Stress can leave you tight. Challenging workouts can leave you tight. Long, hard runs can leave you tight. Heck, just sitting at your desk or driving for a long time can leave you tight! Since so many activities can leave your muscles tight, you need to give them a little extra TLC and stretch. But you don’t just want to stretch a cold muscle! Save these muscle-lengthening moves for when your body is warmed up, like after a walk, hike, bike ride, run, or these cardio moves you can do at home. We’ve organized them by body part so you can easily find the stretch your body needs.
My husband watches a lot of Chopped and Iron Chef. I think it’s escapism for him because our kitchen is more like American Horror Story than Top Chef. Not that he’s any better — his idea of cooking is heating up a Tombstone pizza. Sure, my cooking skills aren’t going to win me any awards (or win over any friends at dinner parties), but eating at home and prepping meals for the week is still important.
If I meal prep for the week ahead, I know I’ll have enough food for healthy lunches and dinners so I won’t be tempted to eat out. Who do I look like, Oprah Winfrey? Like Oprah, I love bread. Unlike Oprah, I am not a billionaire (yet!) and certainly can’t afford to dine out more than a couple times a week. Eating out in New York is expensive, y’all, and I would rather save my hard-earned cash than spend it on a predictable chopped salad down the street.
All of this is to say: I frequently meal prep. But I’m pretty bad at cooking; one time I thought when a recipe called for a clove of garlic, it actually meant a bulb of garlic, so I sautéed enough full cloves of garlic to kill a vampire. Then there was the time I didn’t know what “brown the ground turkey” meant, so I had to google it and then call my sister. But a few years (and many, many mistakes) later, I’ve collected enough meal-prep hacks to actually make it worth my time.
Will you be seeing me on the Food Network anytime soon? Probably not. But I can make enough meals to last me a few days that are edible and sometimes even tasty! It’s not like I have all day Sunday to devote to meal prep — I have mimosas to drink and Law & Order: SVU marathons to watch. So here are the seven hacks my husband and I use regularly to make sure meal prep is as easy and efficient as possible.
No matter how impressive our workout wardrobe may be, we’ve always got room for more leggings. And this year, there have been quite a few pairs that made it into our Hall of Fame. If you’re going to crush your New Year’s goals, treat yourself to a great new pair of leggings. Of all the styles you could possibly choose, these are our 14 favorites. Now all you have to do is get moving.
On the hunt for a pair of new running sneakers? You’ve come to the right place. We looked to Nordstrom because the department store carries all our favorite brands in one place, and it just dropped a ton of new choices, just in time for the new year. We uncovered 11 cool picks worth owning right now, from pink Nikes to two-toned APLs. Keep scrolling to shop our favorites, but beware: it will be hard to leave empty-handed.
Get in your cardio and strength training in just 30 minute with this AMRAP workout, which in CrossFit terms stands for as many rounds as possible. It’s just three exercises that you cycle through as many times as you can. Seems simple enough, right? But you should know that in CrossFit, basic definitely doesn’t mean easy. And actually, the workouts that look simple on paper tend to be the most challenging, both physically and mentally.
This is a total-body workout that’s fast-paced with no rest, so get ready to sweat, burn, and grunt. Push yourself hard, and challenge yourself to see how many rounds you can do. By the end, you’ll feel so pumped knowing you’re getting stronger and more badass every day.
30-Minute CrossFit Workout
Directions: Perform as many rounds as possible of the below workout:
30 calories on the rower (about two to three minutes)
20 wall balls
10 ring rows
Modifications: If you don’t have access to a rower, use another machine, run in place, or do burpees. If you’re at home, you can also run up and down the stairs. You’ll also need a soft medicine ball, eight to 14 pounds, but if you don’t have one, just hold dumbbells in each hand and do dumbbell thrusters instead. As for ring rows, if you don’t have access to rings or a TRX, you can do bar rows with a bar, or use a sturdy table. With so many modifications, you have no excuses not to do this workout!
Keep reading for details on how to do each move.
Every year, healthy seasonal drinks pop up and replace our beloved Christmas classics. Around this time last year, we nearly drowned ourselves in Trader Joe’s non-dairy Almond Nog, and this year, we’re taking it up a notch with an Eggnog Hummus Shake from The Hummus & Pita Co. Intrigued? Us, too. The Mediterranean food chain recently rolled out hummus-based shakes in five different gluten- and dairy-free flavors, but original, chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, and butter pecan are going to have to take a back seat to the new eggnog spin.
The Eggnog Hummus Shake is made with chickpeas, tahini, banana, dates, and almond milk. Vegan eggnog is blended within the hummus-based mix and then topped with nutmeg. We know what you’re thinking and nope, according to many Instagram users, the original flavors don’t taste like hummus. In fact, they taste like bananas! Somewhere up at the North Pole, Santa is going through his files and determining which vegans were naughty or nice, and which will be able to get their hands on the shake. The Eggnog Hummus Shake is now available at all Hummus & Pita Co. locations.
