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!

Gearing Up for The Summertime Cocktail Season

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Could the weeks be flying by any faster? I think the crazy weather we’ve been experiencing here in New York (along with much of the country) adds to my sheer disbelief that this Motivation Monday brings us exactly one week from Memorial Day – the unofficial start of summer.

In anticipation of the mercury rising and the sun finally shining in full force, I know I’m looking forward to a little margarita madness and other refreshing get-togethers with friends and family. Always one to promote the everything-in-moderation lifestyle, I also subscribe to the notion that a little preparation can make for a smart season ahead.

So for all my fellow libation lovers out there, here are a few of my go-to ricks for enjoying those booze-infused beverages with less guilt!

  • Use Real Fruit for Flavor: Orange, cranberry and pineapple juice are great mixers, but they’re loaded with sugar and unwanted calories. A better bet is to pick your poison and mix it with seltzer and lots of ice. Then add a couple of slices of fresh oranges, lemons, limes or even some pineapple chunks for flavor.
  • Other Low-Cal Options:  Pick the zero-calorie versions when mixing them with alcohol. At home, I like to keep a pitcher of Crystal Light in my fridge. When I add vodka, I measure the serving with a shot glass to keep tabs on how just how much alcohol I’m drinking. Finally, whether you’re partying at home or at a friend’s house, throw back water, seltzer or diet soda for every other drink to stay hydrated and keep the calorie intake under control.
  • The Every-Other-Drink Attack: Whether you’re partying at home or at a friend’s house, throw back water, seltzer or diet soda for every other drink to stay hydrated and keep the calorie intake under control.

On-The-Rocks & Frosty Alternatives: 

  • When mixing a Cape Codder (vodka & cranberry), replace high-sugar cranberry juice with light or reduced-calorie cranberry juice. For an even “slimmer” version of this summertime classic, mix one shot of raspberry or blueberry vodka with Diet Sprite, Diet 7Up, Sprite Zero or Fresca. You get the berry flavor without all the sugar.
  • Use diet tonic water when mixing with vodka or gin.
  • For the taste of cream soda with a kick,  add a shot of vanilla vodka to a tall glass of  Diet Coke.
  • Mudslides are delicious, but wow, do they pack a punch when it comes to calories! My recipe replaces the Bailey’s with a Weight Watchers latte flavored ice pop – minus the stick, of course! Put the frozen “ice cream” into a blender, and add crushed ice, 4-6 ounces of skim milk and a shot of vodka.  Blend and enjoy! (You can also add Kahlua, but that will up the calories a bit.)
If you’re planning to stock up for a fun Memorial Day weekend ahead, I hope these tips give you some helpful ideas. Of course, wherever and whenever you celebrate the holiday and approaching summer, be sure to keep things safe! Now, here’s to a great week and moving toward a season filled with plenty of sunshine-filled chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Don’t Let Allergies Put the Brakes on Your Fitness Fun!

'Tis the season for sneezin'!

‘Tis the season for sneezin’!

During the last few weeks, I realize I’ve been encouraging everyone to get outside and get moving. With spring in full bloom, I also know exercising outdoors can be tough when your eyes are burning or you find yourself sneezing and coughing thanks to a high pollen count.

As a longtime allergy sufferer, I thought this Motivation Monday presented the perfect opportunity to post some timely reminders on how we can all survive the 2016 spring allergy season.

  • Mind the time: Pollen counts tend to be highest between 5 am and 10 am. Unfortunately, that’s when many people enjoy their get-the-day-started jog, bike ride or walk. If you can move the activity to a time that’s not so pollen-heavy, great. If not, hopefully some of the following tips will make things more bearable.
  • Wear sunglasses: Sporting shades (or even goggles) can create some sort of barrier for your eyes while you’re outside. I also recommend using eye drops before you head outdoors. For the past several years, using Bausch + Lomb’s Alaway over-the-counter eye drops twice a day has helped me avoid scratching my eyes out even on high pollen count days.
  • Don’t forget your meds: I got allergy shots for many years as a kid. Over time, they helped lessen the severity of my allergy attacks, but I still battle through hay fever season each spring. Today there are so many over-the-counter and prescription allergy medicines that can offer relief. While I don’t like taking a lot of medications, I’d rather take something for a few months to help me stay alert and active than miss out on enjoying the outdoors altogether. Speak with your doctor about what treatments might work best to alleviate your specific symptoms. To prevent the onset of those symptoms, it helps to take your medication an hour before your outdoor workout. If you wakeup and then workout outdoors, ask your doctor if taking your medication at bedtime can help.
  • Clean up: When you get home, shed the pollen-infused clothes, take a shower and wash your hair as soon as possible. The longer that pollen lingers, the more severe your reaction can be. You also don’t want to spread the pollen around your home by sitting on the couch or lying on your bed.

As with most situations, the best advice I can probably offer is this: listen to your body. If you’re trying to do your body good by exercising outdoors but all you’re feeling is misery, be smart. Stop. Head inside, shower and re-group. Maybe that’s the day you turn to an air-conditioned group exercise class or pop in a workout DVD at home to help you have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Fitness for a Cause

Push-Up: One of my Tabata training faves

Photo by Lauren Bachner

This Motivation Monday post will be a short and sweet reminder that fitness can be used for so many good reasons. In addition to keeping the ticker in tip-top shape and helping us maintain a healthy weight, it’s also a great resource to get people involved in good causes.

Last Monday my fellow St. Mary’s Gael, Danielle, nominated me to take part in the 22 push-up challenge. The goal is to bang out 22 push up for 22 days to honor those who serve in our military and raise awareness about suicide among our nation’s veterans.

I think the push up is of the most empowering full-body exercises anyone can do. Getting through them knowing you’re bringing attention to an important issue only adds to the endorphin rush at the end of the set. If you follow me on social media, you may have seen the past week’s worth of push-up videos. Below is a link to my favorite one of the week when I dropped and did my 22 at the Yankees game on Saturday afternoon.

If you want to make sure I’m keeping up my end of the bargain, I hope you’ll check out my LauraLovesFitness Facebook page and Instagram account (@FitnessLaura) to watch my daily videos. And if you’ve been looking to add a kick to your fitness routine this spring, why not consider going the distance for our veterans. You’ll find all the rules for the challenge at 22kill.com

So, who’s up for the challenge? Remember, breaking a sweat for a good cause is one of the best ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

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!

 

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