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Back to the Grind

Still Dreaming About the Beach…

Happy September! I hope you’re a little distracted reading this post thanks to some wonderful sun-kissed memories from a fun-filled summer capped off by a great Labor Day weekend.

With a new school year in session and the no-more-summer-Fridays work grind in full effect, it’s time to get back to reality. The lazy days of summer may be ending, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to still incorporate some fun into the new season’s schedule, especially when it comes to your fitness routine.

For anyone who feels like they’ve fallen off the health and fitness wagon thanks to all the barbecues, margaritas and other summer favorites, don’t sweat it! I’ve always considered back-to-school season a perfect time to get back on track with your goals for the remainder of the year. I know things are hectic, but if you’re busy getting the rest of the family’s schedule in order, don’t forget to pencil in time for you, too. That means getting exercise on the daily planner.

So today, I encourage everyone to use this transition time to remember the three Fs of fitness: it should be fun; it should be functional and it can even be free!

Fitness with Friends is ALWAYS Fun!

Just last week, I was reminded how exercise can be all three (and more!) during the most amazing group exercise class I’ve ever experienced. Thanks to my gal pal, Rita Joan, I learned about a unique workout opportunity aboard the flight deck of the USS Intrepid here in New York City. For one hour, we sweat it out with hundreds of other fitness lovers of all ages, shapes and sizes. For the first 30 minutes, we pushed through everything from squats to single-leg balance reaches as part of an Ironstrength workout lead by its creator and sports medicine guru Dr. Jordan Metzl. Those functional moves were followed by some sultry ones thanks to a super fun 30-minute Zumba session with Jeimy Prisby. Oh, and the kicker to this amazing night? It was free!

This particular fitness experience is over, but it just shows how a little research can lead you to  new opportunities. Not only may you finally find the perfect workout for your goals, but you may also find a new source of motivation sweating it out with endorphin junkies of all fitness levels.  . For my fellow New Yorkers, click here to learn when you can get in on one of Dr. Metzl’s free Ironstrength workouts. If you’re looking to get your Zumba on, whatever city or state you live in, click here to find a class near you. This is also the perfect time to check for new group exercise classes at your gym, or look for free fitness activities at a local library or community center.

So, here’s to getting back in the game and to a brand new month filled with chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 

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Tips & Tools to Have Fun, Be Fit & Feel Fab This Summer

Wow! Can you believe this is the first Motivation Monday of July? I hope you’re enjoying the start of summer and having some good times with family and friends as we get ready to celebrate the 241st birthday of our great United States of America.

Since I want to let you get back to your holiday fun as quickly as possible, you only need about four minutes to check out the video below where I offer a few tips and tools to help you feel and look your best all summer long. Thanks to Vanity Fair, Fiji Water and Sebastian Professional for giving me the opportunity to represent their products and to the crew at Vidicom in New York City for another smooth production.

Before you dive in to the video, let me wish everyone a safe and Happy 4th of July. Don’t forget the sunscreen and to designate a driver if you’re driving to and from your holiday fun. Here’s to barbecues, burgers, fireworks and all the things that help us have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Avon39 2016

Sue, Molly, Me, Liz & Lori Earn our 39!

“Troll Sisters” Forever!

While doing the same thing over and over again can sometimes lead to boredom, I guarantee walking 39.3 miles in the fight against breast cancer is not one of them.

fullsizerender-2As I sit here on this Sunday night covered in sports cream and fighting to stay awake after completing my third Avon39 Walk to End Breast Cancer, I hope you’ll forgive this somewhat simplistic but heartfelt Motivation Monday post. I offer two lists that sum up my emotions another unforgettable weekend here in New York City.

What I’m Thankful For:

  • My mom is now an eight-year survivor.
  • My generous supporters who got me to the starting line.
  • Joining my friend Sue for our third Avon39 Walk together.
  • Adding Molly, another St. Mary’s Gael, to this year’s experience.
  • The birth of two new friendships with Liz, a survivor; and Lori, Liz’s friend who flew in from Dallas.
  • The fun “hairstyle” Sue created for all of us, quickly transforming us into the fierce five unofficially known as “Team Troll.”
  • Seeing countless survivor t-shirts and pins along the walk.
  • Meeting so many people with unstoppable strength and determination, including Mike, whose 39.3-mile journey in Manhattan marked his 100th Avon39 walk to date.
  • The Avon39 crew members who kept us safe and cheered for us along 26.2 miles on Saturday and 13.1 on Sunday.
  • The strangers who took some time out of their weekend to stand on a street corner and offer a high-five of support.
Gaels Forever! Liz comes out to cheer us on.

Gaels Forever! Liz comes out to cheer us on.

What I Hope For:

  • To see even more survivors, including another high school gal pal Elizabeth, on next year’s walk.
  • To see more New Yorkers out on the streets on future walk weekends showing the pink warriors some love.
  • That one day in my Goddaughters’ lifetimes, we won’t have to ever walk again.

I wrap things up with a huge thank you to everyone who generously supported my third Avon39 Walk to End Breast Cancer. Because of you I threw a  5,175-dollar punch in the fight against breast cancer, making this my biggest fundraising year yet. Please know that money will be used to support organizations that help men and women, regardless of their ability to pay, receive the medical care they need. I also want to thank everyone for your encouraging emails and texts and all those who liked or shared my social media posts documenting my preparation for the journey right through the weekends’ highs. I simply couldn’t have done any of this without an amazing team behind me. If you’d like to see even more fun photos from the weekend, you’ll find them on my LauraLovesFitness Facebook page.

The Trolls with 100-Walk Mike!

The Trolls with 100-Walk Mike!

If you’ve been thinking about being a part of Avon39 or other activities to wage war against a disease that remains the number one cancer killer of women, now’s the time to get out there and do it! Putting your best foot forward – literally – is probably one of the most empowering ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Special Saturday Edition: Happy October!

Getting Pumped for Walk #3!

Getting Pumped for Walk #3!

I’m making this rare Saturday “appearance” to wish everyone a happy and healthy start to the new month! October is important to me for two very good reasons:

  1. This is the month the most important woman in my life, my mom, came into the world and
  2. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In exactly two weeks from the moment you’re reading this, I’ll be making strides in my third Avon39 Walk to End Breast Cancer. Thanks to a generous group of friends and family, this looks to be my biggest fundraising year yet. Now I’m pulling out the stops to bring in as many dollars as I can in the fight against breast cancer.

The money raised will help fund research, awareness and education while also providing assistance for those affected by breast cancer and their loved ones. My beloved mom is a breast cancer survivor and one of my high school friends continues to wage her own war against the disease, so I can tell you from experience how each and every dollar really does count. I hope you’ll consider joining the fight. All you need to do is click here to make your tax-deductible donation. In case you’re wondering, more than 3,500 people participated in Avon39 here in New York City and raised more than $8.7 million. Since 2003, Avon39 walks around the country have raised nearly $590 million.

Aside from fundraising, I’ve been busy breaking in my sneakers on 10- and 13-mile training walks with my amazingly supportive boyfriend. I have at least two more training “sessions” in my future before the October 15th start. Soon, I’ll be buying my moisture-wicking socks, Band-Aid Friction Stick and other Walk “tools” for the 39.3-mile journey around Manhattan. Each day, I’m getting more and more excited to join fellow St. Mary’s Gael Sue for our third walk together. This year, we’re excited to have Molly, another high school gal pal, join in the fun! While Avon39 has become one of my new favorite fall traditions, my hope is that one day we won’t have to walk anymore.

One final note before you go off and enjoy some well-deserved weekend fun: thank you to all my readers for supporting all my adventures on this never-ending road to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Park Bench Workout Encore

Outdoor picIt seems everyone here in New York has definitely caught the get-outside-and-workout bug. This Motivation Monday comes after a sunny, mild weekend and temperatures should be in the mid to upper 60s all week. Add the fact that we have sunlight till around 7 p.m. and you have all the inspiration you need to try something new. Maybe this is the week you ditch the same old indoor routine for just one day so you can get outside to get moving!

If you’re looking for something to amp up or compliment your normal run or brisk walk, here’s a second look at one of my favorite outdoor workouts.

  • What you need: your body weight, a park bench and water.
  • What you’ll get: a good sweat and a reminder to use Mother Nature as a motivator in your ongoing efforts to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Don't Get Sidelined By Darker Days!

Don’t Get Sidelined By Darker 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.

Even though we just wrapped up a week of ridiculously warm November temperatures here in New York, the one normal thing that took place each day was the disarming loss of sunlight before 6 pm. We’ve started the time of year when many of us leave home each morning in the dark only to leave work at the end of a long day and find ourselves enveloped in darkness once again. Add the inevitable drop in temperatures looming in the days ahead, and you have the perfect mix to want to ditch any exercise plans and head straight for the cozy couch.

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

  • 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’ll only find yourself face-to-face with that comfy couch tempting you to take a load off – and 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. It’s also the perfect time to see if that group exercise class you’ve been curious about is offered at lunchtime.
  • Make More Workout Dates:  Plan to meet a friend for that morning power walk, lunchtime body conditioning or evening barre workout. 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!

Congratulations Runners & Weekend Warriors!

ING New York City Marathon, RunnersFor this Motivation Monday, I can think of no better place to look for FIT-spiration than the tens of thousands of men and women who laced up for the 45th running of the New York City marathon! Congratulations to all who crossed the finish line! My repeat readers know I’m forever in awe of anyone who run for any length of time. As much as I love my endorphins, I never became a runner – and I’m happy to cheer on anyone who enjoys that high on a regular basis and then pushes it the extreme in this amazing show of stamina and endurance.

 

Assault course competitor helping others crawl under netsAlso over the weekend, another group of determined athletes put their strength and endurance to the test in the Tough Mudder competition out in Southern California. Before the action-packed weekend got underway at Vail Lake, I had the honor of speaking with retired U.S. Army Colonel Joe Adams to learn more about what it takes to be a part of the mother of all obstacle courses. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about it – and maybe you’ll even consider signing up for one yourself!

If you enjoyed as much Halloween candy as I did this weekend, maybe these fitness fanatics will inspire you to get back on track with your normal plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Bring on Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Let's Kick Breast Cancer's Butt!

Let’s Kick Breast Cancer’s Butt!

This Motivation Monday arrives just two days away from the kick off of another Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While we’ve made strides in the fight against this awful disease, there’s still so much more to do. Consider these statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Not counting some kinds of skin cancer, breast cancer in the United States is—

  • The most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity.
  • The most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women.
  • The second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.

We all know someone affected by breast cancer. As you repeat readers know, my mom is a survivor. Today, my St. Mary’s Gael-pal Elizabeth, continues her own battle. So, in 19 days, another St. Mary’s Gael and I will reunite for our second Avon 39 Walk against breast cancer. Sue (my “partner in crime”) even got two of her friends to join us this time. It’s sure to be another epic weekend.

I’m beyond grateful to all of you who’ve supported me so far. Because of your generous spirit, I will start the 39.3 mile journey early on the morning of October 17th. When the going gets tough over the weekend, I’ll do what I did last year. I’ll simply think about how aching muscles and a few blisters are nothing compared to what it’s like to experience cancer.

As you read this post, I’m either in the midst of a corporate video shoot or on my way home. Because of my schedule, I thought about letting this week’s post slide. Then I realized I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to remind everyone that together we can make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. If you’d like donate to Avon 39, simply click here  to be directed to my personal page. Every dollar helps provide life-saving screenings and  treatment along with support for patients and their families.

One final note: Motivation Monday is also a great time to remember multiple studies have shown exercise is a great defense against all kinds of diseases including cancer. So maybe this is the day you break a sweat for your health and consider giving a few dollars to help others. Together, we can do so much 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!

Feel Like a Kid Again!

photo-3Despite a chilly wind over the weekend, I think it’s safe to say spring has finally sprung here in New York City. That means it’s time to really embrace a whole new season of opportunities to mix up the fitness routine. For me, it’s meant getting back to a sport that was my one true focus on high school – and it’s done wonders for my physical and mental well-being!

I recently re-connected with one of my high school gal pals, Rita Joan, who was also a teammate on our high school’s varsity tennis team. We had the joy of being varsity champs in our division during our senior year in 1991! However, I’m sorry to say when I went off to college, I didn’t really keep up with the game. Then after I finished graduate school, my tennis racquet followed me to several states for several jobs, but all it really did was collect dust in the back of a closet. I think I managed to play a game now and then on various vacations, but that was about the extent of keeping up with my skills.

Then just last week, thanks to Rita Joan’s coaxing, I was trying to find my old stride to hit some solid forehands and backhands on a clay court in the middle of Central Park. It was probably the nicest evening we’ve had in the city since winter finally left town, and being in an oasis amidst the concrete jungle seemed surreal. Even better was the adrenaline rush I felt running from side to side on the court, and putting my body behind those shots to get that little yellow ball over the net. To say I was rusty would be a huge understatement. Still, it felt so good to get back into a sport that I absolutely loved playing in my younger days – and I was also glad to find my skills weren’t completely gone. They’ve just been on hiatus waiting for a spark to reignite them into high gear.

The next day, I was sore in places I hadn’t been for awhile – the heel of my hand hurt from gripping the racquet, my shins and forearms were tweaked and even my obliques were more tender than usual. The soreness felt really good because it was a sign of re-awakening parts of my body that had maybe been ignored for awhile on my fitness circuit.

I am beyond grateful Rita Joan got me back in the game and I can’t wait to play again next week. On this Motivation Monday, I encourage anyone who’s been missing a sport from yesteryear to think of a way to get back into it. Even if it’s once a week, or every other week, it’s a great way to put some variety into your routine and enjoy some nostalgia, too.  Why not consider bypassing the bar this week for that happy hour and instead get some co-workers together for a game of dodge ball or kick ball? Sometimes , bringing a bit of kid-type fun back into your routine is the kick you need to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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