Graduated Learning: Life after College

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

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.


Rewarding good behavior February 10, 2009

Filed under: Fitness,Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 6:33 pm
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So, last night I went to the gym for the SECOND time!  Wooo!

Went on the treadmill, then watched some of the Presidential Address while on the recumbent bike.

I found out what the machine was that I used last time.  It’s an Arc Trainer.  It’s funny, on their website, they like to point out that it’s NOT an elliptical.

So, I’ve decided, that, as a reward for going to the gym (after I go 15 times), I’m going to buy myself a new pair of sneakers.  The only pair I currently own are ones I bought for their look at Payless quite a few years ago.  And I’m thinking that I should probably have sneakers with appropriate support and that are for the type of exercise I’m doing.  And this is where you, my readers, get to help me out.  What type of sneakers should I buy?  Do you have a favorite brand, store, or style?  I guess there are running shoes, walking shoes, cross trainers…I don’t want to spend a lot, but I want a good shoe.  How much did you pay for your shoes?

And let me know if you like these posts, or if you’d prefer I go back to just personal finance postings.


First day at the gym February 8, 2009

Filed under: Fitness — Stephanie @ 7:36 pm
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I went to the gym for the first time on Thursday evening.  Signed my paperwork, got my pass.

One of the trainers took me around and showed me some of the equipment.  I got a rundown of how to use the different cardio equipment (hey, we’re starting at the basics, here!).  Treadmill, elliptical, stair stepper, stationery bike, and, as I like to call it, “like an elliptical, but not an elliptical”.  (my coworker who goes there knew exactly what I was talking about, but couldn’t name it either!  I’ll ask next time what it’s called.  It’s across between an elliptical and a Nordic Track)  I did a few minutes on each piece of equipment, just to know how it works.  He also explained how I should have ~2 minutes warm up and cool down to let my heart rate adjust.  Most of the equipment have handles that read your pulse, which I think is pretty cool.

After he showed me how to use the different cardio equipment, he let me just go and use it.  So I went on the “not-elliptical” (circular?  haha!) on an interval setting for about 20 minutes.  Maybe a bit more.  My heart rate got pretty high.  It read out at 180 bpm at one point!  I’m not sure if that’s dangerous or not.  The instructor told me that it’s okay to go that high as long as you don’t feel dizzy or anything like that.

I then went on a quick tour of the strength training equipment in the XpressLine.  It’s a bunch of different machines that help you to work on different muscle groups.  I tried each of them just once, and was pretty worn out by the end!

Then I went for a quick ~10 minute jog on the treadmill.

So, that’s that for my first trip to the gym.  I haven’t been there since, but I intend to go on Monday!

I have to say, I felt pretty good after my workout.  I guess that’s what I’ve heard about for a while:  it makes you feel better, releases endorphins, etc.  So I’m psyched to go again!


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!


I may have found the health improvement plan that works January 26, 2009

Filed under: Fitness,Food — Stephanie @ 11:38 pm
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So, like many companies, my company is interested in creating a healthier workforce.  And there are lots of good reasons:  it lowers health care costs, reduces absenteeism, and improves productivity.  The newest addition to their plethora of health promotion items (already including smoking cessation, weight watchers, and subsidized gym memberships) is something called Nutrisum.

It’s probably too early to tell, as today is the first official day of the program, but I think this is the type of system I’ve been looking for.  Basically, it helps me keep track of health-related accomplishments without making me go into too much detail.  I decided a while back to do a search for online food trackers.  I came across a few, and tried using FitDay, since it allows you to track what you’ve eaten throughout the day.  I figured I’d like it because I like using walletproof for tracking every single purchase I make.  I think the problem was that it was too difficult to find the exact food I ate, and determine the exact amount I ate.  Too much work!  Tracking expenses is much easier:  look at your receipt, and record that number!

So, with this Nutrisum system, you get to earn points.  And I like to earn points!  You earn points for things like eating breakfast (because that gets your metabolism going in the morning), having 3 servings of whole grains, 5 fruits/veggies, 5 glasses of water, and not eating within 3 hours before bedtime (or at least not eating after dinner).  You also get points for exercise.  I like the idea of it because it encourages you to do healthy things.  And now that I’m conscious of those important activities, I’m more likely to do them.

Oh, and reading over this, it sounds like I’m some sort of infomercial promoter or getting paid for this post.  Let me assure you, I’m not!  I’m just excited to try something that’s a bit easier.  Oh, and in other news, the gym near work (where work will subsidize a membership) is offering a free trial run and training session so I can see if I like it.  I know that it’s a bit of a trick, since they try to hook you with the free trial, but I’m looking forward to just trying out the gym before I fully commit to joining.

I’ll keep you updated on how well I stick with this new health kick!


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