Category Archives: Vacation
It is hard to believe Labor Day is only two weeks away. To put it lightly, the summer of 2013 has been a bit of a blur. So, I’m taking a break from blogging to focus on crossing a few very important things off my summer to-do list that got delayed due to Dad’s surgery.
I’m also looking forward to finding some extra minutes for some much-needed down time following the whirlwind that began several months ago when the company I worked for hit some serious financial trouble and finally closed its doors. At the mandatory labor department meeting I attended last week, even our orientation leader reminded the group that the end of this month into Labor Day is anything but a peak hiring period. Practically half the responses to emails I’ve sent to contacts during the past week have been “out of office” messages.
So, on this particular Motivation Monday, I encourage you to enjoy these dwindling lazy days of the season to maybe do one or two things you’ve been putting off longer than you wanted. Spend an extra day at the beach, pool or park with the kids; read the best-seller that’s been collecting dust on your nightstand; add 10 minutes to your daily walk or run and sure, go ahead and have that extra glass of wine. Be good to yourself.
Once again, I thank all of you for your words of encouragement during the past month. I wish everyone a FITASTIC end to the summer and look forward to a new season filled with even more chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
I can’t believe how quickly the 4th of July weekend fun flew by. Hopefully, you all got to enjoy a little downtime and beat the heat with family and friends.
I am happy to report I got some great workouts in not only inside the gloriously air-conditioned gym, but I also broke an extra sweat at my favorite place on the planet: the beach. So on this Motivation Monday, I offer a simple idea for the next time you spend some time on the sand to take a typical beach walk to the next level.
Walk at a brisk pace and then 10 minutes in, try a sprint Tabata. Any of you repeat readers will know the Tabata is my favorite four-minute express workout with a very simple formula:
*20 seconds of work
*10 seconds of rest
Total= 8 rounds
So, run at a high speed for 20 seconds, then slow down to a walk for 10 and pick it up again. I use my UltraTimer Tabata interval app to keep me in track.
When you’re done with that Tabata, you can go back to walking and then after a minute, why not try a squat, tricep dip or plank Tabata, too? Just remember, if you do more than one Tabata, be sure to rest for 60 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
The bonus of my beach workout is that spending time listening to the crashing waves and feeling the sea breeze fill my lungs gives me time to clear my head and focus on my mental fitness, too. With the summer season in full swing, I hope you find lots of ways to mix up your routine and find new ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Last week, I got a tweet from my high school pal Kathy asking about ideas for home workouts. She reminded me that with the kids out of school for the summer, it’s not always easy to escape to the gym to break a sweat. So on this Motivation Monday, I offer some quick tips to keep you active all summer, even on the days when getting out of the house isn’t an option.
The secret to making a home workout work for you is using as many muscles as possible while quickly moving from one exercise to the next. This will keep your heart rate up and help you burn calories. All the exercises I present in this “one-minute-wonder” circuit use your body-weight. The idea is to perform as many reps as possible of each exercise – with proper form! – in 60 seconds and then move directly on to the next one with no rest in between. The only “equipment” needed is a jump rope.
- Jump rope: if you don’t have a jump rope or not enough head room to use one indoors (and don’t have any outdoor space to work with), try jumping jacks or running in place
- Forward lunges: alternating legs
- Push-ups (modified version is to be on your knees instead of your toes)
- Bridges (Click here for a refresher on some core moves)
- Mountain climbers
- Side planks
- Tricep dips: We do these in my Physique57 classes all the time seated on the floor – you just need to lift your booty off the floor and brace yourself and use your triceps to dip up and down without touching back down. If you have stairs at home, steps are always a sturdy base for dips.
- Jumping jacks (or jump rope again)
Once you’ve made it through the 10-minute circuit, take up to a two-minute break and then start again. Or if you happen to have any cardio equipment at home, bang out the 10-minute circuit and then hit the treadmill, bike or elliptical for up to another 20-30 minutes. Aim for banging out this total-body routine three days a week on non-consecutive days. As you get stronger, work toward repeating the circuit two to three times. As you progress, you can also add more intensity to some of the exercises. For example, you can turn squats into squat-to-jumps where you literally jump off the ground with your arms extended straight over your head when you come up from the squat position. Push-ups can also be replaced with burpees. Of course, if you have any favorite summer stay-cation home moves, I’d love to hear about them!
Whether you’re working out at home, in the park or at the gym, be sure not to skimp on the stretching and allow your body time to warm up and cool down. Add plenty of water and sweet summer fruits and veggies to the mix, and you’ve got the perfect plan in place for a whole summer filled with endless opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Happy Memorial Day!
I hope you’ve been making the most of the holiday weekend. Today’s post will be a short and sweet one as I continue to enjoy a getaway to Pompano Beach, Florida with my parents, aunt and uncle. Here’s what I wish for everyone today:
1) Take some time to stop and remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could continue to enjoy our way of life here in the USA.
2) Fit some fitness into your holiday fun. I’ll hit the elliptical, bang out a Tabata Derby and probably take a long walk on the beach today. (Click here if you need a few reminders on how to squeeze some exercise into your day.)
3) Whether you’re at the beach like me or just planning to be outdoors, don’t forget the sunscreen!
4) Regardless of whether you’re celebrating Memorial Day indoors or out, stay hydrated. If you do plan to drink anything with a kick, make sure to designate a driver to ensure everyone gets home safely after the Memorial Day fun.
5) Hitting a BBQ today? Don’t arrive hungry! Click here for some reminders on how to keep your healthy habits in check while you celebrate.
Wishing everyone a great holiday and here’s to the summer ahead and all the chances we’ll have to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s hard to believe seven days ago at this time I was sitting on the beach in Aruba. In fact, the only times you wouldn’t find me sitting under a small but shady hut on the soft, white sand staring at the turquoise sea during my three-night getaway were:
- Between 7 – 8:30 am ET when I was at the hotel fitness center getting my cardio, core and Tabata training in before turning into a slug for the remainder of the day
- The 45 – 60 minutes I’d abandon my lounge chair and stroll along the gorgeous stretch of paradise known as Palm Beach
- Happy hour or any other hour of the day when I simply had to satisfy my craving for some kind of frozen concoction
There was only one item on my agenda for this particular vacation: rest. While the trade winds, swaying palms, blue skies and starry nights created the perfect peaceful setting, there was one other factor that made this a true escape. I refused to pay the crazy international rates for roaming charges to keep up with texts, tweets, status updates or emails. My iPhone remained in airplane mode the entire trip. I used it only to take pictures or listen to music while working out or chilling out. In other words, I shut myself down for three-and-a-half glorious days.
While going on vacation no doubt offers enormous benefits for both our physical and mental well-being, I realize we can’t just escape to our happy places at the drop of a hat. We all have financial burdens, professional and / or family obligations and part of being a grown-up is dealing with our responsibilities. So, if a getaway isn’t in the cards for you right now, why not look at another escape plan? Find a minimum of one to two hours this week where you turn the world off.
Yes, it’s a bold idea, but you can do it. I’m sure some of you parents or physicians are shaking your heads at me right now, but I know even doctors get a day off from being on a 24-hour call. If you must have your pager or cell phone with you for work, only take the call that’s from work. Leave the texting and other typing behind. Parents, you can “warn” your spouse or another family member you’re going off the grid for a bit.
Seriously, you can find an hour to shut down. Then take those 60 minutes and use it to focus on a workout, focus on the backs of your eyelids or focus some attention on a family member or friend. You’ll escape a bit of the daily grind that burdens us all. In our over-stimulated world where we not only watch a TV show, but tweet and post about what’s going on almost simultaneously, wouldn’t it be nice to give some of our senses a break for a change?
I came back from Aruba rested and ready to tackle new goals, new workouts and chase down new dreams for this spring and beyond. I’m going to do my best to find times in the work week to slow down – even just a bit – so the daily grind doesn’t get the best of me. At the end of the day, if you’re making an effort to eat well, exercise and take care of yourself, you simply cannot neglect the importance of down time as part of the plan to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s hard to believe at this time last week, I was just starting my five-day escape to Texas. The trip was everything I hoped it would be: good times with good friends from different parts of my life. The fact that I got to enjoy some much-needed 70-degree sunshine for a few days was an extra bonus!
Here are a few of my favorite things from my trip to Texas (in no particular order):
- The three-cheese Texas toast grilled cheese at 24 Diner.
- Blueberry pancakes at Kerby Lane Cafe.
- Celebrating National Margarita Day at the Hula Hut and Chuy’s.
- A simply fabulous dinner at the Driskill Grill.
- Tabata training in the Westin’s fitness center to counter some of the calories ingested in the highlights above.
- Countless laughs with my Northwestern gal pals Tracy, Molly, Evva, Lisa, Jessica and Irene! (Laughing doesn’t burn nearly as many calories as my typical workouts, but it certainly felt good!)
- The “Five Meat Treat” at Red Hot & Blue BBQ.
- “Bleeding Heart” margaritas and Baja fish tacos at Ochos.
- Sipping pre-Oscar Prosecco with my lifelong friend Jeanne Marie while her husband (and bona fide “Grill Master”) Paul fired up a delicious steak dinner.
- Getting to know their four-month-old baby Charlotte!
- Watching the end of the Oscars while sipping red wine and sitting in their hot tub.
- Rolling out of bed and burning some calories from the above-mentioned highlights in their home gym.
By now, you’ve probably noticed a common theme in my vacation-related posts: Laura loves to eat and drink! This is why I always pack the workout wear and get in a couple of calorie-busting sessions wherever I go.
However, along with the moisture-wicking gear, I also work hard at letting my vacation mindset take over when I arrive at my destination. That means realizing the opportunities for these special get-togethers don’t come around as often as we’d like and since we enjoy catching up over fun food and cocktails, it’s definitely not the time to obsess over counting calories!
After a little bit of decadence, I actually look forward to getting back on track with my normal healthy eating habits and kicking it up a notch at the gym. On that note, I encourage everyone to enjoy whatever memorable moments present themselves in the weekend ahead. Life’s simply too short not to embrace all that you love in this world. If that includes chocolate and red wine, dig in, sip and enjoy and remember, even indulgences have a place in our ongoing journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
I end this week on a short note of personal reflection, but it’s one I hope many of you loyal readers can relate to.
Thanks to President’s Day, this started as a four-day work week. Then it hit me that I’d be spending even less hours at the office because of the Northwestern gal-pal getaway planned several months ago. The mini-reunion turned into the perfect excuse to take a couple of extra days off to visit another lifelong friend and her husband who welcomed their first baby a few months ago. As you read this post, I’m either watching TV in my JetBlue seat or already having fun in Austin, Texas. No doubt there will be plenty of laughs and a few cocktails involved in the extended weekend ahead!
Somewhere in the midst of my excitement, an unwelcome visitor crept in to my mind: worry. I started worrying about getting everything “in order” before I left. Specifically, I found myself worrying about writing for my blog and scheduling a few posts while I was away. On top of that, I started worrying about making extra time to burn some extra calories before what’s sure to be another high-caloric good time. That spiraled into worry over whether I’ve had a few too many of those good times lately without enough time in between to reset my “healthy living” button. Then I took out my mental sledgehammer and smashed all that worry to pieces.
These are all “issues” not worthy of a second thought. This blog is supposed to be one of my outlets. If I don’t post on Monday, Wednesday AND Friday next week, the world will keep spinning. Working out is an even bigger outlet in my life, so why in the world would I waste time and energy worrying about that? Finally, if having one too many margaritas with friends I haven’t seen in years is a problem, well, then I’ve got much bigger issues to deal with when it comes to embracing some fun in this all-too-stressed-out world!
