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Not long now: Jurassic World opens in cinemas this weekend which will mean Chris…

Not long now: Jurassic World opens in cinemas this weekend which will mean Chris' exhausting round-the-world promo tour is over Source by xoxofromParis

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Feeling Fit? Here's How to Challenge Yourself More in 2017

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I am a planner and I like setting goals. In fact, I need them. Especially when it comes to my fitness life, specific goals keep me motivated and active. Finding new challenges to keep your workouts feeling fresh can be difficult when you’re already pretty fit. Nothing beats the beginner’s mind when it come to tackling a new fitness goal. I remember when I started running, building up to the 5K mark was beyond motivating; when I hit that distance, I was left with the question of what’s next? But you guys, the fitness world is so large — you can always find new challenges. With that in mind, here are a few ideas to consider as you turn your thoughts toward all the possibilities 2017 has to offer.

Running

Up your distance. If you finished a 5K sign up for a 10K. Just conquered a half-marathon? Train for a marathon, with the emphasis on train. Increasing your mileage should always come with a plan that slowly builds to ensure you don’t try to conquer too much too quickly and sideline yourself with an overuse injury, like runner’s knee or shin splints.
Try a tri. Mix up your training and sign up for a sprint-distance triathlon and really dedicate yourself to cross-training by adding swimming and biking into your weekly routine. If you’re intimidated by swimming, sign up for a class or find a group that does open-water swims.
Race with a relay team. Round up your like-minded friends and create a team for a long-distance relay, where 12-person teams cover 195+ miles over a 24-hour time period, like Oregon’s Hood to Coast or a Ragnar Relay. These races mix the sleep-deprivation silliness of a slumber party with teamwork and distance running. Trust me, it’s a great combo.

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In the Gym

Go heavy with power lifting. Lifting heavy weights is a great full-body workout. Find a gym that offers courses on power lifting and learn the differences between snatch, clean, and jerk as you heave barbells loaded with weight to your chest and above your head.
Master the pull-up. Leave the weights behind and finally master the pull-up. This ultimate bodyweight exercise feels elusive to many women, well at least me, and pulling off five pull-ups is an excellent challenge to work toward. Yeah, this is on my list for 2017.
Push your push-ups and conquer the burpee. You don’t need to leave the comfort of your home to get stronger when you focus on push-ups — here’s a 30-day challenge to work up to 50 push-ups. If burpees are your nemesis, try this burpee challenge that builds to 100 reps.
Get classy. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try a new group fitness class, preferably a workout that is out of your comfort zone — the activities we tend to avoid are often really beneficial. Hip-hop aerobics, yoga, indoor cycling, Pilates, Megaformer, boxing — the options are endless especially if you add some studio fitness classes into the mix. Heck, push yourself to try a new class once a month. You just might find your new jam.
Certify your passion. Do you love yoga? Do you go to SoulCycle almost daily? Take your passion and get certified to train other people and inspire them to love what you love.

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Take It On the Road

Take a hike; a long, long hike. Backpacking might not be considered a sport, but hiking for days and carrying all you need to survive is a physical challenge. And one that can take you to some amazing places. Spending time in nature is great for your mental health, too. Check out the John Muir Trail in California, the 2000 miles Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine, or shorter trails in our beautiful National Parks.
Ride a bike — anywhere. Hop on your bike weekly to run your weekend errands, sign up for century ride (yeah, that’s 100 miles), or a fund-raising stage ride like AIDS/LifeCyle Ride.
Start a community. Gather your like-minded friends and create a group dedicated to the activity you love, be it running, hiking, or cycling. Non-competitive clubs can be equal parts social and sport, and are great way to get your sweat on with a group.

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14 Anxiety-Control Goals For 2017

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If anxiety has been ruling your life in 2016, then this new year is the time for you to have a fresh start. Make mental health resolutions that will help manage anxiety and give you a greater sense of control over your brain and your life.

You can implement these 14 things throughout the year or try one or two a month. Either way, you’ll be feeling stronger, more empowered, and happier every day. We all have anxiety, some of us more so than others — these things can help us keep it in check. Let’s do this!

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Practice deep breathing. Get yourself a tracker or an app, or learn some techniques from yoga. Learning good, slow breathing techniques can come in handy if you’re experiencing a panic attack or extreme anxiety.
Take up a meditation practice. Whether it’s on a meditation app, in a class, with a YouTube video, or on your own, calming yourself at least once a day can help manage your anxiety in a powerful way.
Eat more foods with anxiety-reducing minerals. Did you know that there are foods that can calm you down? Omega 3s, B vitamins, magnesium, and more can all contribute to a greater sense of calm. Many therapists and psychiatrists also recommend a diet that is rich in foods like salmon, which are chock-full of mood-boosting omegas.
Start a gratitude journal. When everything feels too overwhelming, a journal can help. Write down all your thoughts, but also remind yourself of the positives and what is rooted in reality. Bring yourself to the present moment.
Find a therapist you love. You can only do so much on your own. If anxiety is a part of your everyday life, a therapist should be, too. Honestly, we can all benefit from therapy, and we could all stand to learn a little bit more about ourselves, our brains, and how we operate as individuals. Committing to regular therapy can help give you a sense of control over your life and your anxiety; it’s a built-in a support system and a safe place to talk about what you’re going through with tools that have been proven to work.
Find a workout you love. One that actually works for you and your anxiety. While yoga is calming and centering for many, some anxiety sufferers feel like it’s too much stillness and they’re left alone with overwhelming thoughts. Maybe you need a challenging new workout where you don’t have a second to think about anything but what you’re doing in that moment. Finding a workout that forces you to be present is imperative.
Take more self-care days. Too many plans and too many people asking for things from you can agitate your anxiety. Take a weekend day where you say no to plans and give yourself a break to do exactly what you need and want to do, even if that means doing nothing all day.
Disconnect from technology more. Are constant texts, emails, and social notifications bogging you down mentally and emotionally? Turn it off. Keep your phone charger away from your bed. Take a few hours a day to disconnect.
Try a natural practice, like reiki, acupuncture, oil diffusing, forest bathing, or earthing. Each of these holistic approaches have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Can’t hurt to try!
Have a mantra for the year: “Anxiety does not control me.” Repeating this to yourself can serve as a constant reminder that you are in control of your life and mental illness does not rule you. Everyone has anxiety; it’s what makes us human! What matters is our relationship with it. You wouldn’t let a friend control you, so don’t let your anxiety control you either.
Get more sleep. Sleep is a huge factor in reducing anxiety and stress. Make it a goal to get at least seven or eight hours per night.Remove unhealthy relationships and nurture the good ones. There are going to be people in your life who either just don’t understand anxiety or don’t make you feel good and perhaps make your anxiety worse. You don’t need those people in your life! Foster your relationships with the people who build you up, support you, and understand when you need some time to yourself. Those people are on your team and will be there for you for life.Cut back on caffeine. If you’ve known about your anxiety for a while, you’ll already know this, but if you’re just learning, it’s especially important to know: caffeine can trigger panic attacks. If you’re a daily coffee drinker, you might be surprised at how much it’s impacting your anxiety levels. Stop feeling bad about feeling bad. You’re not a bad person, there’s nothing wrong with you, and it’s OK to have anxious feelings. Feeling guilt or shame around your anxiety is only going to make things worse — they’re useless emotions that serve no purpose! Let go of the burden and know that it’s OK to not feel happy or 100 percent all the time.

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I Refuse to Work Out, but I Do These 4 Things Instead

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I truly hate running. I’ve tried every fitness class my city offers — and living in one of the fittest cities in the country means I have a lot of options. And at-home workouts? The living room in my tiny San Francisco apartment is about as wide as my wingspan. I don’t work out, but I am still the healthiest and most fit I’ve been in my adult life.

I know that fitness means something different for everyone, and I am not saying that working out is something people shouldn’t be doing, either because they want to, because they need to, or both. But when it pertains to my own fitness regime, I can knock it, because I sure as hell have tried it all.

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Growing up, I was active and athletic. I participated in an array of sports — from basketball, track, dance, and gymnastics to swimming, diving, and horseback riding. I was also an active nanny for years, and anyone who has kids or works with them knows that keeping up with two toddlers is more work than running a marathon. I loved it all and never once thought of what I was doing as a workout or as something that I had to push myself to do. Then my focus shifted significantly. No longer was I a high schooler with time to spare and a metabolism the speed of light — I was a determined college student dedicated equally to my GPA and happy hour, and then I was a postgrad professional looking for a job. When was I supposed to be squeezing in a trip to the gym, especially considering the fact that getting myself there was like pulling teeth?

Still, I tried everything to stay healthy and in shape. I bought fitness videos and watched countless online workouts for people who hate working out, for people who live in small apartments, for people who don’t know body balls from barbells. I signed up for individual classes at yoga, barre, and cycling studios, experimented with different gyms, took boxing lessons, and even tried my hand at aerial silks (which were by far my favorite!). Still, nothing quite did it for me. I skipped classes, made excuses, and ultimately felt worse about myself because I simply couldn’t muster the motivation everyone around me seemingly had for fitness.

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What I realized about myself is this: I hate exercise that feels like effort. For me to get a good workout, the results need to be incidental, not intentional, which is why fitness activities that aren’t focused on the workout aspect, but more on the fun, appeal to me most. So I stopped working out. I implemented a few simple things into my daily routine — simple being the operative word here — and I have never felt healthier, more in shape, and happier since letting go of other people’s idea of what fitness should be and instead doing what really works best for me. Here’s how I did it.

I stay constantly active and on my feet.

I am never, ever idle. Seriously, it’s to the point where I risk running into people (and poles) daily because I read while walking through the city. I am constantly on the move, even at work. I get up and down several times an hour and take my laptop to places in the office that allow me to stand (standing desk is next on the list). On the weekends, I make sure to allow myself some downtime with Netflix or a good book, but I don’t waste beautiful, sunny California Saturdays sitting on the couch.

I walk everywhere I can.

I am lucky to live in a place where walking is not only possible but also very practical. I honestly think this is the key to staying in shape for me. I walk everywhere. I have a Fitbit, but my biggest thing about having one is to not let myself dwell on the nitpicky parts of the device. I don’t log every calorie I eat, and I don’t use it to lose weight. I just love challenging myself every day, and having it on my wrist reminds me to take the stairs instead of the escalator and to not waver at the sight of a San Francisco hill but conquer it so that I’m rewarded with an amazing view when I make it to the top. Just this weekend I caught up with my mom on the phone while walking the three miles from my house to Target (totally worth the trek!), then hopped on a bus on the way back home since I had bags. Two birds, one stone.

I eat healthy.

I have a very healthy diet. I eat what I think is probably most similar to a Paleo diet — but I don’t diet. I just try to stick to things that are natural, clean, and not overly prepared, like vegetables, fruits, fish, and meat. I also don’t overeat, mainly because I can’t stand feeling sickeningly full, so I am a huge proponent of multiple small meals throughout the day. It makes the workday go by faster when you get to snack on something every couple of hours, anyway! Sweets aren’t my thing, but I swear by a rare steak every now and then and a postwork glass of red wine. I avoid mixed alcoholic drinks because, to be honest, I can’t stand the sugar, and I drink my coffee black unless I opt for green tea instead.

I make fitness fun.

I’ve stopped pushing myself to go to classes and join a gym, but instead I save my energy for activities that I can get really excited about. I ski, I swim, I dance, and I ride horses any chance I can get. I’m planning my next biking trip across the Golden Gate Bridge, and my last hike took me on a five-hour adventure through a redwood forest in Northern California. I make fitness fun for myself, and in doing so, I’ve learned to love my version of a “workout” so much that I am more in shape than I’ve ever been in my adult life. I am climbing toward my 30s feeling incredibly fit, and what’s more, I’ve finally found a way to stay healthy without hating it.

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Try This 2017 Healthy Self-Care Challenge

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Reduce stress and live a healthier life this year by making your New Year’s resolution about self-care. With simple, practical indulgences, you’ll find outlets to balance the stresses of your day to day and give yourself the mental strength to take on more challenges in 2017. And it’s not selfish — when you feel better and take better care of yourself, you’re able to give more to others, too. Get after bigger and better goals in the coming months by taking care of number one with some much needed TLC.

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Get at least one massage (more if you can!).
Try a restorative yoga practice.
Start using and diffusing essential oils; try lavender, eucalyptus, rose, and more.
Gratitude journal several times throughout the month to remind yourself of what you’re grateful for.
Find an awesome therapist, and commit to regular sessions.
Spend more time alone, on your own schedule, with no one telling you what to do.
Plan a vacation with your best friend — even if it’s a weekend staycation!
Try acupuncture, reiki, or another natural healing practice.
Spend at least one day a month this year doing an outdoor activity, like forest bathing or grounding.
Find a healthy smoothie or salad recipe that you absolutely love, and make it at least once a month.
Get at least eight hours of sleep a night, especially on weeknights.
Commit to going on a walk daily, even if it’s only five minutes of fresh air outside to clear your head.

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Getting to know Silvia Kramska

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Think owning your own business takes grit? Multiply that by two, add the gruelling training demanded by fitness competitions and you have an idea of life for Silvia Kramska, founder of Open to Play clean protein and Real Food Organic Nutrition. A qualified nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach, Kramska shares her formula for keeping a balance amid apparent chaos.

I have always been part of an active environment centred on wellness. I started to play tennis when I was five years old and continued to play professionally until I was 17. I lost my way health-wise for a while after that, so when I moved to Melbourne I promised myself that I would work in an area that truly makes me happy.

My Open To Play protein business came about when I was prepping for my first fitness competition; I couldn’t find a clean, simple and healthy protein anywhere. I figured there must be other people struggling with the same issue and so I decided to create my own.

I’m proud to say that Open To Play proteins are now one of the cleanest products on the market. The products are designed to be a healthy addition to anyone’s diet – they’re all natural, have only three pure ingredients (including grass-fed whey), and are lactose and gluten free. 

I wanted to make sure the proteins were suitable for anyone no matter their age, gender or activity level. Natural protein can supplement your regular diet, assist in your recovery after exercise and can help support growth and repair of your muscles.

My everyday nutrition is very balanced. I love to start my day with lemon water and I place a lot of focus on the quality of the foods that are going into my body. I eat organically wherever possible and I don’t eat gluten or processed sugars.

I do enjoy my pancakes once a week, on the weekends. I think it’s important that your daily nutrition isn’t causing you stress and to accept that you won’t get it perfect every day.

My current training regimen reflects my off-season preparation and I am focusing on growing my upper body for competition. I am doing heavy upper-body sessions three times per week, and three leg sessions per week focusing on glute development. 

I like to incorporate at least two HIIT sessions per week into my training program depending on my energy levels. I always make sure I listen to my body and rest when I need it. 

I manage stress by soaking in a magnesium salt bath every single night. I also love taking time out to just relax at home, or head to the beach during summer with a good book. 

I wake up early every day because I like to get a training session in while everyone else is still in bed. I then head over to my café and help to set it up for the day, get my team motivated and post on my social media accounts. After work I will normally fit in another gym session and in the evening I make time for family and friends. 

I really admire Tracy Anderson as both a fitness advocate and entrepreneur. The way she has been able to grow her business and make a difference in people’s lives is really inspirational.

We are excited to be creating some tasty new flavours and products at Open To Play and I am also planning on opening two more Real Food Organic Nutrition Bars this year. 

 

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23 Must-Try Breakfast Meal Prep Ideas

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Your mornings are short on time and stressful enough! Make breakfast a cinch by taking some time over the weekend for these meal prep ideas. A healthy, delicious, and filling breakfast will be ready in minutes.

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9 Health Editors Share How They Practice Self Care

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Between long hours at work, weekend chores, dinner plans with friends, and time for your family, your calendar is overflowing. But can you remember the last time you took an hour, maybe even two, for yourself? If you had to think longer than a few seconds, you may want to consider taking a step back and reevaluating your schedule. Prioritizing everyone else in your life may seem honorable, but the reality is, totally neglecting yourself isn’t good for anyone. In order to take care of others, you first need to take care of yourself. (It's kind of like the safety messages on airplanes: "In the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.”) So whether you’re facing a rough patch or simply going through the day-to-day grind, self-care should always be on your agenda. Need some inspiration on how to spend your me-time? Here are some self-care practices the editors at Health swear by.

