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FITNESS Mind, Body, Spirit Games Race Recap

What better way is there to kick off a Saturday than with a race in Central Park?

How about hanging out with my co-workers at FITNESS, my Biggest Loser ladies, Hannah and Olivia (and her husband Ben!), and finally meeting my man, Bob Harper!

I’d say that’s a pretty awesome morning. We even snagged a shot of Bob laughing because some lady decided to cut right in front of us as a bunch of press people were taking our photo.

Isn’t he a cutie?! I sure think so. He’s even cuter in person than he is on the show.

So I hung out with them all morning, right up until 9:50 when my race was about to start! Then me and the fashion girls Marla and Argy scooted off to our corral, and editor Bethany met up with us too! After a few words from our fabulous editor-in-chief Betty Wong, we were off and running!

And run I did. I was determined to set a PR — well, it was impossible not to because I haven’t officially signed up for a 4-mile race before, just ran in them at school without signing up…shhh. But that’s beside the point. The point is that I ran my little heart out while professing my love for Ali and sweat.

© Erica Sara Designs

Why this picture is now on the Internet at least twice, I don’t know. I should have smiled. But I guess this is my game face. Blech.

The first two miles flew by and I was clocking good speed (for me) on the trusty Garmin. The rolling hills came on mile three, but some good tunes and awesome spectators kept me groovin’ along. I had three people yell to me, “Nice shirt, we love Ali!” during mile three. Guess I’m not the only fan 😉

I kept my pace consistently between 8:45- and 9-minute miles, only dropping down to 9:15 once or twice on a hill. I’m proud of that because I usually maintain around 9:30. There’s just something about races that really keeps the legs pumping. The race was 4.1 miles long and I officially crossed the finish line at 36:41! Here are my splits according to Garmin:

  • Mile 1 –> 9:07
  • Mile 2 –> 8:58
  • Mile 3 –> 9:06
  • Mile 4 –> 8:55
  • Mile 5 (.1) –> :42

Dustin met me after the race and we hung out with the gang some more, then headed down to Union Square to run a few errands. We picked up some goodies at the farmer’s market and I loved seeing all the fall stuff out for sale! Return of the pumpkins…

Libby is convinced she’s going to force me to like them. Stay tuned on that one.

Then I was starving, so Dustin and I found a new-to-us pub to grab some sandwiches. Once we were seated at Heartland Brewery, I knew exactly what I wanted.


The Cajun Crab Cake Sandwich was dee-li-cious ! Especially the sweet potato fries. Dustin doesn’t like them, so I don’t have them very often. Man, they were good. Dustin really liked the decor, and he had a perfect view of the Yankees game. That makes him a happy camper.

After a shower and cat nap, I’m ready to cook some more grub. Dustin’s currently at the grocery store getting stuff for us to cook meatloaf, and then we’ll settle in to watch the Syracuse football game. Go Orange!

Did anyone else run the MBS race this morning? Send me links to your recaps! And what celebrity have you always wanted to meet? Seriously, Bob was at the top of my list!

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Sweating with Brett Hoebel

Guess who went spinning with Brett Hoebel this morning? This girl did!

Brett Hoebel and muah.

Side note: I told you I’d bring you some sweaty goodness today. I’m the sweaty, he’s the goodness. 

As you already know, I’m a huge fan of The Biggest Loser and absolutely loved watching Brett on the show every week in season 11. I love that he has a strong science background and his experience with Capoiera (a Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts and dance) was fascinating and definitely brought a new element to the show. I was extremely disappointed when they revealed that Anna Kournikova would be joining next season, effectively replacing Jillian Michaels, Brett and Cara Castranova. I just don’t think she should be on the show because she is not a certified trainer. It’s clear that this decision was based on an attempt to improve ratings.

She has a pretty smile, but she's not qualified.

Source

Anyway, Brett came to a SoulCycle class and then he hung out with Jenna and I for a bit (he’s friends with her). He’s a total sweetheart and very humble. I loved chatting with him and learning more about his career path. My final opinion: he’s a great guy and I really hope he succeeds in whatever he decides to do. Not to mention he’s very, very easy on the eyes!

Like I said, he's nice to look at.

The rest of the day was filled with work and yummy eats. My lunch was a whole wheat pita layered with hummus, cucumbers, feta cheese and chickpeas. Delicious! I followed it up with a strawberry Chobani.

Quite a tasty lunch.

Closeup action.

I plan on having that lunch again tomorrow.

On to fashion shot number two! I wore another new dress to work today and quickly realized this is going into my favorites pile.

Got this little number from Kohl's.

Isn’t it cute? I love the pattern.

I’m off to bed to try and get a good amount of sleep before another spin class tomorrow morning (lots of spinning this week)! Have a great night!

If you could work out with any celebrity, who would it be and why? I’ve met Brett and Jillian Michaels, so now I need to get my hands on Bob Harper! 

Bob Harper’s Inside Out Method: “Bob’s Workout”

Earlier this week, I let Bob Harper kick my booty into high-gear with his intense fitness DVD from the Inside Out Method series. I did the 30-minute “Bob’s Workout” routine on Wednesday, was ridiculously sore on Thursday, and popped the DVD in once more this afternoon.

I can already tell I’m going to be sore again tomorrow.

Yum, yum, yum.

Despite being distracted by his ridiculously good looks, I was able to focus on the workout for the entire 30 minutes. The DVD is split up into two workouts, so you can choose to do one of his two workouts, both lasting 30 minutes, or combine them for an insane 60-minute workout. If you’re not at an advanced fitness level, I don’t recommend jumping to the  60-minute workout right away. Ease into it slowly so that you’re comfortable with the progress your body makes.

One of the best parts of this DVD is the fact that you don’t stop moving. Bob constantly has you pushing for a full 30 minutes, working through a variety of total body exercises that keep your heart rate up to burn a maximum amount of calories. He had me doing things like:

  • Burpees

Hurt so good.

  • T-Stand Push-ups

Fun.

  • Alternating Lunge Jumps

Feel the burn.

And more. The exercises alternated from lower to upper body, and during each move he reminded me to keep a tight core to really get those abs burning. By the time I was halfway done, I was dripping with sweat. When the full 30 minutes were over, I felt like I was going to drop to the floor. That’s exactly the kind of workout I crave 🙂

For the first workout, Bob also made sure that each exercise could be done with light weights or no weights at all. I currently don’t have a pair of dumbbells at my house and when I first popped in the disc I was nervous that I wouldn’t get an adequate workout. I was wrong. Each move can be done without a weight, but then just add in the dumbbell for some extra oomph. Believe me, you’ll still get a workout without the weights as long as you practice good form and don’t let yourself be lazy.

As for the second workout, I wouldn’t recommend doing it unless you have weights. There are a lot of strength training moves that require the use of a dumbbell. Because I don’t have any, I’m sticking to the first workout for now. Once I get a pair I’ll throw myself through that workout and be sure to report back to y’all!

Work it.

The only other thing I’ll say about this DVD is how real it is. Bob made a very wise decision when creating this DVD (or whoever made the decision) because he didn’t have the fitness model be all cute, smiley and full of makeup. This girl went through the brutal workout, was dripping in sweat and grunting the entire time. You saw her struggle, falter in some of her movements and breathe nice and heavy. I think that’s a fantastic quality to incorporate into a workout DVD because it’s real! No girl goes through a workout, especially one like this, and smiles silently the whole way through as if she’s experiencing no pain. So I give major kudos to Bob and his DVD-making team on this one.

Have you tried this DVD, or any from the Inside Out Method series? What did you think? What are some of your favorite at-home discs?

Added Pounds on The Biggest Loser

Week four of season 11 of The Biggest Loser has passed and it’s been a whirlwind of a show. A team of unknown trainers have been revealed, game play has gone on and pounds have been added in unbelievable amounts. Looking to catch up? Here are a few highlights:

The producers brought in two new trainers to replace Jillian Michaels after this season. Recently revealed as Brett Hoebel and Cara Castronova, the two took a team of players to Fitness Ridge, which is the training camp for the Unknowns team (All players who opted for the Unknowns received four weeks of immunity from elimination). Hoebel is famous for his holistic approach to fitness and his experience in Capoeira and Muay Thai kickboxing. He’s definitely a looker, just like Bob Harper, but doesn’t seem to be as hard-core as the Bob and Jillian combo.

Photo via Fit Sugar

Castronova is a two-time Golden Glove champion and her main focus is boxing, which is good because Jillian is always the one seen doing the boxing. She appears to enjoy putting the contestants through boot-camp style workouts when they’re not boxing. Thus far, the Unknowns have been doing a great job shedding weight, but it was just revealed that their meals are cooked for them to fit exactly into their caloric intake regime and they don’t have to clean up after themselves. Talk about spoiled!

