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Another Year Older…

It doesn’t seem possible this Motivation Monday marks the first of my forty-fourth year on Earth. Especially since I feel like I only wrote about turning 43 about five minutes ago. But here I am, another year older, thanks to the unstoppable force of time. Each year, I realize it’s one of many unstoppable forces that make up a lifetime.

I think most would agree birthdays present the perfect opportunity for reflection. Reminiscing about the many experiences that will forever define my forty-third year, it was no surprise I found the most defining moments didn’t surround producing any particular shoot for a client or the various business travel delays getting there. The times that will always matter most are the ones spent with family and friends. Of course, not all those occasions can be joyous, especially when saying good bye to those we love who won’t be sharing in another birthday celebration. However, I know each of those experiences gives us some sort of strength that we build upon and take into the next year – and beyond.

I was blessed to spend the weekend celebrating with both my parents. Their love remains one of the strongest beacons in my life and will be no matter how old I get. Meanwhile, this birthday also marked another “first.” This was the third time I started a new year with James by my side, but it marked the first we shared as an engaged couple. Add all the birthday love I received via phone calls, emails, texts and social media posts from family and friends near and far, and the fact that I feel healthier and stronger at 44 than I did at 43…and I know I am one lucky lady!

That doesn’t mean there weren’t a few bumps in the road. Each year, the number of people in my life challenged by attacks on their physical and mental well-being grows. Whether it’s the sudden death of a loved one; a terrible diagnosis; a job lost or financial stress; the end of relationships or other family trouble, things just seem to get more complicated as we get older. In a world filled with so much uncertainty, the one thing I can control year after year is how I take care of my body. Exercising and eating healthy continue to help keep my immune system strong even when events and emotions seem overwhelming. Of course, the other “thing” that continues to work for me is embracing the everything-in-moderation mentality. That’s why I refused to feel zero guilt about all my birthday treats that started on Friday and added up throughout the weekend. Today starts a new week and a chance for me to get back on track with the non-birthday treat regimen.

As I start my new year, I encourage everyone to remember taking control of your health is something anyone can do at any age or fitness level. Don’t be afraid to strike out and try something new. There’s no doubt the road ahead can trip us up at any time. So instead of looking back, let’s use the lessons of the past to move toward the future and all the opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

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“Kicking” off 43 With a Bang – and a Punch!

img_3806On this Motivation Monday, I find myself another year older. Hopefully that means I’m also another year wiser, but it’s probably still too early to tell.

I think it’s safe to say birthdays present the perfect opportunity for reflection. While I reminisced about the many experiences that will forever define my forty-second year on Earth, it was no surprise the most defining moments were those that involved family and friends. Many of those moments were happy ones. Others were the complete opposite. The reality is I begin living my forty-third year missing a few very special people. However, while they’ve been taken from this world physically, the memories of their love and friendship will remain a source for smiles and strength for all the years to come.

I was truly blessed to celebrate another birthday with both my parents. Their love and guidance have made me the woman I am today. I’m equally blessed to say I’ve never felt healthier or stronger – both physically and mentally – than I do right now. That strength was tested many times in the past year as I found myself along with several of my closest friends dealing with some very “grown-up” challenges: Family members suffering from attacks on their physical and mental well-being; sweet children growing up to become troublesome teens; job security growing less secure and relationships breaking up.

In a world filled with so much uncertainty, one thing I can control year after year is how I take care of my body. Exercising and eating healthy continue to help keep my immune system strong even when events and emotions seem overwhelming. Of course, the other “thing” that continues to work for me is embracing the everything-in-moderation mentality. That’s why I refused to feel zero guilt about my birthday snack featuring a chocolate – peanut butter cupcake and a glass of champagne. It felt equally good hitting the healthy reset button the day after my birthday by blending an Isagenix protein shake and hitting the gym.

With ILoveKickboxing Instructor, EJ

With ILoveKickboxing Instructor, EJ

Speaking of the gym, another thing I learn year after year is you’re definitely never too old to try something new. Some of my longtime readers may remember several years ago I enjoyed sparring with my personal trainer Roberto once or twice a week. A hand injury took me out of that game for awhile, but thanks to the recommendation of my gal pal Elisa, I decided to get back into the punching world and signed up for ILoveKickboxing.com.

After one sweat-filled 50-minute class last week, I was riding a crazy endorphin-filled high. I also laughed to myself thinking about how I could have crushed some serious stress if only I had I had started punching and kicking a heavy bag sooner! The class is a cardio, strength and endurance experience featuring boxing gloves, heavy bags and non-stop drills of core exercises ranging from mountain climbers to push-ups as well as solo and partner-friendly rounds of jabs, hooks, upper cuts and kicks. I am excited to add this new workout to my exercise regimen for the year ahead (which still includes Physique57 classes and Tabata training) and see how it helps take my physical and mental strength to another level.

So, I guess this is a roundabout way of saying taking control of your health is something anyone can do at any age or fitness level. Don’t be afraid to strike out and try something new. There’s no doubt the road ahead can trip us up at any time with bumps, twists and turns. Instead of looking back, use the lessons of the past to catapult you into the future and all the opportunities calling you to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Birthday Reflections

Not a Bad Place to Wrap Up 41...

Escape to Curacao: My Favorite Memory From the End of My 41st Year.

Wow. Time really does fly. I’m not sure where the past year went, but this Motivation Monday marks the last day of my 41st year on the planet.

As I sit here and reflect on life, as I think many of us do when another birthday rolls around, I’m overwhelmed by a sense of honesty. Honesty about how getting older is both good and bad for so many reasons.

While experience has probably made me a bit wiser than I was on this date in 2015, knowledge does come with a cost. Over the years, I’ve gained more confidence to be myself and follow my heart in challenging situations. That courage of conviction, however, is the result of seeing more and more evidence of how short our time is here on this Earth.

My parents and other loved ones are getting older. Some of my friends have already lost one or both parents. Some friends – older and younger than me – are in a fight for their own lives. Jobs are lost, marriages fall apart and sometimes people you never thought you’d be without move far away in the hopes of working toward a better future. I know these events are simply part of this windy road we call life, but it seems they’ve arrived in a flurry since I started my 40s.

Please don’t think this is a sad reflection on turning a year older. It’s simply a realization that despite the challenges that have snuck up on me through the decades, I’m both lucky and blessed to have my family and an amazing support network of friends to keep me grounded. The two other stabilizing factors in my life have been my faith and my love for exercise. Since turning 40, I’ve made bigger strides to eat healthier than I ever have before. The result of this combination is not only being in the best physical shape of my life, but my mental health is in a good place, too. Sometimes all I need is an hour to work up a good sweat so I can face whatever the day throws at me – a demanding client; a phone call with a friend going through a rough time or news about someone I love receiving a terrible diagnosis – with more courage than I thought I had in me.

I’m definitely looking forward to what’s next. What will happen in my ever-changing career? What special occasions will I get to share with friends and family? For starters, I plan to kick off my 42nd year with a good Physique57 workout, a little mani-pedi pampering and a perhaps a minor overdose of chocolate and prosecco with a heaping side portion of laughter with friends. Let me take this moment to thank my family, friends and all my readers for helping me face my birthday with a smile. Here’s to a new year ahead filled with endless chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

41

photo-28Call me superstitious, but I sort of believe in signs. So I hope the fact I get to start my 41st year on this planet on a Motivation Monday is a sign I’ll be stocked with enough adrenaline to tackle the new adventures and challenges waiting for me in the days ahead.

This birthday happens to fall in the wake of a brief but brilliant escape to the beautiful island of Aruba. It was the first vacation I’ve been on in awhile where I truly took it easy. Instead of the high-intensity cardio-fueled workouts I sweat through here at home, I enjoyed extended walks on the beach (sometimes two a day), stand-up paddle boarding and swimming. I even indulged in a massage. The result? Well, while I may have added a pound or two to my waistline thanks to the frozen cocktails and some decadent desserts, I also returned to the frenetic pace of my beloved New York city with relaxed muscles and a relaxed mind.

Not a bad way to wrap up my 40th year!

SUP Aruba Style: Not a bad way to wrap up my 40th year!

Part of my unwind time included embracing the fact that getting older doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you’ve been stopping by here for awhile, you’ve read one or two posts about the fact that I’m definitely stronger than I was 10 years ago. Physically and mentally. I credit my experienced – both good in bad, in the gym and beyond – for giving me the confidence to make wiser choices today. Sure, I’ll still tweak a muscle during a workout now and then, and I’m the first to admit I’ve made some less-than-optimal choices when it comes to work or my love life. However, at least I believe I have a well-stocked mental file cabinet of information to guide my decisions.

So as we all start a new work week and I start my new year, let’s embrace all the surprises ahead that can only lead us on new paths to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

“Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

-Satchel Paige 

 

Friday’s Final Thoughts

iStock_000016093894SmallThis particular Friday not only brings the likely arrival of what could be a blizzard here in New York City. It also marks the last day of my 38th year on this planet.

So, as I sail into my birthday weekend on an easy-breezy note, I thought I’d share a few smiles courtesy of my top 10 favorite quotes about getting older. These words of wisdom are good reminders for all of us – yes, that includes me! – that age really is just a number.

  1. “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”-Satchel Paige
  2. “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”-Mark Twain
  3. “Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty in every age of life really never grows old.”-Franz Kafka
  4. “Time ripens all things; no man is born wise.”-Miguel de Cervantes
  5. I promise to keep on living as though I expected to live forever. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up wrinkles the soul.”-Douglas MacArthur
  6. “I speak truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little more, as I grow older.”-Catherine Drinker Bowen
  7. “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”-Muhammad Ali
  8. “When you are younger you get blamed for crimes you never committed and when you’re older, you begin to get credit for virtues you never possessed. It evens itself out.”-George Santayana
  9. “You are never too old to be what you might have been.”-George Eliot
  10. “A birthday is a good time to begin anew: throwing away the old habits, as you would old clothes, and never putting them on again.”-Bronson Alcott

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend filled with countless who-cares-how-old-your-drivers-license-says-you-are-moments and plenty of chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Birthday Reflections

What a difference a year makes!

As the celebration of my 38th birthday winds down, I can’t help but sit here and think about the plans I made on this very same date last year.

It was February 9th, 2011 when I made the phone call to reserve my spot for the National Academy of Sports Medicine‘s certified personal trainer exam. I started studying immediately following a weekend of birthday fun.  Three months later – May 21st, 2011 to be exact – I passed the exam. These days when I’m not busy with my full-time production job or writing posts for this blog, I brush up on my studies to create exercise programs for my personal training clients.

While I’ve thought about becoming a personal trainer since finishing my days at Northwestern University, there’s a whole other aspect of fitness I never expected to fall in love with in my 30’s. As a lifetime lover of dance and exercise, I’m not sure why I didn’t give Zumba Fitness® a try until November of 2011, but I guess that old expression really is true: better late than never. It only took one demo class to get me hooked, and a just last month, I became a licensed Zumba instructor. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to fit some practice and choreography time into my schedule along with my full-time job, personal training, blogging and the rest of life’s everyday hustle and bustle so I can actually start teaching Zumba in the spring.

For me, this is just the latest move in the you-can’t-plan-everything-in-your-life playbook. Even when you set a course, make a plan and list your goals – something may come along to throw things off course. And that something can be the best thing you never planned for.

Some birthday love at work

I’m excited about the start of a new year in my life. Like everyone else, there are trials and tribulations I’ve dealt with this past year that I’m happy to leave in the past. There are other challenges I’m struggling with today and will continue to grapple with tomorrow. But just like in years past, exercise will remain one of the few constants that can help keep my head on straight even on my most stressful days and lowest times.

So, I end this work week another year older. I’m not sure if that makes me another year wiser, but I am looking forward to discovering what lies ahead in the next 365 days and all the new opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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