OxygenD's Editor Blog with Diane Hart

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays to all! I'm taking a little break from the blog – see you in the new year! Keep the faith, stay healthy, watch those cravings and, above all else, be good to yourself.

Monday, December 21, 2009

New research!

If there is one thing current researchers are citing in journals it's this – women, far more than men, want emotional and social support and encouragement from friends and family members when it comes to physical activity. A study cited in a recent issue of The American Journal of Health Promotion says the research is pervasive – emotional support is also a major factor in women (again, much more than men) sticking with the kind of training they are doing. What's fascinating to me is that women seek out magazines – like Oxygen and its specials – for support and that is precisely what we offer. So, think of our Oxygen collector's issues in exactly that way – we are literally packing the pages with the kind of information and encouragement you need for a balanced, well-rounded life. Check it out on December 29th! (And let me know if you look for external support from friends and family...and any obstacles that have come your way – I'll get a bunch together and share them with you!) See you on Friday.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Age is no excuse!

When it comes to fitness or eating clean, you have to listen to others (truly). At least, that's what I learned chatting to veteran bodybuilders Anja Langer and Marjo Selin when I joined the two of them and best-selling author and columnist Tosca Reno for a day this past summer. These three women were so inspiring – each shared how she modified her training and diet as she aged. All were unanimous in one thought – you can't use your age as an excuse to gain weight and get out of shape. And these three formidable women were living examples of exactly that premise. I recalled our conversation this summer when I spoke to Oxygen's Fat Loss special collector's issue cover girl Kim Dolan-Leto on set during her photo shoot. Check out our conversation on my blog over the next couple months. And keep an eye out for the special, on newsstands December 29! p.s. keep training – it'll keep you sane over the holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Ditch Junk Food" (it's easier than you think)

Ok, so I know what you're thinking: It really isn't as easy as you think it is to stop eating junk food, especially at this time of year. You likely think it's easier for me to do it because I'm fortunate to be surrounded at work with like-minded clean-eating colleagues. But, as we note in our upcoming Oxygen collector's special, Fat Loss, if you approach it one step at a time, getting off the junk food train isn't as overwhelming as it may appear. In the article "Your New Hot Body!" on page 116, you'll get the goods on how exactly you can do it – in five easy steps. Plus, we not only tell you how to do it, but what to do before you even start! I'm really excited about this new issue – join me on Friday and we'll chat a little more about it. In the meantime, let me know how you're doing this time of year and how you stay away from drive-thrus and take out food. Any tips to share? Have your say!

Friday, December 11, 2009

"My weight-loss bible!"

I got a letter a little while ago from a reader who, like you or me, needs a little nudge now and again to stay motivated and on track with the Oxygen lifestyle. I’m hoping that she enjoys our next Oxygen collector’s special, Fat Loss, on newsstands December 29. What a terrific way to start the new year! We’ve packed this issue with lots of great stuff, sure to kickstart your 2010 in the right direction. Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes of our cover shoot with Kim Dolan-Leto – her comeback story is truly inspiring!

I’ll chat with you Monday! And thanks to Sherri for sending me this note….

“I’m 37, with three boys and married for 18 years. I just wanted to say your Off the Couch! issue was great – I actually got off the couch. I felt all the women in this issue were so real and strong – I actually turned this issue into a weight- loss bible complete with notes in the margins.”

Pick up Oxygen's next collectors special, Fat Loss – on newsstands December 29!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Your #1 Fat Loss Secret

I have to share with you what a friend of mine said to me over the weekend. She’s in her 30s, happily married, with a wonderful daughter just about to start school. Her life, as is most of ours, is a rich, busy one, filled with a multitude of events and obligations. Honestly, I don’t think she’d have it any other way. But when it comes to her weight, she’s a totally different person. She is never happy with it, always wanting to lose a few inches or drop another dress size. And now, to my chagrin, she’s extolling the virtues of a wacky diet based on lemons and maple syrup! Yikes! Sugar spikes and serious sags. There is nothing more reasonable – and sustainable – than eating clean. That’s what I tell her and, this past weekend, I’m hoping she listened. If you want to learn about some wacky diets and get a sense of the #1 fat loss secret pick up our next Oxygen Collector’s issue, Fat Loss….you won’t regret it!

p.s. maybe I’ll send it to my friend as an early holiday gift!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Exciting News!

Oxygen's Fat Loss Special Collector's Issue on newsstands soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 30, 2009

You tell it like it is!

In the last reader’s poll, you told me exactly what you think about what triggers you to reach for junk food. Here’s what you said:

1. Boredom 53%

2. Stress at work 18%

3. Visual cues (like seeing junk food) 12%

4. Arguments with friends or family 12%

5. Long commutes 1%

Interesting stuff, to be sure. Look out for our next poll on my blog on Friday when I tell you about the next exciting Oxygen special collector’s issue.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Changing on the fly!

Ever wonder what happens when we head outdoors for a shoot? In a word, we all work on the fly – the model’s make-up is reapplied quickly, lighting gets adjusted and wardrobe changes often occur, well, in the strangest of places! But we always make it work! Take a look at how model Fran Dennis adapts to outdoor circumstances by using a portable change tent – in a flash she’s ready for the camera!

Monday, November 23, 2009

"I finally got up off this couch!"

Thanks again for all the messages from all of you! Here’s a letter I wanted to share with you from a reader who has transformed her life in the best – and most sustaining – way…step by step.

“I was always the one sitting on the couch reading my Oxygen mag, drinking my soda, eating some kind of junk and thinking I could never look like a model in your magazine. Well, after a few years of this, I finally got up off this couch and now have lost 22 pounds! I know I have a long road to go but I will get there. Here’s my tip: Start out slow. Start walking – even if it’s just one block a day. And change the way you eat! I now eat off a smaller plate, no longer drink seven or eight sodas every day and never take a second helping. Today, I jog and walk up to six miles a day. I love the journey I am on!”

I love hearing from you! Let me in on your story here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

"I'm on cloud nine!"

I’m a curious person, I have to admit. I just had to know how some of the real women featured in Off the Couch! felt the moment they opened the pages of the magazine. Here’s what Genely Ventura, one of our success stories (see page 40), said from her home in Hawaii:

“I wanted to jump up and down at the store where I bought the magazine, but I didn't because I didn't want all the attention. But in my car, I literally jumped on my seat and squeaked!”

And when her husband saw it, he was impressed too. “He couldn't stop looking at my pictures,” Genely told us. “He said: ‘Wow, my wife is in a magazine! I have something to show off at work now.’ ”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Get off the couch

I have to say I’m stoked these days – my clean eating is on track, I’m back to regular workouts after a bout of bronchitis and, truth to tell, I actually got some sleep this weekend.

As we face the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I’d like to encourage you to stay Off the Couch! by choosing good clean food, staying active with the family and getting in some rest. I’m learning, finally, the value of rest – of being good to myself and taking some time out of a busy schedule to connect with friends and family. Holidays can be a brutal time for your clean-eating and exercise regimen – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Think about modifying your routine, making better food choices and doing what I’ve finally learned to be invaluable to my health and fitness goals – sleep. Be good to yourself and everything else will follow.

Let me know how you’re doing to get ready for Thanksgiving – how about sharing a few of your favorite tips and strategies?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Confident! Healthy! Strong!

Diane's favorite Off the Couch! article
One of my favorite articles in the magazine is this one, a comprehensive guide to getting started on the Oxygen lifestyle of regular exercise and clean eating. And a major reason it works so well, I think, is because it’s packed with all kinds of information and inspirational tips...just perfect for the beginner! Plus, it’s because of you that we could add results from our reader’s poll. Flip to page 62 and you’ll see the reasons many of you got hooked into fitness.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Amy tells you how to set your goals

Do your long term goals seem overwhelming? Often, I find them daunting and that's when I turn to other people to see what they've done. Oxygen's Off the Couch! cover gal Amy Barnes, for instance, had an inspirational weight loss journey that took almost five years (and 339lbs!).  Amy set herself up for success by working at it slowly. Check out this video for more of her tips on how to stay motivated! Let me know what you think.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Amy on stage!

This weekend Oxygen’s Off the Couch! cover gal Amy Barnes is doing something she’d never thought possible – getting on stage to compete in a fitness show. You’ve got to love this woman’s zest for new challenges – as if shedding 339 lbs weren’t enough! She’s now going to compete in front of others this weekend! And this from someone who never wore exercise shorts in her adult life; this from a woman who stared at the clothes for her cover shoot wondering how the heck she was going to pull off a bathing suit and workout wear. But she did it! I have every confidence that she’ll get on stage and do terrifically well. This inspiring woman is not one to shy from new experiences. Good luck Amy! And on a special note: Check out Amy on The Today Show November 9!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Here’s a letter I got from a reader recently:

I've been training for more than eight years, and although I've maintained my weight, I feel like my muscles aren't as toned as I'd like. I'm 5'6" and weigh about 145 lb. I have a bad knee with bone on bone and it's difficult to work my leg muscles, but I'm getting there. How can I keep motivated to work out strong without thinking that I'm just not going to get where I want to be? I still feel good after a workout and I have a trainer to help with my knee while I await possible surgery, but I've lost my motivation.
Thanks! Karen

I hate to admit it, but I am the least patient person when it comes to injuries...I just keep plowing along! But I learned a harsh lesson a few years ago when I sustained my first concussion – I kept trying to get back to my workouts but always had to stop, repeatedly, because I was simply trying too hard and moving too soon. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I know now to come back slowly and take my time after an injury. So, Karen, let me first tell you to seek medical advice. Then, do what I did when I was injured – be good to yourself and don’t rush back too quickly. Finally, read the real-life motivational stories in our Oxygen Collector's issue, Off the Couch! You'll get loads of inspiration, believe me! Motivation comes from within, ultimately, but reading inspirational stories of women from across the country just might help too! How else do you stay motivated? Let me know!

Note: In a previous blog posting, I told you all that you can buy Off the Couch! here if you don’t see it on stands in your city or town. What I didn't know is that that link only applies to our North American readers. Sorry! If you live overseas, please email sales@emusclemag.com to get a copy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cover worthy? You bet!

You never know what might happen at any cover shoot and this one with Amy was no different. Have a peek at this video and see why Amy had what it takes to land a cover for Oxygen's new collector's special Off the Couch! Motivation for Real Women. Get your issue HERE!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Preparation – the secret to success!

It's funny how the mind works – you finally get off the couch and into the gym. You've made it past obstacle one – but now that you're at the gym, what are you supposed to do?

Well, after a lot of trial and error, I’ve learned you need a detailed plan to get the results you want. Oxygen’s Off the Couch! cover gal Amy sheds some light on how to prepare for the gym workout ahead of time. Check out her success story featured in the current Oxygen collector's issue, Off the Couch! Motivation for Real Women.

Watch Amy's first tip here!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oxygen’s Off the Couch! cover gal Amy chats with me.

Amy and I took a little break at her cover shoot at photographer Paul Buceta’s studio. It’s so great learning more about her! Find out what makes her tick in this quick Q & A (it just may surprise you, inspire you, motivate you!).

…..Thanks again for posting such great comments here at Oxygen’s “The Real Deal” blog. I love to read them! I’ll try to meet your needs to “snoop” behind-the-scenes as much as I can. Talk to you Monday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Look what’s in this model’s lunch bag!

At any photo shoot, the days can be long. I always find it interesting to learn how a fitness model stays properly fuelled on the set. Here, in this video, our model Fran Dennis (a mother of six, btw!) shares her secrets to eating on set or whenever she’s on the go. Her key to it all? Proper planning. (and a whole lot of oregano!) Do you have any tips to share about how you stay on track with your nutrition? Tell me about it here or in on our Have Your Say form – I just might feature your advice in an upcoming Oxygen special! Talk to you Friday!

Friday, October 16, 2009

“I need your help!”

If there’s anything I’ve learned as editor-in-chief of the inaugural issue of Off The Couch! Motivation for Real Women it’s this – women like you and me never tire of inspirational stories. And that’s why I’m asking for your help. I’d love to know if you’ve undergone a transformation and how it’s changed your life. I can’t tell you how many of us here at the office have been inspired by the everyday stories of truly extraordinary women, all of whom had the great courage to tell their stories (and submit their photos!). It’s that great courage that has ultimately created such a wonderful, lively magazine. I hope you agree. Tell me which story is your favorite and then consider sharing your story with me. Send me a note anytime – can’t wait to hear from you! Talk to you Monday!

P.S. Here’s a letter I just got. Thanks so much for your kind words Susan! I wanted to let you all know that you can buy Off the Couch! here if you don’t see it on stands in your city or town.

Just a quick email to thank you for writing an inspiring blog. I’m really enjoying it and it’s helping me keep on track with my fitness and clean eating. Really looking forward to getting the collector’s issue – I’m hoping it will be available in Ireland. –Susan

Monday, October 12, 2009

Amy Barnes shares her tips for success!

If you think 20, 30 or 40 pounds are hard to lose (they are!), consider 339 pounds! Getting started is often the most difficult part to a successful weight loss plan. Our Off the Couch! cover model Amy Barnes opens up in our new issue and tells readers how she lost 339 lbs. If that isn't enough, here—in the first of a series of video clips for my blog—she shares with us the psychology that fueled her successful journey of weight loss and provides some tips that kept her on track.

In this first video, Amy gives us tip #1 on getting started—the scoop on what it was like for her and how she managed to start and stick with her fitness and weight loss plan.

If you like the one below, check out Amy's next tip here!

Friday, October 9, 2009

86 and still going strong!

Our brand new collector's edition, Off the Couch! Motivation for Real Women, is chock full of inspiring and motivational stories of how regular women have shed their weight and kept it off.

When it comes to weight loss and staying on track with your fitness and health goals, motivation is a key element – and that's why an entire section of our brand new collector's edition, Off the Couch!, is devoted to the topic of motivation.

Here's something that may help motivate you. While on the photo set for one of our feature spreads for Off the Couch!, model Fran Dennis showed us what motivates and inspires her to keep on track with her fitness and heath. Check it out!

Do you have something that motivates you too? Tell me about it in our comment section below or, better still, e-mail some photos of what inspires you to stay on track at "Have Your Say"

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting the shot!

You may not believe it but sometimes getting the shot isn't always as easy as it looks. I mean, after an eight-hour photo shoot getting the "High Five" shot for my editor's letter wasn't as easy as "1, 2, 3, high five!" You can't take yourself seriously all the time – so enjoy a giggle and watch this clip as Off the Couch! cover model Amy Barnes and I struggle to get that shot and have a lot of fun along the way!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Take a flying leap with Leigh!

Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of model Leigh Hickombottom as she takes to the air during a recent photo shoot for Off the Couch! On sale next Tuesday (October 6th).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Motivation and more at the Olympia

Just back from the Olympia and, as usual, both fatigued and energized by it! As busy as it is between the fitness shows, the interviews and the photo shoots, it’s always an inspiring time – I’m always impressed with the dedication and commitment of fitness gals (that’s you!). In fact, armed with new-found motivation, I vow to get into the gym even more! One of our models, Kim Dolan, came to the shoot with tons of interesting fit facts – she’d prepared lots of stuff for us, including her journal. I asked her to share how she sticks to her plan and she gave one key tip - she cooks everything herself! An avid cook, Kim prefers to spend time planning meals and snacks herself – and it’s paid off handsomely! For more motivation from fit models like Kim, pick up Oxygen’s Off the Couch! on newsstands Oct. 6 (if you’re like me and you derive great inspiration from stories of other women, you’ll love the stories within the pages of this new Oxygen special!). Let me know what you think…can’t wait to hear from you!

ON-SET DURING THE PHOTO SHOOT AT THE OLYMPIA (from left, models Brooke Griffin and Kim Dolan stand with make-up and hair stylist Christine Copland, Stacy Kennedy and me, seated.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stewart reveals the key to his magic!

We're here in Las Vegas working hard to get great covers with photographer, Stewart Volland. He lets us in on a surprising secret to his success.

For more Volland pick up Oxygen's Off the Couch! Motivation for Real Women (On newsstands Oct. 6th).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Amazing Amy gets great news!

