Making the time instead of finding the time to get out and get active in your life!

 

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When I talk to people about living an active lifestyle, the number one reason they typically find being more active unattainable is because they don’t have the time. Did you know that 50 percent of Americans are not meeting the minimal 150 minutes of exercise a week and 31 percent are even exercising at all? We live very busy lives that include early mornings, long workdays, and late evenings with little time to sit back and relax let alone have spare energy to exercise even if time does allow. Coming from someone who constantly strives to keep myself busy, I get this idea of not having enough time. By the time I get home, I would love nothing more than to sit back, open a bag of pita chips and hummus, devour the Easter candy I have on the top shelf of my closet, and watch back to back episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Sometimes the last thing I want to do is lace up my running shoes, head to the gym and find the energy to kick my own toosh. But here’s the thing, taking care of our body and giving it the proper nutrients as well as exercise that it needs on a regular basis is fundamental for everything else in our lives to run smoothly and for a more positive and optimistic perspective on life.

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It’s also essential for us to simply go on living our lives. More than 1.3 million deaths could be avoided simply by one quarter of inactive adults obtaining a more active lifestyle. So how do I fit in living an active lifestyle even with a packed schedule throughout the day? I make it a priority and I either schedule my workouts around my busy day or I incorporate activity into my daily routines. noexcuses

Maybe you’re a morning person, or maybe your ability to enable any coordination between your lower and upper body doesn’t quite kick in until later in the day. You could simply just have no time what so ever and the last thing you want to do is find yourself enclosed in an atmosphere full of sweaty, smelly people. Here are a few tips that may help you to incorporate a more lifestyle, because after all, we’re only given one body and it’s our responsible to give it the love and appreciation that it needs to ensure us it functions properly for a long, happy life. Screen-shot-2011-11-01-at-5_38_55-PM

The Excuse: I’m too tired by the end of the day

“I have long days and by the time I get off of work I just want to sit down. I have no energy and am left with no motivation!”

The Solution: Get it in early

I know it’s tough, trust me. My 5:15 am wakeup calls are the worst some mornings. But there are ways to ease into it and tricks to getting going. Plus, you will start to feel much more energized during the day and you may also find that you make healthier decisions overall throughout the day because of the endorphins your body will be running off of.
Helpful Tips:

-Lay out everything you will need the night before. (I talk about this a little in an entry about gearing up for cold weather runs.) This includes your clothing, gear, shoes, keys, water, if you need a snack, absolutely anything. If it takes having your alarm be a certain message of motivation to get you going or a specific song as your alarm to motivate you then do it!

-Go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night as this will make an early morning wakeup call easier.

-Lay out in your mind, or write it down on a sheet of paper, exactly what you are going to do. 20 minutes of cardio followed by weights, a circuit, early morning spin class, whatever your preference is. Then set it in your mind that you will be waking up and there will not be any hesitation getting out the door. Trust me, you will feel so much better once you’re out the door and moving.

-Follow it up with a simple breakfast on the go if you don’t have enough time to make breakfast. Try a protein shake with a banana or apple, toast with hard boiled eggs, or one of my latest favorite quick breakfasts, prot-meal! (Recipe to come later this week, it’s amazing and such a quick easy way to get a good breakfast in.)

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The Excuse: I am not a morning person and once I go home I’m not leaving

“I can barely get myself together let alone tell a treadmill from an elliptical at 5:30 in the morning! And don’t even try to get me off my comfy couch and into a pair of running shoes once I’m settled at home.”

The Solution: Exercise as soon as you get done with work and before going home

Helpful tips:

-Get your gym bag together the night before with everything you’ll need to workout so you don’t have to go back home to grab it.

-Bring an apple or cup of carrots and peanut butter to munch on between work and working out. These both will give you a little bit of energy without making you feel weighed down during your workout.

-Go straight from work to the gym or wherever you choose to to get your exercise in. Even going through Starbucks to get coffee or the store to get something to eat before working out can set you back be an excuse to just go back home. If you have any errands to do, leave them for after the workout. That way nothing will steer you away from your workout.

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The Excuse: I simply don’t have time and I don’t like going to the gym

“You don’t understand, I literally have no time to workout. Besides, if I do have even 20 minutes to exercise, I don’t want to waste it at a gym.”

