Six Months and Counting…

I Need YOU to Help Me Re-Unite with Sue and all the other Walkers in October!

I Need YOU to Help Me Re-Unite with Sue and all the other Walkers in October!

Is it me, or do these Motivation Mondays seem to arrive faster and faster? I can hardly believe we’re already done celebrating Easter and Passover and for many others, spring break 2015 is a happy memory, as well. With time flying by so quickly, I hope you won’t mind this early call for support as I try to make my way to the finish line of my second Avon Walk to end breast cancer. The 39.3 mile journey takes place here in New York City in six months.

As you longtime readers may recall, my experience in last year’s Walk was truly life-changing. (Click here for a re-cap of what made the weekend so special.) My goal this year is to re-unite with fellow St. Mary’s Gael Sue and hopefully encourage other classmates, friends and family to put their best feet forward, too! It’s simple. The more people who walk, the more money we raise and the better our chances of wiping breast cancer off the planet once and for all. While I look forward to participating in as many Walks as possible in the years ahead, it would be absolutely amazing to know the event became obsolete in my lifetime because doctors and researchers found a cure.

Before I walk a second time for my mom who beat breast cancer in 2008 and two women my age who went through hell and back to battle the disease during this past year, I need your support. Each walker needs to raise a minimum of $1,800 to lace up. No donation is too small. Just think, if you donate early, you can consider it a good deed crossed off your list for spring.

The link below will take you to my personal page on the Avon39.org website. You can make a donation online, or if you’d rather mail something in, email me and I’ll gladly send you the paperwork.

http://info.avonfoundation.org/site/TR/Walk/NewYork?px=7671099&pg=personal&fr_id=2406

I thank you ahead of time for your support, not only for the Walk, but for all my efforts aimed at helping others have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Let the Easter Bunny Motivate You To Move!

photo-30If you need some motivation to get moving on this post-Easter Monday, let me direct your attention to the empty Easter basket in your house.

If you were lucky enough to get your own personal visit from the Easter bunny or perhaps you simply swiped some of your kids’ loot, you joined thousands of others in a sugar-filled holiday celebration. After Halloween, Easter is the second-largest candy-giving holiday. So if you enjoyed savoring some sweetness, now’s the time to work it off!

Still need a shot of motivation to kick the candy coma and get your butt to the gym? Here are some calorie counts of some of the most popular treats:

  • Cadbury eggs – my all-time favorite! One egg = 170 calories; 6 grams of fat
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs (probably my second favorite) One egg = 180 calories; 11 grams of fat
  • Solid chocolate bunny (small, 1.75 ounces) = 298 calories; 18 grams of fat
  • Jelly Beans: 20 candies = 160 calories, 0 grams of fat (But oh, the sugar!)
  • Jordan Almonds: 13 almonds = 140 calories, 5 grams of fat
  • Peeps: 5 Peeps = 160 calories, 0 grams of fat (Again, the sugar!)

For those celebrating Passover, here’s how a few menu items break down:

  • Dark chocolate covered matzah: 3 pieces – 200 calories; 11 grams of fat
  • Coconut macaroons: 2 cookies = 142 calories; 7 grams of fat
  • Chocolate coconut macaroons: 1 cookie – 190 calories; 11 grams of fat

Remember, whatever and whenever you celebrate, enjoy the quality time with family and friends and don’t sweat the extra calories. There’s always post-holiday time to get back on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

More Fit, Fun and Fab Tips for Spring!

CaptureAll you repeat readers know how excited I am when my fitness and production worlds collide!

Recently, I was able to share some springtime health and fitness tips with stations and blog sites around the country. I hope you find some helpful information in the interview I shared below.

Thanks to my wonderful crew at VIDICOM and to LG and Cold-EEZE for giving me the opportunity to spread the world about a whole new season filled with opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

Quick Hits

iStock_000018191976XSmallOnly one way to say this: it was a hell of a week. So on this Motivation Monday, I’m offering a simple post with three simple tips to get you even more excited about the start of spring!

  1. Leave the winter behind: Did you pretty much hibernate all season, skip gym classes or miss those daily runs thanks to dangerous weather conditions? Maybe you indulged in more than your fair share of calorie-loaded comfort foods. Don’t sweat it. Leave the sins of the past where they belong, take note of any updates to the spring schedule at your gym and stock up on some colorful produce and healthy food options. It’s time to get your mind focused on a fresh start!
  2. Don’t forget your core: It’s been awhile since I reminded everyone about the importance of incorporating core strengthening exercises into any fitness routine. I know everyone’s excited to start pounding the non-snow covered pavement for long runs and enjoy some outdoor calorie-burning fun like basketball and softball. If you’ve been less active than normal all winter, do your body a favor and don’t forget to incorporate some planks, crunches and bridges into your daily routine. You can do them when you first roll out of bed, when you’re watching TV or just add five more minutes to your workout at the gym. Click here for a reminder of some of my favorite core exercises.
  3. Workout for your skin: Spring makeovers are all the rage right now. I’m here to remind you of another great benefit of exercise – it’s a natural way to make your skin more radiant! Exercise improves circulation which increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your skin. It’s also been shown to reduce wrinkle-causing inflammation.

So, there you have it. Three easy reminders on how some easy tweaks to your spring routine can help you stay on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Spring Cleaning for Your Fitness Routine

Photo by: Leslie Hassler

Get Psyched to Get Back Outdoors! Photo by: Leslie Hassler

This Motivation Monday brings us just four days away from the official start of the spring of 2015! To be more specific, spring starts on Friday, March 20th at 6:45 P.M. EDT; 5:45 P.M. CDT; 4:45 P.M. MDT, and 3:45 P.M. PD. Yes, I’m pretty excited about it. Then again, after the brutal winter most of us just lived through, who isn’t?

In anticipation of the start of the long-awaited season filled with sunshine and rising temperatures, here are five tips to give your health and fitness routine a spring makeover:

  1. Set a Realistic Schedule: If you’re fitness routine took a backseat this winter, don’t sweat it. Write down your plans for walks and other outdoor cardio, trips to the gym and group exercise classes. Just don’t write something in for every day of the week or you’ll get frustrated the first day you miss a workout. Start with three days and work up from there.
  2. Stretch: We’re all excited to get outside and move, but hitting a high-intensity boot camp or basketball game without any type of warm up can be a recipe for disaster. If you’ve been less active than usual during the winter months, focusing on your flexibility training is more important than ever. One idea: warm up with 10 minutes of light cardio, then some dynamic stretches. These include lunges, touching your toes and walking your hands forward, swinging your legs while standing and twisting from side to side. Post-workout, do some static stretches to help your muscles recover – just remember to hold those stretches for 30 seconds.
  3. Try Something New: Break up your routine and soak up some fresh air with tennis, golf or team up with friends on the weekend for endorphin- and laugh-infused games of dodge ball, kickball or even ultimate Frisbee. You don’t have to be a seasoned athlete to have fun and burn some calories at the same time!
  4. Clean Out More Than Your Closets: Still have tins of treats from the holidays or boxes of chocolate from Valentine’s Day? Get rid of them. Feel guilty about throwing stuff out? Bring it to the office or some other place where a crowd will devour it quickly. Replenish supplies of raw almonds, beans, quinoa, brown rice, herbal teas, spices and other non-perishable healthy staples.
  5. Give Your Workout Wardrobe a Makeover: It’s always fun having new duds, so why not get rid of the cotton college t-shirts and sweats and replace them with bright tanks, shorts, cropped pants and other workout wear made from moisture-wicking fabric. For my fellow fitness chicks, it’s a good time to think about replacing your sports bras. If you’re working out a lot, a sports bra has a similar lifespan to your footwear – about six months.

Hang in there just a few more days, and soon we’ll all be launched into a brand new season filled with endless opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Fitness for the Greater Good

Just Like Being at a Nightclub on Two Wheels!

Just Like Being at a Nightclub on Two Wheels!

This Motivation Monday arrives just after the long-awaited arrival of daylight saving time. Even though snow and the rest of Old Man Winter’s mess remain on many streets and sidewalks across the country, may the extra hour of daylight remind us a new season is coming. Warmth is on the way. Soon we’ll shed the cumbersome coats, hair-wrecking hats and trade in the bulky boots for fancier footwear.

Need some more staying power to make it until the official start of the new season? Take a cue from the thousands of people who helped provide some serious ammunition in the fight against rare cancers by sweating it out in Cycle for Survival over the weekend. The indoor cycling event was founded in 2007 by Jennifer Goodman Linn, a Memorial Sloan Kettering patient and Equinox member, and her husband Dave. That first year, the New York City event raised 250-thousand dollars with help from 230 cyclers who rode shifts on 50 bikes. In 2009, Cycle for Survival became an official Sloan Kettering Cancer Center event, and Equinox became the founding partner.

Sadly, Jen lost her own battle with cancer in 2011, but her fight lives on in the thousands of participants who have turned what I’d describe as the biggest dance party on two wheels into one of the country’s fastest-growing fundraisers. Last year, 17,000 cyclers put the pedal to the metal on 4,020 bikes in 13 cities across the country to raise 20-million dollars. Today, I had the privilege of watching along with the cyclers and their supporters as MSK Cancer Center President and CEO, Dr. Craig Thompson, received a ceremonial check for just over 24-million dollars – and this year’s fundraising isn’t over yet.

It’s always a privilege when my professional world as a producer allows me to be a part of a fitness-focused event that does so much to help so many. The get-your-blood-pumping playlists and palpable energy of the cyclers had me and my crew cheering and dancing in our own space as we made our way around the floor to capture the spirit of the event. In addition to the unwavering enthusiasm of the cyclers – some even sweat through an entire four-hour shift solo – the other unique feature of this event is that 100-percent of all the money raised goes directly to rare cancer research, and it’s all dispersed within six months.

No doubt it’s been a long, harsh winter for many of us. For patients battling cancer and their families, any season can bring a relentless storm. Thanks to events like Cycle for Survival, we can put our passion for exercise to good use and help others in their fight to get back on their own path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

The Challenge of Change

photo-29This Motivation Monday arrives just one day shy of two weeks since my return to the full-time work force. It’s been a wild ride so far, and of course, that’s in no small part due to adjusting to new procedures and a new schedule. New routines can be overwhelming and exhausting at certain moments, while exhilarating and exciting at others. So while I’ve struggled to find Physique57 classes that mesh with longer work days, get a pre-workout snack in at the right time and find healthy meals that work for a later dinnertime, I know it will all come together eventually. Sometimes we just need to step back, take a deep breath and remember to be patient and let the newness settle in.

In the midst of my finding my new groove, another St. Mary’s Gael inspired me to re-think my dinner options. Edith sent me a message on my LauraLovesFitness Facebook page asking for some healthy meal ideas when dinnertime has to be later than usual. First of all, as you repeat-readers know, I’m all about prepping healthy food. Some items you can stockpile for the work week include:

  • Chop up veggies like celery sticks, carrots and red peppers and divide them into single-serving sized containers or baggies
  • Cook up a half-dozen or more hard boil eggs
  • Grill a half-dozen chicken or turkey breasts
  • Cook a cup or more of quinoa and then you can easily scoop out a 1/4 cup serving to add as a side or filler for lots of meals. (If you prefer brown rice or other whole grain, no problem!)

Now for some meal ideas incorporating the prepped foods and other quick-fix items:

  • Easy salads: Mixed greens, kale or other leafy green salad with grilled chicken, lean steak or fish. No time to grill up the fish? Open a can of tuna, add some of the veggies you already chopped up and use some olive oil and vinegar for flavor and you’re all set. You can even add the quinoa for some extra filler!
  • Have breakfast for dinner: Try an egg white omlette or scramble with some of those chopped veggies or even a bag of frozen ones.
  • Healthy pastas: There are so many gluten-free and/or whole grain options out there. Go ahead and cook up a box and then you can create individual-sized servings as needed. Add beans, tomatoes and some peppers for a healthy chili.
  • Soup: I find a lot of low-sodium soup options at Trader Joes. Sometimes a hot bowl of soup with a piece of whole grain toast does the trick for me in this cold weather!

I leave you with this final thought: Whether it’s a new job, revised after-school activity schedule for the kids or the unpleasant surprise of a loved one being diagnosed with an illness, something will eventually throw a wrench into your plans. Don’t beat yourself up when you can’t get to the gym one day or if you eat a little less healthy later at night. Get some sleep, shake it off and try again tomorrow. Sometimes being a little patient with ourselves is all we need to get back on track with our plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Want to Kick Those Winter Blues? Get Moving!

Thermometer FrostyIt’s hard for me to believe this Motivation Monday brings us nine weeks into 2015. What’s even harder to deal with is the fact that Old Man Winter obviously did some serious training in the off-season.

It seems practically all of us around the country are dealing with one of most brutal winters in years, if not decades. If  you’re struggling with a severe case of the winter blues, take a deep breath and realize you’re definitely not alone.

Exercise is a great way to lift your spirits thanks to all the endorphins that flow through the body when you workout. That energy surge also sticks with you long after the group exercise class or weight training session is done. Of course, with record-breaking snowfalls and below-zero temperatures keeping roadways and sidewalks slick in many towns, driving to the gym or going for that daily run or walk may simply not be an option. If you’re finding it hard enough to get from home to work or school and still want to break a sweat, don’t forget you can still get that endorphin rush right in the comfort and safety of your own home!

In an effort to share a warm reminder that spring will eventually arrive, I thought I’d re-post my “Tear-It-Up In Ten” workout video. Even though I demonstrate the circuit in Central Park, all the exercises can be done indoors and require no equipment. Hopefully, seeing some sunshine and greenery will also give you a glimpse at what we have to look forward to in the not-so-distant future.  So stay safe, stay warm and remember – sometimes taking  your workout and your mind to another place is all you  need to stay on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

 

A Presidential Motivation Monday

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy President’s Day!

This is one of those Motivation Mondays that has everyone doing something a little different. That’s because while President’s Day is still an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February, it’s one of those holidays where many people still have to show up at the office. Others may be working from home. Some lucky people may be enjoying an escape from the cold thanks to it being winter break time for their kids. Whatever you’re doing today, make it great and try and get some exercise into your routine.

This holiday was originally established to recognize President George Washington, but today it’s viewed as a time to celebrate all U.S presidents. If you’ve been stopping by here for awhile, you know I like to share motivational quotes once in awhile. So I thought today offered the perfect opportunity to offer a few words of wisdom from some of America’s leaders. (Please note, this is a total non-partisan group of quotes. I simply chose the words that moved me.) It amazes me how many sources of inspiration exist in history that can help us on our current quest to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.”George Washington 

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” –Andrew Jackson 

       “An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory.” -Millard Fillmore
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” –Abraham Lincoln 

“We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.” -Teddy Roosevelt

41

photo-28Call me superstitious, but I sort of believe in signs. So I hope the fact I get to start my 41st year on this planet on a Motivation Monday is a sign I’ll be stocked with enough adrenaline to tackle the new adventures and challenges waiting for me in the days ahead.

This birthday happens to fall in the wake of a brief but brilliant escape to the beautiful island of Aruba. It was the first vacation I’ve been on in awhile where I truly took it easy. Instead of the high-intensity cardio-fueled workouts I sweat through here at home, I enjoyed extended walks on the beach (sometimes two a day), stand-up paddle boarding and swimming. I even indulged in a massage. The result? Well, while I may have added a pound or two to my waistline thanks to the frozen cocktails and some decadent desserts, I also returned to the frenetic pace of my beloved New York city with relaxed muscles and a relaxed mind.

Not a bad way to wrap up my 40th year!

SUP Aruba Style: Not a bad way to wrap up my 40th year!

Part of my unwind time included embracing the fact that getting older doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you’ve been stopping by here for awhile, you’ve read one or two posts about the fact that I’m definitely stronger than I was 10 years ago. Physically and mentally. I credit my experienced – both good in bad, in the gym and beyond – for giving me the confidence to make wiser choices today. Sure, I’ll still tweak a muscle during a workout now and then, and I’m the first to admit I’ve made some less-than-optimal choices when it comes to work or my love life. However, at least I believe I have a well-stocked mental file cabinet of information to guide my decisions.

So as we all start a new work week and I start my new year, let’s embrace all the surprises ahead that can only lead us on new paths to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

“Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

-Satchel Paige 

 
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