Well, here we are. Labor Day – the unofficial end of summer – has arrived. Whether you’re working out, chilling out, beaching or grilling, I hope you savor every second of the holiday.
As I hope most people will abandon the Internet and spend more time with family or friends today, I offer a short and sweet post featuring my favorite summertime songs. If you’re looking to make the season last a little longer, maybe you’ll download one or two and create a new playlist for your workout or cookout.
Here’s wishing everyone a happy and safe Labor Day ahead and here’s to a whole September filled with new chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Laura’s Summer Song Faves:
- “The Boys of Summer,” Don Henley
- “Summertime Sadness,” Lana Del Ray
- “All Summer Long,” Kid Rock
- “Summertime, Summertime,” Nocera
- “Summer Girls,” Dino
- “Suddenly Last Summer,” The Motels
- “Summertime” DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
- “Cruel Summer,” Bananarama
- “Summer in the City,” Lovin’ Spoonful
- “Summer Love,” Justin Timberlake
On this Motivation Monday, I find myself 54 days away from an event I’ve wanted to participate in for years. I’ve committed to take part in the 2014 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer here in New York City. The two-day event takes place October 18th and 19th. Thousands of people will walk 39.3 miles to help fund life-saving research, education and advocacy programs.
I’ve wanted to participate in the Avon Walk ever since my Mom’s diagnosis back in 2008. She beat breast cancer, and I know thanks to other events like this, more people will, too. Within the past few months, I learned of two young women – one in my high school class, another in my fitness circle – who are now waging their own war against breast cancer. So I decided it was time to stop talking about joining the fight against the disease and start walking!
However, I can’t do any of this without some help. In order to join in the Avon Walk, I have to raise $1,800. Your generous donations will help make that possible. Please click on the the link below to visit my personal page at the Avon Breast Cancer Walk website. While I hope to raise more than the minimum, I’ll take all the support I can get!
While I’ve Zumba-d my bootie off for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and donated to other charities, I’ve never done anything on this scale before. It’s a wonderful way to use my love for physical activity for a good cause and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I look forward to walking with Sue, a fellow Gael from St. Mary’s High School Class of 1991, and thousands of others as we strive to top last year’s New York donations of $6.7 million.
I close with a big thank you for your support on this new adventure. For all of you who follow me on social media, I appreciate any likes, shares and double-taps you can offer on those channels, too! I look forward to sharing more about an experience that will hopefully help more people on their journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s hard to believe this Motivation Monday brings us exactly two weeks away from Labor Day. Most consider the holiday the unofficial end of summer. As I sat on the beach on the last day of my last vacation of the season, I realized how much time can be wasted thinking about how many hours or days we have left to enjoy something instead of seizing and savoring the present moment.
I stared at the roaring sea, listened to the waves crashing against the sand and started breathing a little more deeply. I wanted to savor the scent of salt and sunscreen and embrace the feeling of the heat on my sun-kissed skin. However, somehow the my-vacation-is-almost-over panic crept in to my head and in to my heart. Panic about the future. Back in the concrete jungle. Back amidst the cacophony of sirens and horns. Back amongst the crowds of students on the subways and more people in the streets.
I know I’m not alone in this constant struggle between living in the present and worrying about what’s to come. As my mom pointed out, how can we not project about what’s two days or two weeks in the future when we’re bombarded with back-to-school sales in June and Christmas promotions in July?
Then I went for a last long beach walk, and one of my all-time favorite quotes from the legendary Dr. Seuss popped into my over-analytical head:
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
And I did smile. I realized how fortunate I was to be back in Montauk with my parents after last year’s hiatus because of my father’s emergency heart surgery. I realized the ocean will continue to churn and then settle into a calm, just like the different seasons and stages of life. At some point, each of us may face the end of a vacation…a job…a marriage…a life. My goal as I move toward a new season is to remember it’s healthier for the body and the spirit to hold on to what was good than lose sleep and sanity over what went wrong and what we can’t get back.
So when life seems overwhelming, I will close my eyes and envision the mighty sea to give me the energy I need to keep going. Whatever gives you strength- a good workout, an image of your children laughing without a care in the world, a conversation with your best friend – enjoy as many of those moments as you can this week and in the weeks ahead. We can’t change the fact that time will always march forward. But savoring the only thing we have control over in that journey – the present moment – can help us take on life’s challenges while keeping us on the course to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s an exciting Motivation Monday here at LauraLovesFitness!
My worlds of journalism, production and fitness all collide tonight with the debut of the Working Woman Report. The half-hour lifestyle show was created by my talented friend Allison Haunss. We met during our graduate school days at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and later worked together at News 12 Long Island and News 12 Connecticut. Now in addition to my role at KickedUp Media Group and pursuing work in the voice over world, I’ve joined the Working Woman Report as Senior Producer. I will also serve as the in-house fitness expert, which means you’ll see videos of yours truly showing people how to add some healthy moves to their lives.
The show debuts tonight at 8:30 pm ET on NYC Life, which reaches New York’s five boroughs; Long Island; Westchester; New Jersey…and beyond!
The following is a list of where to find NYC Life based on your cable provider:
- CableVision 22
- Comcast 25
- Time Warner 25
- Verizon / FIOS 25
- Over the Air 25
- RCN 25
- DirecTV 25
To learn more about the show, check out www.workingwomanreport.com In a nutshell, the stories showcase female entrepreneurs from all walks of life and how they’ve made their mark. The overall theme is aimed at empowering women to turn their dreams into reality. Since I’m always promoting how leading a healthy lifestyle can help you tackle your goals, I’m thrilled to reach a new audience about the benefits of incorporating exercise and a well-balanced diet into your daily routine.
Not in the New York area? No sweat! You’ll be able to watch my fitness segments on YouTube. (There’s a tab at the top of this page that takes you directly to the LauraDLovesFitness channel.) If you can tune in, please be sure to set reminders on your calendars or program your DVRs for future Mondays at 8:30 pm to catch more inspiring stories from some fabulous females and to see when I’m back with more fitness moves. Of course, feel free to tell your family and friends about the show and to let me know what you think!
I close with a big thank you to all my readers, family, friends and members of the fitfam who keep me keepin’ on! Here’s to all of the new opportunities that lie ahead for all of us on the never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s been about four weeks since my orthopedist kindly read me the riot act regarding my shoulder injury. Since then I’ve made some major adjustments to my workouts and my daily routine including:
- Cutting out all overhead exercises
- Modifying push-ups to the point of being more work for my triceps than any other muscle
- Avoiding wearing my purse on my left shoulder and reaching for items in my kitchen cabinets and vanity shelves with my right arm.
- Carefully executing all the reps and sets of the rehabilitative exercises prescribed by my doctor
- Taking my anti-inflammatories at the same time every day as prescribed
The result? On this Motivation Monday, I can happily report I have minimal discomfort when I wash my hair or if I accidentally roll over to my left side when I’m in bed. While I still feel twinges of pain doing some of my rehab work, the dumbbell scaption reps are virtually pain-free. The bottom line is I’m healing and I know if I remain patient and “baby” my shoulder for just a little longer, I’ll be back in full form!
I consider this progress report a concrete reminder for myself and anyone else who has a tendency to sometimes push a little too hard in about the importance of listening to the body when it needs time to heal. Has it been mentally challenging and downright frustrating not to be able to keep up with the rest of my Physique57 classmates during full-form push-up sprints? Absolutely. Am I itching to sign up for PILOXING classes and master the moves so I resume my plans to start teaching my own classes sometime soon? You have no idea! However, when I feel the frustration building to a boil, I tell myself getting healthy now will only open the door to bigger and better fitness gains later.
So for now and probably the rest of the summer, I will continue to stabilize and strengthen my shoulder, modify my motion during my workouts and keep a sharp focus on eating healthy. One benefit about being extra caution at the gym? I’ve noticed my kale and quinoa intake is up and some of my cocktail consumption is down!
I close with a thank you to everyone who’s sent supportive messages here and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Unfortunately, injuries happen. The good news, at least for me, is that I seem to be getting smarter with age about how to handle them. Sometimes, a little patience is exactly what you need to get back on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous.
I’ve been wanting to get in on this growing craze for a long time and finally took the plunge last weekend in Nantucket. After the first 60-minute attempt, I understood why nearly one-point-two million people gave SUP a try in 2013. It’s an activity that can help anyone improve balance and strength regardless of his or her fitness level. The bonus: if you wipe out – which I did at least a half-dozen times – you get a nice shot of cool refreshment to motivate you to get back up on the board.
Why does SUP provide such a good workout? It’s simple: in order to remain upright and propel yourself in the water, you need to stay balanced. That means you use virtually every muscle in your body to stand on a surface which can grow increasingly unstable depending on waves and currents. While I felt a good burn in my legs, I really felt my core muscles firing especially as I focused on keeping my navel drawn-in and glutes engaged in order to stay standing. The paddling also got my arms, back and shoulders pumping, but I was careful not to pump as hard or as often with my left side as I continue to nurse my left shoulder back to health.
What I also like about SUP is that it can truly be tailored to various fitness levels. Newbies can start on their knees before moving to a stand-up position. More seasoned enthusiasts may want to take their skills to rougher waters where bigger waves and stronger currents can present more of a challenge. Either way, you’re getting a low-impact workout which makes it kinder to the joints than running or high-impact group exercise classes. If you have access to the sport and like being on the water, your search for a new cross-training activity could be over.
What about calories, you ask? Just like any other activity, you’ll burn more calories as your intensity increases. For a “casual” hour, you can burn between 250 and 350 calories. If you’re paddling hard, that number goes up. I’ve read some SUP articles that include racers burning more than 1,000 calories in an hour.
While I won’t be adding a board and paddle to my New York City apartment decor anytime soon, I will be keeping my eyes open for SUP opportunities on future getaways. Whether it’s SUP or another activity, let this Motivation Monday post serve as a reminder that adding something new to your routine is still one of the best ways to stay on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Wow! It feels like it was just yesterday I was writing about LauraLovesFitness hitting the two-year mark. Now here we are 365 days later – well, 368 to be exact – celebrating the last of the toddler years for my baby blog.
This marks the 311th post published since July 11th, 2011. Topics have ranged from the importance of flexibility training to the importance of taking care of our mental health while focusing on physical fitness. You’ve read about a wide variety of favorites including Tabata workouts; lo-cal cocktail recipes and must-haves for my fridge. You’ve listened to me chat with fitness powerhouses on Lifestyle Accountability, 2FitChx and Curtis Harwell Fitness Radio. You’ve learned about the ups and downs in my life as a corporate video producer. You’ve even shared my grief and sent supportive messages following some serious shake-ups including my dad’s heart surgery and the loss of several loved ones.
The topics vary from week to week, but I continue to write each and every post with the same purpose that inspired me to start this blog in the first place: to motivate people to take better care of themselves. Not everyone likes to exercise. Not everyone wants to choose celery sticks over cheesecake. However, if I’ve inspired just one person to find some sort of physical activity that makes him or her feel good; pack frozen grapes instead of chocolate covered ones for a family picnic or decide to unwind after a bad day at the gym instead of the bar, then I have plenty to celebrate on this special occasion.
Anyone who follows me on Facebook and Twitter knows I sometimes repeat my favorite quotes. In that vain, here are five posts from the past year that I deem worthy of a second read. (Of course, I’d love to hear if there are one or two on your list!)
If you haven’t connected with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram yet, I hope you will soon. Consider it a birthday present! And stay tuned for exciting things to come in the months ahead. While I don’t want to spoil the surprise just yet, I can tell you if you live in New York, you’ll be seeing me on television soon.
Of course, I’ve saved the best for last and that is a heartfelt thank you to my family, friends and all my readers. Whether you’re a lifelong bestie who signed up for a blog subscription on day one or part of the #fitfam I found in the social media world, I appreciate anyone who takes time out of a busy day to check in. Moving forward, I’d love to know which topics you’d like to read more about as well as the ones you’d prefer to see less frequently. Three years into the blogosphere, I realize more than ever how much of a team effort is involved to stay the course on this lifelong journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
On this last Motivation Monday of June, I’m excited to welcome the start of my favorite month of the year! I love July because it’s snack in the middle of my favorite season. Toss in Independence Day, fireworks, lots of daylight and all the opportunities for get-togethers, and you have my recipe for a great 31 days ahead.
While we tend to lighten up at this time if year by wearing less clothing and trying to savor more carefree moments with family and friends, barbecue season can offer some tasty challenges when it comes to keeping our healthy habits in check. The good news is you can enjoy the grilled fare along with some summer libations and still feel good in your favorite bikini or sundress.
Here are my top five summer party survival tips:
1) Lighten Up the Libations: Orange, cranberry and pineapple juice are great mixers, but they’re loaded with sugar and unwanted calories. A better bet is to pick your poison and mix it with seltzer and lots of ice. Then add a couple of slices of fresh oranges, lemons, limes or even some pineapple chunks for flavor. The same goes for soda and energy drinks. Pick the zero-calorie versions when mixing them with alcohol. A At home, I always have a pitcher of Crystal Light in my fridge. When I add vodka, I measure the serving with a shot glass to keep tabs on how just how much alcohol I’m drinking. Finally, whether you’re partying at home or at a friend’s house, throw back water, seltzer or diet soda for every other drink to stay hydrated and keep the calorie intake under control.
2) Have a Snack: You never want to arrive hungry. That’s a surefire way to dig right into the chips and dips or other high-calorie platters. Have a snack with some protein about an hour before you head to the celebration. My go-to is usually a fat-free Greek yogurt with a handful of almonds, berries or a banana.
3) Weigh Your Options: If it’s on the menu, grilled shrimp is a great protein choice. Chicken has less calories than a cheeseburger or hot dog. By the way, I’d never tell anyone NOT to have a cheeseburger or hot dog if that’s what you really want. Just fill your paper plate with veggie or salad options first so you don’t have too much room for more than one burger or dog.
4) Be a Kid Again: Popsicles are a lower-calorie dessert option than cookies, cupcakes and other sweet treats.Maybe you even opt to bring a box or two along with the fruit salad or other dish you brought your host or hostess.
5) Get Moving: If your gym is closed for the 4th of July or you just can’t get to your normal workout spot because of time constraints, you can still go for a walk in your neighborhood or pop a DVD in the TV to get some exercise. If you know your party planner usually likes to get a good game of volleyball or if you’re the person the kids like to play, be sure to have a pair of sneakers with you for whatever action pops up.
Whatever your plans are for the month ahead, a little planning and a lot of common sense can make all the difference when it comes to staying on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!