Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Walk for Hunger: My first fitness+fundraising adventure April 20, 2012

Filed under: Boston,Fitness,Food — Stephanie @ 6:12 pm
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I’ve done “fun runs” in the past.  I’ve even finished a few 5ks.  But this is something new.

I signed up as a walker for the 20-mile walk around Boston.  I might be crazy.

My first fitness+fundraising event will be the Walk For Hunger, the oldest continual pledge walk in the country.  It is the main fundraising event each year for Project Bread, a Massachusetts-based charity dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts.

I’ve never done an athletic event to raise money.  I know so many people who do, but between my lack of athletic ability and my discomfort at asking people for donations, it never happened.

I found out that our company has a pretty big walking team (and a lot of volunteers) for the Walk For Hunger, and I wanted to spread the word among my colleagues.  I figured I couldn’t tell people about it without doing it myself!

So, I signed up.  I donated a little bit of money to get things going, and then I spread the word.  I posted it on facebook, my gchat status, and twitter.  I posted information on my cubicle to let my colleagues know they could walk, volunteer, or pledge a donation.

There are three main ways to participate for the Walk for Hunger on Sunday, May 6th:

As a walker:  You can sign up to walk part of or all of the 20-mile route.  If 20 miles is too much for you (and maybe it might be too much for me, we’ll see!) there are shuttles at each of the checkpoints to take you back to the starting/finish line in Boston Common.  I have a colleague who pledged per mile, because he doesn’t think I can walk the whole thing.  Well, I’ll prove him wrong!  You can join as an individual walker, start a walk team, or join a team with friends, family, or colleagues.  As an added incentive to walk, there will be refreshments and entertainment all along the walk route to keep you going!

As a volunteer:  If you’re not keen on walking, there are plenty of other ways to help out.  Check out these descriptions of possible volunteer opportunities.

With Donations:  You can donate to an individual walker or volunteer or make a general gift to the Walk for Hunger.  Like I said earlier, I’ve never personally done one of these fundraising events before.  So I was overjoyed to see how many of my friends from work, school, and twitter were willing to support the program by donating through me!

If you’d like to donate through my page, I would be so thankful!

Many of my twitter pals already donated!  So I’d like to thank them here:

Everyone else who donated so far is not on twitter (to the best of my knowledge).  But thank you all so much!

Have you ever participated in a walk/run/jog/dance for hunger/curing a disease/raising awareness/etc.?  Are you participating in the Walk for Hunger this year?  Do you hate me for making a post that all lead up to me asking you for money?

 

Should I work with a personal trainer? August 29, 2009

Filed under: Fitness,Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 12:31 pm
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I’ve been trying to go to the gym more often.  Something about me getting back up towards my “working at a food science company where I taste test my work” weight made me feel like I should stop being lazy.

Last week and this week I ramped up what I was doing on the weights circuit because one of the employees there suggested it.  It definitely makes a difference!  Going around the circuit once is pretty hard, but going twice around is quite the workout!

That same employee was there again this week, and he noted that I look incredibly bored when working out.  I didn’t realize you had to be excited when you’re working out!  I laugh sometimes when I’m exercising, but it’s because I’m listening to really funny podcasts like “The Bugle” and “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me“.  I think I also do a little dance when I’m going from one machine to the next, depending on how catchy the music on the loudspeakers is.

Anyway, at this point, he suggested that I consider personal training.  He points out that it’s a workout based on your specific needs, and it will keep me motivated and excited, and prevent me from just getting in a rut.  All valid points.  I’ll admit, he did a good job selling the idea of getting a personal trainer.  And I’m thinking it might be a good idea, too!

A friend of mine has been going to a personal trainer, and she’s seen some great results!  She’s training to walk 750 miles up California to raise diabetes awareness.  I’m thoroughly impressed with her!  She’s been chronicling her training in the blog at her website.

I definitely have to consider the cost/benefit analysis of this.  As the trainer said, “you’re investing in yourself”.  I think that’s true.  I’m thinking of starting with their Try Pack program, with 3 training sessions, where you can apply that money used towards future training programs.  And if I decide I hate it, I don’t have to continue.  And I’ve just spent the $79 towards getting some good ideas for my future workouts, and maybe getting a bit more motivated.  I really think that since I’m not very knowledgeable about the gym and all the sorts of exercises one can do there, that this will be a good chance to just learn more.  So we’ll see.

What do you think?  Have any of you done personal training?  Do you think it’s too expensive compared to what you get out of it?  I welcome your insight and advice!

 

Quick little updates March 11, 2009

So, after getting a bit too hooked on Twitter (I think I’ve hit the critical mass of people/sites to follow…too many updates!), I’m realizing that sometimes it’s okay to not have extremely long and involved blog posts.  Sometimes it’s just better to keep people updated, instead of storing up the “perfect post” until you’ve worked out the kinks, and then avoid posting in the meantime.  I’ve been “tweeting” some updates, and also following many of the personal finance bloggers out there, and I think reading their “tweets” helps fill in the blanks between their blog posts.  And thanks to everyone who has started following me!

So what else is there to update on?

I was falling off the wagon, healthwise…not eating enough fruits/veggies and not going to the gym.  But I did buy my new sneakers (at 20% off!).  I asked the guy at City Sports what to get.  Thanks to everyone for their advice!  And I went to the gym last night and asked for help so that I could do some basic exercises correctly.  It’s no good to do exercise if you do it wrong…it wont work, or worse, it might hurt you!

Also, thanks to everyone last time for voting for me for the Free Money Finance March Madness!  I won that last round!  And guess what?  I’m up for votes again!  You can vote and find my competition here.  Don’t feel you have to vote for me, but if you want to, I very much appreciate it!

So, I think that I feel I have to defend my joining Twitter…only because I had heard about it a few years ago, but only just joined it after the mainstream media caught on.  I guess it was in part because a few friends encouraged me to join, and so I finally figured I’d do it.

 

I joined a gym! January 31, 2009

Filed under: Fitness — Stephanie @ 7:04 pm
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Well, I did it.  It was a bit of a guilt trip, and good salesmanship on their part, but I joined a gym.  I was tired of being all talk and (literally!) no action.

I actually still haven’t gone for my trial run of the place (that I mentioned last time), but today was the last day of waiving the joining fee.  And they promised I could cancel within 15 days if I decide it’s not for me.

The membership guy went over all the costs, and combining the discounted fees (thanks to my company) and the supposed $150 reimbursement I get from my health insurance company (according to the membership guy), I’m getting a really good deal.  Not including the reimbursement, I’m paying $27 per month.  Including the reimbursement, that rounds out to $14.50 per month.  I’m figuring that’s probably the best deal I’m going to get anywhere.  And now that I’ve signed up, the fact that I’m paying for membership will definitely get me going there (I’ve got to get my money’s worth!)

Most of the people at my company that work at other locations use gyms that are at their facility, and you only have to pay a small fee each month to use it.  But our specific facility doesn’t have one, so that’s part of the reason there’s a discount to go to a nearby gym (its a Boston Sports Club).  Luckily, there’s also a BSC near my house, so I can go there at non-peak hours (which, awesomely, includes weekends).  So I can work out near work during the week and near home on the weekends.

Have any of you used Boston Sports Club (or any of their related gyms in Washington D.C., NYC, or Philly)?  Do you like it there?  What do you recommend as good pieces of equipment/classes?  I’m hoping that when I go in for my trial run, they’ll show me what there is to do and how to use the equipment.  Because I’m pretty much hopeless when it comes to knowing how to use exercise equipment.

I’m excited.  It’s another step towards being healthier (one of my goals).  I’m not sure if I need to get special workout clothes or something like that (I’ve got a few sports bras, a techwick shirt, and some “yoga” pants), though I’m guessing I should download some podcasts or something to listen to while I’m working out.  Any recommended music or podcasts ideal for exercise?

And for my other goals:  still making progress on my networth, started changing my portfolio, and my sister helped me clean my room (though it’s already a horrible mess….)

Woo!  I also walked a lot yesterday and today, so I’m getting on track!

 

Happy New Year! January 5, 2009

I hope everyone is enjoying 2009 so far!

New Years gives a chance to both look back and look forward.  I did a bit of a review of the past year in my blogoversary post (and what a year it was!).

And, while I tend to be crummy at these sorts of things, it’s time to set some goals for the coming year.

Financial goals:

  • Attain positive net worth.  After analyzing my net worth changes using NetworthIQ, and assuming the trends will continue, I should hit a positive net worth by August.  To speed this up, I also intend to pay extra on my student loans every month.  I think I’ll pay an extra $500-1000 each month, or perhaps just change my monthly payment to what it used to be back when my rates were higher.
  • Rebalance my retirement portfolio.   My Roth IRA, rollover IRA, and 401(k) are all run by the same financial company.  They’ve run some analysis of my overall portfolio, and there are some chances that could be made overall.  I set up my new 401(k) as balanced on its own, but when you include my IRAs, the percentages of assorted get thrown off from my ideally balanced portfolio.

Other life goals:

  • Live more healthily.  I know that goals should be specific  if you’re hoping to accomplish them.  But I’m looking to you guys for some suggestions.  I know there’s exercising to be done, and healthier foods to be eaten, but other than that, I’m not sure what definite goals to make.  Well, one is to drop my BMI by 1.5.  That might sound extreme, but that means dropping less than a pound a month.  I like the idea of being a bit more in the middle of “normal” for my height than towards the top.
  • Get and then keep my room clean and organized.  My sister is pretty good at this sort of thing, so she’s offered to come by and help me with the initial clean.  I’m also reading some organization books to get myself motivated.
  • Blog more often! Let’s try at least once a week.  I’ve got some ideas in my head (including a post that further discusses the goal to be a healthier person).

So I think those are some good goals!  I’d love to hear what your goals are, and how you hope to attain them (especially if they’re health related goals, as that’s something I want to learn more about).  Are there any other goals I may have missed?

 

It turns out exercising isn’t that bad! July 2, 2008

Filed under: Fitness — Stephanie @ 10:45 pm
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So, anyone who knows me personally knows that I’m not the most athletic person.  I get winded pretty easily, and find it hard to get into the habit of exercising.  I know it’s a good idea to stay fit and healthy, but that knowledge doesn’t always translate to activity.  I’ve been debating joining a gym for a while now, but I always decide that I don’t want to spend the money on it.  When I was working, I figured my commute to and from the subway would be a good amount of exercises.  But now that I’m unemployed, I’m only walking to public transportation on interview days.  I do occasionally bike to the library, which is a nice ride, but I don’t do that too often.

My boyfriend and a few few other friends of mine ran the New Charles River Run this weekend.  I felt a little lazy just “supporting” them and not running.  It turns out one of my friends wasn’t running (she had signed up but had gotten sick beforehand and was unable to run), and was there to cheer on her boyfriend.  I complained to her how I am nowhere near running something like that (they had a 5k and a 7.5mi race).  She said that I should just start slow, and check out programs called “Couch to 5k” (or “Couch Potato to 5k).  So when I got home, I hopped on the internet to see what I could dig up.

So I found a site with a lot of the information on it, and this site in particular has the description of what you should do each week.  I the first site in particular has a list of a few different podcasts that are meant to guide you through your runs/walks/jogs.  I think this one is pretty good.  I’m thinking I’m going to start doing them pretty soon.

I also occasionaly read a bunch of different feeds from the Sugar Network, including CitizenSugar, GeekSugar, and CasaSugar.  One of the other ones I read is FitSugar.  The other day they had a post that caught my eye.  They mentioned ExerciseTV.  It turns out, you can watch free exercise videos on the website, and if your cable company provides OnDemand, you can watch on there, too!  And I did!  I closed the shades (I felt like people could watch me contorting about, and I wasn’t ready to be laughed at!) and went through 2 of the workouts…one for abs in particular, and one that was a combination yoga/fitness program.  Yes, I probably shouldn’t have done so much right off the bat.  I was definitely worn out afterward.  And I’m still feeling aches and pains in my body today.  But it felt really good, even if I was struggling through it a little.  I’m planning on doing some more exercises tomorrow, and work my way up.  And I also want to try out the Couch to 5k program.

So, we’ll see what happens.  I am starting this with the best intentions, but I’m not sure if I can keep at it.  Anyone have tips on how to stay on an excercise regimen?  I’ll let you know how I do with this!

 

 
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