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Sometimes We Need a Push…to Slow Down

Getting Some Perspective by the Sea

Getting Some Perspective by the Sea

On this Motivation Monday, I’m not offering my typical boost to take things up a notch in your fitness routine. Instead, I’m offering the important reminder that sometimes you actually need to take a step back, or at least to the side.That’s the road I have to travel right now and I have no one to blame but myself. The bottom line is I’m paying the price for not following my own advice.

It’s been more than two years since I was sidelined by an injury. Unfortunately, the small discomfort that started during a set of push-ups around the time of my 40th birthday has turned into a minor tear affecting the function of my left shoulder. So I have no choice but to modify my activity or risk making things worse and possibly face surgery later. I’m kicking myself for not listening to my body in the spring, but I can’t go back now. However, I can follow my doctor’s advice and move forward carefully and intelligently. I may be down, but I’m nowhere near out.

The biggest disappointment in all this is that I can’t practice the PILOXING® choreography I so desperately want to master so I can begin teaching classes as soon as possible. A huge part of the boxing, Pilates and dance-inspired 60-minute workout features jabbing and punching. Those two moves can’t be a part of  my fitness routine for the next four to six weeks. Instead, I will incorporate the shoulder-strengthening exercises prescribed by my doctor and focus on healing. So, my grand PILOXING® plans are now on hold.

Fortunately, after a few calming hours listening to the sounds of the sea at Jones Beach, I was able to put things in perspective. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and remembered delays aren’t deal breakers. I won’t let this setback break my spirit or stop me from pursuing my goals. I will continue to workout over the summer, and in the end, hopefully I’ll train a bit smarter than I did during the first half of the year.

We all know the best laid plans often go awry. Hopefully this post serves as a reminder that it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. You simply have to accept the fact that sometimes you have to take a step back or to the side to move ahead. Embrace the new direction and focus on the fact that at some point, you’ll be back to full steam ahead in your mission to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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Bring on Spring!

A Quick Weekend Drive to Jones Beach Got Me Psyched for Spring!

A Quick Weekend Drive to Jones Beach Got Me Psyched for Spring!

I love to sleep. However, I didn’t mind losing an hour of snooze time this weekend thanks to Daylight Saving Time. Being able to hang on to the sunshine a little longer each day is definitely worth a few extra yawns.

I’m also ecstatic that there are only nine days left until the start of spring. Whatever’s been in the air this winter, I’m ready for it to move on out of here and bring on a new season filled with warmer temperatures and sunnier dispositions.

If you’re one of the many people who’ve been suffering from the “Winter Blues” now’s a great time to start shaking them off by thinking about some new moves to mix up your fitness routine. Remember, the extra hour of daylight nixes any excuse about hating to take that post-work walk in the dark. Come on people, use the light to boost your spirits and get moving!

Of course, if you’ve been hibernating all winter, remember to re-start your engines with care. Whether you’re taking on a serious fitness routine for the first time ever or if you’ve simply been on an extended, here are some reminders to help you safely spring into action:

  • Talk to your doctor. If you’ve never exercised before, you should make sure your heart is in good shape for a serious shake-up. If you’re already on heart medication or managing conditions like diabetes or asthma, it’s crucial to speak to your doctor about how to proceed with an exercise routine. Similarly, if you have any old injuries, it’s a good idea to make sure to gauge where you are in the healing process so you avoid activity that could set you back again.
  • Talk to a trainer. Even if I wasn’t a certified personal trainer, I’d suggest treating yourself to a session or two with someone who can assess any muscle imbalances, show you proper form and help you create a comprehensive exercise program that helps you reach your goals.
  • Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day. Start slow. Seriously. If you’ve been sitting on your couch all winter, it’s probably not a good idea to jump into a 60-minute boot camp class. Don’t know exactly where to start? Stretching, core work and cardio are always a safe bet.
  • No Gym? No Problem! If you don’t like the gym, well this is YOUR time of year! Treat yourself to a new pair of running sneakers or cross trainers and start pounding the pavement in your neighborhood or find some trails at a nearby park or recreation area. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to start cycling? Time to pick up the tennis racquet?
  • Got Gym? Check Out What’s New!  I visited my parents over the weekend, and if I’d checked the updated schedule at the New York Sports Club near their house, I would have arrived 20 minutes earlier Saturday morning and made it to Zumba!  Along with normal group exercise classes, smaller training classes are more popular than ever and now’s the time some of those classes may move outdoors. I know I can’t wait to start hitting it hard in Central Park again on Saturday mornings for Roberto Murichi’s killer workouts!

So, if you’ve been searching for some motivation to get moving, take advantage of the longer days and make this your time to shine. No doubt a little extra solar power could be just the boost we all need to fuel our drive to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Mental Health Monday

‘Tis the Season to Find Your Happy Place!

As we kick off yet another work week, I’m doing all I can to hold on to the feeling of calm I managed to capture by extending the 4th of July into a mini-vacation.

I hope someday someone will be able to put a scientific rationale behind that old saying “time flies when you’re having fun.” Until that happens, I offer an important reminder about a crucial component to keeping your health and fitness routine in check: don’t underestimate the importance of taking care of your mind. 

With the dog days of summer upon us, there’s no time like the present to take a look at your schedule and figure out how to pencil in some time to re-charge and re-boot. For me, it meant extending the holiday into a few extra days away from the office and escaping to one of my favorite places on the planet: Jones Beach.

Armed with my sunscreen, an umbrella, a beach blanket, a chair and plenty of water and healthy snacks, I claimed a small piece of waterfront property for myself and tuned out the world by listening to the most soothing sound I know. I captured 60-seconds worth of that sound on my iPhone so I could sneak a listen whenever the world gets a bit overwhelming. I’m sharing it here in the hopes of helping others do the same:

I admit, I didn’t use these precious beach days as an excuse to be a total slug. Instead, I used the sun-soaked backdrop as a different venue for my workouts. I traded my 30-minute elliptical session for 50-minute power walks and followed those steps with plank, squat and/or push-up Tabatas on the sand. (Other no-gym-equipment-required exercises for beach Tabatas include burpees, squat thrusts or mountain climbers.) After breaking a sweat, I was more than happy to cool off in the crisp Atlantic Ocean.

I realize a true getaway may not be in the cards for everyone this summer. However, whatever time you can take for yourself – whether it’s an afternoon, morning or evening of tuning out – do it! Whatever you do, make sure you totally disconnect at some point during the week. I mean get off the iPhone or Blackberry, don’t worry about uploading a photo to Facebook or tweeting about the healthy snack you just ate. Just chill! Use the longer days as a reason to enjoy some time outside in the evening with family or friends. Take a walk, have dinner out on your deck or bring a picnic to the park.

So, while I’m constantly motivating people to move more, I’m now challenging you to find a way to slow down a bit. Then let me know how you sneak some down time into your schedule. If we don’t take advantage of these “lazy days of summer,” we may miss the perfect opportunity to make mental health breaks part of our everyday journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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