Tag Archives: get back in shape

How the NYC Sanitation Department can help you with your New Year’s resolutions

It was so exciting to spend New Year’s Eve in NYC this year!  While I did NOT stand with roughly 1 million people in Times Square in the 25 degree weather to watch the ball drop, I did get to see the whole area in its before and after states.

The before state wasn’t all that bad.  There were tons of barricades everywhere and NYPD’s finest were out en masse at every corner.  The streets were in their typical “clean” state, so there was some trash but not all that much.

 Times Square before
This is what Times Square normally looks like. On NYE,
they also had barricades and a stage (photo courtesy of bustler.net).

However as I walked home at about 2am on January 1st, the picture was pretty different.  The barricades were being picked up, and there were still plenty of cops out.  The trash situation though was VERY different.  There was confetti EVERYWHERE and garbage all over the place.

The garbage was piling up in the stairs for the subway’s entrance, all over the sidewalks and blowing down the street.  It was food bags and cups, beer cans and bottles, and plastic bags and food containers from any restaurant you can think of.

 Times Square after
This is just some of the leftover mess after the NYE party
in Times Square (photo courtesy of mikeip.com).

It was pretty astonishing the amount of trash that people left on the street.

Even more astonishing though was what I saw when I went to the corner market about 6 hours later….

The city looked normal again!!  The barricades were gone, the number of cops out was back to normal, and all the trash was gone!

I learned later on the news that crews had spent the early hours of 2014 cleaning up 50 MILLION POUNDS of TRASH!  That’s a whole lotta garbage picked up super super fast.

Seeing all the garbage and how quickly it was cleaned up got me thinking about how we tend to perceive the holidays and New Year’s resolutions, in general.

We guilt about how we indulged in treats and drinks and skipping workouts during the holidays.

Because of this guilt, we feel bad and want to get “back on track” as quickly as possible and clean up the trash in our lives.

So what do we do?  We overhaul everything in our life at all once via New Year’s resolutions - what we eat, how we’re working out, how we budget/spend our money, etc etc etc – we change it all.

I call this the “pre-season perspective”. 

In order to completely overhaul so many aspects of your life, you’d have to have a pre-season perspective where you do nothing but think about the things you’re trying to change.

The problem is that we’re not on a team anymore where we have the luxury of quitting everything else in our life while we get our eating on track or while we re-ignite our gym routine.

We can’t put all our energy to these new habits anymore cause we also have families, jobs, friends, and a myriad of other demands on our willpower.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t have more than 1 goal for the year.

I am suggesting that you take a strategic approach to accomplishing those goals for the year.

If you’ve signed up for my email newsletter (did you know you get a free gift when you sign up that includes a workout, a meal plan, and stress reducing tips??), you know that I’m all about focusing on making one change in your life at a time.

Why is this?  The research shows that when you focus on making a single change in your life (i.e. incorportating 1 new habit), the chance that you’ll successfully implement the change is around 80%!   Those are some damn good odds!!

Interesting thing is, when you try to incorporate two changes at once that are both new to you (like 2 New Year’s resolutions), the chances that you’ll actually create a habit for either one drops to 30%.

If that doesn’t blow your mind, just stop reading.  [No no, don't do that.  The point is, that should reeeeeally make you think about how you go about making big changes in your life.]

Here are some examples of how to successfully implement common New Year’s resolutions.

Resolution:  I want to eat better.

Steps to success

-Start with observing/recording everything you eat and drink for one week.  Don’t make any changes, just observe.

-Pick 1 meal to change.  Maybe swap your sandwich at lunch for a salad, fast for 12 hours overnight (don’t eat from 8pm-8am), instead of cereal make a protein shake for breakfast, eat mainly lean protein and veggies at dinner, etc.

-Do that single action/swap till you’re doing it without really thinking about it, until it’s effortless.  This could take a few weeks, so be patient with yourself.

-Add the next change (different meal, more water, extra veggies at a meal, snacking on veggies and nuts instead of chips or crackers, etc.).  Keep making changes in this way until you’re eating the way you want to be eating and that works for YOU.


Resolution:  I’m gonna workout more.

Steps to success

-Start with observing – how often are you working out now each week?

-Schedule an additional 1-2 days working out at most, and pick an activity you like to do.  If you don’t know what you like to do, you could sign up for classes to try something out for a few weeks.  You could also try the workouts in my GET SMART workout program.  It’s 4 weeks worth of workouts that need minimal equipment (read: no gym membership).  Check it out here!

-Workout these extra days for a few weeks until it’s easy and it doesn’t feel like a chore anymore.

-At this point, add another day or a different type of workout until that becomes effortless, too.  Continue making changes this way until you’ve got the workout schedule you like and will do!


So before you decide to adopt the pre-season perspective and go all-out to clean up the figurative 50 million pounds of trash overnight, step back and take a moment to pick the most important thing to you.   Work on that change first.

Leave a comment below with what you decide to focus on changing first!

<3 Lauren


The “Confetti” Effect – What It Is, Why You Should Care & What To Do About It

Ah confetti.  It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

It’s colorful, sparkly, and typically a lot of fun to launch up into the air.

Seriously – who doesn’t love those confetti poppers?!?

It’s especially fun as gravity overcomes the high-flying brillance and it starts to make its way back to the ground and every. other. flat. surface.

Once it’s hit the ground though I no longer consider it to be beautiful, fun or brilliant.  This is the moment that I wish some magic confetti clean-up fairy had flown through the air and collected it all before it landed.  Then I could avoid the clean-up stage because I despise cleaning.

Why am I talking about confetti?

What happens when confetti is launched then  falls to the floor is the same thing that happens when fat is released from storage by a workout but never used by the body.

  • The confetti popper is the workout.
  • The confetti is body fat.
  • The same way confetti floats through the air is similar to how fat floats through your bloodstream after a workout.
  • The magical confetti fairy that I wish existed?   It’s the missing piece of your workout – low intensity exercise that burns the fat.

See it’s not enough to only release fat from storage and into the bloodstream.  It’s an important step, but not the only part.

Once it’s in the bloodstream, the fat needs to be metabolized and used as energy.  Otherwise it will go back into storage in the fat cells... just like confetti falls back to the ground.  Hence, the confetti effect.


How can you avoid the confetti effect?

You gotta get yourself a magic confetti clean-up fairy.

What is a magic confetti clean-up fairy, you ask?  It’s any sort of very low intensity exercise that you do AFTER your 20 minutes of intense exercise.  Things like…

  • walking
  • housework
  • tai chi
  • restorative yoga
  • shopping
  • very slow biking/ellipticizing

This type of exercise for 30-60 minutes AFTER an intense, short workout will effectively burn that fat you just released from storage.

Aren’t you glad I’ve given you this analogy??  Now whenever you see confetti you’ll be like, “I know how to avoid the confetti effect!!  I’m super prepared for my New Year’s resolution of getting in better shape!  I know that if I  keep moving for 30-60 minutes after my workout, I’ll burn that fat I released during my workout instead of it going right back into storage.   I rock because of Lauren!”

Well, you may not think exactly that, but the analogy will linger…  :D

<3 Lauren

Six Ways to Spice Up your Workouts

I’ll be honest with you, my workouts are not the highlight of my day.  I do them ONLY to conserve muscle and maintain my health.  On the other hand, some people can’t wait to workout, and if you’re one of them that’s great!

Once I get going I usually enjoy the workout (especially the wave of endorphins that inevitably follows), but it’s that initial push to get to the gym or start the workout at home that I struggle with most.

Seeing as how this isn’t a new challenge for me, I’ve developed a few strategies over the years that encourage me to get going and make my workouts something I can kinda look forward to!

So if you’re not too fond of exercise or if you just aren’t particularly motivated to workout right now, you might want to spice up your workouts with one or two of the following tips.

1.  Change up your playlist.

Music is a HUGE factor in my workout, so I like to change up my playlist frequently.  If you don’t want to purchase more music, you can always try a new Pandora station or download Spotify.

2.  Try a new location.

I know that routines can be very helpful and productive, but sometimes I just get sick of the SAME. THING. EVERY. DAY.  When I start feeling like this, exercising in a different location can really help increase my motivation.  If you normally workout at home, try an outdoor session or head to a gym.  If you’re normally at a gym, getting sweaty at home can lower the effort it takes to start your workout (no more of the “I have to drive all the way to the gym and then drive all the way home after” excuse).

3.  New workout gear.

When I’m  in a rut, sometimes new workout capris or a colorful sports bra is just what the doctor ordered to boost my motivation.  It may be short-lived, but it definitely helps add a little pizzazz to my workout.  My favorite option for a workout pick-me-up is C9 by Champion at Target, but when I want to splurge, I’ll head to Athleta or Lululemon.

Fun workout capris
This is the pattern on my newest capris from Athleta.
I absolutely LOVE them!  Get em here.


4.  Different types of exercise.

I’ve found that changing up what I do at the gym helps me look forward to my sweat sessions a bit more.  If I’ve been doing a lot of interval sessions, I add in more weights.  If I’ve done mainly weights, I add in some intervals or bodyweight exercises.  If you’re looking for some ideas, check out my workout program.  It gives you 4 weeks worth of workouts that don’t require any equipment – just some space and your body.  How’s that for different?

5.  Trick yourself into getting started.

Yeah I know it sounds a little ridiculous, but it works!  There are some days that I am fighting myself tooth and nail. (imagine a 3 year old throwing a temper tantrum – “but I don’t WANT to workouuuuuutttt!”)   On those days I say “Hight, all you gotta do is get yo’ ass moving for 5 minutes!  That’s all!  Then you can quit and flop on the couch…”  And you know it’s the strangest thing – by the time I’m through those first 5 minutes, I usually am feeling great and want to finish the workout.

6.  Get a gym buddy.

Knowing that someone is going to be counting on you to show up at the gym is SO helpful in the motivation department.  Plus it makes your workouts way more entertaining!  I remember back in grad school I worked out with my friend Abby on several occasions, and we have a lot of fond memories from those early morning lifting sessions.  :)  Find someone that has similar goals as you do, then hold each other accountable to show up at the gym each time.


I know with the New Year right around the corner and the holidays upon us, it’s tempting to say “I’ll go to the gym consistently once January 1st rolls around.”    But here’s an idea — I’m suggesting that you NOT wait until the ball drops to start a routine.   If your motivation is low right now, then you can use these strategies to make working out a more attractive option and stave off the holiday poundage.

Oh obviously, these are only a few ways people can get motivated to go to the gym.  How do you motivate yourself to workout when you’re feeling not so jazzed about it?  Leave your ideas in the comments please!

<3 Lauren