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Whether you've been running for years or just picked it up, there's one thing that gets a really bad reputation: the treadmill. I've even heard it referred to as "the dreadmill" since it can be fairly boring compared to running outside.
And for those who think it is boring, they have a fair point: you likely don't have as many surroundings to look at if your treadmill isn't near a window.
I started running more on the treadmill when I'd go to the gym to start weight lifting. It was an easy way to incorporate HIIT cardio. Plus, you have a flat surface that is completely in your control.
But I didn't want to ever look at it as the "dreadmill." So I experimented and now, I actually prefer treadmill running over running outside!
Here are seven ways to make the treadmill less boring and indoor running more fun.
1. Watch a First Person POV video
First person POV videos are a fantastic way to make the treadmill less boring.
The treadmills at my gym offer a service called RunTV, where you can pick an interactive workout. These will show a specific scenery and match the incline to simulate running the beach or mountains.
You don't need a fancy treadmill for this, though - a tablet or phone will do just fine! There are tons of YouTube channels out there that offer first person POV videos designed for running on the treadmill or pedaling on a stationary bike. Just look up "treadmill videos" and you'll find a bunch.
This one is one of my favorites from World Nature Video:
Different creamers contain a surprising amounts of sugar. I recommend starting here if you're trying to transition to black coffee because it was, in my opinion, a way easier change than adding sweetener packets. I started by trying different fat free and sugar free creamers, and then eventually made the switch to unsweetened vanilla almond or cashew milk. It's only 15 calories for half a cup, which makes your coffee super creamy so you don't need even that much! A little goes a long way and helped me transition.
2. Slowly cut back on your added sweeteners
If you're currently using sugar but have weight loss on your mind, start by switching to something like Stevia. This is a more natural sweetener than something like Splenda. Sometimes they'll add sugar alcohols to stevia packets, but it's largely natural since Stevia is from a plant.
I took this one month at a time. Embarrassingly, I used to drink a large cup of coffee with four packets in it!
And, if you like using syrups, you can try Jordan's Skinny Syrups since they're sugar free. Then, you can ween off from there if you want. If you decide to stop using them once you've gone to black coffee but have leftover, they're great for baking or in protein shakes, too!
3. Start with Iced Coffee
4. Get flavored coffee
5. Remember that you don't need to exclusively drink black coffee
I switched to black coffee because Anthony and I have a lot of (post-pandemic) international travel plans to some destinations famous for their coffee in different ways, and I wanted to be able to enjoy them how they were without them all just tasting like how I do at home. Ask yourself what your goals are and go from there - remember, it should be because you enjoy it, not because you feel like you have to.
Have you had enough water to drink lately? I think we all know at this point that drinking water is extremely helpful for us whether we are looking to lose weight, build muscle, or just function normally as humans living our day-to-day lives. It can be easy to dehydrate yourself and not even realize it. Everyone's needs are different, but I aim for a gallon of water per day since I'm super active and live in Florida (where it is just varying forms of summer rather than actual seasons). Here's how I manage to get more of my water down without getting bored.
Add fun flavorings
Some of my favorite flavorings include
- Built Boost, which is basically a multivitamin in water flavoring form (get 10% off with the coupon MagicallyFit). My favorite flavor is the Cloud Nine, which tastes like grape soda.
- Hydrate by Coffee Over Cardio, which is a coconut water powder with electrolytes that helps you stay hydrated (get 10% off with the coupon 10MagicallyFit). The pink lemonade flavor legit tastes like lemonade, especially when its served cold.
Yes, coffee and tea count!
PubMed Central did some studies and they showed for a significant diuretic effect, you’d need to have 5 or more cups of coffee per day. So, yes, you can track your coffee and tea for this!
If you are looking to reduce your sugar intake in your coffee, try a flavored coffee! I love the ones from Coffee Over Cardio - Basic AF is my go-to PSL when fall rolls around, and I also really love Saturdaze since it has a light chocolate donut flavoring to it. They have a bunch of really fun seasonal flavors that roll around, so it's worth keeping an eye out when you start to run low and you want something different or fun!
Get 10% off with the code 10MagicallyFit.
Use a straw
I use the ones that came with my Healthy Human stainless steel steins. They even have a silicone tip on one end so if you have sensitive teeth, it won’t bother you. You can get a discount with the code JessicaS15.
Get a water bottle that sparks joy
As Marie Kondo would say, we should have things that spark joy. Your water bottle should be no different. I love my water bottles from Healthy Human for a few reasons: they come in a bunch of gorgeous prints and fun colors so I’m encouraged to want to keep it nearby on my desk or to go with me when I travel, and also it stays cold for hours in there (and, for coffee, it stays hot for hours too).
Anthony and I went on a beach weekend once in the summer and accidentally left a half-full bottle in the car overnight. The next day, I decided to test it out to see if it was still drinkable (do not try this with plastic, though!). The stainless steel Healthy Human worked as advertised because, and I swear to you I’m not lying, the water was still cold.
You can get a discount with the code JessicaS15.
I never recommend replacing a meal with a protein bar (I actually advise against this), I do think that protein bars are fantastic for an on the go snack or for pre-workout fuel. So that being said, here are some of my favorite protein bars to enjoy on Weight Watchers that don't totally break your SmartPoints budget.
They're also coated in dark chocolate, so that's a plus! You can shop now by clicking this link. You can also get 10% off if you use the coupon MagicallyFit. My personal favorite flavor is the Cookies and Cream, and my husband really likes the Cherry Barcia.
Try a variety pack now on Amazon!
Try ONE on Amazon, and also check out their minis for an option to curb a sweet tooth. They also have some plant based options that are vegan friendly.
Protein One by Fiber ONe
Try them on Amazon!
*Note: price discrepancies below are due to certain selections being a single box vs. multipacks. Don't fret, it's not $35 for a box of 10! I wouldn't do that to you.
For Weight Training
Getting a set of resistance bands, especially ones that are stackable, are great for both beginners and more experienced fitness enthusiasts. Anthony loves his stackable set because he can get up to 150 lbs of resistance from the bands. This was super helpful before our gym closed due to quarantine so he wouldn't lose his progress! Plus they were great for me since it wasn't just one set resistance, so we could stack them to our needs.
A set of dumbbells is a must! There's so much you can do with them, for your arms, abs, and even legs. Plus even some heavier ones shouldn't take up too much room in your house. Need more than one set and want something a bit more heavy duty? Check out dumbbell sets with racks!
A stability ball is great to include in your home gym since you can use it for so many different workouts. I love my stability ball kit from SoAlpha because in includes some resistance bands and it has a sheet with a bunch of different workouts that you can do with it.
Not all yoga mats are created equal! You want to make sure you can have a good grip on it without necessarily needing special socks. This yoga mat on Amazon is great for non-slip and comes in a variety of colors.
Yoga blocks are so helpful for at-home practices, especially for beginners (like myself!) still working on deepening certain stretches and improving posture in stretches. They're usually made from foam so they're not super hard on your wrists.
Sometimes, a yoga practice will call for a pillow. I like to use a special pillow (sometimes called a yoga bolster) for this so that way, I don't have to run and grab the ones I use on the couch or my bed and potentially get them dirty on the floor. It's nice to have a pillow with one intention (especially since a big part of yoga is setting intentions for your practice!).
Having a punching bag at your disposal is a great way to work on both self-defense and cardio with some boxing drills. Anthony loves boxing for a good cardio-meets-core and arm workout. I used to use these a lot in my karate days, too, and you can't go wrong with anything by Everlast. You can shop their products on Amazon.
I swear by my stationary bike at home. I have it set up in my bedroom facing my television, so if I still need to get a workout in but I'm feeling kind of lazy, I have no excuse: I can just hop on and pedal while my husband and I watch television. I got mine a few years ago, but here's a link to the newer model version of the exact one I have on Amazon.
A treadmill is also something I swear by, especially in the summer (especially living in Florida) when it's too hot to get a run in once the sun comes up. My parents have a treadmill by Nordic Track that really helped me through my half marathon training (and they're the more affordable treadmill brand out there, in my experience). The ones at my gym are by Precor and I really enjoy their treadmills, too (it may not seem like it, but they're not all created equal!).
Having a fitness watch, especially if you're doing a lot of running or other cardio. If you're into running, biking, and swimming, then a Garmin Forerunner 235 will be a fantastic watch that offers a lot of great features, like built-in interval timers. If you need something for the basics but is still a great watch with great features, I'd recommend this one.
I recently treated myself to a Series 5 Apple Watch and love it for the gym since I can track exercises beyond just biking, running, and swimming - including yoga and weight training. Plus, the Apple Watch gets more specific for what type of indoor cardio activity you're doing, so if you're like me and enjoy trying out different pieces of cardio equipment, you can really get your stats super accurate on the Apple Watch.
