No Gym? No Problem.

This time last year, I was excited to share that I had once again joined a gym. The gym and I had a healthy relationship for awhile. I would go twice a week, sometimes three, and go cardio-crazy for 45 minutes. I started drinking more water, timing myself on 5K runs on the treadmill, and overall, not feeling too shabby.

My record for a 5K, by the way, was 32:29. I’m not a marathon-er by any means, so I was pretty proud of that. More importantly, the first full 20 minutes was either running or jogging, no walking! That was a pretty big milestone, and I’m glad to have hit it.

But anyway. Now I need to re-prioritize my discretionary income. In addition to further reducing my clothing budget (that never gets used 100% anyway) and starting to sell some of my books online, I’ve discontinued my gym membership. That’s another $70/month in my pocket…or in my new joint-account to be used for silly things like DIY wedding favors and not-so-silly things like a quality photographer. That’s a big chunk of change, which is good. But now that means I don’t have any accountability when it comes to working out.

Uh oh.

I found FitnessBlender a few months back and started doing some of their workouts on occasion. I’ve decided that their videos, in combination with the occasional jog, will make up my new fitness routine. I’ve never really focused on strength and toning, but I know that’s an important part of all that fitness stuff, so there you go. Time to put a little more focus on that and a little bit less focus on “okay! I hit 45 min! I can get off the elliptical now!”.

Some of the Fitness Blender workouts. They have lots more!

Some of the Fitness Blender workouts. They have lots more!

And the best part? Since all I have to do is roll out of bed, move my coffee table and roll out a yoga mat, I can work out before I go to work. What would have meant me waking up at 5AM to get to the gym and home in time to leave for work now means I can wake up at 6:15 and still get in almost a full hour. I haven’t particularly noticed that I have any more energy (and I have no idea if it’s “improving my metabolism” or whatever working out in the morning is supposed to do), but I can also attribute that to not having taken a lunch break in three weeks and just being generally stressed and exhausted at work. Lovely.

Last week’s workouts (if I like the results I will probably continue doing something similar each week going forward):

  • Monday – Cardio, squats
  • Tuesday – Cardio/strength combo, arms
  • Wednesday – day of rest!
  • Thursday – Cardio “Kickboxing”, squats
  • Friday – Yoga-inspired cardio*
  • Sunday – accidental hiking in jeans (long story)

*Wasn’t that big a fan of this one, will probably be switching it out for either pure cardio or pure yoga. Oh well, you don’t know til you try it!

I know I need to get some jogging in there at some point, but it’s a work in progress. This week I only did 30 min workouts, so I’m going to gradually increase to 45 (and then, perhaps, to an hour?). That way there is plenty of time to focus one day on multiple toning routines and another day strictly on cardio. Done and done.

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Goodbye, Google Reader!

If you’re a Google Reader user, you’ve probably gone through the five steps of grief like I have…or you’re stuck in one of them.

I was in denial for awhile (“No, they wouldn’t do that, would they? Would they?!?). Then I got angry; I knew there was no point in trying to bargain (what would I say? “Google, please, I’ll give you back 3G of space in my Gmail for just a few extra years with Reader?”). Depression set in, but then I found out about feedly and barreled right on through to acceptance.

Whether you’re ready or not, Google Reader is going away as of July 1st. Below are some alternative ways to follow Cindspectus:

  • Subscribe by email. This isn’t my personal cup of tea (I really, really love RSS readers), but some people enjoy getting updates about new posts by email. If that’s you, well, that’s cool. Just go to any page on my blog, and you’ll find a “Follow by Email” button in the right-hand sidebar.
  • Bloglovin. Bloglovin seems to be the successor-of-choice for fashion and lifestyle blogs. I don’t know what genre my blog is, per se, but I know that it’s a pretty universal platform. You can view a blog with its design and layout right in Bloglovin, as well as leave comments. To follow me via Bloglovin, just go here.
  • Feedly. I ended up choose feedly as my replacement-Reader because it’s no-frills. It’s easy to read and uses a lot of Reader’s options (titles only, scroll through mark-as-read, etc). You can customize color schemes if that’s your thing. You do have to click out of feedly to leave comments, but I enjoy giving pageviews to blogs I like enough to comment on anyway. I use it as an extension/app in Chrome, I’m not sure how well it gets along with other browsers. To follow on feedly, just go here.

I don’t really use other social media to promote my posts, so unfortunately I can’t include a facebook page or twitter account as a way to follow for posts. I don’t really feel like I need to do that, but perhaps it’s something to revisit in the future.

With the absence of Google Reader, I have a feeling there will be several other viable options very soon. It sounds like Digg has a work-in-progress RSS app, and only time will tell if there will be more. I hope you’ll continue reading after July 1st!

What you might call a hiatus.

Taking a brief break from Cindspectus. Work is busy (I’m not used to this; in my older positions at the college summer was down time in comparison to the rest of the year). Books are begging to be read, other books are begging to be scrapped, and Prospect Park is begging to be visited more often than I probably have time for.

I’ll be back soon!

Writing in Transit: The Bargain

Her: So, if I make you watch Pride & Prejudice, how much Star Trek do I have to watch?

Him: Well, that’s a tough one…I mean, it’s not like Star Trek and Pride & Prejudice should just be an hour to hour ratio. I feel like you need to watch at least three or four episodes to really get it.

In lieu of a drabble, here is a quote from a particularly adorable couple on the train last night. This conversation went on a bit longer, but they didn’t come to a definitive agreement.

Writing in Transit: The Conversation Piece

Some read voraciously. Some play games on their phones involving candy or jewels. Some pretend to sleep. Some actually sleep.

When the train is crowded, there are a million ways to avoid eye contact with your fellow passengers. It’s lesson one in “how to survive the daily commute”; it’s a lesson learned well.

There is one thing, though, that will make everyone look up. It will make people speak up when they would normally stay silent. It makes them scrunch their nose and furrow their ebrows. It’s the perfect bonding agent for complete strangers.

The New York Times Crossword Puzzle.

Writing in Transit is a recurring series of 100-word stories based on my experiences on the subway. Posted on Fridays, they’re exactly 100 words. I double checked.

On an unrelated note, I’m giving Bloglovin a shot (in addition to Feedly. I want to explore all option before Google Reader ceases to exist). If you want, follow my blog with Bloglovin. Thanks!