Blog Archives

My Summertime Survival Tools

As you can probably tell from my last few posts, I’m very excited about the arrival of my favorite season. Since this Motivation Monday falls just five days before the start of the summer, I thought I’d offer a quick hit list of some of my seasonal fitness survival tools:

iStock_000010754376Small1)Re-usable water bottle:  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

2) 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: My new favorite are KIND protein bars, but some old stand-bys include bananas, apples and almonds. If you’re packing a cooler for the beach, watermelon, pineapple and frozen grapes are a few of my picks for refreshing sweet treats.

4) Jump rope: My favorite portable workout tool of all time! Winds up and fits in any backpack and can be used anywhere from the park to the beach.

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.

photo-96) Sunscreen: I’m the first to admit I did a ton of damage to myself as a sun worshipper in my teens and 20s. After developing Rosacea in my 30s, I’m a lot better of protecting my skin from harm.  The sensitive skin on my face does well with a lightweight fluid called Athelios from LaRoche-Posay. I also like the sheer touch formulas by Hawaiian Tropic and I’ve heard great things about the Banana Boat sports sunscreen line.

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“Truly Madly Deeply (Thomas Gold Radio Edit)” – Cascada
  • “Crank It Up” – David Guetta & Akon
  • “Can’t Hold Us (featuring Ray Dalton)” – Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis
  • “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” – Fall Out Boy
  • “Stay Hungry” – Twisted Sister

Now bring on the start of summer 2013 and plenty of sun-filled days so we can all have fun, be fit and feel fabulous right through Labor Day!

Give the Gift of Fitness!

iStock_000014614375SmallI thought I’d kick off the new work week with a double-dose of motivation. The idea is to keep fitness on your mind even when you’re trying to get motivated to cross those names off your holiday shopping list.

With 14 shopping days left until Christmas and possibly a few more Hanukkah get-togethers on your social calendar this week, here are some gift ideas for the fitness fanatics and wanna-be fitness lovers in your life.  Of course, if you’re still working on your own list for Santa, maybe one or two of these items could help you stick with your fitness routine in the New Year.

  • Personal Trackers: There are so many cool gizmos out there that track everything ranging from your heart rate and how many steps you take in that hip-hop group exercise class to how much sleep you really get each night. There are all kinds of brands and price tags, including items from Nike+Fuel to FitBit. This gift could be a boost for someone looking to get serious about fitness or take his or her goals to the next level.
  • Workout Wear. Never underestimate the power of a moisture-wicking pair of running shorts, shirt or yoga pants to help keep your cool during a workout. (My personal favorite is Under Armour.) Not sure of someone’s size? A gift card to a store like Target or Modell’s allows someone to find the style that works best for his or her routine. (For “high-end” workout wear, check out Lululemon and Athleta.)
  • Footwear. Wearing the right footwear when you workout is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from exercise-related injuries. Since my exercise routine involves a mix of cardio, weight training and group exercise classes, I can’t live without my cross-trainers. I get a new pair every six months and time it so that brings me one of them at Christmas.
  • Fun Gift for Guys: How bout a “Performance Sports Crate” that includes everything from push-up bars to energy drinks? This and other sports-minded guy gifts at ManCrates.com.
  • Fun Gift for Gals: Know a fitness chick who loves to break a sweat at home with the Wii? Check out the Wii 5-in-1 Lady Fitness Workout Kit.
  • Fun for the Whole Family: With so many active games to choose from, maybe this is the year you buy the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 2 or XBox. Zumba Fitness 2 is also out for the Wii just in time for the holidays. For Playstation 2 or Xbox lovers, there’s still plenty of good buzz going around about Dance, Dance Revolution. If you don’t want to go the electronic route, then how bout an “old fashioned” pair of ice skates, a jump rope or a basketball? With fun like this to choose from at home, there’s no excuse not to get up and get moving!
  • Accessories for All:  Yoga mats, ear buds, re-usable water bottles, snag-free hair ties.
  • Musical Motivation: I know I’d be lost without my music to keep me moving, so an iPod or mp3 player could be a great gift to keep someone going. iTunes gift cards also allow mp3 owners to download songs and create their own motivational mixes.

