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Change Just One Thing

IMG_1507With summer in full swing, I thought I’d use this Motivation Monday to offer some positive reinforcements. Yes, it’s beach season.  That means bikinis, shorts, strapless dresses and tanks are everywhere. It also means people can put way too much pressure on themselves to be in “prime” condition for this season of extra exposure.

Instead of overwhelming yourself with an uber-restrictive diet or adding daunting amounts of exercise to your already stretched-too-thin schedule, I offer this advice: why not try to make ONE change that can make a healthy difference over time. Here are five ideas for you to choose from  – and there’s no time like today to get started!

1) Swap out soda or juice for water or seltzer. Cut down on unwanted sugar, calories and sodium by making the switch to good ol’ H2o. Need some flavor? Add a slice of lemon or orange to your water bottle or an individual packet of  Crystal light.
2) Cut back on the booze. Saving the frozen cocktails or wine-time for the weekend or adding one or two more “dry” nights to the work week also cuts back the unwanted sugar and calories. Flavored seltzers make for wonderful mocktails on those booze-free evenings!
3)  Scale back on the sweets. If you have a wedding, backyard barbecue or other summertime fun fest on the weekend agenda, the work week is the perfect time to save up for the treats. Curb an after-dinner sweet craving with a green apple sprinkled with some cinnamon.
4) Add a flight or two to your weekly activity. Instead of stressing over when you’ll be able to squeeze in another 60-minute group exercise class to your busy schedule, why not take the stairs at work a few days this week? If you’re a commuter, skip the escalator and take the stairs up from the underground to civilization. You can also park the car a little farther away from the entrance to your office building or the grocery store. The extra steps DO add up over time!
5) Love yourself more. Embrace you who you are and feel good about the positive choices you make everyday. Don’t worry about always following the latest trends and buy clothes that make you feel good.
The only thing left to do is get outside and enjoy a healthy Vitamin D-filled season (with sunscreen, of course!) and all the opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
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A Fresh Start

Finding strength in letting go

Finding strength in letting go

On this Motivation Monday, I find myself starting over…yet again.

I have steered my career back on to the freelance highway. The idea is to stay the course until I decide what I really want to be when I “grow up.” The difference this time is that I’m more optimistic than ever that I’m on the brink of actually figuring it out.

Letting go or breaking free of a less-than-ideal situation is never easy. The unknown – daunting and scary – can be an unappealing choice compared to a comfortable routine, even if that day-to-day grind makes you unhappy. However, change can also be liberating.  I look at the days ahead as an opportunity for growth and the chance to explore ideas I never let formulate before, mostly because I was simply too scared to let them move to the forefront of my mind.

At 41, I realize I have many years ahead of me when it comes to working. Of course, if I win the lottery, all bets are off. If that happened, I’d simply volunteer my time as a health coach or something similar. So I thought it was the right time to not stand still in a place where the work was having a negative impact on the rest of my life.

This doesn’t mean the strong don’t get scared. I’m definitely a bit frightened of what lies ahead. However, at all the points in my life when fear has tried to cripple me, I’ve found it’s more important than ever to turn to the constants that provide the strength and fuel needed to move forward. For me, those constants include the love I’m lucky to have from my family and friends; my faith and last but certainly not least, the stress release I find in fitness. Sometimes an hour of sweat is all I need to give me the exact dose of endorphins and confidence I need to take the next step toward something better.

I hope you’ll stay tuned for more pages in this next chapter of my ever-evolving life. Of course, if you ever need a producer, voice over artist or media trainer- I hope you’ll keep me in mind!

Thank you for indulging me with this week’s post. My hope is maybe it gives someone else a push to take a bold step in his or her own life. Sometimes letting go is exactly what we need to do to stay the course on our journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Allergy Season Survival Tips

coldI think it was about a month ago when I heard the first news stories telling allergy sufferers like me to brace for a killer season. The never-ending brutal winter kept the trees and other spring blooms dormant for a lot longer than usual, and then about two weeks ago – BAM! Everything exploded. Now, tree pollen seems to fall like rain, turning cars of every color a bright green shade while lawnmowers can be heard firing up in the ‘burbs to cut the newly awakened grass.

So I thought this Motivation Monday presented the perfect opportunity to offer some tips on how to prevent allergy season from sidelining your long-awaited outdoor workout plans for spring.  Here are a few tricks that help me keep the itchy eyes, sneezing and that uncomfortable sensation of having cotton stuck in my throat to a minimum:

