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Physical fitness is a general state of health and well-being and, more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports or occupations. Physical fitness is generally achieved through correct nutrition, moderate-vigorous physical activity, exercise and rest. It is a set of attributes or characteristics seen in people and which relate to the ability to perform a given set of physical activities.

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03 December 2020

  • Become a Pilates (Semi)Pro in 30 Days

    Sick of the same old workout routine? Enter: Pilates. This invigorating program really does live up to the hype. A regular Pilates routine can help you redefine your feelings on fitness and wellness.

    Here’s the ultimate 30-day Pilates boot camp for beginners.

    Pilates 101

    What is it?

    • Pilates is a fitness system that was created by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century.
    • In addition to body movement, the main principles include breath work, concentration, muscle control, and mindfulness.
    • Research suggests that a regular Pilates practice can help improve functional movement, balance, and flexibility.

    What equipment do I need?

    • You + mat = everything you need for this program.
    • You can add bands or rings to your Pilates tool kit if you decide to continue with your practice.
    • If you really fall in luv with Pilates, you might want to invest in a reformer (the dopest Pilates equipment ever).
    Getty Images

    Why Pilates, and why now?

    Pilates isn’t just a killer full-body workout or a great way to relax. It can also help:

    More good news: It’s a very adaptable fitness system, so you can adjust it to your fitness level and needs. You can even do it at home!

    Let’s get it started

    This 1-month routine is all about building a foundation with Pilates basics. The moves get gradually more intense each week, but the plan is def geared toward beginners.

    Even though it’s a 30-day program, feel free to tweak it to fit your schedule and goals. You can stick to the program once a week, every day, or anything in between. (FYI: The sweet spot for a lot of people is 3 or 4 days a week.)

    Pilates PSA

    If you haven’t exercised in a long time or if you’re recovering from an illness or injury, give your doctor a heads-up before starting this program.

    Week 1: The basics

    This week is about getting comfy with the fundamentals of Pilates. Let’s take it step by step.

    Neutral Spine

    1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor, hip-width apart.
    2. Relax your whole back into the floor. 
    3. Take a deep breath.
    4. Slightly lift tailbone to scoop your belly and press lower back into the floor. 
    5. When you unscoop your belly and lower your tailbone, you’ve found your neutral spine position.
    6. Repeat.

    Pro tip: Practice this a few times. There should be space between your neck and the floor when you’re relaxed and your spine is in neutral position.

    Head Nod

    1. Lie on your back with a neutral spine (like in the last exercise), knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms by your sides with palms facing down.
    2. As you inhale, lengthen the back of your neck.
    3. Lower your chin. 
    4. Exhale and return head to neutral.
    5. Repeat.

    Angel Arms

    1. Lie on the floor with legs extended and arms at your sides.
    2. Keeping arms floating just above the floor, inhale and spread arms out to the sides and over your head (like you’re making snow angels 😇).
    3. Return arms to the starting position as you exhale.

    Pro tip: Keep your ribs stationary as you move.

    Pelvic Clock

    1. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat, and arms at your sides.
    2. Keep knees stable and in line with hips.
    3. Imagine a clock on your lower belly, with 12 at your belly button and 6 at your pubic bone. Pretend there’s a marble at 12, against the rim of the clock. 
    4. Slowly tilt your pelvis to roll the imaginary marble from 12 to 1… to 2… to 3… and all the way back around to 12. This movement might be so subtle you can barely see it!
    5. Repeat a few times.
    6. Roll the marble in the opposite direction, from 12 to 11 to 10, etc.
    7. Repeat a few times.

    Knee Folds

    1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Keep spine and pelvis stable.
    2. As you exhale, lift one leg until your lower leg is like the top of a table, with knee bent at 90 degrees.
    3. Lower your leg back to the floor.
    4. Exhale and lift the other leg.
    5. Lower and repeat. Continue alternating sides.

    Arm Reach and Pull

    1. Stand up straight with shoulders relaxed and arms hanging at your sides.
    2. Lift arms straight in front of you (like a zombie). 
    3. Breathe deeply and reach arms forward.
    4. Pull arms back and squeeze shoulder blades together.
    5. Repeat.

    Wall Roll-Down

    1. Stand with your back to a wall and your heels about 6 inches from the wall.
    2. Gently press head and back against the wall.
    3. Drop head to chest.
    4. Pull belly button in.
    5. Slowly roll your spine down, one vertebra at a time. Arms should hang down as you roll in a forward bend as far as you can.
    6. Shift your weight over the balls of your feet and straighten knees as hips pull away from the wall.
    7. Reverse the sequence.

    Are you warmed up? Now let’s add a few classic Pilates moves!

    The Hundred

    1. Lie on your back.
    2. Lift feet off the floor with knees bent or straight.
    3. Lift head and shoulders off the floor.
    4. Extend arms straight ahead, next to your thighs.
    5. Inhale to a count of 5 while pulsing arms up and down.
    6. Exhale to a count of 5, pulsing arms.
    7. Repeat inhale and exhale cycle 9 more times for a total of 100 beats.

