Spray Your Way to a Better Workout

Spray2It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since I wrote about how “stripping” changed my fitness routine. On this Motivation Monday, I’m excited to let you know the same company that introduced me to the power of the electrolyte strip has found a great way for everyone to spray their way to a better workout!

Adding a bottle of Bfit Labs Rapid Electrolyte Spray to your gym bag is a great way to stay fueled and hydrated wherever the day takes you. The spray is made by Sportsfood, Inc., the creator of the rapid electrolyte replacement oral thin film strip that dissolves instantly in your mouth. Just like the strips, each spray of Berry Blast of Very Vanilla contains 0 calories, 0 sugars, 0 carbs and 0 food dyes.

In addition replenishing the all-important electrolytes sodium and potassium, the liposomal spray also delivers a shot of vitamins B6 and B12. In addition to drinking water, I gave the spray a try during one of my forever challenging Physique57 workouts: two sprays before the warm-up and two more half-way through class. While I still felt the burn, my muscles didn’t completely give out as quickly and that means I banged out more reps than usual. I can’t wait to see how the spray keeps me moving during my “strictly cardio” days at New York Sports Club and the variety of outdoor activities ahead of us as we march closer to summer.  I should mention one bottle costs $19.95 and contains approximately 180 sprays. If you use up to six sprays per workout, one bottle should last you about a month.

Spray1One final important note: this is not an “energy” spray – it doesn’t contain caffeine or stimulants. It contains only the electrolytes our bodies need to help maintain water balance and prevent muscle cramps and fatigue along with hits of B12 and B6.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know I don’t write a lot of product reviews, but I do like to share fitness or food finds that help me in my own efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I hope that assures you I’m only writing about this particular product because I do consider it a bona fide find for my diet and exercise regimen.

You can find more information and of course order the Bfit Labs Rapid Electrolyte Spray at Sportsfood.com Of course, if you do try it out, I want to hear from you! Sharing ideas on how we stay active and healthy is a great way to stay the course on the never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

Park Bench Workout Encore

Outdoor picIt seems everyone here in New York has definitely caught the get-outside-and-workout bug. This Motivation Monday comes after a sunny, mild weekend and temperatures should be in the mid to upper 60s all week. Add the fact that we have sunlight till around 7 p.m. and you have all the inspiration you need to try something new. Maybe this is the week you ditch the same old indoor routine for just one day so you can get outside to get moving!

If you’re looking for something to amp up or compliment your normal run or brisk walk, here’s a second look at one of my favorite outdoor workouts.

  • What you need: your body weight, a park bench and water.
  • What you’ll get: a good sweat and a reminder to use Mother Nature as a motivator in your ongoing efforts to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

Three Years Later….

FullSizeRender-2On this Motivation Monday, I find myself amazed once again about the passing of time. Here we are marching toward the end of April. It feels like just yesterday I was posting tips about setting realistic goals for those New Year’s Resolutions. Meanwhile, I’m gearing up for projects in my production world that I worked on one year ago and catching up with clients I met as many as five years ago.

Then one morning last week, as my jelly-like legs struggled to take me back home after a Physique57® workout, I was zapped with another time check: it was three years ago this month when I started the fitness program that changed my body -and my mental health! – for the better. In April 2013, my longtime gal pal Amy brought me to my very first Physique57 class, and I’ve been hooked every since. After hundreds of classes, I’ve never gotten bored thanks to an amazing group of instructors who never serve up the same workout twice. Despite being comfortable with the class format, my body is still sore as hell after a 57-minute barre workout that combines interval training, isometric exercises and stretches.

While I’d encourage everyone to try a Physique57 workout at a studio or online, the true purpose of sharing this “anniversary” is to offer proof that finding an activity you love is crucial to sticking with a fitness routine. Equally important is realizing your likes, dislikes and needs may change through the different stages of your life. During my Northwestern years and the ones that followed as I entered the working world, I had no problem working out solo and pushing myself to extremes in the weight room. As work and life grew more complicated over the years, I started gravitating toward group exercise classes. While I still do my own thing on certain days, I feed off the energy of a group dynamic. There’s something about being surrounded by the power of my fellow workout warriors pushing through seemingly never-ending planks and squats along with the positive vibes from my instructors and high-energy music.

I hope sharing my Physique57 journey to date encourages you to take stock of your own fitness routine. If you find yourself going through the motions this spring, it’s time to mix things up. If you’ve been ignoring certain muscle groups, now’s the time to get back into total body training. Sign up for a few personal training sessions so a pro can check your form and take your routine to the next level. Or do what I did and find a class that makes you feel like you can take on whatever the world throws at you. Sometimes, taking a moment to realize where you’ve been and how far you’ve come is all the motivation you need to take the next steps in your journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

Still Need Some Spring Fitness Ideas?

Photo by Leslie Hassler

Photo by Leslie Hassler

It certainly doesn’t feel like it here in New York City, but according to the calendar, we’re three weeks into the spring of 2016. If you’re still struggling to find some ways to get more activity into your daily routine while taking advantage of the extra daylight, I thought I’d use this Motivation Monday to offer a few pointers.

1. Get Dirty & Break A Sweat in the Garden!

For all of you with green thumbs, this is the time of year you’ve been waiting for! Getting your garden ready for the season can involve some serious heavy lifting.  There are lots of muscles involved when it comes to clearing away debris, digging, hauling dirt, mulching, and planting. Garden maintenance – weeding, trimming, clipping – can also help you break a bit of sweat. Are you going to burn a ton of calories? Probably not. Still, it’s a great way to spend time outdoors and feel good about breaking a sweat and getting dirty.

2. Take the Action Outside!

Love doing burpee sprints or Tabatas at home? That’s great! If you have a little space outside where you can get a dose of Vitamin D in addition to those blood-pumping endorphins, why not take your tried and true routine out there? Remember, getting 15 minutes of sunlight is a good thing – it helps reduce your risk of a vitamin D deficiency. We all need vitamin D for strong bones and healthy hearts.

3. A Little Pick-Up, Anyone? 

I love walking by the many parks around Manhattan and coming across adults playing games I remember fondly from my youth like kickball or dodgeball. Chances are there are leagues or groups in your own community that are looking for people to join a weekly game of soccer, baseball or volleyball. You can always look to Google to find out. If not, who says you can’t start your own league with a few fellow enthusiastic friends? Instead of meeting at the bar after work, a once-a-week sweat session with friends could be a healthy addition to your after hours routine.

If you have other ideas for using the season put some extra spring in your fitness steps, I’d love to hear about them! It’s always great when Mother Nature gives us a natural boost to stay on track with our plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

It’s Time for Spring Cleaning!

A little spring cleaning for your health & fitness routine can keep you smiling! Photo by Leslie Hassler

A little spring cleaning for your health & fitness routine can keep you smiling! Photo by Leslie Hassler

We made it to the first Motivation Monday of April! Now’s the time to embrace three staples of the season: Yankees baseball, spring showers and spring cleaning! As you carve out some time to de-clutter the closets and desk drawers, remember this is also the perfect opportunity to get rid of what’s sabotaging your health and fitness goals, too!

Here are my top three tips to help you take stock of what’s working, what’s not and what new things you can look forward to this season:

  1. Do NOT Skip Meals! It seems everywhere we look at this time of year, we’re bombarded by ads pushing us to get that bikini-body ready pronto. One of the biggest mistakes people make in trying to make that happen is skipping meals. If you’re thinking “Well, if I skip some meals, I’ll consume fewer calories and I’ll lose weight,” think again! The reality is you’ll probably end up consuming the same amount of calories if not more because when you do eat, you’ll be ravenous and consume extra calories you didn’t need. Also, when you don’t eat for long periods of time, your blood sugar levels drop which can leave you feeling fatigued, less focused and less productive in general. Instead, go ahead and use this time to develop the healthy habit of eating smaller meals every few hours to keep your blood sugar stable and control your appetite.
  2. Clean Out the Closets, the Drawers…AND the Pantry!  I know it may hurt, but maybe it’s time to get rid of that college T-shirt with the permanent sweat stains. I’m not saying you should toss your school pride in the trash, but why not treat yourself an order an alumni shirt online? While you’re at it, add a few bright-colored, moisture-wicking items to freshly de-cluttered drawers. We all like getting new duds for the season, so why should your workout wardrobe be any different? While you’re getting rid of old stuff in your closets or drawers, let’s not forget the dust bunnies collecting on those sweet or salty treats that have been hanging around in the pantry since the holidays. I know no one likes to waste food, so if you can bring the leftover boxes or bags of treats  to an office or school break room (and you know you have the will power to avoid digging in) let some other people enjoy them. (Assuming they haven’t stuck around past their expiration date, of course!)
  3. Mix Up Your Workout Routine! Don’t let boredom stop you in your tracks! Check for new group exercise classes at the gym or see what workout opportunities exist in the great outdoors. Whether you bang out some Tabatas in your backyard, play kickball with a community group or take an extra long walk in the evening, now’s the time to use Mother Nature as the ultimate motivator.

With a whole new month to look forward to, now’s the time to explore the many different ways we can all have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Oops!

Good morning, FITASTIC followers of LauraLovesFitness!

Earlier this morning, you all received an email with an unfinished post. If you haven’t read it yet, please trash it and wait for the spell-checked and grammatically correct post next Monday.

I realize this has happened a few times in the past few months. Let’s just say I have a lot going on and I need to find a better way to make sure my calendar is managed here on the blog. I thank you for your patience and for all your support since my very first post.

Have a wonderful day and don’t forget to do all you can to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Thanks for the Motivation, Easter Bunny!

Here’s hoping this Easter Monday post finds everyone happy and healthy after a great weekend!

If you’re looking for some motivation to get moving today, perhaps all you need to do is look at the empty Easter basket on your kitchen counter. Here’s a tally of the damage from some of the holiday favorites:

Peeps: 4 Marshmallow Bunnies = 130 cals, 0 g fat, 29 g sugar

Cadbury Creme Eggs (my favorite!): 1 = 150 cals, 6 g fat, 97 g sugar

Cadbury Chocolate Eggs: 12 = 190 cals, 8 g fat, 27 g sugar

Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny: 1 – 890 cals, 48.6 g fat, 20 g sugar

Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg (my second favorite!): 1 = 180 cals, 10 g fat, 16 g sugar

Reese’s Reester Bunny: 1 = 760 cals, 40 g fat, 72 g sugar

Brach’s Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Egg: 1 = 43 cals, 1.3 g fat, 6 g sugar

Jelly Belly Assorted Jellybeans: 35 = 140 cals, 0 g fat, 32 g sugar

Of course, for many of us (including yours truly), these treats come after a heavy meal filled with traditional favorites ranging from pasta dishes to honey baked ham and potatoes. There may also be some wine or other libations involved.

Anyone who’s been following this blog for awhile will tell you the last thing I want you to feel reading this day-after-Easter post is guilty. The fact is holidays almost always include more food and drink than usual. Don’t sweat it. Instead, make some smart choices today and remember, celebrating special occasions with friends and family will always be one of the most joyous ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

Spring into Fitness!

Can't Wait to Take the Action Outside! Photo by: Leslie Hassler

Can’t Wait to Take the Action Outside!
Photo by: Leslie Hassler

Happy first Motivation Monday of spring!

Despite the messy start here in New York City, we’ve officially welcomed a brand new season. That means there’s a whole new batch of opportunities to get moving! If you hibernated a bit during the winter, don’t sweat it. It happens to the best of us. Now’s the time to get off the couch, leave the winter blues behind and map out a plan for a FITASTIC season ahead.

The video below offers some ideas for help your spring fitness plans take shape with a little help from Alexia Foods and Cold-EEZE. (Full disclosure: I was a paid spokesperson for this segment, but please note, I would never represent a brand I didn’t believe in!) Remember, mapping out some realistic goals and using the extra daylight can make this spring your best ever filled with plenty of chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

A Sleepy Motivation Monday

iStock_000008015531LargeEach year at this time, Daylight Saving offers what I consider to be a double-edged sword. Our days are filled with more minutes of sunlight as the winter winds down.  However, as most of us set our  clocks ahead before turning in on Saturday night, we lost an hour of sleep.  So on this drowsy Motivation Monday, instead of offering a boost to prep your veggies or stretch more often, I encourage you to take stock of something that’s crucial to our overall health but often overlooked: your sleep habits.

Why do we need sleep? Research shows along with helping us stay energized, sleep helps regulate our mood and learn and retain valuable information. There are even studies out there linking inadequate sleep to weight gain. On a personal note, when I rack up too many consecutive nights without enough shut-eye, it’s harder to concentrate on everything from my work to my workouts and I definitely get more annoyed by the little things that usually roll off my back.

Here are some ideas for incorporating those all-important zzzz’s into your healthy routine:

  • Exercise: Physical activity can help you sleep. However, if I exercise less than two hours before going to bed, the endorphins keep me up. Aim to wrap a workout three hours before bedtime.
  • Alcohol: Anyone who’s read this blog for some time knows I enjoy a glass of wine to unwind at the end of the day. However, too much alcohol can have the opposite effect of calming the nerves and end up wrecking your night. Of course, having a hangover the next day after too many libations is never a good thing.
  • Caffeine: I have some friends who can have a cup of coffee after dinner at 8 pm and still fall asleep at 10:30 pm. If I have caffeine after 3 pm, I’m looking at a rough night ahead. The key is to pay attention to how your body reacts. Make sure you check for “hidden” caffeine in things like herbal teas and chocolate.
  • Hunger:  The bottom line is you don’t want to go to bed hungry, but you don’t want to be too full either. I try not to snack at night after dinner, but if I do, I go for a single-serve bag of 94% fat-free popcorn, a skinny cow fudge pop or a few clementines or mandarins. Frozen grapes are great for taming those sweet cravings, too.
  • Stress:  This is something I am constantly trying to manage a little better. One thing that’s helped the past few months is writing down all the things I have to do the next day before getting into bed. Whether it’s Physique57 class, conference calls, deadlines or things I need at the grocery store, it helps to have it all out in front of me and then I can unwind.
  • Shutting Down:  If you scan the Internet, you’ll find plenty of research on how watching TV in bed and using smart phones and other portable devices can be overstimulating when your body is trying to wind down. Aim to power down at least 30 minutes before closing those tired eyes for the night.

Remember, if you’ve made the commitment to workout and watch what you eat, you owe it to yourself to give your body time to rest and recharge. It’s all part of the winning formula to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

To Workout or Not to Workout…

coldThe inspiration for this Motivation Monday message came to me at Church. Everyone sitting around me at Sunday morning’s family Mass was either sneezing or coughing, especially the kids. When I got home, I washed my hands and thought now’s as good a time as any to offer reminders about when to consider skipping the gym to help your body get over a bug and keep your fellow fitness friends from getting sick, too.

The American College of Sports Medicine has outlined what you could call the “above/below-the-neck rule.” If your symptoms include the sniffles, runny nose and scratchy throat, studies show mild-to-moderate exercise isn’t harmful.  This could include a low/moderate intensity cardio workout that almost constantly keeps your heart rate in a range between 60-80% of your maximum heart rate.  (Reminder: to calculate max heart rate: 220-your age)  However, ACSM recommends you skip the heavy weight training or high-intensity cardio until you do beat your cold. Working out at too high an intensity when you’re fighting a bug puts extra stress on the body and can further compromise the immune system.

If you’re able to exercise and head to a gym, do your fellow gym members a favor. Wipe down any equipment you use with the anti-bacterial spray that’s sure to be made available by the facility. It’s just common courtesy!

As for the below-the-neck “stuff”: If you’re suffering from stomach issues including vomiting or diarrhea, or have a severe cough or fever, do everyone a favor and take a break from exercise until whatever’s ailing you has run its course. Also, if you’re knocked out by a serious bug for several days, remember to take it easy on your first day back in action. There’s a good chance you’ll be slightly dehydrated and feeling fatigued, so don’t jump out of bed and rush to your highest-intensity bootcamp class the minute your fever breaks.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: listen to your body! It’s true that one the benefits of exercise is that it boosts the immune system. However, what’s also true is that depending on what’s going on in your life, your body may need an extra hour of sleep one morning more than it needs to be pushed to the max at a kickboxing class.

Remember, a minimum of one day of rest each week is important, but when you’re sick, you may need two or more. Don’t sweat it. Just rest up, drink your fluids and before you know it, you’ll be back on your feet and back on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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