Anticipation…

Anticipation…

You always hear about people’s holidays after they return.  But, what is more exciting than the weeks and days before that highly anticipated holiday?  The ways you prepare for the big ski trip, volcano trek, or beach holiday are so exciting! I’ve had so many clients come in to class wanting to train for a specific trip, focusing on the specific muscles needed for skiing, hiking, or even just to look amazing in that bikini!

I decided to share with you how I am preparing for my upcoming holiday, from workouts and diets to shopping for the essentials.  Where is it I am going this time?  It is a place I have wanted to visit since learning of their existence.  A place I thought I would never see.  A place that I knew I had to get to now, before they disappear.  The Maldives.

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I don’t think I have been this excited before a big trip since last summer when we were going back to the US for our wedding.  Every time I think about going to the airport and boarding the plane, I get a surge of adrenaline, and I can’t stop myself from looking through pictures and videos of this magical place that somehow exists.

So, how am I preparing for my dream holiday?  There is probably one thing that comes close to being as much fun as going to the Maldives…and that’s shopping for the Maldives!  As soon as I think of the Maldives, I envision  white, bright colors and soft, flowy dresses and beach cover ups.  I went straight to two of my favorite designers here in Singapore; Vamastyle and Simone Irani.  Vamastyle has great swimsuits that are so flattering and make you feel amazing.  Their dresses are also so light and comfortable, it almost feels like you aren’t wearing anything!  Simone Irani has a very eclectic style.  A little bohemian, a little tribal, all with the brightest and most beautiful colors, I found a few perfect pieces that will look beautiful in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

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The clothes, though, will only look as good as the body under it feels!  In addition to my Pilates classes I typically take to maintain my “Pilates expertise”, I have increased my attendance quite a bit to feel even better.  I try to get to Options Studio every day, as long as my schedule permits me to! Options is great because they have a lot of classes at the weird times when I’m normally not teaching.  Plus, their Orchard studio is around the corner from my apartment.  I also try to force myself to do a bit more in the classes I teach during the week.  It’s so hard to get a good workout in while I am teaching because I am so focused on you! When teaching four classes a day, it’s easy to do a little arm work in one class, and then a little bum work in another class.  There is nothing better than starting your holiday on the beach feeling great.

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Exercise isn’t everything though.  It’s all about the diet!  I’m a sucker for dessert, I will be the first to admit it.  My husband and I have both promised each other that we will be skipping dessert for the last two months before our trip.  I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy.  But there are great alternatives to a piece of chocolate or a scoop of frozen yogurt.  Lately, one of my favorites is peanut butter on celery sticks with a few raisins.  It was a childhood snack that I loved and still do!  Another little invention I came up with, although sadly I’m sure I’m not the first to discover this, is to freeze the little extra smoothie I may have in the blender when I make them for breakfast.  It makes a great little dessert! Be careful though, you don’t want to leave the smoothie in the freezer for longer than six hours, as it could get a bit icy.  The best consistency happens between three and four hours.

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The best part of an island getaway has got to be the sun kissed golden glow you have when you leave.  But what about the moment you arrive? No one likes to get into the swimsuit on the first day feeling pasty white next to everyone else who has been there for days.  I will avoid this by getting a golden spray tan from the one and only Spray Tanner Hannah! Now, there will be a blog dedicated entirely to Spray Tanner Hannah after I get it done, but I just had to share with everyone the best part.  Hannah comes to you!!! She brings her entire set up with her and comes to your house.  If that’s not a selling point to a spray tan, I’m not sure what is!

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I have to say the excitement leading up to a holiday is the best part.  You might think that I am wishing for next week to go by as fast as possible, but really, I’m okay with it just going by.  I am loving the excitement, mystery, and anticipation of getting to experience this natural wonder of the world.

 

These are a few of my favorite things!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things!

It’s the time of year when you can think of all the things you want, put it all down on a list and give it to Santa.  At this point in our lives we sometimes feel as though we don’t want anything.  Often times, if we really want something, and we are able to, we just go out and buy it.  Remember the times when you were a kid and you would have to wait ALL year for that one toy you had been eying? My list back then was much longer.  But just for fun, here are a few of my favorite things that may make it on your Christmas list this year, or may help you while shopping for friends and family!

1. Lululemon Weekend Warrior Bag.  I know, it seems bazaar, but I PROMISE you, if you like to travel, you must have one. They can pack so much and they have all these secret compartments, you will constantly find a new pocket or pouch.

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2.  Emi-Jay Hair Ties.  With my hair up 99% of the time, I need a good hair tie. These hair ties come in so many different fun colors and designs so you can match them to your outfits. Also, they don’t leave creases in your hair! With the ribbon look, it adds a little feminine touch to your typical ponytail.

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3. To Be Calm Candles.  In their colorful tins, these candles not only fill the air with the most lovely smell, but they brighten up your space too! I’m a sucker for candles, but these are my favorites!

4. MAC Cremesheen Glass Lip Gloss.  I’m not a fan of lipstick, so I always opt for the gloss. Maybe it was the years of ballet performances and caking the lipstick on so nothing could take it off? This is my favorite, in “Fashion Scoop”. It’s a soft pink that give s a little color, but more shine than anything. It’s also not sticky so on those windy days your hair will not get stuck on your lips!

5.  Rainbow Sandals. After the first few wears, Rainbows mold to your feet making them the most comfortable flip flops you’ll own.

6.  BOSE Headphones. I admit, when my husband and I are on those long haul flights, I always look to him with my saddest puppy eyes asking if I can use his BOSE noise cancelling headphones. They really do block out all noise, especially that loud airplane hum that can stick with you for days after your flight.

7.  SK-II Facial Treatment Mask.  This was first introduced to me by one of my clients before my wedding.  With absolutely flawless skin, I had to trust her; she was doing something right!  So at the airport on our way home for our wedding I bought a few of these masks.  I wish I bought boxes of them!  Although a bit scary when on (think Mrs. Doubtfire after s(he) stuck her face in the cool whip), it left my skin feeling amazingly soft.

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8.  Lululemon Run Speed Short. I will admit, I wear these EVERY morning when walking our dog.  So you can never have enough! They are lightweight and comfortable and so easy to just grab and put on for everything from running a few miles to grocery shopping to hiking a volcano!

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9.  Lululemon Light as Air Underwear.  Everyone hates to have panty lines!!! These are the BEST if you strive for a smooth “nothing there” bum!

10.  A GOOD BOOK!  You can never go wrong.

What are a few of YOUR favorite things?

Merry Christmas!

xoxo,

Laura

 

Pilates for the Philippines

Pilates for the Philippines

We all saw it, from all over the world; the absolute devastation after super Typhoon Haiyan swept across the islands that make up the Philippines.  Just some interesting statistics, from BBC, to give you a better perspective.  More than 11 million people, or 10% of the population, have been affected by Haiyan.  2.5 million people are in need of food aid.  544,606 people have been displaced.  130,074 houses have been destroyed.  1,215 evacuation centers have been set up.  In some towns, more than 90% of the housing have been destroyed.  What makes this even worse, is that the region was still trying to recover from the Bohol earthquake in October, with more than 17,000 people still receiving food aide.

So as we are living life in this bubble we call Singapore, surrounded by wealth, air conditioning, and complaining when our favorite peanut butter does not make it on the ship from the US and into our gourmet grocers, we should be asking ourselves, “how can we help?”

If you’ve wondered how you can help, here’s how.  Next Sunday, 8th of December, I will be teaching a donation Pilates class for those affected in the Philippines.  We’ve decided to hold the class in Singapore’s Botanic Gardens at 9AM so we can accommodate everyone who wants to help.  Come to class with your mat and/or towel and a cash donation, big or small, and have fun working out for each one of the 11 million people affected by Haiyan.

Class will be held at the Bamboos/Reflexology Path in the Botanic Gardens.  The nearest gate is the Melati and Cluny Park, 3 minutes from Botanic Gardens MRT.  Map is attached for your convenience!

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This Thanksgiving…

This Thanksgiving…

It has always been my favorite time of year; the weather turns crisp, the leaves fall off the trees, and the constant smell of apple and pumpkin fill the air.  Unfortunately, I have not experienced that for 2 years now.  Instead, I’ve spent Thanksgiving Day getting up early, teaching classes and eating whatever we can put together from the fridge.  Oh, and sweating my bum off while being scorched by the sun.  This is what being an American expat in Singapore on Thanksgiving feels like.

I don’t mean for this to sound in any way, ungrateful, which leads me to my next point.  As an American tradition, on Thanksgiving you are supposed to share with everyone everything you are thankful for that year.  So I thought I’d share with you all some of the things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

First, and foremost, I am thankful for my husband.  This year I married the most awesome guy in the world and had an unbelievable wedding in Boston, MA.  Steve helps me to see potential in myself and pushes me to me the best person I can be.

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I am extremely thankful for my parents, family and friends for helping to make our wedding day perfect and the most memorable day of my life.   Also, thankful for our family and friends who have traveled around the world to visit us and experience our new life in a place where some people would have trouble locating on a map.

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I am thankful for our dog, Paya.  We adopted Paya almost a year ago. It is safe to say that she has single handedly made Singapore feel like home.  Life would definitely not be the same, and awesome, without her.  She puts a smile on my face no matter what my mood is.

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Lastly, I am thankful for having the amazing opportunities to travel around Southeast Asia this past year.  Places like Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia and Thailand are some places I would have never thought I would visit in my lifetime.

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Although it’s another year without the big family dinner, the MACYS Thanksgiving Day parade, football and relatives having way too much to drink, it still is my favorite holiday of the year.  It may sound criminal to the Americans out there, but we are having as close to a proper Thanksgiving dinner as we can get with a dozen of our American and Aussie friends at the Fullerton Hotel.  I will be the first to admit I am not ready to bite the bullet and cook a turkey yet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Be Healthy in the Land of Noodles

Be Healthy in the Land of Noodles

Singapore is known for a few things, and one of them is its food.  There is no question about it; any foodie would love to visit Singapore.  When I first moved out here I embraced the food culture eating out as often as I could, visiting the local hawker centers and food courts.  After not too long however, my body was telling me to stop.  I didn’t want to listen to it, as going out is so easy and requires little thought, but as a professional in the fitness industry, I knew better.  I don’t know how local Singaporeans do it; eating fried meat and noodles for almost every meal of the day.  Every mall I go in to, every subway station I go in to, I see endless food stalls with more noodles, rice and curry dishes than I could ever eat in a lifetime.  Yes its delicious, and if you are visiting Singapore you cannot leave without eating local dishes, but you simply cannot eat it every day if you want to live a healthy lifestyle.  Every expat I meet explains to me their recent “just moved to Singapore bloat” so I figured I just had to address this issue.

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noodles

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To avoid the belly bloat, muscles aches and dehydration stay as far away from MSG as you can.  It’s very hard to know whether or not certain foods contain it.  The best way to avoid it is to cook the food yourself!  Once a week visit a wet market or your local grocery store to stock up for the week on fruits, veggies and meat.  The easiest go to dinner for me is grilled chicken lightly seasoned with a leafy green salad and roasted veggies such as broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes.  Limit yourself to going out to dinner to just once a week.  The hardest part is breaking the habit of going out for dinner and starting the new habit of prepping your meal at home.

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cook at home

cook at home

Another killer is lunch, especially if you work and typically go out for a quick bite.  That “quick bite” can be the dead end for you in your fitness goals.  While you are at the market stocking up on your veggies and meats for your at home dinners, be sure to pick up lunch makings as well!  Deli meat for sandwiches or wraps, salads, and healthy snacks can be some of the healthiest choices you make.  If you love sandwiches like me, opt for an open-faced sandwich and load it with greens and protein.

If your office is far from healthy, ask the office manager to be in charge of stocking the snack room.  My husband’s company recently switched to a healthy kitchen, filling the snack room with fruits, veggies and nuts.  I’ve seen it in its previous state, and it had always looked like Halloween had come early.  It was stocked with Oreos, Kit Kat bars, Cokes, and chocolate.  When there are only healthy food options, you take it, it’s right there!  It doesn’t get easier than that.

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You may be doubtful within the first few months of living in Singapore, but your choices don’t have to be unhealthy!  Yes, you will always see people eating endless noodles and you will always have the option to eat them.  But it is simply that; an option. It takes a bit of effort, but there are ways to stay healthy on this tiny island of noodles.

My Favorite Smoothies!

My Favorite Smoothies!

I’ll admit it; I love cereal.  I used to have cereal every single day for breakfast.  “Healthy cereal” of course, like Special K, Fiber One, etc.  But one day in February of this year my husband and I bought a blender, a single kitchen appliance that has changed our lives.   After living in Singapore and telling ourselves we can no longer buy juices and smoothies from cafes which set us back $10 a smoothie, we decided to make our own with this new blender.  I will note, when out and about, my favorite smoothie comes from Baker & Cook on Robertston Quay.  You have to be VERY careful when ordering smoothies from cafes. I have often caught them putting ice cream in them.  Yes, ice cream.  So much for your healthy choices!

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Since then, I have not had a single bowl of cereal.  Instead, we have fresh strawberries, bananas, blueberries, kiwis, pears, celery, spinach and mango.  Not all at once, but after experimenting I think I have created some of my all time favorite smoothies.  It’s insane how much better you feel for the entire day when you start it off right.

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My favorite breakfast smoothies always consist of berries and bananas.  Whether just your typical strawberry banana or blueberry banana, they always leave me filling full and satisfied for hours until lunch.  The key to a good smoothie is the banana.  It gives the smoothie its creamy texture, as opposed to an icy texture.  I typically freeze my fruit, except for the bananas, unless of course they are turning brown and I am not able to eat them all before going bad!

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Strawberry Banana

2 cups of frozen strawberries (buy fresh strawberries and simply freeze them)

1 large banana (yellow, with a few tiny brown spots are best)

1/4 cup of Greek no fat yogurt

Blueberry Banana

1 cup of frozen blueberries

2 bananas

1/4 cup of Greek no fat yogurt

Strawberry Kiwi Banana

1 cup of frozen strawberries

1 cup of frozen kiwis

1 banana

1/4 cup of Greek no fat yogurt

Pear Banana

2 cups of frozen pears

1 banana

1/4 cup of Greek no fat yogurt

I often substitute a salad or sandwich for lunch for a green smoothie.  You get a significant amount of leafy greens along with some fruit, veggie and protein.  One of my favorite protein supplements is from Herbalife.  If I have a workout, I make sure to get my protein smoothie within 30 minutes of finishing my workout, which is essential for muscle recovery!

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Power Green Protein

1 cup of frozen pears

1 banana

2 cups of spinach

1/2 cups of celery, chopped

1/4 cup of Greek yogurt

1 Spoonful of Herbalife Personalized Protein Powder

Don’t get frustrated when you first begin making smoothies.  It took me several tries to master the art of blending.  I often, especially when dealing with a lot of frozen ingredients or leafy greens, have to stop the blender and stick a spoon in to mix it and try to blend again.  It may take a while to get the smoothie nice and creamy, but I promise it will get there!

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe? I would love to hear and try it!  Happy Blending!

Why I LOVE Luon Light

Why I LOVE Luon Light

…and why Lululemon should never stop making it!  I’ve always liked the Power Y Tank from Lululemon, and would occasionally pick one up if I saw it in a killer color.  But after I discovered the Power Y Tank in Luon Light, I find it hard to put on any one of my old ones.  The super light fabric feels so incredibly good and I find it a bit more flattering too.

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I know it seems crazy, but lighter fabric also feels cooler.  It is so light it almost feels like I’m not wearing anything!  Living in Singapore, I try to find any and everything that will help me to stay cool.  Aside from my other favorite, the No Limits Tank which keeps things quite breezy without showing too much skin, the Power Y Tank in Luon Light is my ultimate choice.

Power Y Tank

Another reason why I love the lighter Power Y Tank is because the support it gives is perfect.  At times, I sometimes feel so constricted by the heavy material.  This tank gives support, without taking away your curves.  It hugs and lifts in all the right places.  It also stays put.  When holding a plank or working my push-ups, sometimes I take a peek to make sure I’m not flashing the girls, and well there are times when my top is not fitted right and even with the built in bra it hangs showing a bit too much.  WIth the Power Y, it’s always fitted perfectly, keeping everything where it should be.

So at the end of the day, Dear Lululemon, please keep making the Power Y Tank in Luon Light!!!!

xoxo,

Laura

We Are Human Too!

We Are Human Too!

Believe it or not, when I, a Pilates and Barre instructor, take class I am in the same boat you are.  My muscles are shaking, sweat pouring off my face, wanting so badly to give up as it just keeps getting harder and harder.  People think because I teach Pilates and fitness classes I am a tank and am in the best shape of my life.  Quite the opposite actually.  At times, I am teaching 10 classes or clients a day.  This doesn’t in any way mean I am working out for 10 hours a day and getting paid for it, which is what many people think.  The busier I get, the more out of shape I get because there simply just are not enough hours in the day!

As a teacher I am absolutely not the type to get in front of the class, put music on and workout hoping everyone behind me follows what I am doing in perfect form.  Yes, I demonstrate a few reps of an exercise, but after that I am walking around, yelling out cues and getting right behind you, correcting your form.  Call me crazy, but I am genuinely interested in your progress, and I care more about giving you an effective workout than I am of burning a few hundred calories myself.

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For the week before my wedding, my husband and I took TWO Core Fusion classes a day.  Core Fusion is another barre-based workout, and my personal favorite.  I have been taking these classes since 2007 and it still beats me, every time.  I really should have recorded myself in class just to prove to you that we teachers find it just as hard as you do!  My legs were shaking uncontrollably during thigh work at the barre, my standing leg was cramping during seat work and my abs were on fire!  But I loved every minute of it.  As I’m sure you all do too, right?  For that week that I had to myself with the time to focus on me and only me, I have never felt better.

Core Fusion

Push Up

I will always be the first to admit that what you do in class is not easy, and I never find it easy.  I am amazed every class with the hard work you put in.  When you think I’m crazy pushing you harder than you have ever felt, it is because I think you can all handle it!  Keep an eye out for me in class with you soon.  I’ll try not to chicken out!

What to Drink?

What to Drink?

The other evening a client stopped me in the middle of our workout to ask a very serious question.  For expats, living in Singapore, and really probably anywhere else in the world, your social life revolves around food and alcohol to some extent.  When you meet someone new, which happens frequently, the first thing we say is “we should meet up for drinks!”  Side note, what you should really say is “I have a great Pilates instructor, let’s go take a class!”  But let’s be real, 9 times out of 10 you make plans to get drinks.  So my client who is working hard to shed the remaining bit of baby weight asks me, “what should I be drinking?” She explains there is always a glass of wine involved which turns into a bottle.  Or every now and then a craving for an ice cold beer.  Trust me, in Singapore, the jungle does that to you.  So in the battle to loose a few lbs., what is the best option?

We all know alcohol is the root of a lot of weight gain for us all.  So obviously the best answer is to cut it out entirely.  However, for most, that may not be realistic.  I am not a fan of depriving yourself of anything.  When out with friends, and drinking is involved, my most realistic answer is a vodka soda cocktail with lots of lime.  1 ounce of vodka has 64 calories.  As a wine lover myself, it’s hard for me to accept the fact that wine is not good for you.   One glass of red or white wine has around 120 calories.  If you have to choose between red or white, always choose the red, as it has less sugar.

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Regardless of what your are drinking, the best advice I can give is to drink a glass of water after each cocktail, or even better, simultaneously with your cocktail.  There is no shame in ordering or drinking water! I do it all the time.  It will keep you hydrated and will help you get out of bed the next morning for your workout!   You will also probably drink less!  Alcohol can make your break your fitness goals, so drink wisely!

vodka soda

Introducing, L2

Introducing, L2

Since 2009 I have been known as Laura Stevenson Pilates.  It was in 2009 when I decided to teach Pilates full time and turn my passion into my career.   Since then, I have experienced a lot of change in my life.  Moving to Arizona, then back to Boston, then to Singapore.  Teaching in small studios to nationally recognized studios, to creating a YouTube channel essentially teaching all around the world to students all around the world.  The biggest change happened on August 10, 2013, when I married Stephen Lampert.  I’ve been thinking for a while what I will call myself after I am married.  I knew I always wanted to change my name, but how would that affect my Pilates brand?

Laura Lampert.   LL.  L “squared”.  L2.  I don’t want to simply just be L2 Pilates, because over the years I’ve evolved into so much more than just a Pilates instructor.  I want to brand myself as a lifestyle, a way of life, a method.  This past year I have learned so much about who I am and what I want to become.  I have been on so many adventures and have seen so much of this world we live in.  I want to share that all with you!  You will get to experience some of my life abroad, looking to me for travel tips and who knows, maybe even plan your next trip off of my blogs!  It will also be about fashion, healthy eating and living life to its absolute fullest.

L2The L2 Method.  The “method” encompasses all that I am, as a teacher, person and friend.  As a teacher this includes Pilates and barre.  As a person this represents my experiences traveling around the world, my love for fashion and overall how to live a healthy happy life.  And lastly as a friend, I want everyone to be able to interact with me, no matter where you are in the world!  Whether you have questions, comments or need advice, I will always be here!

My new site is far from complete.  So stay tuned for new pages, posts, videos and more.

xoxo,

Laura Lampert, L2

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