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Give the Gift of Wellness

In full disclosure, this Motivation Monday post filled with gift ideas for the 2018 holiday season was supposed to be posted last week. However, this elf was simply overwhelmed with other life responsibilities and well, something had to give. So while I realize the Hanukkah festivities have wrapped for this season, I hope to help a few others scrambling to cross some names off their lists with only 15 days left before Christmas.

Here are five feel-good items that everyone can enjoy regardless of their fitness level …

  1. Scented candles: After a long day of work, working out and holiday happenings, a soothing scent can help even the most frantic mind unwind. Diptyque candles are a longtime favorite among those looking for something a little special for those special someones.
  2. Earth-friendly water bottles: I received a Mira water bottle several years ago and I never leave home without it. It’s amazing how it keeps water perfectly chilled even on the hottest days.
  3. Athlete Recovery Sleepwear: Anyone who gives or receives one or more of these Under Armour items for this holidays will have to send me some reviews. These are pretty pricey pajamas, but they’re supposed to help promote better sleep,
  4. Portable, complete hydration: I’ve been touting the benefits of these perfect stocking stuffers for several years now.  A few pumps of BFit Rapid Electrolyte Spray before, during and after your workouts give you all the electrolytes your body needs. The spray keeps you moving without weighing you down with what you don’t need – sugar, calories or gluten. (As to other stocking stuffer ideas, gift cards to a favorite athletic apparel shop; a 10-pack of fitness classes or grippy socks are always a hit.)
  5. Soothing teas: My friend Michele recently introduced me to the soothing power of Yogi’s Kava Stress Relief tea. It’s perfect on a chilly, winter night after a long day. There are dozens of varieties of great tasting teas. Consider one box as a stocking stuffer or fill a gift bag with a variety and let that lucky someone on your list decide which one he or she likes best.

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

 

 

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Time to Stock up for Summer

Bring on Summer!

I’ve decided if I keep writing about summer-related topics, Mother Nature will eventually get the hint and it will start to feel like we’re approaching the midway mark for the month of June. So on this Motivation Monday, I offer a list of the must-have items to for a season filled with outdoor workouts and sunshine-filled fun with family and friends.

1. Don’t Ignore Those Tootsies! As we speed toward the halfway mark of 2018, now’s the time to think about the last time you got a new pair of sneakers. If you’re a serious runner or involved in high-impact exercise and it’s been six months or longer, it’s time to consider getting a new pair. Every fitness routine needs the proper footwear to ensure you’re getting the right amount of stability and support.

2. Protect the Girls!  Ladies, it’s also time to take stock of the last time you invested in a supportive sports bra. Breasts have zero muscle, but without proper support, the skin and ligaments near the breasts which give them their size and shape can break down and eventually cause sagging. (The kicker: once those ligaments stretch out, they don’t bounce back!) Whatever your size, you will experience some level of bounce during exercise. So every woman needs to wear a sports bra whether she’s power walking, full-on running or exercising in any way that gets you moving. (In case you’re wondering what I wear for kickboxing, barre workouts and Tabata training, I’m a huge fan of the Athleta line of sports bras. )

3. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! As a former coconut-scented tanning oil addict who now gets annual scans of the many moles on my body, I implore you to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. There are so many lightweight SPF 30 and higher sunscreen options available today. That means there is no excuse for not wearing sunscreen for a long summer stroll or a super-sweaty session of beach volleyball. If the skin on your face is super sensitive like mine, you may want to give La Roche-Posay Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid a try. It’s been my go-to for years.

4. Smart Snacks: Planning to spend a good part of the day away from your healthy home base? Arming yourself with sensible snacks is a surefire way to avoid making less-than-optimal choices. While scenic, those mood-boosting long walks often don’t have much to offer by way of fuel except for hot dog vendors or vending machines filled with sugary drinks and candy bars. So be sure to pack some healthy, portable options such as almonds, apples or low-sugar protein bars. My go-to: KIND snack bars.

5. Portable Hydration: Last but certainly not least, don’t go anywhere without a reusable water bottle. (You can even fill it with ice cubes and enjoy chilled water as they melt.) Since we lose essential  potassium and sodium when we sweat, my repeat readers know I never I never leave home without a bottle of BFit Rapid Electrolyte Spray. (Zero calories, zero carbs and zero food dyes.)

Remember, a little prep and having the right items in your arsenal can make all the difference when it comes to sticking with your summer plans 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!

Fuel for the Day

Some of my favorite fueling options

Some of my favorite fueling options

Today’s Motivation Monday post has been inspired by the team at ETB Fitness.

Petro Martynyuk, community coordinator for the sports nutrition-based lifestyle business – which stands for “Eat the Bear”  – was kind enough to reach out to me after reading my post, Spring Fitness for Your Fitness Routine. He had some questions about the kind of fuel that energizes me before, during and after my workouts. While I haven’t tried any of ETB’s products (yet!), I’m grateful for the opportunity to share some tricks that work for me. Here’s what Petro wanted to know:

What foods do you eat pre workout? 

This all depends on what I’m doing:

  1. If I start a morning with fasted cardio, the only thing I’ll have before hopping on the elliptical machine and/or stationary bicycle and/or rowing machine for a 60-minute kick-start to the day is six to eight ounces of water while walking to the gym. I should mention I do “strip” twice during the cardio session. I take one rapid electrolyte replacement oral thin-film strip made by Sportsfood, Inc. at the start of the workout and another halfway through.
  2. If I’m taking a Physique57 class, I’ll have a green apple or some reduced-fat wheat thins with almond butter about an hour before class starts. If I need a real grab-and-go option, a banana always works in a pinch as will a serving of raw almonds and a 1/2 cup of blueberries. If I’m in a real hurry, a banana always works in a pinch. (Want to know more about the total-body, kick-butt barre-based method based program I’ve been addicted to since 2013? Click here.)
  3. For more heavy lifting, whether it’s a free-weight based group exercise class or if I’m pumping iron on my own, I’ll eat some more carbs before the workout. My go-to for that fuel is oatmeal with strawberries and/or blueberries. If I want an extra kick, I’ll stir in a teaspoon of almond or peanut butter.

What do you listen to during your workout?

I’m a firm believer that having the right music can make the difference between going the extra mile or throwing in the towel. Like my pre-exercise prep, I have different music for different workouts. Fortunately, my group exercise instructors have fantastic playlists and Spotify selections. For my fasted-cardio sessions, I need beats that keep me moving with some help from Calvin Harris, Tiesto and other master mixers. My current top three Workout Playlist favorites for cardio:

  • “Pray to God (featuring HAIM)”, Calvin Harris
  • “Let Me In (Astma & Rockwell Remix)”, Kleerup & Susanne Sundfor
  • “Comeback”, Ella Eyre

If I’m lifting, I tend to listen to music with a bit more of an edge. Because of my age and variety of music tastes, the bands that provide that inspiration range from Nine Inch Nails to Twisted Sister.

How do you switch up certain routines daily/weekly to stay motivated?

No matter what you’re doing, variety IS the spice of life. As I mentioned above, I do mix things up between strict cardio sessions, group exercise classes and one-on-one time with the iron. I’m also sure to give myself a minimum of one rest day each week to recover. Those off-days help me feel stronger physically and mentally when I do get back in the game.

What do you eat or do after your workout to make sure you got the most out of your workout?

I always make sure to cool down and stretch after my workouts. What I love about Physique57 classes is that stretches are incorporated throughout the class after high-intensity sprints.

As far as the post-workout food plan goes, I admit this area of my routine remains a work in progress. The key is getting some protein into my system as quickly as possible – preferably within 30 minutes and no more than 45. Thanks to the nutritional cleansing program I did in the spring and the maintenance program I follow now, I’ve found a protein recovery shake I really like. On most days, I’ll accompany the 8-ounce shake with a slice of toasted Ezekiel bread and almond butter.  One final food note: I make a point of trying to eat five to six small meals each day. This keeps my metabolism fueled, hunger in check and blood sugar levels on an even keel.

Thanks again to ETB Fitness for giving me a reason to make sure I’m keeping my fitness routine energized with the right fuel. At the end of the day, the right food, the right music and even the right workout wear can motivate fitness buffs of every age and fitness level stay on track with their goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Bring on Summer!

IMG_3208

SO ready for summer!

After an absolutely gorgeous weekend here in New York City, this Motivation Monday has me completely pumped for the official arrival of summer 2014!  At this time of year, I’d rather be out doing something active than reading about it. So, today I offer three simple tips to help make the most out of this month and the summer ahead.

1) Stay hydrated:  As the mercury rises, we tend to be more aware of getting the right amount of fluids throughout the day. Be sure to drink 16 ounces of water one hour before your workout and keep sipping throughout. I’m also a big fan of the latest addition to my fitness survival tool “kit.” If you haven’t tried Sportsfood electrolyte strips yet, there’s no time like now give them a test run. Click here for a reminder on why I use the zero-calorie, zero-guilt take-anywhere strips. One final note on hydration: Unless you’re an athlete running up and down a court or field for 90 minutes or longer, skip the extra calories in those sugary energy drinks and stick with water.

2) Love The Skin You’re In: ‘Tis the season for short shorts, tank tops, bikinis and all-things skin revealing. Which makes it all too easy to start the self-sabotaging act of comparing ourselves to others. So, here’s an important reminder: no two bodies are built the same. Let other fitness fanatics motivate you to move simply because you want to feel the same endorphin rush they’re experiencing. It shouldn’t be about getting the same “six-pack” abs as the woman who just ran by you in the beach or the same pecs as the guy banging out push-ups on the park bench. If you’re doing all you can to exercise and eat healthy, give yourself a high five and bask in all the positives you experience because of your lifestyle.

3)Mix it Up! Since variety is the spice of life, gearing up for a new season is a great time to mix up your exercise routine. Summer is the perfect time to explore your options beyond the four walls of a gym. Maybe this is the year you try paddle boarding, Saturday morning boot camp classes in the park, Tabatas on the beach or join a social volleyball club in your community. Turn the outdoors into your fitness playground and have some fun!

If you have any tips that add to your summertime fitness fun, I’d love to hear about them! Here’s to another great week ahead filled with lots of opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Motivation Monday x Three!

Photo by Leslie Hassler

One Fit Chick…Photo by Leslie Hassler

We made it to the first Motivation Monday of May! Every month brings new opportunities, and I’m happy to report this one started off with a bang. Once again, I can thank my time in Twitterville for making it happen.

It’s been nearly two years since I met fellow fierce fitness femmes Monica Gauntt and Lori Ross. They’re actually part of about a dozen tweeps that make up our #fitfam. (For you non-tweeters, that’s short for Fitness Family.) We live in all different parts of the country, but during the past couple of years, we’ve said virtual hellos almost every morning to get moving; sent multiple shout-outs to keep us energized throughout the day and even sent hugs and prayers via cyberspace to help each other power through injuries, job losses, divorces, deaths and other challenging times.

Monica and Lori took their relationship beyond Twitter to become 2fitchx. Each fabulous “Frista” has overcome major hurdles in her quest to find a healthy balance in this crazy ride called life. Lori lost 125 pounds and Monica broke free of the yo-yo dieting prison and other unhealthy habits. They share their very personal stories along with tips and motivational messages in a weekly radio show. I was honored to be a guest on that show just this past Friday.

Meets 2FitChx, Lori & Monica

Meets 2FitChx, Lori & Monica

Please click here to find out what happens when three fit chicks get together. (The fact that we’re all blonde just adds to the fun!) I hope you’ll find some motivation to stay on track with your own health and fitness goals in our candid, fun-filled banter ranging from the workouts we love to how “stripping” has changed our lives. (Bet that piqued your curiosity!) Be sure to catch Monica and Lori’s future shows on Fridays live at 11 am CT or 6:00p CT for the replay. Listen on Indio Radio via the tunein app on your smartphone or  IndioRadio.com. You can check out the archived shows 24/7 at 2FitChx.podomatic.com.

I’m still blown away by some of the amazing people I’ve met through social media, and Monica and Lori are part of a group of that keeps me motivated. Even positive peeps like me can have a low day now and then, and I’m thankful for 2FitChx and the other members of my #FitFam who inspire me to chase my own dreams to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

My Newest Workout Boost: “Stripping”

IMG_2745On this Motivation Monday, I’m excited to tell you about a new addition to my fitness routine. I tried it for several days last week and experienced the same positive results each time. What did I do? I “stripped” before each workout, and I “stripped” again halfway through each sweaty ordeal.

Now that I’ve got your attention, let me explain exactly what I’m talking about: a rapid electrolyte replacement oral thin film strip made by Sportsfood, Inc. Just like the company’s website says, the strips are small and thin, and dissolve instantly in your mouth. Once dissolved, each strip immediately begins to replace the all-important electrolytes – sodium and potassium – your body loses when you sweat. The kicker: the strips contain no calories, no sugars, no carbs and no food dyes.

I admit I was skeptical when I first tried the strips. I took two strips about five minutes before my Physique57 workout started. (Note: the strips have a slightly salty taste, but they dissolve so fast, I didn’t find anything unpleasant about them.) I used another two after the warm up, thigh sprints and one side of the glute work was done. (That’s about 30 minutes into class.) While I still felt the burn from the intense workout, my muscles didn’t tire out quite as quickly and that means I banged out more reps than ever before. I used the strips again before a 60-minute cardio-only session at New York Sports Club the next day and I had the same results. I was able to extend my time on the elliptical machine, stationary bike AND rowing machine – which means I extended my normal workout by an additional 15 minutes.

IMG_2697The bottom line is while I will always drink my water before, during and after any workout, the strips definitely gave my body an “edge” I haven’t experienced before. Please note, this is not an “energy” strip – they don’t contain caffeine or stimulants. They are strictly made up of the electrolytes our bodies need to live. From an active standpoint, sodium and potassium help maintain water balance and prevent muscle cramps and fatigue.

Remember, being hydrated is the single most important factor in activities of any intensity level. That includes activities that aren’t strictly fitness-focused. I can’t wait to pack these strips in my beach bag to keep me moving during a long walk on the sand or even before some heavy lifting of yard furniture and other seasonal items at my parents’ house.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know I don’t normally write rave reviews about products, but tend to discuss certain workouts or unexpected food finds that I find helpful. I hope that assures you that I’m only writing about this particular product because I do consider it a bona fide find for my diet and exercise regimen.

If you want to learn more about the product, please visit the Sportsfood website. If you’re interested in giving them a try, here’s a bonus for you LauraLovesFitness followers: use “Laura” as your coupon code and get 15% your order. Of course, if you do try them, I want to hear from you! As always, exchanging ideas on how we all stay active and healthy can only help on this never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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