RELATED: 5 Powerful Mantras to Help You Quiet Anxiety, Beat Self-Doubt, Manage Stress, and More

Sweat it out

"It’s the answer you always hear, but making time every day to exercise is my form of self-care. I’m a firm believer in that saying, ‘You’re only one workout away from a good mood.’ In particular, boxing is a huge physical and mental release for me, and barre classes take me back to my ballet days, which feels especially therapeutic. My other self-care move is curling up in my giant fuzzy blanket and watching Sex and the City reruns. It’s mindless and relaxing and just feels great sometimes." —Jacqueline Andriakos, associate editor

Tune in to YouTube

"When I’m feeling down, I typically turn to my favorite form of escapism: YouTube videos. Having a moment when I can just veg out, slap on a calming sheet mask, and watch a video by one of my favorite YouTubers (looking at you, Estée Lalonde and SoothingSista), allows me to momentarily get out of my own head. It might sound silly, but just like reading a good book, watching a good YouTube video takes me out of my own world and into someone else’s, even if just for 10 minutes. It’s enough time for me to put my thoughts and feelings into perspective and luckily, if I need more than 10 minutes of down time, there’s a whole YouTube world out there waiting for me to enjoy."—Julia Naftulin, editorial assistant

RELATED: 8 Relaxing Gift Ideas for a Friend Who's Stressed to the Max

Create a relaxing routine

"I’ve recently started a new nighttime self-care routine that I think has been helping me de-stress and fall asleep a little more easily. Step 1: Turn off the TV around 10 p.m. and force myself to stop refreshing my Facebook feed. Step 2: Make a cup of chamomile tea. Step 3: Turn off all lights in my bedroom, light a few candles, and set up my yoga mat. Step 4: Do the “Bedtime Yoga” sequence from Yoga by Adriene. It’s a 36-minute gentle yoga routine that includes moves to help you unwind and relax muscles, plus a short meditation to set your intentions for the following day." —Kathleen Mulpeeter, senior editor

Grab some knitting needles

"Lately I’ve been doing a lot of knitting. At first it was for practical reasons (I’m making my husband a scarf for Christmas), but I’ve found it has emotional benefits too. The repetitive motion is super soothing, almost meditative—it’s a great before-bed wind-down activity. I’m just bad enough a knitter that I have to concentrate a little on what I’m doing—I can’t knit on autopilot—so it’s very absorbing. I can be sitting on the couch or at the sidelines during my kids’ sports activities and find that 30 minutes has gone by without my even noticing. There’s the satisfaction of having something real and tactile to show for my time. Best of all, it keeps both hands busy so I stay off my phone!" —Jeannie Kim, executive deputy editor

"A few years ago I was going through a rough period in my life and I decided to take up knitting at night when I was having a hard time sleeping. My aunt had taught me the basic stitch when I was a teenager, so I went to my local Michael’s store and bought a bright chunky ball of yarn and got started. Since then, I’ve knit scarves for everyone I love, and this winter I’m planning on paying it forward with a knitting circle making scarves for homeless people in NYC." —MaryAnn Barone, social media editor

RELATED: A Meditation for Dealing With Conflict

Escape with Friends

"There is nothing better than coming home after a long day, lighting some great smelling candles, having a cup of tea and reading a good book in my bed. If I’m not in the mood to focus on a book, I’ll instead put on Friends or some other happy, funny TV show in the background and play games on my iPad. I could do that for days." —Chelsey Hamilton, editorial assistant

Pound the pavement

"If I can, I head out for a run. Especially in the cold weather, a run is very meditative for me—hearing each foot strike and a steady breath can be extremely grounding. And as someone who can’t sit still, classic meditation/breathing exercises do almost nothing for me to relax. Running is also a huge confidence boost—I feel powerful and in control of my body and mind. In training for races, I’ve forgotten how much a run can absolutely turn around my perspective. When you’re going out for a predetermined amount of miles, at a certain pace, on already tired legs, it can feel like such a chore. But last week, when I was feeling stressed and antsy, I decided to head out the door and run for however long I felt like. I came back feeling relaxed and re-centered." —Alison Mango, editorial producer

Pick up a good read

"I know it sounds cliché, but getting lost in a book is my favorite form of self-care. With a two-year-old at home, I don’t have that much time to read. But I sneak in 10 minutes here and there—on the bus, while my son naps, before bed. Right now I’m halfway through Amy Schumer’s The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, and it is exactly the escape I need." —Catherine Di Benedetto, features director

RELATED: 7 Health Truths We Wish We Knew In Our 20s

Laugh at what you know

"For me, self-care is curling up on the couch and watching a TV show that makes me laugh. When I’m feeling stressed, my go-tos are reruns of Seinfeld, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, and The Office—I’ve seen all the episodes more times than I can count, but that’s the beauty of it. Watching them helps shut off the negative part of my brain for a while." —Christine Mattheis, deputy editor

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