Fitasmic

Monogram

It’s 5AM on a Tuesday, and the green band around my wrist buzzes energetically, coaxing me into consciousness. Time for the gym. I’m up, out the door, on my way. At the gym, I give the band a couple presses and it logs my activity for me. Later, at work, it buzzes to tell me I’ve been inactive for at least 30 minutes, shouldn’t I do a lap and get a few more steps in? Just before bed, I check out its corresponding app on my tablet to see how many steps I took, how long and how well I rested the night before, etc. Then it’s time to do it all over again.

This nifty device is my first ever fitness tracker, and it has simultaneously taken on the roles of my nurturing mentor and annoying personal trainer. The band itself is simple and sporty; I was the only photo 1 photo 2 photo

person who ordered it in a color other than black and navy. Now, though I can see why – by day two of wearing it, it was already showing signs of discoloration/dirt/who knows. You use a button on one end to input several simple commands, such as change status, time an activity, and take a power nap.

The app that this fitness band uses is called Up. Up takes all of the data synched from the band and turns it into useful information, counting your steps and counting your sleep. You can use it to set reminders, track goals, see health trends, and even form a ‘team’ with your friends. My coworkers and I joined one together, but that’s only served to make us each feel bad about our individual contributions.

If anything, wearing my band has opened my eyes to how much less healthy I actually am than I previously thought. Once upon a time, I could come home from a long day at work and reason that since I felt fatigued, I probably walked way more than the recommended 10,000 steps per day, and so of course I deserved this bowl of ice cream!

Wrong wrong wrong.

Instead, I barely hit 10,000 in an average day. Additionally, I’m not sleeping as soundly as I could be. Nor exercising as often. Suddenly, I have someone – or, rather, something – holding me accountable for my own well being. Sure, it’s a little annoying; I had to take a two day break from wearing it so I didn’t have to face my lack of movement. On the flip side, though, now I have this incredible little device that can actually help me take better care of myself, if I’m willing to work with it and be honest about where I’m at health wise. I guess it’s time to step it Up!

Signature

 

 

Advertisements

Standing Standing Everywhere, and Not a Place to Sit

Monogram

There have always been – and most likely, will always be – health crazes and fads. From early tonics that promised instant cures, to the Shake Weight, there are new trends starting every day. This time around, I’ve decided to board the bandwagon on one.

At work lately, there have been a string of my coworkers who have begun to use standing desks. It started with one guy in the creative department, M, who claimed that he preferred standing to sitting when he drew. He propped up his laptop and accouterments on some cardboard boxes and voila! A standing desk was born.

M’s desk remained homemade until work hired a new executive, who had back problems and couldn’t sit for long periods of time. And as an executive, there was no way he was going to be greeting clients with his desktop sitting on a Goldfish box. Several standing desks were purchased, along with some mats to ease the pressure on their feet.

The craze was moving along at a solid pace when my coworker, B, and I finally thought we wanted to give it a try. I

My homemade standing desk, don't mind the mess!

My homemade standing desk, don’t mind the mess!

actually prefer to stand to work – it makes it easier to dash out the door when anything arises (and let me tell you, a lot arises).

Because we were only testing the waters, we took the homemade route; my keyboard is resting on a paper holder, while my mouse is on a plastic drawer set. B’s setup involves several boxes at key heights. Luckily, the company had ordered some extra mats for us to stand on.

After a week of no-sitting, B and I agreed on a few things:

  1. Our legs weirdly feel more toned. Though in my case, I emphasized they were a little more stiff.
  2. It does make it easier to walk in and out of our office to do tasks.
  3. We don’t feel as sluggish and bloated in the afternoons following lunch

Screen shot 2015-04-08 at 6.34.45 AMSo far so good. Then B texted me the link to an article one night about the real health benefits of standing desks, versus the hype. It spells out that standing desks aren’t the magic antithesis to sitting. In reality, too much of anything will kill you, and standing too much can be painful and cause heart problems and varicose veins. Yikes.

Standing desks can be apart of a solution, though, when placed into a life routine that additionally include
low-intensity physical activity. The key is to make sure you’re doing it correctly! After reading the article, B and I adjusted our setups to make sure our standing – and sitting – positions were correct.

As she and I begin week two, we’ve begun to allow ourselves to sit whenever we feel uncomfortable or tired. The key is balance, balance, balance.

Until tomorrow, when B brings in her new weighted hula hoop for us to try. 😉

Signature

Groups Get it Done

Monogram

Ok, ok. I hated group anything in college. Maybe because I always ended up doing most of the work the night before the big project/presentation/anything.

photo 1

A little time at the happiest place on earth didn’t hurt!

Last week my family visited Los Angeles to tour a couple of colleges my brother applied to, and I took a few days off from work to enjoy with them. We did Hollywood, some hiking, Disneyland, the zoo – it was amazing.

When I got back to work, though, my co-worker and boss immediately sat me down to tell me about their newest idea. We were going to host an exercise challenge for the month of March. The goal was to get people out of their fitness ruts and physically challenge them at least three times a week.

A group challenge? I was, of course, skeptical at first. Was it going to be a competition? How would we know if people were really exercising?

They nixed the competition idea. Instead, anyone who completed it throughout the entirety of March would win a fitness tracker, courtesy of the company (which I’m still reeling from. Sometimes, I love my job). As for knowing whether people were actually participating… well, we decided to put faith in the participants. The only person who would lose would be them.

Here are the official guidelines we sent out:

  • Participants must complete three 30 minute exercise sessions per week throughout March
  • The sessions must be separate; doing one workout for 1.5 hours won’t count as the week’s total
  • Workouts do not have to be completed at a gym. Activities like hiking and running outdoors count and are encouraged!
  • Participants must track weekly progress on the progress board

We decided to call it ‘Move Your A$$ March’, as our alternative to March Madness. By this

Our progress board

Our progress board

week, we’ve had 16 people sign up. Personally, I’m so excited to have so many new fitness buddies. Research has shown that having reliable partners in fitness increases your chances of sticking with it. Psychologically, if you feel like you have a responsibility to another person (or in this case, 15 other people), you’ll follow through on your commitments [source].

Here are a few tips for being a good fitness buddy:

  • Be in touch. Send reminder texts and emails encouraging your fellow fitness trainee(s). I like to work out in the mornings, while my co-worker likes to work out at night. Every day after work, we talk about our training goals, and I’ll send her inspirational pictures and quotes.
  • Push your partner, then praise their efforts. We used to complain about working out. Now, we instead encourage each other not to skip our workouts, but to follow through with them.
  • Be reliable. Always follow through with what you say you’ll do. This includes sending timely encouragement, providing a wake up call, meeting up with your buddy at the gym, doing your own separate workout, etc.

I hope this inspires you to grab a friend and get moving!

Signature

 

Eye on the Prize

Monogram

 

This past holiday weekend, I got all cozy and watched Chef, a movie recommended by my boyfriend. It’s cute, funny, and very modern – check it out on Netflix when you get a chance. The story centers on a chef who, at the end of the day, just wants to cook good food for people. It’s his passion that motivates him, and ultimately what helps to bring his family together again.

Watching the film made me almost envious over the chef’s intense love of creating new dishes in the kitchen. His fervor was infectious; the next day, I sat down at a Barnes and Noble Cafe and wrote for several hours, something I’m passionate about.

This got me to thinking that I wanted more inspiration, to help boost my spirits and keep me not only thinking about my goals, but actively desiring them. So, with the help of some Scotch Spray Mount, old foam core board from work, and my Tumblr blog, I got to work!

image

imageimageI ended up grabbing photos/quotes/inspirational figures that most closely resembled my current goals: fitness, nature exploration, and creative energy. I didn’t mean for it to come out so…neat! The amount of photos I chose just so happened to fit like that on the board. In the future, I want to continue adding and updating it as my goals change. For now, though, it serves as an awesome visual reminder to keep changing those can’ts into cans & dreams into plans ❤

 

Signature

 

Om

Meditation-2

Lately, it seems like my brain is constantly and humming with activity. A lot of it is because work is absolutely nuts right now, and so I’m always finding myself thinking about what I need to prepare, who I need to email, etc. Otherwise, I’m dreaming up new blog posts, brainstorming for that next DIY project, planning future trips, and worrying about everything else.

I broke down the other night, convinced my brain was on steroids and that I’d never get any peace. I called my mom, because who better to cry to? She heard out my woes patiently and then offered – meditation!

I think I started to roll my eyes, but then caught myself. Meditation sounded like a nutty idea, something for people with more patience and self-control than I, but I remembered how in college I would attend guided meditation sessions offered during finals week. More often than not, I would fall asleep during them, spread full-eagle on a mat surrounded by strangers, but it was because I was so relaxed and comfortable.

For the last week or so, I’ve been re-visiting guided meditation as a means to shut my brain off before bed. Normally, I hate having computer screens in the bedroom, but I quickly searched for videos on YouTube before settling down with one from channel Psychetruth. I turned the brightness way way down, tossed it onto my nightstand, and settled back on my pillows.

This is how my thought process went during the fourteen minutes:

 

  • Am I comfy? Am I too comfy? Where should my arms be? What was I supposed to remember for tomorrorow?
  • Picture a boat, eh? Oh wow, I remember that one time we went on dad’s friend’s boat and jumped off!
  • Stop thinking about other things, focus on the damn boat!
  • Ok, I think I’m getting the hang of this. Breathe in, breathe out.
  • Zzzzzzzzzzz

I don’t even remember the end of the video, because at some point I fell into such a deep sleep that I almost was late to work the next morning. Since then, I’ve tested a few more videos, each with the same result. They make it easier to rope in those rogue thoughts that keep me up at night, instead helping me to focus my mind and breathing and to relax.

There are many, many different forms of meditation, and I’m looking forward to incorporating it more into my daily schedule.

Not convinced yet? Here are eight ways meditation benefits you in mind, body, and soul.

Here’s the video I tried on my first night by Psychetruth:

 

Signature

 

Spartan Struggle

Happy New Year! After a relaxing few weeks off, I have hit the ground running with my New Year’s resolutions. My resolutions are always extremely simple: be the happiest I can be.  This is my go-to because:

  1. Who doesn’t want to be the happiest?!
  2. It leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

I think resolutions are designed to help us stay on track with evolution. I don’t believe in the #newyearnewme. It should be: a new year, better me.

I took a leap of faith before the holidays and signed up for my first Spartan race. With surprisingly minimal effort, my co-workers lured me onto their team. The Spartan Sprint is one of the shortest races this organization offers. It is advertised as a 3+ mile race (The “+” makes it a little scary).Lucky for me, it will have all of the famous obstacles: jumping over walls, mud, fire, and the dreaded burpees.

Like I mentioned in Walk it Out my office is very active. I am so blessed to be surrounded by an eclectic group of active enthusiasts. For some, it is in their blood. They are former college athletes, adventurers, obstacle race enthusiasts, and exercise science majors. Some of them bleed competition and will stop at nothing to be the best, even if it is the best at unwrapping promotional pens. For the rest of us, we are extremely social beings; who gravitate towards anything that allows us to spend some quality time with each other- precious, right?  After signing up, my team decided to elect our race enthusiast to be our motivator and trainer.

The best part of this resolution is it allows me to be both happier and healthier. I get to share my resolution with my co-workers in an effort to fulfill their own. I think it is important to include your surroundings into a resolution. Look to be a better person for your family and friends. Look to do something better for your community or environment. Look to create or stop something that can change a strangers’ deposition. Look to be a better you not only for you, but for everyone.

To be a happier me, it starts by conquering this race. Hello 6 am workouts!

Jess (2)

Fighting Wednesday Wipeout

Monogram

Wednesday

 

It’s Wednesday ladies and gents, and you know what that means. It’s the time of the week where our fuel reserves go from being semi-charged (thanks to the weekend) to desperately needing a reboot. In addition to being someone who could benefit greatly from two naps a day, I am also a sufferer of Wednesday Wipeout, especially now that I’m working full time.

What to do, I pondered Tuesday night. I started to brainstorm all the things that get me charged in a day (besides caffeine and cookies) and it hit me: my nightly workout. I’ve been on a really good streak lately where I head right to the gym after work for an hour long-session of cardio and strength training.

My workouts, however, have been lackluster lately. On Monday night I remember looking at the clock and thinking I don’t want to be here anymore – only after about 20 minutes! We are all, of course, entitled to days where we just don’t feel like sweating alongside a bunch of strangers. But what really made this thought stick is that it’s a feeling I’ve been having for a while now. I used to look forward to using the elliptical in the back whose TV still works and doesn’t make a weird sound when your left foot comes down. I loved staying those extra few minutes to finish that last bicep curl. What happened?

Me enjoying a good sweat. Maybe a little too much.

Me enjoying a good sweat. Maybe a little too much.

My music happened. Rather, my lack of motivating, energy pumping music. What I’ve realized over time is that putting in a full exercise routine at 7:30PM after a full day of work isn’t always the most fun thing in the world. Distractions are welcome to make the tedious parts go faster. For instance, I love reading my Nook on the elliptical during longer sessions. Music has been another great way to keep me moving. You know that feeling when your favorite, bass-dropping beat-pumping insanity-inducing song comes on the radio and all you want to do is jump up and down and scream the lyrics? That’s what I crave at the gym.

What I’ve found is since my last music reboot, I’ve fallen out of love with quite a few of the songs from both of my workout playlists. The result is that I work out to the same ten songs, over and over. The mundanity is killing my good workout vibes and adding to my terrible Wednesday Wipeout.

So! With a little help from the Internet and my roomie, I’ve put together an entirely new 30 minute playlist for days that need a little oomph!

Aubrey’s Ragin’ Playlist to Put a Little Twerk in Your Work

  1. Take Over Control, Afrojack & Eva Simons
  2. Wake Me Up, Avicii
  3. Run the World (Girls), Beyonce
  4. I Need Your Love, Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding
  5. Titanium, David Guetta ft. Sia
  6. Dark Horse, Katy Perry
  7. Birthday (Cash Cash Remix), Katy Perry
  8. Tumhi Ho Bandhu, Cocktail (inspired by the Bollywood dance fitness class I’ve been taking!)
  9. Chammak Challo, Akon (also Bollywood inspired)

And if this doesn’t motivate you, you can watch this video of Serena Williams looking fierce and fit as all get out:

Here’s to an inspired & motivated rest of your week! Cheers!

Signature