Advice for Working Out in the Winter

No matter how dedicated you are to your fitness, the winter can be a difficult time to stay in shape. Nighttime comes early and the weather is terrible, so it makes you not want to head outside. Maybe you’re used to exercising outside, but it’s much more challenging to do so during the winter, though it doesn’t mean you have to stop. Whether you’re going to a gym or braving the elements, here are some tips for continuing to work out in the winter.

 

Wear appropriate clothes

Since the colder weather is setting in, you’ll want to be prepared for it. Get ready to change your exercise wardrobe, especially if you’re planning on working out outside. Have reflective clothes that drivers can see in the dark and enough layers and quality material to keep you warm. Even if you’re running for miles, the cold can still harm you if you aren’t properly attired. Avoid too many bulky layers as well, because it makes working out more difficult. If you’re staying inside, make sure you have warm clothes for when you leave the building.

 

Be germ conscious

When you’re working out at a gym, the winter is a perfect time for germs to spread. Wipe down machines before and after you use them, even if you aren’t actively sick. After your workout, shower, and avoid spending too much time in the locker room.

 

Create a reward system

The bleak weather can often make you feel like you don’t want to work out or maybe you feel like it isn’t worth it and you can get back into your routine in the spring. A great way to work around this feeling is to create a rewards system for yourself. Whether it’s a nice dinner, new workout clothes, or something else that motivates you, use this goal to get yourself to move.

 

Get in small workouts

There are going to be days when you just can’t motivate yourself to get in a full workout, but anything you can do is beneficial. Take time out of your day, even if it’s just half an hour, to move around a bit. Your body will be grateful and you’ll reap the benefits.

 

Workout with a friend

One of the best ways to motivate yourself to workout is by having a partner who holds you accountable for missed workouts. When choosing your workout buddy, find a friend you know won’t regularly flake on you or reinforce skipping workouts. You need someone who’s as dedicated to fitness as you are so you can push each other to stay in shape.

 

Change it up

A great way to get yourself in the mood for working out is changing up your regular routine. Get new workout clothes, start a new playlist, or begin a different kind of fitness regime. Having something exciting and different can help push you to keep focusing on your fitness and crushing your workout goals.

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6 Tips for Dealing with Life After College

No matter how ready you think you are, graduating from college and firmly entering the adult world can be jarring. You might be heading off to grad school, but even then, you’ll eventually be done with school and no longer in such a structured environment. While being a full-fledged adult is exciting, there are also a lot more responsibilities you’ll realize and you’ll have to take complete control over planning your own future, since you no longer have a clear goal like graduation to work toward and set steps on how to get there.

 

Accept the changes

The first step to adjusting to life after college is accepting that it’s happening. You’ve been spending most of your life working toward graduation and everything else likely seemed fairly distant. Now, you need to seriously think about a job, your career, professional opportunities, what you want to do in the near and far future, and how to achieve those goals. You’re soon going to be financially responsible for yourself (if you aren’t already) and you may be getting married and starting a family sooner than you think. Acknowledge these changes are all possible and begin planning.

 

Find a routine

Something that’ll keep you sane now that you’re out of college is creating a solid routine. Try to go to bed and get up around the same time, make consistent plans with friends, and consider regular workout times or something else. As long as you have a routine, you’ll have something to rely on and keep you focused.

 

Make a plan

After you’ve gotten used to no longer being in college, it’s time to make a plan about what you want your next steps to be. What kind of career do you want in the long run? Where do you want to live? Do you want to buy a car or a house? Begin crafting one, five, or ten years plans and you’ll feel a bit more in control of your future.

 

Prioritize

While in college, it’s completely normal to frequently multitask and juggle various responsibilities like class, work, socializing, video games, and clubs, but once you’re out of college, it’s harder to do so many things. One big reason is you are now spending a significant amount of time each day at a job (hopefully), so you don’t have the short breaks you used to enjoy between classes. Realize this reality and instead prioritize what you want to do outside of work. Do you want to go to the gym or go home and watch television? Do you want to get dinner with your friends or run some errands? These decisions are very real out of college.

 

Create a support system

You might no longer live next door to your best friends and you might work somewhere far away from your family. However, it’s important to create a strong support system. Make new connections with coworkers or other people where you live or reconnect with people in the area if you moved back home. Regularly talk to your friends from college and your family, even if you can’t see them often.

