Tag Archives: travel

Fabulous Adventure Vacations with Just Enough R&R

hike

There are three kinds of people in the world: those who take a vacation to totally relax. They go to place like Hawaii and Mexico to stay at an all inclusive resort to golf or spend time in the spa. A vacation is a way to get away from the world.

Then there are those who see a vacation as an adventure. It’s a chance to hike a mountain pass, to camp on the ridge and see the sunrise. A vacation is a chance to breath deep as they plunge into new experiences and to see what their bodies can do.

Then there are people like me who want a little bit of both. I want a good hike in the morning, followed by an amazing meal of local cuisine. I don’t mind getting up for sunrise as long as there is a cup of tea and a comfortable bed waiting for me at the end of the day. I want to get away from my every day, but I still want to experience what the world has to offer.  If that describes you too, I’ve got some great ideas for a fit adventure followed by a little R&R.

RUN

Hood to Coast Relay: Here’s your chance to see that amazing sunrise! This 198-mile relay race takes you from Mount Hood to Seaside, Oregon. It’s the longest relay foot race in the world, starting early on Friday morning and lasting well into Saturday. Stay the night at the Shilo Inn in Seaside after the race to rest up, have a good meal, and catch the shuttle service back to Portland on Sunday. (more…)

The Frozen Lemonade Sam Adams Summer Ale Slush You Have to Taste to Believe

sam adams lemonade slush

Last summer I spent a month in Savannah, Georgia, a true American gem that should be on your must-visit list. Aside from soaking up all the history, playing at the beach, and hitting up all the Forrest Gump tourist spots, one of the highlights was attenidng the fifth annual Fitbloggin’ conference.

If you’ve never been, mark your calendars for the last weekend in Denver this year. It’s a life changing three days with an inspiring, motivating, beautiful group of about 250 souls. No matter what your place is in within the weight loss blogging/social media sphere, there is a place for you within Fitbloggin’. And as last year proved, no matter how hot and sweaty you get — be it during one of the morning Zumba classes or out wandering Savannah’s scenic historic district — everyone still has plenty of love for ‘ya.

sam adams lemonade slush

On the last day of the conference, it was time to cool off and get even more scenic, with a drive out to Georgia’s Tybee Island. I didn’t go alone. My husband and daughter tagged along with myself, Emmie from AuthenticallyEmmie.com, and Alan from SweatingUntilHappy.com. After a whirlwind three days inside a hotel getting all of the hugs, blog lessons, and free California Almond trail mix snacks we could handle, sinking our toes in the sand and letting the sea breeze wash over our faces was the decompress everyone needed!

alan brandi emmie fitbloggin

And frozen lemonades, we needed those to fully complete the post-conference decompression slash Georgia heat exhaustion. After we dusted most of the sand from our bodies, we headed to a highly recommended local dive – AJ’s Dockside Restaurant. We sat outside, because we clearly love sweating as much as possible. We ordered po’boys, because when in Rome. And we ordered frozen lemonades. (more…)

11 Hikes You Must Take This Summer

best hikes

Some people hike all year, and some of us are fair-weather hikers. Regardless of what type of hiker you consider yourself to be, it is undoubtedly time to lace up the boots. If you are planning a trip to a new part of the country, or if you are simply tired of the same ‘ole hikes in your area, we come bearing gifts! We’ve rounded up some of the best hikes in the country

Before you get going however, make sure you are well prepared.

  • A hiking backpack with a hip belt so you are not carrying all of the weight in your shoulders. Plus, it provides a place to carry your gear.
  • Water is a must! So are snacks like trail mix, granola bars, fresh fruit, and protein bars.
  • Insect repellant if you are prone to bug bites.
  • Hiking boots are arguably the most important piece of hiking equipment. You need well-fitting boots that can take on the terrain and keep your feet dry and secure.
  • Layer your clothing with light pieces that can easily be removed when it’s hot, put back on when it’s cold, or stored in your pack.

BEST HIKES IN THE U.S.

Pacific Northwest

>> Ramona Falls Hike, Mt. Hood, Oregon

The Ramona Falls Hike is a seven-mile loop, round trip. Though the hike is described as “moderate,” it is not necessarily recommended for families because of the bridge crossing the Sandy River. The beautiful hike is a Mount Hood favorite, however. People love the relatively easy- to-navigate trail, the short distance out of Portland, and of course, the gorgeous Ramona Falls.

>> Mount Finlayson Trail, San Juans, Washington

The gorgeous Mount Finlayson Trail is one of the best hikes in Washington State. The trail is nearly four-miles round trip and offers gorgeous views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Mountains, the the beautiful Puget Sound. There are plenty of trail heads and paths to take along the hike, so have fun exploring!

>> Oyster Dome, Chuckanut, Washington

The Oyster Dome hike is a nearly seven-mile hike, round trip, though the whole time you will be eager to get to the top. From the top, Oyster Dome is one of the most gorgeous views in the world. Enjoy both the Lummi and Orcas Islands from afar and the beautiful Samish Bay below. The hike can be family friendly, but watch out for the very unforgiving ledges. (more…)

Get a Good Sleep and a Good Sweat at the 5 Best Fitness-Minded Hotels

westin gaslamp water

You know that thing where you travel and you’re left to figure out where and how and when you are going to get your workout in? Well the Westin Hotels & Resorts is changing the game!

Holly Perkins, women’s fitness expert and founder of Women’s Strength Nation, has recently paired with Westin Hotels & Resorts to kick off their “Westin Wellness Escapes,” a series of well-being retreats led by experts who want to help you achieve new goals! Throughout the WSN Live event, Westin spoiled guests with inspired meals from their SuperFoodsRX and Fresh by the Juicery menus. Westin Hotels is planning similar retreats, or Escapes, covering nutrition to yoga and running, with events being offered internationally. Next up is a triathlon recovery escape in Jekyll Island, Georgia hosted by Chris Heuisler in May.

Westin Hotels has also partnered with New Balance to provide their guests with a new Gear Lending program. Certain Westin properties will be offering New Balance shoes and clothing for a nominal fee of only $5! Whether you want to save room in your carry-on or just want to try out some new gear, or managed to forget something, this is an exciting amenity that ensures your active lifestyle won’t be forgotten when you’re far form home. Add in the hotel’s 5K events, healthier food options, relaxing spas, Holly’s exclusive workout videos available in-room, and exceptional gyms and we can’t think of a better way to vacation!

Westin isn’t alone though. Many hotels are catching on to the wellness needs of their guests and similar programs have been created at major hoteliers around the country. (more…)

The First Women’s Strength Nation LIVE Event Motivates Women to Take Back the Weight Room

holly womens strength nation

Sunny San Diego was the backdrop for the first Women’s Strength Nation LIVE event April 10 – 12, 2015 and Diets In Review was there every step of the way. The kickoff was part of the launch of Westin Hotel and Resort’s new Westin Wellness Escapes, a series of weekend-long events devoted to helping you live your best life, even on vacation.

Hosted by celebrity personal trainer and fitness expert Holly Perkins, CSCS, the weekend was full of enlightening information to equip women with everything we need to walk into the weight room, confident and ready to work.

The mission of Women’s Strength Nation is to improve the ratio of women to men in the weight room. In order to do that, WSN provides you will all the tools you need to confidently walk into the gym and crush it every single time. Using strength training as a metaphor for building strength inside and out, we learned that in order to illicit change, you must have adversity. Like your muscles, you must be torn down before you can be built back up. When met with resistance and adversity, either in terms of weight vs. your muscles, or life vs. you, in the words of Holly Perkins herself “how you show up for this is how you show up for everything.”

ig-hollyquote

Through individual and group exercises, group workouts, workshops and lectures, we learned the indisputable science that supports strength training’s affects not only on the body, but also the mind. We learned how a woman should train differently than a man, despite the fact that all the information out there is written for a man and a man’s body.

With so many takeaways from the weekend, it’s hard to choose which to highlight. Here are just a few nuggets of wisdom:

Kelly Womens Strength Nation

EMBRACE  CHANGE

Change, positive or negative, is the biggest stressor: marriage is stressful the same way divorce is and a promotion is as stressful as a job loss. Our bodies crave homeostasis, to keep the status quo. Everything in our beings wants us to stay the same. The purpose of fear is to maintain that homeostasis. Whether in the gym or in your life, your body will naturally resist. To overcome, just breathe, acknowledge this, and do it anyway.

WOMEN CAN BULK

The women can’t bulk myth was busted. Rejoin, easy gainers! Women can bulk (if they want!) — it just takes a very specific physiology and/or a specific type of training. It has to do with testosterone and yes, some women have more than others which gives them a propensity to bulk, so no, you aren’t crazy if you fit the bill.

STRENGTH DOESN’T HAVE TO BULK

That being said, you can get stronger without getting bigger (they are not synonymous) you just need proper programming. To find the best program for your body type, pick up a copy of Holly’s new book Lift to Get Lean. It’s a female-focused strength training bible, and in it Holly shares four unique programs for each body type and goal type so you can bulk (or not!) how you want.

PULL vs. PUSH

Pulling mechanics are very important for a woman’s body, which is why you need to do three times as many pulling exercises as pushing ones. It has to do with our evolution from the days when we walked on all fours, and the muscles it takes to keep us standing upright.