  • Mind the Time: Pollen counts tend to be highest between 5 am and 10 am. Unfortunately, that’s when many people enjoy their get-the-day-started jog, bike ride or walk. If you can move the activity to a time that’s not so pollen-heavy, great. If not, hopefully some of the following tips will help.
  • Wear sunglasses: You can create at least a minimal barrier for your eyes by wearing sunglasses (or even goggles) if you plan to exercise outdoors for a long period of time. Using eye drops before you head outside can help, too.
  • Don’t forget your meds: I got allergy shots for several years when I was a kid. They helped make my acute reactions less severe over time, but I still battle through hay fever season every year. Today there are so many over-the-counter and prescription allergy medicines that can offer relief. (Important note: I don’t like to take a lot of medicine, but as far as I’m concerned, I’d rather take something for a few months that will keep me from scratching my eyes out!) Talk to your doctor about what treatments might work best to alleviate your symptoms. To prevent the onset of those symptoms, it helps to take your medication an hour before your outdoor workout. If you get out of bed and head outdoors immediately, ask your doctor if you can take your medication before bed so it’s in your system when you head outside.
  • Clean up: Get out of those sweaty and pollen-infused clothes, take a shower and wash your hair as soon as possible following an outdoor workout. The longer that pollen lingers, the more severe your reaction can be. (You also don’t want to spread the pollen around your home by sitting on the couch or lying on your bed.)

Probably the best advice I can offer is this: listen to your body. If you’re trying to get your heart rate up outdoors but all you’re feeling is misery, be smart. Stop. Head indoors, shower and re-group. Maybe that’s the day you sign up for an indoor air-conditioned group exercise class or bang out a Tabata derby at home to keep you sneeze-free on your quest to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Overwhelmed? I Feel Your Pain!

Weekend paperwork

Weekend paperwork

With this Motivation Monday post, I throw my support behind anyone struggling to get it all done. I’m with you. Lately it seems to take me longer to cross the tasks off even the most organized to-do lists. So, I offer a reminder  that sometimes you simply need to take a deep breath, remember you’re human and accept the reality that the world won’t end if one or two things have to wait until tomorrow.

Where is this all coming from? Last week, I posted about renewing my adult CPR/AED certification with the American Red Cross. I left that requirement until one of the last weekends I could get it in and still get my paperwork in for my NASM personal trainer re-certification. Two days ago, I blocked out time to take a NASM Integrated Flexibility Training online workshop so I could obtain the last continuing education units (CEUs) needed to actually get re-certified. The deadline is only a few weeks away. I got through the material, passed the online test and  rushed all my paperwork to the post office. Now I wait for it all to be processed, approved and then hopefully receive my new NASM certificate in the mail sometime next month.

I got it all done, but I have never been one to wait until the last-minute to get important items like these off my plate. But the clock seems to tick at a faster place lately, the work days bleed into the all-too short weekends and then the cycle repeats on Monday. I am looking to the energy of the new season to figure out new ways of doing things. That includes possibly re-vamping plans on how I schedule everything from my workouts to overdue catch-ups with friends and family.

Through any stressful time, working out and eating healthy always help me keep my cool. However, I hate to admit, over the past month, the frequency of my workouts has taken a hit thanks to longer-than-expected work days and overall fatigue. But there are peaks and valleys in every relationship – including the one we have with the gym.

So here’s to the new week with the NASM re-certification application crossed off my to-do list and the chance to find new energy to tackle what lies ahead. If today gets a bit manic, like Mondays often do, take a breath, close your eyes for a moment and remember this one thing: you are stronger than you think. Sometimes we all need a little reassurance to stay on the path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous.

Why Not Spend a Few Hours Learning How to Help Save a Life?

CPR picEvery couple of years, something great happens. Not only do I get to re-certify for my AFAA & NASM credentials in the fitness world, but part of that process involves me getting some life-saving reminders that could hopefully make a difference in the event of an emergency.

Last night, I took an adult CPR/AED course at the American Red Cross. In just three hours, I learned the basic  skills needed to help someone in the event of a choking situation or cardiac emergency. This marked the third course I’ve taken since 2010, and I’m always grateful for the reminders. On this Motivation Monday, I simply encourage everyone to consider taking a similar course to learn the basics about administering CPR, operating an AED and just being able to help if the unexpected happens. Even if you don’t work in the health or fitness industry, you never know when someone you care about could need your help in an emergency.

Click here to find a course near you. Doing something good for people around you is a great way to stick with your plans to have fun, be fit & feel fabulous!

More Fit, Fun and Fab Tips for Spring!

CaptureAll you repeat readers know how excited I am when my fitness and production worlds collide!

Recently, I was able to share some springtime health and fitness tips with stations and blog sites around the country. I hope you find some helpful information in the interview I shared below.

Thanks to my wonderful crew at VIDICOM and to LG and Cold-EEZE for giving me the opportunity to spread the world about a whole new season filled with opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

Quick Hits

iStock_000018191976XSmallOnly one way to say this: it was a hell of a week. So on this Motivation Monday, I’m offering a simple post with three simple tips to get you even more excited about the start of spring!

  1. Leave the winter behind: Did you pretty much hibernate all season, skip gym classes or miss those daily runs thanks to dangerous weather conditions? Maybe you indulged in more than your fair share of calorie-loaded comfort foods. Don’t sweat it. Leave the sins of the past where they belong, take note of any updates to the spring schedule at your gym and stock up on some colorful produce and healthy food options. It’s time to get your mind focused on a fresh start!
  2. Don’t forget your core: It’s been awhile since I reminded everyone about the importance of incorporating core strengthening exercises into any fitness routine. I know everyone’s excited to start pounding the non-snow covered pavement for long runs and enjoy some outdoor calorie-burning fun like basketball and softball. If you’ve been less active than normal all winter, do your body a favor and don’t forget to incorporate some planks, crunches and bridges into your daily routine. You can do them when you first roll out of bed, when you’re watching TV or just add five more minutes to your workout at the gym. Click here for a reminder of some of my favorite core exercises.
  3. Workout for your skin: Spring makeovers are all the rage right now. I’m here to remind you of another great benefit of exercise – it’s a natural way to make your skin more radiant! Exercise improves circulation which increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your skin. It’s also been shown to reduce wrinkle-causing inflammation.

So, there you have it. Three easy reminders on how some easy tweaks to your spring routine can help you stay on track with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Spring Cleaning for Your Fitness Routine

Photo by: Leslie Hassler

Get Psyched to Get Back Outdoors! Photo by: Leslie Hassler

This Motivation Monday brings us just four days away from the official start of the spring of 2015! To be more specific, spring starts on Friday, March 20th at 6:45 P.M. EDT; 5:45 P.M. CDT; 4:45 P.M. MDT, and 3:45 P.M. PD. Yes, I’m pretty excited about it. Then again, after the brutal winter most of us just lived through, who isn’t?

In anticipation of the start of the long-awaited season filled with sunshine and rising temperatures, here are five tips to give your health and fitness routine a spring makeover:

  1. Set a Realistic Schedule: If you’re fitness routine took a backseat this winter, don’t sweat it. Write down your plans for walks and other outdoor cardio, trips to the gym and group exercise classes. Just don’t write something in for every day of the week or you’ll get frustrated the first day you miss a workout. Start with three days and work up from there.
  2. Stretch: We’re all excited to get outside and move, but hitting a high-intensity boot camp or basketball game without any type of warm up can be a recipe for disaster. If you’ve been less active than usual during the winter months, focusing on your flexibility training is more important than ever. One idea: warm up with 10 minutes of light cardio, then some dynamic stretches. These include lunges, touching your toes and walking your hands forward, swinging your legs while standing and twisting from side to side. Post-workout, do some static stretches to help your muscles recover – just remember to hold those stretches for 30 seconds.
  3. Try Something New: Break up your routine and soak up some fresh air with tennis, golf or team up with friends on the weekend for endorphin- and laugh-infused games of dodge ball, kickball or even ultimate Frisbee. You don’t have to be a seasoned athlete to have fun and burn some calories at the same time!
  4. Clean Out More Than Your Closets: Still have tins of treats from the holidays or boxes of chocolate from Valentine’s Day? Get rid of them. Feel guilty about throwing stuff out? Bring it to the office or some other place where a crowd will devour it quickly. Replenish supplies of raw almonds, beans, quinoa, brown rice, herbal teas, spices and other non-perishable healthy staples.
  5. Give Your Workout Wardrobe a Makeover: It’s always fun having new duds, so why not get rid of the cotton college t-shirts and sweats and replace them with bright tanks, shorts, cropped pants and other workout wear made from moisture-wicking fabric. For my fellow fitness chicks, it’s a good time to think about replacing your sports bras. If you’re working out a lot, a sports bra has a similar lifespan to your footwear – about six months.

Hang in there just a few more days, and soon we’ll all be launched into a brand new season filled with endless opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Want to Kick Those Winter Blues? Get Moving!

Thermometer FrostyIt’s hard for me to believe this Motivation Monday brings us nine weeks into 2015. What’s even harder to deal with is the fact that Old Man Winter obviously did some serious training in the off-season.

It seems practically all of us around the country are dealing with one of most brutal winters in years, if not decades. If  you’re struggling with a severe case of the winter blues, take a deep breath and realize you’re definitely not alone.

Exercise is a great way to lift your spirits thanks to all the endorphins that flow through the body when you workout. That energy surge also sticks with you long after the group exercise class or weight training session is done. Of course, with record-breaking snowfalls and below-zero temperatures keeping roadways and sidewalks slick in many towns, driving to the gym or going for that daily run or walk may simply not be an option. If you’re finding it hard enough to get from home to work or school and still want to break a sweat, don’t forget you can still get that endorphin rush right in the comfort and safety of your own home!

In an effort to share a warm reminder that spring will eventually arrive, I thought I’d re-post my “Tear-It-Up In Ten” workout video. Even though I demonstrate the circuit in Central Park, all the exercises can be done indoors and require no equipment. Hopefully, seeing some sunshine and greenery will also give you a glimpse at what we have to look forward to in the not-so-distant future.  So stay safe, stay warm and remember – sometimes taking  your workout and your mind to another place is all you  need to stay on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

 

41

photo-28Call 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.

Not a bad way to wrap up my 40th year!

SUP Aruba Style: Not a bad way to wrap up my 40th year!

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.”

-Satchel Paige 

 
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