 

Take care of yourself

Finally, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. You’ll have to adjust to a new schedule and phase of your life and it’s going to be stressful. Give yourself time to sleep each night, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and get regular exercise. Avoid becoming burned out or too stressed at your job and take some time to do something you enjoy each day.

 

6 Money Goals for Before You’re 30

A big part of graduating college and finding your first job is becoming financially independent. If you’ve completely relied on your parents up until this point and have never lived by yourself and been responsible for all of your living expenses, this change can be stressful and confusing. However, here are some clear money goals you should establish before you’re thirty. Then, start working toward them and making concrete plans to achieve financial stability and independence.

 

Get rid of your debt

By the time you’re thirty, unless you’ve bought a house, you shouldn’t have any debt left. You likely have significant student loans, maybe some credit card debt, and possibly a car payment. Create a plan now that allows you to pay off these debts by the time you’re thirty. Consider paying extra on the debt with the highest interest to get it paid off quickly as possible, even if it means cutting back on spending in other areas. You’ll feel an incredible sense of freedom once you’re debt-free.

 

Stop relying on your parents

A huge percentage of millennials rely on their parents for support after they’ve graduated college and moved away. It’s understandable that your parents want to help you out and the occasional assistance is understandable, but you need to learn to be an adult and take care of yourself at some point. Your parents are getting older and are going to need to save their money for retirement.

 

Start planning for retirement

The single biggest piece of advice many professionals say they wish they could give their younger selves is to start saving as much as possible for retirement as soon as you can. Most people underestimate the amount of money they’ll need for retirement and only start worrying about it once they’re past thirty. Worry about it now and build yourself a nice nest egg.

 

Save up for a home

As you’re approaching your thirties, you might be beginning to want to move into a permanent residence that’s your own. Unless you travel a lot for work and know you want to keep renting, or you already bought a home, you’ll want to have a nice-sized down payment saved up to use for your future home. Start saving up as soon as possible; the larger your down payment, the lower your mortgage!

 

Establish an emergency fund

You might be in perfect health and have a stable job, but we never know what life might throw at us. If there’s some reason you would end up out of work for a few weeks or months, it’s important to have an emergency fund that’ll be able to cover all your expenses for a few months until you get back on your feet. Most people aim to have at least six months in expenses, so aim for this number. It might take a while to build up, but it’ll be worth it.

 

Stick to a budget

Creating a budget and being able to follow it is the single best step you can take to set yourself up for financial independence and stability by the time you’re thirty. In order to meet any of these goals, you need to create a plan and follow it each month. You’ll need to plan out how much money you’ll put toward each goal every month in order to make your long-term plan a success.

 

How to Use Credit Cards the Smart Way

Credit cards are something we’re likely all familiar with. You’ve probably gone shopping to a larger store and had the salesperson ask if you want to open a credit card account specific to that store. It’s likely you always brush it off, knowing you don’t shop there that often or don’t want to deal with more debt. However, many people open credit cards, whether a store card or a regular one. The average household in America carries nearly $6,000 of credit card debt. Other studies show that about a third of Americans have at least one credit card.

You’ve probably heard horror stories of people getting into insane amounts of credit card debt they’re never able to pay off. Many people completely swear off of credit cards and believe they’re sure ways to get sucked into overwhelming debt. However, if you handle credit cards in a smart way, you won’t have to worry about dealing with outrageous amounts of debt. Here are tips on using credit cards and actually benefiting from them.

 

Online shopping

One of the best uses for credit cards can be to use exclusively for online shopping or somewhere else you think information could get compromised, such as a small stand or other place that appears to have low security. All too often, we make online purchases and then see that our account information has been compromised. It’s much easier to freeze and cancel credit cards and get the purchases taken off your statement than it is to do the same with getting money back into your bank account. By using a credit card for a purchase you would have made anyway, you can protect yourself from fraud.

 

Designated purchase

Sometimes, credit cards can be useful for a designated purchase. You might receive a lower car insurance rate if you set up an automatic payment, but don’t want to save your bank information, using a credit card becomes a great alternative. It’s also easier to track spending if the only purchase you’re making on that card is one kind.

 

Gain rewards

You can easily find credit cards that claim they have incredible rewards programs. Nearly every card now offers some type of reward. It’s important to avoid being drawn into promises of rewards and going for every card offered; take the time to research different cards and find out which ones offer the best rewards for you. Then, use that card regularly to make purchases you can afford and build rewards that are actually beneficial.

 

Build credit

A very smart reason to use credit cards is because they allow you to easily build your credit. By regularly using a credit card and not making late payments, you’re able to improve your credit score. This benefit is especially useful to younger people who don’t have any kind of credit score and need to create one in order to make larger purchases or rent an apartment. Spend smartly and avoid creating debt so you can improve your credit score.

 

Pay on time

Finally, the smartest way to use your credit card is by paying it off on time. If you carry a balance over from month-to-month, you’ll likely have to pay large amounts of interest, often around 20 percent of whatever the balance is. If you can’t pay off a large purchase in a month (or very shortly after), do not use your credit card. The problem with credit cards is people avoid paying off the balance each month, so it just accumulates and interest builds, which results in outrageous amounts of debt and you paying more than you spent in the first place.

A credit card isn’t something you have to be scared to use, as long as you’re following these tips and being smart in your spending. It could actually be something that benefits you.

Best Golf Clubs of 2017

The site Two Golf Guys put out a list reviewing the best golf clubs of this year. It’s a pretty good list, so I figured I’d take some time to talk some more about a few of the clubs that appear on it. If you’re planning on buying a new set of clubs this season, here are some clubs to look at.

TaylorMade M1 Irons: These clubs are great for high, straight shots, although it doesn’t shoot quite as high as the TaylorMade M2. The rounded head of this club moves smoothly over roughs and uneven ground. It’s a good club for picking up up yards–I’ve heard of people gaining as much as 10 yards by switching to these. Despite impressive game-improvement features, including a fifteen-gram tungsten toe rate that lowers and centers the center of gravity, it has a clean, simple design. Steel clubs are $1,000 and graphite clubs are $1,200 for this model.

TaylorMade M2 Irons: These have most of the power of the M1s but without the sleekness. The tech gives them a slightly sci-fi look, but it looks good on them. It has a heavy sole that gives it some real power, creating fast, high shots. It also scores great on accuracy and forgiveness, according to Golf magazine. These are a bit cheaper than the M1, at $800 for the steel and $900 for the graphite.

Callaway XR OS Irons: These are straight-shooting irons great for players looking to improve their distance. Once you get used to them, you can shape your shots a little, but much more emphasis is on strong and high accuracy/forgiveness. Nicely balanced, these give you a lot of control over distance, and their wide soles work on lots of types of ground. Note that these shoot higher than some players are used to. These clubs price at $800 for steel and $900 for graphite.

Mizuno MP25: For a lighter, livelier club, try the Muzuno MP25, which uses boron rather than straight steel. This club is fun to handle, with a smooth, well-balanced feel. It struggles a bit on roughs, probably due to its lighter weight. The Two Golf Guys rated this one very high on forgiveness, but some players may not agree–I suspect how well you do in that respect depends on play style. Clubs are priced at $1,000.

Cobra King Pro Irons: Two Golf Guys ranked this one for best style, which is fair: the Cobra King has a forged iron blade, which looks cool and powerful and is really fun to play with. But unlike many other forged iron clubs, it also has high forgiveness and a nice center of gravity. These are great clubs for a casual game if only for how satisfying they sound when they make contact with the ball. Priced at $1,099.

Common Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Runner’s Knee

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, otherwise known as runner’s knee, occurs when the cartilage under your kneecap becomes inflamed. People with runner’s knee generally experience flare-ups during or after long runs, after sitting for a long time, or during or after going down hills or stairs.

Issues with your running style can cause or worsen runner’s knee. If your foot rolls inward when you run, or if you have weak quads, hips, or glutes, your knees have to take up the slack, which puts you at extra risk. Prevent runner’s knee, or avoid a relapse, by strengthening your quads with lateral side steps or bicycling, and strengthening your hips and glutes with hip lifts. If you’re experiencing mild runner’s knee, run on a treadmill at an incline. Running uphill is easier on the knees, and strengthens your glutes. Shorten your slide length and stop when it gets painful. For a workout that’s easier on the knees, swim or use the elliptical.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is tightness or irritation in the achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel. You’re most likely to experience achilles tendonitis if you’ve started training harder than usual, especially if that includes increasing your speed or taking more hills. Prevent developing achilles tendonitis by wearing compression socks for hard workouts.

Don’t try to run through achilles tendonitis. It will make it harder for you to heel, and you might develop worse problems. Ice your achilles tendon five times a day, and avoid overstretching your calves. Stay in shape by pool running or swimming. Strengthen your calves by doing 20 reps of heel drops daily. Continue doing heel drops even after you’ve healed, to prevent future injury.

Hamstring pain

Most hamstring pain is not bad enough to indicate severe injury, but it is painful and uncomfortable to run through. Hamstring pain is caused by weak hamstrings or a muscular imbalance in which your hamstrings are weaker than your quadriceps. Strengthen your hamstrings with one-legged deadlifts, or by doing bridges with leg lifts on an exercise ball. Use a foam roller to limber up your muscles before or after a workout.

If you experience sudden, strong pain or bruising, you will need to stop running altogether. Unfortunately, once hamstring pain gets this severe, it takes a long time to heal. Best to prevent it before that happens.

Plantar fascitis

Plantar fascitis is the most common foot problem that runners experience. It happens when your plantar fascia becomes torn or inflamed. Runners with high or low arches are most likely to suffer plantar fascitis, as both types of foot stretch and strain these tendons.

Sooth flare-ups by rolling your foot over an iced water bottle, and make sure that your shoes fit. You may want to modify your running shoes with a custom orthotic. Take the weight off your foot by pool running or swimming, or use a bicycle or elliptical, if you can do that without pain. Doing exercises to strengthen your core may help prevent future flare-ups.

To Splurge or Not to Splurge?

What’s Worth Your Money and What’s Not

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When you get your first adult job and are finally out from under the watchful eyes of Mom and Dad, as I will soon be, it is incredibly difficult not to let your financial independence go to your head. Money may be tight, but even so, the prospect of making one’s own money and having the freedom to spend it as one sees fit is exciting for many young people. There will be many large purchases in life that are more or less inevitable, and then there will plenty of other purchases, also expensive, that, while not exactly essential, are part of maintaining a fulfilling lifestyle.

Unless you come from a financial background like myself, you may not have been taught financial smarts. Most people are at least aware of how much they have in their checkings and savings accounts and know at least how much they can spend to have a comfortable lifestyle. While financial expert will advise you to avoid debt, the vast majority of Americans (80%) actually live with some amount of debt, usually attributed to mortgages. Outside of a mortgage, however you should know how to manage your money so that your finances are always in the positive and not the the negative.

When you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to determine where to divert your finances. Should you splurge on a designer sofa that will last for years or find one at a discounted price from a yard sale or IKEA? Should you put out extra for organic foods or quality healthcare products? A lot of these questions come down to a matter of choice and your current financial situation; however, there are certain things in life that are almost always worth the splurge and others that are just a waste of money. Here is a brief list of what’s worth your money and what’s not.

Worth it

  • Bedding- Humans spend approximately one third of their lives asleep, so if you’re going to be spending that much of your life in bed, it should be comfortable. Spending a little extra on sheets with a high thread count will prove worth it in the long run, since they’ll last longer and feel much better against your skin.
  • Travel- If you have the means to travel, you should. Of course, traveling is a luxury and you should be judicious about how often you travel and how much of your income is going towards it so splurging on first class may not be the best use of your money, but paying for a nonstop flight and vacations that will expand your cultural awareness and create lasting memories may be.
  • Quality food- I’m not saying you need to buy all organic food, but being health-conscious is a long-term investment in your life. Eating cheaper food such as fast food or discounted meat jeopardizes your health.

Not worth it

  • Bottled water– Not only is plastic bad for the environment, but you can save a lot of money drinking tap water. If you’re worried about contaminants, invest in a filter.
  • Regular meals out- be careful about how much you’re eating out. It’s nice to treat yourself, but if you find that too much of your paycheck is going towards eating out, set a limit for yourself, like one lunch out a week.
  • Name-brand drugs- Generic brands use the exact same ingredients for a less expensive price. The only thing you’re paying extra for with name-brand medicine is the name.
  • Premium gas- Unless your car actually requires premium gas, you’re wasting your money paying for the more expensive stuff.
  • New college textbooks- The college bookstore will always charge an exorbitant rate for new textbooks (some go for $200-$300), so whenever you can, you should buy them used online or from a friend, as long as they’re in useable condition.
  • Extended warranties- In most cases, extended warranties on pricy appliances aren’t worth it. According to Reddit user BagOnuts, many of the in-store warranties that are offered don’t cover the most common causes of failure and are just a way for the retailer to profit. Do your research first to determine if it’s really worth it.
  • Phone accessories from retail stores- Retail stores jack up the price of phone cases and screen protectors, so it’s better to purchase them online.