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Back in Action…Well, Sort Of

My August “Fashion” Accessory

Happy September!

I realize I’m probably “showing my age,” but I’m absolutely blown away at how each summer seems to fly by faster than the last. It’s even harder to believe my annual month-long hiatus from blogging has come to an end, too. I hope your August was filled with at least a few lazy days, plenty of laughter and some precious moments with friends and family. Let the memory of those happy days give you a boost when the back-to-reality blues come knocking at your door.

Since everyone seems to be in back-to-school mode, I thought it was the perfect time to offer what I learned in a different kind of summer school: physical therapy. Fortunately, I am close to wrapping up my PT sessions, but I’m still uncertain of the date I’ll be able to return to my ultimate happy place: the kickboxing studio. So the lesson I hope you take away from this first post of September boils down to this: do what I say, NOT what I do. Seriously.

Since 2011, I’ve written multiple posts about the importance of listening to your body and taking a step back if it tells you something’s wrong. And what exactly did LauraLovesFitness do in this situation? I didn’t listen. I ignored the pain that started as a small twinge in the medial region of my right knee after a kickboxing class back in February. Sure, I’d take a day off, maybe two, here and there, but I never rested long enough to give my body a real break. After several months, that twinge had turned into a steady, searing pain that began impacting life away from the heavy bag. It started bothering me during long walks, at Physique57 classes and even after periods of sitting. When the pain started waking me up at night, I knew it was time to do something. Fortunately, a MRI ruled out a tear in my meniscus or any ligaments surrounding the knee. However, I was diagnosed with bursitis and tendonitis due to a probable strain in my adductor followed by overuse. That meant I had to take a step back from kickboxing and get my butt to physical therapy.

Now, after five weeks of manual therapy, ice massage, various stretching and strengthening exercises and wearing kinesiology tape (also known as elastic therapeutic tape or K-tape), I’m finally feeling like myself again. For someone used to going a million miles a minute, it’s been frustrating as hell and I miss kickboxing more than any other workout in my life. The bottom line is I have no one to blame but myself. If I could go back in time, I would have addressed the pain not long after it started, made sure I was executing the moves in my workout with proper form and taken the rest I needed.

So, as I continue to heal and look forward to a return to kickboxing, I encourage everyone to take things nice and slow as we transition from the “lazy days of summer” into more intense routines. Many are shifting from long walks at the beach back into more intense fitness classes or weight training sessions at the gym. Be sure to warm up and cool down; stretch; hydrate and when something doesn’t feel right, don’t keep doing it! If you don’t start feeling better after a few days of rest, consider seeing a doctor to make sure you haven’t done something that needs more than just ice and elevation.

I close with a hearty thank you to Dr. Andrew Rosen at Upper East Orthopaedics and Jun Zhu Zhang at Orthology in Chelsea for their expert care and for understanding my need to get back to the heavy bag. Here’s to healthy and happy September ahead and making smart choices along the path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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New Tricks, New Treats

Loved meeting these fun, fab and fierce fitness chicks!

One of the perks of getting my NASM and AFAA certifications several years ago is that it “forces” me to get a certain number of credits every couple of years to keep those fitness certifications current. This year, I’m beyond pumped those necessary credits led me to find the Everlast Striking Certification Workshop: level 1.

As you repeat readers may recall, I was lucky enough to discover the rush provided by muay thai kickboxing not long after birthday in 2017. I’m still not quite sure how I dealt with the stress of living in New York and life in general for 43 years before discovering the physical and mental rush that could be experienced thanks to kicking and punching a heavy bag! (Talk about inexpensive therapy!) After a full Sunday in the Everlast workshop lead by fitness guru Aaron Drogoszewski, not only did I acquire the credits needed to maintain my fitness certifications, I learned even more about the techniques that have become a huge part of maintaining my physical and mental strength for the past 16 months.

Thanks to Aaron Drogoszewski for an amazing workshop!

What was extra fun about the workshop is that in addition to learning how to execute the six basic punches (jab, cross, hooks and upper cuts) along with the roundhouse kick with more accuracy and efficiency, we also learned how to cue and coach others through the moves. It was fun – and also one heck of a workout – to work with a partner and switch roles between trainee and trainer. The bottom line is there’s nothing like gaining extra knowledge from the experts to help take your game – whatever that may be – to the next level. I look forward to sharing some of the techniques with friends looking to add something new to their fitness routine.

In addition to Aaron’s instruction and motivation from my new fitfam friends, I couldn’t have made it through the day without the right fuel. Lucky for me, I received a “goodie box” of new KIND protein bars just in time for the workshop. (I did some spokesperson work for KIND a couple of years ago, and I was thrilled the team remembered me.) Not only did the double dark chocolate nut bar taste great and keep me satisfied with its 12 grams of protein, I love the fact that the bars contain no artificial sweeteners and have a low glycemic index. (They’re also gluten free!) I know I’ll be keeping one or two of these bars in my gym bag or purse at all times so I don’t get tempted by the not-so-healthy vending machine options when hunger hits.

So on this Motivation Monday, remember this: you’re never too much of an expert to get some new moves and new snack ideas to help you keep you on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Another Year Older…

It doesn’t seem possible this Motivation Monday marks the first of my forty-fourth year on Earth. Especially since I feel like I only wrote about turning 43 about five minutes ago. But here I am, another year older, thanks to the unstoppable force of time. Each year, I realize it’s one of many unstoppable forces that make up a lifetime.

I think most would agree birthdays present the perfect opportunity for reflection. Reminiscing about the many experiences that will forever define my forty-third year, it was no surprise I found the most defining moments didn’t surround producing any particular shoot for a client or the various business travel delays getting there. The times that will always matter most are the ones spent with family and friends. Of course, not all those occasions can be joyous, especially when saying good bye to those we love who won’t be sharing in another birthday celebration. However, I know each of those experiences gives us some sort of strength that we build upon and take into the next year – and beyond.

I was blessed to spend the weekend celebrating with both my parents. Their love remains one of the strongest beacons in my life and will be no matter how old I get. Meanwhile, this birthday also marked another “first.” This was the third time I started a new year with James by my side, but it marked the first we shared as an engaged couple. Add all the birthday love I received via phone calls, emails, texts and social media posts from family and friends near and far, and the fact that I feel healthier and stronger at 44 than I did at 43…and I know I am one lucky lady!

That doesn’t mean there weren’t a few bumps in the road. Each year, the number of people in my life challenged by attacks on their physical and mental well-being grows. Whether it’s the sudden death of a loved one; a terrible diagnosis; a job lost or financial stress; the end of relationships or other family trouble, things just seem to get more complicated as we get older. In a world filled with so much uncertainty, the 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 all my birthday treats that started on Friday and added up throughout the weekend. Today starts a new week and a chance for me to get back on track with the non-birthday treat regimen.

As I start my new 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. There’s no doubt the road ahead can trip us up at any time. So instead of looking back, let’s use the lessons of the past to move toward the future and all the opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

These Dark Days…

If you’re finding it hard to be inspired on this Motivation Monday, you’re not alone. Blame it on the one thing most of us simply can’t escape: the end of Daylight Saving Time and the beginning of the darker days that will continue through spring of 2018.

Here in New York, we were spoiled with unusually warm temperatures right through the end of October. Then over this past weekend, we were hit with a sudden blast of cold temperatures and brisk winds that reminded us we do indeed live in the Northeast. Add the fact that many of us leave for work in the morning and step out of the office at the end of the day enveloped in darkness, and you have the perfect mix to want to ditch any exercise plans and spend as much time as possible on the cozy couch.

So, I thought it was a good time to offer a few tips to help you stay on track through the season ahead:

  • Do NOT Leave Home Without the Workout Wear: If you normally exercise after work, make sure to bring your gym bag to the office. If you have to go home to change before your workout, you come face to face with the temptation to stay there.
  • Get Physical at Lunchtime: If you usually hit the gym before heading to the office or after dropping the kids off for school, why not consider moving your workout to lunchtime? Even under a cloudy sky, it’s brighter at midday. Sometimes that’s all you need to get your butt into the gym. And maybe there’s a new group exercise class offered at midday that could add some variety to your routine.
  • Make More Workout Dates:  Make plans to meet a friend for that morning power walk (just be sure to wear reflective gear if it’s dark!), lunchtime kickboxing class or evening barre session. Wanting to avoid the “guilt” of standing up a friend can keep you committed to your scheduled exercise plans.

I leave you with this final tip: remembering how good you feel after a workout may provide the biggest incentive to stick with your routine even on the darkest days ahead. Never underestimate the power of that post-exercise endorphin rush as you continue on your journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

The Last One Standing

Stay true to you…the rest will follow!

This Motivation Monday post follows the same theme as that old tale about the tortoise and the hare.

I was recently reminded how rewarding it can be to be like the tortoise. In one of recent kickboxing classes, I was the last one to finish the “pyramid” during a rather intense 12-minute warm-up. Rather than feeling defeated, I felt energized knowing I maintained the integrity of my workout. I didn’t cheat by skipping a rep while sweat poured down my face and my heart raced. As we all headed to the heavy bags, I felt extremely focused and ready to tackle the high-intensity  drills and combinations.

What is the pyramid? It’s a non-stop switch-off between squats and squat thrusts. You start out doing 10 squats, then one squat thrust. Next, you move down to nine squats, and bump up the squat thrusts to two. Then you bang out eight squats followed by 3 squat thrusts, and you keep the inverse actions going until you finish at one squat and 10 squat thrusts. Out of the eight warriors starting our day with a bang, I was the last one to finish the pyramid. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t care.

This is just another example that sometimes you just have to block out the noise of comparing yourself to others to focus on your own goal. Many of my classmates, mostly women, are at least 20 years my junior. I look to these fierce fitness chicks for motivation, and there’s definitely something to be said about friendly competition, but I stop myself short of wanting to be exactly like any of them. I’d rather push my body to its own limit, knowing I maintained proper form and did the best I could do. There’s no use pushing yourself so hard you end up hurt and out of the game for who knows how long.

The bottom line is whatever you choose for your exercise routine, staying true to yourself is the best way to stay on course with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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