New Tricks, New Treats
One of the perks of getting my NASM and AFAA certifications several years ago is that it “forces” me to get a certain number of credits every couple of years to keep those fitness certifications current. This year, I’m beyond pumped those necessary credits led me to find the Everlast Striking Certification Workshop: level 1.
As you repeat readers may recall, I was lucky enough to discover the rush provided by muay thai kickboxing not long after birthday in 2017. I’m still not quite sure how I dealt with the stress of living in New York and life in general for 43 years before discovering the physical and mental rush that could be experienced thanks to kicking and punching a heavy bag! (Talk about inexpensive therapy!) After a full Sunday in the Everlast workshop lead by fitness guru Aaron Drogoszewski, not only did I acquire the credits needed to maintain my fitness certifications, I learned even more about the techniques that have become a huge part of maintaining my physical and mental strength for the past 16 months.
What was extra fun about the workshop is that in addition to learning how to execute the six basic punches (jab, cross, hooks and upper cuts) along with the roundhouse kick with more accuracy and efficiency, we also learned how to cue and coach others through the moves. It was fun – and also one heck of a workout – to work with a partner and switch roles between trainee and trainer. The bottom line is there’s nothing like gaining extra knowledge from the experts to help take your game – whatever that may be – to the next level. I look forward to sharing some of the techniques with friends looking to add something new to their fitness routine.
In addition to Aaron’s instruction and motivation from my new fitfam friends, I couldn’t have made it through the day without the right fuel. Lucky for me, I received a “goodie box” of new KIND protein bars just in time for the workshop. (I did some spokesperson work for KIND a couple of years ago, and I was thrilled the team remembered me.) Not only did the double dark chocolate nut bar taste great and keep me satisfied with its 12 grams of protein, I love the fact that the bars contain no artificial sweeteners and have a low glycemic index. (They’re also gluten free!) I know I’ll be keeping one or two of these bars in my gym bag or purse at all times so I don’t get tempted by the not-so-healthy vending machine options when hunger hits.
So on this Motivation Monday, remember this: you’re never too much of an expert to get some new moves and new snack ideas to help you keep you on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Happy Heart Month!
Are you a little slow-moving on this particular Motivation Monday thanks to all the food and fun (and drinks!) from your Super Bowl Sunday festivities? Don’t sweat it. You’re not alone! While I’m keeping today’s post short and sweet, I did want to take advantage of the beginning of American Heart Month to encourage everyone to consider learning or brushing up on a life-saving technique: cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Six years after my first CPR / AED (automated external defibrillator) course with the American Red Cross, I remain thankful I had to learn these skills in order to receive my certifications with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). I’m also thankful the course isn’t a one-and-done deal. In order to keep my fitness certifications current, I have to re-take the CPR/AED training every two years. So last Thursday, I got re-certified with help from Aquatic Solutions, an American Red Cross provider that’s been providing courses in CPR/AED along with training for aquatic and camp professionals and basic lifeguarding since 2002. In just a few hours, I got a great refresher on how to help someone in an emergency situation until medical professionals arrive on the scene. While I haven’t had to perform chest compressions, rescue breaths or use an AED on anyone yet, it feels good to be prepared.
Here are two eye-opening facts I learned from the American Red Cross course materials:
- Four out of five cardiac arrests in the United States happen outside the hospital.
- For every minute CPR is delayed, a person’s chance of survival decreases by 10 percent.
Whether you’re a parent, babysitter, office worker, teacher, waiter, coffee barista…whatever fills your day-to-day routine, the truth is you never know when an emergency may happen. So, even if you don’t work in the fitness industry, wouldn’t it be wonderful to gain some life-saving knowledge to help a loved one or be that Good Samaritan who makes a difference in the life of a stranger? For more information and to find a class near you, click on this link.
