Category Archives: Physical

(em)POWER(ment) WALKING

My current fitness line-up involves a healthy mix of yoga, body-weight strength and flexibility training, ballet, and pilates. But my favorite way to get in a little movement has, and will always be, a good ol’ fashioned walk.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of my walks as EMPOWERMENT sessions. Here’s how:

For about the first two-thirds of my outing I listen to a podcast that gets me fired up. It could be about politics, business, or holistic health. (Call Your Girlfriend is one of my faves and I totally recommend it as an empowering walking companion!) Then, for the last third, I pump up the jams and my pace and just STRUT. IT. OUT. Think: Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Fergie feat. Nicki Minaj. (Go wild, do you, etc.)

What streams through your earbuds when you go for a walk (or jog)? Do you like to get in a little learning with a podcast or do you prefer carefully curated playlists? Leave some recommendations of favorites below!! 

P.S. How to ditch your gym membership and how to make your own fitness challenge (for totally free).

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How to Make Your Own Fitness Challenge

how to make your own fitness challenge

Today marks DAY 5 of my 10-Day Ballet Challenge and I’m LOVING it! Ballet is exercise that I enjoy, and although it’s a work-out it doesn’t feel like work in the same way that some exercise does. And as someone who easily succumbs to decision fatigue, I love waking up and knowing my work-out for the day is already sorted.

So, maybe you’re not so keen on living out your ballerina dreams but still find the idea of an at-home fitness challenge a little bit alluring. I’m here to help! (TBH, planning is half the fun of these things!) Below are the steps I followed to make my very own fitness challenge and YOU CAN TOO…

Decide on the length of your challenge.

I love yoga too much to spend too many days away from my mat. I decided on 10 days sort of at random. If you get bored easily or are just looking for a way to mix up your routine, a week or two is a great time-frame. Of course, I LOVE the 30 day yoga challenges I’ve completed so you could always just go for it!

Choose the type(s) of work-outs and exercise you’d like to include.

I chose ballet because it’s a work-out I love but I only incorporate it into my normal work-out regimen a few times a month. I wanted to challenge myself to more. Maybe you have something similar in mind. If not, think about the types of work-outs you enjoy. Pilates, HIIT, Hip-Hop, Cross Fit? And you could totally go for more than one type! Perhaps you want to cook up a Tabata/Theraband Challenge. Go for it!

Head to the internet for free resources.

Jump on YouTube, Pinterest, or your favorite fitness blogs for work-outs and inspiration. Watch entire videos to make sure they’re a good fit for your fitness level and preferences. Save your favorites! When else can you watch a ton of fitness videos without feeling guilty for not following along?

Create a list of all your work-outs.

Combine everything you found with any existing favorites and make a master list of all the work-outs you want to complete on your challenge! Note: You don’t have to have a work-out video for every day of the challenge. One day might include a 5-mile jog or a circuit of body-weight exercises. Just make sure to include those on the master list too!

Arrange the work-outs within your designated time frame.

This part is like a puzzle! For my 10-day challenge, I took my 2 longest work-outs and put them on Days 5 and 10. Spread out your harder challenges–placing them at the end of the week or every 5 days or however you see fit! Then arrange your other work-outs as a lead up to the more challenging days. Make sure you take note if the work-out is focusing on one part of the body. You might not want to work out arms three days in a row! If your challenge is longer than 10 days, consider incorporating a rest day or an active rest day. (Exp. 21-Day Aerobics Challenge might include “go for a walk” on days 7, 14, and 21.)

Announce your intentions.

Accountability! I feel like I’m way more likely to finish out my ballet challenge because I blogged about it. You might be the same. Let some people know what you’re up to, either IRL or on social media, so you follow through.

Keep a Fitness Challenge Diary.

This is a new aspect I’m trying out and so far I’ve found it helpful. You can record your progress, how you got on with certain work-outs, and what’s working and what’s not. Great to have on hand when you create your NEXT fitness challenge. 😉

Celebrate your success!!!

Completing a goal you set for yourself is the best feeling! Why not reward yourself? Need some inspiration? I love this list — 23 Ways to Treat Yo’Self Without Buying or Eating Anything.

