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Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going!

 —Jillian Michaels
In the newsletter this week, we’ve got a controversial TV star, a road map to the fat-burning zone, and a template to help you have a better 2021. Read on...

Do you love PopSugar as much as we do? Besides news on fashion, beauty, and celebrities, the brand hosts a ton of workout videos on its 5-million-subscriber YouTube channel. 

Now a multi-vertical platform, it started with Lisa Sugar blogging about celebrity gossip at her kitchen table in 2006. Her authentic voice attracted millions of readers—she quit her day job six months later.

Sugar and her husband built the site up into a top lifestyle media brand, with an events business and a cosmetics line. PopSugar was acquired by a media conglomerate in 2019, in a deal worth $300 million; Sugar kept her role as president.

In an interview with the LA Times, Sugar says she designed the website’s tone to sound “like you were reading something your girlfriend was telling you… you felt as a woman proud to read it because it wasn’t tearing people down based on weight or looks. It was important for PopSugar to be a positive place.”

Wishing you positive vibes all week long, Katherine & Linda
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Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels vaulted to fame when she appeared in The Biggest Loser for 15 seasons. The show was criticized for forcing participants to endure gruelling multi-hour workouts. But enough people became fans of Michaels’ drill-instructor style that she leveraged her fame into a DVD empire. Fast-forward to 2020, and she’s still around, reaching followers via a podcast and an app.

In an interview with Women’s Health, Michaels advocates a diverse workout routine: “I don’t advocate doing one type of exercise, because ultimately the body will adapt to it and you can get overuse injuries. In order to get the best possible results, you want variety, so your body has the chance to recover from any workout, which is really where the progress is made. In addition, you’re constantly giving the body new stimulus and stressors to adapt to.”

Try this: A few of Michaels’ DVD workouts have resurfaced on YouTube, like her 36-minute OPUS workout. We tried it, and this early-2000s throwback has some exceedingly challenging movements engaging the whole body—the only equipment you’ll need is a set of dumbbells. For something more quick and focused, this 7-minute no-equipment Jillian Michaels Ab Workout zeros in on the core.
Should you make New Year’s Resolutions?
When the “ball drops” in Times Square signalling the ringing in of the New Year, it has a Planet Fitness logo plastered beside it. The New Year is typically a bonanza for the fitness industry, as people vow to stick to a workout routine. But too often, the guilt and shame when we fall off the wagon makes the resolution tradition self-defeating.

Rather than make New Year’s resolutions, Tim Ferriss recommends a “past year review”. Divide a page into “positive” and “negative” columns, and—looking back on your journal or calendar to spur memories—jot down which people, activities, or commitments triggered peak positive or negative emotions. 

Then focus on crowding out the “negatives” by making intentional plans to repeat and reinforce your “positives”. It’s a practical method to intentionally do more of what’s working—and less of what isn’t.
Is there a specific type of workout that burns more fat?
Many workout programs make overheated claims to “torch fat” or “blast calories”. Is this legit, or is it classic “bro science”—a fitness meme with no basis in evidence?

In the 90s, the concept of the “fat burning zone” gained popularity—the idea that you could burn more fat by keeping your workout at a moderate pace and training at 60% of your maximum heart rate.

When you work out at a lower intensity, more of the fuel for your body comes from fat. As intensity increases, more fuel comes from carbohydrates. 
But here’s the catch: a 30-minute workout at a lower intensity uses less fuel in absolute terms—i.e., burns fewer calories—than a 30-minute workout at high intensity. 

In a recent meta-study reported in the New York Times, both moderate training and intervals led to both decline in body fat mass and body recomposition—but interval training (i.e. amping up the intensity) improved aerobic fitness and blood sugar control more than brisk walking or jogging workouts lasting twice as long.

So, forget about the “fat burning zone”, and don’t hold back! To quote exercise physiologist Richard Weil, in an article for Medicinenet: “I encourage people to maximize the calorie burn during their workouts as long as they keep it within their physical limits and don't risk injury.”
 Secrets of people who lost 50+ pounds and kept it off (TheHealthy)

 The pistol squat strengthens the quads, ankles, and core, and develops better balance—this breakdown of proper progressions can help you master it. (

 This Spinach Mozzarella Egg Bake is a low-carb casserole you can make tonight to have delicious dinners for days (Butter is Not a Carb)

 Kettlebells are a multipurpose home workout accessory—here are 12 that got top ratings on Amazon (Greatist)

 A 5-minute warm-up movement pattern that mobilizes your whole body to prep it for any run or workout (Born Fitness)
Thanks for reading, Fit Girls! We’ll return to your inbox next week with more inspiration and knowledge. Got a tip for us or opinion to share? Email us—we love your feedback. Enjoyed this issue? Please forward to a friend—your referrals help us grow!
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