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LauraLovesFitness Turns Four!

iStock_000016093894SmallThis happens to be an extra special Motivation Monday. Today, my “baby” blog turns four.

Just like when my own special day rolls around, my blog’s birthday always triggers thoughts about how life can change in the blink of an eye  – let alone in the days since my very first post on July 13th, 2011.

Let’s face it – change can be tough. However, I wouldn’t go back and re-write any of the pages of my life’s history so far. I know it’s a combination of the good, the bad and the ugly that have made me as strong as I am today, both physically and mentally. Along with my faith and the unwavering support from an amazing group of people I’m lucky to call family and friends, there’s one other constant that has always helped me work through life’s challenges: my love for exercise. While I admit a second cupcake or glass of Prosecco made getting through some of the tough days more bearable, it’s the endorphin rush from a good workout that never fails to boost my mood. Physical activity also keeps my immune system strong and my mind focused on the light at the end of even the longest tunnels.

Writing my weekly blog posts has also been more cathartic than I could have imagined. Getting things out “on paper” has helped me see sticky situations a bit more clearly, and that dose of reality has often provided a powerful kick in the you-know-what to get moving on something. To that end, this was a monumental year for me physically as I’m finally back to my own “goal weight” and feel healthier than ever. Who would have thought a nutritional cleanse would help me feel more energized than ever at the age of 41?

To re-cap my journey back to my “goal weight” and some other favorite posts from the past year, here are links for quick reference:

New Month, New Me

Taking My Fitness Tips to TV

The Walk that Changed My Life

Finding Strength in Letting Go

Using Fitness to Make a Difference 

I close with a thank you to all of you of you who have inspired me to keep the writing going since 2011. Whether you subscribed to LauraLovesFitness on day one or just recently, your “likes,” comments, questions and shares have motivated me to keep plugging away on some of my own down days. In the year ahead, I plan to continue writing this blog, and hope to share my writing with an even bigger audience. As always, I’d love to hear suggestions for writing topics or ways I can help you with your own health and fitness goals. You can always leave private comments at LauraLovesFitness@gmail.com

So, here’s to the next steps as my blog marches toward its fifth birthday and all the steps on our shared journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Okay, 40. Bring It On!

Forty & Fiercer Than Ever! Photo by Leslie Hassler

Forty & Fiercer Than Ever!
Photo by Leslie Hassler

Well it’s the start of a whole new decade here at LauraLovesFitness. I’m officially 40.

I won’t lie. About six months ago, when I started thinking about turning the “big 4-0,” it put my brain into a bit of a tailspin. However, when I stopped to think about how I’ve evolved through the decades, I came to a pretty darned good realization: I’m stronger than ever. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.

Sure, I had to make some mistakes in my 20s and 30s to get here, but I have no regrets. Actually that’s not true. I do have regrets, but guess what? They have more to do with the choices I’ve made in my fitness routine than in my love life.

I don’t want to jinx it, but it’s been more than a year since my last injury at the gym. This makes sense considering I’m training harder but smarter than I did in the past. While I’ve always been active, I didn’t truly grasp the importance of taking care of my body while pushing its limits at the gym until I studied for my personal trainer certification. Thanks to an introduction to anatomy and human movement science, I finally understood what it means to train the whole body so that it works in synergy. This is why I started putting more emphasis on things like core and flexibility training to build a healthier body.

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In addition to my studies and continuing education, my appreciation for total body training also comes from the Physique57 workouts I added to my routine last April. The one-hour class includes a range of moves including more squats than I’ve probably done in my entire life. The workouts never get boring, and they’ve helped me build lean muscle and feel stronger than ever.

Of course, a healthy diet is key to maximizing the positive effects from your workouts. While I’m eating cleaner than I did in my younger years, anyone whose read this blog for awhile knows I’m also a big fan of enjoying life. For me, turning 40 was the perfect occasion to enjoy everything from a strong margarita (or two) to a decadent flourless chocolate cake. You only live once, right?

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Luckily, my body has healed from the injuries of my 20s and 30s. My heart has healed from its own share of hits, too. Working through emotional pain with exercise has helped my heart stay strong through the tough times. At the start of this new decade, I know my body and mind are working in better harmony than ever before. Which means it’s time for the fittest and fiercest decade ever!

I wrap things up with a few quotes about aging and a thank you for listening to my birthday musings. With my family, friends and fellow fitness enthusiasts behind me, I take my first strong steps into the new year and look forward to the next 40… and all the chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” –Mark Twain

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” –Henry Ford

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow older. You grow older because you stop laughing.”-Maurice Chevalier

 

The Numbers Game

iStock_000015952283SmallI kick off this new work week another year older. The jury may still be out on whether that means I’m also another year wiser, but I do know one thing for certain: life’s too short to really obsess about your age!

Between my many years of going to the gym, starting this blog and joining the world of Twitter and Facebook, I’ve met lots of people who share my passion for health and fitness. Some are fitness novices, some are seasoned veterans like me and others are hardcore professional body builders. They range in age from 20-something to 60-something and beyond. Our “bond” has nothing to do with what year we were born. It has to do with a common commitment to healthy living and understanding that leading this kind of life is an ongoing journey and not a sprint to a “quick-fix” finish.

So the motivation I offer on this particular Monday is a push for everyone at any age to get out there and get moving. Instead of worrying about a number dictating how old you are, put that energy toward finding a fitness program that works for your schedule and offers a challenge that makes your body feel its best. I can honestly say I feel healthier at 39 than I did at 29 and that has everything to do with the fitness and food choices I’ve adopted in my “wiser” years.

On the flip side, here are some of the numbers everyone should keep an eye on:

Remember, you can win at the numbers game. Part of it is mind over matter. Part of it is reminding yourself certain numbers like your age shouldn’t matter too much. Perhaps the biggest part is remembering that keeping the important numbers in check is a lot easier when you make a lifelong commitment to have  fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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