The Nerd Fitness Academy

Our ebooks have evolved!

Back in October, we launched a beta version of the Nerd Fitness Academy with our first course: Women’s Fitness 101. In that first week, over 1400 rebel women enrolled, and we’ve been working hard on working with them to improve the course ever since.

On January 1st, 2014 we’ll be officially reopening the Academy with two courses:

  • Men’s Fitness 101
  • Women’s Fitness 101

These self-paced courses will contain everything you need to build healthy habits, start exercising properly, and effectively adapt your diet and level up your life. Each course comes with its own “path” to follow, high-definition exercise demonstrations, months and months of exercise programming, nutrition advice based on your goals, a special community for “students,” and more.

Right now, feel free to check out the sales pages for each course (Men’s Fitness 101 and Women’s Fitness 101), with all of the information you need, and an email sign-up at the bottom of them to make sure you get all the info and can be one of the first in the course to join up!

Spending the past two months with the Rebel Women who have joined The Academy have made me so excited for the future of this platform. It’s a perfect medium for us to help people and provide specific advice that we can update and improve on the fly.

I’m confident that starting on January 1st, we’ll be able to help out the Rebels of Nerd Fitness in a more technologically advanced and interactive way. The future is bright!

On January 1st, we’ll be officially reopening the Academy with two courses:

  • Men’s Fitness 101
  • Women’s Fitness 101

The $200 Million Black Company Behind New Madam C.J. Walker Haircare Line


First self-made millionaire businesswoman continues to inspire generations of entrepreneurs.

Building on the life, legacy, and impact of the ground-breaking Madam C.J. Walker—the visionary entrepreneur, philanthropist, and America’s first female self-made millionaire—a new haircare line that bears her name was launched by Sundial Brands, a manufacturer and distributor of organic skincare and haircare products for people of color. The Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture line is a four-collection, 25-product haircare line that hit shelves exclusively at Sephora and on this month.

[Related: Madam C.J. Walker’s Hair Legacy Continues With New Product Line Set to Launch at Sephora]

“Madam C.J. Walker was the first person to devise and scale a business model that addressed the haircare and beauty needs of women of color, while also challenging the myopic ideals of the beauty industry at that time,” says Sundial Brands CEO Richelieu Dennis, who will lead a session at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit along with Miss Jessie’s CEO Miko Branch on how to grow a multimillion-dollar business in a niche market. Sundial Brands flagship products are Shea Moisture and Nubian Heritage.

A beauty pioneer, a business woman, and American icon, Walker has been a source of inspiration and empowerment for men and women over the last 100 years.

Dennis understands this all too well. He teamed with fellow college graduate Nyema Tubman in 1992 to launch Sundial Brands. “We became street vendors (in New York) with very expensive college degrees,” he recalls. By conserving cash and living with 10 others in a cramped apartment, the duo managed to open as many as eight outlets over the years. By 2008, Sundial became so successful it received the BLACK ENTERPRISE Small Business Award for Emerging Company of the Year. Today, the company reportedly earns $200 million annually and its products can be found on the shelves of major retailers such as Macy’s, Whole Foods, Duane Reade, and Walmart.

In partnering with Sephora, Dennis notes, “this launch represents another step forward in our rich history and continues Madam C.J. Walkers’ legacy to help every woman feel confident to embark on the life she desires.”

Dennis adds that his company has spent a tremendous amount of time, energy, thought, and care working to ensure that this introduction of Walker’s brand to a new generation was done in a manner truly worthy of its namesake. “We’ve focused on a reimagination of the brand as Madam Walker may have done in the 21st century, with products created to focus on all hair textures/needs – whether coily, curly, wavy or straight – and a brand that still represents both community and women’s empowerment. This launch is also Sundial’s first foray into prestige retail.”

What has allowed Sundial to grow over the past 25 years is partnering with its retailers around a consumer that is valuable to them and by providing the natural products those consumers need. “Investment in our community is important to our bottom line,” Dennis says.

Hair Care Market in India Forecast to 2020 – Incredible 3D Technique for Hair Coloring – Research and Markets

Due to climatic aggression in India, people are coming up with the hair problems like thinning hair, loss of hair volume, dandruff, and graying hair at an early age. Stress and working pressures also leads to hair problems. With a growing income rate of middle class, the hair care market in India is going through a major paradigm shift. With consumers ready to experiment with new products and services, and marketers churning out new products at an impressive rate, there is a sense of excitement in the industry.

The recent market research report, Hair Care Market in India Forecast to 2020, depicts the current and future scenario of all the segments in Indian hair care industry. A detailed in-depth analysis of the Indian hair care market by segments and by regions is covered in the report, in accordance to which high demand will come from Northern region.

The increasing affluence among the young and changing lifestyles are driving the demand for the emerging hair care segment. Anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners; hair fall therapies; products for shine, strength and length; and anti-ageing hair care products are few variants that are fuelling the Indian hair care market.

Extensive research and analysis also revealed that the share of hair care market is maximum in the cosmetic industry, with hair oil being the dominant segment as there is a surge in the Indian market with the variants in the segment like perfume oil, light oil, and many more. In future, although hair oil is expected to remain the leading market, but hair color will attain the fastest growth rate in the segment.

Further, to provide a balanced outlook of the Indian hair care market to our clients, the report includes summary of major players’ contribution in the industry along with their business descriptions, SWOT analysis and recent developments in the market.

Key Topics Covered:

1. Analyst View

2. Research Methodology

3. Indian Hair care Market

4. Hair Care Market Outlook 2020

5. Emerging Market Trends

6. Competitive Landscape

– Dabur India Limited

– Emami Limited

– Godrej

– Himalaya

– Hindustan Unilever Limited


– L’Oreal SA

– Marico Limited

– Procter & Gamble

– Revlon India

For more information visit

A Busy Girl’s Guide to Beauty


A busy lady with no time to waste lolling around a salon, Christine Muhlke learns to cut corners.

They say having it all—career, marriage, children—requires giving up some of the things you enjoy. For me, that has meant my already modest beauty regimen. A fresh set of highlights every three months? So 2010. Shaving my legs? Let’s just say I now have a legitimate excuse to splurge on thoseDries Van Noten pants for spring. Who was that woman of leisure, and how do I get her back, or at least look like her?

The cruel joke is that once you reach the age of having it all, you really should be devoting more, not fewer, hours to prettifying. Five years ago, when I landed a high-profile job, I realized that I needed to start wearing concealer and mascara in order to appear more professional (not to mention more awake). Then, after I had a baby, all bets were off. A friend looked at me and shook her head. “The concealer’s not cutting it anymore,” she said. “You need a corrector too.” The beauty clutter grew. Now, for every moisturizer I own, there’s a serum—and an essence and a primer—to apply underneath. When I recently found myself making room for yet another product (apparently, night serums just don’t work during regular business hours), I knew I needed help streamlining my cabinet, my makeup kit—my life. So I reached out to some beauty professionals whose schedules are even more hectic than my own.


“Your skincare routine should only take three minutes,” declares Amy Wechsler, M.D., who is board certified in both dermatology and psychiatry. “In the morning, you don’t even have to wash your face if you did so before going to bed. Just rinse.” Wechsler’s bare essentials are a moisturizer and sunscreen by day, and a moisturizer and prescription retinoid at night. She even worked with Chanel Skincare to develop La Solution 10 de Chanel, a moisturizer for sensitive skin that’s so gentle, it can be used as eye cream too. “I just close my eyes and put it everywhere,” she says. Which is exactly what I do the night after my appointment, on top of my Retin-A. No eye serum, no eye cream! The 39 seconds I gain feel like a vacation.

Speaking of which, when I tell Wechsler that I’m embarrassed by how the heady floral fragrance of Rodin’s Olio Lusso Facial Cleansing Powder transports me to a Mediterranean villa when I’m washing my face, she encourages me to embrace that fantasy spa moment, however paltry and pathetic. “In taking care of yourself,” she explains (the psychiatrist in her kicking in), “you’re lowering your cortisol and stress levels.” In other words, stress isn’t pretty. “Cortisol breaks down collagen, which is how we get wrinkles.” Oh, those. But for her, the biggest beauty time-saver is, in fact, Botox. “For sure, because you’re combating wrinkles by preventing them.” Why waste precious minutes applying creams when you can banish lines at the source? As soon as I find a sliver in my schedule, I’m going for it. I promise.

In the meantime, I wedge in a 7 p.m. appointment at CAP Beauty, in New York’s West Village. After getting the Root Treatment Facial, which combines acupuncture for mind-body-spirit rebalancing with a soothing skin treatment, I’m so blissed-out, I cab it the two blocks home. Better than Botox, if you ask me.


Highlights require a commitment of several hours, which is why I refresh mine only once a year. So imagine my delight at meeting Sarah Spratt, a colorist and kindred spirit, at Takamichi Hair salon, in NoLIta. Spratt confides that she usually gets highlights in May, letting the summer sun take care of the rest. “Only go one level lighter than your natural color, and let the base mingle in with the highlights,” she says. “This makes the grow-out period painless.” To prolong the magic, she recommends a color-preserving shampoo, especially for brunettes. And as for those pesky stray grays, Oribe’s Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray does the trick.

Luckily, stylist Ricky Pannell, the owner of the downtown salon Snip N Sip, doesn’t mind that I come in for a cut only twice a year. In fact, the one he gives me, with long layers from front to back along the jaw line, has a six-month shelf life. His no-style styling tips? For bouncy waves, air-dry damp hair in not one but two buns—on top and in the back, tucking in the ends, because, he says, they are the most important part. And what if I want straight hair and am too busy to give myself a full blowout or iron my curls (which, for the record, I have never done)? “Just concentrate on the ends,” he insists. “If the ends look nice, the whole thing looks good.”

And get this: When I sheepishly confess that I don’t have time to shampoo more than twice a week, Pannell smiles. Twice a week is enough, he confirms, and is better for my hair. “Just be sure you rinse really well. I can’t tell you how much buildup I see.” He’s on board with my time–saving product choices too: Oribe’s Supershine Light Moisturizing Cream, which acts as both a conditioner and styling product on damp hair, and Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray, for those no-wash days when I need a little pick-me-up.