Image Source: Courtesy of The Hummus & Pita Co.
Though the past year signaled so many professional achievements for Simone Biles, it was a difficult one for her personal life. The 21-year-old Olympic gymnast, who was just named ESPN‘s Most Dominant Athlete of 2018, recently sat down with Robin Roberts at Good Morning America to reflect on her year filled with “ups and downs.”
“I feel this year gave me a voice.”
“I feel like there were a lot of points in this year that made me who I am today,” Biles said. At the start of 2018, Biles came forward as one of the many women abused by former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar. On Jan. 24, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison. At a competition later in the year, Biles wore a significant teal leotard in honor of fellow survivors. (A teal ribbon is the symbol for sexual assault awareness and prevention.) “I feel this year gave me a voice,” Biles told Roberts. “I tried to find my voice this year and use that to the better potential in positive manners.”
That being said, her transformative year was “definitely not easy.” She said, “I still go to therapy, and I’m on anxiety medicine now because I had a lot of ups and downs throughout the year in trying to figure out what was wrong.” Adding, “It’s not easy, but the people surrounding me are some of the best, so it makes it a little easier.”
Despite everything, Biles still managed to make history as the first female gymnast to win four all-around titles at the World Gymnastics Championships. Oh, and she did that hours after a trip to the ER for kidney stones. Biles is also confirmed to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo after the USA women’s gymnastics team recently secured their spot. We’re already looking forward to the many ways she’ll inspire us for years to come.
Feeling muscle soreness the day or two after a workout is one of those hurts-so-good feelings; you know you worked your body hard enough to get sore, but damn if it doesn’t hurt to walk up stairs or dry your hair.
If you know a person who spends all their free time in the gym and is subsequently constantly sore, they’re probably looking for immediate relief. After all, there are only so many sports and deep tissue massages you can get. Luckily, there are home massagers for every part of your body. We gathered some of our favorite options for sore muscles, tight feet, and other types of fitness-related discomfort.
Chances are, you have a woman in your life who is obsessed with working out. When she’s not running to the gym, she’s just coming from a studio workout while scheduling her ClassPass reservations for the week. Since we identify with this personality type (in many ways), we put together a list of ideal gifts — from gear to clothes — that are sure to be a smash hit this season with your favorite fitness fanatic.
— Additional reporting by Dominique Astorino
Chances are high you’ve done kettlebell swings in a group fitness class, with a personal trainer, or during a workout you created for yourself (and good on you for making your own plan). It’s an effective movement to get stronger and improve your overall fitness level. Kettlebell swings aren’t as easy as they might seem, though, and it’s common to see people perform this exercise with the wrong form. Think of this as your kettlebell swing crash course.
American vs. Russian
Austin Lopez, CSCS and owner of AUSome Fit, told POPSUGAR that there are two types of kettlebell swings: American and Russian. The former go overhead while the latter don’t go above the shoulders.
“Both are hip-drive movements,” Lopez said. “The back should not really be working in the swings because the abs are braced and legs are driving the hip motion.”
According to Lopez, the most common (and dangerous) mistake he sees is people who “don’t brace [their abs] enough.” If your abs aren’t engaged, you run the risk of hurting your back. The second most common mistake Lopez witnesses is people not driving their hips all the way forward. “You aren’t getting the most out of your swing this way and it could result in injury at heavier weights,” he said.
When it comes to American kettlebell swings, which go overhead, Lopez told POPSUGAR that this requires much more shoulder mobility. “Make sure you are rolling out the muscles around the shoulder before throwing yourself into heavy [weights],” he advised. “Otherwise, make sure the shoulders are pulled back so they don’t pull the back into a rounded down position.”
It’s a lot to think about, which means you shouldn’t be afraid to go back to basics with your kettlebell swings. Choose a light weight to start, and don’t move on until you’ve perfected your form.
How to Do a Kettlebell Swing
The most important thing to remember is that the movement doesn’t come from your arms, back, or your shoulders. It’s all about engaging your core muscles and driving your hips forward, all the while keeping your back straight. Although this swinging movement looks like it’s all about the arms, the work is focused in the legs, butt, and core. You don’t just swing your hands forward but rather engage the core, load weight in the hips, and thrust the pelvis forward to propel and swing the kettlebell.
- Stand with your feet wider than hips-width apart, toes slightly pointing out. Squat down, and pick up a kettlebell with both hands. Allow it to hang between your legs.
- With a flat back and your core engaged, inhale to bend your knees and push your butt back. Your weight should be back in your heels so your knees are in line with you toes.
- Keep your abs strong and arms straight. On an exhale, press into your feet, squeezing your legs and glutes as you aggressively explode up, extending through your hips and legs to stand, which drives to about shoulder height.
- Inhale, and with control, come back to the starting position, allowing the kettlebell to swing back between your legs, keeping your back flat.
- This counts as one rep. Do 15 to 25 per set.
Once you get the form right, you’ll start to reap all the benefits kettlebell swings have to offer.