Scientific

We're Fat (Among Other Reasons) Because We're Bathed In Chemicals In The Womb

Why are Americans so fat? (If you need more sadness in your day, here's a sad graph that shows our scary fat trajectory). There are lots of obvious reasons. We go to Cheesecake Factory. We're addicted to junk. We don't walk as much as everyone else. We watch too much TV. And then there are all sorts of fascinating micro-explanations. We're fat partly because we eat bacon at night instead of in the morning. We're fat because we don't sleep enough. Well, today, there's another scary and interesting micro-explanation to add to the list: We're fat because our mother's eat pesticide-laced food while we're in the womb. What? Here's the research...

Pregnancy (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/emerycophoto/2910147186/">Emery Co Photo</a>)
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Pageantry

The Dance Of Yoga

The Commonwealth Games games kicked off this week! Cool. Wait, what are the Commonwealth Games? Canadian and Australian readers are now shaking their heads in dismay, but for Americans, let me brief you. They're basically the Olympics, but you only get to participate if you were a former British colony. Acts as rude as staging the Boston Tea Party and raging the Revolutionary War get you officially uninvited. So, back to the games. They kicked off this week! In Delhi. And the opening ceremonies were pageantry and pomp, as you'd expect, but while pageantry and pomp in the U.S. usually involves rockets and cheerleaders, in Delhi pageantry and pomp equaled a massive yoga dance. As in 900 Delhi school children, in gold, moving through fluid asanas in giant beautiful arcs of movement. I'm mesmerized. It's pretty amazing. And I really want one of those outfits! Check it out. (If you're in a rush, skip to minute 3. That's where the action picks up).

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Online & Video

Elixirs

Chia Seed Vanilla Energy Smoothie

It's getting cold! But that doesn't mean you have to stop your morning smoothie or mid-day health snack rituals. No matter what time of year it is, I must blend. I'm a dedicated elixir/smoothie maker and have actually found great peace throwing my favorite items into a blender and whirling them into a healing potion. Sometimes when it's cold, I'll use warm teas as a base. In addition to wanting something warm, when it gets a little colder, your body may be a little hungrier. Today's Chia Seed Vanilla Energy Smoothie is one of my cold-weather favorites because the protein-packed chia seeds make it totally satiating. 

Vanilla (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/26283760@N00/2449181888/">nilan</a>)
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Aarona Pichinson said "

ginger tea sounds great! or even a rooibos chai :)

" More comments...

Wake Up Call

Give All

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.

~ Albert Camus

Bute Highland Games (Via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/alza06/4917850130">Alasdair Middleton</a>.)

Noon Stretch

A Glorious Return To Bikram

"Last night I made a glorious return to Bikram Yoga for the first time since the end of April. mmmmmmm. I had missed it. My body had missed it... Getting back felt amazing. I was comforted by the familiarity, yet the challenge of it all. I left feeling mentally and physically better, and more positive and relaxed. Theres something about how exhausted, yet invigorated I feel after a class." — thefatbridesmaid m., today, 8:50 A.M.

Bikram (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/23889619@N04/3554618708/">Ron Sombilon</a>)

adwardLL said "

again?

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Scientific

Lose Sleep And You'll Lose Muscle Instead Of Fat

There's the school of folks who say forget about fat or protein or type of exercise. It's much simpler than that—a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, and if you burn more calories than you take in, you'll lose weight. Yeah, that's true, except when it's not. Here's an interesting little wrench in the works. In a recent study, scientists took two groups of people and put them both on reduced calorie diets. But then they told one group to sleep for 7-8 hours a night and the other group to sleep for five hours a night. Both groups lost weight. In fact, both groups lost the same amount of weight. But here's what's interesting—the sleep-deprived group lost a much greater proportion of lean muscle mass. Only 48% of the pounds they lost were fat pounds. For the group that slept enough, 80% of the pounds were fat pounds. So yeah, you'll lose weight either way if you're cutting calories, but if you sleep enough, you'll lose the fat you want to lose, not the muscle you don't.

