6 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

Let’s be honest: there are fewer people out there with six-packs than Pinterest would lead us to believe. And frankly, I’m not sure if that many of us want to be totally ripped anyway. I would just like to climb up a few flights of stairs without wheezing or fit into my favorite pair of slacks without sucking in my tummy.

But how to motivate ourselves? If you’re like me, then you know that body shaming yourself into it won’t work. You may succeed for a couple weeks, but you’ll eventually give up and feel worse than ever before. Believe me: I’ve been there more times than I can count.

Our culture doesn’t exactly help. I like shopping at Victoria Secret as much as the next girl, but those models have bodies that just aren’t achievable for the average woman. So, here is a list of some items that help me motivate myself to work out and to take better care of myself when I don’t feel like it:

1. Look to Your Role Model

Something that helps motivate me is to think of my health role models. For me, it’s my mom and aunt. They’re both built very similarly to me, and while there’s a good 30 years between us, they hover around the same weight as I do (despite having two kids apiece). When we all go swimming together, it’s not that they look like 25-year-olds in bikinis — they don’t need to. They’re healthy women who have treated their bodies right their whole lives, and it shows. When I see them, it reminds me that I’m capable of taking care of myself that well too.

This can be a slippery slope because we often fall into trying to make ourselves into someone else. That’s why it’s important to pick someone who already shares traits and body types with you. If you don’t have someone in your life like this, that’s okay. However, rather than going to standard fashion magazines where everyone is photoshopped, try to look for magazines centered around women’s health instead. One company’s magazine that I really like is called Title IX. They create athletic apparel, and what I love about looking through their clothing options is that all of the models look happy, trim, and healthy — and all at weights that feel achievable for my body type.Read More »

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Jillian Michaels 10 Minute Body Transformation: DVD Review

If you’re like me, working out is something you do more out of obligation than desire. 

The problem with that though, is that I give up after a few weeks because I begin to dread putting on my sneakers. I keep trying to find ways to exercise regularly doing work outs that I truly enjoy. It’s easier in the summer where I can bike and rollerblade, but winter in the Midwest can be rather vicious. Gym memberships are pricey and involve travel time, so my preference is for workout videos. (Since I paid money for them, I give more effort than I do for Pinterest tutorials.)

Jillian Michaels
Photo Courtesy of Amazon

My current favorite this past season has been one of Jillian Michaels’ DVD workouts. It’s five 10-minute workouts plus a warm up and cool down. What I love about this DVD is that it’s easy for me to do only one workout, but I can also add three more if I want to. The five workouts each specialize on a different exercise type, which I will break down below. All of them challenge me, and all of them have been a lot of fun.

1. Calisthenics

This is probably one of the most challenging on the DVD. Calisthenics means using your body weight as your tool of resistance (think push-ups) — no free weights needed for this one! You’ll feel this one the most in your shoulders and arms because of all the plank positions.Read More »

9 Ways to Take Care of Yourself Today

If you’re like me, your everyday life is not perhaps the Disney fairytale you had hoped for. There are alarm clocks in the morning and bills at night. Some days at work energize you, but many days are simply drudgery from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. where you come home wanting only blankets, Buzzfeed, and junk food.

Some days, that’s okay. But most of the time, those sort of comfort rituals don’t revive us for the next day; they simply make us dread it all the more. The point of time outside of work is meant for rejuvenation, right? Here are some ways I come back to myself after a stressful day at work:

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Going After It with a Club: Writing Creatively Again

If you’re anything like me, you probably had a time in your life where writing was as necessary as sleep. You wrote about as many things as you could as much as you could, and you often found that your fingers couldn’t keep up with your thoughts. After all, it’s an intoxicating feeling to have your brain churning with stories that are for your pleasure alone and to feel that those ideas are good ones.

But again, if you’re like me, that’s a thing from the past. You’re not quite sure where those ideas went or how to get them back. I began to stop writing for fun as I entered college, where writing became more about pleasing my professors than about pure enjoyment.

And to be honest, that wasn’t all bad. We all need mentors to stretch us, to point out our flaws, and to help us overcome them. I’m immensely grateful for the education I received, for both creative and professional writing. But when I sit down to write something just because I want to (instead of a portfolio addition), all my ideas are stagnant. I miss it, and I’m not sure how to get it back.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” –Jack London

We’ve all heard it before. But what does “going after it with a club” even mean? Here are some of my interpretations:

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5 Stretches and Exercises You Can Do in Your Cubicle

Regardless of whether you’re a freelance writer or a receptionist, chances are you have to sit down a lot for your job. While standing desks are an option for some, not everyone can take advantage of that excellent tool. I belong in that category when I’m writing, and after I sit for long periods of time, my posture and energy level plummet. So, how can you best take care of yourself when you’re stuck sitting for an entire day? Check out some of these stretches and exercises that wake up the blood after a few hours in your cubicle.

1. Spine Stretch

Before you picture trying to lie down underneath your desk, hold on. This stretch does wonders for your spine alignment and is a good break from staring at your computer screen.

  1. Take your fingers off the keyboard, and place them on your knees. Straighten your back as much as possible.
  2. Raise your hands high above your head, straightening your arms and lengthening your spine. Sit tall.
  3. Keep your arms straight, and begin to lower them until they are perpendicular with your shoulders.
  4. Hold them here as you feel your shoulders drop some of their tension. Repeat Steps 2-4 as many times as you need.

Note: Try your best not to tense up too much when your hands are in the air. Keep breathing, and let the energy flow through your fingertips.

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