Here we go again! This Motivation Monday post brings us exactly seven days away from another Christmas. Keeping up with tradition, this will not only be my last post of the year, but it’s also a chance for me to offer my signature fitness-inspired twist on a holiday classic. Today I give you…
The 12 Days of Fitness
On the first day of fitness, my workout gave to me…a super surge of endorphins.
On the second day of fitness, my workout gave to me…two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.
On the third day of fitness, my workout gave to me…three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.
On the fourth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.
On the fifth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.
On the sixth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.
On the seventh day of fitness, my workout gave to me…seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.
On the eighth day of fitness, my workout gave to me….eight back punches, seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge endorphins.
On the ninth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…nine jabs and crosses, eight back punches, seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.
On the tenth day of fitness, my workout gave to me….ten roundhouse kicks, nine jabs and crosses, eight back punches, seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.
On the eleventh day of fitness, my workout gave to me…eleven side planks, ten roundhouse kicks, nine jabs and crosses, eight back punches, seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.
On the twelfth day of fitness, my workout gave to me…twelve reps of lunges, eleven side planks, ten roundhouse kicks, nine double jabs, eight back punches, seven side kicks, six static stretches, five fitness apps! Four minutes of tabatas, three sets of squats, two tighter thighs and a super surge of endorphins.
Whatever you and your family are celebrating as another year winds down, I wish you a very happy and healthy holiday ahead. I close with a heartfelt thank you for all the support throughout another year filled with ups and downs. Here’s to ringing in 2018 with a bang and welcoming all the new chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous. See you next year!
I’m not sure where the time has gone, but somehow nearly four years have passed since I turned 40. Since then, I realize I’ve written more than a few posts about some major events in my family. This Motivation Monday post is all about another one.
At the end of this month, my 81-year-old father will retire from practicing internal medicine. After 50 years and change as a physician, I’d say he’s more than earned some time off.
This past Friday, my mom and I were blessed to witness something extraordinary at the office where he treated hundreds of patients of all ages, races and creeds since the late 1960s. His amazing staff – who has become part of our family over all these years – organized a wonderful sendoff. During the couple of weeks leading up to it, Dad kept saying he didn’t expect too many people to show up since the gathering was taking place on a Friday afternoon. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Patients arrived prior to the start time and stayed long after the “official” 3pm wrap up. Dozens of those patients were men and women close to my age, who all started seeing my Dad when they were 17 or 18 years old. Others started their visits with Dad in their 40s, and are now pushing 90 or older. (I met one gentleman who will celebrate his 99th birthday next month.) One couple drove for more than an hour to personally thank my Dad for treating their mother with so much care and compassion for decades up until her passing earlier this year. Some walked from their homes just a few blocks away while others drove many miles to wait in the hallway until there was enough space inside the office to give my Dad a great big hug and wish him well as he starts his adventures of retirement.
Each patient had his or her own unique medical history, but they all shared one common thread. Most of my introductions started with a wide-eyed “Oh, you’re the daughter! I recognize you from all the photos I’ve seen of you and your Mom all these years!” After that, everyone I met said the same exact thing: “I’m going to miss your Dad so much. They just don’t make doctors like him anymore.” So many patients – the Vietnam Veteran who survived a heart attack and the countless men and women who beat some form of cancer because Dad caught it early – told Mom and me time and time again “if it wasn’t for Dr. DeAngelis, I wouldn’t be here today.” Needless to say, more than a few tears welled up in my eyes that afternoon.
I also learned Dad wouldn’t be missed solely because of his knowledge of internal medicine. I heard story after story about about house calls, late night phone conversations and the extra time Dad took during office visits to learn what was happening behind the scenes in so many homes. Because of this, many grew to think of him as a trusted confidant and counselor. Dad never really adapted to the newer “rules” in medicine when it came to the shorter windows of time designated for doctor appointments. I have no doubt until he sees his very last patient a few weeks from now, the time he spends with each of them will go way beyond what the business of medicine now deems appropriate for an office visit.
I offer a heartfelt thank you to each and every patient who took the time to wish Dad a happy retirement. And my heart simply overflows with gratitude for his office staff. I know I speak on behalf of my mom when I say we will be forever grateful to this amazing group of women for taking care of him during all of those long days at the office. Some of the faces changed throughout the years, but they will forever remain a part of our family.
I close with this: I know this is a bittersweet time for my Dad, so I ask all you wonderful readers to keep him in your thoughts and prayers and he gets ready to face a new beginning. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to let the world know how proud I am to call Dr. Gabriel DeAngelis both my father and my friend. Stay tuned for more stories of our adventures together as he starts this new phase of his never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
With Thanksgiving behind us, this marks the first Motivation Monday of the 2017 holiday season. Along with the hustle and bustle of cyber shopping, decorating and meal planning, it’s also the time of year many of us find our calendars filled with family get-togethers, office parties and drinks with friends.
For me, this season has turned extra festive now that I am newly engaged! (Can’t you just feel my smile jumping out at you from these typed words?) That means I’ve received even more of those “we-must-get-together-and-raise-a-glass-before-Christmas” invitations. With many bubbly-filled evenings in my immediate future, I realize now more than ever, I’d better follow my own tips when it comes to trying not to throw all those healthy habits out the window between now and New Year’s Day.
If you’ve been stopping by here for awhile you know chocolate, wine and Prosecco are a few of my favorite things. Like other indulgences, I always do my best to enjoy these treats in moderation. However, if you find yourself face-to-face with a sea of hors d’oeuvres, candy-cane-themed cocktails and sugary sweets, fear not! Here are some simple ways to get you through the season with your healthy lifestyle goals in check:
- Plan Ahead: If you know you’re going to share some holiday cheer in the evening, do not starve yourself all day. Eat a sensible breakfast and lunch and don’t forget to have a healthy snack packed with some protein up to one hour before the party starts. This will help you avoid arriving super hungry and grabbing the first (cheese-smothered, bread-heavy) thing you see. My sample menu for this type of day: Breakfast: Isagenix shake Lunch: 2 hard-boiled egg whites with grape tomatoes and pepper strips & one slice of toasted Ezekiel bread. Snack: 1/2 cup of blueberries or small green apple with handful of almonds. (Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated with water.)
- Cocktail Control: The every-other-drink rule works just as well at a holiday party as it does for happy hour. To space out the alcohol consumption, start with a glass of wine or a cocktail, and when your glass is empty, switch to a glass of water or seltzer for your next beverage.
- Choose “Smart” Foods First: More and more holiday parties are a cocktail and appetizer bonanza. Load up on some of the healthier options first, including the crudités – celery sticks, carrots, bell pepper strips, broccoli and cauliflower. Tip: Try not to drown veggies in high-calorie dip. Instead, use mustard for a tangy, low-calorie alternative Another idea: Attack the protein! I love shrimp, and with 18 grams of protein in a 3 oz serving, there’s no reason not to! (Unless you are allergic to shellfish, of course.) Sushi, skewered chicken or beef tenderloin strips are also better options than cheesy breads or creamy dips.
- The Dessert Dilemma: What could be better than arriving at a party to find nothing but cocktails and cupcakes or wine and chocolate? If you know you’re attending one of these sweet celebrations, be sure to eat a small, sensible meal before arriving and tearing into the treats. When you do dig in, split a cupcake, cookie or piece of cake with a friend. If there’s any fresh fruit, eat that first.
- Get Moving! I know, you’re busy. Trust me – you can find the time to exercise. Pushing through two four-minute Tabatas or dare I say a whole 20 minutes of cardio or half of your favorite workout DVD is better than nothing. If you have a party after work, hit the gym or take a walk in the morning. If you live in a city like I do, don’t let the cold stop you in your tracks. Throw on an extra layer, pack the party shoes to go and burn some extra calories by walking to work and/or to the festivities.Remember, this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. For me, that includes enjoying some holiday cheer…along with some chocolate and cupcakes!
Remember sometimes all you need is a little planning to make it through the holiday season and stay on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Right up there with the Fourth of July (which takes place in my favorite season), Thanksgiving remains my all-time favorite holiday because it’s a day that makes us stop and give thanks for everything good in our lives. And what better way to take that pause than spending some quality time with family, friends…and plenty of yummy food and drinks?
It’s probably no surprise to learn between all the snacking and sitting down for a traditional turkey-with-all-the-trimmings meal, the Calorie Control Council reports the average American will consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day. So, I thought I’d help everyone start the week of strong with a few holiday feasting survival tips:
- Move it! Don’t skimp on the activity this week. Remember, ten minutes of exercise are always better than zero. The bonus is you’ll have the mental boost knowing you made an effort prior to the Turkey Day feast. On Thursday, even if you’re hosting the holiday fun and can’t leave the house, you can pop in an exercise DVD or bang out a Tabata first thing in the morning. Or sneak out for some fresh air and a brisk power walk or abbreviated run. Your gym is open? Great! Try a morning group exercise class or attack some cardio and core work. A few solid planks can make you feel strong before filling your belly with delicious eats.
- Eat breakfast! Be sure to eat something sensible on Thanksgiving morning to kick-start your metabolism. If you’re not feasting until late afternoon, make sure to follow breakfast with a small lunch or sensible snack so you don’t go overboard later. Two ideas: non-fat plain Greek yogurt with a serving of almonds mixed in or a piece of toasted Ezekiel bread topped with a sliced hard-boiled egg and salsa. These protein-rich snacks will keep you feeling full longer than a sugar-infused snack. For me, blending a chocolate Isagenix shake for breakfast is always a surefire way to know I started the day off on the right foot – even if it all goes downhill later!
- Mind Your Portions! Use a salad or other small dish for your meal. Start with salad or veggies and then add the turkey. Use the remaining space for the potatoes, stuffing and other starches. There simply won’t be as much room left as you’d have on a regular dinner plate.
- Savor the Flavor! Eat slowly! If you do clean your plate, wait 10 minutes before going back for round two. This will help you decide if you’re really hungry. If you aren’t, you’ll feel good knowing you had one helping – before moving on to dessert, of course!
- Keep Tabs on the Libations! This is the perfect day to follow the every-other-drink-is-alcohol plan. Enjoy a glass of wine, beer or cocktail then have a glass of still or sparking water before moving on to the next cocktail.
- Make Doggie Bags! Hosting the holiday feast? Don’t be shy about giving some of the uneaten turkey and trimmings to your guests.
I wrap things up by offering heartfelt wishes to all my readers for a very Happy Thanksgiving! With each year that passes, I grow even more thankful for so many blessings including my family, my friends, my health and for the support I receive from my “fitfam,” which includes all my loyal readers. One final note: If you end up breaking the calorie bank this Thanksgiving, don’t sweat it. Laughter, good food and even some good wine can be the perfect ingredients for a happy holiday as we continue our ongoing journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
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!
On this Motivation Monday, I send a hearty congratulations to the tens of thousands of FITASTIC men and women who laced up for the 47th TCS New York City Marathon. As my repeat readers know, despite my love for exercise and endorphins, I never became a runner. So I remain forever in awe of anyone who can run for any length of time – especially 26.2 miles.
In addition to some well-deserved celebrating, I hope the more than 50,000 runners are also taking a well-deserved rest day after pushing their bodies to the ultimate extreme. While the rest of us may not have clocked 26.2 miles on our fitness trackers this weekend, it’s important to remember each and every one of us regardless of our fitness level needs at least one rest day each week. If you don’t allow your body to rest and recover, you’re simply putting yourself at risk for overtraining. That can lead to a gamut of problems ranging from stress fractures and joint pain to sleepless nights.
To put it simply, too much of a good thing – even exercise – can be bad. Why? Because working out, especially at high levels with high impact, breaks down your body tissue. Resistance training actually breaks down muscles causing microscopic tears and it is on rest days when the muscles, nerves, bones and connective tissue get the needed time to rebuild.
So if this Motivation Monday turns into a rest day, don’t sweat it. Sometimes your body and mind need a nap or an overdue chat with a loved one more than a heart-pounding workout. If you’ve made the commitment to exercise and watch what you eat, you also owe it to yourself to give your body time to rest and recharge. It’s all part of the winning formula to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
When I signed up for my first Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer back in 2014, I had no idea it would lead to meeting one of my favorite TV personalities and fashion gurus.
If you tuned in to last week’s episode of Project Runway, you may have caught a glimpse of me and some amazing women sporting pink boxing gloves flanking Tim Gunn in the ring at Gleason’s gym in Brooklyn. I was honored to be selected to be a part of this group assembled to serve as inspiration in the “Avon Warrior Challenge.” The remaining contestants -and viewers around the country, listened to Avon’s Executive Director of Sales Development Evy DeAngelis (there’s a chance we could be distant cousins!) describe the company’s mission of improving the lives of women globally and its long history of fighting breast cancer through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Next, we heard from fierce survivors Michelle Ward and Tawana Lyles as they each described their personal battle with breast cancer. The forever-gracious Tim then instructed the designers to use this information as inspiration to create designs showcasing the warrior spirit.
As a producer who knows all too well how much footage ends up on the cutting room floor, I thought I’d give a few more details about Avon’s background in the fight against breast cancer. Since 1992, the Breast Cancer Crusade has donated more than $800 million to breast cancer causes, educated millions and has funded breast health screenings for nearly 20 million women. Some of the funds are raised through Avon 39 Walks around the country. As my repeat readers know, I’ve made some incredible memories on four Avon walks to date and I don’t plan on stopping until we wipe out this disease once and for all. Click here to learn more about the Crusade and to learn more about Michelle, Tawana and the other “warriors” featured in this special episode – Anita Shivraj, Linda Montavon, Ivanna Diaz-Hansen and Donna Reid-Mitchell.
I close this Motivation Monday post with a thank you to Avon for asking me to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience and for giving me the opportunity to meet an amazing group of fierce, fabulous women who I am lucky to call new, lifelong friends. I also want to thank everyone who shared in my excitement leading up to the show; those who took the time to send an email, text or leave a kind comment on my social media pages afterward and to the special group of friends who watched the episode with me. I am already looking forward to my next Avon Walk in 2018…and here’s to the unexpected adventures ahead of all of us as we continue on this journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
This Motivation Monday may bring us just one month into the fall season, but to me it feels like the summer of 2017 happened ages ago. Add the fact those longer, darker days are coming when Daylight Saving Time ends in less than two weeks…and it’s no wonder this bona fide beach bunny’s mind has already started daydreaming about getting away from the soon-to-be cold concrete jungle of New York City.
Wherever you call home, it’s no secret each of us fights a constant battle of how to fit so many tasks into one day, let alone one week. Between working; dealing with family obligations; and trying to take care of ourselves by working out and preparing healthy meals, there never seem to be enough hours to get it all done. (Especially when you throw in the extra chore of finding some time to sleep!)
In the midst of the daily madness, I couldn’t help but smile when I stumbled across the Tommy John website while doing some daily research on the good ol’ Internet. Even though the company is focused on base layers for guys, I learned those items are all about feeling confident and comfortable no matter where you go. I decided there was no better place for my mind to go than on a brief journey into fantasy land thinking up the dream fitness vacation. Talk about the perfect opportunity to get lost in some writing and escape the daily grind. So here it goes…
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn the ideal destination for this relaxing yet healthy getaway would be somewhere with a beach and a view of the water pretty much everywhere on the property.
The non-stress trip would start before I even set foot on the soft, white sand thanks to the fact that there would be very little to pack. Just the casual, low-maintenance necessities: bathing suits, flip-flops, sneakers and plenty of moisture-wicking workout wear. I’d gladly leave the “high-maintenance” hair styling and heavy makeup at home, but I’d be certain to pack plenty of sunscreen and at least one bottle of BFit Labs Rapid Electrolyte spray to keep my electrolytes in check while I sweat through those sports bras and yoga capris.
Which leads me to the ideal itinerary at this dream getaway destination: The morning would start with a high-intensity workout around 8 am and continue with a recovery breakfast filled with healthy but satisfying foods ranging from fresh fruit to egg whites with plenty of veggies tossed in. After some beach and pool time and maybe a little stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking, I’d gladly hit another low-impact workout or stretch session later in the day. On at last one day, I might swap that late day workout for a massage.
I should point out one important feature about my ideal getaway: while I would NOT want this to be a “dry” destination, I’d love if it offered some lo-cal cocktails. So instead of the sugar and calorie-filled frozen mudslides, I’d opt for margaritas featuring not much more than tequila and agave and lime juice or vodka and club sodas with a slice of fresh pineapple or orange.
Finally – and I realize this is the difference between 43-year-old Laura and 23-year-old Laura- I wouldn’t mind if a “quiet rule” was enforced after let’s say, 9 pm. That would make the atmosphere ideal for some solid rest and recovery before the next sun-filled day filled with one or more workouts.
So what would be in your ideal fitness trip agenda? I’d love to know! Even if we don’t get to take those trips anytime in the immediate future, sometimes a few minutes of daydreaming can help us deal with the daily dilemma of finding ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
You can thank Physique57 instructor and friend Chad Levy for this week’s inspiration. He offered these 13 words of wisdom as we executed our final stretch at the end of a fitastic workout last Wednesday. They stayed with me all week. Given the battles each of us faces in our daily lives and the state of sadness and shock that still lingers following last week’s tragic events in Las Vegas, I thought it couldn’t hurt to pass these words along to my readers:
“Remember your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Remember your compassion and not your anger.”
Never underestimate the power of a good sweat when it comes to finding the strength to attack the challenges in this crazy ride called life. And never forget you have all the power you need inside you to continue on the path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous.