Turn Your Daily Home Life Into A Workout With These Genius Ideas

The last two weeks I have been on my mid-semester break which was fantastic. I’ve been able to see my boyfriend, my cat and my family. I have been able to sleep in every day, and I have eaten a lot of Easter chocolate. Far too much. Being away from university also meant that I was not able to utilise the gym or stick to a routine. Now this is absolutely no excuse. Working out in the comfort of your own home is so easy! All you really need is a bit of space to do it. But I am notoriously lazy. I tricked myself into thinking that since I was on holiday, I didn’t need to workout. I could just relax, watch TV and hang out with my friends from home. Now that was a mistake!

I had no intention of doing any workouts. However, I did come up with some ways to exercise which meant I was still being a little active, even if it did not compare to the hour long spin or weight lifting sessions I do while at university. The below list is not a workout. It will not help you lose lots of weight or make you feel good. This list is designed for people like me who simply did not feel like doing much over their holidays but still wanted to get a bit of movement into their day. So if you fall into that category, then read on. Even if you don’t, these can be nice to include into your daily life anyway so that you can be that little bit more active.

 

Lazing at home all day? Try these
Exercising can be a struggle. Sometimes your just not in the mood. Here’s how to get active without too much effort

Get Out The Vacuum

If your house is anything like mine, it gets dirty pretty easily. That’s the problem with three younger siblings as well as a horse and chickens. If your mother is anything like mine, she sees the return of her eldest daughter from university as an extra servant. So rather than let me completely laze about, I have been using the vacuum a lot. This has its perks however, because it is a great way to get a workout in, especially if your house is pretty big.

Go Manual

Now I have a confession to make. I love using those manual hand egg beaters. The type with the handle that you pump round and round. I generally use this when I am whipping cream, but of course there are tonnes of other uses. It works similar to the hand bike that you sometimes see in a gym. I love racing myself to see how fast I can go, only stopping when the cream is whipped perfectly. This usually takes about ten minutes. I try and mix up which hand I use so they both get a bit of a workout. While this one probably isn’t practical unless you are actually using an eggbeater for something, it can be pretty fun!

Calf Raises

Before going to university this was my favourite workout. Its simple. All you do is stand and raise up onto your tip toes and then lower down again without letting your heels touch the floor. You can do them fast or slow, but they don’t require any extra equipment. Climbing the hills to university works my calves far too well, but I used to do these so often. Generally when I was waiting for something (like the microwave) or while brushing my teeth. They are so good to throw into everyday life and you can really tell if they work when you can’t walk easily the next day!

Wall Sits

These can be done in the same sorts of situations as calf raises. Generally just when you are waiting for something. This one is a bit more obvious though so perhaps not the best to do if you are out somewhere, just stick to doing it around your home. Basically you find a wall and stand in front of it, sliding down the wall as if you are sitting on an invisible chair, with your back to the wall. Don’t worry if you can’t hold them for very long at first. Practice makes perfect and all that. Or it builds muscles at least.

The Couch Superman

In case you haven’t already realised, the “couch superman” is a name I made up. Who knows what its actually called, if it even has a name. This one is simple to do when you are sitting on the couch watching TV. You sit on the edge of the couch and raise your legs up in a flat 90 degree angle  so they are straight out in front of you and not touching the floor at all. Use your muscles to keep them there!! You can even add in some variation by doing little flutter kicks

Clean Your Home

As much as you loathe them, chores are a great way to do exercise. Extra points for outside jobs, such as gardening or car washing, which are more strenuous. In fact washing the car can burn as much as 143 calories (600kj) in just thirty minutes. However, cleaning of any sort counts as exercise. Even the simple act of cleaning your room, as long as you are actually cleaning it and not just looking at all the cool stuff you’ve found.

Try A New Hairdo

We all knew this one already, but I can confirm that styling your hair does count as exercise. I heaved a sigh at that one because it turns out that I am not just weak, blow drying your hair does actually work your arm muscles. I probably still won’t blow dry my hair that often because it is far too much effort, but I included this one so we can all feel better about ourselves.

Walk the Talk

Who else randomly walks around their home while talking on the phone? Don’t ask me why I do this, especially in my house because the reception is so bad that literally I have to keep calling people back because I walk into an area without service. Awkward. However I won’t be stopping anytime soon, especially when walking allows you to get your step count up. I’ll have to try and remember this one when I am back at university because I really should call my mother more often.

 

Lazing at home all day? Try these
Exercising can be a struggle. Sometimes your just not in the mood. Here’s how to get active without too much effort

 

I will probably still complain about cleaning just as much as the next person. And I probably won’t use my hair dryer much more either. However, I will be using the rest of these as often as I can because little and often is far better than nothing. Just you wait until I get back to university and I am complaining about how unfit I am because I haven’t been properly working out in the past couple of weeks. But hey, its the holidays and this list can do me till then

Anyone else facing the same predicament? Do you have any other ideas I could use? Let me know in the comments below and we can all chat about how lazy we are, yet still be please that we are engaging in a fitness discussion. You get points for that right?

Cheers, Alura xx

How to motivate yourself to get up in the mornings and all the reasons why you should

All The Benefits to Waking Up Early + The Secret Way To Do It

I have always been a morning person. I blame my mother for this one. We used to have a rule in our house where we were only allowed to watch TV in the mornings. I think when mum developed this rule she intended it to be for about thirty minutes while we ate our breakfast.

However, she did not anticipate my brother and I getting up at 6am every day to watch cartoons before school. When I was twelve, I began 5am morning trainings. So while other teenagers where lying in bed, savouring those last few minutes before getting up for school, I was already swimming laps in the town pool. Even now, I like to wake up early. It’s a habit. A rather useful one. One I want the rest of you to develop. So read on to learn the vast benefits to waking up early and how to do it effectively to get the most out of your day.

How to motivate yourself to get up in the mornings and all the reasons why you should
Most people find waking up early a chore. Makeover your mornings and get up easy.

Benefits to Waking Up Early

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t like actually waking up or getting ready. When my alarm goes off in the morning there is nothing I would rather do than turn it off and go back to sleep. The only thing that stops me is the mere fact that I have to get up. There are too many benefits to waking up early that I don’t want to miss out on. These include…..

  • Getting up early makes you more productive.

    If you are waking up at 6am, there best be a good reason for it! I always use my mornings to go to the gym or workout, however I have also found it is a good time to study. Many people also use mornings as a way to improve their wellbeing. I haven’t really tried that yet but it is definitely something you should look into. Pick a reason to get up and use it as motivation!

  • Better Sleep Patterns.

    The thought of getting up early is a great motivator to make sure you are in bed at a reasonable hour. When I was a swimmer, I used to be in bed at 8pm every night. While I am much more relaxed about my bedtimes now, I always ensure I get at least seven hours sleep. Which means going to bed before midnight

  • More Peaceful Morning

    Very few people want to be up before the sun. Which is excellent for us morning folk. The gym is always quieter, there is barely any traffic (depending on where you live) and you don’t have to fight anyone for the shower. As a shy introvert myself, the thought of less people around is a great motivator to get up.

  • Everyone Has A Purpose

    You will not see anybody wake up at 6am and then spend the next few hours lazing around. People up at this time are healthy, motivated and energised. This makes it a great atmosphere, especially if you are feeling particularly tired. There won’t be anyone hogging the spin bikes while they sit on their phones barely pedalling. And there is not likely to be anyone around to distract you from your work, either at home or in the office.

  • Less Likely To Rush

    We’ve all been there. Woken up with only a few minutes to throw on some clothes and run out the door. For some this can even be a daily event. Not when you wake up early though. When you have several hours to get things done before work you are able to relax, take time for yourself, and feel better. Spend time making yourself a delicious healthy breakfast. Have a few extra minutes to style your hair or pick out some nice looking clothes instead of the first ones you can find. You will feel better!

All the secrets to starting your day in style
Click the image to Pin

So How Do I Get Up Early?

That’s the real question isn’t it. With over ten years of experience under my belt, I know what works for me. Play around with these ideas though. Find something that gets you up and going.

  1. Know why you are getting up and what you want to accomplish in the morning
  2. Put out everything you need the night before
  3. Make sure you get enough sleep
  4. Have a nice alarm sound
  5. Get out of bed the moment your alarm goes off-it makes it so much easier!
  6. If the sun is up then open your curtains. Natural light really helps!
  7. Keep busy-don’t give yourself time to fall back asleep
  8. Have a delicious breakfast planned to look forward to.
  9. If you like noise in the mornings, have an inspirational playlist ready. If not, try and limit the sound around you.
  10. Be positive! This time will prepare you for the rest of the day. Only think happy thoughts
  11. Learn to enjoy your morning-find little things you love about waking up early and use those to motivate yourself in the future.
  12. Brag about your achievement. Not only will this make you feel proud, it will mean you have to keep doing it.
How to motivate yourself to get up in the mornings and all the reasons why you should
Most people find waking up early a chore. Makeover your mornings and get up easy.

So there we go. All the benefits to waking up early and the secrets to help you get there.Are you guys morning risers too? Let me know in the comments below if this has helped anyone create a brilliant start to their day.

10 Little Ways to Be Healthier in College

We all struggle with living a healthy life once we get to university.  During the day we fill our days with schoolwork and socialising, which leaves little time to hit the gym. Plus as fun as it is to go out at nights, your sleep and health can suffer. To avoid the weight piling on, I’ve compiled a list of ten little ways to be healthier in college. While these tips alone will not turn you into a glowing fitness guru, they can keep you feeling good and stop the weight from piling on. Little by little, a little becomes a lot. So try and incorporate these things into your life and you’ll be feeling healthier and happier!

1: Give Yourself Time in the Mornings

As much as we might want to set our alarm clocks as late as possible to give ourselves maximum sleep time, all that stress in the morning is not good for us! Sit down and plan out exactly how long you need to get ready in the morning, and then add an extra ten minutes to that.

Health Hack

While it might be tempting to immediately switch to a 5am start, if you are unused to this, then you will be left feeling sluggish and tired. Not a great way to begin a healthy habit. Instead, try and push back the time you wake up by fifteen minutes each day till you reach your prime wake time.

2: Get out of bed

It might be tempting to lie in bed for ages, repeatedly snoozing your alarm clock, but this does not make getting out of bed any better. Instead try and get up the moment your alarm goes off. Some people find leaving their phone on the other side of the room to help this, however I have got used to getting up at my first alarm so I do not need this, but by all means, go ahead if it works for you.

Health Hack

Try using an alarm clock which monitors your sleep cycle to wake you up at your best point. I use the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App by Northcube AB which I have really been enjoying. They also have a sleep analysis function so you can see how well you slept. (By the way I have not been sponsored to write about this app or anything, it is genuinely an app I have been using for several months and really like.)

3: Start the day with water

Since we are not drinking water during the night, we wake up dehydrated, which is not a great start to the day. Try to fix this by leaving a large glass of water or a drink bottle beside your bed. That way, you can start hydrating once you get moving. I found this difficult to start off with, cause I generally did not like drinking water in the mornings. However I just kept at it, and now I crave water when I wake up in the mornings.

Health Hack

You don’t have to try and drink a lot of water right away. In fact this can actually be bad for you if you immediately try and drink a tonne of water. Instead try and continually sip water throughout the morning,

4: Eat A Good Breakfast

This one I have really struggled with since coming to university because of the choices available. At home I used to set aside time to make porridge with chia seeds and almonds, which I would then add almond milk, frozen raspberries and Greek yogurt to. It was delicious! Here, I have instead gone for the muesli option, which I add trim milk and canned apricots to. Scout out the options and choose one which is low in sugar, high in protein and leaves you feeling full. Coffee by itself does not count!

Health Hack

An average breakfast is better than no breakfast. If your college only offers toast, choose a grainy bread and use a low sugar spread. While peanut butter can be good for this, I personally am not a fan so I generally use vegemite instead. Stay away from the Nutella!

5: Incorporate easy exercise

Try and find ways to get a little extra exercise into your day without going crazy. Take the long way to class. Do calf raises while you are standing (I often do this when I am brushing my teeth.) Maybe make it a rule that before you leave for class each morning you do 100 star jumps. I am even a massive fan of fidgeting, because it is such an easy way to add movement to your day. Finding little ways to add exercise to your day can really make a difference, especially on days where you have a hectic schedule.

Health Hack

The step counting app on my phone is a great motivator for me. Check on it regularly to see if you have cracked the recommended 10,000 steps a day, and if not, try and go for a short walk around the block, or even just march on the spot in your dorm room.

6: Have Snacks Available

This is one I am terrible at. I never feel like going to the grocery store and spending money I don’t have on food, nor can I be bothered taking fruit from the dining hall at mealtimes. Then I get hungry between meals which can lead to overeating and then feeling terrible after. Don’t do this! Grain crackers, fruit, nuts, plain popcorn,

Health Hack

I have a notorious sweet tooth. While I do not recommend stocking up on hundreds of chocolate bars to gorge yourself on, I am an advocate for having dark chocolate in my dorm room. Not only does this allow me to satisfy my sweet cravings without ingesting a lot of sugar, it also means that I don’t go for heavy desserts or junk food options when they are available because I know I have chocolate back in my dorm.

7: Plan to workout

You schedule your college classes. So why not schedule in a workout. Sit down the night before and look at what times you are able to workout. I understand this involves a bit of planning, but it is the key to successfully fitting in a great workout. This can involve a bit of work on your part, either by going in the morning or rearranging the times you usually study, but it is totally possible. Try and encourage your friends to attend fun group exercise classes, or to workout with you. Not only does this way combine exercise and socialising but it holds you accountable for the times you’d much rather stay in your room watching Netflix.

Health Hack

Aim for at least some exercise every day. It doesn’t have to be a two hour long bike ride, sometimes you can only fit in a short session and that’s totally okay! HIIT training is great for this because you only have to exercise for a small amount of time, but you go hard during that time. Using a skipping rope is another fantastic option for when you don’t have much time. For a person my weight, I only need to skip for 12 minutes a day to burn 100 calories!

8: Always have vegetables on your plate

I always make sure to have veggies on my plate at lunch and dinner. Sometimes there are already vegetables in the main option the dining hall is serving, but regardless I like to add salad to my plate. Not only does it help you get that recommended serving of vegetables in each day, but it also makes your plate look better.

Health Hack

Try and load your plate up with vegetables before you add anything else. Vegetables are better for you and contain less calories than the other options, so try and fill half your plate with veggies. When having salad, go for the cucumber and tomato slices over the iceberg lettuce which has no nutritional value.

9: Leave the dessert options as a treat

I know how tempting it can be to just go for that slice of chocolate cake. Everyone else is eating it. Some people even take a second helping. It is okay to indulge occasionally, but this should not be a regular thing. Leave it as a treat. For me, I allow myself to have a treat in the dining hall three times a week. This is probably still more than I should be doing, however if I have had a few really good days where I have done a good amount of exercise, ate healthy, drunk heaps of water and got in my recommended hours of sleep then its totally okay to indulge in the dessert….just don’t go crazy!

Health Hack

Go for the healthier option. Choose desserts that have an element of heath to them such as fruit or dairy based desserts over heavy carb options. Apple crumble, fruit tarts or vanilla ice cream are much better option than chocolate cake or brownie. If you really must indulge in something unhealthy, go for a smaller portion and eat slowly to savour it!

10: Go to bed at a reasonable hour

It happens to all of us. We begin messaging friends, or on YouTube or finishing that assignment last minute and next thing you know, its 2am and you have to be up again at 7am. Try to get the recommended 6-8hrs of sleep each night, and make sure you know what time you need to be asleep by to ensure this. Keep an eye on the time, or even set a timer so you know when you need to start getting ready for bed.

Health Hack

I know that I need more sleep than most people, so I aim to be in bed by midnight each night, which gives me a full eight hours. Listen to your body! If you are feeling especially tired that night, make sure to get to bed a bit earlier. Your body will thank you in the morning.

So there we have it! Ten little ways by which to make you feel happier and healthier each day. Let me know in the comments if there are any other small things that you do each day to keep healthy.

Starting a blog was always a bit daunting. Heres how I decided to start a blog

Why I Finally Started A Blog: My Totally Relatable Story

 

As much as I enjoyed reading blogs, the idea of starting my own blog was always a bit daunting. Here is the totally relatable story of why I finally started a blog, and the list of attributes that I decided would help me succeed.

 

Starting a blog appeared daunting. Here is why I decided to start my own
The reasons why I chose to start my blog and the checklist that motivated me to do it.

 

The Upbringing

As the oldest of four children, I have always been the test child. The first in the family to do anything, with very little assistance and help from older people who have recently succeeded in whatever I was attempting to do. I was the one who had to struggle through it alone, often with my parents who were equally as anxious and often more clueless as to what I was attempting.

After surviving these changes, I would then have to sit and watch my younger siblings easily navigate the world with my parents who were now much more skilled. Not particularly fair.

 

The Love

It is during these times of stress and uncertainty that I first began to look at blogs as a way to understand whatever world I was about to step into, and never has my search been more frantic, as my last year of high school as I tried to plan for my future life in university.

And let me tell you, blogs have been a lifesaver. Any question I wanted to know, I could just search for information on the subject. These were very useful!

 

The Call to Action

The only issue was, they were, more often than not, written by American students.

Now don’t get me wrong, these students still gave me a wealth of knowledge. But as a girl coming from a small town in New Zealand, a lot of what they said either wasn’t applicable, or impossible to implement myself.

Examples include Amazon Prime for Students, countless scholarships only available in the USA, and multiple discounts, products and stores that I had never even heard of, much less be able to utilise.

I have yet to find, much less enjoy, a successful New Zealand girls blog (let me know in the comments below if you have found one and I’ll make sure to read it)

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed my time on these blogs, and loved sitting down with a chai latte and reading through the latest posts, usually via Pinterest. These blogs boasted stories of successful college girls showing the lives they lived and the goals they have achieved. Going into my first year of university I was determined to get out there and started doing what I wanted to do with my life. And one of those dreams was to start a blog.

 

My Plan

I sat down and wrote a list of attributes I thought would help me succeed in my quest to begin a blog.

  • A Regular Time Commitment-I am well known for being excellent with my time management
  • Organisation Skills-not quite so renowned, but I just bought a fancy customised planner so I’m hopeful.
  • English Proficiency-Well I did get an excellence endorsement in English at school.
  • A love for reading and writing-I have been an avid book lover/ wannabe author since I was five.
  • Content Ideas-This might be a bit harder to achieve but I’m notoriously creative
  • Design skills-five years of digital media at high school should do the trick.
  • Some idea about what I was doing-Yeah nah not much of that. But hey, that’s what trusty blogs were for.
  • A small amount of money to invest-This one was difficult. I am completely broke!!Did I have these things? Meh sorta. But where there is a will, there is sometimes a way. And at the end of the day you will only know if you try.

Did I have these attributes? Well not all of them…..but I was eager to learn and determined to try.

 

The Challenge

Now that I had this idea, I had to try and follow through. Somehow. Not gonna lie, it is a pretty daunting task when you’re starting out! Especially as I was about to begin my first year at university so I would be super busy anyway!

Once you pay the money there is no going back. So I signed up for a WordPress blog, paid my super cheap fee and instantly began googling blogging tips.

Will I make tonnes of money? Nah.

Get famous? Let’s hope not!

I am just keen to have fun with this blog and see where it takes me.

 

The reasons why I chose to start my blog and the checklist that motivated me to do it.

 

The Success Story

This blog is still just a work in progress. However I can promise you that the fun is just beginning. Wish me luck guys! Lets see what we can achieve together.

Cheers, Alura xx