I made the decision last week to start a fitness challenge. It's 5000 squats, and 1000 push-ups in one month. Now, for a girl like me.. that's a big decision. But, I'm in a group of about a dozen other people. We're there to hold each other accountable, and more importantly, encourage and inspire! And, having them with me on this journey has really made all the difference.
The first couple of days were BRUTAL! Sore isn't even the word. But, I took the advice of my more experienced teammates, and stretched more, drank more water, and ate a banana after each set.
So, here's the regimen. It starts off at a reasonable, yet still challenging pace, and increases daily. What I noticed is, after the first few days, doing more wasn't "easier" but it was easier to push myself to do more. We're only in the second week, but I've already noticed my posture has improved, my (CHRONIC) back pain has lessened, and my overall mood has improved. I will say that it's best if you're able to keep moving throughout the day. Sitting still for too long will make your muscles pretty stiff. So, if you decide to take on this (or any) fitness challenge, make sure you at least stretch throughout the day.
*Obviously, as with any change in diet or exercise, consult with your physician first!
I've also had to make some really difficult adjustments to my diet. Now, I'm not making a ton of changes all at once, because I want to set myself up to succeed. Not to fail. So, my first big demon is sugar. I am addicted to sugar. And sugar substitutes. And, soda is the worst. I'm embarrassed to admit that I would drink a 2-liter of soda per day. And, would tell myself "there's water in soda, so I do drink water."
The lies we tell ourselves. Amirite? So, anyway. I did try straight up water. It felt like drinking air. And, tbh made me feel bloated all the time. I then tried fruit infused water. Sure, I love fruit. But, again.. something was missing.
The thing I love about soda is that bite in the back of my throat. It's a bite that hurts so good! So, if I was going to succeed, I was going to have to find something that gave me that satisfied feeling like the bite of soda.
Now, I've noticed the big rise in flavored sparkling waters. So, I tried a few... To be perfectly candid, they tasted like sparkling air, with a twist of lime (or whatever fruit). Really not my cup of tea. But, it did get me thinking. What can I do that gets me off the cola, but that I can tolerate until I can eventually get to straight water. (Like I said, I'm setting myself up for success. And, knowing myself, if I went straight for just water, I would fail. Years of experience has told me this)
So, here's what I've been drinking. Plain seltzer water with a squeezy flavor enhancer. Just a couple of small squeezes, and it tastes just like a flavored soda, but without the large quantities of garbage, including caffeine. And, if I feel like being fancy, I'll add fresh (or frozen) fruit, and a sprig of mint or rosemary. Depending on the flavor I'm using.
Now, there are dozens of articles all over the internet about which type of "sparkling water" is the best. You can decide for yourselves. The biggest difference I've seen between seltzer and sparkling water (as defined by the FDA) is vitamin content. But, I prefer to get my vitamins and minerals from fresh food. That's my personal choice. Again, it can't be stressed enough, *decisions about your health are between you and your doctor. I'm just telling you about what is working for me.
In any event, here is a great place to find water enhancers. And, here is a great place to find the carbonated or sparkling water that's right for you.
Now, in addition to finding new ways to improve my health, I'm always looking for new ways to save, and bring in extra income. So, here are a couple of ways to combine both!
SweatCoin - With sweatcoins, you earn by walking. It tracks your steps, similarly to a fitbit, but from your phone. And, you can redeem your sweatcoins for real stuff! Goods, services and experiences ranging from high-tech shoes to iPhones, from anti-gravity yoga classes to Apple Watches. You even have the option to donate to various crowdfunded non-profit campaigns. You can earn additional sweatcoins by referring your friends! "We want a healthier you on a healthier planet. We achieve this by converting your outdoor steps into a currency to spend on cool products and services"
To sign up for SweatCoin, click here!
The other way I save & earn is through Rakuten. Formerly Ebates. I can find deals on fitness gear, or memberships online from places like Groupon, Walmart, Target, Nike, and more. And, Rakuten will put a percentage back into my account. Just for signing up today, you'll receive a $10 sign on bonus!
You'll also earn $25 bonus for each friend who signs up through your invite link! And these bonuses are unlimited! Click here to start saving and earning with Rakuten!
Making any change to our lifestyles can be so difficult.
Hopefully these little tips and incentives can inspire someone out there to make even the smallest change for the better to their daily routine.
I can't wait to see what new tips, tricks, and savings I find along this journey!!
Until next time..
The Frugal Ninja