Wow. I blinked and somehow we made it to the first Workout Wednesday of fall. It’s nearly impossible to believe at this time last year, I was in the midst of peak week leading up to my first NPC competition. I still can’t believe how unbelievably different the world is this year.
While the mercury will register just shy of 80 degrees here in New York today, the past few days certainly felt like autumn and I found myself searching for heavier sweaters and socks to ward off some chilly air. Yet the bright sunshine and crisp air that greeted me on my morning runs also fueled me with new hope that better days are ahead for all of us as we start a brand new season.
I thought I’d kick things off season three of 2020 by reminding everyone of the few health perks found in a top fall favorite: pumpkins! While I recommend practicing moderation when it comes to enjoying pumpkin beer, pumpkin pie or pumpkin lattes, there are plenty of nutritional perks packed inside fall’s signature squash when enjoyed in its natural form:
- Post-Workout Power! Bananas seem to get all the credit as a top source of natural energy, but pumpkins actually provide more potassium. One cup of cooked pumpkin has 564 milligrams of potassium compared to a banana’s 422 milligrams. A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a workout and keeps those muscles firing.
- Good for Your Baby Blues…and Browns, Greens and Hazels, too!: One cup of mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A. Also, pumpkin is chock full of carotenoids, a fancy name for the compounds that create its orange color. One of those compounds is beta carotene, which has been linked to eye protection.
- Keep Your Appetite in Check! Poor little pumpkin is often overlooked as a great source of fiber. A one-cup serving packs three grams or protein at only 49 calories. Countless studies show a fiber-rich diet can help you stay full longer so you eat more sensibly throughout the day.
If you have any recipes featuring the all-powerful pumpkin, please feel free to share! Also, don’t be shy about asking questions or offering ideas for mixing up your workout routine. Whatever is on your fall menu or exercise agenda, here’s to all of us embracing the season ahead filled with new chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous! (Just stay safe out there!)
As we kick off a week filled with high temperatures and humidity, I thought I’d use this Motivation Monday to remind everyone how to recognize heat-related illnesses. Sometimes water, electrolytes, sunscreen and a good hat aren’t enough to prevent an emergency – especially if you’re exercising outdoors.
As someone who always sweats, these dog days of summer in New York City (and the rest of the concrete jungles across the country) can make being away from the air conditioning unbearable after just a few minutes. If you catch me coming out of the subway or leaving an ILoveKickboxing or Physique57 class, no doubt you’ll think I just stepped out of a sauna.
Here are some timely reminders if you or someone you’re start feeling out of sorts in the heat:
Heat cramps: These are painful muscle spasms, usually in the legs or abdominal region, that could be a signal that a more serious emergency is imminent.
What to do: If you experience heat cramps, stop exercising immediately. Find some shade or move indoors where it’s cool and drink water.
Heat exhaustion: This is more severe than heat cramps, and can occur when you’ve been exercising strenuously for a long period of time in extreme heat or humidity. Signs and symptoms include:
- Moist, pale, or cool skin
- Headache or dizziness
- Muscle cramps
- Heavy perspiration
- Weak pulse
What to do: Get out of the heat, loosen all tight clothing and cool the body with wet towels, but not to the point of shivering. Also, be sure to get some cool water into your system.
Heat stroke: This is the most severe heat emergency and usually happens when signs of heat exhaustion go unchecked. In this situation, dangerously high internal temperatures will cause your body’s vital systems to fail. Signs and symptoms include:
- Altered level of consciousness
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Little or no perspiration
- Rapid pulse
What to do: Get out of the heat, loosen tight clothing and cool the body with wet towels. If you can find them, you can also put ice packs under the armpits and groin area.
Now that we’ve identified the emergencies, here are a few reminders on how to keep them from happening in the first place:
- Try to exercise outdoors before 9 am and after 6 pm.
- Stay hydrated! Basic guidelines call for you to drink 16 oz of water two hours before exercise, but you can drink an additional eight to 16 oz if you’re exercising in warmer weather. At this time of year, you’ll never find me leaving the house without two things: my refillable Avon39 water bottle and a bottle of BFit Labs electrolyte sprays. My repeat readers will know I’ve been using the zero-calorie, zero sugar, gluten-free sprays for a couple of years now and I can honestly say I have more energy and fewer muscle cramps during my workouts. They also help me feel less sluggish on the sultry summer days. If you want more information or are interested in giving them a try, just click here.
- If you have cardiovascular or circulatory problems and are taking medication, always check with your doctor before adding any outdoor activity to your routine.
I leave you with two important tips:
- Always call 911 in an emergency.