    Pro tip: Straighten your knees and move your legs closer to the floor for a bigger challenge.


    1. Lie on the floor with knees bent.
    2. Place hands on the sides of your thighs.
    3. Start to roll up from your head, curving neck and spine one vertebra at a time.
    4. Slowly roll back down.

    Pro tip: Put your hands behind your thighs for a helpful push.

    Leg Circles

    1. Lie on your back with legs extended.
    2. Lift one knee and extend foot straight up toward the ceiling.
    3. Point your toe and turn knee slightly outward.
    4. Draw a half circle with your toe, rotating leg in toward the center, down, and back up.
    5. Repeat several times.
    6. Reverse the direction of your half circle.
    7. Repeat several times.
    8. Bend your knee and lower your leg to the floor. 
    9. Lift opposite knee and straighten leg.
    10. Repeat half circles on that side.

    Pro tip: Focus on the stability of your pelvis and the rest of your body so only your active leg is moving.

    Week 2: Adding to the mix

    This week you’ll build on the basics and progress into more challenging positions.

    Pelvic Curl

    1. Lie on your back with knees bent and spine neutral.
    2. Lift your tailbone off the floor, tilting pelvis up.
    3. Continue to lift one vertebra at a time, up to your rib cage. (Your body will look like a straight line from knees to chest.)
    4. Slowly reverse the movement to lower.

    Swan Prep

    1. Lie facedown with hands next to your ribs, palms down.
    2. Lift your face off the floor so ears are in line with shoulders.
    3. Lift head, neck, and chest.
    4. Face forward.
    5. Roll down in reverse, lowering chest, shoulders, and face.

    Teaser with One Leg

    This will look just like the beginner Roll-Up, but with one leg extended up.

    1. Lie on your back with knees bent. 
    2. Extend arms over your head.
    3. Keeping knees together, straighten one leg with toe pointed.
    4. Turn knee outward slightly.
    5. Roll up slowly from neck to chest to hips.
    6. Reach for your extended toe.
    7. Slowly roll back down.
    8. Repeat with the other leg.


    1. Lie facedown with arms extended in front of you.
    2. Lift legs and arms a few inches off the floor at the same time. Keep your neck straight, your face down, and your head slightly elevated.
    3. Lift right hand and left leg while slightly lowering left hand and right leg.
    4. Lift and lower opposite arm and leg in rhythm so it looks like you’re (you guessed it) swimming!

    Pro tip: Focus on keeping your hips and shoulders stable so only your limbs are moving.

    Single-Leg Stretch

    1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor.
    2. Lift head and neck slightly.
    3. Extend arms forward beside knees.
    4. Lift one knee toward chest, reaching for leg with your hands while the other leg moves toward the floor.
    5. Alternate legs in a fluid motion.

    Week 3: Stretching yourself

    If you’re slaying all these moves, it’s time to level up. But you can still stick to the routine from Week 1 or Week 2 if that’s more your vibe. This is your Pilates, babe.


    1. Start on hands and knees like a tabletop.
    2. Tuck tailbone and chin in while rounding your back (like a cat).
    3. Return to neutral.
    4. Drop belly while lifting tailbone and chest (like a cow?).
    5. Alternate Cat and Cow.


    1. Sit with knees bent and feet together. 
    2. Widen your knees to shoulder width.
    3. Reach through your legs and hold ankles from underneath.
    4. Lean back and balance so feet are slightly off the floor.
    5. Roll back onto shoulder blades and tap heels together (yes, like a seal).
    6. Roll back up to balance on your tailbone.


    1. Lie on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees.
    2. Lift head and neck slightly.
    3. Place hands behind head and hold elbows out wide.
    4. Alternate extending each leg and pulling the opposite knee in toward chest.
    5. As you pull each knee in, twist your upper torso so the opposite elbow reaches across your body toward your knee. Continue to alternate sides.

    Leg Pull Front

    1. Start in a plank position.
    2. Lift one leg a few inches while holding the rest of your body as stable as possible.
    3. Lower that leg and lift the other one.
    4. Alternate legs a few times.

    Week 4: Go for it!

    You’ve been doing Pilates so long it’s practically a habit! This week, pick and choose your faves from previous weeks and add a few new moves.


    1. Sit with legs extended in front of you, feet shoulder-width apart, and spine tall and straight.
    2. Extend arms out to your sides at shoulder height.
    3. Twist to one side so one arm is stretched toward the opposite foot and other arm is behind.
    4. Lean forward to “saw” your little toe with your fingertips while reaching up and back with opposite hand.
    5. Draw upper body back up and untwist.
    6. Twist to the other side and repeat.

    Pro tip: Keep your hips stable and your spine straight.