The contestants are competing as couples this season and my favorite is the Aqua team, Courtney and Marci. Courtney is a 22-year-old who was inspired by The Biggest Loser to lose 112 pounds at home, bringing her back under the 400 mark. At the start of the show she weighed in at 323 pounds and has been shedding ever since. She seems to be the most determined of them all, doesn’t partake in game play and is inspiring to watch. With an optimistic attitude, you never know what this girl is going to achieve! I’m really rooting for her to be the big winner, er, loser.

Go Aqua Team!

Temptations have begun on the Ranch, this week in the form of the contestants favorite foods. Each player had to confront their favorite dish — from mac n’ cheese and cheesecake to pizza and fried chicken — and decide whether or not they would compete. Whoever ate the most calories got to choose which team would be sent to the Unknowns camp for the week. Arthur (blue team) was the only contestant to participate and sent the green team packing. I give this bunch major kudos for denying all of the temptations and food-taunting they’ve faced this season — they’re really proving that they are here to change their lives.

Game play still hasn’t left the building, though. The black team, twins Don and Dan, did a phenomenal job of throwing the weigh-in last week. Both stepped on the scale to reveal a nine-pound weight gain per person! I know twins are often in sync, but even when you’re throwing a weigh-in?! Dan was sent home, which was the best idea because he was extremely homesick, while Don faced the wrath of Bob and Jillian this week.

Each gained nine pounds in one week.

Unfortunately, Don didn’t fess up to throwing the weigh-in and instead acted out an f-bomb filled show, denying that he gained weight on purpose. Nobody believes him, so why not fess up? People would have more respect for him if he just said, “Yeah, I did it” and then moved on.

This week’s episode was cut short due to the State of the Union address, so there was no weigh-in or elimination. Next week’s teaser shows that someone gained six pounds! Honestly, what a slap in the face to Bob and Jillian. I have a feeling it’s going to be Don, but we’ll have to wait until next week!

Have you been watching The Biggest Loser? Who’s your favorite team?

P.S. Fellow blogger Jen, from The Biggest Loser Blog for phillyburbs.com, found this awesome video of a girl, Emily Skaar, rapping a potential number for the opening credits. Talk about creativity!

Learning from November’s Magazines

As an obsessed magazine subscriber and purchaser, I constantly forage through as many as I can get my hands on to study layout, design, and of course, look for good content. While  I read about 15 different titles a month, there are a few favorites that I always make sure to read cover-to-cover. Of course, they’re all health and fitness related! So, what did we learn this month? Here are three top things I picked up, one from each issue.

1. We have the right to bare arms.

If you couldn’t tell yet, I’m a huge fan of Bob Harper, a personal trainer on The Biggest Loser. I love his personality, the way he connects with clients, and the workouts are sheer torture. I have all of his latest workout DVDs and each one is a doozy. FITNESS created an awesome upper body workout from various moves on Bob’s DVDs, and many of them I never would’ve thought of doing on my own. I’ve done it myself a few times and ran my clients through it, and so far they all love it! No hiding my arms in bulky sweaters this winter!

Added bonus: FITNESS’ Karla Walsh interviewed Bob to get the scoop on his vegan lifestyle and shared healthy eating tips with us!

2. The average smoker inhales 425 cigarettes a month, according to Self.

Wow. And ew. That’s all I can really say. Luckily, Self had a lot more to say. Catherine Ryan wrote a great article that digs into a person’s “smoking personality,” gave them tips to quit, and provided some myth busters. Did you know that the average smoker spends $1,408 a year on smoking? In today’s economy, the cost of cigarettes alone should be reason enough to quit.

Self also gave 10 reasons to quit, most of which I didn’t know before. If you don’t want to quit for you, do it for your favorite pets! Secondhand smoke can lead to them developing cancer. Want to have kids someday? Smokers have a greater risk for infertility. This article is full of interesting information — I immediately texted my smoker friends and told them to go buy it.

3. The average supermarket carries 46,852 items, and Women’s Health scoured the aisles to find 125 of the best packaged food for women. Now I don’t have to search through everything! I don’t know about you, but I hate the fact that grocery shopping takes me about two hours to complete whenever I’m buying a lot of stuff. There are so many labels to read and prices to compare. And I’m still a college student — I have homework to finish, meetings to attend, and work to do! Women’s Health did a great job of narrowing things down for me so I know which packages to not even give a second glance.

The categories are broken into “sweets & treats,” “breads & cereals,” “condiments,” “pasta & rice,” “snacks, crackers & chips,” “frozen meals,” “drinks,” “fruits & veggies,” “soups,” “dairy,” and “meat & seafood.” Phew, I think they’ve got it all covered! I’m not going to list everything they have, but let me just say, I’m glad they have Emerald’s Trail Mix – Tropical Blend and Campbell’s Select Harvest Light Italian-Style Vegetable Soup — they’re both staples in my house. Now that I have this list, I bet I’ll be able to transition my boyfriend over to some healthier meals!

Each magazine has a ton of other great articles (FITNESS’ “Power Surge,” Self‘s “Lose weight like a guy” and Women’s Health‘s “Is your health on the line?”), so make sure you go out and snag a copy!

Have you read these issues yet? What did you like about them?

Marines Too Much for The Biggest Loser Contestants

On the latest episode of The Biggest Loser, the contestants were whisked away to one of the boot camps for the U.S. Marines. The contestants, still split into teams of black and blue, raced through an intense obstacle course and the first ones to finish received a phone call from home.

Who did you root for?

Personally, I root for team blue during every challenge and at every weigh-in. Not only because Aaron Thompkins, my favorite contestant, is on that team, but also because the black team is way too into game play and they whine all the time. Brendan Donovan makes me angry when he tries to act completely innocent, and the same goes for Frado Dinten when he apologizes at the weigh-in before the scale even shows his current weight. Not to mention Brendan’s new bald head isn’t flattering in the least bit.

Sorry for my rant there, but I needed to get that out of my system.

Needless to say, team blue came out on top and they received their coveted phone calls. After being cut off from everybody in their lives for more than six weeks, I’d say all of the contestants deserve to talk to their loved ones. But alas, it’s still a game, so dangling phone calls as a prize only pushes the contestants to work harder. Watching Aaron talk to his adorable little boy and Lisa Mosley choke up while she talked to her little ones was so heart-wrenching; it makes me cry nearly every time. It truly is the icing on the cake –no pun intended.

Lisa finally got to talk to her kids after winning a Marine challenge.

While the contestants spent their week with the Marines, they faced another challenge: they didn’t have any control over what they ate. There was no way for them to measure their portions or stay away from certain foods because they had to eat what was given to them. As a result, three of the contestants gained weight at the weigh-in, and the rest lost less than five pounds. Aaron was the only one who lost a massive amount of weight still, adding 14 pounds to his total weight loss (Another reason he’s my first pick to win). Jillian Michaels was surprisingly nice about it and blamed the circumstances the contestants were under, but Bob Harper was clearly pissed. Hopefully we’ll see both trainers kick some major butt in the gym next week.

The black team lost the weigh-in and were forced to eliminate another player from their team. It was obvious that game play and alliances were put into action during this time. Elizabeth Ruiz, who has never lost more than five pounds in a week and is never a valuable asset in the challenges, allows Brendan and Frado to shelter her, just like her brothers did when she was growing up. It never allowed her to gain strength and stand up for herself, and now it lets her slide by from week to week without actually changing her life.

It's time for Elizabeth to go home.

As a result, Anna Wright was sent home. Yes, she also struggles during the challenges, but she works hard and needs to be there to work through emotional and mental issues — her three-year-old son died from cancer and she never fully allowed herself to heal. Talk about a big cry for help to focus on yourself and finally heal from something so traumatic. Unfortunately though, Frado and Brendan are very persuasive and sent Anna packing.

What did you think about this week’s episode? I’d love to hear from people rooting for the black team! Which contestant would you like to win?

The Biggest Loser: No Room for Slackers

Now in its tenth season on ABC, The Biggest Loser producers are proving there is no way they’re going soft on the contestants. Possibly one of the toughest season beginnings thus far, Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper and Alison Sweeney have let it be well-known that if you want a spot on the ranch, you need to earn it. So if any of the contestants thought they’d be able to game play or pass underneath the radar for half of the season, well, they thought wrong.

However, those at The Biggest Loser have also proven that they still have a soft spot for people with great stories. Let’s take a look at Aaron Thompkins, 29, from Kent, Ohio. He lost the original 500-step challenge during the season premiere, in which he had to be in the top two out of three contestants to complete 500 step-ups. For many Loser-hopefuls, a loss meant the end of their weight-loss journey in front of a national audience. This graphic designer made a soft spot for himself with Harper, though, and was allowed to move to the ranch as one half of the yellow team.

A 468-pound man with a three-year-old son, Thompkins struggled with weight partly because of his strained relationship with his alcoholic father. Without realizing it, Thompkins sank into his fathers’ destructive habits, only turning to food instead of alcohol. Luckily, he has realized the error of his ways and is pushing to change his life for his little boy. Personally, I’m rooting for this guy. Nothing like a great family story to tug at my heart-strings.

