From dieting

Shay Mitchell’s Core Move Looks Like a Plank But Works Her Entire Body

Shay Mitchell is back in the gym with another heart-pumping full-body workout.

The 30-year-old actress took to Instagram to share a couple snippets from her gym session with her trainer “J” (@j.crvz on Instagram) on Tuesday. She started with a TRX pike up to split move, which involved starting in a straight-arm plank with her feet in a TRX suspension training system.

Health senior fitness editor Rozalynn S. Frazier says to perform this move, you need to keep your core tight and lift your hips up so your body forms an upside down “V” as you open your legs as wide as possible. This challenging move tests your balance and stability while also working your arms, core, and legs.

Mitchell’s second move was a series of mountain climbers with her arms on the flat side of a BOSU ball.

And she’s not taking a rest day. The actress dined on some post-workout pizza and was back in the gym for another sweat session Wednesday morning.

Last year, we were motivated by another clip from Mitchell’s training regimen. You can check out the video and steps to her full-body exercise here.

In her cover story interview for Shape’s March issue, Mitchell talked about how much she loves working out.

“I’m sweaty, and I don’t have an ounce of makeup on, but that is 100 percent when I feel my best,” she said. “It’s me in my rawest form, doing something great for my body, pushing myself as hard as I can, and it feels so good.”

Fitness Blogger Anna Victoria Reveals Her ‘Real Booty’ Isn’t What You See on Instagram

Fitness influencer Anna Victoria is opening up about her insecurities about her “lack of a butt.” In a side-by-side Instagram post, she showed two different mirror selfies of her derriere.

“Those angles, I tell ya…,” she wrote, complete with a crying-laughing and peach emoji. “The one thing I was most insecure about growing up was my booty. I’ve always been smaller on bottom and I would try to wear long shirts to cover it.”

She went on to talk about how she’s used fitness to sculpt her body and shared some insight on how our favorite fitness stars get that perfect Insta shot.

“There’s only so much muscle you can build on your butt AND you need to flex it to really show it off,” she wrote. “A lot of the booty pics you see on Instagram are flexed, pushed out, back arched so much it actually hurts…plus high-waisted pants that accentuate a small waist and lift the booty too…there are so many ways to make it look 10x bigger on Insta than in real life, and I do it too!! I love posing and admiring the ‘Instagram booty’ but that’s not my real booty. And I’m okay with that.”

RELATED: 11 Celeb-Approved Workouts for a Toned, Sculpted Butt

Victoria, who runs the Body Love app, said she’s overcome negative feedback from Instagrammers. Even for someone who inspires so many to be their best selves, she admits that self-love hasn’t always been easy.

“I’ve gotten several comments about my lack of a butt, even recently when I actually am so proud of my hard work,” she said. “It may not look like what someone else would consider an ideal booty, but it’s mine!! Not theirs. And I’ve had to work hard … to love it no matter the shape or size.”

She ended what she called her #realstagram with a quote from Dita Von Teese: “You could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there will still be someone who hates peaches.”

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Victoria frequently shares photos of her “real” body to show her followers an accurate portrayal of her life. She’s openly discussed her belly rolls, revealing how she looks “99% of the time.”

“Your stomach does not have to be perfectly flat to be healthy, your stomach does not have to be perfectly flat for you to love yourself, and your stomach does not have to be perfectly flat to be confident and beautiful and an all-around amazing person,” she wrote in one Instagram caption.

After I Lost My Dad to Suicide, Picking Up His Yoga Practice Helped Me Cope

In September 2002, Kara Edwards was in the car on her way home from a weekend in the country with friends when her phone started blowing up with messages. “We reached an area with cell service, and I started getting bombarded with texts from my three brothers and other family members,” she recalls. Frightened, she called one of her brothers: “He told me that our father had committed suicide.”

“It felt like my world had spun off its axis,” recalls Kara, now 37. “My father was one of my best friends. I’d been a daddy’s girl from the time I was little, and even though he lived in another state, I talked to him all the time. We had just spoken before I left for the weekend, and he seemed fine. I was so stunned and distraught I couldn’t think straight. I had to ask my friend to pull the car over to the side of the road so I could get out and walk around. It felt like life would never be normal again.”

For a long time, it wasn’t. “I went back to work a couple of weeks later, but it was the least productive time of my life,” she says. “I couldn’t concentrate or get anything done because I was so paralyzed by shock and grief.”

She wasn’t functioning well socially, either. Kara, a single mom, and her three-year-old daughter shared a townhouse with a friend who loved to have people over, and Kara began to feel resentful and judgmental of their ability to laugh and have fun.

“They didn’t understand what I was going through, and I thought they were shallow, so I became more and more introverted, staying in my room and writing songs and crying,” she recalls. “The more alone I was, the more depressed I became. I was in a downward spiral and, without my dad, I didn’t know where to turn for help.”

RELATED: I Was in an Abusive Relationship—But Yoga Gave Me the Strength to Leave

Forging a connection

Six months after her father’s death, she was sorting through a box of his belongings and found a Kundalini yoga video. “I didn’t do yoga—and I didn’t know he did,” she says. “But I’d been listening to lots of his music, and I thought this might be another way to connect with him, so I tried it.”

Kara remembers, “I cried off and on the whole practice—not in sadness, but in release. I’d been struggling with the feeling that I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t enough to make my dad want to live. But something about the movement was incredibly comforting.”

She started doing the tape every other day, and over time, the practice helped her absorb the reality of what had happened—and find ways to cope.

“Yoga helped me discern between real limitations and false limitations. For instance, Kundalini is a cardio challenge, but I was able to push myself to do more of it than I thought I could—which made me realize that I could push through my pain off the mat and get to a better place emotionally as well,” she says.

“At the same time, I saw that my flexibility posed true limitations, and in order to get past those I needed to be gentle with myself—just like I had to be gentle with myself in real life, and gentle with my friends. I’d had unrealistic expectations of other people’s behavior. Acknowledging that helped me get past my judgment and reconnect with my support system.”

Most importantly, yoga helped Kara feel connected to her father—and continues to even now. “When I’m practicing, I feel like he’s here. I may not be able to see him or hug him or laugh with him, but his spirit is with me, and that’s incredibly comforting,” she says.

“Yoga was my dad’s legacy. My practice keeps me grounded, focused and confident in my own resilience. It allowed me to move on, to get married and have another child. I believe my dad left that tape for me, because he wanted me to learn to manage my feelings in a way he was never able to.”

4 Reasons a Daily Walking Habit Is Worth It

We’re bombarded by fitness messaging that tells us that to be healthy, we must go to extremes (“no pain, no gain). But really, it doesn’t have to be that hard.

Simply going for a walk (especially if you do it regularly and outdoors) is an underestimated but low-stress, low-impact, accessible way to reap lots of health benefits. It can be a rejuvenating time, spent in solitude or in the company of friends, in sunshine and fresh air. Here are four benefits of going for walks—no gym membership required.

It Boosts Your Mood

Just the act of walking—the way you’ve probably been doing without thought ever since you were a toddler—can improve your mood, even in an environment where you may be dreading tasks you have at hand, according to a 2016 study.

Plus, it gives you a reason to take breaks from your chair throughout the day. If you’re able to walk outside in a natural setting and not on a treadmill or at your workplace, the benefits are even more direct. Studies show that walking outdoors can help relieve stress: In one study, participants who took a 90-minute walk outdoors reported less “rumination” (repeatedly thinking negative thoughts about yourself) and showed less activity in regions of the brain linked to mental illness.

RELATED: Here’s How Much Exercise You Need to Make Up for a Day of Desk Sitting

It Bolsters Heart Health

Activities that have you gasping for breath aren’t the only ones that count as aerobic exercise; moderate walking can help you reap some of the same heart-healthy benefits.

Just 30 minutes of walking a day has been shown to improve blood pressure and reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. This can be accomplished easily by simple decisions like parking farther away from buildings, taking stairs, and pacing while talking on the phone.

It Can Ease Sugar Cravings

The next time you have a hankering for a sweet snack, go for a brief walk. One study showed that taking a 15-minute walk helped people cut their chocolate consumption in half at their workplace.

RELATED: 3 Tips on Breaking Your Sugar Habit

It Improves Brain Health

Going for regular walks has been associated with increased brain plasticity, the ability to create and grow new neural connections in your brain.

It can even help stave off cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s later in life. One study looked at the activity level of seniors; those who walked 72 blocks or more per week had more gray matter in their brains, reducing the risk of cognitive impairment by half.

Kelsey Wells’ Before-and-After Photo Shows How She Stopped Feeling Self-Conscious About Her Muscular Body

One of our favorite fitness influencers just shared inspiring words about her relationship with her body. On Saturday, personal trainer Kelsey Wells posted a side-by-side photo with a caption about how she’s embraced her muscular figure.

“The first time I saw a photo of myself flexing like this (years ago when I first began consistently exercising) my first reaction was not kind. I felt uncomfortable and my automatic mental response was to feel self conscious of my legs,” she wrote, later adding, “I just wanted to be thin.”

Most of Wells’ social media content includes videos of her routines (check out her six butt-sculpting exercises here), before-and-after snaps of people doing her PWR program, and photos with her family. In this post, however, she talked about how far she’s come since the days when she dreamed of being thin.

RELATED: 5 Inspiring Fitness Influencers to Follow on Instagram

Calling herself a “glass half full person,” she said she’s been encouraged by other strong women who have filled her Instagram feed with positive messages about self-love. “I am proud that I have unlearned the destructive body image narrative that was [ingrained] in me for so long,” she continued. “And I am proud to now help change the societal narrative from the one I grew up with to one of SELF LOVE.”

For Wells, it was all about adjusting her mindset. “Now I look at my legs with gratitude—bruises and scars and stretch marks and all,” she said. “And I’m damn proud of the muscle I’ve built.”

This is not the first time she’s spoken out about loving her muscles. Last September, she clapped back at commenters who called her “manly.”

“THE ONLY THING A WOMAN NEEDS TO DO TO BE BEAUTIFUL AND FEMININE IS TO BE HERSELF,” Wells proclaimed in the post. “I feel most beautiful when I’m gross and sweaty in the gym when I’m pushing myself in my training, and even more so as I’m wrestling on the floor with my son or any time I’m looking into that little face and teaching him about his world.”

Taking a Hot Bath Burns As Many Calories as a 30-minute Walk, Study Says

Good news: researchers are saying that relaxing in a hot bath and doing absolutely nothing may be just as beneficial for your body as a 30-minute walk. A group at Loughborough University did the strenuous job of tracking this theory with 14 men who were put through two tests: a one-hour bicycle ride and a one-hour bath in 104-degree-Fahrenheit water.

The goal was to raise the body’s core temperature by one degree. All in all, the cycling burned many more calories, but the researchers did come across something somewhat surprising: Relaxing in the hot bath did burn 130 calories, which is about the amount you’ll burn on a half-hour walk.

The Conversation shared some additional findings from the study. The blood sugar of all participants was also tracked for 24 hours after the tests, and it was discovered that peak blood sugar was around 10 percent lower when a bath was taken in place of the bike ride. The bath also seemed to have the same effect as exercise when it came to the anti-inflammatory response post-activity for each of the participants.

The study suggests that passive heating — exactly what it sounds like, relaxing in a hot bath for an hour — can help reduce inflammation. The idea of passive heating as a medical treatment is relatively new, and popular with one country in particular: Finland. A study in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal from 2015 suggests that spending time in saunas — another act of passive heating — may help ward off cardiovascular diseases.

One thing to note: All of these study participants were men, and given that the male and female bodies can act in drastically different ways, there may be some variety in the results. But even if it doesn’t replace a day’s exercise, soaking in a warm tub can only do good things for your mental health.