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It’s Time for Spring Cleaning!

A little spring cleaning for your health & fitness routine can keep you smiling! Photo by Leslie Hassler

A little spring cleaning for your health & fitness routine can keep you smiling! Photo by Leslie Hassler

We made it to the first Motivation Monday of April! Now’s the time to embrace three staples of the season: Yankees baseball, spring showers and spring cleaning! As you carve out some time to de-clutter the closets and desk drawers, remember this is also the perfect opportunity to get rid of what’s sabotaging your health and fitness goals, too!

Here are my top three tips to help you take stock of what’s working, what’s not and what new things you can look forward to this season:

  1. Do NOT Skip Meals! It seems everywhere we look at this time of year, we’re bombarded by ads pushing us to get that bikini-body ready pronto. One of the biggest mistakes people make in trying to make that happen is skipping meals. If you’re thinking “Well, if I skip some meals, I’ll consume fewer calories and I’ll lose weight,” think again! The reality is you’ll probably end up consuming the same amount of calories if not more because when you do eat, you’ll be ravenous and consume extra calories you didn’t need. Also, when you don’t eat for long periods of time, your blood sugar levels drop which can leave you feeling fatigued, less focused and less productive in general. Instead, go ahead and use this time to develop the healthy habit of eating smaller meals every few hours to keep your blood sugar stable and control your appetite.
  2. Clean Out the Closets, the Drawers…AND the Pantry!  I know it may hurt, but maybe it’s time to get rid of that college T-shirt with the permanent sweat stains. I’m not saying you should toss your school pride in the trash, but why not treat yourself an order an alumni shirt online? While you’re at it, add a few bright-colored, moisture-wicking items to freshly de-cluttered drawers. We all like getting new duds for the season, so why should your workout wardrobe be any different? While you’re getting rid of old stuff in your closets or drawers, let’s not forget the dust bunnies collecting on those sweet or salty treats that have been hanging around in the pantry since the holidays. I know no one likes to waste food, so if you can bring the leftover boxes or bags of treats  to an office or school break room (and you know you have the will power to avoid digging in) let some other people enjoy them. (Assuming they haven’t stuck around past their expiration date, of course!)
  3. Mix Up Your Workout Routine! Don’t let boredom stop you in your tracks! Check for new group exercise classes at the gym or see what workout opportunities exist in the great outdoors. Whether you bang out some Tabatas in your backyard, play kickball with a community group or take an extra long walk in the evening, now’s the time to use Mother Nature as the ultimate motivator.

With a whole new month to look forward to, now’s the time to explore the many different ways we can all have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Spring Cleaning for Your Fitness Routine

Photo by: Leslie Hassler

Get Psyched to Get Back Outdoors! Photo by: Leslie Hassler

This Motivation Monday brings us just four days away from the official start of the spring of 2015! To be more specific, spring starts on Friday, March 20th at 6:45 P.M. EDT; 5:45 P.M. CDT; 4:45 P.M. MDT, and 3:45 P.M. PD. Yes, I’m pretty excited about it. Then again, after the brutal winter most of us just lived through, who isn’t?

In anticipation of the start of the long-awaited season filled with sunshine and rising temperatures, here are five tips to give your health and fitness routine a spring makeover:

  1. Set a Realistic Schedule: If you’re fitness routine took a backseat this winter, don’t sweat it. Write down your plans for walks and other outdoor cardio, trips to the gym and group exercise classes. Just don’t write something in for every day of the week or you’ll get frustrated the first day you miss a workout. Start with three days and work up from there.
  2. Stretch: We’re all excited to get outside and move, but hitting a high-intensity boot camp or basketball game without any type of warm up can be a recipe for disaster. If you’ve been less active than usual during the winter months, focusing on your flexibility training is more important than ever. One idea: warm up with 10 minutes of light cardio, then some dynamic stretches. These include lunges, touching your toes and walking your hands forward, swinging your legs while standing and twisting from side to side. Post-workout, do some static stretches to help your muscles recover – just remember to hold those stretches for 30 seconds.
  3. Try Something New: Break up your routine and soak up some fresh air with tennis, golf or team up with friends on the weekend for endorphin- and laugh-infused games of dodge ball, kickball or even ultimate Frisbee. You don’t have to be a seasoned athlete to have fun and burn some calories at the same time!
  4. Clean Out More Than Your Closets: Still have tins of treats from the holidays or boxes of chocolate from Valentine’s Day? Get rid of them. Feel guilty about throwing stuff out? Bring it to the office or some other place where a crowd will devour it quickly. Replenish supplies of raw almonds, beans, quinoa, brown rice, herbal teas, spices and other non-perishable healthy staples.
  5. Give Your Workout Wardrobe a Makeover: It’s always fun having new duds, so why not get rid of the cotton college t-shirts and sweats and replace them with bright tanks, shorts, cropped pants and other workout wear made from moisture-wicking fabric. For my fellow fitness chicks, it’s a good time to think about replacing your sports bras. If you’re working out a lot, a sports bra has a similar lifespan to your footwear – about six months.

Hang in there just a few more days, and soon we’ll all be launched into a brand new season filled with endless opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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, 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!

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!

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!

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!

Workout Wear

It certainly doesn’t feel like the beginning of autumn here in New York City. The high temps and humidity have air conditioners working overtime, even at the end of September, and wardrobe choices are trickier than usual. Thanks to a suggestion from my friend and makeup artist extraordinaire, Deanna Bell, I figured it was the perfect time to talk about one fitness essential that helps make my workouts more enjoyable even on the stickiest days: the right workout wear.

I sweat a lot when I exercise, even on the coldest days of the year. So wearing cotton t-shirts, shorts or pants can be very uncomfortable as they cling to my body and make me feel even hotter. This is why I am a huge fan of clothes that wick moisture away from the skin. They actually make me feel cooler and less constricted.  For me, being comfortable is crucial when it comes to getting through even the toughest of workouts.

Adding a couple of these wicking items to your workout wardrobe doesn’t need to break the bank. (Trust me, I’d rather save my dollars for a great pair of shoes or boots!) You can find great deals on brands like Champion, Nike Dri-FIT and Under Armour at stores ranging from Target to Modell’s.  These labels aren’t just for the ladies, they have great gear for men and kids, too.

Along with the comfy and cool-inducing clothes, here are my other exercise essentials:

You’ve made the commitment to take better care of yourself through exercising, so why not “pamper” yourself a bit to make the activity as enjoyable as possible? Instead of throwing in the towel when things get too hot, something as simple as a comfy tank top can help you stay on the right track so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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