A Shot of Presidential Motivation

This Motivation Monday is a little different for everyone. It’s one of those American holidays when the mail isn’t delivered and the banks are closed, but not everyone has the day off. Here in my New York City neighborhood, it’s a little less crowded in the gym and the grocery store as lots of people escape for a mid-winter getaway while their kids are out of school. Whatever you’re doing on this President’s Day, I hope you find the time to fit some exercise into your routine.

Today offers my annual opportunity to offer a few words of inspiration courtesy of a handful of American presidents throughout history. Please note, this is a non-partisan group of quotes. I simply chose statements that moved me. I think it’s great when words from history can provide a source of inspiration and help us on our current quest to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

“Life takes its own turns, makes its own demands, writes its own story, and along the way,we start to realize we are not the author.” -George W. Bush
“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.” -Ronald Reagan
  “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb … Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” -Calvin Coolidge

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

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” –Abraham Lincoln 

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

“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 

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Another Year Older…

It doesn’t seem possible this Motivation Monday marks the first of my forty-fourth year on Earth. Especially since I feel like I only wrote about turning 43 about five minutes ago. But here I am, another year older, thanks to the unstoppable force of time. Each year, I realize it’s one of many unstoppable forces that make up a lifetime.

I think most would agree birthdays present the perfect opportunity for reflection. Reminiscing about the many experiences that will forever define my forty-third year, it was no surprise I found the most defining moments didn’t surround producing any particular shoot for a client or the various business travel delays getting there. The times that will always matter most are the ones spent with family and friends. Of course, not all those occasions can be joyous, especially when saying good bye to those we love who won’t be sharing in another birthday celebration. However, I know each of those experiences gives us some sort of strength that we build upon and take into the next year – and beyond.

I was blessed to spend the weekend celebrating with both my parents. Their love remains one of the strongest beacons in my life and will be no matter how old I get. Meanwhile, this birthday also marked another “first.” This was the third time I started a new year with James by my side, but it marked the first we shared as an engaged couple. Add all the birthday love I received via phone calls, emails, texts and social media posts from family and friends near and far, and the fact that I feel healthier and stronger at 44 than I did at 43…and I know I am one lucky lady!

That doesn’t mean there weren’t a few bumps in the road. Each year, the number of people in my life challenged by attacks on their physical and mental well-being grows. Whether it’s the sudden death of a loved one; a terrible diagnosis; a job lost or financial stress; the end of relationships or other family trouble, things just seem to get more complicated as we get older. In a world filled with so much uncertainty, the one thing I can control year after year is how I take care of my body. Exercising and eating healthy continue to help keep my immune system strong even when events and emotions seem overwhelming. Of course, the other “thing” that continues to work for me is embracing the everything-in-moderation mentality. That’s why I refused to feel zero guilt about all my birthday treats that started on Friday and added up throughout the weekend. Today starts a new week and a chance for me to get back on track with the non-birthday treat regimen.

As I start my new year, I encourage everyone to remember taking control of your health is something anyone can do at any age or fitness level. Don’t be afraid to strike out and try something new. There’s no doubt the road ahead can trip us up at any time. So instead of looking back, let’s use the lessons of the past to move toward the future and all the opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

Super Recovery Monday

If you’re struggling with the decision on whether or not to do something active today, let me ask just one question: What did you eat yesterday?

It’s probably no surprise to learn Super Bowl Sunday is the second-biggest calorie-consumption day of the year after Thanksgiving. The recommended daily caloric intake for people looking to maintain their weight is roughly 2,000 calories. On Super Bowl Sunday, the majority of Americans eat close to 2,800 calories…in about three hours.

Even if you’re not a football fanatic, celebrating Super Bowl Sunday has become a pretty common American tradition. I think it’s because the big game and the big-budget commercials that play in between the plays offer the perfect opportunity for friends and family to get together. Those gatherings tend to be fueled by many of the foods most of us try to avoid on a regular basis.

With some help CalorieKing, here’s a “playbook” featuring some of America’s favorite Super Bowl Sunday foods. After you calculate your personal tally based on how many servings you enjoyed yesterday, you can decide if you have more than a few good reasons to get off your you-know-what and start that next run, walk or other workout pronto.

  • 1 Slice of Cheese Pizza = 240 calories
  • 1 Slice of Pepperoni Pizza = 298 calories
  • 5-wing serving of hot wings = Anywhere from 300 to 597 calories (depending on the sauce and dip they’re served with)
  • 5 Pigs-in-a-Blanket = 470 calories
  • Bowl of Chili = Calories range from 300 – 600 based on the recipe. (e.g. cheese v. no-cheese)
  • Queso Dip = 71 calories per serving. (A serving is 2 tablespoons and most people have closer to 10. Each serving also includes 5 grams of fat)
  • Doritos’ Tortilla Chips, Cool Ranch Flavored (12 chips) = 140 calories
  • 1 Light Beer (12 oz) = 96 calories
  • 1 Regular Beer or Ale (12 oz) = 150 calories
  • 1 Regular Soda (12oz) = 140 calories

Whether or not your team won and whether or not you enjoyed any or or all of the indulgences mentioned above, I hope you enjoyed some Sunday Funday downtime. If that did go a bit overboard with the food and drink, don’t sweat it. This first Motivation Monday for February is the perfect time to get back on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Back in Fighting Form

Ready to Re-Focus & Get Back in Action!
Photo by Leslie Hassler

Somehow today’s Motivation Monday post marks the last one for the first month in 2018. To be honest, I’m more than happy to say good-bye to January.

My repeat readers have gotten used to my candid confessions in many of these weekly installments. Today, I feel it’s time to come clean about a truth that affects even the most fanatical of fitness freaks. Sometimes we’re just not that into the whole working out and  healthy eating “thing.” That’s the state I’ve found myself in for a good part of this month.

I can’t blame just one thing for catapulting me into this particular funk. Making the five-hour-flight transition from 82-degree sunshine in Grenada to the eight-degree tundra in New York City probably had something to do with it. The frigid weather aside, it was also time to face reality and get my career goals sorted out for the year ahead. (In addition to the “Sunday Scaries,” I find I suffer from a more serious case of the “Year-Ahead Scaries” with every birthday I face.)  On a more pressing note, it was time to replace the high-calorie drinks and snacks I’d indulged in while on vacation with my normal healthy menu items. However as the cold days persisted, it was just easier to order comfort food for delivery rather than make the trek to the grocery store (though I realize we’re talking about a three- or four-block walk) to re-stock the fridge and pantry with better options.

Then there were the nonstop reminders about turning our 2018 resolutions into reality. Whether those resolutions involved exercising more often or cleaning out the closets and getting more organized, the pressure to make it all happen simply comes at you from every angle – the TV set, the pages of a favorite magazine that’s supposed to provide a brief escape from reality and of course, the stream of each and every social media feed. All the Instagram photos of six- or even eight-pack abs and “amazing diet tricks” had me scrolling through my feed a little less. For some reason, those posts made me feel “guilty” about my less-than-healthy behavior in the new year to date. Instead of inspiring me to get moving, I had simply lost my motivation to work out. When I did exercise, I definitely wasn’t putting 100 percent into the workouts.

Then about 10 days ago, one morning turned into a couple of mornings of slowly getting back into my usual groove. I stretched more and modified my moves at ILoveKickboxing and Physique57.  I started feeling better and was able to get in my normal, sweat-infused doses of exercise. I started eating smaller, cleaner meals throughout the day and didn’t pour the second glass of wine with dinner. I finally re-stocked the kitchen with my healthy go-tos: hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken, veggies, berries,  brown rice and almonds. After a few days of rediscovering my healthy stride, I started to feel better. My energy level has improved, I am sleeping better and I feel more positive about the new month ahead and beyond.

I share these not-so-optimal moments from the start of 2018 in the hopes that it helps anyone who’s feeling discouraged by not “crushing” those goals for 2018 right out of the box. It’s okay. We all have bad days or even bad weeks. But every day  offers a new opportunity to start over. Be kind to yourself and don’t downplay the good things you have done for yourself so far this year. Are you drinking more water instead of sodas or other sugary drinks? Have you added five minutes or five push-ups to your exercise routine? Did you add a few healthy items to the family menu? Are you shutting your devices down a little earlier before bedtime? If you’ve done any, all of the above or made other healthy choices this month, kudos to you!

