Online Fitness Tools to Motivate and Inspire You

The Internet has opened up a while new world for those of us who love to exercise.

Whether you’re streaming a new Yoga class each day or just finding a new group of friends to work out with, you might be amazed at the new tools and resources available online.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

1. Free Yoga Classes. Check out YogaToday.com for free yoga classes every day of the week. The classes take place in a gorgeous setting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and each class has a specific theme.

Alternately, you can join the Gaiam Yoga Club for only $5 a week and get access to fresh daily online yoga programs and classes.

2. Athlete Blogs. Subscribe to blogs of top athletes or coaches in your favorite sports. Once you find some you like, check the blogs on their blogrolls for even more. Reading these athlete’s frequent tips and ideas (and even just following these athletes through their own training process and schedules) can be seriously motivating, and you might find a community of likeminded individuals to trade your own stories with.

While you are on these blogs, be sure to look for the writer’s playlists. Sometimes, athletes will post their favorite playlists for various workouts.

Two blogs I read every single time they’re updated:
http://themarathonmama.blogspot.com/
http://www.athleta.net/chi/

3. Motivational mp3 Workouts. Check out iTrain, which is a virtual personal trainer that allows you to download workouts in mp3 format. These audio workouts are really motivating, with high-energy music and the voices of celebrity fitness trainers. The trainers update their music and workouts each month.

At the time of this writing, the iTrain library of workouts features more than 300 different workouts for various disciplines, from Cardio (cycling, climbing, outdoor running and treadmill) to Sculpting, Strength, and Stretching (including yoga and pilates).There are even teen hip-hop workouts.

iTrain also has customized bundles (called Albums) that are offered at a special rate. There are albums for: 6-week body makeovers, triathlon, post-natal, wedding prep, and more.
Visit the iTrain site for more information.

4. MP3 Audiobooks. Take your workout time to catch up with the work of your favorite author or speaker. You can easily download and listen to mp3 audiobooks, from classic literature to self help to seminars from audible.com (Click here for audible free trial offers and coupons.)

This has been particularly nice for me because I often feel like I don’t have enough time to work out and that I don’t have enough time to read. But when I can combine these two things, it’s perfect. I also love listening to Philosopher’s Notes while I work out.

5. Free Trials at Fitness Centers. Look online for free trial offers at local gyms. At the time of this writing, 24Hour Fitness has a special offer for a 14-day free trial here if you know where to look:  http://www.susies-coupons.com/fitness-center.htm

6. Online Tools to Track Your Progress. There are some amazing websites available today that can help you track your fitness progress, whether it’s through a Garmin ForeRunner (which has changed my life by tracking my run, hike, ski, or bike ride through GPS), a simple application on your iPhone, or a simple training log that you print out and stick to your fridge.

Websites to check out:
http://www.active.com
http://www.mapmyrun.com
http://www.mapmyride.com

7. Social Networking for Fitness. Use Facebook.com or Meetup.com to find a group of people who are training for an event. Training for a series of events each year can be one of the best ways to stay motivated over a long period of time. With the Internet, you can find a group of people in your area who are training toward specific events or fitness goals, whether it’s a 5K, a marathon, or a simple fun run; a mountain biking race, or a triathlon.

8. Charity Sports Training. The Internet makes it a cinch to find charity sports training in your area, such as Team in Training. Team in Training trains people for marathons, half marathons, triathlons, 100-mile century bike rides, and hiking adventures – all while raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It’s a great way to make fitness fun while helping people, too.  To find a Team in Training group near you, simply enter your zip code here: http://www.teamintraining.org

9. Online Weight Loss Programs. If your are looking to lose weight and start or continue an exercise program, there are a number of weight loss programs that use the power of the Internet to full advantage for support, community, and accountability. My favorite of these is Weight Watchers Online (Click here for a 25% off Weight Watchers coupon) because it focuses on long-term healthy lifestyle changes, including nutrition and exercise that you can stick with.

What are your favorite online tools for fitness or weight loss? Please share!

What If Someone Reads My Journal? Some Thoughts on Journal Privacy

If you keep a personal journal, you know how juicy some of the entries can be. A personal journal is a place for true catharsis, for recording your deepest (and sometimes darkest) thoughts and to sort them out so that they don’t come out in other ways.

A journal is a place where you should feel the freedom to be who you really are and even to push your identity in new ways. A journal can be a playground for experimenting with different ways of seeing the world.

To get the most out of journaling, we don’t think, we just write. And when that happens, we can sometimes find ourselves writing things that we don’t even necessarily mean.

For those of us who keep a personal journal, there is a fear, perhaps, that someone will find and read our diary someday. Or there is a fear that, if something were to happen to us, the people we leave behind would find and read these deepest, darkest thoughts when we aren’t there to defend ourselves or to explain.

There is a profound vulnerability that comes with putting your deepest feelings in black and white.

Here are a few ways that fellow journal-writers have handled journal privacy. See if you can combine these ideas in a way that makes you feel comfortable keeping your own private personal journal.

- When you start a new journal, skip a page and then write a page that expresses your desire for the journal to not be read.

- Use shorthand and abbrevations. For example, if you are writing about something that’s really negative, use code words or first initials to portray the people or events.

- Try recording your thoughts in a file on your computer, instead of in a book. You can then password protect the file so no one else can access it.

- Make a habit of going through this file, or the year’s journal pages, at the end of a month or a year. Write down the insights or the quotes that you want to keep or remember and destroy the rest (either by deleting the file or shredding the pages.)

Of course, if you do this, you’ll miss out on the insights you could gain from reading your journal years down the road. This can be a really beneficial part of the journaling process because you can see how much you have grown and changed. That said, destroying your journals as you go is a process I don’t recommend, but if it is the only way you feel comfortable journaling, it might be worth it to you.

- Keep in mind that your journal is recording your emotional truth, just as it is at the time at which you are writing it. If something were to happen to you and your closest loved ones did read your journal, they would likely see a portrait of you.

It’s important to keep in mind that we all have these dark thoughts and dark times. If someone who loves you were to read it, it might create even a deeper intimacy between you.

Another thing to keep in mind: your journal may be much more positive than you think. Go back and read your journal as though through someone else’s eyes. How do you feel about the person whom your journal portrays? We often think that so much of our journal is negative when that is not the case.

- Use your fear about your journal being read to gain insight into where you might not be being completely honest in your relationships. If you are terrified that your best friend would someday read your journal, ask yourself if there is something about your relationship with her that isn’t being said. Could your relationship with her improve if you showed more of your true feelings?

Nothing makes the journaling process totally secure, but you want to make sure you are comfortable enough with your own level of privacy (and your own system for guaranteeing that privacy) that you continue to journal.

What do you do to ensure your journal’s privacy? Please share your thoughts.

You might also enjoy these Momscape articles
-Personal Journaling: A Tool for the Spirit
-Personal Journaling for Kids

A Brief History of Mother’s Day

As you can imagine, cultures have been celebrating mothers since way before the Hallmark card. There has been evidence of some form of celebration of mothers going back to ancient Egypt. This culture honored the goddess Isis as the mother of the Pharoahs.

Mothering Day was a common celebration held during the Middle Ages and was celebrated at the end of the Lenten season, but this day was more to celebrate the Mother Church than the congregants. Mothering Day soon gave way to Mother’s Day in a form that is similar to what is celebrated today.

In the United States, the modern concept of Mother’s Day was started by Julia Ward Howe. Julia wanted mothers who had lost their sons during the Civil War to stand up and celebrate peace and motherhood. While there were some people who followed Howe, the celebration was more regional than national and was quickly forgotten.

Anna M. Jarvis, however, took up the cause of creating a national Mother’s Day to honor her mother who had passed away. What began in 1908 as a celebration of motherhood in Jarvis’ local church soon spread across the country, and was copied in countries around the world.

By 1914 there was so much support for the holiday that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in March as the newest national holiday – Mother’s Day.

Today Mother’s Day is celebrated in countries around the world at various times of the year, but many countries do celebrate during the month of May.

