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Let’s All “Fall” Into Fitness!

Here Comes the Fall!

Happy first Motivation Monday of the fall of 2017!

Even though it still feels very much like summer here in New York, the reality is these 80-degree days won’t last forever. So while I encourage everyone to take advantage of the sunny days while they last, I also thought it was a good time for a reminder on all the inspiration Mother Nature has in store for us during the season ahead. If your fitness routine has been getting a little boring, there’s nothing like a change of seasons to kick things back into high gear.

Here are a few ways to add some fun to your fall fitness routine:

  • ‘Tis the season for kayaking, canoeing, rowing and horseback riding! If you live near the water, look for clubs that offer fall water sports. Along with enjoying some scenery, you’ll get the added benefit of squeezing some cardio and upper body strength training  into your workout. Horseback riding helps build lower body strength while taking in the beauty of a brightly colored trail. If you’re a city dweller like me, consider trying a rowing class or at least adding a 500-meter sprint on the rowing machine to your gym routine. (I like to add a sprint in between my 30-minute elliptical machine and 20-minute recumbent bike sessions and usually add another sprint at the end of the entire cardio machine stretch.)
  • Make those chores work for you! Did you know a 150-pound person can burn up to 135 calories by raking leaves for 30 minutes? Raking leaves can also be a fun family activity if you get the kids involved, too.
  • Outdoor bootcamps, anyone? Check out opportunities to enjoy as many workouts as you can in local parks or other outdoor hot spots before the colder temps and darker days chase us indoors. Depending on the intensity of the class, these full-body workouts can burn up to nearly 500 calories an hour.
  • Adjust the time you workout: I don’t know about you, but as it gets darker, it’s harder for me to get motivated in the evenings. While I’m adjusting to the lack of sunlight, I try to get my workouts over with pre-work if possible. Check if there are morning group classes that fit your fancy. Not only can the group dynamic offer a boost of motivation, but you’ll start the day with a shot of endorphins to keep the energy up at work or wherever the day takes you. Also, by working out in the morning, you can welcome the tired feeling that creeps up on you earlier than usual and spend your evenings relaxing or enjoying down time with family and friends.

So what’s your fall fitness plan? Let me know! Whatever you do, remember this: sometimes all you need is a little help from Mother Nature to help you find new reasons to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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Time for Fall Fitness Fun!

Here Comes the Fall!

Welcome Fall!

Welcome to the first Motivation Monday of fall! I’ll admit I tend to get a little sad when summer, my favorite season, comes to end; but I perk up quickly when I think about all the opportunities to try new things on the health and fitness front.

Talk about perfect timing: I was recently inspired by Cotopaxi who offered a great infographic to share with my readers featuring simple ways to make healthier choices. It made its debut around World Health Day, but since I consider each day we’re lucky enough to open our eyes a new opportunity to own our healthy decisions, I thought it offered a great perspective at the start of the new season. As of today, there are 84 fall-filled days to try some new activities and simply do great things for our bodies, minds and souls.

Here are my top two tips for the season ahead:

  • Take a Hike – seriously! You don’t have to climb to the top of a mountain to get your heart rate up and muscles moving in the great outdoors. Even if you live in a concrete jungle like like yours truly, a nearby park, deserted beach or those trails you’ve always wanted to explore are just waiting for you. For some added weight resistance, wear a backpack filled with minimal but important essentials including a water bottle; a healthy snack; identification, and a few portable first aid items like Band-Aids and some antiseptic wipes. Don’t have a backpack? Why not treat yourself to one from Cotopaxi, since a percentage of every sale is donated to various organizations that support global health initiatives. (Learn more about the company’s mission here.)
  • Stock up on seasonal snacks! Whether you pick them in an orchard or find them at a nearby farmer’s market or grocery store, ’tis the season to bite into lots of crisp, delicious apples! Consider pairing one with a handful of almonds, pistachios or pumpkin seeds for a portable, powerful snack wherever the day or trail takes you.

So what’s on your fitness agenda for the fall of 2016? I’d love to hear from you! Thanks again to Cotopaxi for reaching out and for the additional ideas below. Sharing tips and tricks will always be a surefire way of helping people on their journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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Mix-It-Up Monday

The leaves will soon change color, and it’s also the perfect time of year to make some changes to your fitness routine.

They say variety is the spice of life. That’s definitely true when it comes to making fitness a part of your daily routine. The trick is making sure your program doesn’t become too routine.

So on this Monday I offer another simple motivational tip to not only help you get moving, but make sure you stay in motion: be sure to mix things up! The beginning of a new season is the perfect time to look for some new activities to freshen up your workout routine.

Many health clubs change their group exercise schedule in the fall. If you’re a gym rat like me, be sure to check the latest schedule and see if there’s a new class that sparks your interest. Maybe you’ve always wanted to give Zumba a try or take out your stress on a heavy bag during a non-contact boxing class. Of course, just make sure the classes are convenient for your schedule. That way you’ll be sure to add it to your calendar for a set time each week. Before you know it, getting to that class will be as routine as brushing your teeth. If you’re more of a workout-on-your-own type, this could be the time to treat yourself to a personal training session or two and get some new exercise programs from a pro.

