30 Day Business Blogging Challenge Recap & Coming Up With Blog Topics

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been doing a 30 day business blogging challenge, and today is the last day! You may have noticed that, despite only having a day left in it, I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks. That’s mostly due to going on a few trips, which I’ll be writing about on my other blog, Embracing Adventure. I recently started up a second round of the challenge for that blog as well, and you can find a recap of the first several days here. If you want to know more about the blogging challenge itself, please see this post I wrote at the end of my first round on Embracing Adventure.

Today, in addition to sharing the full list of challenge posts for anyone who may have missed them, I want to return to a topic I was asked to write on during the challenge and hadn’t yet: how I come up with blog topics. I posted about this on my other blog as well. While I have several sources of inspiration for that blog, I also have a luxury I don’t with this blog: I can write about anything related to my life. Although there have been times with that blog I haven’t had time to write, I have never had times where I couldn’t either pull from a stash of drafts and ideas or come up with a new one.

Coming up with blog topics for this Investing in Fitness isn’t quite as easy because this blog is more limited in focus. As the name implies, this is primarily a fitness blog. Although fitness isn’t the only topic I can write about, I do feel that I should at least stick to related topics such as nutrition, health, and improving wellbeing. Most of my blog topic ideas for this blog have come from thinking about five things:

Insanity Before and After Photo

Insanity before and after. Click to read about my ending statistics and how they compared to where I began.

Perhaps the easiest way to get source material for this blog has simply been documenting my own fitness journey. I originally started the blog to document my experience with Insanity and decided to keep going. Unfortunately after that, I tended to be haphazard in my record-keeping and often scribbled notes after workouts that I misplaced or couldn’t read. However, after recommitting to documenting my journey, I’ve been keeping my notes in computer files, which has been working out better. During the challenge, I finished sharing my first experience with Les Mills Combat, dance workouts found on YouTube, and recapped some of the yoga challenges I’ve participated in. I still have a few more yoga challenge recaps to share. Soon I’ll also share my experience with Les Mills Pump, which I’m a little over a month into.

2. My Health-Related Experiences

I have had a few health problems in my life and like to share what I know about recognizing warning signs, minimizing one’s risk of developing said health problems, and living with those particular problems. I was diagnosed with melanoma at the age of 20. Since there is a family history of it, I knew what to look for and was able to catch it early. A decade later, I must still regularly check my skin for signs of and reduce my risk of a recurrence. I’ve written about risk factors for melanoma in one post and warning signs of melanoma, my experience with melanoma, and ways to reduce your risk of melanoma in another. Since I also was diagnosed with hypertension at a relatively young age, which there is also a family history of, I’ll soon write about recognizing signs for and managing high blood pressure. In the mean time, those interested may want to read this post on Embracing Adventure about getting screened at the Army Wellness Center and being treated for hypertension. While living in Germany where there isn’t an abundance of sunny days, I have also developed a Vitamin D deficiency, so I’ll share about that and ways to get Vitamin D without increasing your risk for melanoma soon.

3: What I Want to Know 

There are a lot of things I wonder about, and if I’m wondering about them, I figure other people might be too. I like to eat sushi. I had heard that it’s good for you, but I didn’t really know why. So, I decided to look up some facts about why sushi is healthy. Afterward, I wrote this post sharing some of the facts I’d learned. Once I started doing yoga challenges, I realized how many yoga styles there are and wanted to learn more about them. I wrote this post sharing some information about a few of the yoga methods I’d read about. Someone once told me that I should work out when tired instead of taking a nap. Although it sounds counterintuitive, it does work. I looked into why and shared that in this post. In the near future, I’ll begin a personal trainer certification course, as well several specialization courses, through NASM. I expect what I learn in those courses and the questions generated by what I learn will inspire many future blog posts.

4. What Has Helped Me

If something has helped me, there’s a chance it will help others as well. One thing I’ve done, which I have heard has helped others since I passed it on, is doing the ABC’s of Gratitude: listing one thing to be grateful about for every letter of the alphabet. Going on a walk one day while my car was broken down got me thinking about what motivates me to walk, so I decided to share some of them, which can also be applied to running. For awhile, I only drank water if it was flavored or cold, and I didn’t drink enough of it. Now I can drink it plain at any temperature, so I shared some things I’ve done to get enough water daily.

5. What I’ve Read

During this challenge, I read an infographic about stress in students. I shared it with some thoughts on getting enough sleep, reducing stress through exercise, and eating healthy when stressed. Previously, I shared some of the fitness tip articles I had recently read and will probably share another one soon. I also shared a brief book review of the Real Food Therapy Guide. Now that I have graduated grad school and have more free time for reading, I plan to read more fitness and nutrition books and to share my impressions of them here. I also have a Books & Authors section on Embracing Adventure where I’ll be sharing some of the other books I read.

How do you come up with blog topics? Have a favorite topic I’ve written about or one you’d like me to write about? Let me know in the comments below.

If you missed any of the blog challenge posts, you can find them all below, and if you want to join the challenge yourself, you can do so here. Be sure you never miss another Investing in Fitness post by entering your email address in the box to the right. Best wishes on your fitness journey!

30 Day Blogging Challenge Posts

Day 1: Learn the Signs of Melanoma and Ways to Help Reduce Your Risk

Day 2: Create Your Own Home Workout With Zumba Videos on YouTube

Day 3: Are You at Risk for Malignant Melanoma?

Day 4: Les Mills Combat Week 6 Supreme Warrior

Day 5: 5 Songs to Chase Your Worries Away

Day 6: Investing in Fitness by Dancing With ClubFitz Videos

Day 7: Challenge Yourself to the ABC’s of Gratitude

Day 8: 5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Walk or Run

Day 9: Staying Hydrated: 5 Tips to Help You Drink Enough Water Daily

Day 10: Les Mills Combat Week 7 Supreme Warrior

Day 11: 5 Fit Facts That May Make You Want to Eat Sushi

Day 12: Join the JunieBeYou Daily Yoga Challenge

Day 13:Join the JuneOYourChakras Yoga Challenge

Day 14: Get Creative with Yoga BecauseYogiSays

Day 15: It’s Not Too Late to Join the YogaGivesBackChallenge

Day 16: Les Mills Combat Supreme Warrior Wrap-up Plus Beachbody Summer Sale

Day 17: Light on the Masters 8 Day Yoga Challenge

Day 18: Choosing a Yoga Method

Day 19: JunieBeYou Yoga Challenge Week 1 Recap

Day 20: Yoga Gives Back Challenge Poses 1-10

Day 21: Combating Stress for College Students

Day 22: Workout Wednesday Link Up With Investing in Fitness

Day 23: JunieBeYou Yoga Challenge Recap

Day 24: Want a Nap? Try Working Out to Increase Your Energy Level Instead

Dat 25: BecauseYogiSays Yoga Challenge Recap

Day 26: YogaGivesBackChallenge Poses 11-20

Day 27: YogaGivesBackChallenge Poses 21-30

Day 28: LightOnTheMasters Yoga Challenge Recap

Day 29: Introducing Shaun T’s CIZE (With a Chance to Win a Free Copy)

Day 30 was this post. Thank you for reading!

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Workout Wednesday Link Up with Investing in Fitness

Today begins the first Workout Wednesday Link Up on Investing in Fitness. I hope you’ll join in the fun! Sometime between now and next Wednesday (July 1st), add a workout-related post to the linkup. You can include any post (new or old) related to working out, whether you want to tell us about your favorite way to workout, a workout program or challenge you’re participating in, something you’re training for, what you like to eat to fuel your workouts, or even your favorite thing to wear for a workout. As long as it’s workout-related, your post is welcome in the link up.

Workout Wednesday Link Up Investing in Fitness

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1. Click “Add Your Link” below.
2. Add the direct link to your post (not just the homepage of your blog).
3. Copy paste the button code (above) into your post and/or sidebar of your blog so others can join in the fun.
4. Visit and comment on other blog posts in the link up.

Enter your post in the Workout Wednesday Link Up below:

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Investing in Fitness Blog Challenge 9-Day Recap

Investing in Fitness Blog Challenge RecapI’m currently participating in a 30 day blog challenge. Awhile back, I completed it for Embracing Adventure. I got 9 days in to my attempt on this blog, and then blogging fell by the wayside in the midst of school and other obligations. Rather than picking up where I left off, I decided to start over. Today I’ll share the first 8 posts of this attempt at the challenge and mention the posts I made during my first attempt. If you want to keep up with my posts throughout the challenge and beyond, please subscribe by email or RSS in the sidebar.

Day 1: Learn the Signs of Melanoma and Ways to Help Reduce Your Risk

I discussed the signs of melanoma, my experience with melanoma, ways to reduce your risk and increase your chances of early detection, and which sunscreens I’m trying this year. The first time, I wrote New Year, New You? Me too! Let’s Get Started with 5 Inspirational Quotes in which I shared inspirational quotes, my thoughts and experiences related to the quotes, and three questions for reflection.

Create Your Own Zumba workoutDay 2: Create Your Own Home Workout With Zumba Videos on YouTube

I shared my experience pulling together a YouTube Zumba workout for myself based on a suggestion made by The Fitnessista and included the songs I chose, which add up to about a 33 minute workout. The first time, I posted Les Mills Combat Weeks 2 & 3 Supreme Warrior in which I discussed my experience with that program.

Day 3: Are You at Risk for Malignant Melanoma?

I shared several factors that increase your risk for melanoma and how to screen your skin. The first time, I posted What is Sleep Debt and How Do We Pay It Back? in which I discussed the concept of sleep debt, possible consequences of having a sleep debt, and how to begin to pay it back.

Day 4: Les Mills Combat Week 6 Supreme Warrior

In this post, I share my experience with this program. The first time, I posted Trivia Day: 5 Fun Fit Facts that May Make You Want to Take a Walk.

Day 5: 5 Songs to Chase Your Worries Away

This post includes 5 songs with the message of “don’t worry”. The first time I shared 10 Sleep Hygiene Practices to Help You Sleep Better.

Day 6: Investing in Fitness by Dancing With ClubFitz Videos

I shared several of my favorite ClubFitz dance routines from their YouTube channel which make a 22 minute workout as well as some info about ClubFitz and how to sign up for their website. Last time I shared Fitness Tip Articles Not to Miss which were on the topics of pushups, foam rolling, measuring progress, workout gear, and killing germs in your home gym.

Day 7: Challenge Yourself to the ABC’s of Gratitude

I discussed something I do when I need to focus on being grateful: come up with something to be grateful about for each letter of the alphabet. I talked about why I do it and shared an example. The first time I posted Baths May Help You Sleep Better, Stress Less, & Relax More, which discussed ways baths may help in these areas.

Swan Creek, Philosophenweg, Japanischer Garten, Gartenshau

Some of the places I’ve walked

Day 8: 5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Walk or Run

I shared 5 ways I have motivated myself to walk and/or run and my experience in using these ways. The first time I shared Les Mills Combat Weeks 4 & 5: Supreme Warrior, which discussed my experience with that workout program.

Day 9: Today is Day 9 for my second attempt. During the first attempt, I shared Staying Hydrated: 5 Tips to Help You Drink Enough Water Daily with ideas for how to increase your water intake.

If you enjoyed any of the posts above, please subscribe to the blog in the sidebar so you will be sure not to miss future posts. Thanks for reading, and best wishes on your fitness journey.

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My Fitness Product Wish List

Last time, I gave you some suggestions on fitness programs and equipment for gift giving (many under $20). Today I thought I’d share with you my own fitness product wish list. Since I just splurged on Tai Cheng and a Jump Mat during the Black Friday sale, I probably won’t be getting any of these soon, but ya never know. My habit of buying fitness programs when I haven’t finished the ones I have is nearly as bad as my habit of buying more books when I haven’t gotten through the ones I already have. Okay maybe not that bad yet, but still…Anyhow here are some things that might will probably soon end up in my fitness product collection.

I admit, it’s a little very hard for me to get into weight training. Cardio is my thing. But I loved Les Mills Combat (so much so I will probably take another crack at it after Asylum), which included a little bit of weight training in it. So I’m hoping I would also like Les Mills Pump. It comes with two five pound and two ten pound weights, so I’d be able to start off with a low weight and work my way up.

GET IT DONE: IN 25 MINUTES A DAY! I like Shaun T. I have his Insanity and Insanity: The Asylum programs (as well as Rockin’ Body, which is fun once in awhile but a little low intensity for me to stick with as a program). Both Insanity and Asylum are a little long, so the idea of getting a good, intense workout with the same trainer in about half the time with T25 is appealing to me.

I’m going through the 30 day Insanity: The Asylum Volume 1 and am liking it so far. Volume 2 is another 30 days. Although these workouts are no easier than Insanity, and in fact I think might be a little bit harder, the fact that they’re only 30 days makes the goal feel more within reach than with 60 and 90 day programs, so I think this would make a good program for me to do in between a couple longer ones.

I like cardio, and I like to dance, which are two of the main components of Brazil Butt Lift. And who doesn’t want a nice butt? I’ve also heard that Brazil Butt Lift is kind of deceptively difficult, so I want to try it sometime. It’s also a 60 day program (which might make it a good one to do between longer programs) and most of the workouts are only 30-35 minutes which means I’ll have no excuse not to be able to squeeze them in daily between class assignments.

I’d also like to try P90X3 which actually just came out today. As much as I like Tony Horton, I haven’t been able to stick with doing P90X the couple of times I’ve started it. P90X3 is 90 days like P90X, but the workouts are much shorter at just 30 minutes a day. Just a heads up, for those who might also be interested in this program, when you order through a coach (which I am) before 12/31/13, you’ll get free shipping (in the US and Canada) as well as a free P90X3 hat.

I don’t use a lot in the way of equipment and usually go for programs that either don’t require any or only require a few small pieces. But there are a couple things I’d like to get. One thing is a heart rate monitor. I like this one because it doesn’t require a chest strap. I will also want to get a new yoga mat soon. I tried using the one I have as a jump mat and pretty much tore it up. Fortunately, the Jump Mat I bought just came in yesterday so I’m excited to be able to use that to jump on instead (and also to do pushups because I was sliding around too much on our stupid parquet floor), but it’s a little too thick and heavy to bother with for yoga. Plus I discovered it’s made with natural rubber latex, which I’m sensitive to, so while I can jump on it, I don’t want to have my skin on it too much. I’m liking this mat because it’s made of PVC vinyl unlike the jump mat or other available yoga mat, and it’s a little longer than the other mat as well.

The Crafty Practitioner

This post was inspired by One Chocolate Box’s Christmas Spectacular Blog Hop prompt on Christmas wishlists and also fits with The Crafty Practitioner’s Must-Have Monday Link Up, so I hope it’s okay to post for both. If you’d like to join the Christmas Spectacular linkup challenge, check out the prompts and add your post’s link to Toni’s post for the relevant day. If you have some must-have items you’d like to post about, check out Must Have Monday. Don’t worry. Although Monday has passed, the link up will be open for a few more days.

Note: I am a BeachBody coach and make a commission on sales of BeachBody products. If you shop with me, thanks for your support!

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Gift Suggestions for All Ages & Fitness Levels

Shopping for a fitness buff, a friend or family member who has expressed an interest in exercising more in the New Year, or just want to give the gift of health and fitness to yourself or someone you care about? Today I want to share a few gift suggestions of BeachBody workout programs to fit various ages, fitness levels, and interests. I know funds can be tight this time of year, so I’ve included several ideas that are under $20. After the fitness programs, I’ll also recommend a few pieces of exercise equipment.

Workout Programs
You may know  Tony Horton from P90X (which has a sequel by the way), but did you know he also has a yoga program? Ho’ Ala ke Kino is a 30 minute yoga and stretching routine set on a beach in Hawaii, so it creates a relaxing atmosphere in addition to helping improve flexibility and coordination. And at $9.95, it’s a program that won’t break the budget. If you like 30 minute yoga routines, you might also be interested in Gillian Marloth Clark’s Yoga Booty Ballet: Pure and Simple Yoga, which is a 30 minute routine with three difficulty levels. That program sells for $19.95.

 

 

Many women wish to maintain fitness during pregnancy, but may not be sure what they can handle doing. Teigh McDonough created Yoga Booty Ballet: Baby on the Way during her pregnancy as a workout program for expectant mothers using cardio, light resistance, and stretching for just 30 minutes a day. See her letter to mothers-to-be here. Possible benefits to maintaining a regular fitness routine during pregnancy include reducing time spent in labor and relieving side effects like morning sickness, fatigue, and back aches. This program is $19.95.

 

 

Know someone wanting to improve their flexibility? Dr. Mark Cheng’s Tai Cheng is a low impact Tai Chi-based program designed to help improve well-being, mobility, and posture. You get 6 free gifts worth over $250, including a foam roller to help loosen tight muscles. You also get a bonus DVD: Tai Cheng’s Body Alignment for Better Living. Tai Cheng is $119.85 and has a 90 day money-back guarantee. Tony Horton also has a low-impact 30 minute program for those aged 55+. It’s $9.95, and a portion of the proceeds goes toward funding cancer research.

 

 

We all know it’s important for kids to exercise, but it can be hard to get them active, especially in the winter months. Shaun T has a solution to get them off the couch and on their feet called Fit Kids Club. It’s a program for kids 7+ with two 25 minute workouts that get them up, dancing, and having fun for just $19.95. Tony Horton also has a program for children (recommend for ages 5-12) called Tony and the Kids that lets kids stretch, hop, kick, and twist their way to fitness. It’s $9.95, and a portion of the proceeds supports the El Faro Orphanage.

 

 

Les Mills Combat, a mixed martial arts inspired workout program, is one of my personal favorites. It has three schedules with increasing levels of difficulty and 7 workouts for a nice variety. Plus you get a free bonus workout Les Mills Combat 30 Live. This program is $59.95 and comes with a 60 day money-back guarantee. Those who want to challenge themselves to the hardest Les Mills Combat level will need the Ultimate Warrior DVDs, sold separately for $29.95.

 

 

For those who want to push themselves to the limit, Insanity is another personal favorite. Shaun T encourages you to dig deeper with high intensity interval training. You also get a bonus Fast and Furious workout, the intensity of Insanity packed into 20 minutes. The rest of the workouts range from 30-65 minutes. Insanity is $119.85 and has a 60 day money-back guarantee. If this program seems too long, Shaun T also has a new program called T25 that takes just 25 minutes a day 5 days a week. It’s also $119.85 and has a 30 day money-back guarantee.

 

 


Exercise Equipment

Those who like Insanity, Insanity:The Asylum, Turbofire, P90X, or any workout that requires a lot of jumping might want a BeachBody Jump Mat to protect their knees, back, and ankles. This mat is made of 1/4 inch thick high-density foam and measures 71″ x 26″. It can be rolled up tightly for easy storage. It’s also slip resistant, which is helpful if you’re like me and have parquet floors that make it hard to get the most out of pushups. It’s $59.85. For those who just need a mat for yoga, BeachBody offers a thick, textured yoga mat measuring 24″ x 68″ for $29.95.

 

 

The P90X Chin-Up Bar can help develop and strengthen the shoulders, back, and arms. It has pro-grade close-grip handles with multiple grip positions and is made of heavy-gauge steel (max weight 300lbs). A sturdy doorway up to 32″ wide is required, and the border trim must be at least 5″ wide but no wider than 6.5″. This chin-up bar is used in P90X, P90X2 and Insanity:The Asylum. It can be purchased separately for $59.95 or as part of the P90X and Asylum deluxe kits (in the previous links). If you can’t use a chin-up bar, don’t fret; both P90X and Asylum show you how to do modifications with a resistance band. You can also use resistance bands in place of weights. BeachBody offers a range of B-Lines Band Kits for 15-30 lbs, 20-40 lbs, and 40-50 lbs.

 

 

Push-ups are part of a lot of programs, but they can be hard on the wrists. To help strengthen and sculpt while reducing strain on the wrists and forearm, Tony Horton developed PowerStands. They feature non-skid circular bases for stablity and foam grips to reduce hand strain. PowerStands are $39.90. BeachBody also sells a set of Push-Up Stands that allow for greater range of motion to increase the intensity of your workout while keeping your nose out of the carpet. They feature nonskid rubber feet for stablity and safety. The push-up stands are $19.95.

 

 

It’s a good idea to have a heart rate monitor so you can train in your optimal cardio zone. This Bowflex Strapless Heart Rate Monitor provides accurate ECG readings without requiring a chest strap, and getting a reading is as simple as pressing the touch sensors. It’s also water resistent so you don’t have to worry about sweating on it. Other special features include high and low target limits with an alarm, night vision, a stopwatch and countdown timer, and more. It is $74.85. There is also a version with a chest strap, which sells for $59.85.

 

 

Foam rollers can be used for a form of sports massage called self-myofascial release in order to reduce muscle and joint pain and enhance athletic performance. Now there are RumbleRollers which have uneven and raised nodules designed to give an even deeper tissue massage than regular foam rollers. Used regularly, they can help reduce muscle and joint pain for better mobility. They also have a built-in antimicrobial additive to help prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus. BeachBody sells two lengths of RumbleRollers, 12 inches ($49.95) and 31 inches ($69.90). For those who prefer traditional foam rollers there are ones in lengths of 18 inches ($19.95) and 31 inches ($29.95).

 

If none of these sound like the right program or equipment for you or the person you’re looking to buy a gift for, check out the rest of the shop for plenty of other ideas. If you need help picking something out, shoot me a message, and I’ll be happy to help you find a good fit for you or your gift recipient’s interests and fitness level as well as your budget.

 

This post was inspired by One Chocolate Box’s Christmas Spectacular Blog Hop prompt requesting posts on Christmas shopping, including gift guides. If you’d like to join the linkup challenge, check out the prompts and post your link on Toni’s post for whichever day you’ve written for. You can also enter to win $60. Thanks for checking out this post and for shopping with me if you do. Happy holidays!

Note: I am a BeachBody coach and make a commission on sales of BeachBody products. If you shop with me, thanks for your support!

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