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Tiffany, Ania & I burned some calories keeping warm in the cold!

Tiffany, Ania & I burned some calories keeping warm in the cold!

No, I didn't work out here, but had to stop for a photo!

No, I didn’t workout here, but had to stop for a photo!

I know I tend to offer a shot of motivation on Mondays. On this particular Monday, I have to say I feel more motivated than I have in recent memory. All it took was a trip to Amsterdam.

Whether you hop on a plane and fly across the Atlantic like I did or getaway for a few hours to a spa or even a quiet restaurant with a special someone in your life, there’s something to be said about escaping the realities of our everyday lives.

For me, that escape included forgoing my normal typical daily high-intensity workouts to relish in daily walking adventures in a beautiful, new city. We visited museums; sampled the local flavors in various cafes; boosted the economy with trips to flea markets and shops; escaped the cold on a heated canal cruise and then braved the frigid temperatures to see some windmills up close.

LauraLovesFitness..and chocolate & banana pancakes!

LauraLovesFitness..and chocolate & banana pancakes!

My escape also included hot chocolate, chocolate waffles, chocolate and banana pancakes (are you sensing a trend here?), some of the most amazing breads and cheeses I’ve ever had, Amstel and Heineken on draft and other libations that kept the bone-chilling temperatures from making things too uncomfortable. Last but certainly not least, there were countless laughs and lighthearted conversations with my gal pals – one of whom is among the special few I’ve had the joy of knowing since childhood.

You could say I “abandoned” my normally fit New York lifestyle to embrace a different approach to healthy living in Amsterdam. This is a city where people actually sit down to drink a cup of coffee and it’s not easy to find a to-go cup. It’s a place where people walk or use bicycles to get from points A to Z on a normal basis and where many shop owners don’t open their business until Monday afternoon – and still close at 6 pm. Compared to the incessant frenetic pace of my city that never sleeps, this vacation was a welcome respite.

All smiles over real hot chocolate!

All smiles over real hot chocolate!

Don’t get me wrong. I love being a native New Yorker. However, I just can’t stress enough the importance of taking a break from the ordinary every now and then. When I am home, that break involves hitting the gym to let go of the stress from the daily grind. After time, my body and my mind need to escape from that routine, too.  Throw in some real chocolate and other delicious treats, and I definitely like I’m away. I also believe that sometimes you need to be a little bad to get back to being good.

So, as we tackle a new week, I do so with a renewed love for my “routine” breakfasts filled with berries and lunches complete with chopped veggies.  Thanks for sticking with me while I was away. If you have questions or topics you’d like me to address in the weeks ahead, don’t be shy! I look forward to seeing where the next part of the adventure leads on our never-ending journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Good food, drinks & conversation offered some fitness for the mind!

Good food, drinks & conversation offered some fitness for the mind!

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