If you don’t like being confined by four walls and you’re wondering what to do now that your days walking along the beach are coming to an end, don’t sweat it! Mother Nature makes this a wonderful season to be outside for some great workouts. I’ve been writing about the Saturday morning CrossFit UWS class in Central Park that has added a serious punch to my exercise routine. Wherever you live, chances are there are outdoor “boot-camp”-style classes or maybe a soccer, kickball or dodgeball club that you can join. Check your local paper or just do an online search. These options offer the added benefit of being social. Join with a friend or two and turn the workout into an opportunity for a weekly or bi-weekly catch-up afterward. If you sign up solo, it’ll be hard not to make a few new friends while you’re getting your heart rate up and moving your muscles.

If you sign up for a club or make a commitment to get to a new class, why not reward yourself with a new piece of fall fitness gear. Even something as simple as having a new hoodie or pair of kicks to “show off” can motivate you to get out and get moving!

Whatever your fitness level, mixing things up is one of the best ways to kick boredom to the curb and stay on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Workout Wednesday: Back in Action!

Don’t forget to pencil in some time for fitness!

This is always a strange time of year for me.

Even though I’m not a mom, the back-to-school, no-more-beach-weekend mode always arrives with a shock to the system. Here in New York City, all the people who spent a good part of the season in their summer homes are back. Students crowd into the subways along with the rest of the commuters. The incessant buzz of the city that never sleeps kicks up a notch back to its norm.

Wherever you live, we’re all faced with leaving the lazy-days-of-summer schedule behind. No more summer Fridays away from the office. The kids may have new school schedules and new after-school activities. There may be life changes that involve new responsibilities, too. If you’re trying to fit “working out” into your fall schedule, here are a few tips to make things a little less overwhelming:

  1. Be realistic: Saying you’re going to exercise two hours a day, seven days a week is sabotage. The first day you miss, you’ll be discouraged, and could wind up saying, “Well, I just blew the whole week, so why bother going back?” A better approach is to aim for two or three days each week for the first month. Trust me, as you start experiencing the benefits from exercising, you’ll want to spend more time working out.
  2. Adjust the Attitude: Think of exercise as a “chore,” and you’ll be done with the new routine in no time. Instead, think of exercise as “Me Time.” No matter what’s going on in my life, the time I spend working out is the one time my brain goes into neutral. Use exercise as a break from the ordinary, and before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to sweating out whatever ails you.
  3. Research deals: Backpacks and computers aren’t the only things you can get a good price on at this time of year. Many gyms are offering back-to-school membership rates. Just remember to make sure it’s convenient for you to get to. I don’t care if a gym is offering a free membership. It if takes you an hour from the house or office to get there, chances are you won’t go based on the distance.
  4. Reward yourself: No, not with cupcakes or candy. Instead, treat yourself to a new pair of sneakers, a hoodie or refresh your playlist with some new high-energy workout tunes. Really want to splurge? Set up one or two sessions with a personal trainer so you can receive a proper assessed and start on a safe program.
  5. Give yourself a break! If you’re starting on an exercise routine for the first time in your life or getting back into it after an unexpected hiatus, you can’t expect to see drastic changes overnight. Habits take about six weeks to take root in your psyche, so take it day by day, week by week and focus on the positive responses from your body.

Stay tuned for Friday’s post where I’ll offer some food for thought on getting your healthy eating habits back on track, too.

For now, remember even though getting back to the grind can be daunting, it’s also the perfect opportunity to sharpen your focus and welcome a whole new season filled with countless opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Fall into Fitness

As I walked to work on this cool, breezy morning, I realized just how quickly the summer flew by. I know the calendar says we still have about 15 days left, but I think it’s safe to say most of us think of Labor Day as the unofficial end to the season.  This also marks the time of year where people’s routines are getting back to “normal.” School starts, summer Fridays come to an end and Halloween items start popping up in the stores. (We won’t even talk about the Christmas decorations I’ve already seen in some stores.) So, forget New Year’s – this is the time to make fitness a part of your daily routine and turn your goals for a healthier lifestyle into a reality!

If you’ve been putting off joining a gym, now’s your chance to make it happen. Many health clubs are offering some of the best deals of the year. I know my gym, New York Sports Clubs, has offers including join now, pay later; refer a friend and get a $50 dues credit; and discounts on personal training packages. Other gyms like Crunch have month-by-month payment plans with no contracts.  If you know someone who already belongs to a gym, ask him or her to get a guest pass so you can “tag along” for a workout.  This gives you the chance to see if that particular gym has the right vibe for you.

This is also generally a time when gyms mix up the group exercise schedule a bit, so there are lots of opportunities to try some of the classes you’ve always been curious about. Don’t want to go it alone? See if a gym near the office offers classes that you and some colleagues could go to during a lunch break or after hours. Having a friend or loved one share in your fitness journey can be just the motivation you need to stick with your new routine.

Work at home or keep busy running the household? Carve out some time in the morning after sending off those morning emails or sending the kids off to school so you can head to the gym and get your heart pumping.

If the gym isn’t your thing, no sweat! Depending on where you live, fall is a beautiful time to get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer. Maybe there are hiking or biking trails not far from where you live or work. Got kids? Help them with their spiral and toss a football around on off-practice days or kick a soccer ball around the yard before homework and dinner time.  Basically, make the most of the daylight while it lasts!

As we all settle in to our fall routines, it’s the perfect time to pencil exercise into your schedule so you don’t miss out on the many opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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