Starting Over…Sort Of

Felt SO Good to Get Back in the Gym Over the Weekend!

Felt SO Good to Get Back in the Gym Over the Weekend!

Whoever coined the phrase the lazy days of summer obviously never dealt with a move in the July heat. Now that my parents are slowly settling in their new home, I am thankful this Motivation Monday signals the start of my own return to normalcy.

Probably the most important part of re-establishing my routine involves getting exercise back on my schedule. Saturday marked the first time I stepped inside a gym in three weeks. That is simply excruciatingly too long for this fitness fanatic. However, between my production gigs; the hours of packing; scheduling and re-scheduling contractors and moving dates and the nasty summer cold that stole my energy and my voice, something had to give. However, I always reminded myself that the stress was temporary and eventually things would get better. As I sit on a Manhattan-bound train for the first time in weeks, I realize they already are.

We’re all tired and covered in scrapes and bruises thanks to some unexpected run-ins with furniture and box cutters. Yet we’re all healthy and looking forward to our annual escape to the beautiful Montauk beach.

I also look forward to getting back to my Physique57 workouts; enjoying small, healthy meals throughout the day and catching up with with friends I haven’t seen in forever. I also know I have to be patient with my body. While I’m probably in the best shape of my life at 42, I also know I need to give my body time to adjust to a vigorous exercise routine again. I will pay extra attention to stretching and staying hydrated. And I will constantly remind myself that I will start feeling like my strong self again soon.

Consider this my roundabout way of saying there are plenty of things in this life that will throw us off course. However, reminding yourself that the road will eventually lead to a familiar path is half the battle in getting there. If your summer to date has included more tacos than Tabatas or too many margaritas killed your motivation to make it to those early morning boot camp classes, don’t sweat it. Today is a new day and there’s still plenty of summer left to work on those plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Summer Emergency 411

medinsigniaThis is a first-of-its kind Motivation Monday for me. It isn’t a series of killer workouts or late-nights out that have me extra wiped at the start of this new week. What makes this day so different is it’s the first Monday in 37 years that my parents have a new address. Helping Mom and Dad move out of my childhood home was probably the most physically and emotionally draining experience I can remember. Now the move is over, but the unpacking begins.

So, after a grueling week featuring some ridiculously hot days, I hope you’ll forgive this reboot of a post offering some timely reminders about how to recognize heat-related illnesses:

Heat cramps: These are painful muscle spasms, usually in the legs or abdominal region, that could be a signal that a more serious emergency is imminent.

What to do: If you experience heat cramps, stop exercising immediately. Find some shade or move indoors where it’s cool and drink water.

Heat exhaustion: This is more severe than heat cramps, and can occur when you’ve been exercising strenuously for a long period of time in extreme heat or humidity. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Moist, pale, or cool skin
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Heavy perspiration
  • Nausea
  • Weak pulse

What to do: Get out of the heat, loosen all tight clothing and cool the body with wet towels, but not to the point of shivering. Also, be sure to get some cool water into your system.

Heat stroke: This is the most severe heat emergency and usually happens when signs of heat exhaustion go unchecked.  In this situation, dangerously high internal temperatures will cause your body’s vital systems to fail.  Signs and symptoms include:

  • Altered level of consciousness
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Little or no perspiration
  • Weakness
  • Rapid pulse

What to do: Get out of the heat, loosen tight clothing and cool the body with wet towels. If you can find them, you can also put ice packs under the armpits and groin area.

Now that we’ve identified the emergencies, here are a few reminders on how to keep them from happening in the first place:

  • Try to exercise outdoors before 9 am and after 6 pm.
  • Stay hydrated! Basic guidelines call for you to drink 16 oz of water two hours before exercise, but you can drink an additional eight to 16 oz  if you’re exercising in warmer weather. Personally, I simply have water with me at all times and take a sip or two whenever I rest between sets or just stop for a breather.
  • If you have cardiovascular or circulatory problems and are taking medication, always check with your doctor before adding any outdoor activity to your routine.

I leave you with two important tips:

  • Always call 911 in an emergency.
  • Listen to your body. It knows when something’s wrong.

Don’t let this post prevent you from soaking up the summer season by working out and hanging out in the great outdoors. Just remember to keep the water bottle full and use a little extra care move ahead with your summer plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

LauraLovesFitness Turns Five!

iStock_000016093894SmallMy friends who are parents tell me time goes by faster and faster as their kids get older. As this Motivation Monday marks the start of the week my “baby” blog turns five-years-old, I can totally relate!

It’s impossible to highlight all the changes we’ve witnessed as a country since my very first blog post on July 13, 2011. We’re marching toward what many consider to be the most important presidential election in our nation’s history. Everything from the climate, the state of Wall Street and celebrity relationships change on what seems like a daily basis.

Closer to home, I’ve been through plenty of changes in the past year alone. New opportunities emerged in the world of production and on-camera spokesperson work. I added Fitness Nutrition Specialist to the fitness industry certificates hanging on my wall. I powered through my second Avon 39 Walk for Breast Cancer and can’t wait to lace up for a third adventure in October. Of course, there have also been some major upheavals. Just last week, I said good-bye to a high school friend taken from this world far too soon in a tragic accident. Later this week, my parents will move out of my childhood home and start a new beginning at a new address.

As each year passes, I realize just how quickly things can turn from happy and exciting to scary and sad. I also know I’ve managed the ups and downs of another year thanks to my faith; an amazing network of people I am blessed to call friends and family and that daily surge of endorphins I get through exercise. It’s amazing how a good sweat helps bring me back to center even when I feel like life is completely out of whack.

Then there’s the weekly installments here at LauraLovesFitness. In this chaotic world, I find some sense of clarity when I can get my thoughts out “on paper.” It’s cathartic to share my successes and failures on the never-ending quest for well-being.

Here are some of my favorite posts since July 2015:

Avon39 NYC 2015

Sticking with those Healthy Resolutions

Birthday Reflections

A Little Support Goes A Long Way!

I close this blog birthday post like all the previous ones: with a heartfelt thank you to all my readers who inspire to keep on keepin’ on! Whether you’ve been following my blog since the first post or started just recently; taken the time to retweet something I’ve written; liked, shared or commented on my Facebook or Instagram posts – each act of support goes a long way! If there’s anything you want to read more or less about here, I’d love to hear your suggestions for ways to take LauraLovesFitness through another year.

So, here’s to what comes next not only for my blog, but for the adventures that await on our continuing journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Happy 240th Birthday, America!

iStock_000020109046SmallHappy 4th of July!

It’s hard to believe this Motivation Monday brings us to another birthday celebration for the good ol’ U.S.A. Hoping you’ll spend this holiday enjoying time with family and friends rather than surfing the web, this week’s post will be super short and sweet.

First, click here for a reminder on how to make it through that all-day BBQ without throwing your healthy habits out the window. Second, I leave it to some of our founding fathers to offer a patriotic twist on my weekly wish for you to get out there and attack those plans 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

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” – Thomas Jefferson

“A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue.” – James Monroe

“Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”- Benjamin Franklin

 

A Little Support Goes a Long Way!

My Support Team

My “Support Team”

It happens at this time every year. The temperatures go up and the clothes come off. Everywhere I look, there are people running, biking and boot-camping either on the city streets or throughout Central Park and the other outdoor hot spots all over New York City. I always love seeing people getting their daily dose of endorphins, but there is one sight that pains me: a woman with too big of a bounce in her, uh, step…because she’s not wearing a supportive sports bra!

On this Motivation Monday, I apologize for leaving the guys out of the conversation, but I’ve seen enough to know it’s never a bad idea to remind women about the importance of having the right support above the belt. I often write about replacing your sneakers every six months to ensure you have a solid base for your workouts. Well, breast tissue needs protection, too.

Breasts have zero muscle, but without proper support, the skin and ligaments near the breasts which give them their size and shape can break down and eventually cause sagging. (The kicker: once those ligaments stretch out, they don’t bounce back!) Whatever your size, you will experience some sort of bouncing during exercise. So every woman needs to wear a sports bra whether she’s power walking, full-on running or exercising in any way that involves some bounce.

So, what sports bra works for me? As my repeat readers already know, I’m not a runner. (For all those reading this post who are runners, I’d recommend looking for a combination compression / encapsulation bra for maximum support.) Since I am addicted to things like the elliptical machine, barre classes and Tabata training. For these activities, I’ve recently become a huge fan of the Athleta line of sports bras. The Full Focus (seen in lime green in the photo above) and Double Dare (in fuchsia) bras are made of soft, moisture-wicking material and offer comfortable, yet solid support for everything in my routine from pulsing and squeezing at the Physique57 barre to mountain climbers. The Double Dare bra even has a double vent in the back to keep me feeling cool on the city’s hottest days.

For less intense activities, like a leisurely stroll or serious stretch session, I like tanks with built-in shelf-bras. Then there’s my other new low-impact favorite: the Coobie bra, seen in the above photo with a striped design. I think this may actually be the most comfortable bra I’ve ever worn to date!

Once you find the right sports bra, you can usually expect it to have a six-month lifespan with some good ol’ TLC in the washing and drying department. So, if it’s been six months since you bought your last pair of sneakers, then it might be a good time to make a trip to the workout wear department to find a new sports bra, too. Remember, having the right support for every part of your body is a crucial component on the journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

 

 

 

Summer is Here!

Ready for Some Summer Fun!

Ready for Some Summer Fun!

Nothing like some Motivation Monday vibes to kick off my favorite season of the year! While I’m happy to officially welcome the summer of 2016, I’m not sure where the past week went. That being said, I hope you’ll forgive this brief post featuring two of my simple summer fitness essentials: water and music.

If you’ve been meaning to get around to it, make this the day you start carrying that reusable water bottle wherever you go. Click here for a refresher on why H2O is such an essential component to our overall well-being.

As to the music, I’ve always believed a great playlist can sometimes mean the difference between throwing in the towel or sweating through a even just a few more minutes of activity. If you’re looking to mix things up, here are some summertime classics that always add a little spring to my summer steps:

  • “Summertime, Summertime,” Nocera
  • “Summertime Sadness,” Lana Del Ray & Cedric Gervais
  • “Summer Thing!” Afrojack featuring Mike Taylor
  • “Summer Girls,” Dino
  • “Summer of ’69,” Bryan Adams
  • “Boys of Summer, ” Don Henley
  • “All Summer Long,” Kid Rock
  • “Cruel Summer,” Bananarama
  • “Summertime,” Will Smith
  • “Summer in the City,” The Lovin’ Spoonful

So what’s on your summer playlist? Whatever you’re listening to and wherever you’re listening to it, I wish everyone a wonderful season ahead filled with endless opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

My Top Three Tips for a Healthy Vacation

IMG_3886Happy only-one-week-until-the-official-start-of-summer Motivation Monday to all!

Since many people are putting the finishing touches on their vacation plans, I thought a timely part two to last week’s prep-for-summer post would be to offer my top three tips to make that long-awaited getaway as healthy as possible:

Pack healthy “stuff!” Whether you’re escaping for a long weekend or extended time away, don’t get caught off guard! My go-to snack / meal options that fit easily in any bag include:

  • Protein shake packets and a portable shaker (I love starting every morning with an Isagenix shake);
  •  Low-sugar snack bars like KIND snacks
  • Almonds
  • Microwave popcorn.

Remember, just because there’s an all-you-can eat breakfast buffet doesn’t mean you have to fill your plate with every item every morning. Consider starting the day with a protein shake for breakfast and that frosty cocktail at lunchtime might not feel as naughty! Having your own snacks handy can also mean the difference between staving off hunger with some protein-packed almonds instead of running to the empty-calorie-filled snack bar. If you have a fridge where you’re staying, stop by the local market on day one to keep plenty of non-fat yogurt, fruit and other healthy options around. Again, you’ll be able to enjoy your main meals knowing you made smarter choices throughout the day. Last but certainly least, don’t the quick-drying workout wear for breaking a sweat!

Be adventurous! Have you been wanting to try yoga or a high-intensity boot camp class? Check out your hotel daily activity list and see what activities can be added to your daily fun. Got kids? Things like kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing are great ways to get the blood pumping while still spending time together as family. Just be sure to pace yourself.  If you’re trying a brand new activity, be sure to stay hydrated and stretch! And don’t over do it on day one. The last thing you want is to get sidelined from your vacation fun!

Rest! Remember, you ARE on vacation! If you’re not “killing” those workouts like you do at home or one rest day turns into three, don’t sweat it. I think it’s hard to find anyone whose body and mind couldn’t use some downtime these days so bask in whatever relaxation time you can fine. While you’re at it, lay off that smart phone! Seriously, the world won’t end if you don’t post on your social media feed every hour that you’re away. Instead, why not use the time to connect the old fashioned way: enjoy a face-to-face chat while basking under the shade of a palm tree or during a long, leisurely walk.

The bottom line is whatever you do on vacation, remember, it’s your time to reboot the mind, body and spirit. Sometimes hitting the pause button is exact what we need to tackle the stress of everyday life and stay on track with our plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

A Fit & Fun Summertime Shopping List

Yay - summer is only two weeks away!

Yay – summer is only two weeks away!

This Motivation Monday brings us just 14 days away from the official start of this beach bunny’s favorite season. As the school days wind down and summer vacation plans take shape, I thought this was a good time to offer my must-have list for a safe season ahead:

1) Re-usable water bottle: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! My rule of thumb is unless you’re playing a sport for 90 minutes or longer, stay away from those high-calorie, sugar-loaded energy drinks.

2) BFit Labs Electrolyte Spray: Speaking of hydration, don’t forget to keep those all-important electrolytes in check! Tossing a bottle of Bfit Labs Rapid Electrolyte Spray into your gym or beach bag is the perfect way to stay hydrated wherever the day takes you. Whether you choose Berry Blast or Very Vanilla, the sprays (made by Sportsfood, Inc.) contain 0 calories, 0 sugars, 0 carbs and 0 food dyes. They DO give you just the right spritz of sodium and potassium, along with a shot of vitamins B6 and B12.

3)  Portable / non-perishable snacks: Open any of my backpacks or beach bags, and chances are you’ll find almonds, a KIND bar and a banana or a green apple. Some of my beach cooler favorites include watermelon, frozen grapes and celery.

4) Moisture-wicking clothing: Sometimes the shirt on my back makes all the difference between sweating it out and throwing in the towel!

5) Jump rope: The ultimate portable workout tool that can be used just about anywhere.

6) New kicks: If it’s been six months since you got your last pair of sneakers, now’s the time to look for new support. When you’re out getting that new bathing suit and sunscreen, make a stop in the athletic footwear department.

7) Sunscreen: I’m 100% guilty of overdosing on way too much sunshine in my teens and 20s. Since developing Rosacea in my mid-30s, I’ve become more diligent about protecting my skin. I look for products that are lightweight, waterproof and formulated specifically for sensitive skin. My go-to for the last several years has been La-Roche Posay Ultralight Sunscreen Fluid.

So, what’s on your must-have summertime fun list? I’d love to know! Sharing ideas is always a great way to help everyone enjoy a safe season filled with lots of opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Gearing Up for a Fun, Fit and Fabulous Summer!

BeachI hope this rare Tear-It-Up Tuesday post finds everyone doing well after a safe and Happy Memorial Day weekend! Now that we’ve unofficially kicked off the summer of 2016, I thought I’d offer three quick tips to get your mind and body ready for my favorite season of the year.

  1. Stretch, stretch and stretch some more! Whether your new routine involves outdoor boot camps or beach volleyball games, a lot of us are using some muscles that haven’t seen some action in awhile. Be sure to stretch and stay hydrated to keep the aches and pain to a minimum and help prevent injuries.
  2. Don’t ignore the core! Many of us are breaking a sweat on unstable terrain so it’s important to keep the core muscles strong to maintain good balance and prevent falls. Whether you’re running, swimming or playing a game of pick-up, taking five extra minutes to add some planks and crunches to your routine can keep your center of gravity strong and keep you on your feet!
  3. Time for new kicks? I believe every should replace their athletic shoes every six months to make sure you have solid support for your activities. If you’re buying a new bathing suit or other summertime gear, why not add a new pair of sneakers to your closet, too?

Looking for a few tools to help with your summer of fitness fun? The three-minute below offers a few ideas. My thanks to Me + My, Arnicare and Halo for giving me the opportunity to be the spokesperson for their products and to the team at Vidicom for another great production. After you check out the video, get out there and enjoy the abbreviated work week and all the opportunities  ahead to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Happy Memorial Day 2016!

Small American FlagsMany people consider this Motivation Monday the unofficial kick-off to the summer of 2016. The most important thing about today, however, is that it’s an opportunity to stop, remember and be grateful.

Whether you’re beaching, barbecuing, or just lying low on this holiday, be sure to take a few moments to remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could be free. That freedom allows us all to speak our minds and live each day the way we choose in the ongoing pursuit of happiness. Let us also remember the families who continue to grieve their loved ones lost to war. Finally, if you see a veteran or someone in uniform today, why not stop and say thank you.

If you need a few tips on how to keep your healthy habits in check as you head out to enjoy the holiday, click here for a refresher. I wish everyone a very Happy Memorial Day! If you plan on raising a glass or two, remember to designate a driver and stay safe so that when the holiday’s over, we can all get back to our plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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