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A Love Letter to Workout Music

December 7, 2012

Dear music I listen to while I work out,

Have I ever told you just how much I need you? Or how I run faster with you blasting in my ears? Or that I secretly judge spin instructors solely off of their playlists, and won’t go to a second class if they seem to feel differently about you than I do? This really shouldn’t be a surprise, as we go way back. Remember when I used to run in high school carrying a discman (lol remember those?), and I’d have to hold it perfectly upright so you wouldn’t skip? That first iPod nano was a godsend, and it’s possible that nothing in the world has ever been dirtier than that once-bright-pink arm band I toted it around in to have you on all my runs. Those were the days. It may be a little extreme, but I’ll admit that on an unmotivated day I’ve been guilty of hanging up the towel before warming up after realizing I’ve forgotten to bring you along. In fact, one of my biggest regrets in life is that time when, after pouring a cup of water all over my head and [temporarily] paralyzing my earbuds, I lost your for mile 7 of my first half marathon. I’ve never missed you more. But when you did come back to me, there was new life in my step. You’re always there if I need to zone out on a long run, or feel strong and untouchable on the road after I’ve had my heart broken and laying in bed seems like a more viable option (“Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson was invented for that, I think). I’m particularly fond of you on a cold dreary day (such as today), when the last thing  on earth I want to do is exercise, and you help me push through it. In other words, I just love you. And I think I always will. ♥

xo,

Kristen

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Thinking of fine tuning your own workout playlist? Mine  is constantly updated with the expected variety of upbeat pop, rap, and techo songs that I only listen to while working out. And then there are other songs that you might not expect, but just feel right (“Go Your Own Way,” by Fleetwood Mac, anyone?). It’s important to include a variety of genres and some songs you just enjoy, even if the beat isn’t what you’d typically work out to. At the end of the day, a go-to favorite song could get you over that hill or through an interval better than any Justin Bieber song.

Want to see what’s inside my earbuds at the gym? Check out my workout playlist on Spotify—and subscribe to it if you’d like!

Dumb Stuff, Debunked

October 22, 2012

There’s a lot of ridiculous health information and get-fit-quick tips being thrown around online (Shake Weight, anyone?)—and sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in the claims. Head over to The Hamsterdam to check out an article I co-wrote with Ripp debunking some health myths about diet soda, skipping meals, and even drug use.

Bangin’ bod compliments of the Shake Weight. (Photo by Jo Christian Oterhals/flickr.com)

The Most Underrated Cardio Equipment in the Gym

September 27, 2012

Until recently, I’ve never really paid attention to rowing machines—and I’m willing to bet that unless you were on the rowing team in college, you haven’t either. At most of the gyms I’ve been a member at, the rowing machines, or “ergs,” are usually old, scary, and pushed in a corner. But lately I’ve come to realize that this oft-ignored piece of cardio equipment is a true game changer.

The pulling movement strengthens the back, arms, and core, while the explosive leg motion works the entire lower body. And if you’ve been in a treadmill rut, having a new piece of cardio equipment that challenges your entire body can keep boredom at bay. It took me a little while to get comfortable on the machine and work up to any significant amount of time, but now that I’m past that hurdle, I hardly ever go a day at the gym without at least a few minutes of rowing.

Since the erg requires a pretty foreign type of movement for most people, it’s important to use proper form so you don’t injure your back. This instructional video from Concept2 provides step-by-step instructions for navigating from drive through recovery:

Enjoy—and let me know what you think!

Avoid a Junk Food Blackout

September 9, 2012

Let me paint a picture: An innocent trip to the kitchen turns into an all out junk food bender. If you’re like me, a not-so-squeaky-clean self-control record means sometime snacking gets a little out of control. But a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that simply paying attention to what you eat could help you fake self-control and feel satisfied faster. Here are a few tips to keep snacking under wraps from a story I wrote for Men’s Health about this research.

These tips will help her get her hand out of the bag. Photo by Mike Burns/flickr.com

  • Savor your food:  Focusing on food’s sensory characteristics—taste, texture, mouthfeel—can help you feel full longer, according to researchers in England.
  • Snack from a small bowl: A study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found study participants served themselves 31 percent more ice cream when given a larger bowl.
  • Keep snacks out of sight: One Cornell study found that men ate close to 29 percent less when serving dishes were kept off the kitchen table, and another found that office workers ate 23 percent less candy when it was in a bowl covered with an opaque lid, rather than a clear lid.

What Sexy at 60 Looks Like

July 31, 2012

Living in Fairfield County, Conn. this past year, I’ve seen a ton of older women who seem to defy their age. Maybe there’s something in the water, but there are some serious MILFs here! My friends and I joke all the time that we’re picking up tips for future milfdom at the nail salon, gym, and grocery store. That’s why I was so inspired by Jacky O’Shaughnessy, American’s Apparel‘s newest model. She’s 60 and absolutely stunning. Read my Prevention interview with her to snag some of her tips for staying sexy for life.

Jacky O’Shaughnessy (compliments of American Apparel)

Running the Fairfield Half Marathon

June 24, 2012

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This morning I ran–and finished (!) the Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon in 2:18:06 with a 10:33 pace. The course was very, very hilly and tough, but as one of the Team in Training coaches who was talking me up a hill at 9.5 miles reminded me, every step I took out there today was a billion times easier than chemo. And that’s what the race was all about! With the help of my generous family, friends, and coworkers, I raised $1,655 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Hopefully we’re one day closer to wiping out blood cancers.