Check out Gifts.com for other ideas for the exercise lovers in your life. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, adding some of these new “toys” to your daily routine could be just the boost you need to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

A Brisk & Exhilarating Workout Wednesday

Kicking off December with a brisk workout in Central Park

Kicking off December with a brisk workout in Central Park

It certainly doesn’t feel like December here in New York City on this first Workout Wednesday of the month! It’s been close to 50 degrees here the past few days, and I’ve enjoyed every breath of this balmy air on my morning walks to the office. However, it was nowhere near this warm on Saturday when I headed to Central Park for another great CrossFit UWS workout!

Armed with my Under Armour compression top, ear band and gloves, I was ready to go. Of course, after jump roping a few minutes and getting through one round of the warm up, my core temperature was adequately fired up and ready to push through another of Roberto Murichi’s killer workouts.

Here’s how it all broke down:

  • Static/Active Stretching:  After some static stretches for my calves and hip flexors, I spent between 5-6 minutes minutes jumping rope.
  • Warm up:  We had 10 minutes to complete as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of the following circuit:
  1. 50 m lunge walk
  2. 25 sit-ups
  3. 20 push-ups
  4. 15 back extensions (“Superman”s)

Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted part of my note on my iPhone and don’t remember how many rounds I got through. I know it was more than two and less than 10. Regardless, I was more than warmed up and ready to move on to the the heart of the workout. The key with any AMRAP it to remember you can stop and take a breather at any time when your body tells you to.

  • Workout: I’ll call it “Three Crazy Minutes x Five.”  The basic concept: we had three minutes to get through as many rounds of the following circuit as possible (yes, another AMRAP): 
  1. 25 m sprint
  2. Three burpees
  3. Six squats (I used the park bench as a guide to make sure I “sat” down far enough so that each squat count!)
  4. Nine box jumps (also using the park benches as our jumping on/off point)

We would work our way through each of the exercises listed above until the three minutes were up. Then we had one minute of rest before moving on to the next round. We did this for a total of five rounds.

I never made it through the circuit three full times in three minutes. The most I could bang out were two circuits and then an additional 25 meter sprint and three more burpees before the glorious sound of the buzzer went off to let us know we had 60 seconds to rest. When those five rounds were up, the endorphins were flowing and I felt great!

Despite the holiday hustle and bustle and Old Man Winter knocking on our doors, I’m hoping to get a couple more of these Central Park workouts in before the end of 2012. If you’re interested in getting in on the fun, click here for more information.

Wherever your workouts take you this month, remember to stay active so you can round out the year knowing you’re doing all you can to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Workout Wednesday: Cold Weather Edition

It’s hard to believe we’re gearing up for what could be a Nor’easter here in the New York area just one week after Sandy left our shores. While I pray today’s storm ends up being less severe than predicted,  there’s no escaping the fact that the colder temperatures of November are here to stay.

Now that I’ve broken out the winter coat, gloves and other warm, woolly items, I thought it was a good time for some important reminders on how to safely stick with your outdoor exercise routine as we head into a cold finish for 2011:

  • Dress In Layers: Start with a thin layer of synthetic material (e.g. Under Armour or Nike DriFIT clothing) closest to the skin. Avoid wearing cotton as it takes longer to dry and the wet feel can give you a chill.  Add a layer of fleece or wool and last but not least, finish off your outfit with a waterproof outer-layer.
  • Protect Your Hands, Feet & Ears: My hands and feet are cold even on the hottest days of the year, so they’re especially vulnerable to wind chills and icy temperatures. So, in colder weather, I’ll often wear a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier ones, or even a pair of mittens. I know some people who have a “winter” pair of running or walking shoes that are up to one size bigger so they can wear thicker thermal socks or two pairs of regular ones. Finally, I’m a big fan of the wrap-around ear warmers or fleece headbands to keep the biting wind from wreaking havoc on my ears.
  • Don’t Forget the Sunscreen: If you’ve ever gotten a nasty sunburn from skiing, you know the sun is just as strong in the cold-weather months as it is in the summertime. Remember to put on the SPF 30 before heading outdoors and don’t forget the SPF-infused lip balm, too.
  • Stay Hydrated:  We hear lots of warnings about becoming dehydrated in the heat,  but you can become dehydrated just as easily in the cold. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout. (Here’s a refresher on why water is so important.)
  • Special Populations: While most people can exercise safely in the cold weather, if you have a heart condition or suffer from asthma, be sure to check with your physician before starting a cold-weather exercise routine.

The good news is you don’t have to pack away your motivation to exercise with the bathing suit and beach towels. Using a little common sense and having the right gear will allow you to continue your love affair with the great outdoors through November and beyond so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Workout Wednesday: Business Trip Edition

I had the whole hotel fitness center to myself on my recent business trip to Iowa City!

Greetings from Orlando!

As you read this first Workout Wednesday installment for October 2012, I’m either prepping for or in the midst of producing another shoot. Since this marks the second consecutive week I’ve traveled for work and have another trip in another city soon following this one, I thought it was the perfect time to share the basic survival tip that keeps my health and fitness routine in check while I’m on the road. It’s all about what you toss in your suitcase.

Along with being sure I have my production tools and TSA-size-approved plastic bag of toiletries, I always take a few extra minutes to throw in the following essentials to keep hunger and unhealthy snacking in check. The key is having one for each day of the trip:

  • Almonds: Lucky for me Trader Joe’s takes the guesswork out of counting out almonds for a proper serving size by selling the “Just a Handful” snack-pack. Having the correct serving size also prevents me from buying the jumbo bag at the airport and loading up on too many calories in one snack session.
  • Fiber One bars: I’m a big fan of the Chocolate & Oats variety.
  • Gym clothes: A pair of Under Armour gym shorts, t-shirt, sports bra and a couple of extra pairs of socks take up virtually no room in a suitcase, even if it’s a carry-on. I usually travel wearing my cross trainers to travel and pack my “cute” shoes. (It’s the best way to stay comfortable during flight delays, too!)

The few snacks provide me with no excuse to reach for something unhealthy if too much time goes by between meals thanks to a long production schedule. Also, getting up early enough to make sure I eat a healthy breakfast before the work begins is also crucial to making sure I have energy and remain focused on my work.

Remember, whether you’re packing for a quick business trip or overnight weekend escape, packing a few healthy essentials can help you have fun, be fit and feel fabulous – no matter where the road takes you!

Attention Beautiful Women Everywhere!

I’m not trying to alienate any of the guys who check in here at LauraLovesFitness (and are often kind enough to retweet or “like” my posts), but in honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d start off the week with a shout-out to all your fabulous females who somehow manage to do it all.

Love my mom!

I’m beyond proud of my mom who at 71-years-young has embraced a much healthier lifestyle during the past six months. Along with watching her diet, she’s moving more. In fact, we just got back from a lovely walk along the beach not far from my childhood home on Long Island. Her newfound focus on her health is an inspiration to me.

Then I think of my other friends who are moms who somehow fit fitness into their daily schedules. Whether it’s Lori Ann who’s on her elliptical before the sun comes up, Michele who makes a point of getting to one or two Zumba classes each week or Linda who toils away in the garden, they’re a constant reminder even to a fitness lover like me that if breaking a sweat is something that helps you keep an even keel to get through the craziness – it’s important to make that time for yourself.

So, I thought that was the perfect way to encourage women everywhere to take part in a really cool competition going on right now. Even though the official kick off happened a couple of weeks back, my contact tells me it’s not too late to get in the game.

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, Under Armour is my workout wear of choice. Now the brand has launched a social competition for female athletes called “What’s Beautiful.”

It’s a nine-week competition where women are asked to declare a goal and document their journey. As you’ll see at WhatsBeautiful.UA.com, that goal can be anything from running a 5K to helping kids get more involved in fitness. Document the journey and post anything that shows monumental effort.

At the end of three months, UA will pick 10 competitors that blew them away. Eventually, the finalists will be whittled down to three top winners who will win thousands of dollars in gear and be the new faces of the Under Armour brand.

Needless to say, this is something I’d love to be a part of. Unfortunately, based on my current full-time profession and other responsibilities, this will have to wait until the next go around. However, for those of you who think you can find the time to get in on the action, go for it! I’d love to say I know one of the winners and a new face of my favorite workout-wear brand.

Regardless of whether you enter the competition, always remember being active is one of the best ways to stay on track with your lifelong goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Cold Weather Workouts

The pre-Halloween snow storm was an unexpected and not-so-pleasant surprise for most of here in the Northeast. Luckily, I dug out the gloves and ear warmers in time for Old Man Winter’s early visit. Now that these warm, woolly items are sitting in an easy-to-reach spot in my closet, I thought it was the perfect time for some important reminders on how to safely stick with your outdoor exercise routine as we head into a cold finish for 2011:

  • Dress In Layers: Start with a thin layer of synthetic material (e.g. Under Armour or Nike DriFIT clothing) closest to the skin. Avoid wearing cotton as it takes longer to dry and the wet feel can give you a chill.  Add a layer of fleece or wool and last but not least, finish off your outfit with a waterproof outer-layer.
  • Protect Your Hands, Feet & Ears: My hands and feet are cold even on the hottest days of the year, so they’re especially vulnerable to wind chills and icy temperatures. So, in colder weather, I’ll often wear a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier ones, or even a pair of mittens. I know some people who have a “winter” pair of running or walking shoes that are up to one size bigger so they can wear thicker thermal socks or two pairs of regular ones. Finally, I’m a big fan of the wrap-around ear warmers or fleece headbands to keep the biting wind from wreaking havoc on my ears.
  • Don’t Forget the Sunscreen: If you’ve ever gotten a nasty sunburn from skiing, you know the sun is just as strong in the cold-weather months as it is in the summertime. Remember to put on the SPF 30 before heading outdoors and don’t forget the the SPF-infused lip balm, too.
  • Stay Hydrated:  We hear lots of warnings about becoming dehydrated in the heat,  but you can become dehydrated just as easily in the cold. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout. (Here’s a refresher on why water is so important.)
  • Special Populations: While most people can exercise safely in the cold weather, if you have a heart condition or suffer from asthma, be sure to check with your physician before starting a cold-weather exercise routine.

The good news is you don’t have to pack away your motivation to exercise with the bathing suit and beach towels. Using a little common sense and having the right gear will allow you to continue your love affair with the great outdoors through November and beyond so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Friday Favorites

At the end of a particularly crazy work week, I thought I’d wrap things up on a light note. Along with questions ranging from how to calculate heart rates to how long do I spend on my abs,  people often ask me about the products I use. So, here’s a list of some of my favorite items that keep me feeling good whether I’m working out or not:

Shower Essentials: Since I take two showers a day (one to wake up, and one to clean up after my post-work workout), I use body wash instead of soap. It keeps my skin hydrated, and that’s especially important now as the temperatures drop and the heat comes up. I’m a big fan of the St. Ives line, which can be found at any drug store. To splurge, I’ll stock up on some of my favorites at Bath & Body Works. My top picks there are in the “Stress Relief ” line. There’s something about the smell of eucalyptus while standing in a hot shower that really helps me unwind after a long day.

Must-Have Moisturizer: Since passing the 35th birthday mark a couple of years ago, I admit I’m a sucker for anything that lists “skin firming” as a benefit on the packaging. Right now, I’m using and loving Aveeno’s “Positively Ageless Skin Firming Lotion.”

Face Faves: I suffered from acne in my teens and 20s. Now in my 30s, thanks to too much sun- worshipping, I have developed Rosacea. Every dermatologist who has treated me has recommended Cetaphil and I have used it for years. I wash my face twice a day with the “Gentle Skin Cleanser” and moisturize morning and night with the “Daily Facial Moisturizer,” which contains SPF 15.

Eye Cream: L’Oreal “Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream.” It’s a 24-hour “system” where you use one side of the tube in the morning to protect and the other side at night to repair.

Eye Makeup Remover: Almay “Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover Pads.”

Mane Management: As a blonde who amps up my look with highlights, I look for products that cut down on brassiness. Right now, I am using Aveda “Blue Malva” shampoo. I admit, I mix and match shampoo and conditioners as I use whatever keeps my hair moisturized and as frizz-free as possible. Right now, there’s a tube of L’Oreal’s “Everpure Sulfate-Free Moisture Conditioner” in my shower rack.

My Must-Have Hair Product: “Hard to Get” texturizing paste from TIGI Bed Head. It adds body and makes my layers move with that tousled look.

Workout Wear: On my body: Under Armour, Nike DRI-Fit or Champion C9. On my feet: New Balance cross trainers.

In My Gym Bag: Fiber One bars; tissues; hand sanitizer, clean socks, ear buds for my iPhone and snag-free ponytail holders.

Post-Workout Mocktail: Crystal Light pink lemonade and seltzer.

If you have some products that help you feel your best everyday, I’d love to hear about them! While diet and exercise are key components to our well-being, never underestimate the power a great-smelling body wash or pampering hand cream can have to help you have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

%d bloggers like this: