Whatever the week has in store for you, I hope you find the strength to know whether to hang in there or simply let go. Whether you hope to make physical or mental gains in the days ahead, a little exercise can go a long way in the journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s Gobble, Gobble Time!
It happened again. I blinked and here were are on the eve of my favorite American holiday! That means it’s time to serve up my annual recipe of survival tips for another calorie-filled Thanksgiving:
- Move it! Remember, even ten minutes of exercise today and tomorrow are better than none! The bonus is you’ll have the mental boost knowing you made an effort prior to the Turkey Day feast. Even if you’re hosting tomorrow’s holiday fun and can’t leave the house, you can pop in an exercise DVD or bang out a Tabata first thing in the morning. If the weather permits, maybe you can even sneak out for some fresh air and a brisk power walk or abbreviated run. Your gym is open? Great! Try a morning group exercise class or attack some cardio and core work. A few solid planks can make you feel strong before filling your belly with delicious eats.
- Eat breakfast! Be sure to eat something sensible on Thanksgiving morning to kick-start your metabolism. If you’re not feasting until late afternoon, make sure to follow breakfast with a small lunch or sensible snack so you don’t go overboard later. Two ideas: non-fat plain Greek yogurt with a serving of almonds mixed in or a piece of toasted Ezekiel bread topped with a sliced hard-boiled egg and salsa. These protein-rich snacks will keep you feeling full longer than those high in sugar.
- Portion Control: Use a salad or other small dish for your meal. Start with salad or veggies and then add the turkey. Use the remaining space for the potatoes, stuffing and other starches. There simply won’t be as much room left as you’d have on a regular dinner plate.
- Savor the flavor: Eat slowly! If you do clean your plate, wait 10 minutes before going back for round two. This will help you decide if you’re really hungry. If you aren’t, you’ll feel good knowing you had one helping – before moving on to dessert, of course!
- Keep Track of the Libations: This is the perfect day to follow the every-other-drink-is-alcohol plan. Enjoy a glass of wine, beer or cocktail then have a glass of still or sparking water before moving on to the next cocktail.
- Make Doggie Bags! Hosting the holiday feast? Don’t be shy about giving some of the uneaten turkey and trimmings to your guests.
There’s really only one thing left for me to write: I offer my heartfelt wishes for everyone to enjoy a very Happy Thanksgiving! This year, I can add being happily married to the list of things I’m thankful for, including my family, friends and the ongoing support I receive from my “fitfam,” which includes all my loyal readers. One final note: If you end up breaking the calorie bank this Thanksgiving, don’t sweat it. Remember, laughter, good food and even some good wine are all part of many holiday traditions and part of our ongoing journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Only one way to say this: it was a hell of a week. So on this Motivation Monday, I’m offering a simple post with three simple tips to get you even more excited about the start of spring!
- Leave the winter behind: Did you pretty much hibernate all season, skip gym classes or miss those daily runs thanks to dangerous weather conditions? Maybe you indulged in more than your fair share of calorie-loaded comfort foods. Don’t sweat it. Leave the sins of the past where they belong, take note of any updates to the spring schedule at your gym and stock up on some colorful produce and healthy food options. It’s time to get your mind focused on a fresh start!
- Don’t forget your core: It’s been awhile since I reminded everyone about the importance of incorporating core strengthening exercises into any fitness routine. I know everyone’s excited to start pounding the non-snow covered pavement for long runs and enjoy some outdoor calorie-burning fun like basketball and softball. If you’ve been less active than normal all winter, do your body a favor and don’t forget to incorporate some planks, crunches and bridges into your daily routine. You can do them when you first roll out of bed, when you’re watching TV or just add five more minutes to your workout at the gym. Click here for a reminder of some of my favorite core exercises.
- Workout for your skin: Spring makeovers are all the rage right now. I’m here to remind you of another great benefit of exercise – it’s a natural way to make your skin more radiant! Exercise improves circulation which increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your skin. It’s also been shown to reduce wrinkle-causing inflammation.
So, there you have it. Three easy reminders on how some easy tweaks to your spring routine can help you stay on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Want to Kick Those Winter Blues? Get Moving!
