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!
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!
Considering I still have trouble sorting out what day of the week it is, I guess it’s no surprise I recently forgot one special date on the calendar. LauraLovesFitness.com turned nine years old last week!
I use each blog birthday as a chance to reflect on some highlights during the past year. Needless to say, nothing looks the same as it did at this time last July. However, before the start of a year many of us can’t wait to leave behind, the last half of 2019 provided some truly memorable experiences. I’ll always consider it a successful cross-this-off-the-bucket-list year. So, here are the top three memorable moments in since last summer in chronological order:
And… last but certainly not least..
Now, as we continue to push through a challenging and downright scary 2020, I am more thankful than ever to my readers and followers for your ongoing support. I hope my sporadic, yet candid posts during these past months have offered a few minutes of distraction during otherwise monotonous or difficult days. I look forward to better days ahead for all is us and to the times we can once again truly have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Some would say this Motivation Monday brings me to a mini-milestone. I’ve officially kicked off my 45th year on the planet. As I sit here struggling a bit more than usual to put my thoughts into words, I realize a weekend filled with celebrations isn’t the only thing to blame for this mild dose of writer’s block.
As each year goes by, I’m more overwhelmed by what I once thought was such a cliché. It may still be one, but it’s also an inescapable truth: the older I get, time goes by faster and faster and the memorable moments spent with family and friends grow more and more precious.
So many things happened between turning 44 and 45. Just like the 365-day span between all the birthdays before this one, some of those things were good, and others simply weren’t. There were tears of joy; tears of sorrow; doors closed while windows opened. The bottom line is things do get more complicated as we grow older. Exercise remains the one constant hat helps me handle whatever challenges life throws my way by keeping my body and spirit strong.
As I start another year, I encourage everyone to remember taking control of your health is something anyone can do at any age or fitness level. Don’t be afraid to strike out and try something new. Speaking of something new, I also wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about a website launched just last week by sportscaster Lauren Shehadi. I am honored to be among the inaugural group of women featured for the launch of SecretAdmireHER. I hope you’ll take a moment to check it out and perhaps nominate someone you know for future stories. (And a huge thank you to lifelong friend Jeanne Marie Daggett for nominating me!)
So, as I continue these first steps into year 45, I realize the road ahead can trip us up at any time. Instead of looking back, I say let’s use the lessons of the past to move toward the future and embrace every opportunity to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
I think it’s safe to say birthdays present the perfect opportunity for reflection. While I reminisced about the many experiences that will forever define my forty-second year on Earth, it was no surprise the most defining moments were those that involved family and friends. Many of those moments were happy ones. Others were the complete opposite. The reality is I begin living my forty-third year missing a few very special people. However, while they’ve been taken from this world physically, the memories of their love and friendship will remain a source for smiles and strength for all the years to come.
I was truly blessed to celebrate another birthday with both my parents. Their love and guidance have made me the woman I am today. I’m equally blessed to say I’ve never felt healthier or stronger – both physically and mentally – than I do right now. That strength was tested many times in the past year as I found myself along with several of my closest friends dealing with some very “grown-up” challenges: Family members suffering from attacks on their physical and mental well-being; sweet children growing up to become troublesome teens; job security growing less secure and relationships breaking up.
In a world filled with so much uncertainty, one thing I can control year after year is how I take care of my body. Exercising and eating healthy continue to help keep my immune system strong even when events and emotions seem overwhelming. Of course, the other “thing” that continues to work for me is embracing the everything-in-moderation mentality. That’s why I refused to feel zero guilt about my birthday snack featuring a chocolate – peanut butter cupcake and a glass of champagne. It felt equally good hitting the healthy reset button the day after my birthday by blending an Isagenix protein shake and hitting the gym.
Speaking of the gym, another thing I learn year after year is you’re definitely never too old to try something new. Some of my longtime readers may remember several years ago I enjoyed sparring with my personal trainer Roberto once or twice a week. A hand injury took me out of that game for awhile, but thanks to the recommendation of my gal pal Elisa, I decided to get back into the punching world and signed up for ILoveKickboxing.com.
After one sweat-filled 50-minute class last week, I was riding a crazy endorphin-filled high. I also laughed to myself thinking about how I could have crushed some serious stress if only I had I had started punching and kicking a heavy bag sooner! The class is a cardio, strength and endurance experience featuring boxing gloves, heavy bags and non-stop drills of core exercises ranging from mountain climbers to push-ups as well as solo and partner-friendly rounds of jabs, hooks, upper cuts and kicks. I am excited to add this new workout to my exercise regimen for the year ahead (which still includes Physique57 classes and Tabata training) and see how it helps take my physical and mental strength to another level.
So, I guess this is a roundabout way of saying taking control of your health is something anyone can do at any age or fitness level. Don’t be afraid to strike out and try something new. There’s no doubt the road ahead can trip us up at any time with bumps, twists and turns. Instead of looking back, use the lessons of the past to catapult you into the future and all the opportunities calling you to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Call me superstitious, but I sort of believe in signs. So I hope the fact I get to start my 41st year on this planet on a Motivation Monday is a sign I’ll be stocked with enough adrenaline to tackle the new adventures and challenges waiting for me in the days ahead.
This birthday happens to fall in the wake of a brief but brilliant escape to the beautiful island of Aruba. It was the first vacation I’ve been on in awhile where I truly took it easy. Instead of the high-intensity cardio-fueled workouts I sweat through here at home, I enjoyed extended walks on the beach (sometimes two a day), stand-up paddle boarding and swimming. I even indulged in a massage. The result? Well, while I may have added a pound or two to my waistline thanks to the frozen cocktails and some decadent desserts, I also returned to the frenetic pace of my beloved New York city with relaxed muscles and a relaxed mind.
Part of my unwind time included embracing the fact that getting older doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you’ve been stopping by here for awhile, you’ve read one or two posts about the fact that I’m definitely stronger than I was 10 years ago. Physically and mentally. I credit my experienced – both good in bad, in the gym and beyond – for giving me the confidence to make wiser choices today. Sure, I’ll still tweak a muscle during a workout now and then, and I’m the first to admit I’ve made some less-than-optimal choices when it comes to work or my love life. However, at least I believe I have a well-stocked mental file cabinet of information to guide my decisions.
So as we all start a new work week and I start my new year, let’s embrace all the surprises ahead that can only lead us on new paths to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
“Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”