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“March”ing Ahead

iStock_000014614375SmallLike most people, I am beyond over this miserable winter.

This particular Motivation Monday post goes live after a weekend filled with another round of ever-changing weather reports for yet another winter storm filled with uncertain snowfall totals and other foul-weather calamities. Which means many of  you could be cooped up at home today, and quite possibly with kids who are missing yet another school day thanks to Old Man Winter. If that’s the case, take a deep breath and remember, exercise is one of the best ways to produce some endorphins which can keep the “winter blues” at bay. And let’s face it – with this winter still very much in full effect, we need all the help we can get!

The good news is you don’t need to leave the house to get those mood-elevating endorphins flowing through your system. In fact, if you’ve been meaning to give Tabata training a try or have been thinking about adding it back into your fitness routine, a forced day indoors is the perfect time to make it happen!

Click here for a refresher on Tabata training and how you can get one or two in around the house today.

Push-Up: One of my Tabata training faves

Push-Up: One of my Tabata training faves

Some of my favorite basic exercises that work perfectly for Tabata training and need no equipment:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Plank
  • Squats
  • Side planks
  • Bridges
  • Crunches
  • Lunges
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Push-Ups

Since Tabatas are done in four-minute intervals, I present this challenge: why not try to bang out two or three consecutive Tabatas (giving you roughly 10-15 minutes of activity) two or three times throughout the course of the day? By dinner time, you could easily bang out 30 minutes of exercise (or more!) while keeping a steady level of endorphins running through your body as a bonus!

If you have other survival tips for keeping the body and mind in good form during this winter that just won’t quit, I’d love to hear about them! Here’s to keeping those spirits up and holding out hope for a warm and sunny spring filled with chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

The (Hopefully-Not-So) Terrible Twos

iStock_000016093894SmallIt’s hard for me to believe LauraLovesFitness turned two-years-old over the weekend. It’s even harder to believe how much my life has changed since that very first post on July 13th, 2011.

Some of those changes have been difficult to work through, but I know I’m stronger today – both physically and mentally – because of them. Along with my faith and the unwavering support from an amazing group of people I’m lucky to call family and friends, there’s one other constant that has always helped me work through life’s challenges: my love for exercise. While there’s no doubt an extra piece of chocolate cake or glass (or two) of Prosecco made some of the tough days more bearable, it’s the endorphin rush from a good workout that never fails to boost my mood while keeping my immune system strong and my mind focused on the light at the end of the tunnel. Those endorphins are working overtime right now.

I lost my job last week. I know I’m one of so many Americans – including some of you loyal readers – who’ve been in this situation at least once, if not multiple times, over the course of a lifetime. While exercise itself isn’t going to help me land a job, my workouts have certainly helped me work through some emotions over the last several day. I have no doubt each stride on the elliptical and each rep I get through at Physique57 will help keep my energy level up as I look for new opportunities ahead. To that end, I’m using today’s post as one to share a snapshot of my professional life. I’ve posted videos with you before, but this time, I’m sharing my “sizzle reel” as one can never know where the next opportunity will present itself.

Of course, I also want to use this post as an opportunity to say thank you to all of you who have inspired me to keep writing during the past two years. Your “likes,” comments, questions and shares have motivated me to keep plugging away on some of my own down days. I do plan to continue writing, but based on these recent events and one other issue in my personal life, I’m looking at this summer as a potential hiatus from new posts. Or I may simply post something simple like a photo or quick workout idea on a random day during the week. While I’m still working out the details, I hope you’ll stay connected and continue to send any questions to the email listed on my contact page, post them on my Facebook page or tweet me.

As I’ve written about before, sometimes being strong means re-assessing your goals and priorities and knowing when to say no to certain things so that the important ones get the attention they deserve. So, I thank you for your understanding as I focus on the next steps I need to take to navigate yet another new part of my own lifelong journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

The Power of Positive Thinking

With Fun & Fabulous Fitness Friend, Amy G.

Last week my friend Amy, personal trainer and group exercise instructor extraordinaire, responded to my request for blog topics with a very important aspect for all of us to remember as we continuously strive to be healthy and reach our fitness goals: maintaining a positive self-image.

As luck would have it, during my lazy Sunday morning routine, I picked up this week’s People and one of the cover stories jumped out at me: “How to Get Beyonce’s Rockin’ Body!!” I immediately turned to the article, only to be bombarded with images of five rockin’ bodies belonging to today’s top female music stars.  As I looked at their “perfect” legs, glutes, abs and arms, my self-esteem took a nose dive as I started feeling less-than-positive about all of my own above mentioned assets.  Of course, I then read the blurb next to each hot body and noticed they all ended with the same few words “says her trainer (insert name here).”

I have always said that if I won the lottery, after settling any debts and contributing to my favorite charities, I’d hire a personal trainer to kick my butt five days a week and also pay a chef to take the guesswork out of eating meals that taste good and are actually good for you.  Until that happens, I have to remind myself on a daily basis that in my reality, I am doing the best I can to take care of myself and feel good.  So, while I may never have legs like Beyonce, I do have a strong heart, strong spirit and strong desire to get my workouts in because I know the endorphins I get from exercising will make me feel like I’m on top of the world, even if it’s just for a little while.

So, as you start a new week filled with new opportunities, give yourself a mental pat on the back when you kick up your cardio for an extra 15 minutes, try that group exercise class you’ve been curious about, play soccer with your kids in the park or get in a run on your next business trip.

The bottom line is we all have to embrace who we are and really understand our goals. For me, around my 30th birthday I realized I would never weigh 115 pounds again and I could not survive on lettuce, water and vodka.  Now at 37, thanks to my daily responsibilities, I can’t spend three hours working out. However, I am healthier than I was in my 20s when I could exercise for hours at a time but consistently ate and drank alot of “bad” things.

I can’t lie. I wouldn’t mind winning the lottery. Until then, I’ll continue taking deep breaths when I read People and remind myself that looking like (insert name of celeb here) isn’t what’s needed to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous.

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