It’s hard for me to believe this Motivation Monday brings us nine weeks into 2015. What’s even harder to deal with is the fact that Old Man Winter obviously did some serious training in the off-season.
It seems practically all of us around the country are dealing with one of most brutal winters in years, if not decades. If you’re struggling with a severe case of the winter blues, take a deep breath and realize you’re definitely not alone.
Exercise is a great way to lift your spirits thanks to all the endorphins that flow through the body when you workout. That energy surge also sticks with you long after the group exercise class or weight training session is done. Of course, with record-breaking snowfalls and below-zero temperatures keeping roadways and sidewalks slick in many towns, driving to the gym or going for that daily run or walk may simply not be an option. If you’re finding it hard enough to get from home to work or school and still want to break a sweat, don’t forget you can still get that endorphin rush right in the comfort and safety of your own home!
In an effort to share a warm reminder that spring will eventually arrive, 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. So stay safe, stay warm and 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!
Step Off the Scale!
Let’s face it. We can all get way too caught up in the numbers game. Perhaps no digits are regarded with more dread than those reflecting our age and our weight. So on this Motivation Monday, I’m here to remind you of two important realities:
1) Age IS just a number. Considering the alternative, is blowing out an extra candle on your birthday cake every year really such a big deal?
2) The scale is NOT always your friend. You give up wine and cupcakes for a week, and the number staring back at you hasn’t budged or had the audacity to creep up a digit or two. Well, that’s when you need to literally step off and take stock of the non-scale wins you can see and feel because of your efforts to follow a healthier lifestyle.
Think back to when you started working out. Whether it was last week or last year, don’t dismiss any of the gains you’ve made:
- Can you do five more push-ups today than the first time you hit the gym last month? That’s a win!
- How about my favorite exercise, the plank. You’re already able to hold that position for 30 seconds? Kudos to you!
- Did you walk up the stairs from the train platform today and not feel winded by the time you hit the street? Major win!
- Didn’t even blink carrying your kid on one arm and a bag of groceries on the other for 10 blocks? Win and win again!
Now think about what’s changed thanks to adding healthier food choices to your daily routine:
- Are you getting more daily servings of fruits and veggies thanks to the 30-minutes you put aside to prep containers of grab-and-go produce? Win!
- Do you have more energy during the day because you’re focused on eating every few hours instead of waiting until that one big meal at night? Good job!
- Can you concentrate better at work or on that never-ending to-do list thanks to steadier blood sugar levels? Mental victory!
- Feel like you rocked those “skinny jeans” or that outfit you’ve been saving for a special occasion last weekend? Chalk up another win for “Team You.”
We can be so hard on ourselves that we forget to stop and take note of the positive things that happen when we exercise and eat well. Whether it’s sleeping better or being a more attentive colleague, spouse or friend, we can help our bodies and our minds function as close to 100 percent as possible by making healthy choices. Remember, sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference when it comes to staying on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
New Adventures for LauraLovesFitness!
It’s an exciting Motivation Monday here at LauraLovesFitness!
My worlds of journalism, production and fitness all collide tonight with the debut of the Working Woman Report. The half-hour lifestyle show was created by my talented friend Allison Haunss. We met during our graduate school days at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and later worked together at News 12 Long Island and News 12 Connecticut. Now in addition to my role at KickedUp Media Group and pursuing work in the voice over world, I’ve joined the Working Woman Report as Senior Producer. I will also serve as the in-house fitness expert, which means you’ll see videos of yours truly showing people how to add some healthy moves to their lives.
The show debuts tonight at 8:30 pm ET on NYC Life, which reaches New York’s five boroughs; Long Island; Westchester; New Jersey…and beyond!
The following is a list of where to find NYC Life based on your cable provider:
- CableVision 22
- Comcast 25
- Time Warner 25
- Verizon / FIOS 25
- Over the Air 25
- RCN 25
- DirecTV 25
To learn more about the show, check out www.workingwomanreport.com In a nutshell, the stories showcase female entrepreneurs from all walks of life and how they’ve made their mark. The overall theme is aimed at empowering women to turn their dreams into reality. Since I’m always promoting how leading a healthy lifestyle can help you tackle your goals, I’m thrilled to reach a new audience about the benefits of incorporating exercise and a well-balanced diet into your daily routine.
Not in the New York area? No sweat! You’ll be able to watch my fitness segments on YouTube. (There’s a tab at the top of this page that takes you directly to the LauraDLovesFitness channel.) If you can tune in, please be sure to set reminders on your calendars or program your DVRs for future Mondays at 8:30 pm to catch more inspiring stories from some fabulous females and to see when I’m back with more fitness moves. Of course, feel free to tell your family and friends about the show and to let me know what you think!
I close with a big thank you to all my readers, family, friends and members of the fitfam who keep me keepin’ on! Here’s to all of the new opportunities that lie ahead for all of us on the never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Don’t Give Up Now!
It’s hard to believe this is the last Motivation Monday of February. However, I’m having an even harder time coming to grips with the fact that we’re nine weeks into 2014!
Unfortunately just like every other year at this time, I have less of a wait for the elliptical or chest press machines at New York Sports Club and there’s even a bit more space at the barre at Physique57. Why? Because this is the time when lots of people find themselves standing on the precipice of throwing in the towel on those health and fitness goals. If you’re one of them, I hope this post will help you stay the course. If you’ve become a bit discouraged, bored or burned out, now’s the perfect time to step back and assess the good things that have been happening since you made your New Year’s resolutions.
All too often in this hectic life, we can dwell on the negative. So let’s start clearing the mind of those self-sabotaging thoughts such as “I’ve been working out and eating better for almost two months and I still can’t fit into those skinny jeans I bought five years ago.” Step back, take a deep breath, give yourself a good reality check and turn your attention to the positive. Ask yourself if your healthier habits have caused any of the following side effects:
- Increased energy throughout the day
- Sharper focus at work and/or getting things done around the house
- Healthier glow to your skin
- Not feeling winded after daily activities like carrying groceries or one of your kids up a flight of stairs
- Better posture
- Better overall mood and less irritability
- A stronger immune system kept the cold and flu bugs at bay or helped you feel better faster even if you did get sick during the peak winter months
- More solid shut-eye
If you’ve experienced any or all of the above, then you have some tangible reasons to stick with your routine. Remember, the health and fitness journey is a road that stretches for an entire lifetime. Along that road, each and every one of us will encounter wrong turns, speed bumps and nasty potholes, but those are the times to remember there are smooth patches, too. If you experienced some dangerous curves just this weekend enjoying a few too many calories and slacking off on the exercise, don’t sweat it. This is a brand new day, the start of a brand new week and a fresh slate of chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
People are always asking what motivates me to exercise. I’ve offered a variety of reasons in past posts, but today I want to focus on just one. Exercise gives me strength.
In the fitness world, strength typically refers to how much weight you can lift when performing different strength training exercises. No doubt you’ve heard people comparing strength levels based on how much they can bench or press.
However, a broader definition of strength shows it’s also related to a capacity for exertion or endurance. Obviously, increasing that capacity can help in a countless number of activities that take place outside the gym. How easy or difficult is it to carry a few bags of groceries from the store to your car or even all the way home? How about picking up and holding a child? Are you winded after walking up ten flights of stairs, or only one? Incorporating exercise into your daily routine is a surefire way to gain strength and tackle the many facets of your daily routine with greater ease.
Now let’s move beyond the physical. There’s an old equation that goes something like this: a strong body = a strong mind. From a personal perspective, at times when I feel the weight of the world upon my shoulders, there’s nothing like some mind-clearing cardio or punching a speed bag to get some perspective. Some of my biggest moments of clarity have happened with sweat blinding my eyes and the sound of my pounding heartbeat filling my ears.
Instead of sitting around stewing over a problem at work or even worrying about a loved one facing an illness, why not give yourself a chance to really breathe? A long walk or a kickboxing class could offer your mind and spirit the boost of strength they need. The issue or issues you were stressing over will still be there when you’re done. However, based on my experience, a little oxygen can go a long way in helping me focus on how I’m going to handle the situation.
