Tag Archives: Reading

My Top 10 Ways To Overcome Cardio Boredom

Hello handful (or less) of people who actually read my blog! Round 3 of the lovely Miss Tina Reale’s Best Body Bootcamp is upon us, and along with her beautifully composed strength training sessions comes the 2-3 days a week of cardio interval blasts. (Yayyyyy!) C’mon. Be excited. No? Less than enthused? Why??? Wait, I think I know…

While cardio is certainly beneficial and necessary, it can get boring at times. The reason cardio can get boring is because of repetition. Logging miles on the pavement, treadmill, bike, or elliptical can get tiresome…when our brains become disengaged, we become disenchanted quickly. What we need is a way to keep our brains engaged and keep our bodies challenged throughout the cardio routine. Sooooo…Below are my favorite ways to keep myself motivated and challenged when doing cardio!

Case up a new class

What better way to sizzle away a few calories and keep boredom at bay than to try out a new class? Whether its dance, spin, or kickboxing, you are sure to engage your brain as well as your muscles when you take a class. The group atmosphere combined with new music, challenges, and an instructor to lead the way, lends to an engaged brain and an improved cardio experience. Don’t worry about whether or not people are watching you, or whether or not you will know the moves. Everyone has to start somewhere. Talk to the instructor after class about anything you weren’t sure about, and improve your skills! Worst case scenario you’ll be able to say you challenged yourself with something new, and what can be bad about that?

Make it a new machine

Do you always head for the elliptical or treadmill? Do you always set it for the same workout setting and time? Don’t lie. You know you do. No wonder you’re bored. Try out a machine you don’t normally use, such as the Stairmaster or rowing machine. Set your sights on different intervals of intensity and rest than you normally would to quick start your muscles and your mind. You will be at least slightly less bored, I promise.

Rev up a new route or routine

Like trying a new machine, this isn’t rocket science, but if you are strapping on your sneakers or cycling shoes for the same route every time, it can get monotonous. Try mapping out a new route to give yourself some new scenery, hills, and challenges. Try breaking up a run or walk with some intervals of plyometric moves or Tabatas. In fact, take a pause and a sip of coffee. Now caffeine-jump over to Lindsay’s Tuesday Trainer for some plyo and Tabata ideas!

Spark up new songs to your ipod/phone

One of the reasons I enjoy going to new classes, trolling Youtube and PerezHilton, and quizzing friends and bloggers about their favorite songs is because I get inspired working out to new music. I have been known to play the same new song on repeat for an entire workout. (Don’t judge, we all have our own path). But playing new music and mixing up your workout songs is a great way to jazz up (Pun intended. Wait. No it wasn’t, jazz isn’t necessarily the best music to work out to) your cardio routine. Just try to refrain from singing along loudly. You might get socked by the die-hard on the next treadmill over.

Add an audio book

Yeah. The commercials piss me off too. But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! While I wouldn’t recommend something distracting (and terribly written) like Fifty Shades of Grey, you may want to zone out to Game of Thrones, or whatever self-help-fad-diet-Oprah’s-book-club-book-of-the-moment is begging you to be read. Think about it. You whine just as much about how you have no time to sit down and read as you whine about not having time to work out. Go ahead. Kill both birdies with the same stone. You will be able to check two items off your to-do list, and keep you mind busy while your body sweats it out.

Find a friend

Hello again, Captain Obvious. I know this ship has sailed across the colorful pages of every health magazine printed in the free world over the last few decades, but do you ever actually take this sage advice to heart? Grab a friend. Have girl talk. Catch up on life. Grab some froyo afterwards. It will give you the satisfaction of spending time with friends, and keep your brain busy with gossip while you churn out the miles.

Jump and juggle machines

Don’t give your restless mind enough time to process boredom. Try jumping back and forth to different machines at the gym! My favorite combo right now is the 20-20-20: Twenty minutes each on the elliptical, Stairmaster, and rowing. Not only will you work different muscle groups, you will be able to satisfy your brain’s need for change. It’s very gratifying to be able to cross off so many machines in one session. Plus, nobody at the gym will be able to say you were Bogarting a machine, now will they?

Mini-challenge mayhem

This is your opportunity to be creative. And there isn’t an ounce of sewing, painting, or papier mache involved! During your cardio, play little games with yourself. Try making it to the next stoplight as fast as you can before you rest. Try speed intervals on the elliptical every time a Taylor Swift song comes on (you know you have lots, don’t kid yourself). Try adding 30 seconds of plyo moves every time you come to an intersection. Intensify your speed during song choruses, and rest during verses. Do 10 burpees every time a new chapter on your audio book starts. Assign plyo or tabata moves to card decks (I totally stole this from Janetha at Meals and Moves, but I can’t find the link on her blog!) But basically, you assign 1 move to each of the 4 suites of cards. The number of reps correspond to the number on the card (J, Q, K are 10 reps). Then you shuffle the deck, and do the plyo move and reps that correspond to the card you draw. Whatever the case, you’ll lay boredom to rest in the shallow grave in which you also buried your fear of processed sugars.

Split it up

Who said you have to do all your cardio in one sitting? Take a 20 minute walk on your lunch break, then log another 30 minutes after quittin’ time. Do a quick sweat session on the spin bike before class, and then jog to work in the afternoon. Fitting cardio in in small blocks is not only great for busy people, it’s great for bored people. Trust.

Reward yourself

This economy is killing me. and my wardrobe. And my expensive appetite. So what do I do? I use my waning bank account balance as motivation for cardio workouts! For every cardio workout I complete, I put a dollar in a jar towards a new pair of gym shoes or article of clothing. Once I have enough, I get to buy it, sans guilt (and maybe even a smaller size!!)


Look, the bottom line is this: Keep your mind engaged. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Be creative with your workouts! Your body and your mind will thank you.






I am embarrassed I haven’t read…

Okay. So I am reading a book right now called The Thirteenth Tale…and it’s pretty good….but they keep referencing classic Brontë novels like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Total romantic classics right? Right.


I am embarrassed to admit, especially as a person who loves to read and has a degree in English, that I haven’t read either of these! How could this have possibly happened? How could I have gotten away with this?

I had this nagging feeling that although I was getting the themes and the plot and the general nuances in The Thirtenth Tale, I was still missing something.

So. I. Cheated.

I went onto Netflix, and sure enough, movie versions of both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were in there. Staring me in the face. Torturing the English major inside. God bless Netflix. Even though it sucks in so many other ways, as of now it is my partner in literary crime. I gasped at myself, shuddered, and put my head in my hands. And then resigned myself to settling in with a nice cup of peppermint tea cocoa (peppermint tea + milk + a packet of hot cocoa mix).

Okay how the heck had I not read these books? The movies (at least the storylines) were great! And they definitely lent a great deal of hidden themes and additional meaning to The Thirteenth Tale.

Now I begin to wonder…what other top classics have I not read? Uh Oh.

Google time…

Found cincinnatilibrary.org’s list…they had tons, so I cut it down to the top 25. Let’s see how i’m doing:


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 1884 by Mark Twain (I read it)

All Quiet on the Western Front 1929 by Erich Maria Remarque (I read it)

Beloved 1987 by Toni Morrison (I read The Bluest Eye, does that count?)

The Best Short Stories 1945 by O. Henry (Haven’t read or heard of it)

Brave New World 1932 by Aldous Huxley (Have it on my shelf to read and haven’t yet)

The Call of the Wild 1903 by Jack London (read it)

Catch-22 1961 by Joseph Heller (Started reading it and stopped halfway)

The Catcher in the Rye 1951 by J.D. Salinger (read it)

The Complete Sherlock Holmes 1936 by Arthur Conan Doyle (Haven’t read it)

Crime and Punishment 1886 by Fyodor Dostoevsky  (Haven’t read it)

Cry, the Beloved Country 1948 by Alan Paton (read it)

Don Quixote 1612 by Miguel de Cervantes  (Haven’t read it)

Ethan Frome 1911 by Edith Wharton  (Haven’t read it)

Gone with the Wind 1936 by Margaret Mitchell (Haven’t read it but saw the movie of course)

The Good Earth 1931 by Pearl S. Buck (Haven’t read or heard of it)

The Grapes of Wrath 1939 by John Steinbeck (read it)

The Great Gatsby 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald (read it)

Heart of Darkness 1902by Joseph Conrad (Haven’t read it)

Invisible Man 1952 by Ralph Ellison (Haven’t read it)

Jane Eyre  1847 by Charlotte Bronte (Haven’t read it)

Lord of the Flies 1954 by William Golding (read it)

Moby Dick 1851 by Herman Melville (Haven’t read it)

My Antonia 1918 by Willa Cather (Haven’t read it)

Native Son 1940 by Richard Wright (Haven’t read it)

Nineteen Eighty Four 1949 by George Orwell (Haven’t read it)

Dang…I’ve got some reading to do on the classics apparently…but what the heck? Where’s Lolita, and Mrs Dalloway and The Bell Jar? The ones I thought were classics and I have read? Whatever. I see how it is, classic book list. Heh!

Like I said, God bless Netflix :)

Oh! Before I forget…


visit Tuesday Trainer…GREAT WORKOUT this week!


and also, while you’re at Lindsay’s site, you should enter her Mix{1} It Up giveaway here!!


Frankly and Fearlessly


“We write frankly and fearlessly but then we “modify” before we print.” Mark Twain

Have you ever been in a situation at work, blogging, or elsewhere where you start writing something full of passion and conviction, not caring how it sounded because darnit, it’s the truth and they need to hear it!

…only to read over what you wrote and start cutting, rephrasing, and rewriting a more censored and “high road” version of your previous feverish writing endeavor?

I hate having to do that, but I do it anyway. Why? Because I am afraid of what people will think. I’ve thought about it many times in the past. I’ve tried to attribute my compulsive editing to politeness, to my upbringing, to a solid work ethic, etc. All these things may be part of it. And it’s not a bad thing necessarily, especially when writing work emails (who wants to get fired over something they wrote in this economy especially? Not I!) BUT I think there is a very fine line between saying too much, and censoring too much.  And I sometimes censor too much because I am afraid of what people will think of me.

Nobody wants to sounds contrived, regurgitating and rehashing a slew of intricately woven partial truths and someone else’s stories and sayings and platitudes. Everyone wants to be original. They want to reach others and be understood. They want to write something that nobody else thought to write. Come up with the idea nobody else thought of. Publish the story nobody read yet. Creativity is a gift. Originality is a gift. Self-censorship is the enemy of these gifts, when it comes down to it.

I was fortunate to be raised in the good old United States, where individuality and freedom of speech is championed and upheld….but I feel like lately we in the US are giving up these ideals in the name of fear. Fear of being called ignorant, or intolerant. We are no longer able to publicly disagree with someone else’s views if that view is a popular trend on the media’s radar. It has nothing to do with majority rule either. Let’s not kid ourselves. Whatever we read about or hear about on our iPhones or favorite news website or blog becomes the accepted reality once it is endorsed not by a majority, but by a loud and uncensored minority or sub group.  A minority that has a loud and uncensored voice will be heard nonetheless, and often championed, whether or not they are right.

Not sure about that? Let me give you an example. In high school, there was always the group of popular kids, the group of nerds, the group of cheerleaders, and so on and so forth. There were also those that bullied, and those that made a campaign of looking out for the environment. The list goes on, but you get the idea. Whose voice was listened to? The loudest. And usually out of fear rather than truth. You wanted to earn the respect of the popular kids so that you could be socially accepted. You avoided and gave in to the bullies rather than standing up for yourself or telling someone out of fear. The nerds and environmentalists were low on your list unless their cause specifically interested you. They weren’t louder than the popular kids or the bullies. In high school, the loudest voices were heard, not the majorities.

Media works the same way. They give you a juicy story to tantalize your interest, and then run the details to death, even if there is very little to tell, so that your brain is full of information about that story, tricking your mind, essentially, into believing that it’s important to know about. Your brain is confirmed about this because the people at your office or church group or whatever heard the same story over and over and discuss it over the water cooler or after service, etc.

Now here is the clencher: The media is highly censored. Why? They are afraid of losing their audience. They carefully and elaborately concoct stories of interest so that they get good ratings. They know that if they drill a story into your head enough, it will be talked about. the more people talk about it, the more “important” it becomes to talk about it. If you know about it, it seems you are in the club. You are now part of the popular crowd and can be considered socially accepted. And the media was a bully all along.

The media wants to appear frank and fearless. But they modify before they go to print. Likewise, writers of emails and blogs and stories and censor themselves out of fear. So then where does the truth go? At a certain point, with all the censorship, the truth gets lost. The originality goes out the window. It’s just another trend.

I don’t want to be that way. I would rather toe the line on censorship. I’d rather err on the side of caution, but I don’t want to regurgitate the tiredness and trendiness of the media around me. I want to keep my sense of freedom and liberty of speech alive.

How about you?