You can thank Physique57 instructor and friend Chad Levy for this week’s inspiration. He offered these 13 words of wisdom as we executed our final stretch at the end of a fitastic workout last Wednesday. They stayed with me all week. Given the battles each of us faces in our daily lives and the state of sadness and shock that still lingers following last week’s tragic events in Las Vegas, I thought it couldn’t hurt to pass these words along to my readers:
“Remember your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Remember your compassion and not your anger.”
Never underestimate the power of a good sweat when it comes to finding the strength to attack the challenges in this crazy ride called life. And never forget you have all the power you need inside you to continue on the path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous.
Now’s the time when menus everywhere are filled with everything from pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin ravioli. If you need proof of just how popular pumpkins are, you need only to scroll through the social media feeds filled with photos of happy pumpkin pickers and sippers of pumpkin beer. I’m counting down the days till I enjoy a big slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, but it turns out there are several good reasons to enjoy pumpkin more than once a year!
On this first Motivation Monday of October, I thought I’d offer just a few of the health perks found in fall’s signature squash:
- Post-Workout Power! It’s no secret bananas are a natural source of energy, but it may surprise you to learn just pumpkins pack more of the refueling nutrient potassium. One cup of cooked pumpkin has 564 milligrams of potassium compared to a banana’s 422 milligrams. A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles firing away.
- Good for Your Baby Blues…and Browns, Greens and Hazels, too!: One cup of mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A. Also, pumpkin is chock full of carotenoids, a fancy name for the compounds that create its orange color. One of those compounds is beta carotene, which has been linked to eye protection.
- Keep Your Appetite in Check! Pumpkin is often forgotten as a great source of fiber. In fact, a one-cup serving packs three grams or protein with only 49 calories. Countless studies show a fiber-rich diet can help you stay full longer so you eat more sensibly throughout the day.
So, while it’s always a good idea to enjoy the pumpkin pie in moderation, there’s no reason not to indulge in some of the other healthy options provided by this seasonal favorite to stay on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous !
Happy first Motivation Monday of the fall of 2017!
Even though it still feels very much like summer here in New York, the reality is these 80-degree days won’t last forever. So while I encourage everyone to take advantage of the sunny days while they last, I also thought it was a good time for a reminder on all the inspiration Mother Nature has in store for us during the season ahead. If your fitness routine has been getting a little boring, there’s nothing like a change of seasons to kick things back into high gear.
Here are a few ways to add some fun to your fall fitness routine:
- ‘Tis the season for kayaking, canoeing, rowing and horseback riding! If you live near the water, look for clubs that offer fall water sports. Along with enjoying some scenery, you’ll get the added benefit of squeezing some cardio and upper body strength training into your workout. Horseback riding helps build lower body strength while taking in the beauty of a brightly colored trail. If you’re a city dweller like me, consider trying a rowing class or at least adding a 500-meter sprint on the rowing machine to your gym routine. (I like to add a sprint in between my 30-minute elliptical machine and 20-minute recumbent bike sessions and usually add another sprint at the end of the entire cardio machine stretch.)
- Make those chores work for you! Did you know a 150-pound person can burn up to 135 calories by raking leaves for 30 minutes? Raking leaves can also be a fun family activity if you get the kids involved, too.
- Outdoor bootcamps, anyone? Check out opportunities to enjoy as many workouts as you can in local parks or other outdoor hot spots before the colder temps and darker days chase us indoors. Depending on the intensity of the class, these full-body workouts can burn up to nearly 500 calories an hour.
- Adjust the time you workout: I don’t know about you, but as it gets darker, it’s harder for me to get motivated in the evenings. While I’m adjusting to the lack of sunlight, I try to get my workouts over with pre-work if possible. Check if there are morning group classes that fit your fancy. Not only can the group dynamic offer a boost of motivation, but you’ll start the day with a shot of endorphins to keep the energy up at work or wherever the day takes you. Also, by working out in the morning, you can welcome the tired feeling that creeps up on you earlier than usual and spend your evenings relaxing or enjoying down time with family and friends.
So what’s your fall fitness plan? Let me know! Whatever you do, remember this: sometimes all you need is a little help from Mother Nature to help you find new reasons to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s hard to believe this is the last Motivation Monday of the summer of 2017!
As we all get ready to shift gears into the new season, I thought I’d offer a short and sweet reminder of one of the essential components of my healthy living routine 365 days a year. My repeat readers have seen multiple posts about why I use Bfit Rapid Electrolyte Spray from Sportsfood to keep my body moving through a wide range of activities. Today, I offer this short video which explains how exactly how I use the sprays and why I’ll never leave home without a bottle in my bag. (Thanks to James and Jorge for helping me get this down and dirty video done!)
