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NEVER Stop Mixing It Up!

All Smiles After Another Kickboxing Class

On this Motivation Monday, I’m feeling a little sad. I can’t believe there’s only one week left in my favorite month of the year. Where is the summer of 2017 rushing off to in such a hurry?

Since I’m a firm believer that this is the season to savor every minute of mood-boosting daylight, I plan to keep these last couple of posts before my annual hiatus as short and sweet as possible. Today, I offer this simple reminder: variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to your fitness routine. If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage everyone to use the waning days of July to shake things up.

My mom gave me the nudge to mix things up by encouraging me to sign up for ILoveKickboxing classes at a studio near my parents’ house. It’s been five months since I started the kick-butt workouts in the city and I really missed them when I’d visit Mom and Dad for an extended period of time. I finally signed up for some classes last week and in addition to getting my punch-and-kick fix while out on Long Island, I also experienced the benefits of trying out different instructors and class styles. Even within the same workout program, no two fitness instructors are the same. That means you’re bound to enjoy some variety in everything from the music playlists to the exercise selection from the warm up right through the cool down.

Whether it’s trying a new instructor at your favorite group exercise class or moving your Tabata routine to the beach or the backyard, now’s the time to try something new. If you’ve got some outdoor time planned with family or friends, go ahead and toss a football, Frisbee or paddles and a rubber ball in your bag for a game or two. There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to burn a few calories before enjoying those summer cocktails and barbecue favorites.

The great news is there’s still plenty of time left in the season to mix things up to the max and continue your quest to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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Change Just One Thing

IMG_1507With summer in full swing, I thought I’d use this Motivation Monday to offer some positive reinforcements. Yes, it’s beach season.  That means bikinis, shorts, strapless dresses and tanks are everywhere. It also means people can put way too much pressure on themselves to be in “prime” condition for this season of extra exposure.

Instead of overwhelming yourself with an uber-restrictive diet or adding daunting amounts of exercise to your already stretched-too-thin schedule, I offer this advice: why not try to make ONE change that can make a healthy difference over time. Here are five ideas for you to choose from  – and there’s no time like today to get started!

1) Swap out soda or juice for water or seltzer. Cut down on unwanted sugar, calories and sodium by making the switch to good ol’ H2o. Need some flavor? Add a slice of lemon or orange to your water bottle or an individual packet of  Crystal light.
2) Cut back on the booze. Saving the frozen cocktails or wine-time for the weekend or adding one or two more “dry” nights to the work week also cuts back the unwanted sugar and calories. Flavored seltzers make for wonderful mocktails on those booze-free evenings!
3)  Scale back on the sweets. If you have a wedding, backyard barbecue or other summertime fun fest on the weekend agenda, the work week is the perfect time to save up for the treats. Curb an after-dinner sweet craving with a green apple sprinkled with some cinnamon.
4) Add a flight or two to your weekly activity. Instead of stressing over when you’ll be able to squeeze in another 60-minute group exercise class to your busy schedule, why not take the stairs at work a few days this week? If you’re a commuter, skip the escalator and take the stairs up from the underground to civilization. You can also park the car a little farther away from the entrance to your office building or the grocery store. The extra steps DO add up over time!
5) Love yourself more. Embrace you who you are and feel good about the positive choices you make everyday. Don’t worry about always following the latest trends and buy clothes that make you feel good.
The only thing left to do is get outside and enjoy a healthy Vitamin D-filled season (with sunscreen, of course!) and all the opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope your extended weekend has been filled with fun in the sun and good times with friends and family. Today, I offer my “wish list” for you on Memorial Day.

1) Take a moment to stop and remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so that the rest of us could live in this wonderful land we call the United States of America.

2) Fit some fitness into your holiday fun. Maybe there’s a group exercise class you can take before heading to that BBQ, or take a long walk when you get home from the fun.

3) If you’re spending time outside, don’t forget to apply and re-apply the sunscreen!

4) Whether you’re celebrating the holiday indoors or out, stay hydrated. If you plan to drink alcohol, make sure to designate a driver to ensure everyone gets home safely.

I close this short and simple post with wishes for a very Happy Memorial Day! Here’s to the summer ahead and all the chances we’ll have to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Laura’s Newest Love: PILOXING®

IMG_3363A change of seasons is the perfect time to think about mixing up your health and fitness routine. On this first Motivation Monday of the summer of 2014, I can report I certainly kicked my favorite season with a bang!

Yesterday, I learned all about an incredible fitness program called PILOXING®. The concept, developed by Swedish dancer and celebrity trainer Viveca Jensen, combines Pilates, boxing and dance to create a super high-energy interval workout. At the end of the 60-minute master class that kicked off the eight-hour instructor training day, my heart was pounding, my clothes were drenched in sweat – and I was hooked.

What exactly did I love about this workout? Each jab or uppercut I threw wearing half-pound weighted gloves made me feel powerful. Every standing Pilates move made my muscles feel longer and my body seem more graceful. And every hip shake I belted out through the dance sections simply made me smile – and sweat even more. Add some killer tunes and a hands-on training day led by two PILOXING® powerhouses – Jordan Ballard and Amy Gilberg – and I ended up having the most energized Sunday I can remember in forever!

with "Amy G," Master Trainer of New York

With Amy Gilberg,  New York Master Trainer

Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for awhile may remember Amy’s name from some of my earliest posts. She’s not only the PILOXING® Master Trainer for New York, she’s one of my fabulous fitness friends who encouraged me to get certified in the industry back in 2011. Being a participant in her first certification workshop made the day extra special and extra fun!

I have some work ahead of me before I can teach my first class, but yesterday’s workshop gave me a solid foundation to get started. It also gave me some continuing education credits to use toward my AFAA recertification which is coming up quickly in September. If you’d like more information about my newest fitness addiction, you can check out the PILOXING® website. Remember, finding a workout that works for you is the key to sticking with your health and fitness routine. When you need to inject some fresh energy to that routine, trying out new group exercise dynamics can help. If you happen to find one that makes you feel like you can handle whatever life throws your way at the end of a workout, even better!

with Jordan Ballard, US Master Trainer

With Jordan Ballard, US Master Trainer

Whatever is on your agenda for the summer ahead, be sure to mix things up and let me know what new finds help keep you moving. Here’s to a great season filled with plenty of chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Summer Fitness Shopping List

Bring on Summer!

Bring on Summer!

On this Motivation Monday, we are six days away from the official start of spring. As you can probably tell from my last few posts, this bona fide beach bunny is very excited about the arrival of my favorite season. So for my last pre-summer post, I thought I’d offer a few fitness-related items to add to your shopping list as you gear up for fun in the sun and new chances to get outside and get moving.

1) Re-usable water bottle:  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. My rule of thumb is unless you’re playing a sport for 90 minutes or longer, stay away from sugary energy drinks.

2) Sportsfood strips: Whether you’re hitting the trails for a run, the beach for a swim or the park for a picnic, throw a cartridge or two of these no-calorie, no-sugar electrolyte strips in your bag. Click here to see why I never go anywhere without them. (And when you order them, don’t forget to use coupon code Laura for a 15% discount.)

3)  Moisture-wicking clothing: Sometimes the gear I wear makes all the difference between sweating it out and throwing in the towel.

3) Portable / non-perishable snacks: Open any of my backpacks or beach bags, and chances are you’ll find almonds, a banana and a protein bars. At this time of year, some of my other favorites to pack in a cooler are celery, watermelon and frozen grapes.

4) Jump rope: My favorite portable workout tool that can be used just about anywhere.

5) New kicks: You may recall I get a new pair of cross trainers twice a year. Since I tend to ask Santa to leave one pair under the tree for me on Christmas Day, this is the time of year I look for the next pair that I can start wearing down.

6) Sunscreen: I did a lot of damage to my skin with all the sun worshiping I did in my teens and 20s. After developing Rosacea in my 30s, I’m much more diligent about protecting my skin. I look for products that are lightweight, waterproof and formulated specifically for sensitive skin.

7) Good tunes:  I simply cannot get into my workout without some heart-pounding beats. Here are the five songs currently giving me the biggest boost for cardio, Tabatas and weight training (some are old, some are new):

  • images“Girl Gone Wild (Dave Aude Remix)” – Madonna
  • “The Walker” – Fitz & The Tantrums
  • “Ease off the Liquor” – Timbaland
  • “Love Runs Out” -One Republic
  • “Bigfoot” – W&W

Now bring on the start of summer 2014 and plenty of sun-filled days and chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous right through Labor Day!

Summer Fitness for Your Skin

Be Sun Smart!

This is the season many of us move everything from our meals to our workouts outside. There’s nothing like a run along the sand or a game of beach volleyball to mix up your fitness routine! That means it’s also time to step up your efforts to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun, especially skin cancer.

Here are a few sobering facts to remember courtesy of the Skin Cancer Foundation:

  • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S.
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
  • Melanoma is the most common cancer in women ages 25-29.
  • One person dies of melanoma every 62 minutes.

The good news is protecting yourself from skin cancer doesn’t have to be difficult. Wearing sunscreen is one of the best preventive measures you can take. However, applying it just once if you’re going to be outside for several hours isn’t enough. If you’re active in the sun, even sweat-proof sunscreens need to be re-applied. I admit many of the heavily promoted long-wearing sunscreens can be sticky and streaky, so if you have one that works for you when you’re breaking a sweat, I’d love to hear about it!

For those of us with sensitive skin, finding a sunscreen for the face can be an even bigger problem. I’m one of the 16 million Americans who suffer from Rosacea, a chronic inflammatory skin condition with symptoms including redness, bumps and even small visible blood vessels on the face. Unfortunately, my condition is partly the result of all the sun-worshipping I did in my teens and 20s. Now I have to be extra careful when I’m enjoying time at the beach as sun exposure is one of the triggers that can cause a flare up. Add an irritating sunscreen to the mix, and my skin can really be out of whack after just an hour or two in the sun.

I think I may have finally found a sunscreen that will protect my face from the sun and not aggravate my Rosacea. It’s called Athelios from LaRoche-Posay. I found it at my local Duane Reade drug store. It’s actually a super lightweight fluid that comes in SPF 45 and 60. Along with my Clinique SPF 30 stick for my delicate eye area and lips, I hope I’m all set for the summer!

Along with wearing sunscreen, if you have moles, it’s important to keep an eye on them. I can’t count the number of moles I have on my body but I can tell you I’ve had at least a half-dozen suspicious-looking moles removed in the past 10 years. I visit my dermatologist annually to make sure none of my moles, especially the ones that have irregular borders and different shades of color. In fact, I had my 2012 visit about three weeks ago and got the all clear til next year. Click here for more on the ABC’s (and Ds and Es) of when it’s time to get a mole checked by a dermatologist.

So if you’re busy replenishing your summer stock of moisture-wicking shirts and shorts, don’t forget to replenish your sunscreen supplies, too. Staying sun smart is a surefire way to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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