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How to Workout Away From Home

By  November 05, 2013

exercise while traveling

 

During the holidays, over 90 million Americans travel at least 50 miles away from home according the AAA. This kind of routine shift during the more glutenous season can be an excuse to ignore your regular workout routine. It’s much harder to pick it back up once the new year rolls around if your body forgets what the happy endorphins feel like! Don’t break your habit, adjust it with these tips on how to workout when you are away from home wether it’s year round or just during the holiday season.

Try out a new studio

If you are staying with relatives, quarters may be cramped. While of course you can bring your sneakers and go for a job outside, it’s more fun to sweat with others in a class setting especially if you live up north. Use a website like Yelp or GoRecess to discover studios near by. Many have discounted first class pricing offers. Don’t be afraid to try something new like a Pilates class using a Mega-reformer or intense bootcamp like Barry’s.

Bring Your Laptop

If you love to workout in the comfort of your home or hotel room, bring a laptop and watch your favorite of online fitness videos or bring your own DVD. Plan ahead of time which workout you are going to do on what day to avoid procrastination and never getting it done. Try this Black Friday bootcamp available for free on YouTube for a quick, total body 15 minute burn before you shop to work off the extra Thanksgiving day calories.

Find a Race Nearby

Turkey Trots have become a growing trend among close knit communities. These races are often 5-10K in length, making it perfect for even beginners. Look online at Active.com or RaceMenu.com to find a race near by. Make it a family event and invite the whole gang to join you before the feast. Some races are the day of Thanksgiving while others are the day after or on the weekend.  Paying money to register will be added motivation to prevent skipping the big day.

Explore Your Temporary Neighborhood

When I travel, one of my favorite ways to explore the area is to go for a run throughout. Sometimes I’ll check a map to make sure I follow a scenic or historical route, but other times I enjoy just getting lost. I check my watch about ½ way through my anticipated workout and turn around if I’m lost, otherwise I try to make it a full circle, sometimes going further than planned but it always leaves me feeling accomplished and cultured. I recently visited Philadelphia for a wedding and ran up the Rocky stairs. I wouldn’t have seen them if I hadn’t!

Take Advantage of a Hotel Gym

While traveling last year in Buenos Aires, I enjoyed using the hotel gym along with my favorite fitness app, Nike Training Club. This app uses select pieces of equipment and brings you through a total body workout that is 30 or 45 minutes long, that is sure to make you work up a serious sweat. It’s like a having a personal trainer. It’s free to download and features over 20 routines for you to choose from. Yes, you need a smart phone but it does not require WiFi as long as you have it already have it on your phone.

SarahFit-1 copyBIO: Sarah Dussault is one of YouTube’s most viewed fitness guru’s of all time with over 115 million views and 120K subscribers to date. As a full time fitness YouTuber and blogger at SarahFit.com, Dussault keeps busy traveling across the country shooting fitness videos and checking out the hottest fitness events. A certified personal trainer, she also currently enrolled at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition to become a health coach. In 2012 she was named by Mashable, Teen Vogue and FabFitFun as one of the top 10 YouTube Fitness Gurus to follow. She has appeared in Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Glamour, Shape.comFitnessMagazine.com and Teen Vogue. Sarah has signed to do a targeted health, fitness and lifestyle book for McMillian publishing to be released in 2013. Check out Sarah’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/SarahFit . Twitter @SarahDussault.

How Yoga Helps Running

By  October 31, 2013

marathon New York City Marathon is this coming Sunday and runner’s are gearing up to race. I’m thrilled to be living near Central Park now. I can’t wait to see all the runner’s crossing the finish line; it will be a huge celebration this year after last year’s dreaded Hurricane Sandy. marathon running I personally am not a long distance runner and I don’t foresee a marathon in my future. I love shorter runs anywhere from 3 to 5 miles and I like sprint intervals on the treadmill. I have plenty of clients and friends who are marathon runners and they swear that practicing yoga has helped them tremendously. Yoga is a runner’s best friend, it aids in breathing, concentration, flexibility and mobility, strength (warrior poses, standing poses, balancing poses, chaturanga’s and boat pose), and injury prevention, as well as better recovery. Dynamic yoga is best to do pre-run–sun salutations, standing poses, core work, planks and lunges are all perfect. Post-run you can cool down with longer held postures–pigeons, crescent lunges, forward bends, and shoulder stand are all great for recovery. Whether you’re a long distance runner, sprinter, or occasional jogger, try incorporating some yoga poses in to your warm-up and cool down; and take a weekly class or do at least one or two home practices. This dynamic warm up is great to do pre-run or any workout for that matter. Keep your body safe and pain free for years to come by dedicating part of your run time to yoga.

 

Kristin McGee2Guest Blogger, Kristin McGee is certified in Yoga, Pilates and Fitness—and dedicated to a program of healthy eating for all. She has just introduced her latest DVD, STRONG SEXY SVELTE: Three Total Workouts for a Rocking Body all focused on Fitness for the Mind and Body! .

How to Get in Shape After Having a Baby

By  October 30, 2013

Kristin McGee with her baby

I can’t believe how fast he’s growing and how quickly the time flies. Some days can be challenging; but as my mom says, “the days may be long but the years are so short”. I’ve started to amp up my yoga practice a bit more; and I’ve found working with therabands are a great way to tone up after giving birth.

Here are some more ways to get in shape after having a baby:

*Go for walks—Walks are so easy, because babies love to be in their stroller’s and outside. Every day you can go for an hour long walk and get some fresh air and great exercise. You will also tone your arms by pushing the stroller. You can concentrate on keeping your abdominals engaged (imagine pulling your belly button to your spine) as you walk and push the stroller. Try and increase your pace every day or find hills to walk up and down to engage your buttocks and use more energy.

*Tone with Therabands—Therabands are very effective for new moms, because they are low impact and are easy to use. You can fit in a quick arm toning routine while the baby naps. Some of my favorite moves are seated low rows and high rows to combat rounded shoulders from breast (and bottle) feeding and carrying the baby. Therabands are great stretching tools as well.

Theraband

Tone with Theraband

Seated Rowssit tall legs straight out in front of you, wrap the band around your feet. Hold the band in both hands palms facing each other and pull your elbows straight back to your sides. Imagine squeezing a grapefruit between your shoulder blades. Repeat 15-20 reps.

high rows

high rows with theraband

High Rows—turn palms to face the floor holding an end of the theraband

in each hand pull the elbows up and back towards shoulder height. (Like you’re on a rowing machine). 15-20 reps.

*Do a Downward Dog—Yoga is such a wonderful way to reconnect to your body after giving birth. Downward dog is a simple pose that hits every muscle and stretches the entire body. You can do one any time—after playing with your little one down on the floor, right out of bed, right before bed, while your husband holds your baby, when you need a quick flow of blood to the brain. You can even put your little one underneath you and do some mommy and me yoga!

downward dog

*Breast-Feed—Breast-feeding burns approximately 500 calories a day. I feel like the pounds pretty much came off in the first couple of weeks from breast-feeding alone. Breast-feeding also helps the uterus contract. Some new mother’s find it challenging to breast-feed; and I completely understand not everyone can. For women who can’t breast feed, I recommend reducing their caloric intake by about 300-500 calories a day to safely lose 1-2 lbs. a week. Drink plenty of fluids and replace sugary drinks with water or unsweetened tea.

*Meditate—Meditation is wonderful for new moms since sleep is such a problem. Lack of sleep can often make us hungrier and crankier. Meditation is almost like taking a deep nap; but you don’t wake up groggy. Everyone has told me to sleep when the baby sleeps; but for me personally it’s not very doable. I would prefer to get things done when he’s asleep. I find if I sit for 10-15 minutes of meditation first, I have more concentration and energy and my body and mind are refreshed. Find a comfortable seat and watch your breath, it’s as easy as that!