I want to close by sharing a quote I stumbled upon recently that deals with the emotional side of strength:
“Some people believe that holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go – and then do it.” -Ann Landers
A Little Motivation
As we kick off another Workout Wednesday, I’d like to thank my fellow St.Mary’s High School Gaels for providing the inspiration for today’s post.
Jennifer recently posed the following question on my LauraLovesFitness Facebook page (which prompted a “like” from Susan):
What are your tips to get motivated? I know that everyone says they are busy and have very little time to work out; I am in that club. I have a full time job, children etc. I know exactly what I need to do to get fit, I have a physical therapy degree. The pounds are not so slowly creeping up on me but I have no motivation. Help!
Kids or no kids, all of us juggle so many daily tasks and activities. Add the time we spend here online to write and/or read blogs; check/send email; post status updates; “like” our friends status updates and create clever tweets, and it’s no wonder we feel we have zero time to do anything “good” for ourselves. Well, guess what? We HAVE to make time because no one else is going to do it for us.
So, where do I get my motivation to move amidst the madness? While we can come up with a hundred reasons not to exercise, my list for why I stick with it is pretty short and sweet:
- Regular physical activity provides countless benefits which include controlling weight; fighting a variety of health conditions ranging from heart disease to arthritis and promoting sleep.
- Stress-busting power! After a 12-hour shoot day or edit session with an intense client, nothing clears my head like breaking a sweat. That doesn’t mean you have to bust your butt in a 90-minute boot-camp class. Spending 15 minutes on a treadmill (which Jennifer admits she has in her home) or taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood can channel negative energy to a much healthier focus.
- Endorphins and Energy! You’ve heard of the “runners’ high.” Well, I don’t run, but the mood-elevating endorphin rush I get from Tabata training or a Club Strength class is probably the biggest reason why I keep moving. Exercise also boosts your overall energy levels more effectively than pumping your body full of crash-inducing caffeine or sugar-fixes. For all you parents, adding some exercise to your life could be just what you need to keep up with your kids!
Along with my motivators, here are a couple of other things to keep in mind:
- Don’t tackle exercise with an all-or-nothing voracity: If the idea of spending an entire hour exercising overwhelms you, simply scale it back. Start with 15 or 20 minutes and build on that. Once you start feeling the positive effects from the activity, you’ll want to spend more time doing what makes you feel good!
- Don’t compare yourself to others: Until I win the lottery and can hire my own personal trainer to kick my butt five days a week and pay a chef to take the guesswork out of making healthy meals that actually taste good, I remind myself everyday that in my reality, I’m doing the best I can to take care of myself. So, while I may never have legs like Cameron Diaz, I do have a strong heart, strong spirit and strong desire to fit my workouts into even the most hectic weeks so I can get that rush where I feel like I’m on top of the world – even for just a little while.
If all else fails, remember this: exercise CAN be fun! The key is finding what that fun is for you: running, boxing, Zumba or even meeting a friend for a daily brisk walk with hand weights. Don’t be afraid to experiment and mix things up. Even if you never define exercise as more than a “necessary evil,” you can still make a program work on your terms so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hard time believing March is in full swing. As we all gear up for the official change of seasons, I thought it was a good time to offer some reminders on why there’s no time like the present to put a little “spring” into your step by adding fitness to your daily routine.
There are so many benefits to exercise, but here are what I consider to be the top 10 reasons everyone should strive to move more often.
Exercise has been shown to:
- Increase energy levels
- Aid in weight loss and/or weight maintenance
- Decrease the risk of heart attack
- Decrease the risk of osteoporosis
- Increase strength and stamina
- Decrease stress levels
- Boost the immune system
- Increase mental focus
- Promote better sleep
- Add some fun to the daily grind!
Chances are you’ve seen the items on this list before, but it may surprise you to know exercise can do more for your appearance than simply help you fit into that killer outfit for your high school reunion.
Yisell Santos, a freelance makeup artist based here in New York City, recently asked if I could offer a rationale for exercise that relates to skin care. Click here to learn how exercise really can make you feel beautiful from the inside out! What could be better than a healthy glow to show the world you’re definitely in the game to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!