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Seven Weeks To Go…

I hope you will forgive the mini-hiatus. Since I didn’t take my usual break over the summer so I could share my weekly adventures of bikini competition prep, I needed a brief reprieve from writing. On this Transformation Tuesday, I’m back just in time for what I consider the pre-holiday, holiday rush.

Thanksgiving lands as late as it can on the calendar this year. That means the onslaught of decking the halls, shopping and celebrating (which most likely involves eating and drinking) arrives in just two weeks and continues at lightning speed for the last four full weeks of 2019. So now is the perfect time to take stock of your healthy habits and consider taking them up a notch before the holly, jolly and high-calorie time of year kicks off.
For this short and sweet return to the blogosphere, I offer a few tips to help you feel better when the holiday season officially arrives. Exercising a little caution now could help with feeling not-so-guilty later when the holiday splurging begins.
  1. Drink water: Hydration is crucial year round, regardless of the weather. Not only does water helps regulate our body temperature and distribute nutrients and oxygen to our cells and organs, drinking water can actually alleviate fluid retention and decrease appetite. I’ve been doing my best to keep up my competition prep habit of drinking at leas one gallon of water each day. To make it easier to track how much water you drink in a day, treat yourself to an early Christmas or Hanukkah present and get water bottle that measures for you.
  2. Make Necessary Adjustments to Your Workout Schedule: The end of Daylight Saving means darker days are here till the spring of 2020. For many people – including yours truly – fewer hours of sunlight can wreak havoc on motivation to workout at the end of the day. If that includes you, consider switching to a pre-work workout. With so many on-demand fitness programs, you can even roll out of bed and right onto a yoga mat in your own living room to break a morning sweat. You can also consider designating a workout buddy to help you stay accountable for getting exercise sometime during the day. Finally, this is also a chance to check your gym’s group fitness schedule for that class you were curious about but never got to while you were outside running or walking during the summer and early fall.
  3. Be Prepared: I’m doing my best to continue cooking chicken, turkey, brown rice and veggies in bulk so I have several go-to healthy meals available each day. Just like you may know what time you’re working out on any given day, it can help to also have a game plan for what your meals will look like. Make sure you have healthy snacks with you at work or in your purse or gym bag. Raw almonds and green apples travel well. If you have access to a fridge, hard boiled eggs; non-fat plain Greek yogurt and of course, full meals with a healthy balance of protein, carbs and veggies can always be close by.
This year has been a whirlwind of unprecedented events, but it’s still impossible to believe we have less than two months left until we usher in a whole new decade. Here’s to wrapping things up knowing we made every effort possible to have fun, be fit and feel fab!

Three Years Later….

FullSizeRender-2On this Motivation Monday, I find myself amazed once again about the passing of time. Here we are marching toward the end of April. It feels like just yesterday I was posting tips about setting realistic goals for those New Year’s Resolutions. Meanwhile, I’m gearing up for projects in my production world that I worked on one year ago and catching up with clients I met as many as five years ago.

Then one morning last week, as my jelly-like legs struggled to take me back home after a Physique57® workout, I was zapped with another time check: it was three years ago this month when I started the fitness program that changed my body -and my mental health! – for the better. In April 2013, my longtime gal pal Amy brought me to my very first Physique57 class, and I’ve been hooked every since. After hundreds of classes, I’ve never gotten bored thanks to an amazing group of instructors who never serve up the same workout twice. Despite being comfortable with the class format, my body is still sore as hell after a 57-minute barre workout that combines interval training, isometric exercises and stretches.

While I’d encourage everyone to try a Physique57 workout at a studio or online, the true purpose of sharing this “anniversary” is to offer proof that finding an activity you love is crucial to sticking with a fitness routine. Equally important is realizing your likes, dislikes and needs may change through the different stages of your life. During my Northwestern years and the ones that followed as I entered the working world, I had no problem working out solo and pushing myself to extremes in the weight room. As work and life grew more complicated over the years, I started gravitating toward group exercise classes. While I still do my own thing on certain days, I feed off the energy of a group dynamic. There’s something about being surrounded by the power of my fellow workout warriors pushing through seemingly never-ending planks and squats along with the positive vibes from my instructors and high-energy music.

I hope sharing my Physique57 journey to date encourages you to take stock of your own fitness routine. If you find yourself going through the motions this spring, it’s time to mix things up. If you’ve been ignoring certain muscle groups, now’s the time to get back into total body training. Sign up for a few personal training sessions so a pro can check your form and take your routine to the next level. Or do what I did and find a class that makes you feel like you can take on whatever the world throws at you. Sometimes, taking a moment to realize where you’ve been and how far you’ve come is all the motivation you need to take the next steps in your journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!


Talking Turkey

Well, here we are. It’s Thanksgiving Eve. Many of us are counting the minutes til the office closes and the kids get out of school so the long weekend can officially begin. If you have any last-minute prepping to do, take a deep breath and remember, somehow it’ll all get done. Don’t forget to do something good for yourself today. If you can’t get through your normal workout routine or make it to your favorite Wednesday spin class, try taking a walk to at least get your blood moving and clear your head.

Now let’s talk about the big feast day. I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. There are no gifts to buy and you can just enjoy quality time with family and friends. Of course, that quality time tends to be filled (or should I say stuffed?) with food, drink and football. Here are some tips to help you avoid overdoing it – at least when it comes to the food and drink:

  • Get in some morning activity: Pop in an exercise DVD or pound the pavement in your neighborhood. If your gym is open, try an early morning group exercise class.
  • Don’t skip breakfast: Eat something sensible to get your metabolism moving and to avoid being ravenous when you dig into that holiday meal. If your Thanksgiving feast isn’t scheduled until late afternoon, make sure to follow breakfast with a small lunch or sensible snack so you don’t go overboard later. Try adding a serving of almonds or high-fiber cereal (I love Newman’s Own Sweet Enough Honey Flax flakes) to a non-fat plain Greek yogurt with some fruit. Another satisfying breakfast or snack option: plain oatmeal with the non-fat Greek yogurt mixed in.
  • Use a smaller plate (like a salad dish) for your meal: If there’s salad or veggies, load up on those first, then grab some turkey. Use the remaining space for the potatoes, stuffing and other starches. (There won’t be as much room left as you’d have on a regular dinner plate.)
  • Eat slowly and enjoy: If you clean your plate, wait about 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!
  • Watch the alcohol intake: This is a good day to follow the every-other-drink-is-alcohol plan. Enjoy a glass of wine, beer or cocktail then have a glass of water of diet soda before moving on to the next libation.
  • Give away leftovers: If you’re hosting the holiday feast, don’t be shy about giving some of the uneaten turkey and trimmings to your guests.

I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and leave you with this final thought: whatever you do end up eating today, tomorrow is a whole new day to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Staying Fit Through The Holiday Season

It’s that time again. Time to think about all the turkey, trimmings, pies, cookies and cocktail parties that start at Thanksgiving and run right through New Year’s. While this is supposed to be a season filled with joy and wonder, let’s not kid ourselves. It’s also a time filled with stress, as we figure out how to get all the shopping, decorating and other holiday prep done on top of work, taking care of the kids and our other daily obligations. But that doesn’t mean you should put the sneakers and workout wear away until 2012. In fact, the extra stress and calories thrown at us at this time of year should make finding time to exercise more important than ever. It could be just what your mind and body need to actually enjoy some holiday cheer!

It may feel like there are fewer hours in the day with everything that needs to get done. If you normally spend more than an hour at the gym or take 90-minute power walks with your friends in the neighborhood, chances are you’re going to need to spend some of those minutes elsewhere. So, here are some tips on how to fit fitness into your busy holiday schedule:

  • Switch things up: Try working out in the morning. Trust me, I know this isn’t easy. I’m a post-work workout gal myself. However, at this time of year, if you can hit the gym, take a walk or pop in your Zumba DVD first thing in the morning, you’ll have gotten your exercise routine out of the way and you won’t feel so guilty about going to that holiday get together later that night.
  • Try group exercise classes: Most classes run approximately 60 minutes and can take the guesswork out of planning your own routine. Give total body conditioning or strength training classes a shot as they get your heart rate up and hit all the major muscle groups in a 60-minute window. The group environment also gives you the opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone else who may have his or her own survival tips for the holiday season!
  • Make shopping physical: If you drive to a mall, don’t look for the closest parking spot to the entrance. Also, be sure to change out of the heels or dress shoes into sneakers to help your body walk in good form while you’re rushing around.
  • Arm yourself with healthy snacks: If you’re running from work to shop, chances are you’ll be hungry. So instead of letting the smell of cinnamon, chocolate or some other temptation get the best of you, have some almonds or a high-fiber snack bar in your bag.
  • Don’t arrive hungry: Just like it’s a bad idea to go to happy hour on an empty stomach, don’t show up for Thanksgiving dinner or a holiday party feeling ravenous. If you’re eating late in the day, have portion-controlled healthy meals leading up to the “big” meal and a snack up to an hour before arriving at the feast. This will prevent you from grabbing the first high-calorie, high-fat item you see.

Be sure to check back on Wednesday when I’ll have some more eating tips to help you stay on track during this season so you can continue on your path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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