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Fuel for the Day

Some of my favorite fueling options

Some of my favorite fueling options

Today’s Motivation Monday post has been inspired by the team at ETB Fitness.

Petro Martynyuk, community coordinator for the sports nutrition-based lifestyle business – which stands for “Eat the Bear”  – was kind enough to reach out to me after reading my post, Spring Fitness for Your Fitness Routine. He had some questions about the kind of fuel that energizes me before, during and after my workouts. While I haven’t tried any of ETB’s products (yet!), I’m grateful for the opportunity to share some tricks that work for me. Here’s what Petro wanted to know:

What foods do you eat pre workout? 

This all depends on what I’m doing:

  1. If I start a morning with fasted cardio, the only thing I’ll have before hopping on the elliptical machine and/or stationary bicycle and/or rowing machine for a 60-minute kick-start to the day is six to eight ounces of water while walking to the gym. I should mention I do “strip” twice during the cardio session. I take one rapid electrolyte replacement oral thin-film strip made by Sportsfood, Inc. at the start of the workout and another halfway through.
  2. If I’m taking a Physique57 class, I’ll have a green apple or some reduced-fat wheat thins with almond butter about an hour before class starts. If I need a real grab-and-go option, a banana always works in a pinch as will a serving of raw almonds and a 1/2 cup of blueberries. If I’m in a real hurry, a banana always works in a pinch. (Want to know more about the total-body, kick-butt barre-based method based program I’ve been addicted to since 2013? Click here.)
  3. For more heavy lifting, whether it’s a free-weight based group exercise class or if I’m pumping iron on my own, I’ll eat some more carbs before the workout. My go-to for that fuel is oatmeal with strawberries and/or blueberries. If I want an extra kick, I’ll stir in a teaspoon of almond or peanut butter.

What do you listen to during your workout?

I’m a firm believer that having the right music can make the difference between going the extra mile or throwing in the towel. Like my pre-exercise prep, I have different music for different workouts. Fortunately, my group exercise instructors have fantastic playlists and Spotify selections. For my fasted-cardio sessions, I need beats that keep me moving with some help from Calvin Harris, Tiesto and other master mixers. My current top three Workout Playlist favorites for cardio:

  • “Pray to God (featuring HAIM)”, Calvin Harris
  • “Let Me In (Astma & Rockwell Remix)”, Kleerup & Susanne Sundfor
  • “Comeback”, Ella Eyre

If I’m lifting, I tend to listen to music with a bit more of an edge. Because of my age and variety of music tastes, the bands that provide that inspiration range from Nine Inch Nails to Twisted Sister.

How do you switch up certain routines daily/weekly to stay motivated?

No matter what you’re doing, variety IS the spice of life. As I mentioned above, I do mix things up between strict cardio sessions, group exercise classes and one-on-one time with the iron. I’m also sure to give myself a minimum of one rest day each week to recover. Those off-days help me feel stronger physically and mentally when I do get back in the game.

What do you eat or do after your workout to make sure you got the most out of your workout?

I always make sure to cool down and stretch after my workouts. What I love about Physique57 classes is that stretches are incorporated throughout the class after high-intensity sprints.

As far as the post-workout food plan goes, I admit this area of my routine remains a work in progress. The key is getting some protein into my system as quickly as possible – preferably within 30 minutes and no more than 45. Thanks to the nutritional cleansing program I did in the spring and the maintenance program I follow now, I’ve found a protein recovery shake I really like. On most days, I’ll accompany the 8-ounce shake with a slice of toasted Ezekiel bread and almond butter.  One final food note: I make a point of trying to eat five to six small meals each day. This keeps my metabolism fueled, hunger in check and blood sugar levels on an even keel.

Thanks again to ETB Fitness for giving me a reason to make sure I’m keeping my fitness routine energized with the right fuel. At the end of the day, the right food, the right music and even the right workout wear can motivate fitness buffs of every age and fitness level stay on track with their goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Using Music for Motivation

music jpegThis short and sweet Motivation Monday post is all about the music. It’s amazing how some great tunes have kept my love affair with fitness fresh after all these years!

I remember making countless mix tapes back in college and more of those tapes were littered around my car when I went to gyms in the different states where I worked. Now my iTunes playlists have replaced those old-school cassettes. In the “old days,” I never went anywhere without my Walkman, and today, I make sure to have my ear buds with me at all times so I can play my motivational music for long walks in the city or when I work out at the gym or in the park.

Since music is such a big motivator in my routine, I thought I’d share my favorite top 10 songs of the moment. I always love to hear what everyone out there is listening to so don’t be shy about sharing your own top picks. Remember, whether you use music to move you or soothe you, it’s a great tool to add to your routine that can help you have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Laura’s November 2013 Faves:

  • “Let It Go (Laidback Luke Remix)” by Dragonette
  • “Cry Baby (Paul Oakendfold Mix” by Roisin Murphy
  • “Berzerk” by Eminem
  • “Little Bad Girl” by David Guetta
  • “TKO” by Justin Timberlake
  • “Starry Eyed (Penquin Prison Remix)” by Ellie Goulding
  • “It’s All Good (The Scumfrog Mixshow)” by Fantasia
  • “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” by Fergie, Q-Tip & GoonRock
  • “Victim” by WIN WIN
  • “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Bo

Some New Tunes for the New Year

imagesDespite the abbreviated work week, it’s been a bit of a challenge getting back to the grind after taking some time off for the holidays. One thing that always helps me put a bit more spring in my steps during my morning walk to work and keep the energy up during my workouts is good music.

So, on this first Friday of 2013, I thought I’d offer some of my current favorite songs that keep me moving on the elliptical, banging out the burpees and making each rep count. Some of these tunes are old, some are new, but they always manage to keep me going!

My Cardio Kicks:

  • “‘Right Now” (feat. David Guetta), Rihanna
  • “Appreciate Me,” Amuka (feat. Sheila Brody)
  • “Run” (feat. Alanah) Andy Duguid
  • “Sweet Nothing” (feat. Florence Welch) Calvin Harris
  • “Spectrum,” Florence + The Machine
  • “Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2,1),” Flo Rida
  • “Feel the Beat,” Darude
  • “Who’s Got Your Love?” Nyasia
  • “Theme to S’Express,” S’Express
  •  “The Sound of Goodbye,” Perpetuous Dreamer

Tabata/ Weights/ CrossFit-Style Motivators:

  • “Hate It or Love It,” Game & 50 Cent
  • “My Time” Fabolous & Jeremih
  • “I Miss the Misery, ” Halestorm
  • “Falls Apart,” Stabbing Westward
  • “4 Minutes,” Madonna w/ Justin Timberlake
  • Read the rest of this entry

Fast Take Friday


In anticipation of the sunny, summery weekend they’re predicting here in New York City,  I thought I’d wrap up the work week with a list of some of newest favorite iTunes. I’ll be listening to them during my workouts and chill time between now and Sunday. Enjoy!

Energy for the Elliptical or Tabatas (No rhyme or reason on music genres here, the tracks just keep me moving!):

  • “How You Like me Now” The House That Dirt Built (I can’t get this song out of my head since recently seeing the movie “Horrible Bosses”!)
  • “Unconditional Love” (feat. Melissa Loretta) Amurai
  • “Titanium” (feat. Sia) David Guetta
  • “Let’s Go” (feat. Ne-Yo) Calvin Harris
  • “Scream” Usher
  • “Looks That Kill” Motley Crue
  • “Shout 2000” Disturbed
  • “The Final Countdown” Europe
  • “In de Ghetto” Crystal Waters

Mellow music for cooling down, stretching or sitting at the pool, beach or backyard:

  • “Empty Streets” Late Night Alumni
  • “Like a Waterfall: Flipside Ambient Remix” JES
  • “Change Your Mind: Chill Version” (feat. Kyler England) Sunlounger
  • “Complicated” Paul van Dyk
  • “Everything” (feat. JES) Tiesto
  • “Me & You: Dimitri Andreas & Madox Remix” (feat. Rami) Mr. Sam
  • “Show Me” DJ Encore

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: good music is one of the things that keeps me motivated to move. I’m always looking for recommendations, so please don’t hesitate to share some of the tracks on your playlists. Here’s to the weekend ahead filled with good tunes, good times and plenty of reasons to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Tabata Tunes

We made it to another Workout Wednesday!

This week, I’d actually like to address something I’ve overlooked in my past posts about Tabata training. I’m grateful my friend and true fitness pro Amy for pointing out a very crucial component when it comes to this type of high intensity training.

The Rings: One of My Favorite Tabata Stations!

While you can do multiple sets of Tabatas to create killer 20-minute workouts, I forgot to mention that you need to rest for one minute between each four-minute Tabata round to allow for short recovery. (As a refresher, in a Tabata, you push out as many reps as possible of a certain exercise in 20 seconds, follow with 10 seconds of rest and continue until the four minutes are up.)

As Amy reminded me, taking a “big break” of one minute before moving from let’s say a squat-thrust Tabata to a push-up Tabata allows the heart rate to fluctuate between recovery and full exertion. Believe it or not, it’s also a way to make sure by the end of that fourth set, you almost feel like you can’t make that last 20-second work period and your muscles will be shaking and trembling. This is a surefire way to push your body hard, but not to failure!

If you have an iPhone or iPad , there’s a great fitness app that my UXF instructor Roberto introduced me to. It’s called Ultratimer. It does cost $1.99, but as I’ve become “addicted” to Tabatas lately, it’s great to have a tool that alerts me when to work and when to rest. Ultratimer features bells and buzzers and you can listen to your music and still hear all the signals. Click here to check it out. 

So, what songs keep me motivated for these workouts? Here are some of my favorite Tabata tunes that come in just over or under the four-minute mark. (I think you’ll find they’re an interesting mix of music genres.)

  • “Four Minutes,” Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake (How appropriate, right?)
  • “Looks That Kill,” Motley Crue
  • “Firestarter,” The Prodigy
  • “The Fire,” The Roots featuring John Legend
  • “This is How a Heart Breaks,” Rob Thomas
  • “Where Have You Been?” Rihanna
  • “You Walk Away (Edit),” TyDi featuring Audrey Gallagher
  • “Points of Authority,” Linkin Park
  • “Time of My Life,” 3 Doors Down
  • “Get Better,” KMC featuring Sandy
  • “Rebel Yell,” Billy Idol
  • “Point of No Return,” DJ Encore

At the end of the day, whether it’s Tabatas, time on a treadmill or taking a Zumba class, finding the workout that works for you is the key to staying on track with all your efforts to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

My Holiday Gift to You: More Music to Make You Move

This will be my last post for 2011. I’m happy to report I’ll actually be following some of the advice I’ve shared on my blog and taking it easy between now and the start of the New Year. I’m looking forward to spending time with family and friends for Christmas, enjoying some holiday treats and then enjoying some down time as December comes to an end. I’m looking forward to mixing up my workout a bit with a new group exercise class or two and not glancing at the clock every few minutes to see how much time I have left before rushing off to some other obligation.

All that being said, my holiday gift to all of you is one final music list featuring my current cardio favorites:

  • “Shivers” by Armin van Buren
  • “Open Your Heart” (featuring Tiff Lacey) by Cosmic Gate
  • “My World”  (Andy Moor Remix) Luminary
  • “Make Me Feel” Benassi Bros.
  • “Next to You” Darude
  • “Amsterdam” (Super8 & Tab Remix) Luminary
  • “Chemistry” (Eric S Remix Radio Mix) Velvet
  • “You and Me Belong” Jes
  • “Sexy and I Know It” LMFAO
  • “Like a Waterfall” Jes

Some “oldies but goodies” for resistance training:

  • “Wherever I May Roam” Metallica
  • “The Fire” The Roots & John Legend
  • “Four Minutes” Madonna (feat. Justin Timberlake)
  • “Crazy on You” Heart
  • “Dragula” Rob Zombie
  • “Sin” Nine Inch Nails

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Kwanzaa and of course, a Happy and Healthy New Year! Thank you for making my new blogging adventures so much fun! I’ll be back with new posts after the New Year and look forward to receiving your questions and comments so we can continue on our journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous in 2012…and beyond!

A Holiday Fitness Wish List

Happy Friday everyone!

With less than a week until Hanukkah and a little more than a week until Christmas, maybe you’re still looking for last-minute gift ideas for the fitness fanatics in your life. Or maybe you’re still working on your own list for Santa and trying to think of a few items that could help you stick with your fitness routine in the New Year. Here are some ideas:

  • 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 have always been most comfortable in cross trainers. I get a new pair every six months and time it so that Santa brings me a new pair at Christmas.
  • Workout Wear. Never underestimate the power of a moisture-wicking pair of running shorts, shirt or yoga pants when it comes to keeping your cool during a workout.   If you’re not sure of someone’s size, a gift card to a store like Target or Modell’s allows someone figure out what style and/or brand works best for his or her routine.
  • A Yoga Mat.  It not only outlines your “personal space” in a gym or studio, but the “sticky” surface helps prevent your hands and feet from slipping while exercising. While most gyms and studios provide mats, wouldn’t it be nice to have your own that you can keep clean? These mats are also great for stretching at home. Click here to check out some good mats for under $20.
  • Ear buds. These tend to be a bit more comfortable during exercise as opposed to bulky headphones. The good news is you don’t have to spend a bundle on them. This link features some options under $30 but you can check out this link if you need an “extra” special gift for that extra special someone.
  • Snag-free hair ties. Stocking stuffer alert! These keep sweaty hair off the face and out of the eyes during a workout without ripping into your locks.
  • Heart Rate Monitor or Pedometer. I asked Santa for a heart rate monitor this year, so hopefully he’ll think I’ve been “nice” and leave one under the tree. I’ve seen price ranges anywhere from $20 to more than $110, so if you have one you really like, I’d love to hear about it!
  • Reusable Water Bottle.  A gift that helps anyone stay hydrated while being good to the environment.
  • iPod or Mp3 Player. Probably one of the most extravagant ideas, but if you don’t have a phone that can play music at the gym or on your run, this is a great gift to give or hopefully receive. I know I’d be lost without my music to keep me moving, especially during my toughest workouts.

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, adding some of these new “toys” to your exercise routine could be just the boost you need to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

More Music That Moves Me

I am always listening for new music to add to my “workout mix” playlist.  Thanks to my friend Gabby, I discovered the Kim Sozzi Radio “station” on Pandora and I’ve collected some good beats to move to while working through a heart-pumping cardio or circuit training workout.  What I particularly like about these songs is that you won’t hear them on mainstream radio a dozen times a day. In fact, chances you are you may not hear some of them even once today on a local radio station.  So, as we head into another weekend, here are my 10 new favorites that keep me moving at the gym. (They also help me keep walking at a pretty good pace during my walk to work in the morning!)

“Get Better” KMC featuring Sandy

“Why You Had to Leave” Cascada

“Point of No Return” Unique/DJ Encore

“Chemistry” (Eric S Remix Radio Mix) Velvet

“The Longest Road” (Deadmau 5 Mix) Morgan Page

“I Can’t Help Myself” (Sunfreakz Mix) Bellatrax featuring Sophia May

“Flatline” (Kyau & Albert Radio Edit) Cosmic Gate featuring Kyler England

“Can’t Sleep” Above & Beyond

“Man on the Run” Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren

“Unforgivable” Armin van Buren featuring Jaren

I realize there are a lot of music genres out there, and these dance songs may not motivate you to move. That being said, I’d love to hear what tunes keep you in motion! Also, if you have music that helps you cool down, stretch or unwind after a workout or a long day, please send those titles and artists along, too.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend filled with lots of opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Where Do We Go From Here?

As we kick off another work week, I realize I’m beginning my third month of being out here in the blogosphere. So I thought this was a good time to ask you, my readers, where you’d like things to go from here.

Please feel free to send me your fitness-related questions or topics for discussion by simply leaving a comment at the end of this post. As you can tell from what I’ve written so far, I believe there are so many components to fitness that go beyond the walls of your neighborhood gym or the path of your favorite hiking trail. The choices we make ranging from what to wear when we workout to what to drink at happy hour can affect our overall well-being.

Don’t be shy! If you’re curious about something, chances are someone else is, too. Would you like more music lists or information about specific areas of exercise? As I’ve said before, while I can’t promise to have the answers immediately, I’ll be more than happy to do a little research, ask opinions of my more experienced peers in the fitness industry and let you know what I find.

I’ll close by thanking you for taking the time to read my blog and for supporting me in this adventure. If you’re a “repeat reader” and haven’t subscribed to my blog yet, perhaps you’ll do that today. (If you have, perhaps you could ask a friend to do the same!) All you have to do is click on the “Follow Blog” icon at the top right hand corner of this page and give your email address. (It’s free!) You’ll then get an email asking you to confirm you signed up and that’s it. You’ll be notified every time I post something new.

There are icons on my blog’s home page to help you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and I also just launched a the LauraDLovesFitness channel on YouTube. Again, I thank you ahead of time for checking out my material and for spreading the word that together, we can all enjoy a lifelong journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Music That Makes Me Move

We made it to Friday! As I continue to navigate my way through this new blogging adventure, I’m toying with the idea of keeping Friday’s posts short and sweet with a quick hit list regarding some fitness-related topic.  For the first of these installments, I offer some of my favorite workout tunes that keep me moving either on the elliptical machine or as I hit the floor for some resistance training and core work.

Laura’s Top 10 Favorite Cardio Jams:

“On the Floor” Jennifer Lopez (feat. Pitbull)

“Chemistry” Velvet

“Around You” Jes

“Blow” Ke$ha

“Shut It Down” Pitbull (feat. Akon)

“Inner Sanctum” Blue

“Alright” Red Carpet

“Sorry” Madonna

“Judas” Lady GaGa

“I’m Into You” Jennifer Lopez (feat. Lil Wayne)

Laura’s Top 10 Resistance Training Tunes:

“Wherever I May Roam” Metallica

“The Fire” The Roots & John Legend

“The Game” Disturbed

“Let It Rock” Kevin Rudolf & Lil Wayne

“Shake That” Eminem

“Four Minutes” Madonna (feat. Justin Timberlake)

“Do What’s Good For Me” 2 Unlimited

“Bumpy Flight Home” Oakenfold

“Stagefright” Def Leppard

“Crazy on You” Heart

Obviously, I like a wide variety of music. (Note: these are only a handful of songs featured in my “Workout Mix” playlist.) You may love or hate any or all of the songs listed above, but I figured you could at least give some unknown titles a search and a listen and decide if they’re worthy to be a part of your iTunes library.

On a low-energy day, sometimes just turning up the right heart-pounding beats can help kickstart your adrenaline and get you into the right mood to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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