For those of you following my blog, you're familiar with the name Amy Barnes, our newest Oxygen Special's cover model. Amy has lost an amazing 339 lbs! She is such a inspiration and it was with great pleasure that I was able to share with her this wonderful news!

Don't forget to read all about her amazing story in Off the Couch! Motivation for Real Women (On newsstands Oct 6).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Phone call from Kuwait

It’s a phone call in the middle of the night and you know, as do I, what that usually means – a crisis of one sort or another. But, in this case, when Amy Barnes got a call at 2 am from her husband in Kuwait a couple of weeks ago, it was good news – he’d been reading my blog and noted the casual mention of an “Amy” being photographed at our cover shoot for the upcoming Off the Couch! Oxygen special issue (on stands Oct. 6). He’d called his wife to tell her he’d read on my blog about our “cover” model and that she was in contention for the coveted spot. She was floored! If you check out my blog on Monday, you’ll hear Amy's reaction as she gets some good news!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mandy Blank cartwheels across the pier!

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! I thought I would start the week off by sharing with you one of my favorite parts of the magazine. Click on the video below to check it out!

What's your favorite part of the magazine? Share with me by leaving a comment on this post.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I need your help!

Does the drive-thru call you late at night? Don’t fret – you’re not alone. In fact, all of us reach for junk food at various times in our lives and then feel guilty for a long time afterwards. (And then we have to live with the junk in the trunk too!) Tell me what battles you have with junk food – I’d love to know what triggers you to reach for a burger and fries or soda. Is it a fight with your kids or your significant other? Stress? Something else? I need your help! Let me know…we’re hard at work on our next special issue and would love to include your stories, tips and comments! I’ve posted a new poll on the right hand column of my blog. Can’t wait to see the results!

Monday, September 7, 2009

What happens when life gets in the way?

Ok, so there’s nothing I like more than spending time in a gym, moving from weights to machines and then back again. Early mornings, when it’s fairly empty, is actually my favorite time of day. And yet, I have to admit that when deadlines are crushing and my workload is intense, both workouts and eating patterns tend to disappear. As much as I want to stick to my regular patterns, there simply seems to be little time to do so.

So, I’m curious – how do you guys do it? What happens when life gets in the way? Send your tips to me – I’d love to know how to maintain my resolve! Please comment below!

Friday, September 4, 2009


In just a little over a month, you’ll be seeing our new Oxygen Special on Motivation, Off the Couch! (on stands Oct 6.). But just as a little teaser (and because we’re so excited about it), I thought I’d give you a glimpse of a behind the scenes peek at our cover model who appears on the cover with an amazing inside story of weight loss. She reveals how she did it – and literally transformed her life - in the issue. Also included are more than a dozen of your own flab-to-fit success stories, exclusive recipes and a newly revised, expanded version of our popular article “Drop 10 lbs in 21 Days”. Let me tell you, it was really difficult to choose the women to feature in this issue – all your stories were terrific! If you have any others, don’t hesitate to send them to me at Have Your Say….

Monday, August 31, 2009

I hear you!

Okay, right up front I have to send apologies to all who send me messages either through this blog or by email – it’s simply overwhelming to try to get back to all of you individually but I do appreciate all who get in touch with me. In fact, the stories you’re sending me are terrific – funny, thoughtful and, quite often, moving. What amazes me – and inspires me – are your stories of personal perseverance. Some of you truly are courageous, continuing to work out through all kinds of personal or professional challenges. Keep it up! (and keep sending me stories – send to Have Your Say) And let me know just one small change you’ve made that’s made a big difference – we’ll gather them all and share. Have a great week!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Running on empty!

I have to tell you, it’s go go go at any photo shoot and our cover shoots for the Oxygen special issues are no exception. Here is our art director, Erin Smith, on the run at our most recent shoot for our upcoming special issue on motivation, Off the Couch! on sale in early October. I’d love, btw, to know any ways you stay on track that are a little uncommon – if you have any ideas, throw them my way!

Monday, August 24, 2009

It’s all about the clothes and make-up! (aka Sabrina and Rachel!)