Like me, the Los Angeles manicurist Stephanie Stone, of Nailing Hollywood, has a toddler, so she’s always on the hunt for ways to maintain her talons on the fly. The current trend for short, natural-looking nails, she informs me, is perfect for low-maintenance ladies: “Just clip and file them, apply a clear coat, and you’re done.” What’s more, the new rounder shape is less prone to snagging and, therefore, breakage. “But keep your cuticles and hands moisturized,” she adds, recommending Dr. Hauschka’s Neem Nail & Cuticle Oil Pen and NCLA’s Polish Me Pretty exfoliating hand scrub.


And as for that aforementioned no-longer-cutting-it eye concealer? I’ve long been a Bobbi Brown fan, so I decide to ask the cosmetics-empire builder and mother of three how on earth she manages to look dewy and rested. Like Wechsler, she’s fanatical about moisturizer. Then she talks me through her “stoplight beauty routine,” which she swears takes just minutes and can be done in the car. (I wonder if I can pull it off while biking to work…) “We have this new intensive dual skin-serum corrector-concealer—it comes with a wand,” Brown says. “And I don’t go anywhere without my Telluride bronzer. Because I wear glasses, I can get away without eye makeup, but when I want to look better, I use a brown pencil to line my eye, the same pencil to fill in my brow, and then I throw on mascara. I don’t have to do anything else—I’m fine without lipstick.”

Her strategy helps me winnow down my own product arsenal. Corrector and concealer are replaced by Brown’s do-it-all serum. Eye shadow, liner, and their corresponding application tools are trumped by a quick swipe of a cream-shadow stick. Lash curler? Gone. Brown gently curls her lashes up with her finger while her mascara dries, and now I do the same. My blush is still Kjaer Weis’s finger-friendly cream, and my lips stay loyal to Brown’s discontinued tinted lip balm, which I use very sparingly. What really brings my speedier new look together, though, are my brows. Who knew? Sabah Feroz, of Blink Brow Bar at Saks Fifth Avenue, in New York, threaded and tinted them a shade darker, which gave me such a Hilary Rhoda quotient, I nearly considered dropping makeup altogether.

I said “nearly.” I’m busy, not crazy.

How Korean beauty trends are making an impact on your makeup routine

There are two very contrasting makeup trends continuing to dominate the Instagram and YouTube accounts of beauty vloggers and aficionados: One is exaggerated facial contouring; the other is a very minimal, no-makeup makeup look.

The Kardashian sisters are responsible for the internet’s obsession with face and eyebrow sculpting (though legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin is the original). Makeup brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills and NARS have released contouring kits. Last September, Kim Kardashian hosted a $500 master class with her makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic. Extreme before-contouring photos are popping up on social media accounts—a visual representation of just how much work it takes to create the illusion of perfectly-chiseled cheekbones.

But the no-makeup look is gaining in popularity. The growing influence of Korean beauty—from their intensive skincare routines to BB creams and cushion compacts—on Western culture is the culprit for the internet’s fascination with wanting to look like they “woke up like this.” Last year, an article about the growth of Korean beauty on The Cut revealed:

So far, in the first half of 2015, according to the Korea Customs Service, the total export value of Korean beauty products to the U.S. was $52 million, a 60 percent increase from last year. America is the third biggest export market for Korean cosmetics companies, after China and Hong Kong.

American women are opting out of noticeable makeup and instead coveting dewy skin, bushy brows, and natural-looking flushed cheeks, and Instagramming #shelfies of all of the skincare products they use (popularized by beauty blog Into The Gloss).


In 2011, Korean brand Dr. Jart introduced its BB cream to Sephora, claiming to cover blemishes and uneven skin tone while also working to erase them and protect the skin from sun damage—and the K-beauty craze began. Then came CC creams, which are more color-correcting and used to diminish the appearance of redness. Most recently, cushion compacts have hit the market, functioning like BB and CC creams, but with SPF over 50 and small, compact packaging for easier application. All of these are lightweight creams, more like a moisturizer, than a foundation, but with the benefits of coverage.

Cosmopolitan editor Jessica Matlin first noticed the influx of Korean beauty products into the American beauty market about three years ago. “This brand isn’t Korean, it’s Japanese, but when SK-II came out with sheet masks like ten years ago, that was the original,” Matlin told me. “And then, I started seeing other sheet masks about three years ago and everyone was like, ‘oh, it’s like the SK-II mask.’ Now, nobody says that anymore because there’s been so many. Everyone started making them, places like Peach and Lily started coming out, and it was just like, this explosion.”

A lot of American and European skincare products lead with the promise of gradually preventing wrinkles and fine lines. While K-beauty products can come off as intimidating, because of their advanced technology and vastly unknown ingredients, the promise of immediate results is what makes them so appealing. Throw on a skin-problem specific serum-soaked sheet mask from TonyMoly or Dr. Jart for 20 minutes, massage the left-over product into your skin and instantly get more a more radiant complexion. Apply the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask overnight for eight hours and wake up with hydrated skin.

American women aren’t only flocking to the beauty counters to purchase products in hopes of getting more dewy radiant skin, but they are also going to conferences and panels for more information. Last year, indie e-commerce retailer Glow Recipe held a K-beauty panel at KCON, a conference about all things Korean culture held in New York and Los Angeles, with plans to showcase even more K-beauty vendors at the event this summer. Most recently, The Korea Society—a group based in New York that organizes events about Korean affairs—held a conference on everything K-beauty, where panels of experts dished on their skincare routines, favorite products, and what they think is next. The audience was made up of mostly non-Korean women (including me).

During a K-beauty makeup tutorial at the Korea society event, Seong Hee Park did something I’ve never seen a make-up artist do: Before she applied any foundation, she did a 20-minute sheet mask and then applied toner, eye cream, and an argan oil serum on her model. “Korean makeup needs dewy skin, so you definitely need to hydrate your skin,” said Park. “Most of Korean beauty is for the skin products, not the makeup products.”

“If Westerners have a skin problem, usually they go to see the doctor, or they are looking for something to cover it up. But, if Koreans have a skin problem, they are looking for a good skin product first, to recover and heal their skin, because they understand how [skincare ingredients] work there,” said Park.


The Korean way of skincare is thorough, affordable, innovative, and seemingly effective—it’s no wonder why Americans are hopping on board to change the way they approach their skin. Korean-inspired regimens usually consist of ten steps or more, including double cleansing, toning, an essence, two or three serums, and sheet masks with ingredients like sea kelp, snail mucin, maple tree sap and starfish extract. That leaves very little to do once makeup application comes into play. And even then, the makeup is often also working to fix the skin, with blushes, foundations and creams that not only help with radiance and evenness, but also hydrate and protect with SPF.


Alicia Yoon and Cindy Kim launched their e-commerce site Peach and Lilyin 2012. Since then, the American beauty market has been introduced to things like snail cream and rubber masks. Peach and Lily, along withSokoGlam, are the leading beauty sellers and influencers of K-beauty products in the US. Last year, Sephora teamed up with Peach and Lily, introducing a beauty campaign promoting only Korean beauty products, which now have their own sections, both on the websites and in-store.

“[Sephora’s] image with Ji-Hye Park as the model–her look was this dewy face, and it actually said, ‘get dewy skin’ on the poster. I think when people saw that, [the influence of Korean beauty] really resonated,” said Yoon. “And you see that on runways now—people are doing glossy lids and radiant faces. The really matte, powdery look isn’t really in with fashionistas right now.”


Of course, the Korean beauty routine doesn’t have to be achieved by using solely Korean products. An increasing number of American brands, like Peter Roth Thomas, L’Oreal, and Clinique are adopting the “skin first” idea by creating their own versions of these scientifically-advanced products, from toners to sheet masks to cushion compacts. And, in the past year, two American beauty brands launched with the sole selling point of getting a radiant, flawless complexion through routine skincare and minimal makeup, taking an obvious cue from the K-beauty craze.

In 2015, Emily Weiss launched her beauty brand Glossier with the mottos “skincare as makeup” and “skin is in.” Instead of making stuff to hide blemishes, the line includes products like a Skin Perfecting Tint, which works to make the skin look more dewy, and the Boy Brow, meant to make your eyebrows look fuller and slightly untamed. Glossier offered two masks, cleansers, and a priming moisturizer before they ever launched concealers or lipsticks.


Milk Makeup launched in February 2016, and while the brand offers fun makeup products, like bright red lip color and blue eyeliners, the appearance of radiant, dewy, youthful skin is still the starting point. Like K-beauty products, there are multitaskers—like a Blush Oil that creates flushed cheeks while also hydrating the skin, and a Cooling Water that hydrates the skin while also giving it an immediate glow. Like Glossier, Milk Makeup launched with skincare products for the face—Charcoal Cleanser and Sunshine Oil.


Innovation and change are constant factors in Korean beauty products. This year’s cushion compacts may be packaged differently and offer even more benefits in the next year. But having a flawless complexion through the use of various skincare products is a part of the culture. In the United States, beauty trends come and go, and only time will tell if the K-beauty craze is just a fad or an new standard. But, who knew “started wearing less and going out more” could also apply to your makeup routine?



The 13 Best Hair Tips You’ll Ever Read

Squeeze-dry your hair

Prevent frizz by using a paper towel to gently wring water from your strands post-shower, suggests Adir Abergel, Fekkai celebrity stylist. “The paper won’t create as much friction as a towel, so your hair ends up less frizzy. It also absorbs more water than a cloth towel, really speeding up your drying time,” he explains.

Slip-proof your updo

Spray dry shampoo on a bobby pin before sliding it into an updo, suggests Mark Townsend, a consultant for Dove Haircare and a Los Angeles–based stylist with many A-list clients. The spray’s powdery texture gives the pin extra grip, which keeps it from sliding out. Try Dove’s Refresh+Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo ($4; drugstores).

Tend to your scalp, not just your strands

If your hair is misbehaving, maybe the problem is product buildup on your scalp—something clarifying shampoo won’t sufficiently cleanse. The result? Clogged hair follicles, weakened strands and possibly slowed hair growth. To get rid of that grime, Kyle White, a senior colorist at the Oscar Blandi Salon in Manhattan, swears by oldie but goody Sea Breeze Astringent ($5; drugstores). Apply to your scalp once a week with a cotton ball, then shampoo as usual.