FORGET THE EXCUSES

In the end, we learned to let go of the excuses that have been holding us back for so long and why it’s vital, as women, not to dim our lights to make others feel comfortable, but rather it’s our responsibility to let our lights shine to motivate and inspire other women to do the same. Together, thirty perfect strangers laughed, cried, shared, and bonded — and will forever be connected. We are strong. And so are you.

stronger she became quote

Here are three things we learned from Women’s Strength Nation LIVE! that you can work into your next workout:

The 3 rules of strength training

1. Technique trumps everything

2. Manipulate your speed of movement

3. The last 2 reps should threaten #1.

The 5 form cues to make every exercise a full body exercise

1. Pull up your arches

2. Push out your knees

3. Tuck your butt

4. Brace your core

5. Anchor your shoulders

5 essential exercises for every woman

1. Leg press

2. Deadlift

3. Reverse grip pulldown

4. Chest press

5. Overhead press

Also Read:

How to Strength Train Without Weights

4 Effective Ways to Make Body Weight Exercises Harder

5 Strength Training Exercises for Runners

images by Lauren Milner Photography courtesy of Westin

Jim Gaffigan’s Hilarious Food Rules for Everyone Not to Live by

food-love-story

Jim Gaffigan recently recently his second book entitled Food: A Love Story. Gaffigan, if you are unfamiliar with his brand of humor, is a hilarious, honest, satirical comedian. He previously wrote the book Dad is Fat, in which he reels on fatherhood with five young children. And in similar fashion in his newest release, Gaffigan has his readers rolling with his honest take on food. He says the things we all may be thinking, but we all may not be saying. Gaffigan explores everything from American food consumption to the questionable purpose of kale.

Though the entire book is quotable, we probably can’t republish it here. So we’re sharing a few of Gaffigan’s best food rules to abide by. (Or, to not abide by, but to at least laugh at.)

Jim Gaffigan’s Hilarious Food Rules for Everyone

1. Never take advice from skinny people.

“When a thin person announces, “Here’s a great taco place,” I kind of shut down a little. How do they know it’s so great? From smelling the tacos?”

Now maybe this isn’t fair. Of course there are plenty of skinny people who know great food when they taste it, and of course there are plenty of skinny people that like particular foods that other not-so-skinny people might also enjoy. The point is, Gaffigan’s point is hilarious.

2. Steak is a big deal.

“…because consuming a steak is one of the great pleasures we get to experience during our short time on this planet.”

Gaffigan describes his confusion toward his father’s love for steak as a child, though he touchingly concludes just why it was so important to him throughout his life. Steak can be particularly fancy, and I think we all know that.

3. Gravy is not a beverage.

Our eyes met, and he gave me a warm Midwestern smile as if to say, “Hey, how’s it going?” I nodded and said hello and was only a bit more than slightly tempted to exclaim, “You realize you’re drinking gravy, right?”

Gaffigan pokes a lot of fun at Midwesterners, a title he himself holds, and though I must add that not all Midwest-residents probably drink gravy, this story is too good to pass up. It’s one of the best LOL anecdotes in the entire book! (more…)

Alton Brown Gains 7 Pounds Eating at Wichita’s Best Restaurants

alton-brown-wichita-donut

Wichita is one of those places you wouldn’t expect to be a foodie town. Tucked in to one of the flattest spots on the prairie in the heart of beef country, with a blue collar populous that’s generally pretty laid back, Wichitans have an appetite for very good food.

I know this because I concluded a ten-year residency there last month. I also know this because Alton Brown just ate his way through the Air Capital and seemed pretty happy about it. He recently wrapped his wildly popular Good Eats on Food Network and took the show on the road. Alton Brown’s live Edible Inevitable made a stop in Wichita last night and there wasn’t a foodie in attendance who left disappointed. Fortunately, we don’t think Alton’s appetite left town disappointed either.

“I want to thank Wichita for the seven pounds I’ve gained in the last 24 hours,” he said, reported the Wichita Eagle. “I’ve eaten and eaten and eaten.”

Like I said, Wichita loves to eat, with 27 percent of the population being obese. The food’s just that delicious! We hope Alton’s seven-pound souvenir doesn’t hang around too long!

Alton Brown Shares His Diet Secret: Sardines

The celebrity chef stopped at nine Wichita restaurants, according to Denise Neil at the Eagle. And they were mostly a tour of my favorites, too. The only one he missed that I think was a huge disservice to his stomach was The Flying Stove, a nationally recognized food truck that we named a favorite vegetarian restaurant in 2013.

