After a weekend escape from the concrete jungle to help my parents with some spring cleaning, I’m enjoying an extra spring in my step on this Motivation Monday courtesy of some much-needed vitamin D. It’s amazing how uncovering the patio furniture and sweeping up the leaves and other remnants of a long, hard winter can do wonders for the mind and spirit. (The bonus: tackling the first stages of a spring spruce up after a killer ILoveKickboxing class helped me burn a few extra calories so I could enjoy some of Mom’s cooking without a side of guilt!) The weekend also marked the first time since last fall that I was able to sit outside to write a blog post. All that fresh air did wonders for my soul!
While I stayed busy helping Mom and Dad, I lost some of my usual writing time. So I hope you’ll forgive this short and sweet shot of inspiration to kick off the new work week. As we all continue shifting our routines for spring, it’s the perfect time to freshen up some of our healthy habits. That includes how we stay hydrated.
As far as I’m concerned, water remains king when it comes to healthy beverages. However, after awhile the same ol’ H20 can be more than just a little bland. Instead of reaching for calorie-loaded sports drinks, why not try these three, easy ideas to add a little “wow” to your water:
- Expand Your Citrus Horizons: Who says lemons should have all the fun? Add a squeeze of lime, grapefruit or even a clementine for some extra zest in your water.
- Chill Out: Mix in some frozen apple chunks, grapes, blueberries or strawberries for instant yum.
- Go green: Add slices of cucumber and a few sprigs of mint for a more savory flavor option.
Once you find your favorite flavor infusion, make a pitcher to keep in the fridge so you can have a refreshing drink at home or fill up your reusable water bottle to bring to the office and wherever your workouts take you. Remember, adding a little zest to even the healthiest of habits can help you stick with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
I don’t know about you, but at this time of year, I’d rather be out doing something active than reading about it. So, here’s a simple Motivation Monday post with my top three tips for how to make the most out of this month and the soon-to-arrive summer season.
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 know lots of people amp up on caffeine before hitting the gym, but just remember to proceed with caution. If I’m dragging at the end of the work day, iced green tea offers just the kick I need to get myself to the gym. However, we all react differently to caffeine, so be sure to gauge how much you can tolerate and avoid the jitters. Want my take on sugary energy drinks? Unless you’re an athlete running up and down a court or field for 90 minutes or longer, skip the extra calories and stick with water.
2) Love Your Bod: ‘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 gal who just ran by you in nothing more than shorts and a sports bra or the same pecs as the guy doing push-ups on the park bench. If you’re doing all you can to exercise, eat healthy and take care of yourself in general, give yourself a pat on the back and bask in all the positives you experience because of your lifestyle.
3) Have fun! This really is the perfect season 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 or join a social dodgeball club in your area. Turn the outdoors into your fitness playground and mix things up!
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!
I wrap up this fitting-fitness-into-your-fall-schedule-themed week with some simple reminders about how to get your healthy eating habits back on track. Remember, diet and exercise go hand in hand. If you want your body to perform at its best, you need to give it the right fuel.
As a happy follower of the everything-in-moderation lifestyle, none of my “diet tricks” involve extremes:
- A Little Prep Goes A Long Way: Every weekend, I stock up on easy-to-chop or no-chop-needed produce like baby carrots, celery, peppers and cherry tomatoes. At some point on Sunday, I pack up five ready-to-grab containers and so I have no excuse for not having veggies with my lunch every day at work. Same goes for fruits. I chop strawberries and bring a large container to work on Monday and divvy out portions each morning with non-fat plain Greek yogurt and high fiber cereal. Add a pre-workout banana, and this all adds up to a no-brainer approach to getting multiple servings of fruits and veggies during the day!
- Take the guesswork out of staying hydrated: Save your dollars and the planet by stocking up on a few reusable water bottles. Keep one in your backpack, briefcase, purse, gym bag and/or at the office. Reports differ on how much water each individual needs, but the general rule is eight, eight-ounce glasses each day. I keep a 16-ounce water bottle in my office and I fill it at least three times while I’m at work. So, between my post-work workout and at least one glass of water with dinner, I hit my daily intake without even thinking about it.
- Don’t wait until you’re famished to eat: I have to eat every 3-4 hours or I get sluggish. I also make sure to eat a snack about an hour before my workout so you don’t burn out too quickly. My new favorite pre-workout snack is a chopped medley of one banana and three or four pineapple strips. I enjoy the mix with a side of string cheese and big glass of water.
- Keep healthy snacks handy: There are few places I’ll go without a Fiber One bar or some raw almonds. If you find yourself sans snack, chew on a piece of gum or have a glass of water to take the edge off before scarfing down something less healthy.
- Be realistic: When a craving gnaws at you, it’s not always a bad thing to give into it. Ignoring a guilty pleasure for too long can end up being worse. It’s amazing how the desire for one cupcake on Monday can turn into inhaling a colossal sized one meant for four people to share by Friday.
I leave you with this final thought: there will be “off” days. Even as a lifelong fitness enthusiast, there are times I simply don’t want to workout and all I want to do is drink red wine and eat chocolate. It happens. Don’t let one bad day throw you off course. Just wipe off the crumbs, prep your gym bag and remember tomorrow is your next chance to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
This will be my last post for several days. Why? Because I’m getting out of the hot and steamy Big Apple for long weekend of relaxation in Newport, Rhode Island. We all work hard, and we all need to get away now and then. The good news is while you can leave reality behind for awhile, you don’t have to abandon your fitness regimen. If anything, a vacation gives you the opportunity to mix up your routine. So, as a break from packing, I thought I’d offer some of my favorite ways to burn some calories while on vacation:
- Walk, walk and walk some more! Our hotel in Newport is about one mile from the beach, so we get some good strides heading to and from our daily hangout. Then there’s the 3.5 mile Cliff Walk, which offers such amazing scenery, you may forget you’re getting a good workout while you scramble on some rocks along the way. Wherever you may be going, make the effort to leave the car behind and explore the town or neighboring area on foot. (Don’t forget to bring supportive footwear.)
- If there’s a pool where you’re staying, do some daily laps.
- Pack a Frisbee or paddle ball game to play on the beach. If there’s a beach volleyball game going on somewhere, don’t be shy – ask if you can join one of the teams. No sand around? Find a park, claim your spot in the grass and have some fun!
- Try something completely different. If you’re near a lake, find out if you can rent a canoe or kayaks and paddle around for an hour or two. If you like it on your first day, you can go back for more during the duration of the trip.
- Use the hotel’s fitness center. More and more hotels are offering some sort of workout space. Granted, it may consist of one stationary bike, one elliptical, one treadmill, some free weights and (if you’re lucky) a yoga ball. Those options mean you can still get in some good cardio, and use the free weights as extra resistance for squats and lunges. Then you can work the upper body with a minimum of bicep curls, lateral raises and overhead presses, and round things out with some core work. All in the comfort of air conditioning!
- If you’re lucky enough to be staying somewhere with a DVD player and some extra room, bring one or two of your fitness DVDs along for the trip.
Whatever activity you jump on, remember to stretch the muscles you worked during that walk, canoe ride or mean game of paddle ball. Make sure you also stay hydrated, and don’t forget the sunscreen!
Whether or not the coming weekend allows you the opportunity to get away from it all, I wish you some time to relax and re-charge your batteries so you can approach a new week with new energy to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!