The traditions may vary from country to country but the concept is the same – to honor mothers and their influences in the lives of those around them.

Here are more Mother’s Day Articles and Ideas from Momscape:

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas and Coupons
Mother’s Day Traditions
Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Top Ten
Mother’s Day Gift Baskets
History of Mother’s Day
50 Best Mom Quotes

Retool Your Parenting

Retool Your Parenting

By Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman
http://www.uncommon-parenting.com

Thomas Haller and Chick MoormanCorporate downsizing, a sluggish economy and high unemployment has left many people fearful of the future as they struggle to provide for their families. As a result, job fairs are experiencing a record number of attendees and unemployment agencies are being inundated with new applicants daily. In an attempt to obtain employment, today’s job seekers want to know what types of skills are needed and which skills really pay off in the long run. Many are looking to reinvent themselves and retool their skills.

Stopping to ask, “What do I need to learn to fit into today’s job market?” and then seek training to develop the necessary skills are important steps to gainful employment. The concept of reinventing oneself and learning new skills is vital for obtaining employment.

Consider for a moment how the concept of reinventing oneself can also be applied to parenting. Learning new parenting skills is vital to the role of raising responsible children in today’s world. Keep the following suggestions in the forefront of your mind as you look to retool your parenting.

1. Stop parenting the way you were parented. Most parents use similar techniques and strategies to those their parents used with them. “Well my parents did it this way with me and I’m fine,” some parents offer as an excuse to keep from learning alternate ways of managing children’s behavior. Much has changed in our world from when we were growing up as children. Be open to seeing new ways to approach your important role as a parent.

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Tips for Reducing Sugar in Your Child’s Diet

Sweet Dreams: No Sugar Added
How to cut down the sugar in your child’s diet

By Erik Fisher, Ph.D., AKA Dr. E…
www.ErikFisher.com

You know the phrase “sweets for the sweet.” Does the saying apply to you and your kids? It probably does, and probably more than you think. Refined sugar and other artificial sweeteners are items that have infiltrated our diet, and continue to be added in almost any number of foods, whether we realize it or not. It has also been joked about with some seriousness that sugar is more difficult to quit than many illegal drugs. From early ages, parents and other adults offer kids candy, ice cream, cakes, artificially sweetened cereals, fruit Roll-Ups, gum, and many other items that are saturated with sugar. As a matter of fact, after our two-year-old daughter finished a ballet lesson, her teacher handed out suckers to every kid in the class. What amazed my wife more than just handing out the suckers was that the teacher did not even ask any of the parents if they were okay with her giving out suckers. It was just accepted that all of the kids could have one.

When it comes to your child’s sugar consumption, here is what a parent should consider: early eating options often develop into later eating preferences. Essentially, if you provide certain types of foods or flavors in your children’s food when they’re younger, they are more likely to develop a taste for those foods in their adulthood. Just like our behaviors and language skills, our food preferences are fostered from birth…

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New article from Melissa Stanton: “Mothers in Love with Twilight’s Edward Cullen”

Mothers In Love with Twilight’s Edward Cullen
By Melissa Stanton

One benefit of having been consumed by kids for years and being out-of-touch with pop culture is that when I finally got clued in to the Twilight series of bestselling vampire novels by Stephanie Meyer—as I did in December—I didn’t have to wait for the next book, or for the movie release, etc. All things Twilight were available and ready for this latecomer’s delight.

But now I’m feeling like a drug addict.

Before I explain my struggles with addiction, if you are a Twilight virgin, here’s a quick introduction to all the fuss: The books are about the relationship between Edward Cullen, a 17-year-old vampire, and Bella Swan, the very human object of his affection and desperate desire. Edward, who stopped aging when he became a vampire in 1918, and his vampire family are “vegetarians.” (They crave human blood but only feed off the blood of animals.) He hasn’t had a girlfriend in his entire life and falls hard for Bella, an actual 17-year-old girl and classmate at the high school he attends. The four books—Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn—follow the travails of their forbidden, passionate, yet essentially chaste, love.

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