30 Day Fitness Experiment

What can you do for your body in 30 days?

It's 2 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Motivation Is?

It would be on my second spin when my natural ...

Image by colorblindPICASO via Flickr

A strong outside strengthens the inside.
— Selene Yeager

“I just want to see how long I can keep this thing going. The easiest thing is dying. Living is a a pain in the butt.”
— Jack Lalanne

“I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.”
–Marsha Doble

“Living a healthy lifestyle will only deprive you of poor health, lethargy, and fat.”
–Jill Johnson

“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”
–Paul Dudley White

Rest is a good thing, but boredom is its brother.
–Voltaire

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”
–Joseph Pilates

“I never regret it when I do it, but I always regret it when I don’t.”
— Devin McDonald Vinson

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June 26, 2010 Posted by | Inspiration, The Fitness Lifestyle | , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s 2 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Motivation Is?

It would be on my second spin when my natural ...

Image by colorblindPICASO via Flickr

A strong outside strengthens the inside.
— Selene Yeager

“I just want to see how long I can keep this thing going. The easiest thing is dying. Living is a a pain in the butt.”
— Jack Lalanne

“I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.”
–Marsha Doble

“Living a healthy lifestyle will only deprive you of poor health, lethargy, and fat.”
–Jill Johnson

“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”
–Paul Dudley White

Rest is a good thing, but boredom is its brother.
–Voltaire

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”
–Joseph Pilates

“I never regret it when I do it, but I always regret it when I don’t.”
— Devin McDonald Vinson

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June 26, 2010 Posted by | Inspiration, The Fitness Lifestyle | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hundred Pushups Update: Better Posture

After only a few pushups sessions, I awoke one day and realized that I already stood a little taller. The pushups are working muscles in my chest and back which are pulling my shoulders back and improving my posture. I can’t wait to see the results at the end of this challenge!

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June 14, 2010 Posted by | Lifestyle Fitness | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Living With Less: How to Get Rid of All Your Junk, FAST.

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You’ve probably noticed the lull in blogging around here lately. I apologize.

Let me give you a short history on our Stuff.

Foc'sle, Charles W Morgan

Foc'sle, Charles W Morgan

I used to live and work on sailing vessels. I had a teeny-tiny amount of personal space. You know, like a 6’x3’x3′ bunk, with a curtain. Myself and all of my possessions had to fit into that space! Now, anyone who sailed with me will tell you that my Stuff always overflowed my space, and I had a duffel bag here, a guitar there, and usually I would sleep in odd places because my bunk was full of Stuff. But basically, it fit in my bunk with me. At this time I didn’t have a home anywhere else, but I did have a 5’x5′ storage unit in Seattle, stuffed to the ceiling with who knows what.

When my husband and I stopped sailing, we moved into a 4-bedroom house with separate living and dining areas, enclosed porches with storage areas, and a full basement. We went to Seattle and brought back a bunch of Stuff. The house was enormous, and our Stuff didn’t fill it up, so we thought we were fine.

Then we moved into a 3-bedroom townhouse. We crammed Stuff into every corner and stacked it up in boxes in every room. We felt trapped. I made excuses because one of the bedrooms was my sewing room, and one was my stock room and studio. So I let the Stuff take over, and spread out where it would.

We soon realized that we hated our house full of Stuff as much as we hated the climate in Indiana, and it became our goal to move back to California. We found the perfect little town, Morro Bay, and the perfect little (and I do mean little) apartment, and once we got excited about the new place, it was easier to let go of all the Stuff we’ve become so attached to. We’ve had a very short time to do our Extreme Downsize, but we’ve done it in phases. Here’s how:

Phase 1: Decide what you want to keep. We each made a list of our 100 most prized possessions, and made sure to set all those things aside. We went through our clothes, our toiletries, our kitchen wares, our wall art, everything. We set aside only the things we really need and will use regularly. This became very difficult when it came to books! But we kept at it.

Image via Wikipedia

Phase 2: Put things up for sale. We did this in 2 ways: We listed larger items on Craigslist and our local university classifieds, and had a moving sale with everything else, plus what was listed on Craigslist. Things to remember when selling your beloved possessions: 1. People do not want to pay what you think your Stuff is worth. People want a bargain, and that’s why they’re going to yard sales and checking out Craigslist! Visualize yourself in that new state of Freedom from Junk, and lower the price! 2. If you have valuable books. like current textbooks or hard-to-find nonfiction, list them on Amazon. It’s a great system, and Amazon reimburses you for shipping costs. You can also check out prices for used books before you list, so you know if they’re worth listing or not. I recently made $45 off an Anthology of Children’s Literature in good condition. You can also do trade-ins. 3. List smaller, more valuable items on eBay with a short end date (like a 3 day auction instead of a 7 day). Smaller means less shipping hassle, and if you list things on Craigslist and eBay before your yard sale, you can still try to sell the leftovers at the yard sale. 4. Try not to pay for advertising for a yard sale, unless there are multiple families splitting the bill. A 3-day ad in our local newspaper costs $40 and up, and it’s the shortest ad duration you can buy. Imagine taking $40 out of your yard sale profits and handing them over to the newspaper, when you could list elsewhere for free. 5. Put up good signs. Arrow shaped signs, or at least signs with big, bright arrows on them will tell people everything they need to know about your sale. List a few specifics on the sign for people that are really looking closely, but most people will drive by your sale to check it out instead of stopping to read the sign. However, you SHOULD post a start date and an end date, and then TAKE DOWN THE SIGNS WHEN IT’S OVER! 6. Price things to go. You don’t want to cart Stuff back home after this sale.

Phase 3: Give it all away. That’s right. If nobody has bought it by now, it’s time to give it away. If you have valuable furniture in good condition, you can try selling it to a furniture or antiques dealer first. But you may be surprised at just how good it feels to give stuff away, especially to a person who really needs or loves it. In fact, you might want to skip phase 2 entirely and proceed straight to giving everything away. If you can, donate things like blankets, baby and children’s items, and clothing in good condition to a local women’s shelter. If you have time, post a “curb alert” on Craigslist, saying “Hey! I’ve got free stuff outside at this address! Come and get it!” Otherwise, haul it off to the thrift store. (Some larger thrift stores will pick up large items, but they may require up to a week’s notice!) If you find it difficult to give things away, remember your ultimate goal: freedom from Stuff. Anyone who takes away your Stuff for free is helping out your cause! If there’s anything left over at the end of the day, be responsible and get rid of it yourself, especially if you’re moving out. Don’t leave it for somebody else to clean up! You can also call a junk hauler to haul it away. A note of caution: many “junk haulers” you find in classified ads are just people who have a truck. They are not necessarily a business with a reputation to keep up. I once paid someone to haul away my Stuff, drove away to my new home, and later found out that they had not hauled anything away. Jeepers.

My Trunk on the First Day of Moving Small Stuff
Image by DJOtaku via Flickr

Phase 4 (and this is important, so pay attention): Go through your stuff AGAIN. Yep, all that stuff you thought you were keeping: As you pack it up, think “What else can I get rid of?” How many of your favorite books could you pick up again for 25 cents if you really wanted to read them again? How many times have you used that cupcake pan in the past year? Do you really want to hang up this same old faded painting of flowers in a vase in your new home? How many wool overcoats are you going to need in California? When are you going to fit into those DKNY jeans again? Wouldn’t it be more fun to buy yourself a new pair when you get down to that size again? And at that point you could implement a “one in, one out” rule and get rid of your current pair. You get the idea. Once you feel the relief of getting rid of Stuff, you might not want to stop. (But do make sure to consider carefully before getting rid of any heirlooms or other sentimental items. You might be ok with letting them go, but you might regret it.)

Keep your end goal in mind, and visualize your new, clutter-free life! You can do it!

Here are some more articles to get you motivated:

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June 13, 2010 Posted by | Living With Less | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pilates Book Winner!

Curso de Instructor de Pilates
Image via Wikipedia

Congratulations to Caitlin, who won the Pilates For Weight Loss giveaway.

She recently had her second child, and her goal is to designate 30 minutes a day to working out, and lose the baby weight! Pilates is a great choice. It’s a flexible workout that doesn’t always require special equipment (except maybe some stretchy pants), and it will tone up the abs and “powerhouse” while providing a great full-body workout.

Enjoy!

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June 10, 2010 Posted by | Giveaways, Lifestyle Fitness | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pilates Book Giveaway 2010

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There’s been lots of jabber here on 30DayFitnessExperiment about Pilates, and even about Pilates instructors, and it’s high time for a giveaway, so here we go.

What’s up for grabs: A copy of the book Pilates for Weight Loss by Lynne Robinson.

How to enter: Comment on this post and tell me: 1. What one small change you’re going to make this month in pursuit of better health and fitness 2. What factors have affected your current state of health and/or fitness, i.e. I used to have a job where I was on my feet or physically active; now I work in an office or I had a baby and haven’t gotten back into shape or I used to play on a team and now I don’t or My mom used to cook for me and now I’m on my own so I eat fast food… You get the idea.

The fine print: You can enter up to 2 times, once by answering #1 above, and once by answering #2. Please include your email address when you make your comment (in the form, not in the comment itself, for your privacy), or your Twitter @name, so that I can let you know if you’ve won! If the prize is not claimed within 48 hours of the announcement of winner, we’ll re-draw.

The deadline: Enter by the end of Sunday, June 6th, Eastern Time.

Have fun! I hope you win!

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May 28, 2010 Posted by | Giveaways | , , , , , , | 32 Comments

The No-Stretchy-Pants-Required Challenge

IMGP0740
Image by viking_79 via Flickr

It’s time to begin Experiment No. 3.

I’m diverting a bit from the “30 Days” guideline, but it’s for a good cause! This one is a 6-week challenge, and if all goes as planned, the next challenge will be another 6-week challenge, making 3 months between the two of them.

Here it is: 100 pushups! I used to be able to do 25 or 30 consecutive pushups, but never 100. When I had the most upper body strength from sailing and doing a bit of climbing, I never tried to do pushups, so I don’t know how many I could have done then. Silly.

For more information on the challenge, go here: hundredpushups.com C’mon, do it with me!

I chose pushups for this challenge because we are in the middle of moving across country, and I felt it was the most portable exercise–even more than Pilates or other mat work, since I don’t have to wear stretchy pants and a sports bra to do pushups!

“Chancho. When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. It’s for fun.” –Nacho Libre

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May 27, 2010 Posted by | Lifestyle Fitness | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Tadpoles

At 30 Day Fitness Experiment, we’re always talking about ways to make physical activity part of normal, day-to-day life. This is as important for children as it is for adults. It used to be that children played outside regularly, running and jumping and climbing and building… but we know that’s not the norm anymore.

California Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights

California Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights

In response to reports that childhood obesity and inactivity are causing an alarming amount of health problems in young people, several states have enacted a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. California, Maryland, Florida and North Carolina each have their own version, and Iowa appears to be working on developing one.

Some of the basic elements include swimming/splashing in water, camping under the stars, catching a fish, learning to swim, following a trail, building a fort or sandcastle, connecting with the natural world, and celebrating their heritage.

Another common thread is having a responsible adult to share these experiences with. What can you do in your own family or community to promote children’s health and physical activity? Here are a few things:

  1. Turn off the TV. Take your family for a walk, swim, hike, or bike instead.
  2. Volunteer and become involved at your children’s school. Offer to chaperon a field trip, and offer ideas for alternatives to pizza parties as a celebration of accomplishment.
  3. Plan ahead for active vacations. Going on a trip sometimes involves renting a car, laying around reading novels, etc. But with a bit of advance planning, you can take a trip without the car, which means getting around more on your own two feet. It’s also an exercise in packing light and getting by on less, since you’ll be carrying your things with you while you walk or bike. Remember to include progressively longer walks as part of your planning. You don’t want to get exhausted because you’re not used to walking or biking!
  4. Brainstorm with your kids and make your own Outdoor Bill of Rights. Find out what interests them and make a bucket list of things to experience before their 14th birthday.
  5. Have fun! Lifestyle fitness is about sustaining an active way of life, with or without the gym or aerobics class. Physical fitness shouldn’t be a chore or a punishment for your kids. If it isn’t fun, it won’t be sustainable.
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May 26, 2010 Posted by | Lifestyle Fitness, The Physically Active Family | , , , , | 2 Comments

Market Day: 5 Delicious Ways to Use Fresh Asparagus

fresh asparagus for lunch
Image by annethelibrarian via Flickr

We’re half way through May, and asparagus is in season! This beautiful vegetable is often featured in decorative art as a sign of spring and good food. But how on earth are you supposed to cook and eat it?

First of all, choose thin, tender stalks. Asparagus starts to get tough and woody as it matures. Trim the cut ends and rinse well with water, then steam, roast, etc. Yum!

  1. Simply roast it. All you need to do is toss the asparagus with oil, salt, and pepper, and roast alone or with onions, garlic, and potato on a baking sheet for 10 minutes at 400F. (Potatoes and other vegetables will have longer cooking times, so roast them until they have only 10 minutes left, then add the asparagus.)
  2. Add it to a wrap or pita sandwich instead of lettuce. Toss the asparagus into a pot of boiling, salted water for about 3 minutes, let cool a bit and then chop. (You can also rinse under cold water to cool.) Mix into salads like tuna or chicken. Ta da!
  3. Make a simple salad. Steam asparagus in a vegetable steamer for 5-6 minutes, then toss with arugula, chopped bell peppers, minced garlic, lemon juice, and whatever other yummy greens or herbs you have on hand. Add a bit of oil or vinaigrette, and you’re all set.
  4. Enhance a simple risotto or couscous: Cook rice or couscous in vegetable broth instead of plain water, and add roasted garlic, steamed and chopped asparagus, lemon juice, and chives. A tip for making a creamy risotto: brown the dry rice in oil for a couple of minutes before adding boiling water and steaming.
  5. Use up leftovers in a creamy soup: Chop up only the stalks (saving the tips), and add to a hodge-podge vegetable soup. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor, then add the tips back in and reheat for 2-3 minutes. Presto! (Even if you don’t want to puree all of the soup, consider pureeing some cooked rice with some of the broth, and then adding it to the soup. It adds creaminess without dairy or extra fat and calories.)
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May 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment