Blog Archives

Gobble Gobble Prep Time

Thanksgiving feastIs anyone else blown away by the fact that this Motivation Monday marks the 10-day countdown to Thanksgiving 2014? In anticipation of the delicious, calorie-loaded holiday, I thought it would be a good time to offer a few easy reminders on how to burn a few extra calories at the gym and keep the diet in check. Paying closer attention to your healthy habits in the days leading up to a holiday or other special occasion is a great way to have less guilt when you do sit down to gobble up the goodies and celebrate!

Move Just a Little Bit More: Three easy ways to burn a few more calories on a daily basis:

  1. Add one Tabata to your workout. Click here for a refresher on the four-minute high intensity workout formula.
  2. Jump rope for 30-second intervals (60 for the more advanced fitness fiends) between exercises. If you’re lifting weights, add a jump rope intermission as you move from one machine to the next or every other move.
  3. Add more steps to your day by taking the stairs and parking your car further away from the entrance to your office or even at the shopping center.

Fast Food Fixes: As seen on a recent episode of the Working Woman Report, here’s a little show-and-tell about how a little prep can go a long way in making healthier food choices.

As we move into this fun, festive and food-filled time of year, it’s good to know some simple choices can help us enjoy the season and still have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

‘Tis the Season to Mind Your Mental Fitness!

Christmas gift and baubles on defocused lights backgroundThis Motivation Monday leaves us with just 15 shopping days until Christmas. The way things were in the stores in my neighborhood on Saturday, you’d think Armageddon was coming! As I made my way through the throngs of people searching for stocking stuffers and indulgent treats, I kept closing my eyes to block out the general feeling of impatience permeating the air in the overheated stores. What better time to touch on the importance of keeping our mental health in check during the hustle and bustle of this joyous but chaotic season.

Last week, I encouraged everyone to put just 10-minutes aside for a workout as a way of keeping the holiday stress level under control. Along with working and managing family responsibilities, many of us are also juggling decorating, extra cooking, party planning, card writing, waiting in lines in crowded stores and spending extra amounts of time with extended family. Add online shopping and recipe surfing to the everyday stimuli of emails, texts, Tweets and status updates and it’s no wonder our minds are in overdrive.

So while I implore you to fit that quick-hit workout into your daily routine, it’s equally important to steal another few precious moments to re-boot. Here a few tips to make it happen:

  • Focus on one thing at a time: If you set aside an hour to write holiday cards or wrap gifts, make sure that’s all you do during those 60 minutes. No texts. No emails. Worried about withdrawal? Use social media to alert your network you’ll be offline and in elf mode for a bit.
  • Step away from the computer: I understand the need to check email once before bedtime to make sure you didn’t miss any late-day developments on the work front. However, try to shut down at least 30 minutes before bedtime to get your brain in mellow mode.
  • Turn off the TV: Try to establish one night where you set the DVR and turn a show’s normal viewing time into decompress time with family or friends. Play cards or a board game and forget about the holiday craziness for awhile. It may turn into a night of getting the Christmas chaos under control, but it’ll be time to tackle the holiday to-do list with fewer distractions.
  • Make me-time a must: If you’re making the commitment to find 10 minutes (or more) in your crazy schedule to exercise, add just five more minutes to stretch. Then add up to five more minutes to your post-workout shower. At this time of year, I always have a lavender-scented body wash or moisturizer in my arsenal to help me decompress in that nighttime shower. Also, don’t underestimate the power of caffeine-free teas or scented candles.

As you work through this holiday season and make an effort to workout, don’t forget the importance of standing still for a few moments, too! Never underestimate the power of your mind on the journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

‘Tis the Season for Tabatas!

holiday-party-picAs if the fact that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah collided on the same day wasn’t enough to get people in a holiday frenzy, now we’re faced with a shorter shopping season than usual before Christmas. Faced with this added hustle and bustle to the 2013 holiday season, I thought this Motivation Monday presented the perfect opportunity to touch on the importance of keeping your mental health in check throughout the last month of 2013. To me, there’s no better way to do just that than by breaking a good sweat!

Obviously, working out will help burn some of the extra holiday calories that come in all shapes and sizes ranging from homemade cookies to rich wines and sweet, seasonal cocktails. Weight maintenance aside, the endorphins that stay with you after a workout can also help you maintain a level of calm as you battle the crowds in overheated stores or spend extra amounts of time with the extended -and sometimes non-harmonious- family. (Bonus: if you’re visiting family for the holidays, there’s no better excuse than a run or walk to escape for awhile! Just don’t forget your sneakers!)

I bet some of you are saying, “Laura, between working, shopping, taking care of the kids, baking, cooking and going to all the holiday parties, there’s just no time to exercise.” Well, guess what? You OWE it to yourself to find 10 minutes somewhere in the day to get moving. Why? Simply because 10 minutes of anything are better than zero minutes of nothing! As some of you repeat readers already know, one of my favorite ways to make the most of abbreviated workout time is the Tabata.

Side Plank: One of my favorite Tabata moves Photo by Lauren Bachner

Side Plank: One of my favorite Tabata moves.                   Photo by Lauren Bachner

Need a Tabata review?  The four-minute high-intensity “formula” is pretty simple: eight continuous intervals of 20 seconds of maximum intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest. So if you truly only have 10 minutes today, why not give this a try. Bonus: You never even have to leave the house!

  • 60 seconds of jumping jacks
  • Rest only long enough to set your timer, then bang out one squat Tabata. (Need a timer? I use UltraTimerHD)
  • Rest for 60 seconds
  • Bang out one more 4-minute Tabata  (Choose from mountain climbers, push-ups, planks, side planks or crunches.)
  • Recover/stretch for 60 seconds or longer.
  • Congrats! You spent 10 minutes doing SOMETHING for your body!

(On the rare occasion the chaos dies down enough to give you a little more time, why not try to build a “Tabata Derby” by adding consecutive four-minute intervals and work your way up to a 20-minute total Tabata workout.)

While I love Tabatas, I realize they may not be your thing. So taking a power walk around the block a few dozen times, running up and down the stairs in your house or apartment building or dare I say meeting a friend for a group exercise class or game of basketball may be the fitness fix you need to feel a little stronger physically and mentally. Remember, while this is known as “the most wonderful time of the year,” don’t ignore your body’s need to escape some of the chaos so you can continue to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

%d bloggers like this: