By Diana Gerstacker
TheActiveTimes.com

A backpack is more than just a container to store and tote your gear -- a backpack is a symbol of adventure. These packs allow us the opportunity to explore without weighing us down.

Backpacks go where other bags can’t -- up mountains, through deep woods and out on the water. These amazing packs are the first choice for many travelers, athletes and school kids for their style and functionality. Everyone needs to take along their gear, whether it be crampons or crayons, backpacks are the ultimate adventure bag.

With the beginning of the school year just around the corner, we sought out the best backpacks that will handle everything from books to trekking gear. The packs on our list are versatile, top-of-the-line bags that will hold up through any adventure but won't break the bank. If you're looking to take on that next big peak or simply organize your technology for travel, take a look at the backpacks on our list.

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In case you weren't aware, your butt is pretty amazing. It helps your body stay upright, enables you to power through workouts, and looks fantastic when squeezed into a pair of skinny jeans, just sayin'. That's why it's so important for you to know how to get the most out of your glutes, the muscles in your posterior. Read on for all the crazy details.

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By Katie Rosenbrock
TheActiveTimes.com

Wouldn't it be nice if you could get fit and stay healthy without having to put in any effort?

I think we can all agree; it would be so nice. That's why health and wellness brands love marketing their products as cure-alls and quick fixes. "Our thing is finally the answer you've been looking for. It will solve all your problems in just 10 days!"

What they don't want you to know though, is that there's no such thing as a quick fix or a cure-all. To get fit, to stay healthy, you have to put in the work. You have to exercise. You have to eat right. There's no way around it.

However, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as we sometimes make it out to be. In fact, it can actually be fun and enjoyable. Seriously! Plus, if you're deliberate about your plan, there are things you can do -- like choosing certain exercises that are new and exciting -- that will maximize your results without making you feel like you’re a slave to the gym.

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What Your Favorite Workout Says About You

For example, an exercise like rowing might be just the thing you need to spice up your routine or spark a new exercise habit. It is by no means a quick fix or a cure all to your exercise issues, but there is a long list of reasons why it just may be one of the best forms of exercise you can devote your precious time to.

A workout on the rower combines both cardio and strength training so that your entire body, both inside and out, is put to the test in one short (but also sweaty) period of time.

Like I said, you're going to have to put in at least some work, but including rowing workouts in your exercise routine can help you cut down on the amount of time you spend exercising while still allowing you to reap all the amazing health benefits.

Maybe I sound a little bit like those health and wellness brand marketers I was talking about before; the only difference is that all these claims about rowing are true. Not convinced yet? Think it will be boring?

Hold your skepticism off for just a few more minutes and hear me out. Before you completely dismiss the idea, check out the following ten reasons -- developed with the help of CityRow’s program director, Annie Mulgrew -- why rowing just may be the best cardio workout ever.

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Robin Williams, the comedian and Oscar-winning actor who was found dead Monday from an apparent suicide, grew up in the Bay Area and was a big fan of the San Francisco Giants. He also had interactions with legendary athletes, including Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O'Neal and Yogi Berra, through show business and charitable efforts:

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The U.S. Open is the most attended annual sporting event in the world. In six of the past seven years, the New York City grounds have attracted more than 700,000 fans -- including 713,026 last year -- for the festivities, which last just over two weeks.

Along with great sporting popularity comes great responsibility in feeding the crowds. The USTA combats the onslaught of hundreds of thousands of hungry spectators with 60 concession stands, five sit-down restaurants, a massive food court, 100 suites and a players' lounge. Levy Restaurants, a Chicago-based restaurant company, has been in charge of culinary oversight at the event for nine years running.

"The people that come to the Open are part of a sophisticated group," says Jennifer Cox, a Levy's vice president. "Laid back, but sophisticated. They're very aware of what's on-trend and what makes people happy food-wise. There's a lot of time in a tennis tournament to break away and spend the day. It's not just about the one match."

To promote the culinary aspects of the U.S. Open, the USTA and Levy Restaurants are taking a food truck around New York City. The truck visited Madison Square Park on Monday with stops planned for Union Square Park at 12 p.m. Tuesday and Bryant Park at 5 p.m. Wednesday -- and it's free. Each day, the specific dishes alter, although the signature U.S. Open lobster roll remains a constant.

In the past half decade, the USTA and Levy Restaurants has brought in a loaded roster of famous chefs. In a way, the U.S. Open becomes an All-Star event for chefs, as well as tennis players. Celebrity chefs David Burke, Masaharu Morimoto and Tony Mantuano remain on-board from 2013 to 2014, while chef Richard Sandoval joins the fold.

On Monday, Burke, notable for his appearances on "Top Chef Masters," served out of the food truck, along with Cox. This will be Burke's third year at the U.S. Open, where he oversees Champions Bar & Grill.

"The USTA came up with a way to let people know there is fine quality, local food at sustainable venues at the U.S. Open this year and in past years," Burke said of the food truck. "You can not only see great sports, but you can eat well."

On Monday, the truck served the lobster roll staple, along with Burkes' filet slider with cracked pepper and onion marmalade. Burke and Cox provided a meatball slider as a third dish.

The scene at Madison Square Park featured three platters of sandwiches, a U.S. Open-laden truck, cardboard cutouts of 2013 champions Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams and the U.S. Open trophy.

"We really want to make people excited about the U.S. Open and we want to encourage people who are excited about food to be excited about the U.S. Open," Cox says.

Regulars at the U.S. Open recognize its food court as the best in sports, while brands and restaurants continue to partner with the event.

"I think food is important because people of that caliber who are going to the U.S. Open expect this type of product," Burke says.

The lobster is the poster boy (not to be confused with po'boy) for the U.S. Open for a variety of reasons. Its buttery-seafood taste certainly contributes, as does its thematic purpose and temperature.

"It's seasonal," Burke says. "It's East Coast. It's gaining popularity. It's easy to eat."

"It's a classic. Given it's so warm outside, it's a nice cold item," Cox adds.

As for the other dishes served, Burke's filet slider included a tender cut in a standard burger bun. Disguised as a hamburger, the meat is softer than average ground beef, making the bite seem even softer than it really is. The cracked pepper and onion marmalade add flavor to the already juicy beef.

The meatball slider includes a hearty roll, but it is the ricotta cheese that makes the plate pop. This adds an extra dimension to a traditional meat, sauce and cheese dish.

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The job demands a lot. Pinch-hitters must ready themselves physically and mentally for an at-bat that could come at any moment -- or never. Not all hitters are capable. Not all are fully willing. Those who are both might seize an opportunity to extend or expand a career.

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