Have you ever completed a fitness challenge? Would you consider creating your own? What types of exercise and work-outs would you include? I’d love to know!!!

My 10-Day Ballet Challenge

10 day FREE ballet challenge

I’m so excited to share this workout challenge with you guys! As I’ve talked about before on this blog, I’ve LOVED participating in various 30-day yoga challenges over the last couple years. I thought it might be fun to make a challenge of my own (using free online workouts of course) for another type of exercise I quite enjoy — BALLET!

It might sound strange, but those yoga challenges bring me a lot of joy. a) I don’t have to think about what workout  to complete on any given day. Anti-decision fatigue SCORE! b) Committing to something for a specified period of time, even to myself, means I’m way more likely to follow through. c) The results are usually pretty nice. 🙂 d) I love that yummy feeling you get after completing a challenge you set for yourself.

With those 4 joy-inducing items in mind, I added a 10-day ballet challenge to my FIND MORE DELIGHT LIST. And Monday I’m kicking things off! Here’s how things will shake down if you’re interested (or if you feel like tackling a ballet challenge of your own!!! plz dooo!)…

Day One

Adult Ballet Barre by Ballerinas by Night

Day Two

15min BALLET WORKOUT by Sarahs DayArms Exercises With Theraband by Lazy Dancer Tips

Day Three

Pre Ballet Class Feet Strengthening Routine  Easy Ballet Barre Workout both by Kathryn Morgan

Day Four

Classical Ballet Barre with Centre by Lazy Dancer Tips

Day Five

New York City Ballet Workout I designed by Peter Martins

Day Six

Arms Exercises with Theraband Relax & Stretch both by Lazy Dancer Tips

Day Seven

Ballet Barre for Balance & Core by Kathryn Morgan

Day Eight

Beginners Ballet by PsycheTruth

Day Nine

Classical Full Ballet Barre by Lazy Dancer Tips

Day Ten

New York City Ballet Workout II designed by Peter Martins

And there you have it! I’ll definitely let you know how it goes…Until then, WISH ME LUCK!

Have you ever done a workout challenge like this one (or the Yoga with Adriene 30 day challenges)? Love ’em or hate ’em? How do you stay motivated to exercise? Let me know! 

P.S. More Finding Delight posts on working out – Ballin’ on a Budget – Ditch the Gym Membership and Found! The Greatest Exercise Video Ever

Great YouTube Channel for Lifelong Ballerinas (LIKE YOURS TRULY!)

I stumbled upon a new-to-me YouTube channel the other day. Lazy Dancer Tips was created by Alessia to share the beauty, tips, and tricks of the ballet world. I’m planning to incorporate her videos into my workout repertoire in anticipation of my forthcoming 10-day Ballet Challenge (item #2 on my Find More Delight List). What do you think? Any former ballerinas out there wanting to get back to the barre? This could be a great place to start!

P.S. Wanna ditch your gym membership and still get fit? HERE’S HOW! 

A Fun Afternoon Adventure: Pokemon Hunting!

pokemonbeth

A few days ago, Chet and I drove over to Florida International University to catch some Pokemon. The campus is HUGE, and lucky for us, full to bursting with little poke-critters just looking to be nabbed. Although everyone and their mother has hopped on the Pokemon GO trend, I thought I’d offer my two cents. This app acts as a remarkable catalyst for adventure (urban OR natural), conversation,  and healthy habits.

It struck me, as we walked around FIU for hours in the mid-day sun, how encouraging it was to see so many families with young children out looking for Pokemon amidst the engineering buildings and law libraries. Maybe, like us, these families had some connection to the university. But maybe not. Maybe they live nearby and noticed the plethora of poke-dex filling creatures up for grabs. Maybe their kids have never stepped foot on a university campus before. Perhaps, their surroundings will ignite something in their trajectory and years later they’ll return as a student. Who knows!

pokemonchet

The same can be said for all the parks and businesses and churches and organizations that are no doubt being newly discovered. You can’t come back to a place you never knew existed. (Case in point – There’s a sushi place near us with a Pokemon gym and HI< HELLO they have the best bento box lunch specials so yep, see ya soon.)

