Category Archives: Vacation

Happy Memorial Day 2017!

This may be my favorite Motivation Monday of the whole year.  Not only do we pause to remember those who gave their all so the rest of us could enjoy our freedom, we also get to celebrate the unofficial start of summer.

I hope the long weekend leading up to this important holiday has already been filled with sun, fun, good barbecue and even better times with family and friends. Since I want you to get back into the fun as quickly as possible, I offer this short “wish list” for you on Memorial Day 2017:

1) Take a moment to stop and remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so that the rest of us could live in this wonderful land we call home.

2) Fit some fitness into your holiday fun. Maybe there’s a group exercise class you can take before heading to today’s BBQ, or take a long walk when you get home from the fun. If you’re heading to the beach, there’s no reason you can’t take a long walk and bang out some planks and push-ups right on your beach blanket.

3) If you’re enjoying time outside, don’t forget to apply and re-apply the sunscreen!

4) Whether you’re celebrating the holiday indoors or out, stay hydrated. If you plan to drink alcohol, make sure to designate a driver to ensure everyone gets home safely.

I close by wishing all my readers a very safe and Happy Memorial Day. Here’s to the summer ahead and all the chances we’ll have to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Nine Days In…

Excited to jump into 2017 with a positive attitude!

Excited to jump into 2017 with a positive attitude!

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it’s already the ninth day of 2017. So many firsts lie ahead. For me, this marks the first Motivation Monday post of 2017. I’ve also embarked on my first business trip and tomorrow, I’ll produce my first satellite media tour of the New Year. It seems unfathomable that at this very moment last week, I was soaking up the sun in Antigua and not giving much thought to anything other than which frozen drink I planned to order next.

One slight unpleasantry occurred two days into my vacation: I hurt my knee when I fell off a paddle board and hit the board instead of the turquoise water on my way down. So all the workouts I planned in between the sun and fun (and high-calorie cocktails!) were not meant to be. However, I was able to create some interesting hop-on-one-leg dance moves for the New Year’s Eve festivities! After getting slightly miffed about the unplanned rest days, I decided to chalk it up to a sign that my body needed a break. Taking it one step further, I also realized I just needed a break from everything – even writing, something that usually brings me joy. So, I let go and accepted the fact that the world would keep spinning if I didn’t post a new blog on January 2nd. Now that I’m back dealing with the cold, snowy reality of a New York winter, I’m hoping to keep that mindset in check in the days and months ahead. Sometimes you need to pause and take a pass on the things that normally fill our forever-hectic days.

While I didn’t fret about future commitments while I was on vacation, I did have time to think. I thought about the big happenings of 2016: the high school friends taken from this world far too soon; my dad’s surgery; my parents’ move. But as I thought about those life-changing events, I also realized I managed to deal with all of them. No doubt my focus on fitness and healthy eating helped keep my body strong through the tough times, but it was also my faith and the love of friends and family that made it all a little easier. While I’m definitely hoping for a less turbulent 2017, the truth is I have no idea what will happen in the days, weeks and months ahead. As a detail-oriented planner, that’s been a tough reality to accept, but it’s also a reality I’m coming to terms with as each year passes by. Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s the simple fact that the people you care about will always be more important than deadlines and conference calls. Maybe it’s the knowledge that each person we encounter on this crazy ride called life struggles with his or her own demons and burdens. All of this thinking lead to my ultimate resolution: to make 2017 the year of living in the present.

As we all begin new journeys and tackle new goals, I offer a simple reminder not to sweat the small stuff that comes along. And it will come. If you’ve made a commitment to be healthier this year, remember it takes at least six weeks for any habit – good or bad – to become part of a daily routine. Click here if you’d like a refresher on some other ways to keep your resolutions on track.

I leave you with this: if you’ve skipped a workout more than once since January 1st, don’t throw in the towel. Everyone needs rest, and sometimes your body and mind need a nap or an overdue chat with a loved one more than a kick-butt workout. The same goes for your diet: if you’ve had a few extra sweets or other treats as you try to get rid of the holiday leftovers, brush off the crumbs and move on. Remember, each day we’re lucky enough to open our eyes is a new chance to start over on the never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

Asking for a Little Help from my Friends

I Need Your Help to Make this My BIGGEST Avon 39 Walk Yet!

I Need Your Help to Make this My BIGGEST Avon 39 Walk Yet!

We made it to the first Motivation Monday of August! Not only am I excited to savor what’s left of the summer season, but as many of you repeat readers know, this is also the month I take a break from writing and recharge my batteries by the beach as much as possible.

Before I go on hiatus, I hope you won’t mind this call for help. In 75 days from now, I hope to be joining my high school friend Sue in our third Avon Walk to end breast cancer here in New York City! As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and friend to other amazing women who are waging their own battle against the disease, walking 39.3 miles seems the least I can do to join in the fight. The catch: I can’t do it without your help. I have to raise a minimum of $1,800 to get to the starting line on October 15th, but I hope to raise much more than that and make this my biggest and best fundraising effort yet! (To that end, for those of you who follow my other social media channels, get ready to see some fundraising posts on those, too.)

Net funds raised will go to organizations right here in the New York area that help with everything from preventative screenings to holistic therapies to help patients manage the many effects of this terrible disease. Some of these groups include:

You can make a donation by simply clicking here and be taken to my personal page on the Avon39 website.  Despite all the advances in research, the sad reality is 40-thousand will die from breast cancer in the United States this year. So let’s do this! While I look forward to another weekend of making memories to last a lifetime, my dream is that one day we won’t have a need for the Walk.

I close with a big thank you in advance for your support and a wish for a wonderful month ahead filled with good times with family and friends. Just remember to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and listen to your body when it needs a break. Now get out there and soak up some sunshine and get on with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous! See you in September!

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

 

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!

Make 2016 Your Most FITASTIC Year Yet!

imageWe made it to the very first Motivation Monday of 2016! It’s a first of many kinds for me as I’ve never sent Happy New Year wishes from the Caribbean before today. Knowing how eager people are to kick their health and fitness resolutions into high gear, I didn’t want to let another day go by without sharing some tips to help your goals take shape.

When I get home, I’ll have to reserve my barre space at Physique57 a little earlier than usual and wait longer for an elliptical or to start a weight set at New York Sports Club. I love seeing so many new faces at the gym at this time of year, but I hate the fact that usually by March, many of those enthusiastic newbies are long gone. So, I kick off 2016 with a these ideas to make those fitness resolutions stick long after Old Man Winter has made room for Spring.

  1. Leave the past where it belongs: I know we all want to erase the “sins” of the holidays that came in the form of chocolate, cheese and cocktails. Don’t  waste your energy regretting the times you overdid it last year. I have my own memories of indulging in that second piece of lasagna and too many chocolates to count. Today is a new day.
  2. Adjust your attitude:  Thinking of exercise as a “chore” is a surefire way to put the brakes on your new routine. Instead, think of exercise as “Me Time.” No matter what’s going on in my life, the time I spend working out is the one time my brain goes into neutral and the only thing filling it is some good music. Use  exercise as a break from the ordinary, and before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to sweating out whatever ails you.
  3. Reality check: Saying you’re going to exercise seven days a week is one of the easiest ways to set yourself up for failure. The first day you miss, you’ll be discouraged, and could find yourself saying, “Well, there goes the week!” A more realistic approach would be to aim for a minimum of three days each week for the first month. As you start experiencing the endorphin rush and other benefits from exercising, you’ll want to spend more than three days working out. Discouragement aside, everyone should take a  minimum of one day off  each week to let the body rest.
  4. Do what works for YOU:  You woke up Christmas morning to find Santa left the latest exercise program under your tree. Meanwhile, all your exercise DVDs have been hanging out with the dust bunnies under your bed since VHS went out of style. Why not return the program and put the money toward a new pair of sneakers and moisture-wicking workout wear? Grab a friend and start those power walks or sign up for that Zumba class at your local community center. Have no idea what to try? Splurge and hire a personal trainer to get you started on the right track.
  5. Avoid severe diet restrictions: If you deny yourself something you truly enjoy for too long, it’s only a matter of time before you break down and go overboard. So, the chocolate bar you could have had last week turns into five chocolate bars, washed down with a chocolate shake and a side of cupcakes two months later.

I leave you with this reality: there will be “off” days. Even as a lifelong fitness enthusiast, there are times I simply don’t want to workout and all I want to eat is cheese and chocolate. As you read this post, there’s a good chance I’m having my first high-calorie frozen cocktail of the day. Stuff 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!

Back-to-YOU Season is Here!

Keep Your Summer Memories Alive!

Keep Those Summer Memories Alive!

It happened again. I blinked and the unofficial end of summer, also known as Labor Day, came and went before I could figure out how all the days since Memorial Day slipped by so quickly. I hope everyone enjoyed a season filled with sun, fun, family and friends and that your September is off to a great start.

New Year’s is often touted as the perfect time to get your health and fitness routine in tip-top shape. However, I think this back-to-school season offers another opportunity to re-focus your attention on making healthy changes in your life. Why? It’s simple: this is when we adjust to the non-summer-Friday work weeks along with new start and stop times for school, sports and all the other activities that fill up our hectic lives. That makes this the ideal time to fit some fitness into the waning days of summer and get a routine in place for a FITASTIC fall ahead!

New Opportunities Await!

New Opportunities Await!

