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Row, Row, Row to Get Fit Like Frank Underwood (It’s Better Than Spinning!)

frank underwood rowing

Oh, boy. House of Cards is back this week, and who isn’t excited? The extremely popular television show premiered on Netflix two years ago, and even though we got a brief flirtation with a third season, our long wait is finally over. Though we all appreciate the entertainment value in House of Cards (or any Netflix-binge-worthy show), we have to at least mention Frank Underwood’s stellar shape.

In the first season of House of Cards, Frank’s wife Claire buys him a rowing machine, to which he replies, “It looks positively medieval, doesn’t it?”. He isn’t as avid a runner as she is, and she wants him to stay fit so the two of them can continue their Napoleon-esque takeover of D.C.

Claire is certainly a healthy fitness inspiration, but her reign of influence has caused a boost in the popularity of rowing since a machine moved into her basement, and it is no wonder why. Rowing is a tremendously beneficial activity to add to your fitness routine.

“Rowing is awesome because it pulls double duty,” explained DietsInReview’s Kelly Turner, a personal trainer and fitness journalist. “It’s an amazing cardiovascular workout, but the motion and resistance of the rowing machine also counts as strength training.”
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The Hottest Fitness Trends to Rock Your Body in 2015


Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys its membership of fitness professionals (myself included) to identify the top trends in fitness. The 2015 list was recently published with, in my opinion, only a few surprises.

What did surprise me on this list? Outdoor activities are #12! I see and hear a lot about running in fitness circles, but not much else. Most popular classes and activities take place in some sort of gym, be it a commercial one or the budget home gym you created in the spare bedroom. I would love to see more people get off the spin bike and on the bike path. Hiking is a new love of mine and, unlike the treadmill, it does wonders for your body and soul. Boot camps are last on the ACSM list at #20. They are still very popular in the Midwest so I am curious what group fitness trend will be taking their place. What are you seeing where you live?

Agree or disagree, here are five “big” fitness trends you can look forward to in the coming year.

1. Body weight training and High Intensity Interval Training came in #1 and #2, respectively, on the ACSM list. This worries me for two reasons. One, the high rate of injury that goes along with beginners starting at too high of intensity as well as over-training, and two, the level of burnout that often follows. I think body weight exercises are great. They can be some of the most challenging exercises you can do, but if proper form isn’t developed before adding the explosive intensity of popular programs like Insanity or P90X you may be asking for trouble.

Trend tip: Perfect your form on squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises slowly before adding weight or plyometrics. 

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9 Places You Can Workout Next to a Celebrity in LA, New York, and Chicago

OMG! It’s really them! That moment you realize you’ve identified a celebrity in the wild, out amongst mere mortals, living “just like us,” can be rather thrilling. For those who live in LA or NYC, it’s all too common to dine next to the hottest faces and grocery shop elbow to elbow with leading ladies, but for people in the other 48 states, running in to a celebrity on vacation is one of the souvenirs you hope to collect.

If you’re planning an active vacation this summer, hit these workout hot spots and you’re likely to sweat right alongside an OMG-moment-worthy celeb.

Picture or it didn’t happen, your friends will say after your excited tweet. But should you even let them know you know it’s them?

“When I see celebs in the gym, I think it’s poor personal etiquette to approach them during their workout,” advised Dan Flores, RTSm, a master personal trainer based in New York City. “I value my personal gym time and would hate to be interrupted. I would approach them after they were finished and on their way out of the gym.”

– New York City

heidi klum russell simmons

Central Park is no stranger to the rich and famous; in fact, it’s practically their cardio playground. Free to enter, take your morning run to one of the most famous landmarks in the world and you’re sure to spot a name or two worth bragging about. Heidi Klum, Russell Simmons, and Gwyneth Paltrow are on the extremely short list of A-listers you’ll run or down-dog along with!

The Mark Hotel has a state-of-the-art fitness facility that rivals any gym getting your membership fees. Book your stay here, and your workout may coincide with that of Oprah, Sarah Silverman, Larry David, David Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, and even dignitaries like the President of France!
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6 Ways Clubbing in Your 20s Prepped You for Cycling in Your 30s

Last week ran an article that had me laughing out loud at my computer. It was basically a “Sure Signs You’re Over 30” story for fitness junkies and the assessment was spot-on. They wrote about how us older gals may be up at 5AM, but it’s to head out on a run, not to stumble home from a big night out. Or how massages are now a part of our maintenance routines, not just an occasional indulgence.

The article was truly amazing and a must-read for anyone who’s still going strong after the big 3-0. In fact, I couldn’t help but be inspired to think of my own amended version last night while in my favorite indoor cycling class. With the lights out and the music thumping I thought back to those fun nights 10+ years ago, which in no way resemble my “Game of Thrones” fueled evenings now.

Those were the days! But boy am I glad they’re over. At any rate, without further ado, here are 6 things that never change, whether you’re a dance club kid or an indoor cycling class queen!


cycle shorts

  1. In cycling class you still worry about what your butt looks like. Only now you’re wearing padded shorts which, let’s face it, don’t really flatter any figure.cycle water
  2. You still spill your drink on yourself on the bike. Only this time it’s water dribbling down your chin and onto your spandex top, not vodka red bull. Way less sticky!
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9 Signs You’re Addicted to Indoor Cycling

Whether you cycle at the gym or at a cycling specific studio like Soul Cycle or Flywheel Sports, there’s a good chance you’ll go from amateur to addict after a few short sessions. Here are the telltale signs you’ve already made the transition:

cycling shoes

  1. You carry cycling shoes in your purse. Just in case your dinner date cancels/your lunch hour frees up/your favorite instructor announces he’s subbing that afternoon.
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