Eleven Years Later…
I woke up on this Motivation Monday realizing we’ve somehow crossed the halfway mark for the month of July. Which also made me realize I completely forgot this blog had another “birthday” last week. It’s been 11 years since the first LauraLovesFitness post went live.
Each year that passes gives me pause not only because time seems to be moving faster and faster, but because life continues to present surprises I could never have imagined when I started writing. (A pandemic? In these modern times?) Things defined as top priorities more than a decade ago seem trivial now; while the importance of family, friends, health and faith have grown more important than ever. As I have aged along with this site, I can say my 40s have been a good decade when it comes to being more confident in my decisions and not wasting time worrying about what other people think about my choices. However, these years have also been filled with new things to worry about. My biggest fears now surround my aging parents and their myriad of health issues. I know I’m blessed to still have them both with me, but watching them struggle to do things that used to come easily is hard on the heart. Then I think of my friends who’ve already lost one or both parents and I’m overwhelmed thinking about the gravity of their loss.
While the issues that weigh heavily on the heart may have changed, there is still one constant that helps me push through the fear and uncertainty: exercise. At this point, I feel I can honestly say I’ve tried every workout under the sun, and nothing has had a more positive impact on my physical and mental health than boxing. Let me be clear, I don’t spar with others, but I do unleash hell on the heavy bag during 60-minute workouts at TITLE Boxing in Huntington. The classes are a core component of my self-care routine, along with mindful eating and every attempt to get enough sleep. I’ve also managed to cut back on my wine intake, which got a little out of hand in 2020 and 2021. If you’re still struggling to get back on track after a difficult couple of years, don’t beat yourself up. Finding my fitness groove didn’t happen overnight, and it will forever remain a work in progress. Trying to follow a healthy lifestyle isn’t a sprint.
I’m sorry to say one activity that used to help keep my mental health in check has become more of a chore than catharsis. I’m talking about writing. Thoughts and words feel more jumbled in my mind and I stress over finding the right way to put them together. So I honestly don’t know what the future of this site holds. Maybe it’s time to explore a different platform and different topics altogether. For now, I guess I’ll follow the advice I’ve offered here countless times and just take things one day at a time.
I close with a huge thank you to all my readers. Whether you’ve been stopping by here since day one or drop in from time to time, your support of my ramblings means more than words can say. My hope is we all find peace and comfort in these challenging times by clinging to the people and activities that nourish the heart and soul. And may we also find the strength to let go of the things – and yes, even the people – that may no longer be good for us. Wishing you a summer filled with good times and plenty of chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Ready for Another Trip Around the Sun…
So how’s everyone doing so far in 2022?
I have no idea how January disappeared so quickly. I’m even more unsure how it’s just about time to turn the page to my 48th year on the planet. However, I’m happy to report I’m kicking off my new year feeling better both physically and mentally thanks to one addition to my routine: a rekindled “love affair” with the heavy bag.
I’ll be the first to admit my health and fitness routine took a major hit in 2020, and it still wasn’t quite up to my usual standards in 2021. As you may recall, I did start running in Central Park after the gyms closed, but my heart has never really been in it. While I definitely missed my “dates” with the heavy bag, I don’t think I realized just how much I missed throwing powerful punches and breaking a serious sweat until I signed up for classes at TITLE Boxing Club of Huntington. You repeat readers know I’ve tried lots of fitness classes and routines during the lifespan of this blog, and I can honestly say this is the greatest fitness community I’ve ever joined.
The high-energy classes are simply amazing. My heart rate maxes out around 170bpms and averages in the mid- to high 140s during the 55-minute classes. The workouts consist of a 10-minute warm up; eight, three-minute rounds of boxing (no more kickboxing for me – my SI joint simply can’t take it); and 10 minutes of core or strength training to wrap things up. All of it is fueled by great tunes pumped through the super-clean, airy facility. But what makes these killer workouts so FITastic are the passionate and highly-skilled instructors and my “family” of fellow athletes. We’re a mixed bag of ages and fitness levels, and each and every person working his or her own bag is driven and supportive. This is a 100% no-judgment zone. I look forward to getting stronger with each workout, each week and each month in the year ahead. If you haven’t tried boxing, especially in these ongoing stressful times, I encourage you to give it a try – assuming your doctor gives you the green light. (And if you’re a Long Islander and give TITLE in Huntington a try, please be sure to tell Danny or Christin I sent you their way!)
Of course, I realize boxing isn’t for everyone. Each of us needs to find the right routine to motivate us to move. Whether it’s running, walking, swimming, tennis, dancing, bodybuilding, HIIT training….do what makes you feel good. No matter how many birthdays are in your rearview mirror, exercise will always be one of the best ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous – especially with each year we get to put another candle on the cake!
Wow. My peak week Transformation Tuesday has finally arrived. All the weight training, cardio, meal prep, self-denial and discipline come down to this. With only four days to go until the Brooklyn Grand Prix, my feelings run the gamut: I’m excited, nervous, scared, pumped, sore, tired and definitely “hangry.”
While this week involves grinding through a few more workouts and practicing some extra stringent discipline on the nutrition side, I’m also doing all I can to stay healthy and manage some serious fatigue. My coach wants me off my feet and resting as much as humanly possible when I’m not working, training, practicing my poses or cooking. In order to conserve some brain power for the main event, this post will be short and sweet, too.
A few details about this week: I’m eating my lowest carb meals until Thursday; there’s no more mustard in my meals or artificial sweeteners in my daily iced coffee and my water intake will start decreasing after tomorrow. Daily posing practice continues and I’ve started started stocking up on show day essentials ranging from safety pins to rice cakes. I’m also beyond excited to pick up my bikini tomorrow, along with some sparkly accessories. I’ve been seriously exfoliating my skin and will get my first two coats of my spray tan Friday evening. Then it’ll be time to try and get some sleep before arriving at the show site and getting dolled up for the stage. Of course, I’ll be sharing much more after the event is over. I do ask for a little patience as it may take an extra day or two for my brain cells to recover along with the rest of my body.
For now, I want to send an enormous final thank you via my blog for all the incredible support throughout these past fifteen weeks. While some of those weeks seemed to drag on longer than others, I realize now the whole summer truly went by in the blink of an eye. If you happen to be in Brooklyn on Saturday and want to check out the show, click here for information on the venue and ticket prices at the door. To my friends have already made arrangements to be there, I can’t wait to see you!
I also need to thank everyone who’s helped me advance to round three in the Maxim Magazine Cover Girl Contest. Please keep those daily votes coming! (Click here to be taken to my Maxim profile page.) This contest will go on long after the Brooklyn Grand Prix is behind me, so I appreciate you putting up with my constant barrage on social media to help me stay in it to win it!
And now…here’s to the final countdown in this unprecedented part of my relentless journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Practice Makes Perfect…I Hope!
Wow! We made it to July! I seriously can’t believe we’re past the halfway mark of 2019. Perhaps even more unbelievable is in four days, I’ll be just 12 weeks away from stepping on stage for the NPC Brooklyn Grand Prix!
During this past week my coach, Jen, was kind enough to meet with me before a well-deserved vacation to start teaching me the ropes in what I consider the most terrifying part of this entire process: posing. Let’s just say I need all the help I can get!
This is completely different from maintaining poise and composure in front of a camera even in the sweltering heat or bone-chilling cold during my TV reporter days. This is about mastering a routine that includes four poses in a blur of 10 to 12 seconds. That’s the amount of solo time I’ll have in front of the judges. The poses themselves are totally foreign to me, and then there’s the added challenge of executing those moves wearing four-and-a-half inch platform heels and transitioning between each move as gracefully as possible. (Oh, and of course, I need to do it all with a smile!) Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed during that first hour of practice. However, Jen encouraged me to simply practice, practice and practice some more. If you want a good laugh on this first Tuesday of the new month, click the play button on this video to see how I did.
All you pros out there know I have a lot of work ahead of me! However, I hope sharing this not-so-perfect video serves as a gentle reminder that anytime you try something new, you can’t expect to be perfect right out of the gate. Whether it’s a new job, maybe even a totally different career; a new fitness or nutrition program or a new hobby, we can put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We’re usually the first to beat ourselves up when we slip and fall. So, I’m going to try and remind myself to do what my coach and so many other people who’ve been through this competition prep have told me: trust the process. So, I may stumble and fall – literally! – practicing my posing routine, but I’ll get up and try again. I’ll keep the faith that with some serious effort on my part and the ongoing support from my family, friends, my coach and the fitfam universe, I can make this happen!
I close with a wish for everyone to have a safe and Happy 4th of July! (Click here for a reminder on how to get through what could be a long weekend of food-filled fun without totally falling off the healthy lifestyle wagon.) As for me, the holiday will be my last real “cheat” day before crunch time begins. That doesn’t mean I’ll go totally crazy with the food and drink. I’ll get to the gym super early, eat a couple of my prepared meals before heading to the annual pool party my family and I look forward to every year and I’ll choose my “cheat” foods with care. (I do see a cheeseburger and one or two cocktails in my holiday future…) I’ll also be sure to drink my gallon of water or more throughout the day.
Here’s to celebrating America’s birthday, a fitastic July and all the opportunities ahead to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!