Remember, getting certified in CPR has nothing to do with your fitness level or your age. You just need a few hours and a desire to learn how to help out in an emergency. That knowledge could make a significant difference in another person’s life and his or her quest to continue the journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Overwhelmed? I Feel Your Pain!
With this Motivation Monday post, I throw my support behind anyone struggling to get it all done. I’m with you. Lately it seems to take me longer to cross the tasks off even the most organized to-do lists. So, I offer a reminder that sometimes you simply need to take a deep breath, remember you’re human and accept the reality that the world won’t end if one or two things have to wait until tomorrow.
Where is this all coming from? Last week, I posted about renewing my adult CPR/AED certification with the American Red Cross. I left that requirement until one of the last weekends I could get it in and still get my paperwork in for my NASM personal trainer re-certification. Two days ago, I blocked out time to take a NASM Integrated Flexibility Training online workshop so I could obtain the last continuing education units (CEUs) needed to actually get re-certified. The deadline is only a few weeks away. I got through the material, passed the online test and rushed all my paperwork to the post office. Now I wait for it all to be processed, approved and then hopefully receive my new NASM certificate in the mail sometime next month.
I got it all done, but I have never been one to wait until the last-minute to get important items like these off my plate. But the clock seems to tick at a faster place lately, the work days bleed into the all-too short weekends and then the cycle repeats on Monday. I am looking to the energy of the new season to figure out new ways of doing things. That includes possibly re-vamping plans on how I schedule everything from my workouts to overdue catch-ups with friends and family.
Through any stressful time, working out and eating healthy always help me keep my cool. However, I hate to admit, over the past month, the frequency of my workouts has taken a hit thanks to longer-than-expected work days and overall fatigue. But there are peaks and valleys in every relationship – including the one we have with the gym.
So here’s to the new week with the NASM re-certification application crossed off my to-do list and the chance to find new energy to tackle what lies ahead. If today gets a bit manic, like Mondays often do, take a breath, close your eyes for a moment and remember this one thing: you are stronger than you think. Sometimes we all need a little reassurance to stay on the path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous.
A Monday of Motivation & Gratitude
Well, the last Motivation Monday of the summer of 2014 has arrived!
As we get ready to start the fall season filled with new adventures, I’m thrilled to tell you about another first for LauraLovesFitness.
I met Gary Davis, the owner of HealthFitnessGenie.com via Twitter and was honored when he asked to interview me for his website. The site offers great information for people of all ages and fitness levels with articles ranging from how to hire a personal trainer to exercising proper etiquette in the gym.
Please click on the following link to read the interview where Gary and I discuss how fitness has remained the one constant that’s kept me grounded through the ups and downs of the biggest adventure known as life. I hope you enjoy learning a little more about me and perhaps get a shot of motivation to stay on track with your own goals as we head into a new season.
I close with a thank you to Gary and to all of you for checking out the interview. Feel free to share away on Facebook, Twitter and wherever else you’d like to spread the word about “team” LauraLovesFitness and HealthFitnessGenie.
Here’s to the fall of 2014 and all the chances we’ll have to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Laura’s Newest Love: PILOXING®
A change of seasons is the perfect time to think about mixing up your health and fitness routine. On this first Motivation Monday of the summer of 2014, I can report I certainly kicked my favorite season with a bang!
Yesterday, I learned all about an incredible fitness program called PILOXING®. The concept, developed by Swedish dancer and celebrity trainer Viveca Jensen, combines Pilates, boxing and dance to create a super high-energy interval workout. At the end of the 60-minute master class that kicked off the eight-hour instructor training day, my heart was pounding, my clothes were drenched in sweat – and I was hooked.
What exactly did I love about this workout? Each jab or uppercut I threw wearing half-pound weighted gloves made me feel powerful. Every standing Pilates move made my muscles feel longer and my body seem more graceful. And every hip shake I belted out through the dance sections simply made me smile – and sweat even more. Add some killer tunes and a hands-on training day led by two PILOXING® powerhouses – Jordan Ballard and Amy Gilberg – and I ended up having the most energized Sunday I can remember in forever!
Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for awhile may remember Amy’s name from some of my earliest posts. She’s not only the PILOXING® Master Trainer for New York, she’s one of my fabulous fitness friends who encouraged me to get certified in the industry back in 2011. Being a participant in her first certification workshop made the day extra special and extra fun!
I have some work ahead of me before I can teach my first class, but yesterday’s workshop gave me a solid foundation to get started. It also gave me some continuing education credits to use toward my AFAA recertification which is coming up quickly in September. If you’d like more information about my newest fitness addiction, you can check out the PILOXING® website. Remember, finding a workout that works for you is the key to sticking with your health and fitness routine. When you need to inject some fresh energy to that routine, trying out new group exercise dynamics can help. If you happen to find one that makes you feel like you can handle whatever life throws your way at the end of a workout, even better!
Whatever is on your agenda for the summer ahead, be sure to mix things up and let me know what new finds help keep you moving. Here’s to a great season filled with plenty of chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
I’m not sure how it happened, but here we are three days in to the month of June!
This Motivation Monday post comes courtesy of an Internet search where I looked into what “celebrations” take place this month. Turns out there are several things going on that tie in with the healthy-living theme here at LauraLovesFitness. Did you know June is:
- National Safety Month. In fact, this week is National CPR & AED Awareness Week. While I recently renewed my certifications with the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the Aerobics & Fitness Association of America, it turns out my CPR and AED certification with the American Red Cross expires at the end of the month. So it’s time for me to take a refresher course and get up to speed! I encourage everyone to consider taking a CPR / AED class. Even if you don’t work in the health or fitness industry, you never know when someone you care about could need your help in an emergency.
- National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. This is my favorite time of year to snack on juicy peaches and nectarines; plump blueberries; sweet strawberries and refreshing watermelon. Check out this great recipe for watermelon salad. (Thanks, Snack Girl!) Looking for a portable snack that can also help you beat the heat? Give frozen grapes a try!
- Great Outdoors Month. No time like the present to go explore that park or hiking trail in a town near you. With sunlight lasting longer, why not add some minutes to your evening walk or spend a little more time on the bike trail. Get the whole family involved with a fun game of Frisbee or old-fashioned tag in the backyard. The sky’s the limit when you take your activity routine outside! (Need some ideas? Click here for a second look at my park-bench workout video)
- National Tennis Month. I was a varsity tennis player in high school, but am sorry to say I stopped playing when I got to college. I’ve always wanted to get back in the game as tennis is an amazing sport to build cardiovascular endurance, balance, strength and coordination. If you’ve ever thought of giving the sport a try, make this the month you go for it!
As June also brings us to the halfway point for 2013 (yikes!), this is also the perfect time to assess where you’re at in reaching your health and fitness goals for the year. Maybe it’s time to take things up a notch or simply add some new workouts and healthy foods into your daily routine. Remember, mixing things up is a surefire ways to stay on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Don’t Forget to Rest!
It seems like yesterday I was looking forward to wrapping up 2011 with some down time and here we are cranking away at the near mid-month mark of January 2012! For those of you who’ve kicked your fitness resolutions in the butt by pounding the pavement or hitting the gym every single day since the New Year started, let me first be the first to offer a big, congratulatory pat on the back. Now I want you to take a day off!
You might be saying, “but Laura, you’re on Twitter, you know it’s #Workout Wednesday!” I didn’t say you have to make today your off-day, but you do need a minimum of one rest day during the week.
A rest day allows the body to recover from the stress of exercise and presents an opportunity for muscular repair and recovery of the central nervous system. Pushing your body day after day at the same group exercise class or on the same weight training circuit or along the same 5-mile route is one of the quickest paths to burning out on your routine. This can be especially true for anyone who’s new to a workout routine or just coming back after a lengthy hiatus.
