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 

 

Motivation Monday: Super Bowl Edition

FootballOn this Motivation Monday, here’s hoping you’re not hurting too badly from your Super Bowl Sunday fun.

As you read this super short post, I happen to be in the midst of a mini-getaway…which will probably be the topic of discussion for next Monday.

So, as I scramble to cross the items off my vacation-prep to-do list, I offer a simple boost of motivation to get you moving today with help from last year’s day-after Super Bowl post. Click here for a reminder on why you do NOT want to skip the workout today!

Whether or not your favorite team won the Super Bowl, you’re certainly not alone in dealing with the aftermath of some serious splurging. Remember, one day doesn’t have to wreck your plans to pursue those longterm health and fitness goals. Just clean up the crumbs, recycle those beer bottles and re-focus on your commitment to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

A Unique Approach to Healthy Living

With Dr. Donald Hensrud, Medical Director of Mayo Clinic's Healthy Living Program

With Dr. Donald Hensrud, Medical Director of Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program

It’s always a win-win when my multimedia production world collides with my lifelong love for health and fitness. On this Motivation Monday, I’d like to share a glimpse at how that happened just last week in Rochester, Minnesota. That’s home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, and it’s where I made a repeat visit to produce a satellite media tour for KickedUp Media Group.

I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Donald Hensrud, the medical director for Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program. The immersion program is aimed at helping people keep their health and wellness resolutions alive long beyond a few weeks or months in the new year.

Let’s face it: most of us realize the benefits of adding healthy eating habits and physical activity to our daily routines, but the tough part is sustaining those habits in the course of our hectic lives. To learn more about how the Healthy Living Program is helping people make better choices and maintain them, please click on the player window below.

Before you take a peek, I’d like to thank Dr. Hensrud and Mayo Clinic for not only making this production possible, but for creating such an innovative program to help people have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Another First for LauraLovesFitness: A Different Kind of Fitness Video

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At VIDICOM’s studio in New York City

Happy MLK Motivation Monday!

Now that we’ve officially tipped the scale toward the last half of the first month of 2015, it’s time to address one disappointing reality. Traffic is getting a little lighter at the gyms and some people have already started throwing in the towel on their health and fitness resolutions. For anyone out there who’s wavering, it’s time to re-focus and get back in the game!

I often write about the fact that you aren’t alone in your health and fitness journey. Hopefully the video below offers another reminder that there are simple steps you can take to embrace a healthy lifestyle.  The good news is there are tools out there that can help you!

Before you jump in, let me say thank you to LG, Culturelle and Flight Song Wines for the opportunity to spread the word about how to keep those resolutions alive all year long. Sometimes a helping hand is all we need to continue on our journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Family, Friends & Fitness

iStock_000018191976XSmallCongratulations! This second Motivation Monday of 2015 brings you 12 days into the New Year. That means you’ve done your best to stick with your health and fitness resolutions for a whole dozen 24-hour cycles!

If you’ve had one or two “bad” meals or even days since we kicked off the New Year, don’t sweat it. Nothing great is ever achieved without facing a few obstacles along the way. If you’re struggling to stay on track, here’s an idea – activate the buddy system! How?

  • Lean on a fitness friend: Pencil in some quality time with your bestie by planning a couple of morning or evening walks; shooting hoops or signing up for the same group exercise class. Sometimes knowing you have a friend waiting for you at the gym is all you need to show up.
  • Cold-Weather Hater? Try sweating through a fitness DVD or online workout with your spouse or significant other right in the comfort of your den.
  • Tech Support: Set the DVR to record your favorite show(s) and go ice skating with the kids or take the dog for an extra-long walk.
  • Friendly Competition: Instead of hitting the bar for happy hour, find a few co-workers interested in de-stressing with a barre workout or other group activity. Here in New York City, there’s a great place called Chelsea Piers which offers everything from hitting golf balls to organized group events for games ranging from dodgeball to sand volleyball.
  • Ask a Pro: Have no idea where to start? Treat yourself to a few sessions with a personal trainer to get you on the right track toward injury-free fitness.

