I'm a PRO at this by now [Healthy Travel Series #3]

Have you ever felt anxious about a trip because you weren’t sure IF or WHEN you’d find the time to work out?

Workout anxiety used to be SO REAL for me, especially when I was traveling. I remember being so unhappy during points of my 4 week Thailand trip because I couldn’t stick to my regular run and yoga schedule.

Luckily I’ve learned a lot since that trip and today I’m sharing how you can workout while traveling, while still enjoying your trip.

Here’s how to easily work your workout into your travel:

  • Be prepared - Bring workout clothes (I love finding cute “athleisure” pieces that I can work out in but can double as everyday clothes too!), running or walking shoes. I also ALWAYS travel with this travel yoga mat - it’s super lightweight and folds up making it easy to carry with you wherever you are going.
  • Bring movement into your adventure - Rent a bike, go for a walking tour, meet a friend for a yoga date. I’ve also done running tours which are a super fun way to see a city!
  • Have a few portable workout options - The wonderful world of online workouts has been a lifesaver for me while traveling because I can still take class when it works with my schedule. My favorites are FORTE Fit (yoga, HIIT, barre and MORE! + my own yoga classes!), YogaGlo (biggest library of online yoga classes), and Superhuman Fitness (going to be sharing more about this soon but it’s my newest fave full body workout that’s good for EVERY body and fitness level).
  • Be realistic - Think ahead and plan your workout and rest days accordingly. During my time on the Big Island of Hawaii, I had a few really early mornings and so I planned my rest days around these because I knew I wasn’t going to want to wake up even earlier to get a run in.

My biggest tip? Relax. Do your best to move your body because it makes you feel good, but don’t stress if your travel workout routine looks very, very different from your regular plan. Your beloved yoga class or early morning gym time will be there for you when you get back home, and likely you’ll appreciate it even more after taking a break :)

What are your tricks and tips for staying active when you are traveling? Leave a comment below and let me know. I love hearing from you!

How to create an exercise routine that sticks

"I NEED to exercise but for some reason it just doesn't happen."
"I want to get into running but it's hard to get my butt out the door."
"I know I should go to yoga, but honestly I'm kind of intimidated."

Any of these lines sound familiar? 

We all know exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but with our busy lives, this is often the piece of the equation that gets left out. Let me be real with you - to be your healthiest self, to feel energized and inspired, to be confident in your body - you MUST exercise, or move your body in some way on a regular basis.

I know this may sound intense but hear me out.

Why is exercise so important?

  • It's energizing - Moving your cells wakes them up! Plus physical exercise also requires us to use motor skills and parts of our brain that we don't use most of the day (because most of us work on the computer).

  • It stimulates body’s natural detox functions - Sweating, breathing and elimination (pooping!) are all ways that your body "takes out the trash" and you want that to be happening regularly. No one wants to live in a house filled with trash, do they?? Exercise pretty obviously stimulates your breathing and sweat functions, but it also helps move things along in your digestive system.

  • Movement OUTSIDE creates movement INSIDE - Different exercise types inspire different moods and energies in our bodies. For example...

    > Running and cardio = endurance, stamina, feeling of moving forward
    > Yoga, dance, stretching = flexibility, calm, sense of peace
    > Strength training or high intensity training (HIIT) = strength, energy

What type of exercise should I do?

Every body needs a little something different, but most research shows that we need to do a combination of things for optimal energy and well-being.

If you always do the elliptical, why not try weights one day instead? Or perhaps you strictly go to yoga - maybe skip a class for a long walk.

How do I make it happen?

Here are a few ways to make sure that pilates class or HIIT workout or short jog actually happen:

Buy some special workout clothes/shoes/gear that you LOVE - Being excited to spend time in your workout clothing can make all the difference between getting to the gym or staying on your couch. 

Put your workouts in your calendar. Literally. Block off the time, set a reminder, and don’t accept other commitments during those times. Treat this as if you had a meeting or date with someone - you wouldn’t cancel last minute on someone else, so why do it with yourself? I find it helps to workout at the same time each day (I’m a morning girl), but do what works for you.

Find an activity that you actually enjoy. There are SO many different workouts out there now - you don’t have to spend time doing something you hate (because life is meant to be enjoyed, right??!). If you actually enjoy your workout, you are WAY more likely to stick with it.

Here are some resources for exploring different workouts (without breaking the bank!):

ClassPass - One membership that gets you into all sorts of different workouts - yoga, cardio, dance, high intensity, sports, etc. 

New student specials - Most studios/gyms have some sort of free trial period, or discount for new students. Take advantage of this!

The growing world of online workouts - There are so many inspiring teachers on YouTube or membership-type services so you’ll never get bored! Many of them are free or offer a low subscription fee. Here are some that I love:

  • FORTE Fit - You can now take my yoga classes online (!!!) as well as some of the top workouts in NYC via FORTE Fit's online platform. Use the code 'EMILYFORTE' and receive a FULL YEAR membership for just $50!
  • YogaGlo - A great library of yoga videos with something for everyone. I love that you can sort by body part, mood, duration and instructor.
  • Bikini Body Guide - A printable guide with targeted HIIT workouts.

Okay here's your homework for this week: make a workout plan! This can be ONE new thing you are going to try this week, or ONE tip you are going to take away from this post. Leave a comment below and let me know how you are going to MOVE IT this week.

Loving lately July 2016

As a way to share my favorites with you on a regular basis, I created the "Things I'm Loving Lately" series here on the blog. In this series I share everything from food to fitness, brands to beauty products, good reads to good listens. 

