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A LauraLovesFitness Christmas Tradition Continues

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!

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Holiday Hodge-Podge

With one day to go before the start of Hanukkah and only two weeks until Christmas, I’m impressed you even have time to read this Motivation Monday post. I’ll keep things short and sweet so you can resume all your peak holiday hustle-and-bustle activities.

Here are my top five stocking-stuffer ideas for the fitness friends on your list:

  1. BFit Labs Electrolyte Sprays. I never leave home without a bottle! Each electrolyte-packed spray of Berry Blast or Very Vanilla contains 0 calories, 0 carbs and 0 food dyes.
  2. Moisture-wicking socks: I am a huge fan of Balega running socks. Wearing them helped keep my feet blister free during four Avon39 Walks –
  3. Sparkly Soul Headbands: No headaches, no slip, no kidding! These sports and fitness headbands come in a wide range of fun designs.
  4. Dry shampoo for quick touch-ups after a workout.
  5. Grippy socks: for barre workouts and other sneaker-feee activities.

Remember, giving gifts that promote a healthy lifestyle is a great way to show the most important people in your life that you support their journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Healthy Holiday Survival Tips

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!

It’s Almost Turkey Time!

On this Motivation Monday, I ask you to forgive this post’s lack of originality as I offer my annual dose of Thanksgiving-infused inspiration.

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!

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 Importance of Rest

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!

Quick-Hit Motivation Monday

Since this Motivation Monday post arrives after a long weekend visiting with dear family friends, I hope you’ll understand why it’s a super short and sweet one.

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.

 

 

Let’s All “Fall” Into Fitness!

Here Comes the Fall!

Happy first Motivation Monday of the fall of 2017!

Even though it still feels very much like summer here in New York, the reality is these 80-degree days won’t last forever. So while I encourage everyone to take advantage of the sunny days while they last, I also thought it was a good time for a reminder on all the inspiration Mother Nature has in store for us during the season ahead. If your fitness routine has been getting a little boring, there’s nothing like a change of seasons to kick things back into high gear.

Here are a few ways to add some fun to your fall fitness routine:

  • ‘Tis the season for kayaking, canoeing, rowing and horseback riding! If you live near the water, look for clubs that offer fall water sports. Along with enjoying some scenery, you’ll get the added benefit of squeezing some cardio and upper body strength training  into your workout. Horseback riding helps build lower body strength while taking in the beauty of a brightly colored trail. If you’re a city dweller like me, consider trying a rowing class or at least adding a 500-meter sprint on the rowing machine to your gym routine. (I like to add a sprint in between my 30-minute elliptical machine and 20-minute recumbent bike sessions and usually add another sprint at the end of the entire cardio machine stretch.)
  • Make those chores work for you! Did you know a 150-pound person can burn up to 135 calories by raking leaves for 30 minutes? Raking leaves can also be a fun family activity if you get the kids involved, too.
  • Outdoor bootcamps, anyone? Check out opportunities to enjoy as many workouts as you can in local parks or other outdoor hot spots before the colder temps and darker days chase us indoors. Depending on the intensity of the class, these full-body workouts can burn up to nearly 500 calories an hour.
  • Adjust the time you workout: I don’t know about you, but as it gets darker, it’s harder for me to get motivated in the evenings. While I’m adjusting to the lack of sunlight, I try to get my workouts over with pre-work if possible. Check if there are morning group classes that fit your fancy. Not only can the group dynamic offer a boost of motivation, but you’ll start the day with a shot of endorphins to keep the energy up at work or wherever the day takes you. Also, by working out in the morning, you can welcome the tired feeling that creeps up on you earlier than usual and spend your evenings relaxing or enjoying down time with family and friends.

So what’s your fall fitness plan? Let me know! Whatever you do, remember this: sometimes all you need is a little help from Mother Nature to help you find new reasons to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Fall Fitness Essential

Here Comes the Fall!

It’s hard to believe this is the last Motivation Monday of the summer of 2017!

As we all get ready to shift gears into the new season, I thought I’d offer a short and sweet reminder of one of the essential components of my healthy living routine 365 days a year. My repeat readers have seen multiple posts about why I use Bfit Rapid Electrolyte Spray from Sportsfood to keep my body moving through a wide range of activities. Today, I offer this short video which explains how exactly how I use the sprays and why I’ll never leave home without a bottle in my bag. (Thanks to James and Jorge for helping me get this down and dirty video done!)

If you’re planning to add some new fitness gear and classes to your fall routine, I encourage you to consider adding one more component to help you power through the season. To learn more or try the spray for yourself, simply click here. Here’s to a making the most out of these last days of summer and welcoming the new season full of chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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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