My husband and I got a shiatsu massager like this one as a wedding present and it is one of our favorite things we've ever gotten! We swear by it after a particularly intense gym session. Trust me on this one - treat yourself.
Foam rollers are great for a few things. Not only is it fantastic for muscle recovery, but also can be a beneficial part of a warm up or cool down routine. It particularly can help with tightness in both your muscles and joints. Similar to foam rollers are stick rollers, for rolling over your muscles after a workout. My mom has a million of these from the various race expos we've been to and she loves them all. This one is her favorite.
After a great run, I make sure to wear compression socks to help with the blood flow and preventing soreness. I find it really does help! My favorite pairs are my Danish Endurance brand ones from Amazon. They sell sleeves and socks, so if you just need it for your shins you have that option too. They're fairly affordable but still get the job done.
I've seen a play on the "freshmen 15" phrase going around this summer - the "quarantine 19" - but please know that it's a stressful time for everyone right now. Don't punish yourself into working out because you put on some pounds during lockdown. Bake that banana bread because you love it, and then try some of these pieces in your next workout because you love it, too. They're not mutually exclusive!
After being on Weight Watchers for almost five years now, I have a few go-to snacks that I love to have in the house to help me make sure I succeed. Because let's be real... sometimes, you need something other than roasted broccoli or fresh fruit. Here are some of my absolute favorites that I can't go without, many of which that you can order on Amazon!
Pizzelles are an absolute favorite of mine! Pizzelle cookies are basically like a waffle cone but in a cookie format. It's a delicious Italian treat that I love to top with fat free whipped cream for a nice dessert. It fills my sweet tooth without hurting my Smart Points budget. Two cookies is usually only around 50 calories, and if you have four of them it's only 3 SmartPoints on myWW.
Where to get them: Most grocery stores sell these, but you can also get them on Amazon Prime from Reko. They come in two flavors: chocolate or vanilla.
I know trail mix can be a bit of a controversial option for some since it's a bit higher in SmartPoints values. However, I absolutely adore the 365 Everyday Value brand (from Whole Foods, especially the Raspberry Beret flavor (and not just because it's a fantastic Prince reference). It's 150 calories for 1/4 cup and even though it's 5 SmartPoints on myWW, it's a super filling snack. Besides, 5 SmartPoints isn't a huge chunk of your budget if you're following the Green plan.
Where to get it: This brand specifically is at Whole Foods, which you can shop online via Amazon Prime. Get a 2-week free trial when you click here, or just get the trail mix here.
Nori (aka seaweed) snacks are some of my absolute favorite. The umami flavor is great, a lot of them are seasoned nicely, and they're super low in calories and SmartPoints. You can have an entire container of Annie Chun's for only 50 calories and 1 SmartPoint on myWW.
Where to get it: The international foods section of your grocery store should have these, but if you don't see it there, get a 12 pack on Amazon and your pantry should be stocked for a while!
Tuna and Chicken packets
These ready to eat packets can sometimes vary in SmartPoints depending on the flavor, but are usually only 70-110 calories and pack a ton of protein. They're a great snack for on the go and also for building a quick meal if you don't feel like cooking and just want to dump it on some low calorie bread or wraps.
Where to get them: You can find these in the canned meats section of grocery stores (with canned tuna and chicken), or you can order a variety pack from Starkist on Amazon.
I love Goldfish because you can get so many crackers for only 140 calories and 4 SmartPoints on myWW! They're great for snacking on when you want to feel like you get a good deal of volume from a real cracker.
Where to get them: The cracker aisle at your local grocery store, or you can order them on Amazon. Try a 60 ounce box for sharing at home or a box of prepackaged snack packs for when you're on the go and don't have access to a digital food scale.
Good Thins are another fantastic option for those of you who are craving crackers or chips but want to have a high volume for a low amount of SmartPoints. Depending on the variety, you can get a serving for 3-4 SmartPoints and they usually pack a great deal of flavor.
Where to get them: These are available at most grocery stores, and you can also try them when you order a variety pack on Amazon.
- Built Bar (SmartPoints typically range from 3-5 per bar)
- Where to get them: On Built Bar's website. Get 10% off with coupon MagicallyFit
- Quest (SmartPoints typically range from 4-5 per bar)
- Where to get them: Most grocery stores sell them, or you can get a pack on Amazon
- Pure Protein (SmartPoints typically range from 5-6 per bar)
- Where to get them: Most grocery stores sell them, or you can get a pack on Amazon
- ONE (SmartPoints typically range from 6-7 per bar)
- Where to get them: Most grocery stores sell them, or you can get a pack on Amazon
Where to get it: Most grocery stores, or on Amazon
Mini Babybel Light is only 50 calories and 1 SmartPoint per mini wheel and is a great way to get some fats in (if you're like me, you tend to not eat a lot of foods that are high in fat because so many "healthier" things try to cut back on them).