If you’re planning to add some new fitness gear and classes to your fall routine, I encourage you to consider adding one more component to help you power through the season. To learn more or try the spray for yourself, simply click here. Here’s to a making the most out of these last days of summer and welcoming the new season full of chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
No matter how much time has passed since September 11, 2001, the memories that flood my mind each year at this time remain as vivid as if the tragic events happened yesterday. As many of my longtime readers know, I was a reporter at News 12 Connecticut on that crisp, sunny morning. While it’s been 12 years since I left the world of broadcast news behind, on this day I find myself reminded of the panic and urgency in the newsroom as we went out to cover a developing story that none of us could comprehend ourselves.
There were countless interviews and live shots with people waiting to learn the fate of loved ones who worked in the World Trade Center. There were stories from the people who did make it home, stepping off of trains with ash on their clothes and shock on their faces after witnessing the horror in lower Manhattan. In between the live reports, I also remember making and receiving panicked phone calls and texts. In a pre-Facebook world, there was no other way to try to check on the whereabouts of family and friends who lived or worked anywhere near Ground Zero or the Pentagon. In the days that followed, I remember learning one of my friends and former colleagues was gone. Glen was one of too many people taken from this world so viciously and long before their time.
Amidst the sadness and confusion, there were also stories of how Americans came together to help each other ease the pain. Sales of American flags skyrocketed and random acts of kindness could be witnessed everywhere. Then I think of the state of our nation today, and it makes me want to cry all over again.
Anyone who reads this blog or follows me on social media knows I have never, ever been political. I certainly don’t intend to start now. However, I will say this: I hope we start doing a better job when it comes to showing compassion and treating others the way we want to be treated. As we mark another 9/11 anniversary, people of all ages, races and creeds in Florida and the Caribbean are reeling from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma. Our neighbors in Texas continue their struggle in the wake of disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey. And this storm season isn’t over yet. Before the hurricanes hit, we saw never-ending news coverage about people around the country arguing about whether statues should remain standing or if movies like Gone with the Wind should be banned. Meanwhile, we are faced with volatile situations ranging from our relationship with North Korea to the status of the healthcare system. Let’s face it: Things are just a mess.
On this September 11th, as we all stop and pray for all those lost on this day 16 years ago, let us also honor their memory by remembering the power of love and compassion.
God Bless America.
Happy September! I hope you’re a little distracted reading this post thanks to some wonderful sun-kissed memories from a fun-filled summer capped off by a great Labor Day weekend.
With a new school year in session and the no-more-summer-Fridays work grind in full effect, it’s time to get back to reality. The lazy days of summer may be ending, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to still incorporate some fun into the new season’s schedule, especially when it comes to your fitness routine.
For anyone who feels like they’ve fallen off the health and fitness wagon thanks to all the barbecues, margaritas and other summer favorites, don’t sweat it! I’ve always considered back-to-school season a perfect time to get back on track with your goals for the remainder of the year. I know things are hectic, but if you’re busy getting the rest of the family’s schedule in order, don’t forget to pencil in time for you, too. That means getting exercise on the daily planner.
So today, I encourage everyone to use this transition time to remember the three Fs of fitness: it should be fun; it should be functional and it can even be free!
Just last week, I was reminded how exercise can be all three (and more!) during the most amazing group exercise class I’ve ever experienced. Thanks to my gal pal, Rita Joan, I learned about a unique workout opportunity aboard the flight deck of the USS Intrepid here in New York City. For one hour, we sweat it out with hundreds of other fitness lovers of all ages, shapes and sizes. For the first 30 minutes, we pushed through everything from squats to single-leg balance reaches as part of an Ironstrength workout lead by its creator and sports medicine guru Dr. Jordan Metzl. Those functional moves were followed by some sultry ones thanks to a super fun 30-minute Zumba session with Jeimy Prisby. Oh, and the kicker to this amazing night? It was free!
This particular fitness experience is over, but it just shows how a little research can lead you to new opportunities. Not only may you finally find the perfect workout for your goals, but you may also find a new source of motivation sweating it out with endorphin junkies of all fitness levels. . For my fellow New Yorkers, click here to learn when you can get in on one of Dr. Metzl’s free Ironstrength workouts. If you’re looking to get your Zumba on, whatever city or state you live in, click here to find a class near you. This is also the perfect time to check for new group exercise classes at your gym, or look for free fitness activities at a local library or community center.
So, here’s to getting back in the game and to a brand new month filled with chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Well, it’s here. This Motivation Monday marks the last day of my favorite month of the year and the beginning of LauraLovesFitness’s annual August hiatus.
Before I take some time off from blogging to focus on other writing projects, new work assignments and of course, getting to the beach as much as possible, I wanted to leave everyone with three simple reminders on how to enjoy what’s left of the season while making some healthy choices.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen! Wherever and whenever you find yourself outside, make sure you protect your skin. Click here for a recap of the sunscreen that keeps me from burning without irritating my sensitive skin.
- Think Before You Drink! First of all, make sure you always have a designated driver selected to get home from a BBQ or pool party safely. As far as how to sip and enjoy libations with less guilt, one idea is to swap out sugar-loaded juices with seltzer. For example, you can mix shot of vodka with seltzer and then add a splash of cranberry or orange juice (or better yet, add orange or lemon slices) for a little sweet kick. Click here for some of my other lo-cal cocktail tricks.
- Keep moving! Take advantage of the extra daylight while we have it and maximize your outdoor activity routine. If you want to keep it social, grab a friend or two for a hike or walk on the beach or try getting the gang together for some beach volleyball.
Whatever you have on your calendar for the month ahead, I hope the days are filled with sun, fun, good food and good times. At the end of the day, it’s the memories we make with family and friends now that will keep us smiling in September…and on our never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
On this Motivation Monday, I’m feeling a little sad. I can’t believe there’s only one week left in my favorite month of the year. Where is the summer of 2017 rushing off to in such a hurry?
Since I’m a firm believer that this is the season to savor every minute of mood-boosting daylight, I plan to keep these last couple of posts before my annual hiatus as short and sweet as possible. Today, I offer this simple reminder: variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to your fitness routine. If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage everyone to use the waning days of July to shake things up.
My mom gave me the nudge to mix things up by encouraging me to sign up for ILoveKickboxing classes at a studio near my parents’ house. It’s been five months since I started the kick-butt workouts in the city and I really missed them when I’d visit Mom and Dad for an extended period of time. I finally signed up for some classes last week and in addition to getting my punch-and-kick fix while out on Long Island, I also experienced the benefits of trying out different instructors and class styles. Even within the same workout program, no two fitness instructors are the same. That means you’re bound to enjoy some variety in everything from the music playlists to the exercise selection from the warm up right through the cool down.
Whether it’s trying a new instructor at your favorite group exercise class or moving your Tabata routine to the beach or the backyard, now’s the time to try something new. If you’ve got some outdoor time planned with family or friends, go ahead and toss a football, Frisbee or paddles and a rubber ball in your bag for a game or two. There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to burn a few calories before enjoying those summer cocktails and barbecue favorites.
The great news is there’s still plenty of time left in the season to mix things up to the max and continue your quest to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
As we kick off a week filled with high temperatures and humidity, I thought I’d use this Motivation Monday to remind everyone how to recognize heat-related illnesses. Sometimes water, electrolytes, sunscreen and a good hat aren’t enough to prevent an emergency – especially if you’re exercising outdoors.
As someone who always sweats, these dog days of summer in New York City (and the rest of the concrete jungles across the country) can make being away from the air conditioning unbearable after just a few minutes. If you catch me coming out of the subway or leaving an ILoveKickboxing or Physique57 class, no doubt you’ll think I just stepped out of a sauna.
Here are some timely reminders if you or someone you’re start feeling out of sorts in the heat:
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
- 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
- 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. At this time of year, you’ll never find me leaving the house without two things: my refillable Avon39 water bottle and a bottle of BFit Labs electrolyte sprays. My repeat readers will know I’ve been using the zero-calorie, zero sugar, gluten-free sprays for a couple of years now and I can honestly say I have more energy and fewer muscle cramps during my workouts. They also help me feel less sluggish on the sultry summer days. If you want more information or are interested in giving them a try, just click here.
- 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.
Of course, I encourage everyone to enjoy plenty of outdoor fun this summer. Just remember to use a little extra care so you can stay safe while you move ahead with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Six years ago, this Motivation Monday fell on July 13th. That day marked the very first installment of LauraLovesFitness. As my blog turns another page into a new year this week, I am simply overwhelmed by the passage of time.
Pick a topic ranging from the political climate; global warming; the roller-coaster ride that is forever Wall Street or the revolving door of celebrity relationships, and it’s obvious we’ve witnessed so many changes in the country and throughout the world since that first post back in 2011. Closer to the home front, I have found this to be a significantly big year when it comes to upheavals and surprises.
While I continue my career in production both on-camera and behind the scenes and maintain my fitness certifications, there were so many changes within my family and circle of friends. At this time last year, my parents moved out of my childhood home. While that move turned into the biggest production of my life, today I can happily report Mom and Dad seem content with their new routine at a new address. Since last July, I’ve also laced up for not one, but two more Avon 39 Walks – one here in New York City and another in Boston. Sadly, not even a month after conquering the 39.3-mile journey in New York City journey, we said good-bye to our dear friend Liz after her three-year battle with breast cancer. There have been other sad good byes, but there have also been celebrations of new beginnings thanks to a few weddings and a few new bundles of joy arriving in our world.
I realize life is a journey filled with road bumps and unexpected turns, but with each year that passes the highs and lows seem to make a more powerful impact on my heart and soul. 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 more than I can handle. Then there are 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 2016:
I close this blog birthday post like all the ones before: I offer a heartfelt thank you to all my readers who inspire me to keep writing and keep moving! Whether you’ve been following my blog since day one or just last week; if you’ve taken the time to share, like, or comment on any of posts on my other social media channels – each act of support goes a long way! If there’s anything you want to read more or less about here, I’m always looking for suggestions on ways to take LauraLovesFitness through another year.
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!