I really can’t put my finger on why, but this has felt like the never-ending winter. It’s not that the weather has been particularly harsh this season in New York. But somehow January and February were two very loooonnnng months.
The only thing I can attribute this to is a good old case of the winter blues. This year, I found a lot of my friends and family shared in a similar case of the blahs. Maybe it’s partly due to the state of chaos the whole country seems to be experiencing – at least if you read all the social media feeds. Or maybe it’s because I told myself this was the year I’d make some big decisions on what’s next in my career and…and here we are three months into the New Year and I haven’t figured things out yet.
As you readers know, I’m anything but your doom-and-gloom kinda gal. So on the positive side, I can say I am more grateful than ever that I have exercise in my life to help turn even the most blasé of blah days into manageable ones. For anyone else out there counting the minutes until the brighter, warmer days of spring, now’s the perfect time to keep exercise on your schedule. If it’s not on there already, consider the new month a chance to mix things up in your daily routine. Exercise does a mind and body good thanks to the endorphins that flow through the body when you workout and stick with you long after the group exercise class or weight training session is done. If you’re finding it hard enough to get your butt out the door after a long day of work or school to head to the gym, remember you can get that endorphin rush in the comfort of your own home!
In an effort to share a warm reminder that spring is just a few weeks away, I thought I’d re-post my “Tear-It-Up In Ten” workout video. Even though I demonstrate the circuit in Central Park, all the exercises can be done indoors and require no equipment. Hopefully, seeing some sunshine and greenery will also give you a glimpse at what we have to look forward to in the not-so-distant future. Remember – sometimes taking your workout and your mind to another place is all you need to stay on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
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!
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!
I won’t lie. I’m beyond ecstatic that this summer is unofficially over and done with!
While I always do my best to stay upbeat no matter what’s going on, to be blunt, this summer was a big test for my psyche. (New readers, click here to see what I’m talking about.) Still, I passed the test and now that September is here, it means a new month and new beginnings. If you dealt with your own challenges these past few months, now’s the time to wipe the slate clean and start over.
Parents are dealing with the responsibilities of getting the kids back on track at school. That means new teachers, new schedules and perhaps new after-school activities. If you’re like me and you don’t have kids, there’s still an uptick in the overall pace of life with the end of summer Fridays and the beginning of new projects and deadlines. Whatever new items are on your agenda, it’s the perfect time to get your health and fitness goals in serious shape. As you focus on getting a daily routine established for you and maybe the whole family, don’t forget to fit some fitness into your September routine. Sound impossible? Think again!
Here are some tips to make things a little less overwhelming:
- Put it in writing: If you drive your kids to school or drop your spouse at the train station, figure out if there’s time immediately following a drop-off or right before a pick-up for a workout. This could mean hitting the gym for a group exercise class, driving a few more blocks to the park for a run or meeting a fitness friend for brisk walk or game of tennis. Typing it into your smart phone calendar or putting it in your planner will also give you a visual boost to make it happen at the allotted hour.
- Ten minutes of something is better than zero minutes of nothing: With our time-crunched lives, there are more and more workouts geared toward maximum results in less time. Click here for a link to a previous post where I offer a 10-minute circuit I like to call the “one-minute-wonder.” If you only have 15 minutes, add a few stretches before and after and you’ll feel like you worked. If you have up to 30 minutes, you can repeat the circuit two or three times and really get your sweat on! (Another plus: you can do this circuit anywhere.)
- “Fall” into healthy eating habits: If you pack lunch for the kiddies, why not add a few 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 or individual plastic bags. Now, they’re ready to grab as a side to a turkey sandwich or healthy snack. Some of my other favorite snack ideas include almonds, apples and non-fat plan Greek yogurt.
- Wardrobe Prep: If you plan to exercise first thing in the morning, put your workout wear in the bathroom the night before. It’s usually the first room we visit when we wake up, so if your clothes are staring you in the face, it may be harder to skip 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.
Finally, it’s important to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Getting fitness on your schedule and healthy foods into your fridge are two big steps toward a healthier and happier you. If you indulged in more ice cream or margaritas than you planned over the summer, don’t sweat it. It’s a new month, a new season is coming and there will be plenty of chances to get your butt in gear so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!