Friday Feels – Fave Exercise Apps & Other Tips to Start Off the New Year

Welcome to another Friday Feels where I share what I’m feeling this week. This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you.

Well now that it’s January and all the holiday fun is over, I’m trying to settle back into healthier habits… trying seems to be the operative word as it’s been a bit of a slow start. To kick off the new year right, I thought I would do a good old fashioned random Friday feels full of my fave finds lately (say that 10 times fast).

January and February are always hard gloomy months here in West Michigan where the sun doesn’t shine and everything is brown and gray.  It really starts to affect my mood.  Making sure I’m eating right and exercising seems to help combat that for me.  I’ve been doing the whole intermittent fasting thing since the fall and that has really been working for me. If you don’t know what I’m talking about do your research as I’m definitely not a health professional or nutritionist!  I follow the 16:8 intermittent fast schedule. Essentially I fast for 16 hours and then eat during the other 8. Typically for me, that means I fast from 7:30 pm – 11:30 am. I have coffee and water in the morning until I break my fast. One thing that has really helped me keep track of it is an app called Zero.  Here are a few screenshots so you can see what it looks like.

It has different settings and you can choose what type of fasting you want to try. Then it has an easy timer you hit to log when you are done eating for the night.  You can set it to alert you when your fast is over. That way I don’t need to think about what time I ate the night before, etc.  I know this isn’t for everyone, but it really works for me. There is a ton of interesting science and research behind it, but like I said do some digging for yourself on it.  I typically follow this 6 days a week at least, sometimes Saturdays can be tricky to work out the timing.

zero app for intermittent fasting

While we are talking about health and fitness, let’s talk about exercise!  Exercise really reduces my stress and anxiety.  I used to run at least 15 miles a week, but I injured my left knee 2 years ago.  Running more than 2 miles at a time is painful now. That injury combined with the Mr. breaking his foot while running this fall (we are basically falling apart over here, at least we still have all our own teeth…), prompted us to try a stationary bike for our cardio fix.

I’ve been dreaming about a Peloton, but the Mr. had his doubts about whether I would really enjoy cycling. He has always loved it (he participates in Triathlons all summer long), so he just wanted a regular stationary bike. Being the good husband he is, and his typical frugal financial planner self, he figured out a solution that worked for us both. Let me introduce you to our Poor-oton as we jokingly refer to it :)  We bought this stationary bike from amazon (we snagged it on Black Friday for $389. It’s $589 right now, but compared to the Peloton $2500 price tag still a deal). It is basically the same bike, but without the fancy computer screen. I use a cadence gadget and an app called Wahoo. It shows you on your phone how fast you are pedaling on the bike essentially. Then I just use the Peloton app on my iPad or on our smart tv and I can take all the fun classes. It’s $12.99/month for the app, but that’s less expensive than a gym membership and they have all sorts of classes, not just cycling. The Mr. is a happy camper because he can boringly cycle along while reading documents for work. I’ve been trying to shake him up and blast some hip hop music for him, but he is not on board yet, ha!

The only downside is the actual Peloton bike shows you your cadence combined with the resistance on the bike and your output etc… This bike has the same resistance lever, but you have to keep track in your head where you are. One full rotation of the knob is a 10, 2 rotations – 20, 3 – 30 and so on. Most classes the instructor will call out a cadence/resistance goal to be riding at for example; a 60-75 cadence with a 40-50 resistance. You just need to remember what rotation level your resistance knob is at. After using it for a few months I have a feel for where I’m supposed to be.  I’m surprised at how much I’ve been enjoying these classes and it doesn’t cause me knee pain which is great!

I try to do the Peloton classes 3 times a week and alternate the Tone it Up workout app that I still love (I talked about that in this post with my 5 tips to beat the winter blues) for strength training. That app also has awesome cardio, HIIT classes, yoga, and basically everything if your knees aren’t falling apart like mine :)  This app is $80 a year.  I’ve been pretty faithful to using it the last 3 years.

tone it up workout app

Along with my health kick, I’ve been trying to reduce our waste around here as much as possible and one thing I recently found to help out with that are these reusable silicone bags. I’m obsessed with these things! I just ordered them in all the other sizes. They are freezable, microwavable, dishwasher safe and so easy to use. You just fill them up and slide the slider over the top. They are great for leftovers (I made a huge pot of soup and froze half of it in the big one), or packing snacks. I’m saving on using SO many ziplock bags with these.

reusable silicone bags


Ok and last, you all know I love fresh flowers and clippings from the yard in my home all year. Fresh clippings are not really in the cards right now (besides evergreens, which I will do on occasion), but I love to treat myself to flowers from Trader Joes every other week. It just cheers me up and brings some life to the house during the dead of winter. If I keep refreshing the water and cutting the stems back they really last a long time.

coffee table styling lilies vase

These tulips were from last Tuesday – I just added a couple of fresh roses in this week. Lilies seem to last forever for me too. Similarly, now seems to be the time where I pick up a new house plant or too as well. I just need that green to promise me that spring will eventually come even if it doesn’t show up until June.

kitchen flowers tulips and roses

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20 Comments

  1. Hey Kelly I spin a lot myself and got a chance to try the peloton bike. I was so disappointed! The actual bike is chintzy. The knob to adjust the resistance literally came off. The workout videos are totally worth it though! You did it right. You should rename your bike smartaton.

  2. I have followed you on IG for a little while never reading your blog until now. ❤️Great suggestions. I will be back?You are precious

  3. I love your cycling solution! Thanks for sharing. Have you checked out Kayla Itsines’ Sweat app? I love it for strength training. It’s similar in price to Tone It Up and also has a variety of trainers and programs (in home workouts, gym workouts, pregnancy workouts, etc.). There is also a great community around it online that I’ve found really motivates me to keep going.

    1. Hey yes I have! I did a free trial of it. I think that’s a great app too, I just like the TIU one better I think. I’m glad you found something that works for you though!

  4. I was thinking about going the Poor-oton (I love that!) route myself, but I wasn’t sure if it would work out. I love to spin but didn’t want to invest $2500 in a bike either. I’m going to check out the bike that you purchased since it has triathlete approval! Great post!

    1. Yeah we have both been enjoying it! It doesn’t have the capability to see how you are doing on the leaderboard etc… but that’s not a big motivating factor for me so this is working great.

  5. Great post. I love tulips. I have not had the long lifespan that you get from them. Yours are beautiful.

  6. Hi. I’m a brand new reader-found your blog via Instagram. Nicely written post with great ideas! Thank you. Your family is lovely ❤️Your home is too-ha!

  7. Hi Kelly,

    How long do you generally cycle for? Thank you for these ‘beat the Winter blues’ tips!

    Kim

    1. Hey Kim so I typically do a 45 min class twice a week with a 10 min ab routine after. Then a 30 min class with a 20 min strength training class once a week. I try to work out 4-5 days a week so on the leftover days, I do a 40-minute toning class. I try to look at my schedule for the week and see which days I have time to do the long cycles.

      1. Thanks for your reply, Kelly! I think that you always look so great, that I find I’m really motivated by your exercise and diet tips. I’m not sure if this resonates with you, but I would be interested in reading about what you eat in a day too (is that weird? lol). It really does encourage me though to try and do things similarly / more healthfully, but, of course, with a few tweaks here and there to match my own constitution. Thanks for your help with the prior! Here’s hoping I can become as fit as you again at some point!! ;).
        Sincerely,
        Kim

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