In addition to exercise, talk to your family about embracing healthier food choices together. I’m not expecting your kids to start asking for kale and brussel sprouts, but they probably wouldn’t mind building their own colorful and yummy non-fat Greek yogurt parfaits with berries, almonds and honey drizzle. I know a lot of parents keep cookies, chips and other treats in the house and often end up eating more than the kids. Think about this: if you’re making meals at home, you’re the one ultimately shaping your kids’ idea of what a “normal” diet looks like. Packing healthy snacks for lunch and after school activities while saving sweet or salty treats for special occasions can instill healthy habits at an early age. Here are a few portable kid-approved snack options that taste pretty good to grown-ups, too:

  • One serving Wheat Thins with one “Laughing Cow” cheese spread wedge
  • Baby carrots and celery sticks with peanut butter
  • Apple slices with almond butter
  • Greek yogurt with honey
  • Low-fat string cheese

Remember, embracing healthy habits and maintaining them is a lifelong journey. Aren’t trips more fun when you have company? While it’s great to find support from the huge #FitFam presence here in the blogosphere and on social media, never take for granted the strength you can gain from the people you love most to help you stick with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

 

 

 

Let the New Year Roll On!

GenericHappyNewYearWe made it to the very first Motivation Monday of 2015!
Five days in to the New Year, I thought I’d offer my two cents to help you turn your health and fitness resolutions into lifestyle habits that will last all year-long – beyond! First, let me applaud all those who’ve decided 2015 is the year you’ll fit more physical activity and healthier food into your already action-packed schedule. Making that commitment is a huge first step toward a more FITASTIC you.
Laura’s Top Three Stick-With-It Tips
1. Break Your Big Goals Down: While I’m a firm believer in dreaming big, tackling big tasks can be overwhelming unless we establish some small steps to advance to the finish line. For example:
Daunting: “I need to lose 40 pounds by March.”
Doable: “By spring, I want to fit into my clothes more comfortably and have more energy.”
Setting an attainable long-term goal allows you to focus on what you want to accomplish today and in the week ahead. Again, make sure that focus isn’t all about weight loss. You don’t want a weigh-in steering your motivation to stay on track with healthy habits that can make a world of difference in the long run. So, instead of saying “I’m going to try to lose 2 pounds this week,” why not set one or two goals along the lines of:
1) “I will eat five servings of fruits and veggies every day this week”
2) “I am going to add 10 minutes of exercise to my day at least 3 days this week.”
This is probably a good time for me to remind you that healthy weight loss occurs at a pace of between 2-3 pounds each week. This slow and steady pace means you’re adapting eating habits that are sustainable as opposed to starving yourself or denying yourself certain foods. Fueling your body with nothing but juice and kale for six weeks as opposed to learning healthy habits about portion control and foods that keep you satiated is almost always a recipe for disaster. Once you go back to normal food, the pounds almost always find their way back to your waistline, and usually more than before.

2. Put Healthy Activities On Your Daily To-Do List. Between my iPhone, old-fashioned day planner and countless note pads in my apartment, I’m an avid list maker. I always have “Cardio at NYSC” or Physique57 Class” on my daily task lists, and it feels great to cross out the endorphin-portion of my day when it’s done. So, put “exercise” on your calendar – even if it’s “10-minute walk” penciled into your lunch hour. (Remember, 10 minutes of something is always better than ZERO minutes of nothing all day!) If it’s a rest day, put other healthy tasks on your list such as “buy produce” or “prep veggies and other snacks for lunches.” You’ll be surprised by the boost you get from crossing out something as simple as “buy bananas” on that list on your fridge. Consider it a visual affirmation that you did something good for yourself on any day of the week!

3. Be Realistic.  Enthusiasm is the key to getting anything done, but don’t let it get the best of you. If you put “work out” on your planner for seven straight days, you may be setting yourself up for failure. As soon as you miss that first day, you may think, “Well, I just blew the whole week!” A more realistic approach would be to aim for three days each week for the first month. As you start experiencing the endorphin-rush and other benefits from exercising, trust me, you’ll want to increase the frequency of your workouts. Just remember no matter how much you love working out, everyone should take a  minimum of one day off  each week to let the body rest.

Finally, I leave you with this reality: there will be “off” days. Even as a lifelong fitness enthusiast, there are days I simply don’t want to workout and all I want for dinner are wine and chocolate. It happens. Just don’t let one bad day throw you off course.  Just wipe away the crumbs, prep your gym bag and remember tomorrow is your next chance to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

A LauraLovesFitness Holiday Tradition Returns!

Christmas gift and baubles on defocused lights backgroundOn this Motivation Monday, another Hanukkah has come and gone and we’re just three days away from the Christmas of 2014. I’ll be spending the week with my family, and before I leave the Big Apple, I wanted to leave all of you with what’s become a holiday tradition here at Laura Loves Fitness.

Before I re-launch my fitness-minded twist on a holiday classic, I want to wish all those who celebrate a very Merry Christmas! Thank you to all who’ve offered your ongoing support in 2014. I’ll be taking a little holiday hiatus, but can’t wait to hit the ground running in January with a whole New Year filled with infinite possibilities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Now without further ado, I give you…

“The 12 Days of Fitness”

On the first day of fitness, my workout gave to me…a huge rush of endorphins.

On the second day of fitness, my workout gave to me…two tighter thighs and a huge rush of endorphins.

On the third day of fitness, my workout gave to me…three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a huge rush of endorphins.

On the fourth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…a four-minute Tabata,  three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a huge rush of endorphins.

On the fifth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…five fitness apps! A four-minute Tabata, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a huge rush of endorphins.

On the sixth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…six static stretches, five fitness apps! A four-minute Tabata, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a huge rush of endorphins.

On the seventh day of fitness, my workout gave to me…seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! A four-minute Tabata, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a huge rush of endorphins.

On the eighth day of fitness, my workout gave to me….eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! A four-minute Tabata, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a huge rush of endorphins.

On the ninth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! A four-minute Tabata, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a huge rush of endorphins.

On the tenth day of fitness, my workout gave to me….ten minutes rowing, nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! A four-minute Tabata, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a huge rush of endorphins.

On the eleventh day of fitness, my workout gave to me…eleven eccentric muscle actions, ten minutes rowing, nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! A four-minute Tabata , three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a huge rush of endorphins.

On the twelfth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…twelve reps of lunges, eleven eccentric muscle actions, ten minutes rowing, nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! A four-minute Tabata, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a huge rush of endorphins.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  

Give the Gift of Fitness

iStock_000014614375SmallWith Hanukkah and Christmas creeping closer by the minute, this Motivation Monday is all about keeping things as simple as possible!

That means I’m offering reminders from holidays past to help you get through this season without completely falling off the health and fitness wagon.

Click on the following links for refreshers on:

1) Navigating your way through a healthy holiday party circuit

2) An ideal workout option for your time-crunched schedule

Finally, I offer three simple gift ideas for the fitness buffs on your list:

I’d love to hear about the items on your wish list! In the meantime, I send tidings of joy and and wishes for a season filled with plenty of chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Make Time for Your Health

istock_000012020247smallWe made it to another Motivation Monday, but this one comes in the midst of full-blown hustle and bustle time.  I’ve already reminded you about the importance of keeping exercise and healthy food prep on your holiday to-do lists. Today, I’m here to remind you about another crucial factor in staying healthy: be sure to keep up with those preventive checkups.

I recently saw my dermatologist for my annual mole check. As a fair-skinned, light-eyed Italian gal with lots of moles from head to toe, this has been an annual and sometimes bi-annual ritual since around the time I turned 30. More often than not, a suspicious mole is scraped and sent to a lab for a biopsy. I’ve always received the all clear, but sometimes only after a second scraping of the  area in question after some abnormal cells were detected. That’s what happened after this last checkup. So while my doctor assured me there’s no reason to panic, he does want to excise a bit more of the area for further testing and just keep an eye on it extra closely at my future checkups. I will see him again at the end of this week. Then I can move on and enjoy my Christmas without this extra “thing” on my mind.

Listen, I know how ridiculously busy life can be. However, if there’s a choice between getting a manicure and getting a mammogram during your only free hour of the week, choose the test. My friends who are moms sometimes tell me how they’re long overdue to get to the gynecologist for a checkup, but they haven’t been able to fit it in with all the “stuff” going on with the kids. I tell these amazing women they need to find the time to take care of themselves so they can continue to be there for their kids.

I realize there are only eight days until Hanukkah and 17 days until Christmas. So between working, shopping, baking, gift wrapping, card writing and party-going, this may not be the ideal time for a trip to the doctor’s office. However, if you know you’re due for a checkup or follow-up with one of your health care providers, why not put a 10-minutes aside to make a simple phone call and schedule an appointment for January. (Many doctors offices today even give the option of scheduling your appointments online.) Consider it one of the easiest ways to kick off the New Year with a renewed gusto to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

 

 

‘Tis the Season…

iStock_000014614375SmallOn this Motivation Monday, we’ve recovered from the turkey hangover but find ourselves ensconced in the hustle and bustle of the 2014 holiday season. While it’s known as “the most wonderful time of the year,” let’s not kid ourselves. It’s also a time filled with stress. How do we fit the shopping, decorating, card writing and other holiday prep into our days already filled with work, taking care of the kids and hosting or dropping in at a couple of  holiday parties along the way?

Despite the crunch, this is not the time to put the sneakers and workout wear in the back of the closet until 2015. In fact, the extra stress and calories thrown into our already frenetic days should make finding time to exercise more important than ever. It could be just what both your mind and body need to let go and enjoy some holiday cheer!

No doubt the extra chores paired with fewer hours of daylight can make it feel like there are fewer hours in the day. If you normally spend more than an hour at the gym or take 90-minute power walks with your friends in the neighborhood, chances are you’re going to need to spend some of those minutes elsewhere. So, here are some tips on how to fit fitness into your busy holiday schedule:

  • Switch things up: Try working out in the morning. If you can hit the gym, take a walk or break a sweat with some help from your favorite workout DVD first thing in the morning, you can cross exercise off your to-do list for the day. Two bonuses: you’ll be energized and focused thanks to the endorphin rush AND you’ll feel less guilty about having a treat or two at the holiday get-together in the evening.
  • Try the group thing: Most group exercise classes run between 45 and 60 minutes and take the guesswork out of planning your own routine. Give total body conditioning or strength training classes a shot as they get your heart rate up and hit all the major muscle groups in a short window. The group environment also gives you the opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone who can share his or her own holiday season survival tips!
  • Make shopping physical: If you drive to a mall, don’t look for the closest parking spot to the entrance. Also, be sure to wear walking shoes or cross trainers to keep your body moving efficiently while you rush from store to store.
  • Arm yourself with healthy snacks: If you’re squeezing in a shopping trip between work and picking up the kids, chances are you’re in between meals and could be hit with a snack attack. Instead of letting the smell of cinnamon, chocolate or other decadent temptation get the best of you at the mall, be sure to have some almonds, an apple or snack bar in your bag (No matter what purse I leave the house with, there’s always a KIND bar stuck in one of the pockets).
  • Don’t arrive hungry: Never show up for a holiday get-together feeling ravenous. If you’re eating late in the day, have portion-controlled healthy meals leading up to the main event and a snack up to an hour before arriving at the party. This can help you avoid grabbing the first high-calorie, high-fat item you see.

What are your tricks for getting through the holiday season? I’d love to know! Sharing ideas is one of the best ways to get through a busy season and stay on the path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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