The Solution: Find ways to trick yourself into exercising

-For all you How I Met Your Mother fans out there, “I hate it when people misuse the phrase ‘literally’!” If you make it a priority, you have time.

-Sneak in exercise throughout the day. One thing that I’ve learned from living in the city is that walking does a body good and it is probably the easiest way to get more physical activity into your life. A study done by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people who walk are three times more likely to get in the government’s recommended physical activity. Try walking whenever possible or adding in exercises when you’re doing things around the house. Calve raises while you’re doing the dishes. Squat while you’re getting ready in the morning. Tighten your stomach muscles when sitting at work or waiting in line at the grocery store. Is the grocery store within a mile of your house? You could probably walk there and carry your groceries home (Ideal for small trips, but if you go every few days it makes for a great full body workout. I once saw a girl carrying her Trader Joe bags and doing bicep curls while walking home. Impressive!)

-Make it a game. There are some great WII games out there and other videos that make exercising fun.

-Grab a friend. Or your kids, spouse, dog, and go to the park or take a walk somewhere. That way you’re spending quality time with someone and getting in your daily activity. A study done by University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine found spending time our fluffy friends can help lower blood pressure, release the feel good hormones serotonin and oxytocin, and decreases stress levels. 

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The Excuse: I’m way too busy

“Even if I wanted to make it into the gym, I don’t have a consistent schedule and every day is too chaotic to figure out when to workout.”

The Solution: Schedule ahead of time, and stick to it

Helpful tips:

-First off, you’ve got to get a day planner or use one of the handy dandy apps available on your phone to get your life together! There is no way I would be able to function without a daily schedule as mine has always been all over the place. I feel your pain!

-Next, sit down and see what your time frames look like throughout the day. Which days can you fit in a morning workout? Are you going to have to bring your workout attire with you to go after work? Can you squeeze in a walk on your lunch break? Are there any classes offered during any of your free slots? Then, actually mark in your schedule when you are going to get your exercise in and specify what it is. I have reminders that pop up in my phone for the times I’ve designated for my workouts and I can’t tell you how helpful it has been to keep me on track and manage my time.

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Any other excuses I can address? It’s not about finding the time, it’s about making the time. Remember, have fun with it! You’re not going to find it easy to add exercise and activity if you don’t enjoy it, reward yourself, and switch it up from time to time.

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I had to end with a little humor of course! Set your goals, work your way up, and treat yourself from time to time for overcoming challenges and making your life a healthier one.

 

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Lessons Learned in a New York Minute (or over the extent of a quarter of a year spent in NY)

As individuals, we are constantly growing, changing, and learning lessons about life no matter what situation we’re put in. However, upon my 3 month anniversary of living in the city, I feel as if I have learned much about the city lifestyle which has translated into many life lessons. I’ve also included one of the most important lessons I’ve learned followed with a breakfast that helps get me through even my most chaotic mornings on the run!

After compiling all that I’ve learned and thinking about everything I’ve experienced over the last few months, I’ve realized you don’t know just how much you are falling in love with a place until you imagine moving away from it and all that you’ll leave behind.

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Viewing the City Through the Lens of an Outsider

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Stop and Smell the Roses. An over used yet under utilized phrase.  It’s easy in life to get whisked away in our own chaos of our busy schedules while focusing on getting from point a to point b. In the city, this notion is amplified to the point where it’s easy to shut yourself out from everything going on around you just to make it to the next train or complete the next task or the next destination. If you’re too busy focusing on getting to the next place you don’t realize all that you could be missing around you. Like the fact that you’ve been on the heels of Neil Patrick Harris for the last 10 minutes and it took a guy screaming like a little girl for you to realize one of the top 5 people you would absolutely love to meet in life I standing right in front of you. Stop and smell the roses, or Neil Patrick Harris, whichever makes you look less (or more so) like a crazy person. But at least you’ll be a crazy person embracing life!

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Oh, we will meet again. And I will be that crazy, obsessed fan squeezing in a picture!

If you are in a hurry and want to get through a big crowd of people, simply walk with a purpose and look about 20 feet ahead of you in the direction you want to go. This will avoid that awkward dancing shuffle when someone is trying to get around you. Still, try not to be in a hurry, it’s no beuno.

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Be aware of your surroundings at all times and be conscious of the people around you.

You learn that even in a city of over 8,000,000 people you can feel completely alone at times. But at the same time, you also feel surrounded by people who you can completely relate to and connect with. It’s a strange concept, but smile and say hello to a stranger and you’ll see why.

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New York is the best place to be in love. Not just with a person, though it is wonderful to share with a loved one, but with life in general. If you walk around with the most upbeat and positive attitude, it’s amazing how quickly that rubs off on others and how optimistic the city feels. On the other hand, it’s one of the worst places to be in a terrible mood and hating life as this rubs off just as easy and spreads like a bad virus. With that being said, you never know when someone is going to randomly say something that completely turns around your day. With a higher population of people, the higher the chances are that this will happen!

I can’t lie and say a 3,000 mile relationship is easy. I miss my friends and family every single day and see and do many things that I wish they could be here for. You do find that you get very creative with the ways you communicate and maintain these relationships though. Picture text messages, snail mail, online cribbage, and still finding a way to build upon these relationships have made my connections even stronger and made me all the more appreciative of those who surround me from even thousands of miles away. 

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                       —Emma Straub

It’s okay to live with someone you met on Craigslist. Not everyone you meet on Craigslist is a serial killer and out to take your identity. This was actually probably one of the best things to happen to me upon moving to the city. It’s also okay to meet up with someone you met over Facebook, they just may make your transition to NYC a whole lot easier.

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I’ve been advised to not talk to strangers and avoid all eye contact. Especially on the train. My roommate still looks at me like I’m about to get us beaten up when I talk to people we don’t know on the Subway, but it sure makes for an interesting ride and you never know what you’re going to find out about them!

Yoga has been my way of finding peace and relaxation. My first few days practicing yoga here I realized you find a different strength in meditation as it’s very difficult to focus with all the honking and city noises going on outside. If you can shut it all out for that hour and a half you know you got in a good practice.

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My sanctuary

Avoid US Post Offices, except the Grand Central Station one. All others, prepare to get an earful about how incompetent you are. 

At the same time, remember your manners. No matter how unpleasant someone is or how rushed you are. All I can say is Karma. And I have seen both the pleasant side of Karma and the not so pleasant side. Good Karma = Woman pays for you to get to your train after you incorrectly use your last ride. Bad Karma = 1 Train is down for investigation and you’re already running late…oh and your taxi can’t even get you there on time because there’s a Greek Parade going on in Central Park and roads are shut down. Karma likes to payback through transportation in the city.

Look up parade routes. Knowing this schedule will save you a 45 minute taxi that should have originally been 15 minutes. And could also get you free candy.

I have a new nickname and am no longer spud (though I love my spud nickname because it reminds me of home) and not Miss Idaho or Miss America (since few people know that about me here)…my new nickname is “The Terminator” because they say I bring it when I work out and am like the Terminator. Ironic because this was also one of the first movies my parents took me to as a child thinking I would sleep through it. Little did they know I was taking notes on how to be like “Ahnald” Schwarzenegger. “I’ll be bahck.”

Touch gloves are a lifesaver in the winter.

Amazon, should be renamed “Ama-zing”. I’m quite sure I’m not the first one to discover this oh so clever realization. But seriously, you can order everything from a portable closet to tuna fish to yoga mats to a penny on sale for a penny. But it’s eligible for free super saver shipping!

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                                          On Commuting

I’m pretty proud of myself for becoming familiar with the difference between a 1 train to a 3 train and the A train to the B train. However, I still get in the habit of getting overconfident and hopping on a train without checking to see if it’s headed uptown or downtown. Uptown B takes you in a completely different area than the downtown B. I guess this goes along with slowing down and taking the time to notice what’s going on around you.TrustoCorpSubwayNYC5

Always carry a book with you, you never know when there will be a delay and you’re stuck waiting 20 plus minutes for the next train. Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a great one to carry with you. Light, easy to read, but warning, could cause those around you to think you’re slightly chaotic as you laugh randomly and frequently. Or try The Red Leather Diary, though this one is easy to become absorbed in and accidently walk onto the wrong train. Oops. At least you have a good book on hand while you backtrack!

Texting while walking is often more dangerous than texting and driving. You wouldn’t stop in the middle of the road to pull out your phone, take a picture, or text? So you shouldn’t do this while walking.

There’s the most pleasant man every morning in Grand Central Station who hands out the Metro Newspaper. I see him at the end of my commute after I’ve had to deal with people pushing and shoving and trains being delayed. I always make a point of going out of my way to walk through his doors just so I can see his smiling face and hear him say “Good morning metro, good moooorning. Have a lov-el-eeee day.” And give one of the best smiles that just beams back at you. So simple, but the one morning he wasn’t there I realized just how much of a difference he made in making my morning commute enjoyable.

Take the time to listen and enjoy the entertainers while in the subway. Some are absolutely amazing. Others, like the elderly man with the out of tune guitar who thinks he is Elvis, are simply entertaining.

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Walking one mile to go to the grocery store is nothing. Depending on how good the freshly made bread pudding is at Whole Foods, walking almost 2 miles may not even be that far.

Black ice, is unforgiving.

Food

There are no such thing as calories in the city. You eat when you’re hungry, which is all the time since you’re constantly on the go and moving around. That being said, I always carry an apple and some sort of protein bar in my purse because you never know when a train is going to be delayed and you are going to be starvin’ Marvin and trying to resist the temptation of grabbing salted caramel frozen yogurt.

That brings me to my next lesson. I learned I’m not only obsessed with salted caramel chocolates. But salted caramel frozen yogurt is to d-i-e for. Thank goodness calories don’t exist here, right??l

If Luke wasn’t the love of my life, Eli would be a close second due to Eli Bakery’s best scones in the city. Don’t second guess how this is life impacting. Scones are loaded with fat, so if you’re going to make a splurge decision, might a well make it a good one. Why would you waste it on a bad one? That goes for a lot in life. If you’re not enjoying something, then why waste your time?

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Never, ever shop at Trader Joes on the 1st of the month. Never. Even if your fridge is bare and you have hunger pains in your stomach. If you do make this mistake, you will know immediately when you see the line out the door which should be a sign to you to take the night off and go out to eat. I highly recommend the Hummus Kitchen. Oye. Yum.

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Looks like fun, right? I enjoy the people at Trader Joe’s though. The clientele seems to have a very unique and friendly persona about them.

If a sign says “Taste of China Town, $1” and leads you down a weird alley. Don’t do it. First off, it’s a weird alley. Second, it won’t be the kind of taste of China you want to actually taste. Go get a dollar’s worth of frozen salted caramel yogurt instead.

You can make cookies in a microwave. Due to a non-functional oven, I’ve learned many a shortcuts and tricks in the kitchen.

One of the other things I’ve learned…..

my obsession with protein pancakes has helped me make it through many long, packed days in the city. The perfect food to get enough carbs in me to get the brain juices flowing, energy to keep running, loaded with protein….and they are simply delicious! Today’s concoction is a chocolate coconut protein pancake. Sounds as if it’s too good to be true right?

 

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Chocolate Coconut Protein Pancakes
2 egg whites
1/2 of a banana (the more ripe, the better as they are a little sweeter then)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 tbsp chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp oats
1 tbsp shredded coconut flakes
1 tbsp dried cranberries

If you want to get real crazy you can add in some dark chocolate chips or even some coconut. Mix the dry ingredients first and then the wet ingredients and combine together to ensure a nice consistency. Top with sliced almonds and agave nectar for a little extra dazzle.
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The biggest lesson I’ve learned was recently through a presentation from Kathryn Budig. She discussed her transition moving to LA and living there and the moving to Florida. I found I could relate to many of her stories and something she said has resonated with me. “There’s something beautiful about the unknown, because it means there is endless potential full of infinite possibilities.”

My internship at Women’s Health is going to be wrapping up in the next month and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunities that I have with Rodale so far. But it has also left me feeling anxious, confused, and overwhelmed with the possibilities of what can happen next. I’m focusing on enjoying where I’m at right now, but realizing that not knowing what exactly I’m going to be doing in a month is terrifyingly liberating. Which may sound unpleasant, but at the same time leaves the imagination to eagerly wonder what awaits when the next door opens. 3eaf39b9e2ee462023e77f7eb3369568

What is a lesson you’ve learned in the last 3 months or during an experience you had when you went outside your comfort zone?

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