I have to say that the crew we work with here at Oxygen and Oxygen Specials is a find – Sabrina Rinaldi (left) is always on the hair/make-up gig – she and stylist Rachel Matthews-Burton (right) are a great team. Both were on hand for the cover shoots for our Abs Special and our upcoming Motivation Special. Rachel, expecting her first child in another few weeks, continued to busily run around the set adjusting tops, clipping belts and making sure everything looked correct on the models. Sabrina did the same – see their work in both our Abs Special and the upcoming one on Motivation for Real Women, Off the Couch!

BTW, those stories you’re sending me at Have Your Say are truly moving – keep sending them to me! I can’t get back to all of you but be assured I read every word and love to hear about each and every time you’ve fallen behind in your weight loss or fitness goals. After all, I’m like you – I need to get motivated by others!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Not exactly a pro! (but I’m faking it!)

On any photo shoot you have to go with the flow – flexibility and adaptability can make or break the success of it – and if it means checking photos on the camera itself right smack in the middle of a busy beach, that’s just what we do. And so, on a recent shoot for our upcoming special issue on Motivation, Off The Couch! the entire crew – including model Fran Dennis - spent a day at the beach. (And that’s me checking each photo taken by photographer Paul Buceta.)

Was it hot! But so worth it, as I’m sure you’ll agree when you see the issue, packed full of tips, recipes and inspirational stories. Fran was a trooper on this shoot, readily changing outfits on the fly and doing two routines for us and then wowing us all with some nifty gymnastic moves at the end of the day. Keep an eye out for the issue when it hits newsstands in early October!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rain rain go away!

Sometimes we are just at the mercy of Mother Nature. Never was that fact more evident than this week at an outdoor shoot for our upcoming special, on stands in October (psst! You’re gonna love it!). After a few unforeseen technical difficulties, we had to re-schedule the shoot for a sunny day this week. We had the model, the photographer, his crew and all the props we needed. And so, as the shoot progressed at the gym here at RKPublishing (yes, we know we’re fortunate to be able to work out here as well as have a 24-hour place to shoot), we were looking forward to getting outside and shooting after lunch. Just as we went to pack up all the wardrobe, makeup, lights, etc., the skies opened and the rain began to fall. In great droves, I might add! Believe it or not, we waited half an hour and went to the outdoor location, wet grass and all. You’ll see the results of the shoot with model Vanda Hadarean and photographer Paul Buceta – I hope you’ll agree it was worth all the effort!

Friday, August 14, 2009

What’s your story?

This week, I heard from a woman in her 40s who felt inspired to write to me. She told me how much she’s changed her perceptions about age and fitness simply because of our mag. She told me a rather poignant story about how she put up with a thoughtless boss for years who constantly made derisive comments about her weight. At the time, she said she thought she was “too old” to change. What nonsense! We hear from readers of all ages about how they’ve embraced fitness and a new life – and have been transformed by it. Happily, once she picked up our mag, she never looked back. Pat yourself on the back, Lisa!

What’s your story? I’d love to hear about it! Tell me about it by filling out our online form and your story may run in an upcoming issue…

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cheap eats to lose fat!

Whenever we put together another issue, it always reminds me of a jigsaw puzzle – endless tiny pieces that somehow, some way, magically fit together to make one complete package. Our nutrition piece “Frugal Eats While You Shred,” for example, in the Abs Special issue, successfully tackled the dilemma facing most of us these days – the need to pare down our costs and yet continue to eat well to shed weight. (Btw, I just read a piece about a team of researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada who determined that women eat less higher-caloric food when they eat with a man, than with a woman….hmmmm, does that make sense to you?????) What amazed me in the article we ran was the final cost for all the meals in our cheap-eats day – just $12…cheaper than take-out! Just goes to show you don’t have to spend a million dollars to stay lean.

What are your tricks for staying on a budget? Let me know!

Friday, August 7, 2009

What’s your favorite music?

I have to say, I love listening to music. From classical to pop to jazz to R&B, I love it all. And working out to it is one of my favorite ways to stay motivated, no matter what my mood. Although I’ve missed countless announcements at the boarding gates of many airports by plugging in my earphones and listening to some tunes (I always listen to music before I board a plane to try to reduce my own anxiety about flying!), I find it soothing. And, ultimately, inspiring. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago on vacation, I was lucky to drop into a live concert, one that was both inspirational and motivating – I immediately wanted to get some of that music onto my iPod! But, sad to say, these days I’m finding it difficult to find the time to download any new music.

Here’s a sample of some of my favorite music above. And if you like, you can download some of our covergirls’ music picks here!

So...what makes you want to kick it up a notch in the gym? Any favorite tunes you’d like to share with me? I’d love to know!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Love those jeans

I absolutely love to hear from you! Here are some letters I’ve received about the Abs Special and the Fat Loss Special. Keep ’em comin!!

I absolutely loved the photos of Maggie in her jeans and tank top in the Abs Special. The fitness clothes are great too, but it was very inspiring to see her in everyday clothes. It’s one more picture to hang on my fridge to keep me on the right track! Also, I found it a great help to see a sample of Fran's workout schedule as well as a typical day in her diet in the Fat Loss Special. I would really love to see you do that with every cover model in every issue. It really helps me get closer to my fitness goals.

Psssst! We always run our cover girls’ training routines and meal plans online! Check them out here!

I just bought the Abs Special graced with the beautiful Maggie D. I kept looking at her in those jeans! I almost forgot that I don’t walk around in my bikini and sportswear all day, and although I strive to have a bikini-worthy body, being sexy and feeling great in jeans or any other ensemble is what counts. The photos really pointed that out for me.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Let us in on your secrets!

To my mind, the best motivators can often be right next to you – in the express line in the grocery store or behind you as you pick up your toddler at daycare. It is, I think, in the sharing of stories that we often derive the most inspiration. And you’ll find tons of it in our Abs Special where we actually reprint comments and tips from readers like you in our feature “You Told Us! (The secret to great abs)” on page 104. Let us in on your secrets right here!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Check your labels

When it comes to nutrition labels, I’m slightly obsessive – I read it all! Fats/calories/sugar/sodium…the whole mix. And I have to share my excitement about the new recipes that are included in our new Abs Special – lots of fat-busting recipes to add tons of variety to your meal plans. Try ’em out and let me know what you think! Love 20-minute meals? I know I do!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Run outside!

I just love it when stories get shared among like-minded women who are passionate about fitness. And that’s exactly what happened just a week or two ago when three inspirational women – Marjo Selin, Anja Langer and Tosca Reno, got together at a photo shoot to talk about what keeps them motivated. Tosca, author of the best-selling Eat-Clean series and our Raise the Bar columnist, was recalling how on a recent vacation she loved running outside on the beach. Not only did she work her legs and butt, she said, but she also told us she felt it in her obliques. And in our Abs Special, experts all agreed on the importance of working all areas of your core with more than just crunches. So take a page from the gals of fitness and mix it up a bit. You’ll not only stay interested – you just may surprise yourself – and your muscles!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vacation secrets

Okay, I’m heading off to the first vacation I’ve had in three years and my biggest fear? All the hard work I’ve done in the gym over the past several months will vanish the moment I step off the plane. Do you feel the same way? Tell me this – how do you stay motivated – and on track – when you’re on vacation? Got any secrets to share? I’d love to know! One of the ways I truly try to stay in shape is to do a modified version of my program no matter where I go – if there are weights around, I’m in business! I’ll go for a run, then grab some weights…all before breakfast. But what do you do? Let me know if you have a minute…me, I’ve got to run. (I have, of course, left my packing for the last minute and I know I’m doomed…wish me luck!)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ouch! My abs ache!

You know what I mean when I say I want to speed dial in my abs – when we chatted last week my vacation was imminent, and it’s even closer today! At the gym this morning, I did serious abs work. And it already aches when I laugh, though the day is only half over! I also know that it’ll probably hurt even a bit more as the day progresses, and likely moreso tomorrow. But that’s normal and a good thing, as far as I’m concerned. It tells me I’ve done the job right. That I didn’t hold back; that I pushed a little more than last time.

You see, swimsuit time is coming on fast so I grabbed the Six Minute Abs story in our new Abs Special and now I’m paying the price…but that’s ok, as long as it gets me to where I want to be next week (just don’t make me laugh).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Set your own clock

At its quietest, my gym can be an oasis in the mornings. Peaceful (much more so than after work) and unfettered, the perfect place to jump-start my day. And the prospect of a quiet hour to myself is one of the reasons I’ll set my alarm clock for 5 am – I love the peace of the gym in the mornings. Finding the perfect time to work out – mine and not anyone else’s – is one of the key reasons I’ve been able to stick to my workout. And if I decide to do cardio – another important part of any flat abs routine – then the morning works best for me. And scientific research supports the fact that early cardio, on an empty stomach, produces first-rate results. If you want to mix up your own cardio routine, there’s a terrific 20-minute fat blaster in our new Abs Special. I tried it and loved the fact I was in and out of the gym so quickly! Plus, I knew I was revving up my fat-burning metabolism for the rest of the day, getting the blood flowing early on and feeling energized to tackle the world.

Everyone has a good time to work out. When is yours? Do you also find that a good time to work out is in the morning? Does it work better for you?

Friday, July 10, 2009

"I hate my 'pooch'!"

I got an email this week from GraceAnn who, at age 32 is like most of us – bothered by the dreaded “pooch” of her lower abs. Hey, I can relate!

GraceAnn wrote asking for a few exercise moves and guess what? Although you and I know that you can’t really isolate “upper” and “lower” abs, you can target various areas more than others depending on the angle or direction of the exercise. I know that once I started to do more than just crunches, my own abs training changed – new moves, for me, make me more excited about an area I often neglect. In our new Abs Special, we share some of these moves for creating a tight mid-section by training from assorted angles.

So, GraceAnn, and anyone else concerned about the “pooch” issue, my message to you is this – help is at hand! (And the best part of it is that many of these abs moves can be done anywhere – no equipment required!) The new Abs Special is on newsstands now (think of it as your own personal abs coach) – and then let me know what you think!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Looking Abs Fabulous!

Check out this video below from our cover shoot with Maggie D and you’ll get a sense of what a real set of abs are. No photo edits on this gal! And how does she do it? She says, in her interview in the upcoming Abs Special (on sale tomorrow!), that she likes to mix up her routine and believe me when I say it works! I have to admit that abs are not my favorite body part to work and I’m often tempted to head to the showers early. But yesterday I tried out one of her more unique abs moves and today, I have to admit my abs are feeling it. (Better yet, I was so re-energized by doing abs a different way I didn’t head to the showers early!) I’m working out hard and sticking to my workout plan because of an imminent vacation – just a couple of weeks away. Follow me as I use a couple of the newer moves in the Abs Special to get me to my goal – flat abs. I’ll let you know how I’m doing on Friday. Can’t wait to hear from you!

p.s. Let me know what motivates you – take the poll on the right or simply send me a few words to social@oxygenmag.com.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Behind-The-Scenes at Oxygen's Abs Special Cover Shoot

Welcome to my new blog! I know, I know…it’s Monday and it’s the real deal. Back to reality. Funny thing, but after a weekend packed full with events, I’m almost relieved to get back to a regular schedule. It’s the same way with my training – nothing, to my mind, can beat getting back into the sweet rhythm of lifting weights. In fact, our cover model Maggie D. says the same – she absolutely loves weights and changes her program up all the time. If you have a peek at her exclusive routine in our new Abs Special Issue (on sale July 7) you’ll see how she gets – and keeps – her amazing abs. (Pssst – I’ve actually incorporated one of her unique moves into my abs training and it’s keeping me motivated!)

This video clip below gives you a glimpse of what it’s like on set at the cover shoot with model Maggie D. and photographer Paul Buceta. Just press the play button and enjoy!

I need your help!
The next Oxygen Collector’s Special Issue is already in the planning stages and I need your input to make it great. Tell me how you got started in fitness – just take this poll on the side of my blog.

And if you have other reasons that I may have overlooked, let me know. Just drop me a line at social@oxygenmag.com. I love to hear from readers like you. We’ll chat again next Monday. Have a great week. Can’t wait to hear from you!