The possibility of a mental meltdown aside, continuously pushing the body to the limit puts you at risk for overtraining. The following are some of the symptoms to look out for to determine if you’re overdoing it:
- Increased resting heart rate
- Increased resting blood pressure
- Slower recovery after exercise
- Overuse or stress-related injuries (e.g. stress fractures, tennis elbow and runner’s knee)
- Irritability or moodiness
- Disinterest in sex
- Amenorrhea (when a woman stops getting her monthly period)
- Increased numbers of colds / sore throats (shows decreased immunity)
- Decreased appetite
From what I learned through my NASM and AFAA studies, a good training frequency for the fitness newbie or anyone returning after a hiatus is three resistance workouts each week. This allows you to work your muscle groups with 48 hours of recovery in between. Cardio can be done on the in-between days or even on the same day. Even more seasoned athletes should give a muscle group a 48-hour rest period before pushing it to the limit again. Another good rule of thumb is to mix up your routine with cross training. Although I’m excited to take as many Zumba® classes as possible to continue my teaching prep, I’ll be sure to spread the classes out throughout the week. The same should be applied to your favorite cardio kickbox class or your favorite at-home DVD workout.
For those of you who can’t fathom even one day without any activity, turn your run into a long, leisurely walk or substitute your favorite cardio class with an extra-long session of stretching. In fact, the good news about flexibility training is that it can be done every single day of the week!
The bottom line is to remember taking a rest day doesn’t mean you’re being lazy. Rest is an important component of any fitness routine because it gives your body the energy to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Learn More About LauraLovesFitness
Many thanks to all of you who’ve taken the time to make this blogging adventure so much fun! Please check out the video below to learn a bit more about why I want to help more people have fun, be fit and feel fabulous in 2012…and beyond!
Many thanks to director/producer Larry Saperstein and the crew at C & C Studios for their help with this production and to editor extraordinaire Rob Romas for putting it together. (Check out Rob’s new business Sports Media Recruit which provides video resumes for student athletes.)
The Benefits of Group Exercise
Every Tuesday night for the past six years, unless I was sick, on vacation or on the road for work, you’d find me in the front right corner of the group exercise studio in the New York Sports Club near my office sweating it out in my favorite class of the week. “Club Strength” utilizes free weights and weight plates for a total body workout of resistance training. Add the kick-butt choreography and music selections from fitness instructor Wayne Sims, and you have all the makings for a class that gets the heart rate going and brings on the burn in all your muscle groups. I absolutely love how I feel when I leave this class.
Of course, even Wayne has to take a vacation or sick day now and then and a substitute instructor fills in. Unfortunately, the sub who filled in tonight just didn’t do it for me. I’m not here to name names or bad-mouth anyone, as everyone has their own teaching style and technique. Maybe some of the other class regulars enjoyed tonight’s workout. For me, it was simply disappointing to leave the gym without my normal Tuesday night rush.
While this let-down won’t prevent me from going back to the gym tomorrow, I realize one not-so-hot class experience can wreak havoc on your fitness goals if you’re just getting started on a workout routine. You decide to take the plunge and join a gym, you try a class and then you simply hate it. Well, here’s what I say about that predicament: don’t despair and don’t give up!
There are so many different classes available today that it would be hard not to find something you like. Whether it’s “old school” aerobics, spinning, boxing, core conditioning, Pilates or yoga, there really is something for everyone at every skill level. Group classes can be intense, but between the heart-pounding music and the contagious energy of your instructor and classmates, it’s a fun way to get a great workout – sometimes in less than an hour. Enjoying all these benefits for so many years and wanting to spread the fun to others is what led me to study and become a Certified Group Exercise Instructor with the Aerobics & Fitness Assocation of America (AFAA).
Like many other activities in life, when it comes to exercise, you need to find something you like doing so you can stick with it. Participating in group exercise classes can be a great way to find your own groove on how to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!