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My (Annual) Christmas Gift to You

Christmas treeIt’s hard to believe this Motivation Monday brings us just two days away from another Christmas! To celebrate, I hope you’ll enjoy my twist on a classic that’s becoming a LauraLovesFitness holiday tradition. I call it  “The 12 Days of Fitness.”

On the first day of fitness, my workout gave to me…a super surge of endorphins.

On the second day of fitness, my workout gave to me…two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the third day of fitness, my workout gave to me…three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the fourth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the fifth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the sixth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the seventh day of fitness, my workout gave to me…seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the eighth day of fitness, my workout gave to me….eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the ninth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the tenth day of fitness, my workout gave to me….ten minutes rowing, nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

On the eleventh day of fitness, my workout gave to me…eleven eccentric muscle actions, ten minutes rowing, nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a big rush of endorphins.

On the twelfth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…twelve reps of lunges, eleven eccentric muscle actions, ten minutes rowing, nine neuromuscular benefits, eight endurance boosts, seven stability exercises, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of Tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.

Here’s wishing everyone who celebrates a very Merry Christmas! I’ll be spending time with family and friends and taking a break from blogging til the start of the New Year. Let me use this time to offer a huge thank you to all of my readers for your support during a tumultuous 2013. I’m definitely looking forward to the happy adventures that await in 2014 and continuing the never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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‘Tis the Season for Tabatas!

holiday-party-picAs if the fact that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah collided on the same day wasn’t enough to get people in a holiday frenzy, now we’re faced with a shorter shopping season than usual before Christmas. Faced with this added hustle and bustle to the 2013 holiday season, I thought this Motivation Monday presented the perfect opportunity to touch on the importance of keeping your mental health in check throughout the last month of 2013. To me, there’s no better way to do just that than by breaking a good sweat!

Obviously, working out will help burn some of the extra holiday calories that come in all shapes and sizes ranging from homemade cookies to rich wines and sweet, seasonal cocktails. Weight maintenance aside, the endorphins that stay with you after a workout can also help you maintain a level of calm as you battle the crowds in overheated stores or spend extra amounts of time with the extended -and sometimes non-harmonious- family. (Bonus: if you’re visiting family for the holidays, there’s no better excuse than a run or walk to escape for awhile! Just don’t forget your sneakers!)

I bet some of you are saying, “Laura, between working, shopping, taking care of the kids, baking, cooking and going to all the holiday parties, there’s just no time to exercise.” Well, guess what? You OWE it to yourself to find 10 minutes somewhere in the day to get moving. Why? Simply because 10 minutes of anything are better than zero minutes of nothing! As some of you repeat readers already know, one of my favorite ways to make the most of abbreviated workout time is the Tabata.

Side Plank: One of my favorite Tabata moves Photo by Lauren Bachner

Side Plank: One of my favorite Tabata moves.                   Photo by Lauren Bachner

Need a Tabata review?  The four-minute high-intensity “formula” is pretty simple: eight continuous intervals of 20 seconds of maximum intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest. So if you truly only have 10 minutes today, why not give this a try. Bonus: You never even have to leave the house!

  • 60 seconds of jumping jacks
  • Rest only long enough to set your timer, then bang out one squat Tabata. (Need a timer? I use UltraTimerHD)
  • Rest for 60 seconds
  • Bang out one more 4-minute Tabata  (Choose from mountain climbers, push-ups, planks, side planks or crunches.)
  • Recover/stretch for 60 seconds or longer.
  • Congrats! You spent 10 minutes doing SOMETHING for your body!

(On the rare occasion the chaos dies down enough to give you a little more time, why not try to build a “Tabata Derby” by adding consecutive four-minute intervals and work your way up to a 20-minute total Tabata workout.)

While I love Tabatas, I realize they may not be your thing. So taking a power walk around the block a few dozen times, running up and down the stairs in your house or apartment building or dare I say meeting a friend for a group exercise class or game of basketball may be the fitness fix you need to feel a little stronger physically and mentally. Remember, while this is known as “the most wonderful time of the year,” don’t ignore your body’s need to escape some of the chaos so you can continue to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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