Sleep (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/skatzenell/268389589/">sarahkatzenell</a>)

stealthyLo said "

I've never been a good sleeper, mostly in part due to my poor sleep ..." More comments...

Home Workouts

Exercise DVDs for Sick Day Couch-Fusion Relief

Contrary to what your mom tells you when you call to whine, you can still exercise when you're sick. The general rule of thumb is this: If it's above the neck, and you don't have a fever, rock out with your fitness loving self. If you have a fever, and well anything involving the rest of your body, chill out, take a nap, and watch 9,000 Law & Order episodes. Having said that, there are some general rules of sicksercise ettiquette, like skipping the gym. The gym is a confined space with bad circulation, and spreading disease is just so rude. Let's be civilized, shall we. So basically, sick time is exercise video time. If ever there was a day to get down with Denise Austin, it's when your nose is rocking a crimson hue.

Without further ado, I present a whole bunch of lovely, lowish impact workouts that will keep you from fusing with your couch this cold season: 

Sick Bed (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemunicipalarchives/4072400611/">Seattle Municipal Archives</a>)
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Online & Video

adwardLL said "

Thanks and happy new year.

" More comments...

Walking Wars

Who Takes More Steps Per Day?

Who would you guess walks more? Americans or Australians? Americans or Swiss people? Men or women? Single people or married people? Good news for your idle curiosity and/or your deep interest in comparative fitness competitiveness—researchers at the University of Tennessee have gathered the data and crunched the numbers, and the big step contest loser is....America! All the rankings, which are actually pretty interesting, after the jump.

Walking (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickharris1/4899930914/">Nick Harris 1</a>)
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Scientific

What's The Best Way To Get Rid Of Pesticides?

You may recall the alarming list of the dirty dozen, as in the twelve most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. Celery has never seemed so scary. Obviously the best way to avoid eating pesticides is to buy fruits and vegetables that weren't sprayed with them in the first place. But short of that, what's a consumer to do? Douse your potatoes with a fancy fruit and vegetable wash? Soak your blueberries in soap? Hold your horses, reports the New York Times. In fact, recent studies show that simply rinsing your fruits and vegetables in tap water is as effective as soaping them up or washing them with rinses. The water temperature doesn't matter. Friction does. Tap water and friction—so lovely, so FREE.

Rinse (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/caseymfox/3376363619/">fille de ville</a>)

Poet Laureate

McSmack Milkshakes

This probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but it turns out that the milkshake bringing all the boys to the yard keeps those boys coming back for more, and more, until their appetites are only appeased when the streets flow with the chocolate blood of a thousand leaky Frosties... Which is to say, junk food is addictive. Like drugs.

Milkshake (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tudor/41600868/">The Giant Vermin</a>)
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Wake Up Call

Doubt vs. Faith

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.

~ Kahlil Gibran

FIghters! (Via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/4949754889">Cliff1066</a>.)

Noon Stretch

My Triceps Are Still Twitching

"I guess the rain brings everyone indoors and to straight angel's chisel class. we were packed in there like sardines! it felt like there wasn't enough space but we were still able to do an endless amount of bicep curls, squats, overhead presses, pushups and leg lifts. i think my triceps are still twitching." — CJ, yesterday, 10:50 P.M.

Rain (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/toyochin/174003087/">holycalamity</a>)

Retreats

Harvest Yoga Retreat in the Catskills

  • Who: Our very own Aarona Pichinson
  • What: A long weekend of hiking, cold-plunges in waterfalls, soaks in the wood burning hot tub, two-a-day solar and lunar vinyasa flow classes, and a bonfire ceremony for the harvest full moon, with farm fresh meals throughout. 
  • Where: The Waterfall House in West Fulton, New York (the Catskills)
  • When: October 21 - 24, 2010

Waterfall House
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New York

Deal Alerts

Prana Power Yoga Steal of a Deal

Longtime readers may recall that I'm a little nuts for Prana Power Yoga. Should you care to check out what I think is one of the best yoga studios in the city, you're in luck. Today's NYC Groupon is two-weeks of unlimited yoga or a five-class pass at the studio for $30.