Where to get them: Most grocery stores, or you can order a pack on Amazon
Want to make your own yogurt? If you havean InstantPot, check if it has a yogurt setting and then get some ideas from the Instant Pot Yogurt Recipes cookbook!
There are affiliate links throughout this blog post for your convenience, where I can earn a small commission. I never support a product or brand I don't personally use and enjoy, but if you'd like to learn more, you can head to this page on my blog!
Mickey Waffle Makers
Mickey Coffee Makers and Warmers
If you already have a coffee maker but want to keep your mug warm, you can get a mug warmer that comes with a 10 ounce Mickey Mouse ceramic mug. It works on soups and hot drinks, and makes for the perfect way to treat yourself or a great gift idea for someone who loves their coffee at home or in the office.
Get 15% off when you shop through this link or use the coupon JessicaS15!
Disney & pixar SLow cookers
Disney, Star Wars, and MArvel toasters
Mickey Mouse Cookie Cutters
I really want to share this process with you guys about how this all worked so you can get a little sneak peek behind the scenes and, in case you’re ever in this position, know what to expect. I ultimately wasn’t selected - and I’m not bitter or anything, so this isn’t being written out of animosity! - but still wanted to let you all get a chance to know what’s behind the curtain.
I was then sent an email from the Weight Watchers team asking for a video of me answering some of their questions a few days later. They asked me a lot of the same questions that were covered in the initial submission, but I had no problem re-answering them so they could have everything handy or however they needed it for the process. I was told that if I was selected to interview, I would be compensated for my time at that second stage.
No one brought up anything about the aforementioned payment. I didn’t bother to ask in the interview to not seem rude, and the interview only lasted about 10 minutes. They told me they loved my story and were pretty into it, but after a few days (again, much longer of a wait time than promised), I was told by the WW employees who initially reached out that they were going in a different direction so I was not selected. My guess is that it’s because I’m a Lifetime member who is not trying to lose a ton of weight and already has - they were really focused on how much weight people lost on myWW since it rolled out in November, and I’ve been maintaining.
While it's sometimes near impossible to be 100% in control, there are a few steps you can take to help you get pretty close. I've gathered the steps I take - and have helped me lose weight when spending long weekends at Disney or work trips - so that way, you have a guide to help you if you're feeling overwhelmed. Specifically, here are five tips for how you can eat healthy in your hotel room.
This post contains some affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
Read more here!
Research the hotel in advance to see what tools you have, and go from there.
Then you can go grocery shopping at a nearby store or with a service like Amazon Pantry (where Prime members can shop for basics - single items, not bulk! - and have them delivered) and stock up accordingly.
Want to try Amazon Prime free for 30 days to take advantage of Amazon Pantry? Click here!
Stick to basics.
Plan at least your breakfasts in advance.
With Built Bars, you can get 10% off if you use the coupon code magicallyfit at checkout!
Research what restaurants are nearby.
Pack some essential tools.
- Collapsible measuring cups that can stack flushly for you to toss in your purse. This means they’re great for both hotels and going out to eat!
- To go containers for dressing. This way, if you picked up some (like Skinnygirl brand or another low calorie favorite) at the grocery store or ordered some online, you can put it in a convenient carrier.
- Sandwich containers are great so you can make something with a low calorie bread or wrap and pack it with protein and leafy greens. These are slim enough to fit in your bag and also reusable so it’s good for your wallet in the long-run and your environment.
- Small pre-portioned containers (kind of like the ones you get for 21 Day Fix!) are also great if you buy a bulk bag of nuts, for instance, and want to pre-pack out a serving. These can also be used for other snacks like veggies, crackers, or anything good to munch on!
Just remember that, no matter what happens on your vacation or when you step on your scale, to be kind to yourself. My Weight Watchers leader once said that in every set back, there's a learning opportunity, and you wouldn't slash the remaining three tires on your car if one of them went flat.
Have any questions? No matter how specific, feel free to email me, DM me on social media, or leave them in the comments!
Jessica is a huge Disney, anime, and Star Wars nerd who channeled that love into motivation to lose 75 lbs.