This past week in wellness, my bread intake got out of control. I’ve been existing on Vegemite toast and deli sandwiches and very few green things in between. There are numerous reasons, ranging from a lack of time and willpower to an abundance of stress (carbs = comfort). The upside is that right now I’m feeling super motivated to find quick ‘n easy ‘no cook’ vegetable and protein-heavy lunches and snacks, which is something many of you have voiced interested in as well. I’ll talk about that next week!
Let’s talk about the 30 Day Ab Challenge. Have you been doing it? How’s it going? Tell me everything. (And if you haven’t been doing it but you want to, download the app).
It’s still kicking my ass. Although, on a positive note, at least there’s no more ab pain. It’s Day 14 which means 65 sit-ups, 85 crunches, 42 leg raises and a 55 second plank. Most of those numbers are still unachievable, so I’ve continued cheating my ass off by doing things like using a workout mat as leverage during leg raises. Except the crunches! I only struggle with crunches a little, which makes me think I’m not doing them right? But I don’t know! I’ve been watching YouTube videos and can’t tell if I’m doing something differently to the fitness pros.
For the record, I don’t feel bad about cheating / ‘adapting’. Doing this challenge, even half-assedly, has made core strength exercise part of my (almost) daily routine and my capacity for it is gradually increasing. I’m not hitting targets and sometimes my form is questionable so I’m still pretty stoked.
Here’s what’s been working and not working for me this week:
One of you cool cats mentioned an app called Stop, Breathe & Think. I wrote down the name for my gal pal, who’s been curious about meditation, and definitely not for my own use, nope. I like to deal with stressful situations and emotions by blocking out their existence completely, so any activity that has the potential to open up my brain spaces and lower my guard terrifies me. Sadly, though, my stress levels are reaching stratospheric heights and suppressing my freak out feelings just doesn’t work anymore. My sleep, job, mood and relationship are all being hit in little to big ways, so in a desperate grab for some chill, I downloaded this app and gave it a try.
I’m loving it SO hard. There’s a list of meditation programs that you select from, based on your current mental state or the one you’d like to achieve.
It’s magical. I press ‘play’, shut my eyes, and then six minutes later it’s like I’m floating on a cloud and don’t have a problem in the world. I genuinely feel as though I’ve never truly relaxed before, and possibly that’s because there’s never been a woman telling me to let my tension float away in calm, soothing tones.
Do you meditate using any kind of online resource or app? I’d love to hear about it.
Working: Exercising at home
The ab challenge has inspired me to start utilising my bedroom as a workout space more often. I usually spend my entire weekend indoors writing and Skyping, so I’m hoping that video workouts might be an easy way to make those days at home far more active.
Do you do workouts at home? What video channels or websites do you use? I’ve only just started looking. So far I’m enjoying FitnessBlender.com, which was recommended by reader Stefany. It has decent library of free workout videos that you can sort through using search criteria like difficulty level, equipment needed, calorie burn, time, and so on.
The tricky part has been finding the right videos for my fitness level and space. I don’t have any equipment, plus I’m living on a fourth-floor apartment so I can’t do workouts involving too much jumping or noise-making. Sadly ‘no jumping’ isn’t a search filter and so it takes a little digging to find suitable videos.
This is the cardio workout that I’ve been doing this week. What I love is that the instructor gives lower intensity substitutes to the high impact moves, which makes me feel more capable as a beginner. It doesn’t feel like a light workout, though; I’ve been playing the video straight after my ab challenge and at the end I’m totally smashed.
What I don’t love is that I can hear my hips and knees popping and creaking whenever I do any exercise that involves lifting my knee to waist height. Is that normal? Does it happen to you? Real questions, someone please put my mind at ease. My quads have also been aching for days now. I don’t know if audible popping and muscle pain is a sign that my body needs these exercises, or a sign that I should avoid them. Thoughts?
Not working: Germ-free hydration
When I joined the gym I purchased a Camelbak Eddy water bottle. It was my first non-disposable water bottle and a total dream to drink from; I most likely doubled my average daily water intake overnight. Just. Like. That.
There was a downside, though. It was impossible to clean. I put it in the dishwasher on the reg and sanitised it in boiling water and even replaced the lid and mouth piece a couple of times. AND YET I still found nasty residue inside that I assume is bacteria and/or mould. I had to stop using it because I became too paranoid about making myself sick.
Has anyone else had this experience with Camelbak? My gal pal doesn’t wash hers even half as obsessively as I washed mine and yet hers is sparkling clean, I even made her do a Q-tip swipe test over Skype to prove it because I’m a delight to date. So, I don’t know what’s up. Maybe Sydney’s water supply?
Anyway, I set fire to my germ bottle and purchased a Brita Fill & Go sports bottle. It has a filter attached to the mouthpiece which totally satisfies my new water bottle germ phobia but requires way too much suction for me to stay adequately hydrated while exercising. In short, it’s a perfect work bottle but a terrible workout bottle.
What water bottle do you use? If you have any good recs then please let me know!
How has your past week in wellness been? Is your body feeling well nourished and temple-esq? Are there any triumphs or challenges that you want to talk about or get advice on? Let us know in the comments. Also, don’t forget that the Working On It social group exists and you can join it here.
Also, also! After our discussion about Fitbits last week, commenter Sarah set up an Autostraddle group for any Fitbit users who want to participate in group challenges. This is the direct link. You need a Fitbit account to view the group, however owning a Fitbit is not required to create one.
Coming up next week: I’m going to try and conquer my epic bread addiction and figure out some quick and healthy meals and snacks.