Prana Power Yoga

New York

Buns of Steal

Are Fitness Blogs Bad For Your Health?

Is blogging (and the reading of blogs) about dieting and exercise actually bad for you? That's the question posed by Jezebel and Marie Claire recently. In their article, MC profiled six well known fitness bloggers and argued that by chronicling, in painstaking detail (often with photographic evidence of everything they eat and how many calories they burn exercising, and often with public, self-critical rants whenever they  "mess up") these bloggers are not only indulging their own diet/exercise obsessions, but also inspiring hundreds or thousands of readers to adopt the same borderline-disordered attitude. As a fitness blogger myself, as you might imagine, this hits close to home...

Blogger (via Buns of Steal)
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Mr. Mohawk said "

It's just another sensational tactic... sorta like what the ..." More comments...

Poll

Would You Ditch Your Yoga Mat?

The latest yoga trend — getting rid of the yoga mat and practicing right on the hardwood floor, reports the New York Times. A few of the reasons some yogis give for ditching their cushy mats: the environmental impact of manufacturing and shipping, the over-commercialization of yoga, the hygiene factor, and finally the idea that "the ecstasy of yoga can’t be contained by a mat." (That's a direct quote, fyi). Suddenly, I feel kinda lame for liking my cute yoga mat so much. Have I been deluded in my yoga mat love? Is this whole "ditch your yoga mat" thing even worth considering?

Celebrity Fitness

Schwarzenegger Yoga

You might think that Arnold Schwarzenegger's son, 17-year-old Patrick Schwarzenegger, would feel some pressure to take up body building. Apparently, not so much. He's into hot yoga. See photo at left. You might also think that as the scion of the Schwarzenegger/Shrivers, young Patrick would feel some pressure to wear shoes when traversing grimy parking lots. But apparently, not so much on that front either (again, see photo). I hope his mother, Maria Shriver, who was at yoga with Patrick and who wisely took those few brief seconds to put on shoes after class (photos here), scolded him in the car on the way home. 

Patrick (via Daily Mail)

Spirit Guides

The Beauty of Transitions

I noticed the transition this past week – my hands felt smooth and papery when I woke up in the morning, the bathroom floor tiles felt cold instead of cool under my feet. I started craving warm foods in the morning and evening, and I felt quiet, more inward. I observed my body and mind responding to the shifting weather and moving into their autumnal state. It wasn’t an external marker that made me aware of the seasonal shift, such as the beginning of the academic year or baseball season waning. The transition could be felt in my very body chemistry—sort of like a plant responding to the barometric pressure.

Everything in nature pulsates energetically. In yoga we use the Sanskrit word spanda to refer to the pulsation of the universe, of nature, of our bodies. Just as a flower or leaf may close at night and open up again in the daylight, our bodies open and close, drawing energy inward and then radiating it back out.

nataraja.jpg
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Wake Up Call

Form Yourself

The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.

~ John Dewey

Desert (Via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zachd1_618/3845624887/">Zach Dischner</a>.)

Noon Stretch

Just A Couple Of Meals And You Feel So Much Better

"To kick off my renewed commitment, I’m doing a general overhaul of my by now rather mediocre eating and workout habits. As of last night I’m back to paleo, piling up on the veggies, upping my protein to pre-Germany levels, and I cut out all added sugars and grainy carbs. It’s funny how just a couple meals that way, have made me feel SOOOOOO much better & more motivated!" — meret a., today, 11:05 A.M.

Spinach! (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurelfan/313672816/">Laurel Fan</a>)



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