P90X are intense workouts that have women busting out pushups, lifting barbells, and swinging weights. (And no, these chicks don’t look like bodybuilders.)

There’s a lot to learn from this approach. At CrossFit gyms nationwide, the “workouts of the day” are done in groups and as a competition—either banging out reps as fast as possible or completing as many reps as you can in a given time. Instructors don’t lower the bar for anyone—they make you work your ass off to meet it.

“Some women are intimidated when they see a workout like 50 pullups, pushups, and squats because they assume they can’t do it,” says Alison Jones, a coach at CrossFit Chicago. “But the challenge empowers them. They get a chance to do things they thought were impossible.”

Try this (equipment-free!) 20-minute CrossFit workout. Do as many rounds as you can, taking only five to 10 seconds to rest while moving between exercises: five pushups, 10 body-weight squats, five burpees (squat down, place your hands on the ground, jump back into a pushup position, then reverse the motion to stand), and 10 situps.

Sound intense? Well, that’s the point. “There’s just no way around it: If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not working hard enough,” says coach and trainer Chris Clark, the other half of the duo that owns Tiger Athletics. “But once you get through that temporary pain, you really get to feel—and see—the rewards of training.”

Thankfully, you don’t need to go all out during every session. In fact, Clark says only 20 percent of your workouts should be high intensity. That means if you exercise five times a week, just one day should be killer. And remember: In less than half an hour, you’ll be done and hitting the shower.



Category : HEALTH & BEAUTY

May 13, 2011

Featured on

Dr. Oz boils down what he considers the top 10 most essential habits you need to carry out on a daily basis for optimal health.

To make life simpler, Dr. Oz has whittled down his top 10 daily essentials, starting at number 10 and building toward the single most important thing you need to do on a daily basis to achieve optimal health.

Dr. Oz’s Top 10 Daily Essentials

10. Eat a Hard-boiled Egg

Eggs are protein powerhouses that provide 13% of your daily protein and only 4% of your daily calories. These excellent, inexpensive protein sources fight frailty. Rich in choline, they also reduce inflammation in the brain, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s. Cook up a week’s worth in advance and take them with you on the go. If you’re not a fan of hard-boiled eggs, eat one a day scrambled, poached or any other way you like it.

9. Check Your Poop

First, your poop should never appear white. If this occurs, it could mean lack of bile, indicating a blockage or a problem with absorption. Second, keep in mind that the range for bowel movement occurrence is very broad – anywhere from 3 times a week to multiple times a day is considered normal.

8. Make Vegetables Half of Every Single Meal

Vegetables are chockfull of vital nutrients and most of us do not get enough of them. Make them half of every single meal. Get your veggies in the morning by tossing them into an omelet. At lunch and dinner, eat more veggie-based salads and soups; divide your plate into two halves with your main course, say chicken or fish, taking up one side and vegetables the other. Click here for more suggestions on getting more vegetables into each of your meals.

7. Take Half Multivitamin in the Morning and the Other Half at Night

A multivitamin serves as an insurance policy, guaranteeing your body gets everything it needs. However, your body can’t absorb all these nutrients at once, and you wind up eliminating a portion of them via your urine or bowel movements. To maximize absorption, split your multivitamin in two and take half in the morning and half in the evening. Better yet, try and purchase a brand that offers a daily dosage in various pills. Click here for Dr. Oz’s Ultimate Supplement Checklist.

6:  Supplement With a Bone-Boosting Cocktail

To protect your bones, a multivitamin is not enough. You need a bone-boosting cocktail comprised of:

  • Vitamin D3, 1000 IU
  • Calcium, 600 mg
  • Magnesium, 400 mg

Today, most drugstores now sell this combination all in one pill, and here’s why you need all three combined: Vitamin D aids calcium absorption to keep bones strong. Magnesium also counteracts blood vessel constriction and constipation caused by calcium. Click here for Dr. Oz’s Bone-Boosting Plan.

5. Get at Least 7 Hours of Sleep

A brand new study shows that people who don’t get enough sleep are not as sharp the next day and most alarmingly, they don’t even realize it. Here are 4 ways to help you sleep better and get to sleeper faster:

  • Read a book before bed. Reading acts as a soothing balm that helps you fall asleep.
  • Instead of an overhead light, which stimulates the brain to wake up, use a reading light.
  • Turn your alarm clock away from view so it won’t stimulate the brain’s pineal gland, which senses light.
  • Use an eye mask to keep light out and increase sleep quality.

4. Have Sex

You already know that a healthy sex life with your partner helps you stay bonded and also provides a good workout. Now a new study shows that sex is also good for your brain, leading to improved interconnections in the brain and stress reduction.

3.Breathe and Stretch for 5 Minutes

Five minutes of breathing and stretching each day creates a powerful stress buster that can add years to your life. When you wake up in the morning, try the “hippie” stretch: Reach down and try to touch your toes. Relax your hips and let your head go loose. Now alternate relaxing your left and right knees and walk around a bit. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Five minutes later, you’re loosened up and good to go. For Dr. Oz’s 7-Minute Workout, click here.

2. Eliminate Simple Sugars

Simple sugars are the reason behind America’s obesity epidemic. If it’s white or processed, you need to eliminate it. In addition, practice reading labels and avoid products containing “hidden sugars” such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), evaporated cane juice and brown rice sugar. For a list of the other foods you should eliminate, click here.

1. Sit Less, Move More

Groundbreaking research shows that for every hour a day you spend sitting, your risk of death increases by 11%. Even small movements throughout the day, such as fidgeting, can add up to major health benefits. Dr. Oz recommends getting 10,000 steps a day. To do this, invest in a pedometer so you can keep track of each step you make toward optimal health.