30 Fun Ways to Move Your Body

Cream Photo Collage Homemakers Pinterest Graphic

Joyful Ways to move your body

  1. Turn on a playlist of songs and dance!
  2. Take a walk around the block, take photos of your neighborhood as you do
  3. Take the stairs but listen to music as you do
  4. Walk a dog
  5. Walk or Bike to brunch instead of drive
  6. Do an online workout with friends before hanging out
  7. Yoga with Adriene YouTube video
  8. Play basketball
  9. Hula hoop
  10. Hike
  11. Pushups/sit-ups during a t.v. commercial break (or every 20 minutes during a movie)
  12. 7 minute workout (this is the app I use)
  13. Go to a pool and play water games
  14.  Make out with someone/have sex (had to include it 😉
  15. Deep clean your house while listening to a favorite podcast or album (save it for just when you clean so it’s motivating 😉
  16.  Throw on some spandex and do good old fashioned aerobics (jumping jacks, kicks, prancercise etc.)
  17.  Kick a soccer ball around with a friend
  18. LAUGH
  19.  Do just the stretches that feel good to you. Breath deeply during the stretching.
  20. Jump on a trampoline
  21. Go shopping (it’s true-it can burn calories). No purchases required.
  22. Put on a YouTube karate video and pretend you’re the karate kid
  23.  Play at a playground (just bring a kid, or go off hours so you’re not that creepy adult…)
  24. With support, try a handstand
  25.   Play a yard game with friends (tag, red rover, capture the flag, etc)
  26.  Sit on an exercise ball while hanging out, to engage core
  27.  Doorbell ditch treats to neighbors. Bonus points if you tuck and roll out of there to avoid being caught.
  28. Try partner yoga for a fun challenge
  29.  Run around with your kids, nieces/nephews, grand kids, or pet kid (plant kids do not work as well for this activity)
  30.  Stand in the sun, reach your arms up to the sky, breath deeply, and be grateful for your body.

I’m feeling better already! 😉

-Rachael

Fitness with a Purpose

Happy New Year from The Balance Project!

 

We’re going classic January goals this month with fitness being the theme. So many people want to recharge this month and we are all for it! Don’t let resolution haters get you down! Just make useful goals.

 

How to do that? For us, we decided the first step is discovering your purpose for becoming fit (or doing whatever goal you have in mind).  And at this time in our lives, we each have different purposes.

 

Kristin is getting ready to try and have another baby (yay!), I (Rachael) am working to become stronger/fitter after I recently had a baby.

 

So, first step for you is to WRITE DOWN YOUR PURPOSE! Find intention within what you are doing. Losing XXX lbs is not a helpful goal, and likely will become frustrating along your journey. Instead, write the “why” of your fitness goals, and then focus on how you want to FEEL as you continually work towards your goals.
Given our different purposes, our fitness plans will look quite different. And yours will look different from ours! But we wanted to share ours in the hopes one might resonate with someone, and it can help you work towards your goals.

 

Think of it like those exercise videos where one person is doing the advanced (Kristin), and then “if you need something more low key”, that’s me.
Kristin has developed a structured exercise program with daily practices, but that still allows for some flexibility. Her calendar can be printed HERE– Workout Plan with a Purpose, and you can use her schedule, or make your own depending on your needs.

 

In an attempt to get back into more regular and structured exercise, I am going to incorporate “joyful movement” into my daily life. The idea being that if I intentionally move my body every day in a way that I enjoy, it will help me want to continue to improve my physical health.

Tomorrow on the blog I am sharing 30 ideas of how you can move your body daily. If this is the level you are at, join me! Do something everyday and get your body moving in a way that FEELS GOOD!

 

Or, enter BEAST MODE and follow along with Kristin to really ramp up your fitness and see big strides this month!

 

Are you making fitness goals this month? Share with us what you do to keep your resolutions useful and attainable.

 

Start today-move your body, outside, in the gym, in your home–wherever! We are doing it right along with you.

-Rachael

 

Workout Plan with a Purpose

A few “during” photos, and journal entries. Week 1 to Week 4.

Remember how I don’t really like “before” and “after” photos? Mostly just calling them before and after. I do think it’s important to monitor your progress not only the scale but by how your clothes fit, and the visual progress you see.

My husband and I took some during photos before we started being more consistent with exercise, and tweaking our diet with less carbs and very limited sugar. And here’s the thing-I wasn’t perfect this month, but I still saw progress. I lost about 6 lbs, my jeans are looser, I feel stronger, and I can tell I am overall slightly leaner. These are not huge, dramatic changes, but they are a start on my ongoing journey. My goals continue to become stronger, and improve cardiac fitness. Also, while the first “during” shots are me when I am not at my fittest, I am grateful for my body then, and now, and I will be 1 year from now. Don’t hate on your body-it’s the only one you have 🙂

Week 1—–>Week 4

(don’t mind the socks and sandals haha. I didn’t know my husband would take a full body shot)

Check out my journal entries below as well. This is the most important part of health to me–how I feel.

ExerciseDiary1-4-02ExerciseDiary1-4-01

Sharing all this publically isn’t the easiest thing, but I hope it can help someone feel that they can make small changes that add up to improved health. I have definitely been inspired by others, and appreciate when people share their journey.

How to Find a Fitness Program or Gym That Works For You

FindingFitness-01

Fitness and health are super personal. We all have friends who swear by vegan/paleo/atkins/brightline/crossfit/yoga/running/weightlifting/*enter your preference here*. It can be overwhelming and confusing, but it is ok that people choose different ways to reach their health goals! It is ok that what works for one person is totally wrong for another. So, on the one hand, it’s confusing and overwhelming, but on the other…it’s awesome because you get to personalize what works for you from so many choices.

In general, I would make sure you study your choices and have some research or data behind it. It also helps to talk to your doctor or registered dietician or trainer or health guru or whoever you trust to give you solid advice. They can help you understand the “why” behind certain lifestyles, and give you tips to succeed.

As for us (and we are not your doctor OR your health gurus ; ), we prefer a balanced approach. Shocker! It just works for us to have moderation in all things, including with fitness and food. We’ve discussed food in previous months (paleo, Mediterranean, vegan), and continue to utilize each of those food styles in our own cooking styles.

This month is about fitness, and that ongoing journey we all are on. There is no “end”, as it is a continual thing we are striving for. That is why I don’t like “before” and “after” photos.

For some practical information:

  • Check with your insurance on gym membership discounts. Mine will give me and my husband up to $400 back a year on gym memberships. Nice! It won’t cover all the costs of the gym we chose, but it is a great chunk off.
  • Check with your employer on gym discounts. Mine gives discounts to gyms in the area, and combined with my insurance discount, it makes sense to join the gym! Look into combining several offers, and gyms can become affordable. I prefer a gym that doesn’t have a lot of “frills”, because I don’t want to pay $80-$150 a month for extras I’m not using. I am in and out of the gym, and just want to get my sweat on.
  • You don’t have to join a gym. Perhaps it doesn’t work financially, or perhaps timewise it doesn’t make sense to join a gym. Whatever your reason, home workouts are rapidly becoming more popular, and very effective. We all know there are companies out there who have their programs, and if you like that and have a friend who is a coach, by all means, go for it! They can be very helpful for people. But you don’t have to have a coach or join a program to be able to find great at home workouts. Here are some of our favorite resources for that:

Yoga with Adriene- We talked about Adriene in yoga month. She has been our favorite yogini for years, and still is.

Fitness Blender– Awesome husband and wife duo. Their workouts are effective, clear, minimal in the best way, and they have a lot of options to choose from.

Popsugar Fitness videos and workout posts–  Great for fun, “trendy” workouts. Who doesn’t want to train like a Victoria’s Secret Model sometimes 😉

Nike Training Club App– Workouts in the palm of your hand. Nike does a great job providing clear instructions, for whatever your goals are.

7 Minute Workout App– There are several versions of this basic app, this is just the one I use. It’s a great quick HIIT workout to get the blood going, and it’s really fun to notice how quickly the exercises get easier the more you do the workout (you are getting stronger!).

  • Take a hike. Seriously, it’s free, and awesome. (Walking in general is a great thing for your body).
  • Find a friend. Or don’t! Not everyone likes to workout with other people. And it’s totally ok to dig down and get your workout done alone. But if you thrive on company, and motivation from others, finding a buddy can really help.

 

Now then, who’s going to make some new goals this month? 🙂 Let us know what you like to do for exercise, and if you have any great ideas on how to make it more accessible or affordable.

StockSnap_3H89EH3WIJ.jpg

 

My Relationship with Fitness (and some tips to get started!)

TipforStartingFitness-02.jpg

What is your relationship with fitness?

Mine has been a bit fickle, off and on, and under-appreciated. That’s not to say I haven’t pursued fitness in my life; I have, and it has helped me through some really important times. I’ve been fascinated by the human body since I was a teenager, and with fitness as an adult. I’ve always wanted to see what my body can do, but sometimes don’t know where to start. I’ve played sports, I’ve weight lifted, I’ve thrown myself into yoga… and I’ve enjoyed all of those things. It’s always a matter of falling back in love with exercising, each time I “take a break”.

It’s also a matter of finding something I love. I don’t love doing push-up after push-up for an hour each day. I don’t love running countless miles on a treadmill (or anywhere else for that matter). Over the years I’ve found what I DO enjoy — HIIT workouts, yoga, weight lifting, hiking, aerobic classes with friends, biking.

That’s by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a theme of what I enjoy in fitness. Things that combine outdoors with fitness being some of my favorites, and also ones that help me feel strong and empowered, such as with weightlifting.

What’s your relationship with your body, and body image?

Yikes, loaded question! This one is mostly a self-reflection question, but I also really like to hear people’s answers. Mine has mostly been positive, but as I really think about it, I’ve definitely had times in my life where I was so critical of it and disliked it. I think that’s not an unusual feeling for women and girls, and that’s so sad! I’m still not perfect at accepting my body 100%, but I have come to an appreciate my body, and what it can do, and even *gasp* think it looks pretty darn good, flaws and all. But this brings me to the point that I can accept my body, and also want to improve it in a healthy way. Accepting your body, and wanting to improve it are not exclusive.

And so, in an effort to become a stronger, healthier, leaner, me, I have some simple goals I want to achieve this month. But first, it’s important to remind myself not to expect that after 30 days I’ll look like Genzebe Dibaba. I’ve been guilty of this. Like, “it’s been 4 days of me working out, why can’t I see a six-pack?!” Patience.

My goals for this month are:

  • Lose about 4 lbs. This is an attainable goal and something that be done in a month. As I gain muscle, I expect to perhaps gain a small amount of weight, and I’m ok with that. But in a month, it’s not likely I’ll put on enough muscle to see an increase. Instead, I expect that I’ll burn some fat and a few lbs to start. As I’ve put on about 10/15 extra pounds this past year, I have something to work with 😉 Losing weight is not my main goal, but I anticipate it might be a nice “side effect”.
  • Feel more energy! To me, this means being able to get up when my alarm goes off, and not “snooze” so much. It means getting through the workday without that 2pm slump. It means being able to go out with my husband on a Friday night and staying out a little past our bedtime without feeling 80 years old. (Just a little bit though, because I’m basically 80 and love my early bedtime).
  • See definition in triceps. Firm up you little things.
  • Assisted pull ups to 50 lbs. (On my way to no assistance, but everything builds upon itself).

A few tips to help you achieve your fitness goals, whatever they may be.

  1. Set your expectations high, but realistic.
  2.  Be kind to yourself. No negative body talk. Celebrate it, thank it for what it can do!
  3. Pick a program if you are just starting out. Having something to follow, and an end to a challenge or program can really help beginners and the more advanced alike. But especially beginners, who could feel lost if they just decide to go for it and “exercise”; that’s pretty broad. Start with a 30-day challenge and build from there! I’ve enjoyed Jillian Michaels 30 day shred, P90X (90 days, not 30), Bikini Beach Body (again, longer challenge, but great), all the Yoga with Adriene 30 day Challenges, and others.
  4. Take a “during” photo before starting a new program. Let me explain. I don’t really like “before and after”, because it sometimes seems that it is saying that “before” is lesser, and that your life or body wasn’t good “before”. When in fact, your body is always in progress. It’s always “during” because we are always living our lives, and having experiences which shape us (physically and mentally). But seeing progress is so very motivating, so photos are important.
  5. I think even more important than photos, is to write a journal entry before (and during) a fitness program. Write how to feel, your energy levels, skin condition, digestion, any flare-up of illnesses, mental health, etc. How you feel is key, and improved health is the goal of exercise. Seeing a change in that area will also be very motivating. It has been for me.
  6. Last but not least, check with your doctor. I know, I know, you’ve heard this and it seems silly, but it’s important to have regular check-ups (nurse here). Do you need to ask your doctor if you can start taking walks and doing yoga if you’ve recently seen her or him for a checkup? No (in my opinion). But if you haven’t been in a while, or want to start a really intense new program, just hop in to make sure everything is running smoothly.

*Phew*, long post, but I wanted to really get into some ideas to help you start a fitness challenge! I’ll be doing my own this month, as I really want to “fall back in love” with working out and getting stronger. Whatever you decide to do, we can do it together and motivate each other. Namaste, and go lift! 😉

StockSnap_V9CXAKJ0AB.jpg

7 Ways To Make Yoga A Lifestyle

YogaLifetyle

I still consider myself a “novice yogi” (that is a total oxymoron). I am by no means an expert, and yoga is something that should be constantly practiced and improved upon. It’s a lifestyle, and one that I want to try to adopt, rather than just “doing yoga”. This month is a refresh and restart on my yoga and goals, to hopefully find a good middle ground, where my yoga practices becomes second nature. This will require a few things on my part, and for anyone looking to bring yoga into their everyday life. Here are 7 ways to make yoga a lifestyle, not just “a thing you do occasionally”.

  1. Make a special place for your practice. This can be as simple as a corner in a bedroom were you roll out your mat, or a dedicated room full of yoga and meditation equipment. Wherever you practice, make sure it a clean, calm, and comfortable. See my little yoga space here, and Kristin’s here.
  2. Find a teacher that you connect with. This can be a small local yoga studio teacher, someone at a large complex, or a youtube guru. Everyone has a different style and speed. Find someone that works with you and your lifestyle, and you are more likely to stick with it.
  3. Integrate meditation into yoga practice. This might not seem like it is everyones cup of tea, but meditation is an important part of wholistic yoga practice. Taking a few extra moments in shavasana, taking a “time out” for 5 minutes in the middle of a busy work day, or reciting a dedicated mantra for 10-15 minutes a day can be the key to bringing yoga inward, and feeding the soul (the soul gets hungry and needs nourishment!).
  4. Try to do yoga every day. I know, this doesn’t seem very balanced to have to do something everyday, but doing yoga for a shorter amount of time every day is better than doing hours of yoga at a time, but not very often (in my opinion). I am a fan of short 15-20 minute yoga practices when I don’t have a lot of extra time, or even just a quick sun salutation flow on a Sunday when I usually would rest from extra activities. Consistency breeds habit.
  5. Find a yoga friend. We all know that having a friend to support you in a goal makes things easier. You don’t have to do yoga together every day, or ever ever, but taking about it and sharing experiences can be enriching.
  6. Keep a journal of the benefits you see from practicing. Writing down how you feel, changes in your body, changes in your mindset, etc will be motivating to keep moving forward. Find a pretty notebook, or just open up a new note in your phone. Either one works!
  7. Take yoga off the mat, and into everyday life. What you do off the mat is just as important, if not more so, than what you do on it. Practicing mindfulness, being kind to yourself and others, forgiving, protecting your body, being happy with what you have, and finding inner strength, are all positive aspects of yoga to practice off the mat.

 

These are just the beginning in a of a myriad of ways to implement yoga into your life. Yoga is very personal, so get on your mat, start, and make it your own.

 

-Rachael

Welcome to January’s Challenge

Yoga and Meditation are the name of the game this month. Official challenge name: “Chillin Out Maxin, Relaxin All Cool”.

This is the perfect way to begin the year; yoga and meditation work hand-in-hand to unite body, mind, and spirit. It also just feels freaking great. If we can get into good habits of daily yoga, and figure out how to implement meditation in an attainable way, then the rest of the year will undoubtedly go smoother. That’s just one of the many benefits of yoga — it centers you.

—————————————-

Here are a few of our favorite resources we are starting this month with. More to come as we continue to research and learn more!

YouTube–Yoga with Adriene-She is a yoga goddess, so approachable, with high quality and free videos. Try her 30 day of yoga challenges! They are a fantastic way to build your practice, and get in the habit of daily yoga.

Apps- Headspace and Smiling Mind. Both are guided meditation apps we have used and enjoyed. Again, approachable to the “every day” type person.

Videos-My personal favorite is Rodney Yee abs videos. So good for the core!

Did you know that many yoga studios in your community will offer one or more free classes for you to try before buying a pass, or more classes? This is a great way to find a fit before you commit.

——————————————-

We will write a full post of resources later this month, to let you know what we have discovered and learned. We love to hear your favorites too, so comment below and let everyone know! We want this to be a community of sharing, and learning from each other.

Happy 2018, and happy meditating! (and Yoga-ing? 😉

StockSnap_D8SW90PLFX