Monday, August 22, 2016

Weekly Update for the Week Ending 8/21/16

Good morning everyone! I'm pleased to say I had a great week in all areas of my life.

Health/Weight Maintenance - My workouts went well this week - I ended up staying the same weight as last week (119 pounds).

Coaching Program - Doing well with my coaching program, I was able to get quite a bit accomplished this week. On Saturday, Nicola and I talked about several for me to look into, such as writing for higher profile blogs or websites that have to do with subject areas I like to write about, and possibly looking into writing for local publications. I also talked to her about the idea I had about starting a new website with my name as the domain name, and merging all my websites, as well as this blog, into it (more information on that below).

Writing - I got quite a bit accomplished here too - I finally heard from the new owner of Work from Home Adventures, so I'm going to be starting to do some writing for that blog again. I also decided to go ahead and get the cover made for the eBook I started writing earlier this year, "Get Paid to Talk Volume 1: Employee Work from Home Phone Jobs." It's now up on Amazon, you can check it out here. I also decided that I'm going to move this blog as well as my other websites to one big website, ericalynnmartin.com - I will be buying the domain later this month. If you want to receive an email when the site goes live, you can sign up at this form:

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That's it for this week, I will publish another update post next week.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Three People Talk About Big Changes They Made in Their Lives

Eventually, many of us reach a point where we're dissatisfied with our lives - we may be in a job that's not fulfilling, or feel other changes need to be made in our lives. I asked for stories about changes that people have made in their lives, what prompted them to make the change, and what their lives have been like since then. Here's what they had to say:  

Q. What kind of change did you make your life?


 A. hhoover (How creative thinking changed my life)

I was the sole family breadwinner, but decided to stop working for someone else so that I'd have more control over my life and more time with my family. I had no clients lined up and a non-compete with my current employer. My wife, who was not working outside the home at this point, said she had faith that I could make it on my own.
A. Minuca Elena (Minuca creates awesome influencer roundups that provide quality content, brings huge traffic, and helps bloggers connect with influencers.)

One of the most important changes that I made was to give up to my job to become a blogger. I always knew that I didn't want to be an employee and for the short period that I had a regular job after I finished college, proved to me that this lifestyle wasn't for me.
I used to work for an airline as a customer support executive. We worked in shifts and I could never plan anything because I had a different schedule each week. Some days in the morning, other times in the evening. The job was very stressful and the pay was very low. I worked for them for 4 months and then I resigned.
 
A. BikeALatte (Founder of Bike-A-Latte)

After I had given up racing (cycling) in college I began to put on a lot of weight. Constantly eating a lot of fast food etc. A couple years later, while watching TV, something sparked in me and I knew I had to change. From that day forward I had a simple approach eat nothing white (white rice, white bread, sugar etc) and to start riding again. Within 4 months I dropped from 215lbs at 5'9" to 165lbs and have never looked back.


Q. What happened that made you decide you needed to make a change in your life?


 A. hhoover (How creative thinking changed my life)

It was late 1999. My kids were growing up fast in the neighborhood I promised not to leave until they finished high school. I wanted them to have a stable home life and to grow up with their close neighborhood friends, as I had done. Problem was, home was more than 30 miles from work and I was spending two hours per day on the road. I was reading Michael Gelb's book, How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, at the time. The book lays out da Vinci's approach to creative thinking and provides exercises to help you incorporate those into your own life. Gelb had a series of "power questions" in the book and one really resonated with me. "What one thing can you start doing, stop doing or start doing differently that would have the most positive impact on your life?" Stop driving two hours per day so I can spend more time with my family was the answer. Once you answer the power question, you must develop a plan to achieve it. So, I started right then thinking about how to bring this plan to fruition.

A. Minuca Elena (Minuca creates awesome influencer roundups that provide quality content, brings huge traffic, and helps bloggers connect with influencers.)
Initially, I started working for another blogger part-time as a VA. I didn't know anything about blogging but I was fascinated by the idea of working from home, not having a boss and the freedom to travel whenever and wherever I want.    After a few months, my part-time job as a VA became more of a full-time ghost-writing job, because I reached the point where I was doing all the work instead of the person responsible who hired me. I became frustrated by the situation because I knew I wasn't paid according to the value of my work.    I was feeling as an employee all over again. A year after my first introduction to blogging, with a lot of fear and lack of confidence, I decided to start my own business online. 

A. BikeALatte (Founder of Bike-A-Latte)

I was watching TV, I believe it was the FIT Channel at the time, and looking down at my stomach in disgust I knew I had to change. We all need that internal motivation to make us commit to big changes in our lives. Why it was a fitness TV channel I'll never know. Plus I love being on my bike. And being 50lbs over wieght really  slows your ability down on two wheels. I think the TV show was the wake up call and my love for cycling that allowed me to commit.


Q. What has your life been like since you made the change?

A. hhoover (How creative thinking changed my life)


I spent several months developing the plan, naming the business, and developing my positioning, as well as networking. I had worked for my company 11 years and felt I had to tell them about my decision, and they gave me their blessing. In October 2001, I launched Hoover ink PR with a positive outlook but no clients. As you might expect, I rolled out an aggressive public relations campaign. My first day in business, I got a call from a colleague who hired me on the spot. Within two weeks, I had landed two more clients, and I was spending more time with my family. After my one-year non-compete was up, two more former clients came on board. In 2007, the kids now off at college, an old friend and I merged to form My Creatrive Team. I sold my half of the business in 2015, which allowed me to start my new enterprise. I'm back to what I do best and love most: writing.

A. Minuca Elena (Minuca creates awesome influencer roundups that provide quality content, brings huge traffic, and helps bloggers connect with influencers.)
Not having a regular income was scary in the beginning. Fortunately, I had the support of my family that pushed me not to give up.   The most important improvement that I made was in my mentality. I am more confident and more independent. Now, I support my living from what I earn online; I have savings and my income increases every month.   Being connected  with a lot of bloggers and influencers, I'm often featured as a blogging expert and this helps me increase my brand by showcasing my expertise to a larger audience. I have clients in all types of niches, like blogging, SEO, PR, eCommerce firms etc.   As long as you are in a convenient situation you won't have the courage to make a change, but you will never accomplish your full potential as someone else's employee.    Find out what you are good at, what you like to do and then try it on your own. Work really hard, over deliver and success will come with time and perseverance.

A. BikeALatte (Founder of Bike-A-Latte)

I have dedicated my life to empowering the every day cyclist. The person who loves the feeling of cycling and wants to be health but has no desire to race. My personal goal is to help 1 million people find health and happiness on two wheels. Even though I'm not racing I ride any where from 10-12hrs a week. I hated mornings, but as my professional life started to grow I have had to find time to be on the bike. Now, getting up at 530am to go for a ride is a real treat and I can offically call myself a morning person! Becuase when you do something you love and its not a chore it seems to take the effort out of it, it just becomes a part of your day that you look forward to.

Yesterday's Workout: Legs and Back and Pilates for Abs

Realized I forgot to blog about my workout yesterday! Yesterday's workout was Legs and Back, which went well as usual. I also did Pilates for Abs because I ran low on time - didn't have enough time to do Ab Ripper X. Yes I could have made time, but I didn't feel like it. Yesterday morning Kevin and I went to breakfast at Golden Corral which we usually do once or twice a month. I actually had a good breakfast - got an omelet from the "omelet lady" that works at the buffet, and also ate some potatoes and some sausages and some red grapes - tried not to eat anything too high in sugar, but still ended up turning lazy and falling a sleep for a bit during the day...LOL.

My Workout Schedule and Plans for this Week

Good morning! This morning so far I've been working on a few things - Kevin's getting ready to go out of town, so I got his laundry ready to go, and I did my daily routine (minus working out, which I don't do on Monday). Now I'm sitting here working on a few things for a bit.

One thing I did this morning before I got in the shower, was I looked at the types of blog posts I've written on my websites, as well as on this blog, and came up with a few ideas for things I could do. Nicola and I had talked about the idea of me making up an e-course, or doing YouTube videos, but I also thought this morning of the idea of writing an eBook. I've written a lot of posts, especially on my Work at Home Tips Online website, about tips that will help people be more productive, or websites or products that will help people who work from home. I could easily put a bunch of them into an eBook and sell it on Amazon.  I could also write a report that I could send to people who sign up on my website. I'm also still looking at the idea of pulling all my sites together into one website.

Anyway, my workout plan for this week is:

Tomorrow: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps and Ab Ripper X
Wednesday: Plyometrics
Thursday: Back and Biceps/Ab Ripper X
Friday: X Stretch
Saturday: Kenpo Cardio
Sunday: Legs and Back/Ab Ripper X

Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kenpo Cardio and My Session with Nicola

Good morning! This morning's workout was Kenpo Cardio, which I enjoyed as usual. I always get a good workout from Kenpo Cardio because I can really get into the moves.

This morning I also had my second official session with Nicola - we talked about the homework assignments she'd given me for last week, and she asked me to think about a way to pull all my websites into one website, as well as ways to earn money from them, such as possibly offering an online course, and more ideas for selling my writing. She also asked me to think about what my hourly rate should be by looking at people who offer what I want to offer and seeing what they charge.

Looking forward to today, Kevin and I are going to go see "Hillary's America" at the movies, and I also have some things to work on. Hope everyone has a great Saturday!

Friday, August 12, 2016

X Stretch and Weight Loss for this Week

Good morning! Got on the scale this morning and found I'd lost 2 pounds - down to 119 for the first time in a while. This morning's workout was X Stretch, which felt great after doing weight training and aerobics all week. Not sure what we'll be doing this weekend, I do have my session with Nicola tomorrow, and I have some transcription to work on, but other than that I'd like to get some time in with Kevin.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back and Biceps

Good morning! This morning I did Back and Biceps, again without Ab Ripper X because I ran short on time. I love Back and Biceps because of the variety of different exercises it has - pull-up exercises as well as weight exercises for the back, and different variations of curls (regular bicep curls as well as hammer curls) for the biceps. This morning however I barely had enough time to get through Back and Biceps because I started late - I think I need to start putting out my workout clothes the night before so I can save time in the morning, as well as maybe put my weights out so that I have those ready to go.

Hoping that today goes well at work, and that everyone reading this has a great day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Plyometrics

Good morning! This morning's workout was Plyometrics - haven't done that workout in a while, so it felt good to do it. Today I'm hoping for a steady day at work - hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Chest, Shoulders and Triceps

Good morning! This morning's workout was Chest, Shoulders and Triceps - I didn't do Ab Ripper X because of lack of time. I had a few other things to work on which ate into the time I should have spent doing Ab Ripper X. Had a good workout as usual, and so far I'm having a great day - hope everyone else is too!

Monday, August 8, 2016

What does Wellness Mean To You?

I read an interesting post on What Annabel Cooks that asked this very question. It is a rather interesting question, because wellness probably means different things to different people. For me, it means feeling the best I can, and being in the best health I possibly can be.

What do I do to keep myself well?

Simple, I eat as healthfully as I can, I exercise 5 to 6 times a week usually, I drink plenty of fluids, and I make sure I take the two medications daily that I need to take. I also try to meditate at least 5 minutes a day, which I find helps my mental  health. I usually do it first thing in the morning, but sometimes I'm not able to, so I'll fit it in at some other point in the day, and I find it's just as beneficial.

That's what I do to keep myself as well as possible - what does wellness mean to you, and what do you do?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

My Review of the MyHydrate Water Bottle

One of the most important things you can do when losing weight, and one of the most important things for maintaining good health, is to drink plenty of water. Most people recommend we drink 6 to 8 8 oz glasses of water a day. But how do you know if you're getting enough? If you have a water bottle that you know holds a certain amount of liquid (32 ounces for example) it's easy to figure out when you've gotten your 8 8 ounce glasses of water. Another way is to use a smart water bottle, such as the MyHydrate Water Bottle - in this post I'll discuss the MyHydrate Water Bottle, and what makes it better than other water bottles.

I received the MyHydrate water bottle a few days ago, and it has been a great way for me to track my water consumption. The MyHydrate is different from other water bottles because it has a Smart Disk that goes in it which keeps track of the amount of water you drink. There are eight lights on it, and each one lights up when you drink at least 8 ounces of water - the MyHydrate holds about 2.25 cups of water, so you have to fill it about 4 times to get in 64  ounces of water a day. When you first get the MyHydrate, you'll want to read the instruction pamphlet that comes with it, because it explains how to set up the water bottle.

Drinking Water

When you drink water from the MyHydrate Water Bottle, you have to press in the valve button until the water is flowing at the rate you want it - you'll see that the light on the water bottle starts flickering. After you've taken a drink of water, or whatever beverage you're drinking through the MyHydrate, the first light will flicker if you've drank at least 8 ounces of water. The lights don't stay lit - this helps conserve battery power - but if you want to see how many 8 ounce glasses of liquid you've drunk, you can press the button in the center of the Smart Disk:


Caring for the Water Bottle

You'll want to wash the water bottle every time you use it - so if you use it every day, you'll want to wash it every day. When you wash the bottle, however, be sure to take out the Smart Disk - all you have to do is grasp the sides of it and pull it out. 

Other Tips for using the Water Bottle

  • You can carry the bottle easily one of two different ways - you can either clip it to your belt, purse or backpack with the clip on the back of the bottle, or you can clip the convertible loop to at the top of the bottle to a carabineer and clip that to your belt or a belt loop.  
  • You can flavor your water with spices, fruits or herbs using the spa infuser that's included. Just remove the lid from the basket and fill it with spices, herbs or fruit, then put the lid back on with the stabilization post pointing upwards. Fill the bottle with liquid, but remember to reduce the amount of liquid to accommodate the spa infuser. 
  • When you press the button in that allows the water to flow, make sure you press it in far enough that you see one of the lights on the water bottle start flashing - otherwise your water consumption won't get recorded. 
That's my review of the MyHydrate Water Bottle - if you've tried this water bottle and have had good or bad experiences with it I'd love to hear about them! Feel free to comment below. 






Core Synergistics - Made it All the Way Through!

Good morning! This morning I did Core Synergistics, and I'm excited to say I did all the exercises in the workout! Usually I stop at the last section, or maybe about halfway through it, where Tony says the regular workout starts and the advanced exercises begin. But today I actually decided to do as much of the advanced workout as I could. I was only able to do maybe a few reps of each exercise, but I did it.

Not sure what I'll be doing today - I'll probably work a bit on the things I have to do before my next session with Nicola next week, and probably spend some time with Kevin. Everyone have a great Sunday!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Kenpo Cardio and my Session with Nicola

Good morning! This morning's workout was Kenpo Cardio, which felt great as usual. This morning after my workout I did my usual morning routine - showered, got dressed, ate breakfast, finished getting ready for the day. Then I washed dishes and put my clothes away. By the time I finished all that I had a little time to do a few other things before my session with Nicola.

This session went well, she helped me brainstorm some things that I could do to start working on my goals. I also told her about some of the things I had been doing this week, which she was glad to hear about. Right now Kevin is heading out to see a friend of his, he'll be back later and then I'll probably spend some time with him.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Why I Decided to Lose Weight and Get In the Best Shape of My Life, and What I've Accomplished Since Then

I may have told this story before, but I thought I'd tell it again, because some of you may be wondering how I found P90x and the other  Beachbody programs I've tried over the years. This is a long post, so get comfortable ;)

2011

In 2011, I started working for a company called Apptical (the same company I still work for today). Apptical asks people questions about their health to determine if they're eligible for different life and  health insurance products based on the underwriting guidelines for the different companies we work with. Some companies also ask us to check the client's prescription history.  One thing that I noticed is that several of these older people were taking multiple medications for conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other things that can be prevented simply by making lifestyle changes. I knew I didn't want to end up like these people, taking multiple medications, or having to try different medications for problems I knew I could control on my own. I already take two medications for epilepsy, and that's enough for me. I had been exercising regularly at that time, and was at a decent weight, but I knew I could weigh a little less, and I also wanted to get a regular program where I was doing certain workouts on certain days. So I started researching different workout programs, and found one through Beachbody called P90x - some of you reading this know P90x alternates aerobic workouts with weight training workouts, and also throws some flexibility and stretching in there as well. The cost of the program was prohibitive for me at that time, but luckily I found out one of my family members had the P90x and Brazil Butt Lift workouts, so I got them from him and started using them.

Brazil Butt Lift

Brazil Butt Lift was the first program I tried - I wanted to try that first because it was a short program, and also because I didn't have all the equipment I needed to do P90x properly - I needed a chin-up bar and a few other things. For Brazil Butt Lift, I didn't need anything except a mat and weights.  When I first started, my rear end did have a bit of fat in it - I could tell because I could put a pencil under one of my butt cheeks and it would stay - if my rear end had been toned it wouldn't have been able to hold the pencil. So I did the program, which was about 3 or 4 weeks long, It consisted of some aerobics (I actually did my own aerobics workouts in place of their aerobics workouts because the constantly changing views confused me), as well as general strength training and workouts that specifically toned your glue muscles. And let me tell you, those glute workouts when I first started the program left my glue muscles HURTING afterwards - not to the point where I couldn't sit or anything, but I could definitely tell my glute muscles had been worked. Anyway, by the end of the Brazil Butt Lift workout, the pencil was dropping to the floor almost as soon as I put (or tried to put it ) under my butt cheek. I felt very encouraged and motivated by my success with this workout, so I decided to move on and try P90x

P90x

When I started P90x, one of the requirements was that you be able to do at least one pull-up - well I couldn't do one pull-up, but I started the program anyway. P90x consists of muscle toning workouts, as well as aerobics workouts and a few yoga and flexibility workouts. They have a few different schedules you can choose from, when I first started I chose the Lean Workout schedule, which combines a little bit of everything - strength, cardio, flexibility and Core Synergistics (Core Synergistics is a workout that works multiple muscles at the same time during the exercises). The emphasis in this workout is on cardio and flexibility, and less on strength. By the end of the Lean workout schedule, however I was able to actually start doing some chin-ups, which was a major win for me. I went through the Lean schedule a few times, then decided to switch to the Classic schedule, which has three days of cardio and flexibility, and three days of strength. I like this schedule better because it's more balanced.  The only workout schedule I haven't tried is Doubles, where you do both cardio and strength in one day - I don't have the time in my schedule for that one.

Since I've started doing P90x, my strength and flexibility have really improved. Here are some of the things I can do now because of P90x:


  • I can make it through the entire Ab Ripper X workout (this is a 15 minute all-mat ab workout that's part of P90x - when I started this workout I could only make it part-way through some of the exercises). 
  • I can do multiple chin-ups for some of the different chin-up and pull-up types. 
  • I can do push-ups on my toes (when I first started I could only do them on my knees).
  • I can do Dreya rolls (Dreya Rolls are an exercise in Core Synergistics where you have to get up from a sitting or laying down position without using your hands.) 

P90x Plus

After I'd been doing P90x for a while, I started to get bored with some of the exercises - I felt like I was ready for more of a challenge, but wasn't ready to try some of the other workouts that required more equipment than what I had. So I decided to try P90x Plus - this workout is actually an add-on workout to P90x (not meant to be done separately) that provides a few workouts that kick things up a notch because they use more muscle groups. The workouts in this program are  Upper Plus, Abs/Core Plus, Interval X Plus, Total Body Plus, and Kenpo Cardio. I have used these workouts in combination with some of the other workouts in P90x, and while I haven't seen any significant changes yet, I'm confident that I will if I keep using them. 

Les Mills Combat

This is the fourth Beachbody workout program I've tried. I tried this one because I was getting bored with P90x workouts, and because I love doing kickboxing. Most of the workouts focus on cardio, though they do have a few interval workouts that combine strength intervals with cardio. This workout has helped me improve my kickboxing moves, but other than that I haven't really seen any significant gains like I did from the other workouts. 

Ok, so I got off track a bit here talking about the different workouts I tried, and this turned into a bit of a review. Anyway, getting back to what I've accomplished since I got into the best shape of my life - I now have more energy, and can fit into clothing sizes that I can't remember the last time I was able to wear them - maybe when I was a teenager. I'm actually the same size as one of my relatives now, so I'm able to wear so of her clothes, which is great. Losing weight and getting in shape has also motivated me to make other changes in my life - I've been working for the past few years to try and start earning more writing from freelance writing, and have had some success with that. My ultimate goal is to get to where I can write full-time, so I don't have to work at the job I started in 2011, which although it pays well, is not very rewarding anymore. I'll be posting updates on this blog about how I'm doing with that, as well as how I'm doing with my other goals, so be sure to stay tuned for more updates! 


Pilates and My New MyHydrate Water Bottle

Good morning! This morning I ended up doing a 30 minute Pilates mat workout instead of the workout I was supposed to do, which I think was Core Synergistics - I ended up running behind because I was playing with my new MyHydrate Water Bottle, trying to figure out how it worked.

Which brings me to that subject - I ordered the Myhydrate Water Bottle a few weeks ago, but was only able to get it last night because Kevin came home and got it from the office at our apartment complex for me - he didn't want me going up there and getting it while he was gone because he's afraid something will happen to me. Anyway, this water bottle is a special water bottle because it has a little smart disk that goes in it that tracks your water consumption. It's also supposed to remind you to drink if you don't drink any water for 60 minutes, but I drink water pretty much all day, so I have yet to see that happen - though it may happen today, I don't know. To drink water, you have to press in a little button and drink from the spout. For each 8 ounces of water  you drink, a little light lights up on the smart disk.So far I've lit up 3 lights, I'm going to see if I can make it to eight today.

That's all I know to tell you about the water bottle so far, I'm going to try to do a more thorough review of the water bottle this weekend - perhaps a video review, but we'll see.

That's it for now, hope everyone has a great Friday and a great weekend!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Kenpo Cardio and Making Small Changes

Good morning! This morning's workout was Kenpo Cardio, which as you all know, is one of my favorite cardio workouts. Got a good workout from it this morning as usual.

I also wanted to take a little time to talk about making small changes. Anyone who's made a significant change in their life knows that change doesn't usually happen all at once. If you're trying to change your health or something else in your life, sometimes the best way to start is to make small changes. Examples of some of the changes you might make in your life, depending on your situation, include:


  1. Drinking more water. 
  2. Eating more vegetables/fruit. 
  3. Smoking fewer cigarettes every day. 
  4. Exercising more. 
So how do you start making these small changes? The best way to start is to figure out how much of whatever you want to change you're doing right now - how much water do you drink, how many vegetable or fruit servings do you eat every day, how many cigarettes do you smoke, or how much do you exercise? Once you've figured that out, find ways to increase or decrease what you're doing, depending on what it is - if you're exercising 20  minutes a day, can you find a way to add an extra 5 minutes? Once you've done that, keep track of how many days you exercise for 25 minutes (remember it doesn't have to be all at the same time).  If you're trying to get rid of a bad habit, such as smoking, keep track of how many days you're able to smoke one less cigarette than you were smoking. After that's become a habit, try increasing or decreasing by a little more - add another 5 minutes of exercise, another glass of water, or smoke one less cigarette.  

I hope these tips have been helpful - if you've been successful with improving your health this way, I'd love to hear your experiences - feel free to comment below. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

X Stretch and Making Changes to my Business Website

Good morning! This morning's workout was great - did X Stretch, which felt great after doing Core Synergistics yesterday.

I've also started making some changes to my writing and transcription business website - I added a blog to it, and am starting to add blog posts to it through a one-week writing challenge I'm participating in on Facebook - if you want to check out my business website you can do so here.

That's it for today, hope everyone has a great day and I'll be back with more updates tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Core Synergistics

Good morning! This morning's workout was Core Synergistics - got a good workout though even though I only had time to do the first two sections of it. Yesterday's shift at work ended up being steady but not too crazy - hoping for the same thing today.  Hope everyone has a great day!