Remember to listen to your body and take it easy. You’ve been through quite a lot; and you should always cherish yourself and congratulate your body for everything it’s done. Getting back in to shape is about being able to have energy and stamina to be the best mom you can be for your newborn. Don’t beat yourself up about getting back in to your skinny jeans, instead focus on being healthy and happy.

 

Kristin McGee2Guest Blogger, Kristin McGee is certified in Yoga, Pilates and Fitness—and dedicated to a program of healthy eating for all. She has just introduced her latest DVD, STRONG SEXY SVELTE: Three Total Workouts for a Rocking Body all focused on Fitness for the Mind and Body! .

How to Burn More Calories with Your Running Attire

By  October 28, 2013

Zaggora HotPants

A fabric that helps you burn calories? When we first spotted Zaggora HotPants on fit celebs like Stacy Kiebler, Denise Richards and Kristin Cavallari, we wanted to learn more about the benefits of adding a pair of HotPants to our workout attire. Zaggora’s ThermoFit Technology harnesses the natural heat created by your body during exercise to help you burn more calories. While the material is on the thicker side, the fit of the HotPants is incredibly flattering. Just in time for winter, these HotPants are our new favorite leggings to wear on our outdoor runs. The brand also creates tanks, hoodies, and even a menswear line with their ThermoFit Technology.

zaggora hotpants 2.0
Why We Loved It: We’re already working up a sweat during our workouts, why not harness that heat to burn more calories? We loved the way our HotPants hugged our frame without creating uncomfortable bulges. The fabric dries quickly and wont trap sweat creating a stink.

Best For: You can wear these leggings for more activities like cycling and yoga, but we recommend them for running and walking outdoors. You’ll feel your body temperature rise as soon as you put on the pants, so they may be a bit too much for your indoor workouts.

Where To BuyZaggora.com

The Women's Health Big Book of Pilates

By  October 22, 2013

pinpoint pilates

 

How do you get a lean, svelte physique in record time? Pilates. For the first time in eight years, celebrity trainer and Pilates guru Brooke Siler teams up with the editors of Women’s Health to offer a comprehensive, authoritative manual on this proven fitness philosophy.  THE WOMEN’S HEALTH BIG BOOK OF PILATES is the essential book for beginners and experts alike who want to achieve their fittest, healthiest, happiest selves.

Big book of pilates

 

THE WOMEN’S HEALTH BIG BOOK OF PILATES  guides readers in every step, plank, and lift of the way. Using the body as the ultimate fitness vehicle and taking inspiration from yoga, dance, and strength training, Pilates transforms physiques in record time. From moves targeting trouble zones to cardio circuits that blast fat all over, this go-to manual covers everything including:

- When and what to eat to power a Pilates practice and see results fast;

- Moves for athletes to bolster training and improve their game;

- Tricks to incorporate Pilates at work, when traveling, and anywhere;

- What props best boost your workout —and what to skip;

- Pilates principles to help combat lower back pain, stress, low energy and more!

The 400-page guide is the must-have book for anyone who wants to increase flexibility, improve posture and balance and enhance their physical and mental well-being.

Pilates book

Fall Hiking Essentials

By  October 15, 2013

fall hiking

Don’t let your workout routine become dull—stay motivated by changing up your fitness regimen and heading outside. There’s nothing like the great outdoors to boost one’s spirit and clear the mind, so a rigorous hike, or even a light nature walk, can be more than just exercise. Next time you want to sweat and cultivate peace of mind, take a hike. Here’s our hiking checklist.

ahnu

Hiking boots: We love the Women’s Sugarpine Boot, by Anhu. Designed for hiking, light backpacking, and walking, the Anhu Sugarpine will support your feet for miles with their Vibram rubber outsoles, EVA dual-density foot bed, and Numentum™ Low-Profile Hike Technology. These lightweight, waterproof boots are engineered to guide the foot and provide neutral positioning and stability between the lateral edges of the foot and the medial center. Bliss team members tried these multifunctional boots and were 100 percent pleased with their performance.

camelbak

 