Here's what I'm currently craving and crushing on:

- Toast - If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I've been all about the toasts these days! Mostly I enjoy a slice with my breakfast, always gluten free and whole grain because I know that makes me feel better than traditional bread.

- Run skirts! The first time I saw a run skirt years ago I laughed... the whole concept seemed silly to me. But recently my friend Jenna wore one to run club and raved about it, and I knew I had to try one for myself. Basically, run skirts are amazing! You get the benefits of tight shorts (i.e. no chafing) and the freedom of looser shorts. My favorite is the Pace Rival Skirt from lululemon - I actually bought the "Tall" style because I like my skirt a little longer.

- Fresh herbs - Herbs and spices add a TON of flavor to food, but also a TON of nutrients! Right now I've been all about fresh dill, basil, and cilantro, but mint, thyme, and parsley are other favorites. Pro tip: wash your herbs when you bring them home and then wrap in a paper towel (to soak up excess moisture). Then use a scissors to snip off ribbons when you are ready to use!

- Fennel essential oil - Alright I may just be having a love affair with all things fennel (it's still my favorite snacking veggie). Fennel essential oil is great for relieving indigestion, but I've mainly been using it aromatically by diffusing it in my apartment. It's cooling and leaves the air feeling fresh, clean and sweet. Click here to purchase your own fennel essential oil.

- Infused water - The summer heat means it's even MORE important to make sure you are drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated. I know a lot of people struggle with drinking water, but water doesn't have to be bland or boring! Try adding in fruit and veggie slices and fresh herbs for a delicious twist on regular H20. Here are some of my favorite infusions: cucumber + mint, berries + lemon, apple + ginger, and citrus + cayenne.


What are you loving lately?  Let me know in the comments below!

Workout Review: FHITting Room NYC

Want a high intensity workout that won't totally kill ya? Fhitting Room is the place to go! In my opinion, this workout is a step down from Tonehouse but still super intense in a totally different way. It is more self directed (and everyone is doing things at their own pace) so if you want to slow down or ease up on yourself, you can.

Here's my recap of the FHITing Room experience:

The space: [I've visited the Flatiron location] Big, bright lobby. Friendly front desk staff who will point out studio ammenities if its your first time. Room is more like a group fitness studio you would find at a gym - mirrors on one wall, other walls are home to the various equipment. Bright lights, clean. This location has another, smaller studio downstairs, as well as multiple bathrooms and showers (complete with lush bath products)

The workout: Warm up - jumping jacks, lunges, etc. Some with weights, some without.

Next up is circuit work. The class is split up into groups that rotate through different exercises. Rowing + skier machines are used, as well as TRX resistance bands, boxes (for lunging and jumping. Fun!), and a Fhitting Room signature: kettlebells!

Fhix: The final portion of the workout is a 'FHIX' - a series of exercises that you complete at your own pace (you are given a number of reps to complete). This may be more burpees, lunges, squats, ab work, kettlebells, or whatever! But it definitely pushes your heart rate up and ends the class on a strong note.

The last few minutes of the class are left for stretching and cool down.

The instructors: Two coaches in every class so you will get personalized attention. Like Tonehouse these instructors are TOP notch. They are more accommodating here and will come give you assurance or easier variations of movements if they see you are struggling.

Overall: I love this workout because it challenges me, but doesn't scare me. It's hard, but not I-think-I'm-going-to-throw-up hard. And I know that as I come back again and again, I will get stronger, and I'll be able to take it up each time by selecting heavier weights or pushing myself to do more reps, go faster.

Workout Review: Tonehouse NYC

Without a doubt Tonehouse is the hardest workout I've ever done. You may ask yourself multiple times throughout the workout if you will make it (you will) if you will throw up (you might). You will leave with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, and perhaps a new friend or two.

Here's my recap of the Tonehouse experience:

The space: Dark, red lights, minimalist. Simple desk for check-in at front, but basically the workout space is the whole space. There is a bathroom and water fountain, but no locker rooms or showers.

The workout: Think high school sports conditioning. Before we officially began, there was a pump-up huddle (which explains why this workout reminds me of team sports!). Then, the warm up: sprints, ladder drills, agility work. Some say that this is hardest part of class - I don't necessarily agree. Yes, it gets your blood pumping, but in my opinion not the hardest part.

After the warm up, we had a quick break for water, then back to it! We started with more sprints, relay type work, and what in my opinion is the hardest exercise in the class: the gallop. Even the strongest, fittest of the group struggle with this - it's just that intense. Quick tip: think very, very hard about what you choose to consume the morning (or evening) before this workout. There's a good chance it may resurface.

From there, we moved into work with the TRX bands - lunges, planks, ab work and more.

The final portion of class was a circle agility drill of sorts - we all circled up and then did whatever the coach called out: planks, squats, burpees, side shuffles, etc. At this point my body was so exhausted and it took all my focus to keep my body moving as each exercise was called out.

We ended with a few minutes of stretching plus one final group huddle. Despite how worn out everyone was, we were elated to be done, and proud of what we had accomplished. The "team" spirit is a big part of the workout, which is cultivated by the intensity of the class, but also by the awesome coaches.

The instructors: These coaches are incredible. They will not let you off the hook even if you are struggling, but instead will push you (in the most supportive way possible) to finish.

Overall: I will go back. Maybe not every week, but every so often when I need a kick ass workout that leaves me feeling challenged, accomplished, and sore!