Anyways…If a free app can incite curiosity and new experiences then of course I’m all for it. If a feature on your phone motivates  you to have real life conversations then what a change of pace. If playing a video game gets you to go outside and explore your environment then play on!

This is all to say, if you’re looking for a super budget-friendly afternoon date or family outing, I highly recommend heading out on a hunt.

Have you been playing Pokemon GO? Discovered any new-to-you places along the way? Let me know!

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Found! The Greatest Exercise Video Ever

In my early to mid 20’s working out was pretty much an afterthought. But so was putting gas in my old boat of a car so I walked everywhere I needed to go. (Including up a steep incline to get to work every morning.) Cable and internet were an afterthought, too. So I recruited friends to go on long, ambling walks even when we didn’t have anywhere to go. Just to pass the time. This seemed like plenty enough fitness. When the weather turned sour, I’d maybe dust off my tiny collection of workout DVD’s if I was feeling especially cooped up and needing to sweat.

Fast forward to now and I’m busting out workout videos all the time. (Luckily I learned to start springing for the internet because YouTube is a GOLD MINE.) I still love to walk as much as possible but I also love yoga and ballet and body-weight strength training. For now, gyms and classes sort of bore me. Maybe someday I’ll change my tune on that but until then, I’m saving my money.

Anyways, this is all to say…I found the workout video above a few months ago and I LOVE IT. If you’re looking for a low intensity (no jumping around) workout that will have you dripping with sweat all in under an hour…GIVE IT A GO! Can Keaira Leshae be my spirit animal???? She cracks me up. And while normally I bounce around to new videos to keep my workouts interesting and new, I keep coming back to this one every week. (I even enlisted my sister to do it with me the week of my wedding!) I sort of love how low-budget it is. Like I stumbled into this random living room workout sesh and “welp, while I’m here…may as well join in the fun!”

Ok, let me know if you try this video out. I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

If you’re looking for other FREE workouts, I also recommend:

Yoga with Adriene

Fitness Blender

PsycheTruth

Scola Dondo

and I’ve also been working my way through the search results for “10 minute stretch routine” as a new evening ritual.

What are YOUR favorite exercise videos? Link ’em below. I’d love to give them a whirl. 

P.S. Ballet inspiration. Soccer inspiration. 

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Ballin’ on a Budget–Ditch the Gym Membership

Today, I’d like to continue a new series on the blog! One that highlights easy strategies for BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET. Each month, I’m going to propose something for all of us to ditch in order to free up some line items on our budgets with values that can go to more practical expenditures like paying down on debt and saving for special occasions. (You can catch up on last month’s suggestions HERE.) Whether you’re actively pinching pennies or simply want to re-direct some of those pennies to better serve you, this series is for you! So, let’s get started…

ditch the gym membership 2

Just because you’re ballin’ on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health, mobility, and all those sweet, sweet endorphins that come from working out. Tons of alternatives exist for making that monthly membership payment at the gym. But if we’ve learned anything in this series so far it’s that you’ve gotta do a little research. Once you identify ways to get movin’ that don’t involve taking out your wallet, you may actually find a new form of exercise you like way better than the costly options.

One of the easiest ways to fall into the trap of spending money you don’t have is boredom. Movement and exercise can be a great antidote in this regard. I’ve definitely been there. Saturday seems to stretch on foooooreeeeeverrrrr when you don’t have money to spend on an elaborate brunch followed by a trip to the movie theater or mall followed by a night out on the town. The urge to spend just for some small modicum of entertainment starts creeping in. My bank account would survive the weekend a bit more unscathed when I would round up a few friends and go “exploring” (long walks through town to discover hidden gems and new-to-us parks) or when I would pop on a dance dvd in the midst of a stir crazy, dark by 4 pm, Winter meltdown.

I agree there’s a level of camaraderie at the gym and a sense of community in group classes. If exercising with others is important to you then find a buddy, start a Facebook group, recruit class-mates or co-workers or family members. There are more than likely a fair few folk who wouldn’t mind getting their sweat on for free.

Either way, it’s time to get moving! Your body will thank you. Your wallet will thank you. Your mood will thank you.

Here are 4 easy steps to follow. Let’s do this…

Week 1. Think about your favorite ways to move.

Take this first week to reflect, brainstorm, and experiment. What do you like and dislike about ways you’ve exercised in the past or the workout routine you currently keep? What sort of movement did you enjoy as a child? Organized sports, gymnastics, riding your bike through the neighborhood, or just running around on the playground? What are your fitness goals? Staying active, gaining muscle, losing weight, self-care?

Take notes on your answers. Use them to start identifying trends. Are you leaning towards slow, mindful movement to help with flexibility? Do you need to pound the pavement? Or start a weekly pick-up basketball game? Do you value creative expression when you move? Or would you rather beef up those muscles?

Once you’ve isolated the trends and what sorts of movement they necessitate, brainstorm ways to achieve on the cheap. Consider the limitations of space, equipment, and instructor. We’ll deal with how to handle those limitations later in the month. For now, just think about the type of movement itself. Yoga, body-weight exercise, running, dance, basketball, cross fit, biking, hiking, plyometrics, pilates? You tell me! How would YOU like to move?

Week 2. Look for creative ways to add more movement during every-day life. 

Another way you can fit fitness into a low-cost existence? Choose the more active approach whenever possible. Look for sneaky ways to add more movement throughout your daily life. Small changes DO add up.

Are there places you go on a regular basis that you could walk to instead of driving or taking public transit? Can you swear off elevators? Choose to park further away from the store. Take breaks at work that involve getting up instead of just opening a new tab to scroll through your social media. Meet your friends at the park instead of the bar and play frisbee or lawn games or just run around like the weirdos you are. Can you walk the dog for just a little bit longer? Stretch while you’re waiting in line? Do squats while you’re brushing your teeth? Heel raises while you’re on hold? And what about chores? Vacuuming, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, and washing your car by hand aren’t necessarily fun but they’ll definitely burn some calories. So don’t put them off!

ditch the gym membership 1

Week 3. Go on a hunt for resources.

Ok so you’ve identified ways to move more, now we have to get around the fact that you don’t have a  gym, a plethora of expensive equipment, or a bunch of expert instructors at your disposal. While I’ll list a few of my favorite resources below, we all have different preferences and goals so go on a hunt! A great place to start is YouTube. There’s tons of awesome, free content right at your fingertips for any number of work-out styles.

Another thrifty resource is your local public library. You can check out all sorts of fitness DVDs and books to help you nail down some great routines. My library even offers a FREE yoga class once a week. Sign up for email updates; you never know what sort of programming may fit your needs and schedule perfectly! (Same goes for your university, local parks & rec, etc.)

If running or walking is more your style, a simple pedometer could go a long way. You can find these for fairly cheap or you could download a pedometer app onto your phone. And speaking of apps…why not try a running app that tracks your goals or helps you monitor pace. I’ve heard high praise for the free versions of the Couch to 5k/10k apps.

Tons of fitness entrepreneurs offer great free content. Find a few that fit your genre and follow their blogs and social media accounts. You might find an Instagram account that posts a body-weight work-out of the day or a blogger who shares a printable calendar with a 30 day push up challenge. Keep your eye out and snatch up those freebies!

Finally, for team sports you’ll want to find a resource that helps you stay organized and disseminate information to interested parties. This could be a Facebook group, a Google calendar event invite, or just a good ol’ fashioned group text. If you’re rallying a group of co-workers, consider talking to H.R. to offset the cost of joining a league. They often times will have money set aside in their budgets for such things as long as you make the opportunity available to everyone.

Week 4. Map out a feasible routine and STICK TO IT. 

I’ll admit–this is definitely the hardest step. Without a cost investment looming over your head you miss out on a level of accountability. There’s no internal monologue whispering, “You paid $50 to go to the gym this month so you better get your ass in gear and GO!” or “I have to go to dance class every Thursday because I can’t get my money back if I skip a week or two.” Hopefully by identifying exercise you actually enjoy you’ll have offset this a little. Nonetheless, examine your schedule and find the best times. Repeat. And start letting those habits sink in.

Everyone is different. I would much rather squeeze in 20-30 minutes of exercise every single day then commit a full hour or more a couple times a week. Your schedule might not shake down to allow for that.

Just do your best, show up for yourself, and then do it again. You’re well on your way. No gym membership needed!

ditch the gym membership 3

Resources:

Week 1 — 

Physical Activity: Choosing the One For You

Best Workouts For Your Body Type // Training Tips For Every Body Type

The 8 Colors of Fitness: A Fitness Personality Quiz ( <— Take this quiz! It’s actually really neat and enlightening!)

Week 2 —

9 Easy Ways to Sneak Fitness into Your Day

I Lost 84 Pounds Without a Gym Membership! ( <— INSPIRATION!)

Moves App Tracks Your Movement

Week 3 —

Yoga with Adriene

Fitness Blender

Men’s Health

Scola Dondo ( <— This girl is my new obsession.)

Week 4 —

5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits that Stick

3 Psychology Tricks to Make Your Workout Plan Stick

Print a Workout Calendar

Do you have your own tips or resources for staying fit without a gym membership? Is this an area of your “spending diet” that you struggle with? Do you think following these weekly steps could help? Let’s chat in the comments below!

And tune in next month when we tackle “here and there” purchasing!

January favorites.

January Favorites

With the turning of the calendar page from January to February, it’s time to bundle together the best products, places, media and everything in between from the last month. Here are 9 things I found myself loving in January…

1. Punjammies

Pajamas ranked pretty high on my Christmas list this year because I take my comfies seriously. Lucky for me my mom delivered! She gifted me with a gorgeous pair of pajama pants from the company Sudara. I’ve mentioned Sudara’s punjammies in a blog post before but basically they’re pajamas created by women in India who wish to remain free from sex-slavery. The idea was sparked by International Princess Project as a way to offer an alternative occupation to the women physically, emotionally and economically enslaved in the brothels in India’s red light districts. They are exceptionally comfy and I would be happy to wear them 24-7.

2. Food processor

This one is another Christmas gift from my mom. While I still believe that with an immersion blender and a half gallon mason jar I’ll never need a blender, I was sick of passing up recipes which definitely called for a food processor. I find that a lot of really simple healthy recipes especially call for a few pulses in one of these kitchen gadgets. Since receiving my own I’ve made smoothie bowls, sauces, hummus, and soup. Best part? Chucking all the parts in the dishwasher for easy clean up. Oh, and the delicious food!

3. Herkimer diamond necklace

And keeping with the Christmas theme, my sister gave me this gorgeous herkimer diamond necklace. A friend of hers makes lovely and unique jewelry pieces and I’m so thrilled to give this particular piece a loving home. It’s a great every day necklace and looks cute with t-shirts and dresses alike.

4. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Sometimes I forget how much I love historical fiction but I love when I read something that makes me remember! This book is about a young Irish girl whose parents pass away on her journey across the Atlantic to America. A plantation owner takes her on as an indentured servant as payment for her crossing. Thus begins her life in the American South where she works side by side with the slaves who are also working in the “big home.” Set in the decades before the Civil War, the story tackles themes of class and race, but ultimately leaves you with a sense that feelings of family can transcend both. I would highly recommend this book.

5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Leading up to seeing this film, Chet and I re-watched the original Star Wars movies so I was really looking forward to keeping the story going. While I wouldn’t say I’m a huge Star Wars fan, I really liked this movie. Rey and Finn were super likable, BB8 was adorable, and Kylo Ren was perfectly troubled and scary. Not to mention all those original cast-members! Overall, a super fun trip to the movie theater. I’m sure you’ve already seen it but just in case–go check it out while it’s still on the big screen.

6. Alba Botanica Hawaiian – Pineapple Enzyme Facial Scrub

Alba Botanica is one of my favorite brands of skincare. This scrub, which I use once a week, is a fantastic exfoliator. The gentle buffing granules leave my skin feeling smooth and glow-y. It is also free from parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. Always a good thing when slathering something onto your skin!

7. PicMonkey 

I’ve been having a blast playing around with this free photo editing website this past month. While they have a premium option, which costs $4.99/mo, there’s still tons of opportunity to create neat images totally for free! I had way too much fun creating (way too many) Save the Date options. (I think I’ll write a blog post later in February to show you how I did these, if you’d like.) Adobe can get pricey so it’s nice to find an affordable alternative.

8. 30 Day Yoga Camp

Hi, I’m a Yoga with Adriene fangirl, nice to meet ya! In all seriousness, this 30 day series of yoga videos is perfection. Each class is between 20-40 minutes. Not only do they provide a fantastic, sometimes butt-kicking flow but the focus on breath and mind was a refreshing change for an “exercise challenge.” The sessions centered around a daily mantra which I found really helpful to focus on, not just for the length of the practice, but throughout the rest of the day. I will definitely return to this yoga camp in the future! And I will carry the daily mantra practice with me through the rest of 2016.

9. Reading My Tea Leaves

Do you ever find a new-to-you blogger and then start binge reading all their backlog of posts? This was totally me this month with Erin Boyle’s blog, Reading My Tea Leaves. With a focus on simple, sustainable living, this blog is beautifully written and accompanied by pitch perfect photography. She recently published a book which, if it’s anything like the blog, I’d love to get my hands on soon.

Making a beach kit!

homestead beach palm tree

One of the biggest perks to living in Miami is enjoying beautiful weather pretty much year round. Of course there’s all sorts of thunderstorms to contend with. But when it’s nice, it is niiiiice. Like throw on a pair of shorts and lounge by some water nice. Like never have to wear real shoes unless you really want to nice. Like pinch me is this vacation or is this real life….nice.

To take full and complete advantage, we’ve resolved to hit up our favorite beach on as many clear-sky Saturdays as possible. It’s an amazing way to re-charge the batteries and soak up some Vitamin D before heading back into the week.

We wake up on Saturday mornings, drink coffee, throw on clothes, load the car, pick up supplies along the way, and sit our butts in the sand as soon as humanly possible. BUT! Last week we decided we could expedite this process by creating a beach kit. We would simply keep a stock of needed items in the trunk of the car. Genius! This way, we can get out the door even faster and even make impromptu trips on non-planned beach days when the stars align and we find we have some time on our hands. Or when a beach pops out of nowhere just begging to be enjoyed (Hey, we’re in Florida. It happens!).

Our beach kit consists of…

Now, I know this post may seem a little out of the realm of your own possibility. Most of the country is experiencing a little thing called WINTER, you might be saying! I understand. But I still think a little preparation goes a long way in making sure you actually get outside as much as possible.

When I was further north I can remember, especially in Winter, wanting to capitalize on those rare and beautiful sunny days whenever they reared their lovely heads. I would sit at work in my nice clothes wanting nothing more than to be strolling in a park or hitting a hiking trail. But by the time my work day was through and I ran home to put sneakers and “play clothes” on…the sun would be setting, the temperature dropping. If only I had kept a spare pair of shoes and pants in my car!

Consider what outdoor activity you may like to do a little more of this winter and make doing it as easy as possible. Throw your hiking boots in the trunk! Keep a soccer ball in your office! Put your roller-blades by the front door!

Let’s all play outside more in 2016.

Ballet dreams.

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The ballet world is simultaneously beautiful and brutal. It’s dancers are nails-tough. Did you ever dance? I took ballet from the time I was itty-bitty all the way through my freshman year of college and have the terrible knees, cracking ankles, and hip turnout to prove it. Not to mention, I still find buns to be the most effective and classic, no-nonsense hairstyle. Ha!

Ballet is magical! If you agree, you may want to check out the following…

Here are a few Instagram accounts–

Ballerina Project

Celestin Boutin

Adrian Mitchell

Melissa Chapski

Chelsy Meiss

As well as a “day in the life” interview with Anna Tsygankova, a ballerina at Het Nationale Ballet who trained at The Bolshoi!

20111209NBC_Nutcracker_BackStage

I’ve loved delving into the worlds of real-life dancers ever since I was in elementary school and checked this book out from the library over and over again. The discipline, grace, and passion of professional ballerinas is such wonderful inspiration!

(Top photo via here, bottom photo via The National Ballet of Canada.)