So here’s to using these last few days of January to stock up on whatever you need – from food to fitness gear – to make February and beyond a time to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

This Super Simple “Move” Can Help You Stay in the Game

On this Motivation Monday, I send my usual shot of encouragement to all of you who are still busy crushing those healthy living goals for 2018. However, since I also know at least a dozen people battling nasty colds or the flu, I’m also sending lots of get well wishes to anyone who’s been sidelined by a bug. Since my neighborhood has joined the ranks of others around the country registering very high on the Weather.com “Sick Score” on a daily basis, I know I’m talking about a lot of people.

Whether waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting in Church for Sunday Mass or clocking some miles on the elliptical machine, I’ve been surrounded by people sneezing and coughing at all different levels of ferocity. So I thought this was the perfect time to remind everyone of one move that can play a huge part in protecting you against picking up someone else’s germs and getting sick: wash those hands!

Sure, I’ll be the first to encourage exercise as a natural immunity booster, especially at this time of year. Working out is also a great way to improve your mood and beat the dreaded winter blues. But let’s face it: as much as I love going to the gym, it is one of the dirtiest places you can hang out. Since not everyone wipes their sweat and grime from machines or mats as they make their way around the floor, washing your hands could be the smartest move you make before walking out the door. If you’re taking the time to meticulously count your reps, time those Tabatas and monitor your heart rate, you owe it to yourself to add one or two minutes to the end of your workout with a quick but effective clean up. Consider it part of your cool down.

Here’s the official reminder from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to effectively wash your hands:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

During your workout – and anytime really – do your best to avoid touching your eyes and nose. They are easy gateways for germs to pass through and take over your body. Finally, if you do get sick, click here for a few reminders on when it’s time to consider an extra rest day so you don’t spread your germs to the rest of your fitness friends.

Remember, armed with some basic hygiene and common sense, we can all navigate our way through another cold and flu season and stay on track with all those plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

MLK Motivation

We kick off the third week of 2018 celebrating a very special person in our history, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since that means this Motivation Monday is also a holiday for many of  my readers, I’ll offer some short yet powerful quotes from the inspirational leader to help us face whatever challenges lie ahead. Whether you’re tackling the next level of your health and fitness goals or dealing with the struggles of every day life, we can all take a cue from Dr. King to help us on our  journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”

“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”

Hitting the Reset Button

Jumping into 2018!

Just like that, we’ve reached the second Motivation Monday of 2018!

I hope everyone made it through the “Cyclone Bomb” that hit New York and other parts of the Northeast late last week. I don’t expect any sympathy, but I must say returning from a week of 80-degree sunshine to single-digit temperatures Saturday night was one of the harshest re-entries to reality I can remember. It’s so hard to think at this time last week I was ringing in the New Year in a totally different world.

That being said, I’m sure you can appreciate the need to keep this week’s post short and sweet as writing it is one of many items on the back-to-the-grind laundry list. And what could be simpler than admitting it’s time for me to get back on my own health and fitness wagon after taking a pretty hard fall off of it while on vacation in Grenada.

 

Calories shared with good friends never count.

While I did manage to work out, it definitely didn’t happen every day and those workouts weren’t exactly banged out with the highest of intensity. However, the mindless minutes spent dozing under the shade of a palm tree, swimming in the Caribbean sea, floating in the pool or laughing with my fiance and the friends we made during last year’s winter escape were worth every calorie consumed in the countless frozen drinks and not-so-clean meals and snacks throughout the week. (Having a soft-serve ice cream machine right next to the pool was one of the temptations I couldn’t resist.)

So now it’s time for me to re-group, re-stock the fridge with my healthy essentials and re-focus on my usual healthy lifestyle routine. After the extra rest days, I know my body is ready to attack my usual ILoveKickboxing and Physique57 classes. I’m looking forward to blending my Isagenix shakes in the morning and eating healthy fruits and veggies and lean proteins for meals and snacks throughout the day. I’m even looking forward to cutting back on the alcohol intake for awhile.

For all of you who’ve been killing those healthy goals for the New Year since last week, kudos to you! Just remember, even if you’ve had a few slips since then, don’t sweat it. Sometimes we all need to be a little bad to get back to what we know is good. I also can’t stress this point enough every January: all habits – good or bad – take at least six weeks to become part of your normal routine.

So hang in there, keep up the good work and remember one slip (or in my case, one week of not-so-healthy living!) doesn’t have to ruin your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Welcome 2018!

Happy New Year!

This first post of 2018 comes from beautiful Grenada, and it comes filled with some simple thoughts.

I love the unlimited number of possibilities that arrive as we kick off a brand new year. New jobs, new relationships and new adventures you can’t even fathom lie ahead in a wonderful 365-day package. Of course, the more years that pass, the more things seem like they are out of my control. So here’s a timely reminder to embrace the things you can take control of – like taking care of your health.

So use these first few days of the new year to think of what you want to do to make this your healthiest year yet. I am not talking about making a laundry list as long as your arm. Think of three things you can do this week to get started. Need some ideas?

•Drink more water

Shut down the smart phone and other stimulants at least an hour before bedtime at least two times this week to get into a better pre- sleep mode

Take a 10-minute walk before or after work. Too cold outside? Walk up and down the stairs in your home or apartment building.

Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Quick ideas: 1 hard boiled eggs and an apple; non-fat plain greek yogurt; protein shake (i have been using Isagenix for nearly two years now)

Instead of watching tv, spend an hour with your family or catching up on the phone with a loved one or friend.

I will return after vacation with more simple healthy living ideas to kick start your 2018 on a good note. Just remember one important reality: Despite technology’s ability to fulfill our desires for instant gratification on so many levels, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be patient and know that making the commitment to yourself to make healthier choices is the first major step toward a wonderful 2018 and so many chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

A LauraLovesFitness Christmas Tradition Continues

Here we go again! This Motivation Monday post brings us exactly seven days away from another Christmas. Keeping up with tradition, this will not only be my last post of the year, but it’s also a chance for me to offer my signature fitness-inspired twist on a holiday classic. Today I give you…

The 12 Days of Fitness

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

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

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

On the fourth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the fifth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the sixth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the seventh day of fitness, my workout gave to me…seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the eighth day of fitness, my workout gave to me….eight back punches, seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge endorphins.

On the ninth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…nine jabs and crosses, eight back punches, seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the tenth day of fitness, my workout gave to me….ten roundhouse kicks, nine jabs and crosses, eight back punches, seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the eleventh day of fitness, my workout gave to me…eleven side planks, ten roundhouse kicks, nine jabs and crosses, eight back punches, seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the twelfth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…twelve reps of lunges, eleven side planks, ten roundhouse kicks, nine double jabs, eight back punches, seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

Whatever you and your family are celebrating as another year winds down, I wish you a very happy and healthy holiday ahead. I close with a heartfelt thank you for all the support throughout another year filled with ups and downs. Here’s to ringing in 2018 with a bang and welcoming all the new chances   to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous. See you next year!

Holiday Hodge-Podge

With one day to go before the start of Hanukkah and only two weeks until Christmas, I’m impressed you even have time to read this Motivation Monday post. I’ll keep things short and sweet so you can resume all your peak holiday hustle-and-bustle activities.

Here are my top five stocking-stuffer ideas for the fitness friends on your list:

  1. BFit Labs Electrolyte Sprays. I never leave home without a bottle! Each electrolyte-packed spray of Berry Blast or Very Vanilla contains 0 calories, 0 carbs and 0 food dyes.
  2. Moisture-wicking socks: I am a huge fan of Balega running socks. Wearing them helped keep my feet blister free during four Avon39 Walks –
  3. Sparkly Soul Headbands: No headaches, no slip, no kidding! These sports and fitness headbands come in a wide range of fun designs.
  4. Dry shampoo for quick touch-ups after a workout.
  5. Grippy socks: for barre workouts and other sneaker-feee activities.

Remember, giving gifts that promote a healthy lifestyle is a great way to show the most important people in your life that you support their journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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