I guess sometimes we all need to step back and realize it’s okay to let go once in awhile. Reality will be waiting for me when I get home, along with the gym and my favorite group exercise classes. For now, the workout wear is packed and I’m ready for my Texas adventures. While I’m not sure what day my next post will appear, I am certain about one thing: I’m not going to worry about it while I’m away.
Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend so we can all face the new work week with even more energy to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
This particular Workout Wednesday marks a first for me. Depending on what time you read this, I’ll either be getting ready for or in the midst of flying to Amsterdam! As I write this post, I’m beyond excited to meet up with my lifelong buddy Ania and her pal Tiffany for what’s sure to be a fun-filled adventure!
While I’ll be skipping the workout today, I do plan on making use of our hotel’s fitness center during the trip. While I’m gone, if you need a shot of motivation, don’t hesitate to scroll down to the “Search This Site” box on the right side of this page. If you type in anything from abdominals to Zumba, hopefully you’ll find something helpful from one of my previous 200+ posts.
I leave you with links to some “oldies but goodies” that offer tips on key training concepts. I hope they’ll help as you continue your hard work on turning those New Year’s resolutions into routine behavior:
- Core Training
- One Area That Almost Always Needs a Good Stretch!
- Healthy Eating Tips
- One of My Go-To, No-Brainer Workout Routines
My next post will appear on Monday, January 28th. In the meantime, feel free to leave comments or email me with any questions or with any topics you’d like me to touch on in the weeks ahead. Wishing everyone a great week and I look forward to returning with even more energy to continue on this journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Who says you can’t go on vacation and make smart food choices?
If you’re soaking up what’s left of summer with a getaway that lasts a weekend or longer, you can have fun and not throw all the hard work you do at home out the window home!
Here are a few easy tips to help that help me make the most of my getaways:
- Breakfast: First of all – don’t skip it! It’s pretty common to be able to order egg whites almost anywhere these days. Instead of loading up on pastries or other sweet starts, try a veggie egg-white omelette and fresh fruit. However, if you simply cannot resist the chocolate croissant calling to you from the buffet or bakery shelf, go ahead and have one. (Better than scarfing down three tomorrow morning when they’re calling to you again, right?) Speaking of buffets, fill your plate with fruit first so there’s not as much room for the bacon, home fries or other high-cal, high-fat items in the spread.
- Lunch: You also shouldn’t skip lunch in anticipation of a big dinner. One of the biggest and most common mistakes people make is fasting all day before a “special” dinner later. This is a surefire way to sabotage any effort you’ve made to not overdo it. Why? Because by the time you sit down for what would have been a “big” meal, your hunger can make it colossal. If the only options at your vacation spot are burgers, hot dogs and fried foods, share something with someone. If you can “stock up” on any fruits from breakfast to snack on during the day (e.g. bananas, apples) that can help make lunch a little healthier, too.
- Dinner: Go for the fresh, seasonal specials like seafood with veggies. Not only will the catch taste great, but you can spend the extra calories on the wine or cocktail(s) you’ve been looking forward to all day!
- Dessert: Well, why not? You’re on vacation! I won’t lie, I eat dessert pretty much every day while I’m on vacation. If I’m lucky, someone might split it with me. If not, it’s just the extra motivation I need to make sure I keep my workouts going while I’m away.
- Snacking: If you can, pack a few “safe” non-perishable go-tos like raw almonds or high fiber cereal bars. (I always have a few Fiber One bars in my bag.) If you’re going somewhere with a fridge, make a stop at a local farmer’s market or grocery store for some fresh fruits and veggies including carrot and celery sticks, berries, bananas and tangerines.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated – preferably with water – and keep moving! Whether you’re spending some time by a beach, pool, lake, campground or someone else’s backyard, these are all perfect spots for a game of tag, volleyball or paddle ball.
Whatever you still have in store for the summer, make the most of it and remember: it is possible to go on vacation, enjoy some good food and still have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!