Alton’s favorite? The Nifty Nut House. It’s not even a restaurant; it is, however, the most epic candy and treat store in all the land ever of all time. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” the Eagle reports him saying. “That’s a national treasure.” (more…)

The Biggest Loser Resort in Utah Cites a “Relationship Breakdown” for Changing Name Back to Fitness Ridge

fitness-ridge-utah

The original Biggest Loser Resort in Ivins, Utah is moving away from the Biggest Loser brand and going back to its roots as Fitness Ridge, as originally founded in 2002. Co-founder Cameron Kelsch said of the change:

“We have always had a great program but we really just want to focus on the qualities that differentiate Fitness Ridge. We want to change the way people feel about health and wellness and we feel we can do that better by moving way from The Biggest Loser brand. As we look forward to [the] change, our staff remains focused on improving the health and well-being of the world, one person at a time.”

We spoke to Phillip Craven, a spokesman for Fitness Ridge, and asked why they felt the rebranding and move away from The Biggest Loser model was needed. Craven said that, although the company did experience additional exposure and growth as a result of the affiliation, they lost control of what made the destination unique to them and what they’d envisioned it to be. He continued by speaking of the relationship breakdown that happened between Fitness Ridge and The Biggest Loser by saying:

“In that way, there was a relationship breakdown. Our focus has been and always will be helping people eat, exercise and think differently. As The Biggest Loser started to stray from our focus, we saw the need to stay true to ourselves, so a rebranding became inevitable.” (more…)

Check-in to Fitness at the Healthiest Hotel Chains in America

fitness travel

This summer, InterContinental Hotels Group announced their first opening of a revolutionary wellness-focused hotel brand. The line is called EVEN Hotels, and the first one is based out of Norwalk, Connecticut.

The hotel group decided to create the EVEN Hotels to focus on the “wellness minded” nation and world travelers. It is so hard to stick to a healthy routine while traveling, but this hotel line has the right idea. Their food menus are focused on nutrition, there is a workout room with a variety of equipment to choose from, including workout classes and groups led by the staff.

EVEN isn’t the only hotel chain putting its guests’ wellness first. For some time many other great healthy hotel lines have improved the amenities in this category. Check this list before you book your next active vacation. (more…)

Travel Tips from Eli Sapharti, Author of “From Fat Boy to Fit Man”

eli sapharti

After conquering obesity, losing over 100 lbs, and getting in the best shape of my life, I have learned that when I am taken out of my regular daily routine and environment I can easily fall prey to old eating habits. One of the most challenging situations for me has been while traveling.

This reminds me of a particular airplane trip that I took a few years ago. One that I would soon like to forget if it weren’t for the lessons that I learned.

As I prepared to leave on a three-day business trip, I made sure I had everything I needed. Or so I thought. I had the right clothing, toothbrush, shaving blades, deodorant, and all the necessary toiletries. (I even packed extra undies.) What I didn’t prepare for were my meals that I was so used to  having ready during my regular weekly routine at home.

My first challenge was when my flight was delayed and I found myself at the airport for an unexpected extra 2 hours. I was starving. (Well, not literally, but I WAS very hungry.) Since I didn’t want to sit at a restaurant and order grilled chicken and veggies (which would have been the best choice), I grabbed what I THOUGHT was the next best choice. A prepackaged turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread. Healthy, right? WRONG! I later learned that this sandwich had more fat, more sugar and more carbs than if I had ordered a burger a a sit down restaurant. Big oops.

My next challenge was while in the air.  I don’t know about you, but I get especially hungry while traveling. Perhaps its not “real” hunger, but it seems these instances awakens my inner “snack monster”. So, I snacked. The problem was that the only snacks available were potato chips, cookies, or honey roasted peanuts. So of course I chose the peanuts—they were obviously the best option, right? Probably, but the issue was that one little bag (ok FOUR little bags) of peanuts didn’t satisfy me. So since eating FIVE bags of peanuts would have been excessive, I had a bag of chips instead. After all that saltiness I got a major sweet craving, which made me reach for a bag of chocolate chip cookies! Talk about a binge!

Luckily, after this binge I fell asleep and when I woke up, we were ready to land. Thank goodness for that or I may have been charged an extra fee for excessive snacking on-board!

The good thing about this trip was that it forced me to think and prepare before embarking on any trip, whether on a plane, a road trip with the kids, or even my honeymoon cruise which I cannot wait to go on!

Here are some rules I learned from this experience, which you too can use to avoid a travel binge:

1) Calculate how many hours you will be traveling and pack adequate meals for that time frame. For instance, pack a healthy sandwich or two that you can take with you on a plane, train, or automobile. By eating real meals you’ll reduce your in-between meal cravings. (more…)