Water bottle: Trekking in nature elevates your heart rate and gets your blood pumping. Be sure to head out onto the trail with enough H2O to keep yourself hydrated throughout your adventure. We recommend CamelBak water bottles for their functional, sleek designs. For a hands-free experience on long excursions, you may want to invest in a CamelBak pack with hydration capacity.

zego

Snacks: Grab a bar for the trail—even if you don’t think you’ll need a snack, it’s always a good idea to have backup sustenance when you’re out there. Our suggestion: Zego bars are allergy-friendly and free of dairy, soy, nuts, and gluten. And each bar is packed with 10 grams of protein.

sunscreen

Sunscreen: Even on a cloudy day, the sun’s rays can penetrate and damage skin. Any time you bring your workout outdoors, apply a quality sunscreen with a high SPF to the face and neck to protect your precious skin. Head to your local Whole Foods or beauty supply store and check out what they offer in the way of paraben-free sun protectants. Two products we swear by? MyChelle’s SunShield  Coconut SPF 28 and Juice Beauty’s SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer.

Are you ready to hit the trail? If you’re stumped by where to go, a quick Internet search for your region’s trails and hikes will guide you. San Francisco Bay Area locals should check out the Lands End trail, which winds along the northwestern corner of the city and boasts stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands.

Escaping the Hustle of Silicon Valley

By  October 08, 2013

GoSaratoga

Nestled amid the suburban sprawl between San Francisco and San Jose are multiple main streets to visit, all of which have a unique charm. But after this past weekend I have a new favorite among them: historic downtown Saratoga.  With a great group of gals in tow, I languished in the charming hills of Saratoga on Saturday, experiencing all that the area has to offer. Views from the Mountain Winery took my breath away, Preston Wynne pampered me, and Deja & Co fulfilled my inner-princess fantasy. The best part of the excursion was the food, hands down. As the sun began to set, we settled into a table at Sent Sovi, where we indulged in multiple courses, duck being the overall theme. The meal began with fine cheeses and pickled anchovies, followed by a slew of duck delicacies: duck gizzards in lentils, duck confit, and duck paté. After filling our bellies (okay, gorging) and chatting with chef Josiah Slone, we headed over to the Michelin-starred restaurant the Plumed Horse for a tour of the kitchen and one last drink.

Chefs Table

Some highlights at the Plumed Horse: an underground wine cellar you can peer down into as you stand on its glass ceiling, immaculate service and highly hospitable staff, and a menu that cannot be beat. My personal highlight was touring the kitchen and learning about the restaurants Chef’s Table. It gives guests a front-row seat into the busy kitchen, where all the magic happens. Guests of the table must purchase the evening’s tasting menu and surrender themselves to the gastronomical whims of the kitchen. Two to three months’ advance notice is needed for a reservation.

After a fabulous day, I left with a full belly and an eagerness to return. Historic downtown Saratoga has it all—wine, food, shopping, luxury, and charm. Only a 50-minute drive from San Francisco, the town is well worth a visit. Want to spend the night? Check out the Saratoga Oaks Lodge or the Inn at Saratoga … I’m tempted to book now!

Bliss Puts Lorna Jane Active Wear to the Test

By  September 30, 2013

Bliss.com Reviews Lorna Jane

Australian fitness retailer Lorna Jane has been taking California by storm with stores popping up all over the Golden State. We’d seen the #LornaJaneActive tag floating around Instagram, and were captivated by the colorful, fun-loving vibe the brand exudes. After stopping by a San Francisco location, we could tell just by looking at the array of bright tanks, leggings, and sports bras that this was a brand we wanted to rock. As you know, fitness attire has to be more than just fashionable—it needs to function. LJ isn’t cheap—sports bras average $60—but if you’re passionate about fitness and it’s a major part of your life, paying for quality is 100 percent worth it. We put Lorna Jane to the test at the Glam Media yoga studio to see just how the gear would hold up in action.

Bliss.com Review of Lorna Jane

Anna’s Picks

1. Interval Excel Mesh Tank, available at Lorna Jane stores and online $59.99
What It’s Made For: This tank is cross-functional and can be worn for yoga, spinning, running, CrossFit, or whatever your workout of choice may be. Pair with the Pammy Bra for support and you’re ready to rock. Moisture-wicking technology, fade-resistant, and pre-shrunk—this tank will take you far.
Why I Loved It: The unique T-back design is funky and adds a bit of style to a basic, all-purpose fitness tank. I love the slightly loose fit around the midsection, which doesn’t make me feel strapped into the tank.

2. Pammy Bra, available at Lorna Jane stores and online, $55

What It’s Made For: A classic racerback sports bra made for high-impact activities.
Why I Loved It: My new favorite sports bra; I like the adjustable straps and sleek racerback design.

3. Ali 7/8 Tight, available at Lorna Jane stores and online, $89
What It’s Made For: running, dancing, downward dog, spinning, and just about everything else under the sun. These cropped fitness tights are designed for active living and provide total support for all activities. Shrink- and fade-resistant, the Ali Tight will survive plenty of miles—or sun salutations.
Why I Loved It: I adore the mesh paneling on the outside of the leg, which offers a little breathability for tougher workouts. Also loving the length—they’re a bit longer than a traditional crop but not a full-length tight.

Bliss Review of Lorna Jane Activewear

Cara’s Picks

4. Lana Sports Bra, available at Lorna Jane stores and online, $65.99
What It’s Made For: running, yoga, spinning, CrossFit, just about any sort of high-impact activity where you need support.
Why I Loved It: This sports bra is fantastic. It kept me supported without chafing during a BurnSF class, and the mesh material allowed me to breathe. I loved the crisscross back too—racerback style goes with almost every workout tank I own, and the straps didn’t feel too thick. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the padding, but that was easily removable.

5. Aria Excel Tank, available at Lorna Jane stores and online, $60
What It’s Made For: cycling,  gym, cardio, Pilates, yoga
Why I Loved It: What I liked best about this tank was the fit and length: It’s fitted but not too tight, and the length is ideal (fits at about the hip). It dries quickly too; I didn’t feel like it stuck to my skin during sweaty workouts. The Hyper Lime shade is ultra bright, perfect for running outdoors. My only complaint is the charm on the back; I ended up cutting it off because it was interfering with ab work and some yoga poses.

6. Enhance 7/8 Tight, available at Lorna Jane stores and online, $90
What It’s Made For: running, the gym, cycling, yoga, outdoor exercise, you name it!
Why I Loved It: These are some of the most flattering tights I’ve ever put on—I didn’t want to take them off! I loved that the waistband held me in and helped stabilize my core during workouts but didn’t pinch or leave any unflattering bulges. The tights have a little zip pocket perfect for running and flatlock seams to avoid chafing. The material wicks moisture and dries incredibly fast.

Bliss Review of Lorna Jane Active Wear

The Outcome: It’s safe to say that Lorna Jane is a new favorite here at Bliss.com. Whether biking, running, yoga, dancing, or the gym is your game, LJ has gear for you. When it comes to staying fit and stylish, Lorna Jane has us covered with high-tech performance gear that’s functional and chic. Plus, the brand offers more than just fabulously constructed active wear—the merchandise is sold hand in hand with an inspirational three-part philosophy: Move Nourish Believe. The philosophy, which emphasizes active living, self-love, and authenticity, stems from founder Lorna Jane Clarkson. Aside from our hitting the gym or the studio, Lorna Jane inspires us to be better women, which is why we can’t get enough Lorna in our lives!

Do you love LJ as much as we do? Get more active living inspiration and a peek into Lorna Jane Clarkson’s life from her latest book, More of the Fit Women’s Secret.

 

Green Foodie Getaway in Napa

By  September 26, 2013

The road to Napa leads to breathtaking wineries, five-star restaurants, and one of the world’s most eco-friendly, LEED Platinum–certified Hotels: Bardessono Hotel and Spa. At Bardessono, 40 percent of the facility’s electricity is provided by solar panels, all water is heated by the hotel’s 72 geothermal wells (built under the property), woods and metals go untreated, and the majority of materials used in construction were obtained within 100 miles of the property. The epitome of green, Bardessono is an indulgent escape nestled in the heart of Yountville, in Northern California’s Napa Valley. A stroll through the grounds will leave you with a feeling of deep tranquility. So stunning are the views, paths, and babbling brooks, Julia Roberts chose to host a press release for Eat Pray Love in one of the hotel’s courtyards. Spend the day getting pampered with a massage or spa treatment; enjoy a dip in the fabulous pool, then savor lunch or dinner at the hotel’s Lucy Bar and Restaurant. Or perhaps pull out all the stops and spend the night in one of the five-star guest rooms. Just a quick one-hour drive from San Francisco will bring you to bliss at Bardessono

grounds

Bardessono, 6526 Yount St. Yountville, CA 94599, 707-204-6000

SPA

Cutting-edge spa treatments that use industry-leading nautral products are Bardessono’s specialty. Each guest room is furnished with a personal treatment space, bringing rejuvenation right to your door. Additionally, rooms boast private patios with outdoor amenities—take a soak under the warm Napa sunshine.

FP Outdoor Bath

For non-hotel guests, the Bardessono’s spa therapy center offers a full range of restful, restorative services, which use products from the Dr. Alkaitis, Carita, Paris, and Decleor lines. From the Essential Facial starting at $75 to higher-priced day packages, treatments are designed to meet the needs of a variety of clientele. A 90-minute treatment includes access to the pool, so clear your calendar for the day and move from massage table to lounge chair. The staff is beyond hospitable, catering to every need of their guests—you’ll feel like royalty during your stay. The Spa at Bardessono, 6526 Yount St. Yountville, CA 94599, 707-204-6050 (PICTURE: FP POOLSIDE)

LUCY GARDEN AND RESTAURANT

Executive chef Victor Scargale tastefully curates the menu at the hotel’s eatery, Lucy Restaurant and Bar.  Ingredients come from the restaurants very own Lucy Organic Garden, which is steps away from the kitchen. In true farm-to-table fashion, all menu planning begins in the garden. Seasonally inspired entrees and handcrafted cocktails will top off a luxurious spa experience, so be sure to stop in for lunch or dinner. In keeping with Bardessono’s commitment to environmental values, the gardens are farmed in accordance to the California Organic Farmers certification standards.  Lucy’s in Bardessono, 6526 Yount St. Yountville, CA 94599, 707-204-6030 (PICTURE: CHEF AND GARDEN and/or GROUNDS 2)

Mixology is an art form taken seriously at the Bardessono Bar. Specialty cocktails, ranging from $10 to $16, are created with care. An Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon cocktail is pictured here, made with homemade fig syrup and fig liqueur and garnished with a fresh fig—we’ll toast to that! Happy hour is Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

FP Cocktail

Here are some highlights from the Lucy menu. But remember—all dishes are subject to change with the seasons.

Liberty Duck with lentil de puy, garden mulberries, radish greens, and duck jus.

FP Duck With Blackberry

Big-eye tuna ceviche with coconut milk, serrano chile, togarashi popcorn, and California-grown avocado.

FP Tuna Tartare

Wild gulf shrimp served over a summer melon salad with rau ram, kaffir lime, and a forbidden rice pattie.

FP Gulf Shrimp

Interested in visiting the Bardessono Hotel, Spa, or Lucy Restaurant? For reservations and booking, call 707-204-6000. Follow your bliss to Bardessono! (PICTURE GULF SHRIMP)

Xylitol, Our New Favorite Ingredient

By  August 30, 2013

Spry Gum

 

 

I took my kids to the dentist and when we were leaving the dentist gave my kids lollipops. Lollipops! Of course I was taken aback. The dentist explained that xylitol is a natural sweetener that promotes oral health. We’ve been testing Spry gum and mints and we’re pretty thrilled. They taste great and we know it’s not harming our teeth.

Clinical studied show that there are real oral health benefits to chewing xylitol products. You can read about it here.