Aaron Thompkins, 29.

But back to the brutality of this season. Although Thompkins wiggled his way to the ranch, The Biggest Loser trio made it perfectly clear the contestants were no longer in paradise. If you want to stay here, you need to kick some serious butt. During day one’s workout, Michaels and Harper worked them to the bone (Michaels mentions the first speed on the treadmill is set at 7.0); with many puking or passing out. One contestant, Brendan Donovan, 32, asked Harper, “Are we almost done?” I shook my head once the words left his mouth. Harper went on a rampage, running this guy into the ground until snot was literally hanging out of his nose. Yum.

Then the producers kicked it into high gear. After only two workout days, the contestants were called for a weigh-in. This might seem insane, but remember they had two weeks to work out since their initial weigh-in. That’s not all, though! Remember that dreaded yellow line that two people were terrified of falling below? Well, it’s been bumped up — to eight. With 16 spots on the board, half were safe and half were eligible for elimination. No slacking, here!

To be saved from elimination, the seven women who found themselves below the yellow line (Patrick, the one guy below the line, was saved by Rick, this week’s weight-loss leader) had to complete sprint races and be the first to grab a flag at the finish line until only two contestants remained. Allie Ishcomer, 22, and Tina Elliott, 58, were the final two. The competitors who were safe from elimination participated in the final vote, and Allie was sent home.

I love that they’ve upped the ante, but do you think they’re pushing too hard?

The Biggest Loser Releases Season 10 Lineup

“The Biggest Loser” has officially announced its contestants for season 10, and it looks like a more promising season than ever. They have one of Beyonce’s backup singers on the show, as well as a former college football player. Sounds like an enticing cast, if I do say so myself.

The contestants also had to complete a physical challenge just to be granted a spot on the show, which seems to be a recurring trend. (In season 9, the contestants had to complete a marathon on a bike before being allowed a spot on the ranch.) This year, the potential participants  had to complete a 500-step contest along with a one-mile race. The top two finishers made it to the ranch to work with world-famous trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper.

Following a “Pay it Forward” theme, the show traveled to seven cities in search of contestants for the new season. The 21 participants hail from Detroit, Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, Atlanta, Oklahoma City and Boston; all of which struggle with weight problems.

Prevention pubished a “Biggest Loser” Weight Loss Planner guide that highlights 16 of the contestants. Unlike past seasons that often focus on teams and parents working with their children, this season only features two contestants over the age of 50. The latest season, entitled”Biggest Loser Couples,” has most contestants between the ages of 25 and 35. Below are the latest “Biggest Loser” contestants, courtesty of That’s Fit:

•Jesse Atkins, 28, law clerk; St. Paul, Minn.
•Montina Cooper, 35, singer/songwriter; Houston, Texas
•Jessica Delfs, 27, bridal consultant; Tucson, Ariz.
•Richard Deroque, 54, pediatric physical therapist; Conway, Ark.
•Alfredo Dinten, 43, futures commodities trader; Staten Island, N.Y.
•Sandy Dolan, 30, stay-at-home mom; Fort Worth, Texas
•Brendan Donovan, 32, special education teacher; Boston, Mass.
•Tina Elliott, 58, retired homemaker; Boring, Ore.
•Sophia Franklin, 28, high school counselor; Germantown, Md.
•Patrick House, 28, sales representative; Vicksburg, Miss.
•Adam Hurtado, 26, nonprofit manager; Santa Ana, Calif.
•Allie Ishcomer, 22, student; Moore, Okla.
•Burgandy Keel, 35, stay-at-home mom; Eagle Mountain, Utah
•Shanna Masten, 38, math teacher; Pima, Ariz.
•Lisa Mosley, 31, sales representative; Norman, Okla.
•Mark Pinkhasovich, 31, bartender and recruiter; East Brunswick, N.J.
•Corey Pinkerton, 27, life coach; Fairbanks, Alaska
•Elizabeth Ruiz, 31, medical assistant; Lawrence, Mass.
•Aaron Thompkins, 29, graphic designer; Kent, Ohio
•Ada Wong, 27, project coordinator for high-tech company; San Francisco, Calif.
•Anna Wright, 39, administrative assistant and songwriter; Atlanta, Ga.

This sounds like it has the makings of  a healthy, life-changing season. Starting Sept. 21, I look forward to tuning in every Tuesday night to see who will be this season’s “Biggest Loser.” Let me know what you think of the contestants, too!