Tips for working from home and working out, all at the same time! Work smart, not harder. I am including a FREE printable for tracking your progress in BMI, weight, muscle mass, body fat, bone mass, body water percentage, hip and waist measurements.
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Happy New Year and welcome to resolution time! I don’t really “do” resolutions, but I try to be more fit and healthy with regular exercise so I figured now was a good time to discuss what I’m changing this year to help improve my physical and mental health, as well as to lose weight.
I enjoy going to the gym because they have a daycare, but I can’t always make it and I’ve been wanting a solution for working out at home. My problem was that I didn’t want something that took up too much room. Also, there are a lot of benefits to doing regular exercise throughout your day- instead of just doing one long workout once a day. It’s good to keep your heart rate up. When I lost weight after the birth of my first son, I was jump roping for 5 minute periods throughout my day. No crazy workout otherwise. I watched my diet. And I lost a TON of weight.
Unfortunately, I really hate jump roping. I get SO BORED. And I’m a bit antsy. Scratch that- I’m a lot antsy. I want to multi task. There’s no multi tasking with jump roping… I have to go outside. I can’t watch TV at the same time, I can’t check my phone or blog. I can’t play with my kids at the same time. Nothing. Sigh.
And now I’m 2 years post partum with my second son and realizing that I need to be more active than I have been. I exercise quite a bit, but sometimes I’ll do a yoga class instead of cardio at the gym in my allowed 2 hour gym daycare time and wish I’d been able to do both. So here’s more about how I’m setting up my home “gym” to be successful… without taking up a ton of space AND that I can use while multi tasking to do work on my blog!
Disclosure: I’m not a doctor and I don’t have any training in nutrition or fitness. I just have a bunch of information that I picked up from reading or experience over the years. I received the scale free in exchange for an honest review (click link to see my full review) of it. I purchased the other items myself.
- EatSmart Precision Body Check Bathroom Scale w/ 400 lb. Capacity, BMI and Step Off Technology
- FitDesk Exercise Bike
- FitDesk Extension Kit (not an affiliate link): If you want to use a mouse with your laptop, this is a necessity. They also have a document holder, a place to hold your drink, and an area to write. The writing area is on the left! I’m so excited because I’m a lefty. Haha. The mousepad looks like it’s built in so you won’t need to use your own. I can’t wait for mine to come in… it was on back order when I got it (sadness).
- Measuring tape
- Dry erase or chalkboard marker
- My FREE Printable
- Jump rope
Measuring Progress When Getting Fit
First, you need to use your scale to take your measurements. You’ll also need a measurement tape. The most motivating thing with losing weight is seeing your progress. But progress doesn’t always mean weight loss! I find that I sometimes maintain my weight, but gain muscle. It’s easy to get discouraged because your weight doesn’t change- while not realizing how much waist you lost! So keep track.
I created this FREE PRINTABLE to help you track your progress. While I think it’s fun to track progress on an app (such as MyFitnessPal which I LOVE), I think it’s nice to see it all on paper. You can print this, laminate it, and put it on your mirror in the bathroom by your EatSmart Precision Body Check Bathroom Scale. Use a dry erase marker or chalkboard marker to write your stats each week. When you fill up a page, take a photo of it, erase and start over. Or you can skip laminating and just save these sheets and use a pen. Your choice.
Your EatSmart Precision Body Check Bathroom Scale will do most of the work for you in terms of measurements. You just need to record the information. I have a video of me setting up and using the scale below if you want to see how it works. There’s detailed instructions in the manual so I’ll let you check that out. This is a really neat scale and it’s more affordable than similar products I’ve seen. You step on and it instantly weighs you, rather than needing to wait for the scale to zero. Also, if you complete setup then it will recognize you by weight for calculating all of the additional things such as body fat, water weight, etc. It’s pretty neat. I just wish it would give me a bit longer to record all of my measurements as I have a hard time seeing it while standing on the scale.
For measuring your waist and hips, you need to grab your measuring tape. For all measurements, make sure the measuring tape is flat against your body and parallel to the floor. Using a mirror (or an assistant) will help.
- To measure your hips, wrap the measuring tape around your hips, making sure the tape is over the largest part of your butt.
- To measure your waist, bend sideways. Where you naturally bend is your “waist”… measure there. It should be above your belly button but under your rib cage.
Record measurements. Try to record once a week around the same time- ie. Every Monday morning right after you wake up. If you only record weekly, you’ll be less likely to obsess over small fluctuations.
Exercise to Get Fit
You need to start exercising. Every little bit helps and the goal is to be MORE active. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking your dog for a walk each day, etc. I worked as a therapist before staying home with my kids and I honestly believe that cardiovascular exercise is the BEST gift you can give yourself for both your physical and mental health. There have been studies that suggests that regular exercise can be just as helpful or more so than psychiatric medication for anxiety and depression.
Jump roping burns serious calories so if you have one and want to dedicate a couple minutes every couple of hours to jump roping, then it’s an AWESOME start. It’s also a nice way to break up your work day! As much as I hate it, I think I might try to get a few minutes in here and there on the nice days.
My big purchase this year was the FitDesk Exercise Bike. I LOVE this thing and it went on sale for $197 for a day or two. I’m waiting for the attachments for the mouse to come in, but I used it some and I can see myself really being a lot more active now that I have it. When I sat in it, it felt natural to pedal… and weird not to… so I found myself moving even when I wasn’t consciously making a decision about it. This desk is SUPER appealing to me because again… I’m antsy. I like to move. I used to play Playstation games standing up and I’d pace the floor while I played. Maybe I’ve got a little ADHD? Who knows. Either way… yay moving. It feels so good to type up blog posts WHILE exercising. If you have an older child who has ADHD and struggles to complete homework without wiggling, this is a product that I think would be really useful- although I’m not sure what height you’d need to be to reach the pedals. The company donates one of these to schools for every 10 reviews they get on Amazon which is really neat.
The KEY to getting fit is that if I pedal that exercise bike whenever I’m working from home on my computer then that will add up to a LOT of time that I’m active. Good stuff!
Also there’s resistance bands if I want to watch and edit YouTube videos while I get some strength exercise in. This machine is small enough that it’s not taking up a ton of room and it can fold up to go in my closet if I want too. Love, love, love. Make sure you order the attachments for the mouse though- I wasn’t able to get them on Amazon and I REALLY needed it. I hate using the touchpad on my laptop with a passion. They’re on back order and it’s such a bummer because I won’t get it until early February.
If you can’t afford the bike, consider boosting up your computer at your desk and making it a standing desk. Standing up burns more calories than sitting down in a chair. You can easily stack up some boxes or such to make this work.
Eating Healthy to Get Fit
Eating healthy is the biggest struggle for me. I use MyFitnessPal via the app on my phone to track my eating and calories. It’s important to keep an eye on your eating if you want to lose weight and be healthy. More so, however, it’s important to keep an eye on WHAT you eat. If you only eat cookies all day and stay below your calorie limit, it’s still not a good decision.
Make sure you get lots of fruits and vegetables. Look at how much sugar you’re eating via the MyFitnessPal app… it’s under “more” and “nutrition.” Check under “nutrients.” I try to reduce my sugar intake because my mom and grandma both had diabetes. It’s HARD. When I drink juice, I cut it with 50% water and 50% juice. I try to use good portion control for sweets. If something isn’t to my taste, I don’t eat it just “because” (at least for sweets and empty calories, I’ll force eat some veggies if I have to! Haha).
Make sure you get enough protein. I try to make sure I get a good balance of nutrients and vitamins via my food if possible- vitamin pills are great, but you’re going to absorb and gain benefits from vitamins received naturally via fruits and vegetables much better than from a pill.
Cut soda. Diet really isn’t great for you even if it’s lower calories. Cutting soda is helpful in so many ways… you don’t realize what it does to your body until you cut it out. I replaced my soda and juice consumption with water.
Reduce or cut alcohol consumption. Yeah you really should just cut it, but “reduce” sounds so much better right?
Water water water. Drink it. Love it. Sometimes when you feel hungry it’s really thirst- so it’s helpful to drink some water and see if it fills you up before you reach for snacks.
If you’re hungry, it’s better to snack on a fruit or vegetable to fill up than to eat something unhealthy. If I’m going to make a less healthy choice, I try to make sure it’s not empty calories. For example, guacamole has some nutrients even chips aren’t super healthy. But it’s better than eating a chocolate bar.
And always remember… mostly everything in moderation is fine.
It’s very easy to eat whatever you want if you’re working from home… all those snacks are easily accessible. Keep healthy snacks available and easy to choose.
What is your health goal for this year?
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Danielle Pientka is the sewing and DIY blogger behind DIYDanielle.com. She taught herself to sew in 2011 when she wanted to make cloth diapers for her first son. She’s been sewing everything from ecofriendly items to kids products to clothing since, as it has become a passion. She loves learning how to do new things and teaching others in the process. She hopes to inspire other moms to take time for themselves to find their own creative passion.
Danielle lives in Maryland with her three young sons and her husband, Brandon. In her spare time, she gardens, reads, horseback rides, and has a small homestead with goats and ducks. Visit her shop to buy patterns or her sewing eBooks. Subscribe to her newsletter to get blog updates, free patterns and other printables by clicking here.