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My ideas and experiences in exercising, hiking, and healing, and reviews of products to help you stay healthy.
Sleepy morning workout

Pilates Toning RingWaking up for a 6am workout, that started in January of this year, didn't seem to last very long. It was a great plan, but it failed miserably because life happens. The dog stopped howling me awake at 6am. I was getting disturbed sleep from my son waking up throughout the nights. I had to take muscle relaxants at night to help with back and neck pain, which made me very groggy in the morning. I was lucky to wake up at 7 or 8 to get in a little workout. Many days, I would wake up around 9, at the same time as the kids, and miss my workout entirely. Without my consistent morning workouts, I was getting grumpy and badly out of shape. That's when I decided to reboot my workout effort and try to wake up at 6am again. Luckily, now with the sun rising around 5:30, it hasn't been too hard to get use to, after the initial first week or so.

Just Grab the Pilates Ring!

One of my favorite little workout props is a pilates ring. This simple little ring can wake up muscles in your legs that you didn't realize you had. And once you get those muscles going, you'll start to notice tone and shape in your legs that you didn't think you could ever get. You can accomplish a lot more muscle toning in just a few reps of this ring than doing tons of leg lifts. Adding this ring to my bridges and crunches gives me some extra leg toning while I'm building core strength. This ring is relatively small, inexpensive, portable, and easy to use. I use it every time I do core exercises. I just grab it along with my pilates mat, lie down and begin. It's actually very relaxing. Most of the workouts I do with this ring are lying down. It makes it easy to workout in the morning when you can just lie back down and still get strong with this pilates ring :-)


Pilates Mat
This thick mat keeps your bones (knees, spine, elbows, etc.) cushioned during crunches and other mat exercises.

Non-slip Yoga socks
These socks help your feet stay warm during cold mornings. The non-slip grips help your feet stay gripped to your mat. And you can still let your toes spread out freely.

Non-slip Yoga gloves
Not only do these finger-less gloves keep your hands warmer during cool morning yoga workouts, but they also double as light weight-lifting gloves.

Foam Roller
Everyone should have a foam roller at home. Not just for massaging tight muscles. But for lying back on it, parallel to your spine, and stretching out your arms and tight chest muscles. I like to use this before every workout.

Wake up, Work out
Dog wakes me up in the morningI woke up this morning at my usual 6am. Without the alarm clock Santa forgot to give me, I try to rely on my natural body clock. This time, our dog barked me awake at just about 6. She must've caught sight of that mountain gopher scuttling about outside the window. After I let the dog out and fed her, I trudged over to the living room to begin my workout.

I began by rollin' with my foamie because my pecs felt sore and tight from doing pushups with the kids the other day. Next, I robotically got on my stationary incumbent bike because today is cardio day. Lately, I've been shooting for 300 calories or more (that is about 7.5 miles, according to the bike). I know, not much. But I've been out of practice, and I'm still trying to get over the wimp hump.

Today, I barely burned 200 calories. The whole time I was struggling. I didn't break a sweat, like I usually do when I am able to push myself to 300. But I gave it all I had, which wasn't much this morning, for some reason.

That's okay, though. I realize some days will be like that. And it is more important to go through the motions on those days, even if I don't accomplish as much as I would like. At least I stuck to the plan of working out. I'm hoping to develop some "muscle memory" here, and establish a good habit of working out without thinking about it, dreading it, or having to always force myself to do it. 

Vacation-Inspired Dieting
Recently, I started to lose my drive to get fit. What is the point? My husband will still love me if I'm covered with flab. And of course, my kids will still love me. And of course, I'm willing to accept my imperfect self. So why bother? Well, yes, it's healthier to be fit. But at what cost? At the cost of waking up before dawn every morning, and therefore being a zombie all day?

I try to tell myself that if I "let myself go", I will have to spend money getting "big" clothes. And then bigger and bigger clothes the more I gain. So when would I stop gaining? At what point will enough be enough? It obviously has to stop somewhere. As much as I love to buy new clothes, we don't have a budget for a new wardrobe every few months. But still, saving money was not convincing enough for me to say no to the left over Christmas candy.

Then what could be good motivation for a stay-at-home mom to stay fit?

Daisy Ridley at DisneylandWe recently watched the new Star Wars (The Last Jedi). I noticed that Daisy Ridley, the character who plays Rey, had gained a few pounds since the previous Star Wars film (The Force Awakens). That makes some sense, since she is no longer a starving girl on Jakku, eating a quarter ration after a long day of physical exertion. Then I saw some posts online with pictures of her at Disneyland showing her in shorts. Some people were bashing her a little about the extra weight.

A couple weeks ago, my husband decided to take us all to Disneyland next month. That's when I found my inspiration to get fit. Not that I'm a movie star or that anyone would even notice me, but thinking of Daisy and the comments of her at Disneyland had reached me somehow. As far-fetched as this motivation was, I would take it. I wanted to get fit for our trip to Disneyland. Am I so worried about what people would say about me and my cellulitic thighs? Does anyone really even care? No, not really. But I needed a "reason" to get fit that was more than just to stay healthy or save money. I don't know if this reason is strong enough to really carry me through, but for now, I'll take it.

However far-fetched this reason may be, it really isn't. I remember long ago, a coworker of mine was always struggling to lose weight. He would go off and on diets constantly. Finally, he pulled through. He gave it his all and got in shape. His motivation was for their trip to the Bahamas. No, I get that. That's way more than Disneyland. Hanging around the poolside with nothing but your swimsuit on, you want to look decent.

But for me in Disneyland, I picture myself with shorts on. Shorts are really hard for me to wear these days. It seems most of my fat settles in my thighs. Last summer, I circumvented the problem by wearing dresses all the time. I don't know if I can get on and off rides with a dress on, so I really wanted to wear shorts at Disneyland. What about Bermuda shorts? I don't know, I used to be all about Bermuda shorts when I had to do a mommy-and-me gym class with my toddlers. But now, I really don't feel cute in them at all. I feel like they make me look short and stubby. They seem to visually cut the legs in two, making them seem shorter.

For the time being, Disneyland is my motivation to get fit. I'll keep that until a better and stronger reason comes along. Maybe planning a vacation is a sure fire way to motivate yourself to get fit! 

Update 1/22/2018

Women's SkortI don't think this Disneyland diet is going to work. Since I've started it, I've actually gained weight. Maybe I figure, if Daisy can walk around Disneyland looking a little healthy, then so can I! Or maybe I just don't care enough about it. The surge of serotonin that I get from eating that pineapple cake I just made is much more gratifying than seeing myself really fit. I don't think I will ever totally get rid of the cellulite. I was just hoping to be able to wear shorts without them binding around my thighs so tightly. I might have to invest in some of those skirts that have attached shorts underneath. Skort?

Riding the Stationary Bicycle on Lazy Days

Stationary BikeThis morning I was lazy so I rode my stationary bike. I should use it more often, but I tend to use it on mornings when I don't have energy to do my normal workout routine, or my mind is still asleep, and I just can't think of what I'm supposed to be doing.

I got this bike quite a few years ago, back when spin classes were a fad. I had had ACL surgery on my knee eons ago, and the stationary bike was what the PTs had me use for months for rehabilitation. Since then, I have always found the stationary bike to be the easiest way to strengthen the muscles around my knees.

Lately, when riding the stationary bike, I usually try to burn 300 calories in 30 minutes. I set the bike to the second level (low interval intensity). I enter my age, and it calculates my calories burned based on the revolutions of the wheels. It also measures my heart rate when I put my hands on the handlebars. When I'm feeling more energized, I go for 400 or 500 calories. But my old standby is 300 in 30. I work up a pretty decent sweat that way, and feel nice and energized after that.

We put the exercise bike in the living room so that I could ride it while the family watches TV. Doesn't always happen, I usually fold clothes while watching TV. But on the rare occasion that we are sitting there for more than an hour or so, I do end up hopping on the bike. Its my anti-couch potato weapon.

Soothe a Sore Throat with Nitto Tea with Lemon & Vitamin C

She woke up yesterday morning with a stuffy nose and sore throat, really sore. Isn't it too early for a cold? Fall doesn't officially start for a few more days. It's been so bad that she can barely stand it in the mornings and doesn't like taking Tylenol or anything.

I remembered that she had picked out some lemon "tea". It isn't really tea, but it is made by the company called Nitto Tea. It is a powder that you can add to hot water to drink hot (or warm). It has sugar, honey, lemon, and vitamin C. I figured that would be the perfect thing for her sore throat.

She reports back saying it did help a lot. It was nice and soothing. I've been giving her one or two of these for the past few days, mostly in the mornings, when it bothers her the most. At night, I put warm water in her water bottle by her bed for her to sip on to sooth her throat, so as not to give her sugar at night.

Lemon is great for sore throats. My doctor used to tell me to suck on lemon drops when my throat was sore. But this lemon "tea" is awesome because it is warm and even has vitamin C. I will definitely give this Nitto Tea Lemon & Vitamin C drink a shot when I have a sore throat. It comes in a bag with 10 powder packs in it. I put one pack in a cup of hot water. I mix, then top it off with some cold water so it is not so hot for my daughter.

Workout Leggings with Cell Phone Pockets

Munvot Yoga Workout Leggings PantsLately, I've been trying to get more exercise. I had to lose my mamma fat which I had held on to for far too long. I got so used to eating as fast as I could just so that I get a meal in. I've eaten too many of my kids leftovers in addition to my own meal. I've resorted to wearing skirts and dresses because I can't fit into my jeans or look decent in shorts.

So this summer, I decided I would go on more dog walks and actually start hiking again after so many years. First things first, I needed workout clothes. I found that I really like workout pants that have pockets that fit my cell phone. When walking the dog, I only carry a cell phone. The dog carries her own poop bags on her collar. I usually use two hands to handle the dog, so having a pocket that is big and deep enough to fit my cell phone is a really big help.

Thoughtful as he is, my husband got me these Munvot workout leggings online. They are perfect for walking the dog and hiking on cooler days, when you need longer pants. They have a big Samsung Galaxy S7 sized pocket on each side. They are comfy and fit great. Also, they were a lot cheaper than most places that sell workout pants.

Slideshow of my Munvot Workout Pants


Featured Health Blog Articles

Must... Have... Water!  - 7/20/2017
Pot Handle Burn  - 4/4/2012
Spread Your Toes  - 3/10/2017
Iced Coffee, instead of a Coke  - 9/7/2017
Soothe a Sore Throat with Nitto Tea with Lemon & Vitamin C  - 9/18/2017

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