The 60% Solution to Saving & Spending your $$$

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Unless you’re born into money, society has taught us as adult that the name of the game is spending within your budget.  However the hardest part is figuring out how to set your finances to allow you to use just 60% vs. the full amount. Below are the committed expenses that is unavoidable; if the 40% is unrealistic, then you can raise it to 70%-80% to better fit your lifestyle.

  • Basic food and clothing needs.
  • Essential household expenses.
  • Insurance premiums.
  • Charitable contributions.
  • All of our bills — even such nonessentials as our satellite TV service.
  • All of our taxes.

So now depending on if you chose 60% as your median, there are 4 sections that you can use disperse your savings.

401 K – This can/should be automatically pulled out.  Remember that this is your retirement savings plan so unless it’s an emergency, don’t pull the money out early (i.e. before 59 ½).  Most companies does offer a matching program from at least 1%-5% with some matching at a higher percentage.

IRA/Roth IRA/Mutual Funds – Like our SSN funds, it’s hard to just rely on one asset when you retire.  Setting another form of investment that gains decent interest in the next 20-30 years can essentially give you the better than average lifestyle.  If you are not an expert at managing any of the 3, then I would recommend seeking a professional through your bank, or financial experts from a well known organization in your area.

Emergency/Vacation Plan – While saving for the long term is very important, don’t forget that things around your house may need repairs or replacement.  Going on vacation is also a great way to save your sanity.  All work and no play makes for a very long year, and treating yourself and your loved ones is a good way to strengthen your bonds.  Just have this pulled directly to another account from your check so you don’t see it until the monthly balance after 30-90 days.

Spending Money – The great part about this last one is you can spend it on anything as long as it doesn’t go past the 10% you set (depending on the amount you are setting this can vary).

Now if you’re asking yourself the question “Well I can’t just put away 40% of my check, we won’t be able to survive.” Below are potentially some factors that may hold you back:

  • You have a more expensive home than you can afford.
  • You’ve committed to car or boat payments that are larger than you can afford.
  • Your children are in a private school that you can’t really afford.
  • There’s just a big, ugly gap between your income and your lifestyle.

My recommendation is to try it at 70%-80% (Giving yourself 20%30 savings money to start) at first until you are able to lower your expenses.  It may not seem easy at first, but by making the necessary adjustments it will pay off in the long run.  Making the necessary adjustments will allow you to put a cap on your unnecessary expenses.

The real secret to building a budget that works isn’t tracking what you spend, but creating a sustainable structure for your finances. Balancing your spending and income and that leaves enough room to handle the unexpected things that life throws our way.

Source:

http://web.utah.edu/basford/personalfinance/handouts/budgeting/The60Solution.htm

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Dance your way to Fitness!

We’ve all heard the expression “Time flies when you’re having fun.” This method applies to almost anything you do.  Work, education, recreational time and yes even staying fit.  By taking a break from the weights to breaking it down with the beat, you shed an easy 200-700 calories per hour.  Do this with friends and you have yourself a party.

Zumba, Salsa, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, and Belly Dancing are just a few different types of dance you can experiment with to boost your metabolism while changing up your regular routine.  Don’t knock it until you try it!

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  • Visit an Expert!  – Not everyone has the ability to just pick up and go.  Going to a class will allow you to take pressure off yourself since everyone is trying to learn it and make mistakes together.
  • View it and Do it! – Another option to consider if you are not ready yet to start attending class, is to purchase the DVD and do it at home.  You get the comfort of being in a comfortable setting while not having to drive home after pouring sweat after a session.
  • Game On! – If you have the Wii or Xbox Kinect, then why not buy the Dance4 game, Dance Dance Revolution, Zumba etc.  This allows you to bring more people in the mix and compete against each other for points, and bragging rights.

Dancing allows you to shock your body in a way that weight training and even cross fit/cardio training won’t do.  It allows you to do it in a setting that is relaxed and fun without the concerns of meeting a certain amount of repetition or goal.

It’s a great way to change your routine in an environment that is meant to be fun and full of energy.  It’s even a great place to meet new friends.

Source:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-80333/Get-dancing–latest-way-fit.html

Slim down tips to for your summer body

With sunny season approaching, we all know it’s time to start dropping our winter weight and prepare for our beach bodies.  Below are some helpful tips to add to your already rocking routine to get you to your bikini outfit or surfer wear.

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Eating more Fiber in your meals – Experts believe that women eating 13g of fiber or less a day were more likely to be overweight.  Eating more fiber can lower your caloric intake without making you feel deprived since it requires you to chew your food more which speeds the passage of food through you digestive tract and boost satiety hormones.  The suggested amount for any person would be 25g in forms of fruit such as apples and oranges.

Add 5000 more steps to your day – Researches say that an average person takes about 5000 steps between going to work, errands and chores at home.  By adding more steps, you increase your health by increasing your HDL cholesterol, lowering your blood pressure, and improving your glucose control.  A study in South Carolina Univ. shows that of the 109 individuals, those who took more than 9000 steps were healthier and thinner than those who took less than 5000.  Using a pedometer to log your extra steps or just aiming for about 50 minutes (2 ½ miles extra per day) will help in slim your down.

Drinking more H2O – If you are not already doing it, drinking up to 8 glasses of water will help speed your metabolism.  The best benefit of drinking water is that you do not gain extra calories.  By drinking a glass before any meals or snacks is a great way to lose a few pounds without feeling dehydrated.

Work only 8hrs a day – Researchers from the University of Helsinky did a study on 7000 adults.  They found that those who packed on extra weight was due to having logged an excessive amount of overtime hours.  Stress along with an unhealthy lifestyle had a direct effect in changes to their hormones.  By setting limits to your workday, you give yourself time to do other more productive things such as taking a walk in the park, cooking a healthier meal and reducing your stress levels.

Eat more fresh produce – Try to trim excessive sugar and refined carbs that will cause your blood sugar to sky rocket.  Eating things like baked sweet potato, grapes and pasta are a great substitute for russet potatoes, dates and pizza.  By eating less glycemic index you can shave additional weight while lowering your sugar levels.

To learn about more tips on how to get slim for the summer, click the link below!

Source:

http://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-tips/weight-loss-numbers-really-matter?cm_mmc=Fit_Life-_-Original-_-8%20Ways%20To%20Speed%20Your%20Weight%20Loss-_-10%20Slim%20Down%20Strategies%20You%20Can%20Count%20On

Unleash your Inner Beast!

 

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If you are 20 years or older, congratulations! You have been a part of society surviving a handful of catastrophic (and funny) events.  We have survived the Y2K, The end of the world (3times), the end of times (Mayan calendar), and potentially the Zombie Apocalypse.  You owe it to yourself to look in the mirror and say “You are awesome; now let’s take it up a notch!”

The year is now 2013.  After going through the past 2 decades now is the time for action.  Believe it or not, all of us have an inner beast inside. No matter what level of fitness you are at, each and every one of us has a driving force that makes us compete against others or ourselves.

There is a lot of misconception about being fit. At one point or another many of us may have said to ourselves any or all the following below:

  • I need to spend “X” amount of hours at the gym
  • I need to get on a diet to lose “X” amount of pounds
  • I need to buy that program because…
  • I need to join “that” club because…

If you feel that you’re ready to unleash the beast within, below are a 5 helpful hints to get you there:

  1. Set a goal for yourself – Don’t worry about the magnitude, there’s a old saying “You can’t conquer a mountain without taking your first step.” Seeing that goal “on paper” on your mirror, at work, in your wallet or in inside your car’s dashboard is your first step to success.
  2. Design a plan – Think of this as your roadmap to your goal.  Understanding what it takes and the tools to get you there will ensure that you don’t fail.  This can be a calendar or a check list used to track your workouts, food intake and proper rest time so your body maximizes its potential.
  3. Get a trainer/success coach – getting assistance is a great way to guide you.  Experts in fitness can normally provide you with a wealth of knowledge.  What foods are the best to meet your goals, routine exercises and moral support.
  4. Start sooner than later – It’s better to start tomorrow than next month.  You don’t need to get crazy on your first dive in, but accomplishing it the first time is a great way to pump you up.  Don’t let that drive fade by waiting too long.
  5. Don’t Quit – The hardest part about any journey is the will to keep going.  If you feel that this is the cause for any past attempts to get fit, my suggestion is to take it easy but don’t quit.  Take a day or 2, but not a week or a month.  Unleashing your beast mode requires time, but once you have it, you need to keep at it so you don’t lose your momentum.  Switch up your workouts from time to time so you don’t get bored of it.

Finally I wanted to share an article on exercises for the average person written by Mark Clark.  Feel free to modify the workouts based on your goal.  Keep the weight at about 40%-60% times you maximum rep in the beginning, and add more if you need it in the later weeks if its not enough. This should give you a basic 7 day routine to get you started on the track back to fitness.

Monday

Focus: Weight Lifting

  1. Warm-up with light jog, jump rope, or elliptical machine for 5 minutes
  2. Dynamic stretching (lunges, pushups, pull-ups, squats with no weights, etc.) for 5 minutes
  3. Barbell squats
  4. Dumbbell lunges
  5. Barbell bench press
  6. Rows (can use row machine or barbell)
  7. Dumbbell side lateral raises
  8. Crunches
  9. Leg lifts (for lower abs)
  10. Static stretching

Tuesday

Focus: Cardio/Functional Fitness

  1. Warm-up with light jog, jump rope, or elliptical machine for 5 minutes
  2. Dynamic stretching (lunges, pushups, pull-ups, squats with no weights, etc.) for 5 minutes
  3. For 30 minutes, do something FUN and active! This could be running with friends, playing basketball, walking in a park, swimming, golfing (no golf carts), playing tennis, dancing (Zumba, Hip Hop, Belly Dancing), Plyometrics, or just about anything that gets your body moving.
  4. Static stretching

Wednesday

Focus: Body Weight Lifting

  1. Warm-up with light jog, jump rope, or elliptical machine for 5 minutes
  2. Dynamic stretching (lunges, pushups, pull-ups, squats with no weights, etc.) for 5 minutes For 30 minutes, do something FUN and active! This could be running with friends, playing basketball, walking in a park, swimming, golfing (no golf carts), playing tennis, dancing (Zumba, Hip Hop, Belly Dancing), Plyometrics, or just about anything that gets your body moving.
  3. Pushups – 3 sets of as many as you can do in 1 minute
  4. Pull-ups – 3 sets to failure (you can use assisted pull-up machine or a buddy to hold your legs if needed)
  5. Superset: 10 lunges each leg (no weight), then 10 squats (no weight), repeated for 1 minutes – 3 sets of this
  6. Your choice of abs (machines, etc.) – Do at least 2 exercises
  7. Static stretching

Thursday

Focus: Cardio/Functional Fitness

  1. Warm-up with light jog, jump rope, or elliptical machine for 5 minutes
  2. Dynamic stretching (lunges, pushups, pull-ups, squats with no weights, etc.) for 5 minutes
  3. For 30 minutes, do something FUN and active! This could be running with friends, playing basketball, walking in a park, swimming, golfing (no golf carts), playing tennis, dancing (Zumba, Hip Hop, Belly Dancing), Plyometrics, or just about anything that gets your body moving.
  4. Static stretching

Friday

Focus: Cardio/Functional Fitness

  1. Warm-up with light jog, jump rope, or elliptical machine for 5 minutes
  2. Dynamic stretching (lunges, pushups, pull-ups, squats with no weights, etc.) for 5 minutes
  3. Dead lift (make sure you have someone show you how to do this if needed – form is absolutely critical)
  4. Dumbbell lateral lunges (lunging to the side)
  5. Military press with barbell
  6. Chest cable fly 2-3 sets
  7. Lat pull-downs 2-3 sets
  8. Decline sit-ups 30times 2 sets
  9. Bridge holds for 20-60 seconds
  10. Static stretching

Saturday

Focus: Cardio/Functional Fitness

  1. Warm-up with light jog, jump rope, or elliptical machine for 5 minutes
  2. Dynamic stretching (lunges, pushups, pull-ups, squats with no weights, etc.) for 5 minutes
  3. For 30 minutes, do something FUN and active! This could be running with friends, playing basketball, walking in a park, swimming, golfing (no golf carts), playing tennis, dancing (Zumba, Hip Hop, Belly Dancing), Plyometrics, or just about anything that gets your body moving.
  4. Static stretching

Sunday

Focus: Off Day

Source:

http://blog.vitasouth.com/basic-workout-routine-for-the-average-person

Is it time to change out your wardrobe?

With daylight savings time (DST) right around the corner, it’s time once again to swap out our wardrobe to fit the season.  Away with the winter coats and heavy sweaters for a lighter tops and bottoms.  Storefronts and online retail stores piling up thousands of styles to match your every day consumer.  I am no fashion guru, I leave that to all the experts who writes articles for those magazines.  But what I do know is that we are at the age where your clothes help define the kind of person you are representing to the world.  Regardless of what you’re into, having the right apparel can motivate you to do great things.  From finding the next great career to becoming a cross fit  athlete, we feel better when we are in the right state of mind.  That’s what this article is really about.  I am not telling you to buy $500 worth of new clothes, but making minor additions to your closet can be a wonderful way to jump start that thought of pursuing your goal.Image

From sports clothing to work wear and everything in between, the internet has provide us a great way to view everything we need in a click of a button.  Below are my recommended sites to checkout for all sorts of wardrobe replacement if you have not already done so.

  • Amazon.com – This is your one stop shop for everything from comfortable house wear to James Bond 007
  • Trunkclub.com – Great place for guys to shop clothes for newest trends
  • AKBeloved.com – a great stylish place for the average girl/woman
  • REI.com – Go here if you live life outdoors. Free shipping for purchases over $50
  • Zappos.com – Free shipping & Free returns on all purchases with a variety of apparel/shoes from A-Z

Sources:

http://www.amazon.com; http://www.trunkclub.com; http://www.akbeloved.com; http://www.rei.com; http://www.zappos.com

Fitness motivation through the use of technology

For most of us, technology plays a big part on our day to day activities.  You would think that in the year 2013, we would have it all by now based on movies and sitcoms we watched like “Back to the Future & Star Trek”.  Don’t get me wrong, technology is definitely faster than how it was a decade ago.  Yet as fast as it’s moving, we are no where near the age where we have a “Magic Button” that will give us the body we want in instantaneously.

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The good news is we are definitely using it more to track our progress, get the encouragement and feedback from others, and provide music depending on our workout routine to help us stay motivated.

I read an article (it’s a bit old) from this really great website called prevention.com that talks about women using technology to inform their friends on the status of their weight loss.

I am a believer that with the right mix of mental toughness, consistency and support, anyone can transform their body.  Below is a list of items on how technology can help you stay motivated:

1-      Post your goals in social media– Regardless if you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, My Space, etc, you can gain supporters just by taking the first step to post what you’re trying to accomplish.  From a 5k to a Marathon, to losing pounds or building muscle, keeping everyone updated on your status is a sure way to stick to a goal.

2-      Keep an online diary (blog) – Having a timeline on what workouts you did on a specific date will allow people to see your progression.  This is key; it’s like reading a book or watching a daily/weekly show where those following you are anticipating your updated results.

3-      Join a virtual group – Being part of a group that does activities similar to yours is a great way to stay motivated to exercise.  You comment on how good they are doing or their recent pictures and you can do the same.  This allows you to maintain what I call a “link or connection” with others who have the same mindset as you.

4-      Turn your phone to a coach – if you are one of the millions of people who have converted to a smart phone, you’re in luck! Most phones have access through millions of applications you can download for coaching tips on exercise routines.  This is great if you are at the gym and need a digital trainer to tell you how many more reps or sets you need to do, or how much time you have left before that workout is finished.

5-       Posting pictures of the food you eat – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this, but it does work.  By posting your pre and post workout meals, shakes, etc.  You show your others how you take care of your body.  We all know that fitness is 2 parts (Exercise and Nutrition), if you only do one, you’re not giving yourself the best chance to reach your goal at an optimum peak.

6-      Plan your workout – Gone are the days when a person brings a folder or binder with them to the gym to check off the workouts they just finished.  Just Kidding, I still see plenty of people doing this.  But why haul a binder around when you can just upload it to your notes or tasks in your smart phones.  Make your life easy; don’t carry so many things that you may just forget it accidentally in the gym or outdoors.

Regardless if we are a fitness monster or just starting out, we all can use a little motivation.  By using technology to spread the word of our progress to fitness success, we inspire each other to get out and get active.

Source:

http://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-tips/7-ways-technology-helps-you-lose-weight?page=2

Laugh a little next time your in Las Vegas with Marc Savard Comedy Hypnotist

The next time you visit Las Vegas, spend a night watching a very funny comedian hypnotist by the name of Marc Savard. He is currently performing a nightly act in the V Theater inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino on Las Vegas Blvd.
I have had the pleasure of watching his show, and though I do not want to spoil any surprises what I can tell you is you absolutely laugh your butt off. It may not make you a believer, but it’s definitely worth adding to your list of to dos in Vegas.
BIO About Marc:
Self-taught and starring on stage as the world’s youngest professional hypnotist, Marc mastered the art of mesmerizing people at 19. By 21 Marc was appearing in over 200 stage shows internationally. At 23, he was fighting for his life.

Hit head on by a drunk driver and left with a broken back and fractured skull, Marc was forced to leave the stage and turn his hypnotism skills on himself. Marc not only defied his doctors grim prognosis by making a rapid and complete recovery, he left them in awe by controlling his pain with mind power instead of medication. Within six months of his crash, Marc was back onstage performing with a passion for life that comes from being so close to death.
Source:
http://www.marcsavard.com