Something New Sunday – A New Bike!

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Thanks to a wonderful friend, I am the proud owner of a new-to-me purple mountain bike. Today, I filled up the tires and did a test drive. It was amazing to feel that nostalgic rush of wind on my face as I rode through the neighborhood. It’s been years since I had a bike (I think I accidentally left it at one of my many residences, but who know for sure?). It took me a few times around the block, but I think I’ve gotten the hang of it again.

When I got a bike for my birthday when I turned 5 or 6, it took me ages to catch on. Coordination wasn’t exactly my strength then (or now, for that matter). For instance, I couldn’t tie my shoes until I was about 9 years old. I remember my brother-in-law taking my training wheels off and making me ride it in the street. The results weren’t pretty. Let’s just say I didn’t ride it again for a long, long time. As I did with a lot of motor skill struggles, I eventually came back to it and became a decent bike rider. Although, I could never quite master the whole riding with no hands thing like my friends could.

I haven’t been really excited about working out for a while, so I’m looking forward to incorporating this into my fitness routine until it gets too cold.

Something New Sunday – Cleaning for Fitness?

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Cleaning is the worst. Let’s just say it’s not something that comes naturally to me. I grew up in a fairly messy house (looking back, I realize that was partially my fault…kids are messy). I have always envied the people who clean to relieve stress or just automatically rinse the dishes after dinner every single night without fail. I, on the other hand, have watched episodes of Hoarders to 1) feel better about the condition of my home and 2) get motivated to clean (thank goodness it’s not that bad…let’s keep it that way).

What does this have to do with weight loss and fitness, though? Well, my challenge for August is to get in at least 10 minutes of physical activity a day. Cleaning is physical activity, especially for those of us who aren’t in the habit of doing it constantly. According to WebMD, a 150 pound person burns around 123 calories per 30 minutes of vacuuming. As you might guess, I would burn more since 150 pounds is still down the road for me. I guess it’s a good thing I fixed my vacuum yesterday.

As I’m changing my health habits, I’m finding that the strategies are transferable to other areas of my life. Just because I don’t have time to keep my house perfect (who does?) doesn’t mean I should just not try at all. Even a few minutes a day can make a big difference.

Something New Sunday – The 10 Minute Challenge

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My workouts have been few and far between lately. This usually means that I’m crabby (think Lorelai Gilmore without coffee…sorry if you don’t get the reference). As I was thinking of something new to try this past week, I remembered a post on Lift Like a Girl about 30 day challenges. A typical 30 day challenge involves a pretty big commitment (juice cleanses, cabbage soup, 300 kettlebell swings, 200 push-ups, etc.). Has anyone else wanted to throw a brick through the TV while doing the 30 Day Shred? Well, this challenge is going to be much more manageable.

Every day in August, I will be doing at least 10 minutes of physical activity. It’s that simple. I’m hoping it will help me get back into a good routine. I might not be able to get to the gym, but I don’t have many valid excuses for skipping a 10 minute walk or lifting session.

What experiences have you had with challenges like this? Have you found any with lasting benefits?

Something New Sunday – Resistance Band Workout

This week was my Chicago trip, and we all know how hard it can be to get in a good workout when you’re out of your element. My hubby has some resistance bands, so I looked up some workouts (since they’re easier to lug around in a suitcase than a kettlebell). I found one on Real Simple’s website of all places.

The workout was so easy to do in the tiny space of the dorm room I was staying in. The only downside was that my resistance band was too short for the shoulder press exercise. If you need something easy and portable, I highly recommend that you check it out.

Something New Sunday – Baked Potato + Eggs = Magic

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Topping any food ever with an egg is all the rage in the foodie world. Add a poached or fried egg to something, and it suddenly becomes gourmet. For a while, I just thought all the cooking competition show judges were a bit gullible. “Don’t fall for the old top-it-with-an-egg trick,” I would think. However, my negative perception came crashing down when I tried Snack Girl’s egg-filled, baked avocado.

This week, we had an abundance of potatoes and eggs in the house, so I took them to work for lunch. All I did was microwave the potato for a few minutes to bake it, cut it open, crack open a couple of eggs and put them on top, and then stick them back in the microwave for a bit.

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While I would recommend the oven for at least the last step, the end result was amazing! The velvety yolk broke open and acted almost like a replacement for butter (but not in an “I guess I can choke it down and pretend it’s close to what I actually want to eat” sort of way). Add seasoning as desired (this one has steak seasoning on top). If you like runny yolks, you must try this!

Something New Sunday – Barre Workout

I love trying new things. When it comes to my health, it helps me from getting bored. Until at least the end of August, I’m going to post something each Sunday that I tried the week before.

My “Something New” this week is barre. I’m way behind on this fitness trend. It seems that every gym has a barre class. It’s basically ballet for fitness mixed with Pilates movements and a few other things.

It was easy to get started. I found a barre workout for beginners on YouTube on the Jessica Smith TV channel. My “barre” was a dining room chair, and I only needed about 8 feet of space. I’m far from being a ballerina, so I’m sure I didn’t look quite as graceful as the woman in the video. However, it was a lot of fun, and my leg muscles burned almost immediately.

If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, the workout is posted above. It’s a nice alternative for when you can’t get to the gym, need a break from the treadmill, or want to supplement your strength training routine.