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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

There are tons of articles telling you to exercise first thing in the morning, teaching you how to become a morning person, etc. None of those tips or arguments have ever worked for me personally. Ever since I started being more physically active, I’ve always prefered to exercise in the afternoon or at night.

Here are a few reasons why I’d rather workout at night.

Job schedule

I need to be at the office before 8 am, the earlier the better. Some of my co-workers even arrive at 6 am! That means I usually leave the house between 7:00 to 7:15 am. So in order to squeeze in a workout before that, I’d have to get up very, very early. On the other hand, thanks to my work schedule, I normally get to leave the office before 5 pm, which gives me plenty of time to hit the gym or go for a run in the summer months.

More energy at night

Some people happily jump out of bed full of energy at 5 am, way before the sun is up. I’m not one of them. I’ve always been a night owl. I have way more energy at night than in the morning. My co-workers know by now that they’d better not talk to me before 8 am, as my brain is just not functioning properly before that. Same is true for my body. Sometimes I feel like I’m moving in slow-motion.

After work stress release

While my job is usually not that stressful, I do have bad days once in a while. A quick jog or bike ride, a calm pilates or yoga class, or a cheerful Zumba class are the best way I can think of to instantly boost my mood and balance out my stress levels.

First work than play

I probably have to thank my grandma for that attitude. For me personally, exercise is play! It’s fun, it’s ‘me time’, and I just enjoy doing something healthy for my body and soul. Working out even feels like a reward sometimes, not a chore.

Go all out

Exercising after work also means that I can use up all my energy. I can totally exhaust myself, because all I need to do after my workout is taking a shower, grabbing dinner or a late night snack, and relax on the couch. To me, that sounds so much better than a full day of work at the office.

In the end, it totally doesn’t matter when or how you exercise, as long as you regularly move your body, preferably in a way that you enjoy.

Do you rather exercise in the morning or at night?

See you!

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Choose Happiness

Hello my dear readers!  
My holiday blogging break turned out much longer than I originally intended. Sorry for that!
I just wanted to get out a quick post to let you know that I’m still alive and well. Sort of.
To be honest, the past few weeks/months have been very hard for me. I don’t want to get into details because they are very personal and I prefer this blog to be a positive place. In short, I have been struggling with some dark, negative thoughts and feelings for quite a while. Things got worse and worse, including a serious health scare right before New Year’s Eve (not me!).
Life knocked me down, but I refuse to stay down!
So I’ve decided on a simple but powerful New Year’s Resolution: Choose happiness!
Whenever I notice negative, gloomy thoughts creeping up, I consciously choose to be happy, even if I have to pretend at that moment. I’ve put together a list of actions, that I believe will help me feel better.  
Move back to my hometown.
I’ve mentioned before that I currently live in a tiny remote village. There’s no gym, no mall, no movie theater, no public transportation. We have one restaurant, one café, and two grocery stores. That’s all! Looking back I think that moving here was not a good idea. I just can’t find any friends, there is nothing fun to do, and I often feel lonely and bored. My hometown is by no means a big city, but has way more options, and some of my friends and family members still live there.  
Be more social.
At the moment, being alone is not good for me. So I’ll try to spend as much time as possible either at the gym or with my friends. In order to do that, I’ll have to drive around a lot, which is expensive in Germany, but I’ll take it.  
Exercise several times a week.
Physical activity helps me maintain a healthy and fit body, but it also improves my mental and emotional state. Those exercise endorphines are real! My co-workers have been nagging me to start running with them again. I’m thinking about it.  
Revive old hobbies.
I used to love reading and crafting, especially knitting and crocheting. I haven’t done any of that in ages. I thought that I don’t have enough time, but I’ve realized that I just have to make time for things that are important to me. Even if it’s just 10 minutes every night before I go to bed.  
So, what about the blog? I honestly don’t know right know. I love blogging! I love writing, chatting with you guys, talking about food, exercise, and health, being part of an awesome community, etc. There are still a couple of recipes and group fitness class reviews that I’d like to share, but I have no idea how to fit it all in. I want to create quality content and not simply post for the sake of posting. That means that I will probably publish fewer and shorter posts for a while, especially now that I’m looking for a new appartment.  

Tell me, what makes you happy right now?

See you! Sue  

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A Typical Day

I always enjoy reading about other bloggers‘ daily lives and schedules, so I decided to write my own version.

This is what a typical weekday looks like for me:

6:00 am – Get up!

My alarm goes off, I resist the urge to hit snooze, and drag my booty out of bed. I drink a glass of water and start my usual morning routine: taking a quick shower, brushing my teeth, putting in contacts, getting dressed, putting on make-up. Okay, I also check emails, Facebook, Feedly, etc.

7:00 am – Commute to work

I’m not a morning person, so I’m moving rather slowly in the morning. When I finally look kind of presentable, I grab my food (breakfast, lunch, and snacks, all prepared the night before) from the fridge and leave the house.

What I've been reading lately

What I’ve been reading lately

7:30 am – Arrive at work

The first thing I do after arriving at my desk is grabbing a cup of coffee. I eat breakfast while checking work emails. I’m slowly waking up for real. My co-workers know very well that they shouldn’t talk to me before 8 am.

11:30 am – Lunch break

Sometimes I use my lunch break to walk to a nearby grocery store to grab a few things. That’s also a great opportunity to move my legs and get some fresh air. Afterwards, I have lunch with my co-workers at our break room. I still get some strange looks and snarky comments because of the ‘weird rabbit food’ that I eat.

The view from my office is quite nice sometimes

The view from my office is quite nice sometimes

12:30 am – Back to work

More work, more coffee, and some snacks to get me through the afternoon.

5:00 pm – Feierabend!

This is one of my favorite German words. It means ‘end of work/time to party’. 😉

I either run some errands and/or go to the gym after work. I prefer to work out at night, it’s like a treat after sitting on my butt and staring at a computer screen all day long.

My gym bag and water bottle

My gym bag and water bottle

5:30 pm – Gym time

My new gym offers some really great group fitness classes. They usually start at 6 pm, so I have enough time to change and do a quick warm-up bike ride.

7:30 pm – Commute home

The traffic situation is much better at that time. I like that. A lot.

8:00 pm – Arrive at home

Finally home! I’m starving! I quickly fix myself something to eat. If I’m lucky, I have some tasty leftovers that I just need to reheat.

Pasta with eggplant tomato sauce and chickpeas

Pasta with eggplant tomato sauce and chickpeas

8:30 pm – Dinner

I normally eat my dinner on the couch while watching TV or reading blogs. Bad habit, I know. But the house feels way too quiet and lonely during the week. :/

9:00 pm – Dishes / prep work

When I’m done eating I do the dishes (still no dishwasher!), clean the kitchen, and prepare breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the next day. I also pick my outfit for the next day. My brain is mush in the morning, so I have to do all the prep work the night before.

9:30 pm – Relax / watch TV / blog stuff

Finally some down time! It feels so good to put up my feet, unwind, and do something fun. I also call my husband, who works away from home during the week.

11:00 pm – Bed time

I’m a total night owl, and often tempted to stay up until midnight reading blogs or watching YouTube videos. But I know that I need more than six hours of sleep per night to function properly.

[On non-gym days, I get home at about 6:00 pm and use the extra time to get some housework done, e.g. cleaning, laundry, batch cooking, etc.]

Looks kind of busy, right? I admit, I do feel stressed sometimes. I love my new gym and I know that exercise is important for my physical and mental health, but on gym days I feel like I don’t get anything done. Also, I make most of my food from scratch and hardly ever eat out during the week. That means I need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

I’m still looking for ways to streamline this process, like cleaning and batch cooking on Sundays, but that also means sacrificing several hours of my weekend, precious time that I’d rather spend with my husband.

This schedule is one of the reasons why I took a break from blogging. Working full-time, a long commute, regular exercise, preparing nutritious food, and caring for my family leaves very little free time. But I’m determined to fit it all in. There has to be a way!

Please share your time management tips, meal planning ideas, and quick, plant-based recipes! I really need all the help I can get!

How do you ‘fit it all in’?

See you!

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Life Lately

Usually, I only write about food, health, and maybe fitness, but today I want to get a little more personal. Here is a look at what has been going on in my life lately.

Class dismissed

Last fall I started teaching an evening class. Computer basics for elderly people, to be exact. A teacher, me!? I never thought I’d see the day. Last Monday was our last class, and while I’m thrilled to have some more free time, I’m a little bit sad, too. I loved my class! But seriously, this was way more time-consuming than I had expected! Kudos to all the full-time teachers out there!

Shake it out

My current workout routine is … heck, I don’t really have a workout routine. I’m doing Zumba every Thursday night, we go horseback riding every other weekend or so, the rest is totally random. I’d love to get back into running regularly, now that spring is finally here, and I’d love to do some strength training, too. Could someone please come over and kick my butt?

Sherlock

When it comes to discovering TV series I’m always unfashionably late. I blame it on the fact that I live in Germany, where the free TV programming sucks. There’s no other way to say it. Thankfully, I’ve finally had the chance to experience the awesomeness that is Sherlock, “a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories” (source: Wikipedia). Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are the best on-screen duo I’ve seen in a while! And I can’t wait to see Mr. Cumberbatch again in the upcoming Star Trek movie. So excited!

Be safe!

Last Saturday I went to a moral courage and self-defense seminar, held by a group of police officers. While some of the info was already familiar to me, I did learn lots of new stuff, too. I think it’s very important to know how to deal with emergency situations in a way that goes beyond first aid or martial arts techniques. The best part was when I got to shout at one of the officers. At the top of my voice! Only a few people know that I do have a rather loud voice, I just hardly ever use it. It’s a gift. Thanks, mom!

And the popcorn goes to …

I’m actually quite a movie freak. I have about half of the IMDB memorized already. That’s a pretty neat party trick. I’ve been a science fiction fan since early childhood, and lately I’ve been so excited about all the Marvel movies, especially The Avengers. That was my favorite movie of 2012, and it was nominated for several MTV Movie Awards. Sadly, I didn’t get to watch any life coverage, but I did my best to follow what was going on via Twitter. At 4 am local time. Damn you, CET! So, I’m running on very little sleep today, but it was absolutely worth it. The Avengers won Best Movie, Best Fight, and Best Villain! It’s just sad that I don’t have anyone to share my excitement with, because the people around me don’t care about those things at all. Thank the heavens for Twitter, Tumblr, and co!

What’s been going on in your life lately?

See you!

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The Gym Dilemma

Some of you might remember that I quit my gym back in January. I had grand plans to workout at home, go for a few runs around my village, attend my weekly Pilates class, etc. In reality, not much of that happened. I could list many excuses: I’ve been extremely busy working at several projects, the weather has been awful, I got sick, my Pilates trainer got sick, and so on and so forth.

Honestly, I’ve been missing the convenience of heading to the gym right after work, before I even get close to my house. I’ve noticed that it’s so hard for me to find the motivation to exercise once my butt has touched the couch. Or I see the pile of dirty dishes in my sink. It’s almost impossible!

So, why don’t I just join a new gym? Mostly it’s because of the cost. Gyms are generally quite expensive around here. Sure, you can find gyms that are only $30 per month, but they are just like my last one: no classes, no trainers, old equipment, no air condition, and you even have to pay extra to take a shower. A membership at a decent gym costs about $80 per month. And that’s for a 24 month contract, plus $130 entry fee. Yikes!

Gym fitness

(Source)

And here’s the next problem. Most gyms only offer long-term contracts. Sure, you can also get a 12 month contract, but then your monthly fee will go up to $90. Including the entry fee, that will cost me around $1200 in one year. That is a lot!

At the moment, our financial situation is quite okay, but that could change within just a few months. I have no idea if I will still be able to afford a gym membership at the end of the year.

I’ve already found a gym that looks really nice, offers interesting group fitness classes, is situated close to my workplace, and even has a sauna area. How fancy! But it’s also quite expensive.

I don’t know what to do! I hate the idea of spending so much money, but I also miss working out and feeling strong. And I know that exercising at home is harder for me because there are too many distractions.

Do you prefer working out at home or at the gym? How much would you spent on a gym membership?

See you!

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I quit the gym!

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with gyms. In the past few years I’ve tried, joined, and quit a few ones. None of them could convince me to stay.

About two years ago I joined my current gym. I had just started running and mostly wanted access to their treadmills, so I could still run during the harsh, long German winters. As our financial situation has always been quite ‘unpredictable’, I chose the cheapest gym I could find, which cost about $30 per month. Most other gyms in my area cost up to $90 per month, so I thought it was a pretty good deal, and signed a standard 24 months contract.

That gym is very close to my work place, but a 30 minute drive from my house, so I only went there during the week after leaving my office. At first I liked working out there. It was warm, dry, and safe.

Gym fitness

(Source – not my actual gym!)

But after a few months, some things started to bug me. Like the fact that you have to pay extra for a shower. Or that there are no trainers that care about you. Or that the treadmill TVs have no sound, no remote control, and are often not working at all. Or that there are no fitness classes. Or that it’s crowded with huge muscle heads and skinny Barbie dolls. Or that there is no AC, so the temperatures are unbearable during the summer months.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. I didn’t enjoy going to the gym anymore. I hate wasting money on something that I don’t like, even if it’s just a relatively small amount. So I decided to end my contract, which was actually quite easy. My membership ends in January, so I still have the opportunity to go a few more times if I really want to. And I probably will. I’m still paying the fees, after all!

But there are other activities that I enjoy a lot more! My tiny village has an adult education facility (Volkshochschule in German), which offers a decent variety of fitness classes. I didn’t like the yoga class I took two years ago, but I totally love their Zumba and Pilates classes! As you pay for each class individually, the costs quickly add up, but I’ve decided that they are worth it.

I also still love workout videos, either online or on DVDs. My favorite fitness channel on YouTube is Blogilates. I highly recommend it! Those workouts are actually quite challenging!

Workout DVDs and weights

And guess what, my husband has started running! He’s always been a very fit guy, but running was never his thing, and he prefered biking and weight training. But a few months ago he picked up running, and is now constantly asking me to run with him.

I’m also considering getting a bike trainer, as a Christmas present for myself, so that I can stay in shape for our outdoor bike rides on sunny summer Sundays.

See, you don’t really need a gym to workout! That said, I might change my mind again one day, and join another gym. But next time I’ll be way more selective, and make sure I’ll find one that I really, really love.

What’s your opinion on gyms? Love them or hate them?

See you!

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The Part-Time Vegan

I’ve been a vegetarian since December 2006. Since then my attitude towards food has changed a lot. I wrote more about those changes in my five-year veggie-versary post. During those 5+ years I’ve tried to go vegan several times. Why? First of all, I love and respect animals. All of them. And I don’t want to cause them any harm. Plus, I do believe that a plant-based diet is not only healthier for humans but also better for the environment.

(Source)

While I do enjoy vegan food a lot, I’ve always found it very hard, almost impossible, to be 100% vegan for more than a few days.

Following a meat-free diet in this part of the world is challenging, in many ways. First of all, I’m surrounded by omnivores, who strongly believe that a vegetarian or even vegan diet is unhealthy, that I’m at the risk of malnutrition, and what not. Some even think that I’m suffering from an eating disorder!

I know a total of two or three people, who are also vegetarians, but we are not close friends. I don’t know any vegans in real life. I know I shouldn’t care what others think or do, but always being the odd one is not fun at all.

Aside from that, I’ve noticed that my biggest challenges are free food and eating out. I love baked goods, especially elaborate birthday or wedding cakes (be still my heart). Unfortunately, none of them are vegan, and they are full of processed sugar and white flour. But they are so freaking delicious!

Plus, I don’t want to be that annoying person at a restaurant, that bombards the waiter or waitress with tons of questions and special orders.

I used to think that if I can’t be 100% vegan, it’s not even worth trying. Recently, I’ve changed my mind about that.

(Source)

I’m not trying to be perfect anymore! Instead, I’ll eat vegan meals and snacks as often as I can, while allowing myself to follow my cravings. So I may or may not have a piece of non-vegan cake, and I may or may not have some non-vegan ice cream on a hot day, and I may or may not order a pizza with cheese when I’m going out with my friends. I might even have scrambled or hard-boiled eggs when I’m stuck at a hotel where the vegan breakfast options are more than sad.

A few weeks ago I’ve stopped using animals products when preparing my own food, as you can see in some of my WIAW posts. I won’t call this a transitioning phase, as I’m not sure where I’m going. I also won’t call myself a vegan, as I do still occasionally consume foods that contain eggs or dairy. At the moment, I’m about 80 – 90% vegan, and that’s enough for me.

Well, this is where I stand right now. Maybe I’ll be a real vegan one day, maybe I won’t. I don’t know. But I do know that I feel absolutely amazing on a plant-based diet.

How would you describe your diet? Plant-based, paleo, omnivore?

See you!

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