Wearing A Neon Sports Bra Improved My Workouts
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Wearing A Neon Sports Bra Improved My Workouts

A little color theory never hurt anybody.

My favorite sports bra in my closet is black camouflage.

It goes with all of my workout tops and compression pants and isn't too distracting when I wear it into a crowded gym. It's comfortable... a little too comfortable.

The same could be said for my workout style in general. Back at school, I worked out in our brand new gym as much as six times a week. I loved how in shape I was, and how the flexibility in my schedule allowed me to go work out as much as I wanted.

Back at home however, it was a different story. My parents' old and trusty treadmill had died an unceremonious death before my spring break, so I was facing the prospect of reactivating my membership at the local YMCA or hitting the road running as much as possible.

I chose the latter option, but I would always find excuses not to go for a run: it was too hot, too cold, it was raining, I was tired, etc. After a few weeks, I began to feel the effects of my lazy workout style.

My running stamina wasn't at all what it used to be, and the abs I was beginning to sprout at school began to disappear.

Most telling was how tired I'd get after a day of work at a local day camp. I work with four year-olds, and I could barely keep up with them. Something needed to change, but I wasn't sure what.

I tried keeping a schedule, changing the time of my workouts, changing the intensity. Eventually, I was getting back into the shape that I was accustomed to at school, but something still wasn't clicking.

As a last ditch effort, I looked into some random articles on color theory regarding clothes, and got an idea. I have never been one for bright colors. Ever since I was little, I liked everything to match and go together. Why would I spend money on a bright pink shirt or a neon yellow dress to wear on special occasions, when I could get five times as much use out of the same item in black or white?

But, at this point, I was desperate to feel good again after a workout - you know, not like I wanted to lay on the floor and wait for the sweet release of death.

So, I reached into the back of my closet and pulled out a day-glo rainbow tie-dye sports bra. The thing was garish, ugly and not something I liked to wear on a regular occasion. But hey, you never know unless you try, right?

I threw on the sports bra and went for a run, hoping for some sort of sweaty miracle.

Now, I'm not gonna lie to you and say that wearing this sports bra turned me into an Olympic sprinter or anything like that, but I did feel like something was different. It was a little easier to push myself up the hills around my neighborhood, and my ankles didn't seem as achy afterwards.

I'm not a scientist by any means, so I'm willing to assume that this was a case of "mind over matter," but that's not to say that this experience was any less significant. If all it takes to feel like my workout was more productive is some brightly colored underwear, I'm willing to throw some clashing colors into my ordinary orderly life.

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Five Workouts That Are the New SoulCycle

Let's get sweaty.

The way I see it, the best workout classes are like fashion shows: a bunch of fabulous and in-shape bitches dressed head-to-toe in overpriced clothing, all trying to look their best, work it, and have fun in the process.

For a long time, SoulCycle was seen as the Chanel of the workout world. It had celebrities flocking and a cult following. The classes were exclusive, expensive, on trend, and seemingly worth every penny. But in the famous words of Heidi Klum, when it comes to fashion and workout classes alike, "One day you're in, and the next day you're out."

SoulCycle is officially out, and has officially sold out. Here are some even better workout classes that I believe to be better than SoulCycle--they're less focused on celebrity endorsements and more focused on you.

Indoorance-Rowing
Called the "Perfect Calorie Burner" by celebrities, athletes, and housewives everywhere, this workout tones every part of your body while you sweat your ass off. The rhythm of the rowing is relaxing, yet you leave feeling so energized that you could run a marathon.

Right when the hardest moment in the class hits, when you feel too tired to keep going, the class participates in some variation of a race or competition. These races are competitive, fun, and loud--exactly what you need to finish strong.

In my opinion, Indo-row is more fun than SoulCycle, a better full-body workout, and simultaneously relaxing and energizing. Plus, there is always a token hot guy that wins all the races who you can stare at for motivation. What more could you want?

Barre
This class is different than SoulCycle in that it is for toning, while cycling focuses on cardio. A typical Barre class involves ballet-type exercises and a whole lot of plios and squats while standing at a ballet bar. The ballet bar is used for balance and allows for deeper squats and more difficult movements.

Needless to say, if you want a nice butt and toned legs, this is for you. Barre may not sound as great as SoulCycle on paper, but rest assured you will wake up the next morning equally if not more sore than if you had cycled.

TRX
"Holy shit" are the words that pop in my head whenever I hear the word TRX because holy shit, this class goes hard.

Basically, everyone gets two bands that hang down from the ceiling with handles on them, and then they are used to do all kinds of badass resistance exercises. This class is the best for building upper-body and core strength, and by that I mean getting ripped.

The classes are fast-paced and upbeat, and you get to know the other members pretty well because of how close together everyone moves during the sessions. There are even TRX classes combined with other workouts, like yoga or pilates.

Barry's Bootcamp
While this class is currently only in major cities, it is growing fast and may end up all over the place eventually, similar to SoulCycle. This workout is intense, fun, and always different.

From the instructors yelling sexual innuendos to the the fact that your class will probably have at least one celebrity in your class, there is never a dull moment at Barry's. Not to worry, Barry's Bootcamp has a good amount of taste, so celebrities are treated like anybody else and aren't just there to promote the place.

The willPower Method
This is an aerobic, barefoot class that integrates dance, yoga, and pilates with more squats in an hour and fifteen minutes than you thought humanly possible.

The instructor teaches you a new mindset and, call me crazy, but you'll leave feeling like a superhero. It is called the "superfood" of workouts because of the class's ability to release a ton of endorphins in such a short amount of time.

This is more than a total body workout--it works out the spirit and the mind as well. Who wouldn't want to become a better person while they get a better body?

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Jam in The Gym: Ultimate Workout Playlist

A little Notorious never hurt anybody.

Music is a huge part of most of our lives, especially when it comes to hitting the gym. We all need the perfect I Like Big Butts-esque jam to get our workout going. When I'm interval training on the treadmill, I can't even start my sprint until I've decided on the perfect bass-dropping single. There was a point where I had lost my headphones and felt like I couldn't even walk into the weight room without them.

So, to get you motivated on your next trip to the gym, I've compiled a list of songs that are sure to get your sweat on.

Headstrong, Trapt
Stronger, Kanye West
Flawless, Beyonce
Come On Eileen, Save Ferris
All I Do is Win, DJ Khaled
Booty, Jennifer Lopez
Kyoto, Skrillex
Rehab, Amy Winehouse
Monster, Kanye West
Anaconda, Nicki Minaj
Me & My Girls, Selena Gomez
679, Fetty Wap Feat. Remy Boyz
Pump it Up, Joe Budden
Phresh Out The Runway, Rihanna
Flex, Rich Homie Quan
Radioactive, Imagine Dragons
Sail, AWOLNATION
Come Get Her, Rae Sremmurd (James Kennedy Remix on Soundcloud is even better)
Man In The Mirror, Michael Jackson
Juicy, Notorious B.I.G

Whether you prefer rap, rock, pop, or to kick it old school, there are all kinds of songs to listen to during today's leg day. It could be the lyrics that make you want to keep running or the beat that encourages you to pump more iron--Music has a way of pushing us to reach our goals. If you're tired of magazines sayin' flat butts are the new thing, then throw on your beats and hit the gym.

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Health |  Source: @michie.gram

How to Start Weight Training

Fit is the new skinny.

Just like brunch is the new darty and quote tees are the new black, fit is the new skinny. It used to be that the supermodels that were idolized were skinnier than my pinky finger and on a diet of leaves and water. Now, the sexiest thing you can be is toned.

Eating the right foods throughout the day and hitting the gym is the best thing you can be doing for your body. Instead of power walking through the malls, you need to be lifting weights and picking up on a few boxing classes.

It's incredibly easy to get in shape without looking like a body building hulk. Allow me to point out the body parts to focus on with accompanying beginner moves that specifically target that muscle group.

Chest:

Dumbbell Pec Fly: Lie down on a flat bench with a dumbbell on each hand resting on top of your thighs. The palms of your hand will be facing each other. "Fly" arms outward with arms bent at the elbow. Then bring back to starting position.

Biceps:
Dumbbell Curls: Start with arms down and palms outward gripping dumbbells. Bring arms up, bending at the elbow. Return to starting position.

Abs:
Front Plank: Hold your body weight for 30 seconds facing the ground. Your feet will be holding you up on your toes, while you rest your forearms and elbows on the ground up front.

Thighs:

Leg Press/Leg Extension: The best way to do these are by using the leg press and leg extension machines. Ask a trainer to help you locate them and find the weight best fit for you.

Shoulders (Front and Lateral Delts)

Front and Lateral Raises: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and raise arms both out in front of you and out to the side. Both raises are down with straight arms. Stop when your arm is parallel with your shoulder.

Shoulders (Rear Delts):
Reverse Flys: Knees should be slightly bent, with your upper body leaning slightly forward with back straight. With a dumbbell in each hand, start with the dumbbells pressed together with almost straight arms out in front of you. "Fly" arms outward. Return to starting position and repeat.

Obliques:

Side Plank: Similar to front plank, but on each side. Balance on only one foot and one forearm. Outstretch opposite arm if it helps.

Upper Traps:
Dumbbell Shrugs: hold dumbbells in hands on side and shrug shoulders.

Triceps:
Close-Grip Pushups: Keep your head up and get in push up position. To focus on triceps, keep your arms close to your side and elbow back when you lower to the ground. Raise up and repeat.

Lats:
Lat Pulldown: It's easy to find the lat machine at the gym. It is a simple pulldown method.

Mid-Back (Traps, Rhomboids):
Rows (dumbbell, barbell, or cable): If there isn't a rowing machine available, you can row with dumbbells. Slightly bent knees, slightly leaned forward with straight back. With dumbbells in hand, bring arms back in a rowing motion.

Glutes:
Single Leg Hip Thrusts: Lay with your back on the floor, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground. Raise one leg straight outward. Thrust hips upward and lower back down.

Calves:
Standing Calf Raises: Standing with feet shoulder length apart, lift up on tippy toes, and back down. Repeat.

I would recommend grouping these body parts into days of the week. Don't start out doing full body workouts everyday! Day one could be shoulders, arms, and chest. Day two could be abs, obliques, and back. Day three could be glutes and legs. It's entirely up to you!

I usually do three sets of 6-8 reps for exercises involving dumbbells. For exercises without weights, I will do thirty second reps twice. Once you get the hang of your routine, you can continue to advance your moves!

Sweat is the new sexy.



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Health |  Source: urbanoutfitters.com

Workout Clothing Essentials at Every Price Point

New clothes are always a good move.

Getting back into your workout routine in college is way easier when you have the best gym clothes. Let's face it, half the battle of going to the gym is getting ready and when you know exactly what you're going to wear, it can ease the pain a little.

If you're ready to get your shit together and want some new gear to go with your new attitude, here are the best workout clothes for women at every price point from all different exercise clothing brands.

Leggings

Ivy Park Mid Rise Ankle Leggings $42, Nordstrom
The Queen B herself has dropped her Fall 2016 athleisure collection at Nordstrom. You would think anything that has Beyonce's name on it would be over priced and forever sold out but Bey makes our hearts smile by making her collection surprisingly affordable - and some of the best workout clothes out there. Good leggings are hard to find but in Beyonce we trust.



CALIA x Carrie Underwood Pieced Moto Tights $70, Dick's Sporting Goods
Another celebrity collaboration killin' it. Carrie Underwood's collection of workout apparel is some of the best workout clothes for women, and works great for inside and outside of the gym. These leggings feature the mesh we're seeing everywhere in workout clothing right now. They're a good mid-range price for how versatile the leggings can be, and are definitely some of the most popular workout clothes out there right now.





Lululemon Inspire Tight II $98, Lululemon.com
Lululemon is probably best place to buy workout clothes and probably the most expensive clothes you'll ever sweat in. Lulus are well worth the price because of all the functionality of each piece.

These leggings feature a zippered pocket to store things like your phone and keys during a run. They also have another hidden pocket to hide anything else you might need while working out, earning their spot on the list of essential workout clothes. And remember, anything Lululemon tends to last for years, so consider these pants an investment.



Sports Bras

Fabletics Natalia Midi Sports Bra $12.50, Fabletics.com
Fabletics is Kate Hudson's workout apparel brand. The pieces are all super affordable and you can actually sign up for a membership where you get even better prices, making it another of the best place to buy workout clothes.

Under $15 for a sports bra is basically unheard of so if you're looking for the best workout clothes for women at an unbeatable price point, here it is.



Nike Victory Compression Sports Bra $30, Kohl's
Nike and brands like it are always good middle of the road brands price-wise. They're stuff is usually basic but they're always turning out new styles and colors. I really like the Nike sports bras because they're comfortable and functional, and its an easy pick if you're unsure of where to buy workout clothes.





Alo Yoga Sunny Strappy Bra $54, aloyoga.com
Alo Yoga is another really great brand that offers unmatched quality but the prices are slightly steeper. This bra is in my personal closet and it's amazing.It's very comfortable, especially for a smaller chest size, and I've worn it under casual outfits as well as a bralette. The price is the only con to this bra.





Tops
Forever 21 Active Seamless Top $18, Forever21.com
If you've never explored the activewear at Forever 21, you may be missing out. They have some of the best gym clothes for the price. It's not the best material but it definitely holds up in intense workouts.

I really recommend their activewear if you do a lot of outdoor things where you might get muddy, wet, or are worried about ruining your nicer pieces. It's seriously the best-kept secret of those who know where to buy workout clothes. Forever 21, clutch as always.


Athleta Shadow Stripe Chi Top $35, Athleta.com
Athleta is normally a pricier brand but they have really great sales on certain styles and colors. The quality is there and Athleta usually turns out some really cute styles and some of the best gym clothes. Make sure to keep an eye out on sales.



Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew $78, Lululemon.com
Again, you can't compete with the quality of a good athletic piece. You know you'll be able to count on this long sleeve for years to come and it comes in a lot of different colors. I feel like I sweat five times more when I wear this long sleeve in the gym.

I also love wearing these tops under my sweaters when it gets into the colder months because they're give off a lot of heat for such a sleek material. You get all the warmth without looking bulky. Overall, worth the price, and I cant say enough good things about Lululemon. It's really the best place to buy workout clothes



So there you have it, a comprehensive list of some of some of the best workout clothes - and some of the most essential - for college students. Now get out there and get your sweat on.
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Health |  Source: startfitness.co.uk

Why I Gave Up Running

It can actually make you gain weight.

I used to be a running fiend. I would run almost every day and felt like a blob if I missed my run. Recently, I've hit a plateau in my fitness goals and I started researching some possible reasons.

After months of trial and error, I finally figured out that my daily run was causing me to gain weight and lose the muscle I worked very hard for. The moment I realized this I felt like Regina George after she found out Kalteen bars were a billion calories each.

Steady cardio depletes muscle
Going for a long jog (let's say 30 mins and up) can actually cause your muscle to break down. I know for the past few months I've been working on my abs and legs during strength training sessions. When I stopped seeing results it was because my body started using my muscle as energy. To combat this, try doing high intensity training like sprints or intervals.

Running made me gain weight
After years of running the same distances my body started realizing that it should be able to operate on the level of food I give it (roughly 2000 calories a day). When it got the message that this is all it's gonna get, it took that number and made it last throughout my workouts causing me to plateau in fat loss.

Along with this, I would count my calories burned during each run and sometimes overcompensated for that. I thought: "I ran off 600 calories. Let's eat a family size bag of potato chips."

Obviously, that's not healthy or sustainable for my body or anyone's body. Running is a mental game and it's not easy to tap in and out of the reality of your run and how much you've burned from it.

I have more energy now
After I stopped running everyday I realized I had a lot more energy than normal. All of the umphf my body was saving for my run was used throughout the day. I also was able to start going to yoga and pilates more, along with being able to last longer in my strength training sessions.

It's crazy to think about how much energy goes into a run. Taking some time off can help you regain that strength mentally and physically.

I'm not always hurting
During my running days I would always have little aches and pains. Sometimes in my knee or my neck, my back...etc. Now I'm a lot less sore every single day. I would usually ignore my running pains and just do the jogs anyway.

This is a horrendous way to treat your body. You should always listen to what your body is telling you and when you're ruled by your runs, it's difficult to mentally stop yourself.