Shield your locks from harsh shower water

The water you wash your hair with may contain chlorine, minerals, even rust from old pipes,” says White. “All these things can enter the cuticle of your hair and alter your hair color.” To minimize discoloration, he suggests investing in an Aquasana Shower Filter.

Wash before you color

It’s a myth that unwashed hair takes dye better than squeaky-clean strands, says Jennifer J, an L.A.-based colorist who has tinted Julia Roberts’s tresses. In fact, your colorist needs to see your actual color in order to determine the most flattering hue for you (and product buildup can make your mane look darker). So before your next appointment, suds up.

Never tell your stylist you want “bangs”

This seemingly straightforward word can be interpreted lots of different ways, says Kevin Mancuso, a celebrity stylist and the creative director of Nexxus. Say “bangs” and some stylists imagine Goldie Hawn’s eyelash skimmers. Others see Mia Farrow’s wisps in Rosemary’s Baby. Don’t find out the hard way that you and your stylist have different visions. The surest way to be on the same page? Come prepared with a photo from a magazine or an image bookmarked on your iPad. Do the same if you’re contemplating a new hair shade. Color company Aloxxi has even created a look book (available at salons that carry the line) filled with hair swatches so colorists and their clients can finally speak the same language.

Turn up the heat on volumizing stylers

“Many volume-enhancing products are heat activated,” says Susanna Romano, co-owner of Salon AKS in New York City. So combing or scrunching them in, then letting your hair air-dry will not make the most of their lifting effects. A better bet (even if you don’t blow-dry your whole head) is to aim warm air at your roots, activating the stylers and giving your hair the oomph you desire.

Take care not to over-Atkins your hair

“A deep protein treatment or conditioner [often billed as strengthening on the label] helps reinforce weak hair, but you really only need to apply it every two months,” says Rita Hazan, owner of an eponymous salon in Manhattan (and the color guru behind Uma Thurman’s golden hue). Using protein on the hair more often than that may cause build-up that she says can “strangle” the hair, leaving it dry and brittle. One strengthener we like: Fekkai PrX Reparatives Intensive Fortifying Mask.

Use a toothbrush to fake fuller hair

Never smooth the roots of fine or thin hair while blow-drying, says Mancuso. “This causes the hair as a whole to collapse and flatten,” he explains. Instead, tousle the hair from root to crown with your fingertips as you blow-dry. Then, when your strands are dry, give the roots extra lift by back-combing their undersides with a clean, dry toothbrush. Rather than tearing at hair like a comb, the soft bristles will grip and rough up strands just enough to maintain lift.

Steam-curl your spirals

To create soft, old-Hollywood waves, most professional stylists use a large-barreled curling iron. But those irons are hard to wield effectively (not to mention safely) at home. What to do? Caruso steam rollers ($38–$50; drugstores) create big, bouncy Ava Gardner undulations, says Abergel. Even better, they won’t singe your skin.

Prevent roof poof

The sexiest tousled looks today (think Gisele Bündchen or Sarah Jessica Parker) are straighter at the roots, with waves that don’t begin until the temples. To achieve this, Abergel suggests you channel Roger Federer: Don a terry cloth headband over damp strands; then, as the hair air-dries, the band will pull it straighter root to ear.

Treat your hair with moist air

We usually think of humidity as hair’s archenemy, but parching-dryness is worse. If you regularly experience dry air—from either working in a building that pumps it in (cool or hot) or living in that kind of climate—your hair will become parched, says Christopher Cilione, a colorist at the Oscar Blandi Salon. Moisturizing hair products help, he says, but not as much as regularly running a humidifier.

Flatten flyaways fast

Stylists have a dozen tricks to flatten stubborn flyaways. Here, our favorites: Pat them down with a fabric softener sheet, says Richard Marin, Remington’s consulting stylist. Apply lotion to your hands, then, while your palms are tacky, smooth the strands, says Jeffrey Paul, a celebrity stylist. Coax them south by combing them with John Frieda Full Repair Flyaway Tamer ($10; drugstores), says Simone Mangano, a colorist at the Serge Normant Salon in Manhattan.

New NBC Reality Show ‘STRONG’ Focuses On Building Muscle Instead of Just Getting Skinny


If you combine The Biggest Loser with American Ninja Warrior, you might end up with something similar to STRONG., a new fitness-focused reality show coming April 13 to NBC.

he premise of STRONG is simple: 10 women from around the country who desperately want to get in shape will pair up with 10 elite male trainers. The trainers will help the women transform their bodies for the better and will compete alongside them in a number of weekly physical challenges. If a duo can’t cut it, they’ll be eliminated. When all is said and done, the last team standing will walk away with a cash prize of up to $500,000.

One of the trainers featured on STRONG will be STACK partner and expert contributor Todd Durkin, one of the top strength coaches in the industry. His client list includes a huge number of professional athletes, including Drew Brees and Gerald McCoy. We’re looking forward to watching Durkin do his thing and help one of these women get seriously strong.

Your Ultimate Day Of Beauty

We all know the classic definitions of a beautiful day. Some may say it’s spent at the beach. Others may say it’s spent in the sack. Some may say it must involve some sweat or a salmon dinner or a round of 18 at Pebble Beach. Others may say that the minimum requirements for a beautiful day should include the word pedicure. Any of those things may very well fit your criteria for a beautiful day. Now, however, we’re going to present you with a different kind of beautiful day—a day in which the things you do reflect on the core of improving your inner and outer beauty. A beautiful day doesn’t have to be a day in which you’re removed from reality; it can be a day in which you’re immersed in it. 

So what you’ll find here is a sample day with some of our favorite tips and tricks. After all, routines are good because they’re automatic—ensuring that you’ll integrate good habits into your daily life, rather than struggling to do so.

6:00 a.m. Wake up before your alarm clock.

That’s after seven to eight hours of sleep.* This is the amount of time your body needs to recharge; plus, sleep is the major stimulant for your own growth hormone (there’s something special about it not being from a vial). Your own growth hormone helps keep skin taut and vibrant. After all, nobody looks that beautiful with bags under the eyes. When you wake up, take a few minutes for an inventory of the way your body feels—specifically the minor aches and pains that may distract you from the focus of your life. Perform a few light stretches. Take just a few minutes to get your blood going, think about your breathing, and prepare yourself for your day. While you meditate to the sensations of your body, dream about one big idea you want to pursue today.

*Give or take a few hours or minutes, depending on your particular schedule and lifestyle. The average wake-up time in America is 5:47 a.m., so we’re giving you an extra 13 minutes for your, uh, beauty sleep.

6:20 a.m. Perform your morning beauty routine.

Here are some guidelines:

  • In the shower, rinse your hair (you can shampoo whenever you want, but don’t feel compelled to shampoo more than three times weekly) and wash your body. Blot your hair dry or use the cool setting on your hair dryer, but avoid the scorched-earth approach: heat can damage the delicate cuticles. Use a brush with smooth or rounded teeth or bristles, which will massage the hair and scalp without damaging them. Remember, hair is most fragile when wet.
  • Wash your face and use a moisturizer that has vitamins B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin E, and alpha-hydroxy acids. You can also include various small-molecule antioxidants such as ubiquinone and ferulic acid. Remember to read labels on everything. Use a moisturizer that has UV protection. You want to protect your face during the day and feed it with nutrients at night.
  • Use deodorant, not antiperspirant. We believe you don’t need to stop the natural body function of sweat; simply use a deodorant to mask any unpleasant smells. (Some clothes that require dry cleaning can be ruined by sweat, so you might want to use antiperspirants when wearing delicate clothes).

7:00 a.m. Have breakfast.

It may include 100% whole grains, healthy fat, fresh fruit, or a little healthy protein—such as egg whites, which contain skin-nourishing biotin. Some of our favorite options include steel-cut Irish oatmeal, Total with 2% fat yogurt without added sugar but with fresh berries, or 100% whole grain cereal with low-fat or hemp milk. And don’t ever think about fast food at breakfast time, since we find that most breakfast fast food violates every good nutritional guideline.

7:10 a.m. Pop these pills.

Your morning supplements should include: half of a multivitamin (with at least 500 IU of vitamin D, 600 mg of calcium, and 200 mg of magnesium), 600 mg of DHA (omega-3 fatty acids, either by itself or in 2 grams of fish/cod liver oil), and 162 mg of aspirin (if you’re over 40 years old and have checked with your doc). Take with a full glass of water. These will help you with heart health, and keep this in mind as well: What’s good for your heart and arteries is also good for your brain, sexual function, and skin (prevents wrinkles).

7:15 a.m. Sneak in a mini-workout.

6Whether you’re getting to work or getting your kids to school, we know you’ll be spending a little travel time during the day, stuck in your car or a bus, or, if possible, on your two legs. Take the opportunity to practice some stealth Kegel exercises (squeezing the muscles that control your urine flow; here’s how to do them). The more they’re developed, the better your sex life.

Or, if you’re in line for your favorite morning caffeine-infused beverage (you’re going with the green tea, right?), try something different from eavesdropping on the two customers in front of you. Instead, spend a minute focusing on proper posture. Back straight, butt in, chest out, shoulders back, head high, jaw aligned, making sure your top and bottom teeth aren’t touching each other. Focus. Focus. Feel good? We thought so. Practice good posture every day (sitting and standing), and you’ll be amazed at the changes in how you look and feel.

9:00 a.m. Practice your smile.

Make a note to greet everyone you meet with or talk to with a hearty smile—a genuine one. Upbeat people excel. Upbeat people have good relationships. Upbeat people feel good.

10:50 a.m. Have a midmorning snack.

Try nuts or green tea (the polyphenols can help thicken the epidermis). Besides helping you stay satisfied, they contain biotin, which helps you metabolize fat and carbs. Add an apple or carrot—nature’s teeth whiteners.

12:30 p.m. Lunch break!

Two good choices: an oil and vinegar-dressed salad topped with veggies and salmon, which contains carotenoids that improve skin elasticity so you don’t wrinkle. Or have a soup (not cream-based), which can help slow the time it takes food to travel through your system—keeping you fuller longer and helping protect against weight gain. Even if you’re rushed, practice slow and deliberate eating.

For the other 30 minutes of your break, take a walk. Put UVA and UVB sunblock on your face and the backs of your hands before you go. A little sun on your arms and legs helps generate vitamin D.

2:00 p.m. Notice the green.

Whether you’re at home or at work, take a moment and notice the greenery around you (you do have some plants around, don’t you?). The feeling of living things (other than the next-door neighbor or backstabbing cubicle mate) can be healing, comforting, and empowering (which is especially nice in times of stress). Plus, they add oxygen to the environment.

6:00 p.m. Have one glass of alcohol with dinner.

Our favorite is red wine; the alcohol has tremendous cardiovascular benefits, and the resveratrol (from the grape skins that give the wine its color) helps cells live longer. Lean toward a meal with healthy fat, protein, and fiber, and use small plates to help control portion size. Cover half your plate with vegetables. Notice that you’re eating early enough that the rich pharmacy of chemicals and calories in your food will be digested and won’t interfere with your sleep (or deposit themselves on your thighs).

8:00 p.m. Relax—but not completely.

You’re just in time for your favorite shows or enjoying your hobby, but stay active. Put a stationary bike or elliptical cross-trainer or rowing machine or treadmill in front of the tube so you can pedal or do other physical activity during your favorite shows, or do the plank position during commercials. Be demanding of folks who are entertaining you; don’t fizz out in front of the tube unless the material really warrants your attention.

9:20 p.m. Get ready for bed.

Prepare yourself for bed with any cleanup duties. Brush your teeth for two minutes. Wash and exfoliate your face (wash with fragrance- and residue-free soap), and use a moisturizer with vitamins A and C (remember, you’re feeding your face at night, when the sun cannot denature all the restoring antioxidant vitamins). Make sure the lights are dim and the room is cool so you can gently slip into restorative sleep rather than attempting to abruptly “fall” asleep after sending out a few e-mail blasts while watching the late shows.

9:40 p.m. Have sex.

Feel beautiful. Tell your partner what you need (and ask your partner the same). On alternate days (days, not weeks!), you can read a few pages of invigorating prose.

9:42 p.m. Just kidding. Keep going, please.

10:10 p.m. Drift into sleep.

With a peaceful meditation, thank your higher power of choice for the beauty of the day. Remember what made you most grateful today. Please note that you have nearly eight hours before you have to awaken.

26 Ways to Live Life to the Fullest

Act like a kid

Sometimes being a grown-up is, well, boring. Yes, you should pay your bills, make your deadlines, and clean your apartment, but make sure to leave time to be a little silly and have fun. “Even jumping on your bike for an afternoon ride with friends will make you feel more carefree,” says Gabrielle Bernstein, author of Add More -Ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness

Be still

Whether you meditate or just take some quiet time to yourself, being still may help you embrace the moment and appreciate your life. “Being still reminds you that life isn’t about racing as fast as you can to get to the end of your to-do list,” says James Baraz, a meditation instructor and founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, in Woodacre, Calif.

Find your inner optimist

Even die-hard glass-half-empty people can have a sunnier lookout if they work at it. Don’t obsess over bad news or your finances; instead, shine your attention on areas of your life for which you are profoundly grateful.

Get some lovin’

Regular romps are more than just fun and games. Sex is great for your health. It can satisfy all sorts of emotional and physical intimacy needs and helps partners stay close, says Anita H. Clayton, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia and author of Satisfaction: Women, Sex, and the Quest for Intimacy.

Take a hike

Literally. There’s nothing better than a hike to remind yourself that there’s more to life than an annoying commute and pesky coworkers. It’s a win-win. You can be blown away by the awesome power and beauty of nature, while giving your quads a workout.

Work your muscles

Not only does working out do wonders for your body, but physical activity also improves your overall well-being and health. “Exercise, yoga, or any kind of regular movement helps get you out of your head,” says James Baraz, a meditation instructor and founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, in Woodacre, Calif. “In addition to being a healthy activity, it triggers endorphins that have a profound effect on lifting your spirits. It makes you come alive.”

Get over a grudge

Don’t waste precious time or energy nursing a grudge. Everyone gets mad now and then, but staying mad is more likely to harm you than the one who triggered your ire. “In life, you get a choice between being right and being happy,” says Philip H. Friedman, PhD, author of The Forgiveness Solution.

Make time for your pooch

Simple activities, like hugging you dog or cat, can put you in a good mood. Petting a dog for just 15 minutes releases the feel-good hormones serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol, a University of Missouri—Columbia study suggests.

Indulge in food you love

You’ve heard it before: Healthy eating is all about moderation, so that means you don’t have to deny yourself the foods you love. Just indulge in a smart way. “Depriving a sweet tooth is a recipe for disaster,” says celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels. “Don’t cut things out so you binge later. Instead, try allotting up to a fifth of your daily calorie allowance to the sweet of your choice.”

Sing out strong

Whether you’re in the shower, in your car, or on a public stage, belt out a tune. You’re a terrible singer, you say? Irrelevant. (A million karaoke lovers never let that hold them back.) Research suggests that an organ in the inner ear is connected to a part of the brain that registers pleasure. So singing may make you happier, even if you’re no Beyonce.

Find fresh air

Make time to go outside during the day, rain or shine. Just 30 minutes in the sun can boost your mood, according to a University of Michigan study. But even on wintery days, a breath of fresh air is, well, refreshing.

Catch some z’s

Don’t feel guilty about catching a few extra hours of shut-eye. Sleep boosts your mood, improves your memory, sharpens your focus, and can help you maintain a healthy weight. The health benefits of a good night’s sleep improve your quality of life.

Read a book

Take the time to sit and read, a practice that previous generations recognized as a necessity, not a luxury. You can aim to get in touch with what’s really important in life (Henry David Thoreau’s Walden is good for that), learn something new, or just go for pure escapism with the latest frothy romance or beach-read paperback.

Get artsy

Have you always wanted to paint, but don’t know where to start? Visit your local art store and get going. Participants in a Boston College study became happier when they distracted themselves by creating artwork that expressed their negative feelings. Writing in a journal has been shown to have a similar effect.

Share your goals

If you want to make things happen, spread the word! Tell your family and friends about your goals. Your loved ones can hold you accountable and help you stick to your guns. Sonja Lyubomirksy, PhD, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, believes this ups your chances of success.

Get out of town

Plan your getaway for a week or just a weekend. A 2009 study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that engaging in enjoyable leisure-time activities can lower stress hormones and blood pressure. Plus, it’s fun.

Unplug and go tech free

Put away the cell phone, turn off the television, and shut down the computer. Constant exposure to technology can overwhelm your nervous system, says Alan Keck, PsyD, of the Center for Positive Psychology, in Orlando, Fla. Take a few days, or even just a day, to live life without these distractions. You might be surprised at how nice it is to relax without the noise and interruption.

Give back

Help yourself by helping others. People feel good when they do good, “but research now shows that giving is good for you emotionally and physically,” says Margaret Clark, PhD, a social psychologist and professor of psychology at Yale University, in New Haven, Conn.

Find a hobby

Although hobbies seem almost quaint in our purpose-driven world, spending time on an activity you enjoy—just because—is a great idea. “A good hobby makes you lose all sense of time and self, liberating you from the every day,” says Andrea Pennington, an integrative medicine physician and wellness coach.

Sit down and eat

The Italians have practically made this an art form. They know that preparing and eating meals together can help you bond with others, and just all around enjoy life more. If your crazy schedule seems to never leave room for a sit-down meal, opt for easy prep meals and fit them in on weekends.

Schedule fun every day

You can enjoy life without taking an extravagant vacation. Each morning, think, “What can I do today that will make it an amazing day?” suggests life coach Victoria Moran, author of Living a Charmed Life. Create your own personal list of simple pleasures, and work them into your day.

Wake up with yoga

Shake up your morning routine with a natural energy booster: yoga! Several poses allow you to take in more oxygen and stimulate your muscles and adrenal glands, raising your energy levels. Yoga also increases your flexibility and strength, relieves stress, and improves your mood.

Pick a perfect snack

Snacking between meals can curb hunger and satisfy your cravings. So when your stomach starts to rumble, go for it! Whether you’re in the mood for salty or sweet, healthy snacking is a great way to sneak extra nutrients into your day.

Soothe yourself with sound

Need to chill out? Try listening to some tunes. In a 2010 study, researchers found that soft, soothing music reduces anxiety as well as a massage does. Plus, hearing music you love can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow, which is good for your heart.

Get social

Prioritize time together with friends. Whether you go out or stay in, it’s important to let your hair down and blow off steam every once in a while with your pals.

Make negativity a no-no

Turn your to-do list into an adventure, without letting negativity get in your way. Push all doubts to the side and write down your thoughts and feelings. “You’ll boost your self-esteem and happiness by gaining control of your situation,” says Richard Wiseman, author of 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot. This will pave the way for you to get excited about doing everything you have to do.

7 Tips and Tricks for Hairstyling

I get asked a lot of questions about hair but probably the most frequent one is how my clients can style hair the same way I style it. After having a few styling lessons, here’s what I have figured out:

1. Move slower. A lot of times hair is something that people really care about, but they don’t spend enough time on it. And it’s okay to spend time on your hair. Adding 10 more minutes into your morning can make a world of difference.
2. When flat ironing, or curling your hair, slowly glide the tool through your hair at an even speed. Racing the flat iron over a section, large or small, will be completely ineffective.
3. Don’t be afraid to get right down to the roots. Nothing screams amateur quite like flat hair at the roots, and volume at the ends. Yes, round brushing helps that, but sometimes all you need is to inch that flat iron just a little closer to your scalp for lift!
4. Do not be afraid of hair products. Use them! Generously! When I’m showing a client just how much root lifter, or hair spray, or straightening serum to use, they are usually surprised. If you are going to pay for good hair products, you deserve good hair. Use the products!
5. There is no such thing as a cute “wash and go” style. It will usually always look like crap in about an hour. Just go ahead and decide that you have to do something to your hair if you care about how it looks.
6. The reason Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s hair always looks great 1/2 up or in a ponytail is because they began with well styled hair. If you style your hair as if you are going to wear it down, put some hairspray or finished products in it, andthen pull it back, it will style much easier. It’ll have more bounce. It’ll have more “grip” with the Bobby pins and ponytail holder.
7. Blowdry upside down and finish will a “cool shot” of air all over. Easy way to get lots of volume.