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Hitting the Reset Button

Jumping into 2018!

Just like that, we’ve reached the second Motivation Monday of 2018!

I hope everyone made it through the “Cyclone Bomb” that hit New York and other parts of the Northeast late last week. I don’t expect any sympathy, but I must say returning from a week of 80-degree sunshine to single-digit temperatures Saturday night was one of the harshest re-entries to reality I can remember. It’s so hard to think at this time last week I was ringing in the New Year in a totally different world.

That being said, I’m sure you can appreciate the need to keep this week’s post short and sweet as writing it is one of many items on the back-to-the-grind laundry list. And what could be simpler than admitting it’s time for me to get back on my own health and fitness wagon after taking a pretty hard fall off of it while on vacation in Grenada.

 

Calories shared with good friends never count.

While I did manage to work out, it definitely didn’t happen every day and those workouts weren’t exactly banged out with the highest of intensity. However, the mindless minutes spent dozing under the shade of a palm tree, swimming in the Caribbean sea, floating in the pool or laughing with my fiance and the friends we made during last year’s winter escape were worth every calorie consumed in the countless frozen drinks and not-so-clean meals and snacks throughout the week. (Having a soft-serve ice cream machine right next to the pool was one of the temptations I couldn’t resist.)

So now it’s time for me to re-group, re-stock the fridge with my healthy essentials and re-focus on my usual healthy lifestyle routine. After the extra rest days, I know my body is ready to attack my usual ILoveKickboxing and Physique57 classes. I’m looking forward to blending my Isagenix shakes in the morning and eating healthy fruits and veggies and lean proteins for meals and snacks throughout the day. I’m even looking forward to cutting back on the alcohol intake for awhile.

For all of you who’ve been killing those healthy goals for the New Year since last week, kudos to you! Just remember, even if you’ve had a few slips since then, don’t sweat it. Sometimes we all need to be a little bad to get back to what we know is good. I also can’t stress this point enough every January: all habits – good or bad – take at least six weeks to become part of your normal routine.

So hang in there, keep up the good work and remember one slip (or in my case, one week of not-so-healthy living!) doesn’t have to ruin your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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Nine Days In…

Excited to jump into 2017 with a positive attitude!

Excited to jump into 2017 with a positive attitude!

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it’s already the ninth day of 2017. So many firsts lie ahead. For me, this marks the first Motivation Monday post of 2017. I’ve also embarked on my first business trip and tomorrow, I’ll produce my first satellite media tour of the New Year. It seems unfathomable that at this very moment last week, I was soaking up the sun in Antigua and not giving much thought to anything other than which frozen drink I planned to order next.

One slight unpleasantry occurred two days into my vacation: I hurt my knee when I fell off a paddle board and hit the board instead of the turquoise water on my way down. So all the workouts I planned in between the sun and fun (and high-calorie cocktails!) were not meant to be. However, I was able to create some interesting hop-on-one-leg dance moves for the New Year’s Eve festivities! After getting slightly miffed about the unplanned rest days, I decided to chalk it up to a sign that my body needed a break. Taking it one step further, I also realized I just needed a break from everything – even writing, something that usually brings me joy. So, I let go and accepted the fact that the world would keep spinning if I didn’t post a new blog on January 2nd. Now that I’m back dealing with the cold, snowy reality of a New York winter, I’m hoping to keep that mindset in check in the days and months ahead. Sometimes you need to pause and take a pass on the things that normally fill our forever-hectic days.

While I didn’t fret about future commitments while I was on vacation, I did have time to think. I thought about the big happenings of 2016: the high school friends taken from this world far too soon; my dad’s surgery; my parents’ move. But as I thought about those life-changing events, I also realized I managed to deal with all of them. No doubt my focus on fitness and healthy eating helped keep my body strong through the tough times, but it was also my faith and the love of friends and family that made it all a little easier. While I’m definitely hoping for a less turbulent 2017, the truth is I have no idea what will happen in the days, weeks and months ahead. As a detail-oriented planner, that’s been a tough reality to accept, but it’s also a reality I’m coming to terms with as each year passes by. Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s the simple fact that the people you care about will always be more important than deadlines and conference calls. Maybe it’s the knowledge that each person we encounter on this crazy ride called life struggles with his or her own demons and burdens. All of this thinking lead to my ultimate resolution: to make 2017 the year of living in the present.

As we all begin new journeys and tackle new goals, I offer a simple reminder not to sweat the small stuff that comes along. And it will come. If you’ve made a commitment to be healthier this year, remember it takes at least six weeks for any habit – good or bad – to become part of a daily routine. Click here if you’d like a refresher on some other ways to keep your resolutions on track.

I leave you with this: if you’ve skipped a workout more than once since January 1st, don’t throw in the towel. Everyone needs rest, and sometimes your body and mind need a nap or an overdue chat with a loved one more than a kick-butt workout. The same goes for your diet: if you’ve had a few extra sweets or other treats as you try to get rid of the holiday leftovers, brush off the crumbs and move on. Remember, each day we’re lucky enough to open our eyes is a new chance to start over on the never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

 Starting Over…Sort Of

Felt SO Good to Get Back in the Gym Over the Weekend!

Felt SO Good to Get Back in the Gym Over the Weekend!

Whoever coined the phrase the lazy days of summer obviously never dealt with a move in the July heat. Now that my parents are slowly settling in their new home, I am thankful this Motivation Monday signals the start of my own return to normalcy.

Probably the most important part of re-establishing my routine involves getting exercise back on my schedule. Saturday marked the first time I stepped inside a gym in three weeks. That is simply excruciatingly too long for this fitness fanatic. However, between my production gigs; the hours of packing; scheduling and re-scheduling contractors and moving dates and the nasty summer cold that stole my energy and my voice, something had to give. However, I always reminded myself that the stress was temporary and eventually things would get better. As I sit on a Manhattan-bound train for the first time in weeks, I realize they already are.

We’re all tired and covered in scrapes and bruises thanks to some unexpected run-ins with furniture and box cutters. Yet we’re all healthy and looking forward to our annual escape to the beautiful Montauk beach.

I also look forward to getting back to my Physique57 workouts; enjoying small, healthy meals throughout the day and catching up with with friends I haven’t seen in forever. I also know I have to be patient with my body. While I’m probably in the best shape of my life at 42, I also know I need to give my body time to adjust to a vigorous exercise routine again. I will pay extra attention to stretching and staying hydrated. And I will constantly remind myself that I will start feeling like my strong self again soon.

Consider this my roundabout way of saying there are plenty of things in this life that will throw us off course. However, reminding yourself that the road will eventually lead to a familiar path is half the battle in getting there. If your summer to date has included more tacos than Tabatas or too many margaritas killed your motivation to make it to those early morning boot camp classes, don’t sweat it. Today is a new day and there’s still plenty of summer left to work on those plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

41

photo-28Call me superstitious, but I sort of believe in signs. So I hope the fact I get to start my 41st year on this planet on a Motivation Monday is a sign I’ll be stocked with enough adrenaline to tackle the new adventures and challenges waiting for me in the days ahead.

This birthday happens to fall in the wake of a brief but brilliant escape to the beautiful island of Aruba. It was the first vacation I’ve been on in awhile where I truly took it easy. Instead of the high-intensity cardio-fueled workouts I sweat through here at home, I enjoyed extended walks on the beach (sometimes two a day), stand-up paddle boarding and swimming. I even indulged in a massage. The result? Well, while I may have added a pound or two to my waistline thanks to the frozen cocktails and some decadent desserts, I also returned to the frenetic pace of my beloved New York city with relaxed muscles and a relaxed mind.

Not a bad way to wrap up my 40th year!

SUP Aruba Style: Not a bad way to wrap up my 40th year!

Part of my unwind time included embracing the fact that getting older doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you’ve been stopping by here for awhile, you’ve read one or two posts about the fact that I’m definitely stronger than I was 10 years ago. Physically and mentally. I credit my experienced – both good in bad, in the gym and beyond – for giving me the confidence to make wiser choices today. Sure, I’ll still tweak a muscle during a workout now and then, and I’m the first to admit I’ve made some less-than-optimal choices when it comes to work or my love life. However, at least I believe I have a well-stocked mental file cabinet of information to guide my decisions.

So as we all start a new work week and I start my new year, let’s embrace all the surprises ahead that can only lead us on new paths to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

“Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

-Satchel Paige 

 

Savoring Summer

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Savoring every beach walk in Montauk, NY

It’s hard to believe this Motivation Monday brings us exactly two weeks away from Labor Day. Most consider the holiday the unofficial end of summer. As I sat on the beach on the last day of my last vacation of the season, I realized how much time can be wasted thinking about how many hours or days we have left to enjoy something instead of seizing and savoring the present moment.

I stared at the roaring sea, listened to the waves crashing against the sand and started breathing a little more deeply. I wanted to savor the scent of salt and sunscreen and embrace the feeling of the heat on my sun-kissed skin. However, somehow the my-vacation-is-almost-over panic crept in to my head and in to my heart. Panic about the future. Back in the concrete jungle. Back amidst the cacophony of sirens and horns. Back amongst the crowds of students on the subways and more people in the streets.

I know I’m not alone in this constant struggle between living in the present and worrying about what’s to come. As my mom pointed out, how can we not project about what’s two days or two weeks in the future when we’re bombarded with back-to-school sales in June and Christmas promotions in July?

Then I went for a last long beach walk, and one of my all-time favorite quotes from the legendary Dr. Seuss popped into my over-analytical head:

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

And I did smile. I realized how fortunate I was to be back in Montauk with my parents after last year’s hiatus because of my father’s emergency heart surgery. I realized the ocean will continue to churn and then settle into a calm, just like the different seasons and stages of life. At some point, each of us may face the end of a vacation…a job…a marriage…a life. My goal as I move toward a new season is to remember it’s healthier for the body and the spirit to hold on to what was good than lose sleep and sanity over what went wrong and what we can’t get back.

So when life seems overwhelming, I will close my eyes and envision the mighty sea to give me the energy I need to keep going. Whatever gives you strength- a good workout, an image of your children laughing without a care in the world, a conversation with your best friend – enjoy as many of those moments as you can this week and in the weeks ahead. We can’t change the fact that time will always march forward. But savoring the only thing we have control over in that journey – the present moment – can help us take on life’s challenges while keeping us on the course to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Ready for Action!

IMG_3183On this particular Motivation Monday I find myself in a bit of shock trying to re-adjust to the concrete jungle after spending a few days surrounded by sand and palm trees.

The sound of the ocean has been replaced by the horns and sirens that scream up and down Broadway. Instead of a salty sea spray, my nostrils are filled with the aroma of hot dogs and other “street meat” wafting from countless food trucks and vending carts.

The beach is my safe haven. It’s not only where I get to mix up my fitness routine by banging out squats or planks in the sand. It’s also where my brain can truly reboot. Whether I’m sitting under a sunny sky or a veil of darkness with nothing but the stars as my light, the beach provides the space where my mind can wander and feel free. It’s where my dreams never seem to big or too foolish…and where positive energy is restored. Now as reality sets in, I know I can close my eyes and escape to that peaceful spot in my mind whenever the stress starts creeping in.

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To Enjoy Some Treats Later!

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Started Each Day At the Gym…

My wish for you as we start another week and a brand new month is that sometime in the near future you can find the time to escape to your happy place. Maybe it’s a true vacation lasting a week or longer. Maybe it’s a full day or just a few hours in another town. It could even be an hour of solitude sitting in your backyard or on a cozy couch. Get there. Dream a little and make some plans to start going after what you want. While you’re add it, why not get up from that recharge and take a walk, go for a run or check your group exercise schedule for your next class.

I DID Miss Physique57!

I DID Miss Physique57!

Here’s to a great new week and month ahead and all the opportunities we’ll have to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

A Different Kind of Workout Wednesday

Of course, there's workout wear tucked away for my trip!

Of course, I packed some workout wear!

This particular Workout Wednesday marks a first for me. Depending on what time you read this, I’ll either be getting ready for or in the midst of flying to Amsterdam! As I write this post, I’m beyond excited to meet up with my lifelong buddy Ania and her pal Tiffany for what’s sure to be a fun-filled adventure!

While I’ll be skipping the workout today, I do plan on making use of our hotel’s fitness center during the trip. While I’m gone, if you need a shot of motivation, don’t hesitate to scroll down to the “Search This Site” box on the right side of this page. If you type in anything from abdominals to Zumba, hopefully you’ll find something helpful from one of my previous 200+ posts.

I leave you with links to some “oldies but goodies” that offer tips on key training concepts. I hope they’ll help as you continue your hard work on turning those New Year’s resolutions into routine behavior:

My next post will appear on Monday, January 28th. In the meantime, feel free to leave comments or email me with any questions or with any topics you’d like me to touch on in the weeks ahead. Wishing everyone a great week and I look forward to returning with even more energy to continue on this journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Recharged & Ready for Reality!

Soaking Up the Sea & Sun in Montauk, NY

I don’t think I realized how badly I needed a vacation until it actually started.

Yes, I’m a pretty upbeat and positive human being, but we all have our moments. Between stress at work and in my personal life, I had more than my usual share of those moments over the past several months.

As I start this new work week fueled with more energy than I’ve had in what feels like forever, I believe a lot of that stress got lost at sea in Montauk.

I made a very important decision before escaping the concrete jungle I love to call my home. I left everything behind. My production job, this blog and even the new project I hope to make a serious dent in this fall. (Stay tuned.) Being a creature of habit, I did check my office email a couple of times while I was on the beach. In response to my responses, my boss kindly told me to get back to vacation. So I did. (Thanks, Larry!)

So what did I focus on while I was away? Taking care of myself. That included:

  • Working out
  • Trying a new Zumba class at the fitness center
  • Taking long walks on the beach
  • Catching up on back issues of People
  • Indulging in a 90-minute massage
  • Cutting back on the social media scene

Finally and perhaps most importantly, I also made a point of writing in my journal everyday. Like exercise, writing has always been a cathartic experience. I may be too afraid to say things out loud, but sharing those thoughts on the blank pages of my journal helps me see things more clearly, especially with a little help from an exercise-induced endorphin rush and some sea air.

It was during one of those moments that I wrote my first poem in at least 15 years. I realize I’ve never shared a poem here on my blog, so I hope you’ll indulge me in this shift from the ordinary. Before you dive in, let me say I realize taking week off from work or life may not be possible in your life right now, but make sure you find some time to focus on taking care of yourself amidst the madness we call life. Sometimes an extended workout or escape to the backyard to catch up on some reading is what the body and soul need to recharge so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

“Wash Over Anew”

Staring out into the black night,

White foam stretches across the sand, only moments after the crash of a wave.

Another crash, another ripple of white foam,

All the while, the bright stars hidden in the city somehow shine down upon me from this night sky.

Each crash, each ripple of white foam, each sparkling star – a reminder –

Good times, bad times

They come and go,

Enter and retreat from this life,

Yet the rhythm of the ocean stays constant , just like the penetrating stare of the stars,

As does the fire burning within us –

The fire we cannot allow to die.

Use your inner strength to keep it aglow –

And just like the sea, the power to retreat and the power to wash over anew,

Lies within.

Fitting Fitness Into Your Vacation

Photo by Laura DeAngelis

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.

Newport, RI

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!

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