Here are some tips to get yourself in a feel-good groove:

  • Stay Alert for New Workouts: Many gyms offer a new group fitness schedule in September. Maybe this is the season that cardio kick box class fits into your schedule. Also, ask about any back-to-school specials. Some fitness centers may offer their spin on friends and family rates. Talk about the perfect reason to make exercise a family affair or schedule a bi-weekly workout with a buddy!
  • Put It In Writing: If you drive your kids to school or your spouse to the train station, figure out if there’s time immediately following a drop-off or right before a pick-up for a workout. You could hit the gym for a group exercise class, drive a few more blocks to the park for a run or meet a fitness friend for a brisk walk or game of tennis. Typing the activity in to your smart phone task list or putting an old-fashioned sticky note on the fridge is a great visual boost to keep that workout on the schedule.
  • Ten Minutes of Something is Better than Nothing!  As time seems to grow more precious each day, there are plenty of workouts geared toward gaining maximum results in less time.Click here for a refresher on my “Tear-It-Up-in-Ten Circuit”  Do you really only have five minutes to spare? No problem. Click here for a reminder on how you can burn some calories and get the heart pumping with the four-minute Tabata workout.
  • “Fall” Into Healthy Eating Habits: If you pack lunch for the kiddies, why not add just a few more minutes to the prep time and make some healthy snacks or meals for yourself? I spend about 30 minutes every Sunday slicing and dicing veggies including peppers, celery sticks and carrots and then pack them in reusable containers. I can grab a portion anytime as a healthy snack, side dish or to mix with brown rice for a mini-meal. Some of my other go-to eats include raw almonds, green apples and non-fat plain Greek yogurt.
  • Wardrobe Prep Do you help your kids pick out their clothes before they go to bed? Why don’t you plan your own morning workout wardrobe, too! Put your gear in the bathroom the night before. It’s usually the first room we visit after we wake up, so if your clothes are staring you in the face, it may be harder to ditch the workout. If you’re exercising after work, pack your gym bag the night before and leave it by the door to grab on your way out. (And don’t forget to grab one of your prepped snacks for some healthy fuel, too!)

Finally, it’s important to remember getting fitness on your schedule and healthy foods into your fridge are two big steps toward a healthier you in the season ahead. During my annual August blogging hiatus, I had many conversations with several different gal pals (who also happen to be great moms) about their frustration over falling off the fitness wagon over the summer. Between keeping the kids entertained and all the BBQs, they found themselves eager to get back into a leaner, meaner routine. I’ll tell you what I told them: leave the “sins of the summer” in the past but keep the memories close in your heart. Just as the leaves are sure to fall in the days ahead, you’ll soon find yourself back on track with your efforts to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

Time For a Break

Can't Wait to Return to One of My Favorite Places on the Planet!

Can’t Wait to Return to One of My Favorite Places on the Planet!

This first Motivation Monday of August officially brings us to the start of the dog days of summer. Just when you thought the New York City summer couldn’t be any quieter, these are the days we Manhattanites savor shorter lines and fewer crowds at the gym, the supermarket and all those happening hot spots. This Motivation Monday also happens to bring me closer to my annual escape from the sizzling concrete jungle to the beautiful beaches of Montauk. I can practically smell the sea air now.

This year’s trip seems to be arriving at a truly perfect time as I shake off the remnants of a nasty bug that literally threw me off-balance for nearly three weeks. Who knew a virus could set up shop in your inner ear and make you feel seasick 24-hours a day? Needless to say the dizzy spells and nausea seriously interfered with my normal workout routine. It was tough for this exercise junkie to take a break from what provides a daily boost to my physical and mental well-being. However, it’s equally if not more important to listen to your body when something’s wrong. While some prescription medicine slowly brought balance back to my life, the remedy came with some not-so-optimal effects including many sleepless nights. I now look forward to finishing the healing process at the beach – my absolute favorite place on the planet.

Finally, this is also when I say ciao for the rest of the month. As my longtime readers already know, I use this time as an opportunity for a little writing hiatus as the calendar marches toward Labor Day. So, I close with a thank you to all my readers for your ongoing support and wish you a grand finale to the summer of 2015. I look forward to re-connecting in September and taking advantage of all the new opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Staying Safe in the Summer Sun

As the Mercury Rises, Be Sure to Keep the Water Handy!

As the Mercury Rises, Be Sure to Keep the Water Handy!

There’s nothing like a summer bug to throw off everything from your workout routine to a blog post. I’m finally starting to feel human again after an off week. Since we’re starting to feel some serious heat here in the concrete jungle with heat advisories in effect for the start of a new work week, I thought you’d forgive this Motivation Monday re-run of some important safety reminders.

Sometimes sunscreen, a good hat and a bottle of water aren’t enough to protect you from the effects of the sweltering sun. Here’s what you need to know if you or someone you know experience 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!

 

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