- Listen to your body. It knows when something’s wrong.
Of course, I encourage everyone to enjoy plenty of outdoor fun this summer. Just remember to use a little extra care so you can stay safe while you move ahead with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since I wrote about how “stripping” changed my fitness routine. On this Motivation Monday, I’m excited to let you know the same company that introduced me to the power of the electrolyte strip has found a great way for everyone to spray their way to a better workout!
Adding a bottle of Bfit Labs Rapid Electrolyte Spray to your gym bag is a great way to stay fueled and hydrated wherever the day takes you. The spray is made by Sportsfood, Inc., the creator of the rapid electrolyte replacement oral thin film strip that dissolves instantly in your mouth. Just like the strips, each spray of Berry Blast of Very Vanilla contains 0 calories, 0 sugars, 0 carbs and 0 food dyes.
In addition replenishing the all-important electrolytes sodium and potassium, the liposomal spray also delivers a shot of vitamins B6 and B12. In addition to drinking water, I gave the spray a try during one of my forever challenging Physique57 workouts: two sprays before the warm-up and two more half-way through class. While I still felt the burn, my muscles didn’t completely give out as quickly and that means I banged out more reps than usual. I can’t wait to see how the spray keeps me moving during my “strictly cardio” days at New York Sports Club and the variety of outdoor activities ahead of us as we march closer to summer. I should mention one bottle costs $19.95 and contains approximately 180 sprays. If you use up to six sprays per workout, one bottle should last you about a month.
One final important note: this is not an “energy” spray – it doesn’t contain caffeine or stimulants. It contains only the electrolytes our bodies need to help maintain water balance and prevent muscle cramps and fatigue along with hits of B12 and B6.
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know I don’t write a lot of product reviews, but I do like to share fitness or food finds that help me in my own efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I hope that assures you I’m only writing about this particular product because I do consider it a bona fide find for my diet and exercise regimen.
You can find more information and of course order the Bfit Labs Rapid Electrolyte Spray at Sportsfood.com Of course, if you do try it out, I want to hear from you! Sharing ideas on how we stay active and healthy is a great way to stay the course on the never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
On this Motivation Monday, I’m excited to tell you about a new addition to my fitness routine. I tried it for several days last week and experienced the same positive results each time. What did I do? I “stripped” before each workout, and I “stripped” again halfway through each sweaty ordeal.
Now that I’ve got your attention, let me explain exactly what I’m talking about: a rapid electrolyte replacement oral thin film strip made by Sportsfood, Inc. Just like the company’s website says, the strips are small and thin, and dissolve instantly in your mouth. Once dissolved, each strip immediately begins to replace the all-important electrolytes – sodium and potassium – your body loses when you sweat. The kicker: the strips contain no calories, no sugars, no carbs and no food dyes.
I admit I was skeptical when I first tried the strips. I took two strips about five minutes before my Physique57 workout started. (Note: the strips have a slightly salty taste, but they dissolve so fast, I didn’t find anything unpleasant about them.) I used another two after the warm up, thigh sprints and one side of the glute work was done. (That’s about 30 minutes into class.) While I still felt the burn from the intense workout, my muscles didn’t tire out quite as quickly and that means I banged out more reps than ever before. I used the strips again before a 60-minute cardio-only session at New York Sports Club the next day and I had the same results. I was able to extend my time on the elliptical machine, stationary bike AND rowing machine – which means I extended my normal workout by an additional 15 minutes.
The bottom line is while I will always drink my water before, during and after any workout, the strips definitely gave my body an “edge” I haven’t experienced before. Please note, this is not an “energy” strip – they don’t contain caffeine or stimulants. They are strictly made up of the electrolytes our bodies need to live. From an active standpoint, sodium and potassium help maintain water balance and prevent muscle cramps and fatigue.
Remember, being hydrated is the single most important factor in activities of any intensity level. That includes activities that aren’t strictly fitness-focused. I can’t wait to pack these strips in my beach bag to keep me moving during a long walk on the sand or even before some heavy lifting of yard furniture and other seasonal items at my parents’ house.
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know I don’t normally write rave reviews about products, but tend to discuss certain workouts or unexpected food finds that I find helpful. I hope that assures you that I’m only writing about this particular product because I do consider it a bona fide find for my diet and exercise regimen.
If you want to learn more about the product, please visit the Sportsfood website. If you’re interested in giving them a try, here’s a bonus for you LauraLovesFitness followers: use “Laura” as your coupon code and get 15% your order. Of course, if you do try them, I want to hear from you! As always, exchanging ideas on how we all stay active and healthy can only help on this never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!