    Pilates Push-Up

    1. While standing, inhale and lift arms over your head.
    2. Fold into a forward bend and place hands on the floor.
    3. Walk hands out in front of you, maintaining stable hips.
    4. Once you reach plank position, lower yourself into a push-up, keeping elbows close to body. 
    5. Push up.
    6. Walk hands back toward feet. 
    7. Roll up to the starting position with hands overhead.

    Double-Leg Lower Lift

    1. Lie on your back with legs lifted straight up and feet flexed.
    2. Lift head and shoulders a few inches off the floor and hold.
    3. Slowly lower both legs toward the floor, then lift again. 

    Pro tip: Move only your legs. The rest of your body should be stable.

    What’s next?

    If you finished this 30-day Pilates program and still want more, congrats! You’re a #PilatesPerson now. Welcome to the team.

    You can continue your home Pilates routine with the help of online classes, videos, or a fitness app. Or you can opt for in-person classes at your local gym or wellness center. Either way, you’ll be getting a great workout for your body and your mind.

  • Just How Many Calories Do Squats Actually Burn?

    “Ugh, I hate squats, they burn so much.”

    If this sounds like you, you may not even notice you squat throughout the day. We squat when we lift things, when we play with our pets, and when we go from sitting to standing. (And who doesn’t like sitting down?)

    No, squats aren’t always as fun as patting your pup. But squat workouts are a great way to work your muscles and increase your strength, balance, and flexibility.

    How many calories do squats burn?

    The number of calories burned during a squat depends on your weight, how long you hold your squat, and the overall intensity of your squat sesh.

    Let’s drop it like it’s squat and calculate the calorie burn.

    Getty Images

    How to calculate the calories your squats are burning

    Before we dive into it, an important PSA…

    Don’t obsess over calories

    Calories aren’t the be-all and end-all for monitoring health, and counting them obsessively may lead to disordered eating.

    If you fixate on calories, you won’t enjoy eating or working out. And you should have a great time doing both.

    The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provide more information for people who are concerned here.

    There are several factors to bear in mind when calculating the number of calories your squats sesh is gonna burn:

    • your body weight in kilograms (kg) (If the metric system isn’t your jam, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your shiny, metric, kg measurement.)
    • total time you spend exercising (in minutes)
    • your workout’s MET level (aka its intensity)

    Wait… what’s a MET?

    MET stands for metabolic equivalent (not an exclusive fashion gala, sorry). It’s the value that’s going to help you determine just how many calories you’ll be kicking to the curb at any given intensity.

    The easiest way to find your MET value is to take a look at a MET table. You can also estimate your MET value by evaluating how you feel while exercising:

    • Can you easily talk while squatting? Then you’re probably using light-to-moderate effort, which would make your MET value 3.5.
    • Are you huffing and puffing during your squat sets and finding it difficult to say things out loud? This likely qualifies as more vigorous effort, which puts your MET value at 8.0.

    The magic formula 

    Once you have your MET value, it’s math time (yay!). Follow this simple formula to determine how many calories you’re burning each minute: 

    .0175 x MET x weight (in kg) = calories burned per minute

    “I didn’t sign up for math,” we hear you cry at the other side of the screen. That’s fine — here’s the formula in motion to make it hella easy.


    This demo uses a person who weighs 165 pounds. Let’s call them Jeremy.

    First, you’ll want to convert pounds into kilograms: 165 lbs / 2.2 = 75 kg

    Next, determine the MET value. Jeremy is really bringing it, getting super into a high-intensity exercise. He’s clearly at a MET of 8.0.

    Then, plug these values into your formula: 

    .0175 x 8 x 75 = 10.5

    Jeremy is smashing up 10.5 calories every minute.

    To find out how many calories he’ll burn during the entire workout, multiply this number by the total number of minutes you’re exercising. Let’s say Jeremy plans to do squats for 5 minutes:

    10.5 x 5 = 52.5

    And there you have it: 165-pound Jeremy will burn 52.5 calories during 5 minutes of high-intensity squats! Go towel yourself down and have a green smoothie, jeez. You’ve earned it.

    Calorie chart

    The handy chart below shows you the range of calories that a 140-pound (63.5-kilogram) person generally burns: 

    Length of exercise 3.5 METS (low intensity)8.0 METS (high intensity)
    5 minutes19 calories44 calories
    15 minutes58 calories133 calories
    25 minutes97 calories222 calories

    Squats 101: A quick how-to

    Squats are a great way to get your body moving, your heart pumping, and those calories crunching away. They work a variety of muscles, including your:

    • glutes
    • quadriceps
    • hip flexors
    • abdominals
    • lower back
    • calves
    • hamstrings

    They’re also a super safe way to work out (when you pull them off correctly, of course). 

    So how do you do a squat the right way? It’s all in the form.

    The basics

    Follow these steps to get your best basic squat down pat: 

    1. Stand with your arms at your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart. If you’re just starting out, you can use a chair as a guide for how low to dip.
    2. Breathe in while bending your knees and pressing your hips backward. As you lower yourself down, bring your hands together in front of your chest. Stop going down once your hips are below your knees
    3. Breathe out while you press your heels into the floor and raise yourself back to a standing position.
    4. Let your arms return to your sides.

    Secrets for the perfect squat

    Bump up your squat game by putting these tips into action: 

    • To make sure you’re focusing on the right muscle groups, put your weight into your heels rather than your toes when raising up.
    • Keep your back aligned and neutral by keeping your chest up and your hips back.
    • When you’re in a full squat, take a peek at your knees to see if they’re in line above your ankles, and not extended past your toes.

    5 squat variations to up the intensity

    Once you’ve conquered the basics, try these fun (and calorie-crunching!) variations that take it up a notch.

    Choose which one you’d like to try, and start with 3 sets of 8 to 15 reps. As you master each one, you can increase the number of reps.

    Plié squat

    Plié squats help activate those inner thigh muscles.

    A plié is a common ballet move, but don’t worry. You don’t have to be a prima ballerina to add these into your squat routine. Barre workouts feature a heck of a lot of ballet technique, and this is no different.

    The focus here is the positioning of the feet to point outward at an angle, rather than forward.

    1. With your feet hip-width apart, angle them out 45 degrees. 
    2. Breathe in as you lower yourself down into the squat, letting your hips dip slightly lower than your knees.
    3. Breathe out as you return to standing position. Squeeze those glutes and press up through your heels as you exhale.
    4. Repeat.

    Pro tip: Add in a set of weights for extra intensity.

    Dumbbell squat

    Throwing a set of hand weights into the mix can help boost your muscular strength.

    1. Stand with your feet a hip-width apart. With your arms bent, hold a dumbbell in each hand, so that the weights are just below chin-level.
    2. Breathe in as you lower into a squat (A-OK if your elbows touch your knees!).
    3. Breathe out as you raise yourself back up.
    4. Repeat.

    Pro tip: New to weights? Start with lighter ones, then add more pounds as you become more comfortable with the moves.

    Split squat

    Image by Dima Bazak

    Want to hone in on one leg at a time? Add in a lunge and make it a split squat! You can also choose a set of weights to add extra variety to this move. 

    1. Start in a lunge position, with one foot in front of the other. Let your arms hang by your sides. 
    2. Breathe in as you lower your back knee to the ground. As you do this, raise your arms to meet at chest-level.
    3. Breathe out as you squeeze your bottom and raise yourself up to your standing lunge.
    4. Repeat. Once you’ve done your set number of reps on one leg, switch to the other.

    Pro tip: make it a Bulgarian side squat by elevating your back leg onto a chair or bench (or whatever you have at home that works!) that’s several inches off the ground.

    Then do the steps above. This is a bit of an advanced move, so don’t add in weights until you’ve mastered it.

    Jump squat

    Put a little pep in that squat step with a little plyometrics (aka jumping). Plyo exercises help build strength and speed, while adding some heart-pumping cardio to your routine.

    1. Get into your standard squat position: arms at your sides, feet hip-width apart. 
    2. Squat down while lowering your arms behind you.
    3. Raise yourself back up by swooping your arms forward and jumping off the ground.
    4. Land and repeat.

    Pro tip: This is an advanced move and not recommended for beginners. Work your way up to jump squats by mastering other variations first.

    If you live with knee or joint pain, it may be best to skip jump squats entirely, as they’ll put force on your lower joints. This could lead to injury if this is already a problem area for you.

    Squat pulses

    If jump squats aren’t your jam but you still want to up the ante with your squat sesh, try doing some squat pulses. This variation keeps your muscles moving and engaged the whole time you’re doing them.

    1. Get into your standard squat position.
    2. Lower yourself into your squat and hold your position. Make sure you’re in proper form and that your upper body isn’t leaning over your legs.
    3. Raise your rear a quarter of the way back up.
    4. Pulse back down, getting back to your lowest squat.
    5. Repeat and pulse for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

    Pro tip: Looking for an advanced move? Combine squat pulses with jump squats. To do this, lower into your squat, pulse once, then jump up. Land back into your squat, pulse again, and repeat.


    Squats are a great way to get in a good workout while burning calories.

    The number of calories you can burn while doing squats depends on a variety of factors, including your weight, intensity, and how long you spend doing them.

    If you’re a squat newbie, start by mastering the basic squat. Make sure you’re practicing your form and using the right muscles, so that you don’t put yourself at risk of injury.

    Once you’ve become a pro, spice up your workout with one of the many squat variations out there, working in pulses, jumps, or dumbbells.

    There are so many variations out there, you won’t know when to stop.

  • Is Activated Charcoal for Skin Care Worth the Hype?

    Activated charcoal has taken TikTok by storm. The cool kids claim it can give you a full face glow-up — that means cleaner, softer, and all around better looking skin.

    But let’s be real… is activated charcoal actually legit? Here’s the deets.

    What are the benefits?

    Activated charcoal might:

    • improve acne
    • remove toxins
    • treat insect bites
    • provide gentle exfoliation
    • minimize the appearance of pores

    Bonus: It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

    staticnak1983/Getty Images

    Activated charcoal 101: what is it?

    When regular charcoal is exposed to high heat, it produces a fine black powder, aka activated charcoal. So don’t worry, it’s not the same as what you grill with 😉.

    The powder is porous and highly absorbent which can help suck up gunk. This might leave you with clearer maybe-they’re-born-with-it skin.

    FYI: Activated charcoal is good for most skin types, but it might benefit peeps with oily skin the most.

    6 Activated charcoal skin benefits

    Some anecdotal evidence supports activated charcoal’s skin benefits. But TBH, more hard evidence is needed to prove that it actually works.

    Here’s what it might do.

    Improve acne

    Ah, acne. The lovely result of oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells building up in our pores. It can lead to painful redness, swelling, irritation, and scarring.

    The good news: There are plenty of ways to zap your zits and activated charcoal is one of them. 

    The antibacterial and porous properties of activated charcoal might be able to draw out bacteria trapped in your pores. This can improve your overall complexion.

    Remove toxins

    Some skin experts think that activated charcoal masks can help remove impurities from your skin. That’s because it acts like a magnet, absorbing bacteria and toxins 🧲. This might leave you with a clearer complexion.

    Treat insect bites

    Bug bites are the WORST. Thankfully, activated charcoal can help you ditch the itch. It might be able to help neutralize the toxins in insect venom, soothing the sting.

    Minimize pores

    Thanks to its oil-absorbing superpowers, activated charcoal may be able to unclog your pores. This leaves them free and clear of the nasty impurities that can lead to whiteheads and those stubborn AF blackheads.

    You might also notice that your pores appear smaller over time (though pore size can’t actually shrink), but there’s little to no real science to support this.

    Treat skin conditions 

    Activated charcoal’s antibacterial and antifungal properties can help heal damaged skin. It may also soothe symptoms of skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. But keep in mind, very little research is available in this area.

    Gently exfoliate

    Because of its gritty yet soft texture, activated charcoal serves as a natural exfoliant. It can slough off dead skin cells to reveal the healthy glow of the fresh new skin underneath. 

    What about the risks?

    Activated charcoal isn’t hella harsh so it prob won’t hurt your skin. But as with any skin care product, overuse can lead to dryness, redness, or itching.

    Patch PSA: Do a patch test before lathering your new product all over your beautiful face. Just apply a little of the product to the inside of your elbow. If you don’t see any irritation after a few hours, you should be good to go.

    Make sure your product is legit

    While we all love a great online deal, beware of charcoal goods sold by unregulated vendors.

    The law doesn’t require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market. Always opt for products that have been through third-party testing

    How to apply an activated charcoal face mask

    You can use an activated charcoal mask while you’re getting ready in the morning or as part of your bedtime routine. There are many kinds of masks that contain charcoal. Here’s the gist depending on the product you choose.

    Applying a charcoal mask is as easy as 1-2-3 (4-5)!

    1. Wash your face before applying. This helps the mask penetrate deeper into your pores.
    2. Apply the mask evenly all over your face. You can use your fingertips, a brush, or mask spatula to spread it on. Be sure to avoid the eyes 👀.
    3. Grab a book or scroll through the ‘gram as you let the mask dry for about 15 minutes.
    4. For a clay mask, rinse it off with warm water. For a peel-off mask, gently peel it off then rinse your face with cool water. 
    5. Pat your face dry and follow up with your favorite serums or moisturizers.

    So, how often should you use an activated charcoal mask? 

    Once or twice each week is best — less often if you have sensitive skin or notice dryness.

    How to choose an activated charcoal mask

    There are lots of options to choose from when looking for your perfect mask. Here are the best products for your individual skin care needs.

    Best activated charcoal mask for dry skin

    Tip: Look for charcoal masks with hydrating ingredients like jojoba oil, olive oil, or hyaluronic acid.

    Burt’s Bees Detoxifying Charcoal Sheet Mask

    This powerful sheet mask boasts natural charcoal, honey, and glycerin. It should leave your skin feeling squeaky clean and hydrated. It may even help prevent future breakouts.

    Buy Burt’s Bees Detoxifying Charcoal Sheet Mask online.

    Best activated charcoal mask for oily skin

    Tip: If looking to help absorb excess oil, opt for a mask the contains clay.

    Olay Pore Detox Black Charcoal Clay Face Mask Stick

    This kaolin clay-infused mask draws out impurities while micro-exfoliating the skin. Bonus: It comes in a convenient stick form which can prevent a nasty mask mess.

    Buy Olay Pore Detox Black Charcoal Clay Face Mask Stick online.

    Best activated charcoal mask for sensitive skin

    Tip: Avoid masks that have dyes, fragrances, parabens, or other harsh chemicals.

    ORIGINS Clear Improvement Charcoal Honey Mask

    This mask is both gentle and effective. Bamboo charcoal detoxifies as fermented honey soothes and nourishes your skin. It’s good for all types of sensitive skin.

    Buy ORIGINS Clear Improvement Charcoal Honey Mask online.

    More of our fave charcoal masks

    Other awesome benefits of activated charcoal

    This wonder ingredient is also sometimes used to treat other conditions like: 

    • GI issues. Some research shows that activated charcoal can help relieve gas and bloating.
    • Cholesterol levels. Activated charcoal may help lower both total and LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad kind!) by as much as 25 percent, according to a 1986 study.
    • Kidney function. Some studies have suggested activated charcoal can help those with chronic kidney disease by removing toxins in the body. 
    • Neutralizes poisons. Activated charcoal might prevent the body from absorbing harmful chemicals.


    Activated charcoal is all the rage in the beauty world, rumored to promote clearer, healthier skin. Even though there’s little research available to back it up, it can’t hurt to try.

  • Talk Cozy to Me: The Best Loungewear of 2020

    A fresh pair of sweats, mega-cozy socks, or the even the perfect hoodie can’t fix the dumpster fire that has been 2020. But at least you’ll be comfy AF in your dope new loungewear.

    To save you hours of online scrolling, we pulled together the best of the bunch. Here are the best loungewear options to take your comfort and style to a whole new level.

    The best loungewear pieces you can buy online

    How we chose

    As far as we’re concerned, loungewear should be:

    1. supremely comfortable
    2. versatile enough to wear out of the house
    3. easy to care for (aka no special washing instructions)

    All of the picks on our list fit this VOC (Very Official Criteria) to ensure your lounging sesh is legit.

    Pricing guide

    There’s basic loungewear and there’s luxe loungewear — we threw a bit of both into the mix.

    • $ = under $20
    • $$ = $21–40
    • $$$ = $41–$75
    • $$$$ = $76–$100
    • $$$$$ = over $100

    Best basics set

    Uniqlo Women Ultra Stretch Long-Sleeve Set

    Price: $$

    If you love a twofer, add this shirt-plus-pants set to your cart. They’re stretchy, lightweight, and the color combos are more fun than basic black or gray. Plus, you can’t beat the price.

    Buy Uniqlo Women Ultra Stretch Long-Sleeve Set online.

    Best crewneck sweatshirt

    Hanes Men’s EcoSmart Fleece Sweatshirt

    Price: $

    This comfy crewneck is a classic for a reason. The warm cotton-poly blend is super soft and won’t pill when you toss it in the wash.

    Pro tip: Go for the men’s over the women’s — the cut is cooler and there are way more colors to pick from.

    Buy Hanes Men’s EcoSmart Fleece Sweatshirt online.

    Best luxe crewneck sweatshirt

    Lou & Grey Signature Softblend Sweatshirt


    It’s comfy but won’t make you look like a schlub on Zoom calls. The vintage-inspired prints are on point and the rayon-acrylic blend is more breathable than fleece.

    Booty bonus: The longer length will keep your butt extra cozy.

    Buy Lou & Grey Signature Softblend Sweatshirt online.

    Best cozy hoodie

    Aritzia TNA COZYAF Perfect Hoodie

    Price: $$$$

    Loose without being baggy, you’ll def want to wear this super-soft sweatshirt every day. And the muted colors — like green tea, clamshell brown, and periscope — say pure chillaxation.

    Buy Aritzia TNA COZYAF Perfect Hoodie online.

    Best old-school fleece sweatpants

    Jerzees Mens NuBlend Sweatpants

    Price: $

    Think of the sweats your mom would’ve worn in the ’80s. We’re all about the poly-cotton fabric blend, elastic waist, banded ankles, and retro colors.

    Heads up: They’re sized for men, so shop accordingly.

    Buy Jerzees NuBlend Sweatpants online.

    Best luxe fleece sweats

    RicherPoorer Fleece Sweatpants

    Price: $$$

    Proof that “flattering sweatpants” isn’t an oxymoron. The mid-weight fleece boasts side seam pockets and a broken-in feel. Our fave is the tie-dye wash.

    Buy RicherPooroer Fleece Sweatpants online.

    The perfect joggers

    BALEAF Women’s Cotton Sweatpants Cozy Joggers

    Price: $$

    Made of lightweight cotton, these jogger-style sweats will look great whether you’re chilling on the couch or out running errands. Oh, and we love that they come in tons of great colors too.

    Buy BALEAF Women’s Cotton Sweatpants Cozy Joggers online.

    The basic t-shirt you’ll want to buy in bulk

    Madewell Northside Vintage Tee

    Price: $

    Slim, slightly shrunken fit? Check. Looks just as good with sweats or leggings as it does with jeans or a skirt? Heck yes. Comes in lots of colors and at a price where you can stock up? 10/10.

    Buy Madewell Northside Vintage Tee online.

    Best zip fleece

    Uniqlo Women Fluffy Yarn Fleece Full-Zip Jacket

    Price: $$

    This fleece is soft and warm like a wearable teddy bear 🧸. It’s fab for running errands or socially distanced outdoor hangs… though you won’t want to take it off when you come back inside.

    Buy Uniqlo Women Fluffy Yarn Fleece Full-Zip Jacket online.

    Best cropped fleece

    Everlane The ReNew Plush Fleece Sweatshirt

    Price: $$$

    The cropped, boxy fit will make you feel like you actually got dressed. The fact that it’s made from recycled plastic makes it even better.

    Buy Everlane The ReNew Plush Fleece Sweatshirt online.

    Best basic leggings

    Hue Women’s Cotton Ultra Legging with Wide Waistband

    Price: $$

    The cotton-spandex fabric has an everyday feel. The wide waistband means no pinching or digging, and the 29-inch inseam will keep your ankles toasty. They’re just great.

    Buy Hue Women’s Cotton Ultra Legging with Wide Waistband online.

    Best statement leggings (that double as workout gear)

    Alo Yoga High-Waist Airlift Legging

    Price: $$$$$

    These are designed for working out — thanks four-way stretch and moisture-wicking fabric! But the shiny fabric and incredible color options (gold! periwinkle!) are so cool you’ll want to wear them 24/7.

    Buy Alo Yoga High-Waist Airlift Legging online.

    Best bralette

    CK One Cotton Unlined Bralette

    Price: $$

    What’s not to love? 1) The cotton-modal fabric is buttery soft and stretchy. 2) The multiway straps can be criss-crossed or removed altogether. 3) You can toss it in the wash without worry.

    (Plus, it just looks seriously cool.)

    Buy CK One Cotton Unlined Bralette online.

    Best basic tanks you can buy in a pack

    Hanes Boys’ Tank

    Price: $

    This ICONIC tank looks great on it’s own, but the cotton-poly fabric is light enough for layering too. Shopper hack: You can get FIVE boys’ tanks for the price of one adult women’s tank.

    Buy Hanes Boys’ Tank online.

    The high-rise undies that’ll make you want to skip pants altogether

    Arq High Rise Undies

    Price: $$

    These granny panties are what dreams are made of. The above-the-navel rise and full cheek coverage is perfection. The stretchy cotton fabric feels fab and the bound-edge construction means no pinching. Oh, and the earth tone-y color selection is amazing.

    Buy Arq High Rise Undies online.

    Best loungewear with benefits

    California Cowboy La Sirena Kimono Robe

    Do you ever wish your robe (or button down flannel) could do more? Like have a reinforced beer-holder pocket, and a loop to hold your sunglasses, and an interior lining that operates as a towel, and a water-resistance zippered pocket for your phone or valuables.

    Consider this your Swiss Army robe with pockets on pockets and the softest terry cloth lining. You might never take it off.

    Buy California Cowboy La Sirena Kimono online.

    Socks that make you want to gather ‘round the fire

    Loritta 5 Pairs Women’s Vintage Style Winter Soft Knit Crew Socks

    Price: $

    Wool socks are nice in theory… but unless you’re a serious hiker, the price probs isn’t worth it. These cotton-poly-wool blend socks are just as cozy and won’t cost the same as a monthly utility bill. They also come in a ton of cool colors and patterns.

    Buy Loritta 5 Pairs Women’s Vintage Style Winter Soft Knit Crew Socks online.

    A jumpsuit that’s as soft as your sheets

    Coyuchi Women’s Solstice Organic Romper

    Price: $$$

    If you’ve ever just want to stay in bed all day, this one’s for you. The cotton-jersey fabric is ultra soft and easy to move around in. We also dig the adjustable shoulder straps which allow for a customizable fit.

    Buy Coyuchi Women’s Solstic Organic Romper online.

    One-piece that’ll snap you out of a funk, every time

    Adidas Fiorucci Body Suit

    Price: $$$

    This badass body suit is so cool, it’s basically an instant mood booster. If looking at yourself in the mirror isn’t enough, blast some throwback tunes and #DanceLikeNoOnesWatching.

    Buy Adidas Fiorucci Body Suit online.

    Drape yourself in velvet

    Anthropologie Cozy Hooded Jumpsuit

    Price: $$$$$

    The holidays are the time for velvet, baby. But if you’re staying home this year, you can trade the fancy dress or pants for this equally luxe jumpsuit. You’ll still be psyched to wear it even after New Year’s.

    Buy Anthropologie Cozy Hooded Jumpsuit online.

    The pajama-style set you’ll want to wear all day

    Eberjey Gisele Long PJ Set

    Price: $$$$$

    This PJ set will make you want to stay in bed — with a pour-over coffee and good book — all day long. The impeccable cut, silky smooth fabric, and rich color will make any lazy day classy.

    Buy Eberjey Gisele Long PJ Set online.

    Best tie dye set

    Margrine Women’s Tie Dye Printed Pajamas Set

    Price: $$

    Sure, you could DIY your tie-dye. But with color options this good, you def don’t need to. You can pick between a long-sleeved top and jogger-style bottoms or drawstring shorts.

    Bonus: The poly-cotton blend fabric is cozy and super soft.

    Buy Margrine Women’s Tie Dye Printed Pajamas Set online.

    The only lounge shorts you’ll ever need

    Tommy John Women’s Lounge Short

    Price: $$$

    Professional lounging calls for shorts that deliver next-level comfort. These buttery soft and stretchy cuties are made from acrylic, rayon, and spandex. You can wear them all year long and they won’t go out of style.

    Buy Tommy John Women’s Lounge Short online.

    Slippers that keep your feet toasty no matter what

    Pottery Barn Teddy Bear Slippers

     Price: $$

    Look at the soft fuzzy fabric and the plush footbed. How could you not want these on your feet right now? The sturdy rubber sole means you won’t slip ‘n’ slide around either.

    Buy Pottery Barn Teddy Bear Slippers online.

    A bodysuit that also works for your virtual dance class

    Universal Standard Next-to-Naked Bodysuit

    Price: $$$$

    Yup, there are some serious ballerina vibes going on here. But the contoured waistband, breathable fabric, built-in bra, and stretchy nylon-Lycra fabric means it’s also perfect for hanging out at home. Or, wear it as a base layer for chilly outdoor hangouts.

    Buy Universal Standard Next-to-Naked Bodysuit online.

    Maternity set you’ll wear now and later

    Storq 3-Piece Lounge Set

    Price: $$$$$

    The cotton fabric is soft but substantial with a touch of stretch that makes it easy to move. The lounge pant, tank top, and kimono-style jacket combo work individually or altogether. FYI: It also transitions into the perfect nursing ensemble.

    Buy Storq 3-Piece Lounge Set online.

    The chicest caftan

    Dwell & Slumber Caftan

    Price: $$$

    It’s designed for pregnant peeps, but you def don’t need a bun in the oven to love the heck out of this soft, breezy house dress. (Though new moms and moms-to-be will definitely appreciate the nursing-friendly buttons.) And if you wanna wear it out, that works too.

    Buy Dwell & Slumber Caftan online.

    The kind of robe that says adulting

    Coyuchi Unisex Cloud Loom Organic Robe

    Price: $$$$$

    The organic long-staple cotton is thick, lofty, and just all-around swanky. It’s also hella toasty and towel-level absorbent for those dreaded cold winter mornings.

    Buy Coyuchi Unisex Cloud Loom Organic Robe online.

    Best lounge-y overalls

    Aedvoouer Women’s Jumpsuit Overalls

    Price: $$

    Perfectly slouchy with adjustable knotted traps and flat front pockets, you could definitely wear these out and look pretty awesome in an IDGAF kinda way. But the loose fit and cool cotton-linen blend fabric makes them really great for just hanging out at home.

    Buy Aedvoouer Women’s Jumpsuit Overalls online.

    Best pretty house dress

    Salter House Pintuck Night Dress

    Price: $$$

    On days when you really wish you had a reason to get dressed, reach for this full-length nightgown. The pretty lace detailing gives it an extra special feel. If you take some mirror selfies for the ‘gram, folks will totes ask where you got it from.

    Buy Salter House Pintuck Night Dress online.

    Best loungewear for your loungewearuni

    L.L. Bean Women’s Winter Fleece Zip Front Robe

    Price: $$$$

    Everyone’s baseline style is down at least one fancy notch right now. So if leggings and a hoodie are your weekday uniform, you can don this fleecy blanket robe on the weekend.

    Buy L.L. Bean Women’s Winter Fleece Zip Front Robe online.

  • 5 Questions for Connecting with Your Higher Self

    You’re here! That means it’s Monday, or it’s feeling like one. Don’t worry Greatist has your back. Subscribe to our newsletter for direct access to Mondays with Minaa, a mental health column by our resident self-care expert, Minaa.

    Design by Alexis Lira

    Hi Greatist readers, happy Monday! 

    We are finally at the end of November, time flies by! I hope these self-care practices have been helpful for you during this month and I’m looking forward to sharing the last dimension with you.

    Dimension #5: Spiritual self-care

    Spiritual self-care is all about connecting to something greater than ourselves. For some, it might be connecting with God through prayer. For others, it might be going for a walk and being in tune with nature. Spiritual self-care gives us the ability to live in a state of mindfulness and connect with the deeper parts of ourselves.

    As we shift into the final month of the year, I encourage you to engage in spiritual wellness. Here are some reflective questions to help you with this process:

    1. What is one source that I lean on to help me feel grounded?
    2. What medium do I use to engage with this source? (ex: prayer, meditation, photography, tarot, etc.)
    3. What does spirituality mean to me?
    4. In what ways can I honor my spiritual side?

    Give yourself some time to reflect on these questions daily. I look forward to checking back in with you all next month!

    With love,
    Minaa B.