Wednesday, November 27, 2013

When to Splurge on Fitness

This month I've been covering affordable fitness tips, however sometimes you just need to splurge. Certain pieces of fitness equipment are worth the investment and even getting something pretty can be a good reason. Considering a few guidelines can make your splurge feasible and rewarding.

How much does it really cost?

"I found a super cheap, cute pole for $100! I should buy this Peek-a-Boo, right?" If you can afford spending money on a decorative theme item go ahead--as pole dancers we've heard this one more than our fair share. The same applies to fitness clothing. For example, I bought some cute boyshort panties from Victoria's Secret because they were cheap with my reward coupon. If I was only going to wear them for pole it would have been money down the drain because I would have worn them just that first time and never again (they cover nothing, my pole friends would have been scarred for life). Will you get a lot of uses out of it? Think of it as cost per use. If you buy a $20 Walmart sports bra and wear it twice because it's itchy you paid $10 per use. If you buy a $100 brand name bra but wear it every weekend for a year it only costs $.64 per use.

What else do you get out of it?

Say you want a rhinestone yoga outfit that is way more than you normally spend. Can you use it for motivation? Maybe if you can get down to a certain waist measurement or lift 10 pounds more by your birthday you can "earn" it. Your fitness journey is worth a splurge, within reason. Sometimes equipment is useful for more than one activity. A pole is great for strength training, dance, and flexibility. A yoga mat doubles as a good "beach towel" and far less sand sticks to it than a real towel.

Other considerations

Is it a limited time deal? If you know for sure you will use that flexibility DVD and it's on sale for the lowest price you have seen maybe you should get it. Make sure you can cover your other expenses and go for it. Also consider if it is a good company so you know you will be getting a good value and quality. Is the item returnable if it does not work out? Life is not perfect and of course you should splurge just because if you can.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fitness Shopping: Credit Cards are Your Friends

I get sick of hearing how evil credit cards are. Used wisely, credit cards can help you save money and get you some nice perks, especially when it comes to fitness.

There's my Angel Card, posing with my Xpert
My favorite perk? Freebies! Last month for my birthday Victoria's Secret sent me a $10 coupon to use online or in stores (read: free mini perfumes or dirt cheap panties). Menards gave me a coupon for a neat blade set with an LED light that I plan to use for crafting. VS is constantly sending me free panty coupons which incidentally work great for wearing under pole shorts and are comfortable for stretching.

Then there's special discounting. Stick with cards that give you free shipping and discounts at places you already shop. I always get free shipping on for using my RedCard plus 5% off. So when I find a good sports bra on clearance I don't have to worry about reaching $50 to get free shipping; I just buy that and whatever else I actually need. My Menards card gives me cash back so when I wanted a magnetic level or a set of mirrors to check my form I got an extra discount on those. If you have a regular cash back card that's a great way to get a discount on items that rarely go on sale, like Lululemon workout clothes.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Prepaid Cards to the Rescue: Review

My cute Garfield card from!
As a fitness fanatic I definitely find an outlet for my love of shopping--fitness gear! I am very excited to share my experiences using the prepaid debit card, which was provided as compensation for my review. All opinions are my own and I hope you find this review and prepaid card tips helpful in the upcoming shopping season!

Shopping an untested site...

For some reason the most awesome fitness gear is the most elusive. Remember my mad hunt for 36" legwarmers? I literally searched past the 15th page of search results before finding an awesome family owned shop that carried exactly what I needed: 36" legwarmers without a stirrup. Prepaid cards are the best solution for this; you only risk what you load. offers Visa fraud protection and 100% FDIC insurance on whatever money you do put on there.

Surviving fraud season

'Tis the season for... theft, unfortunately. Holidays are always the peak time for stolen credit card information so all that protection offers? Now is when you need it. This is one of the features of I was excited to share as it seemed a lot of my pole dancing friends were running into information--and consequently monetary--theft. Using cash or other forms of payment can sometimes be convenient but having a card with a solid backing makes a difference, at least in peace of mind and at most in terms of saving you from scams.

The "B" word

Sometimes it's a pretty dirty word especially with all the hype about spending big to keep up with our favorite sports and pole stars or to treat our families. Yup, budgeting. I can keep my personal spending under control--unless we're talking heels, ahem. My worst enemy? Shopping cute dance gear for my daughter. I like prepaid cards for loading a set amount and keeping to that card for an easy budgeting tool. I love that there are no fees to order, load, or use the prepaid card. There is a monthly fee of less than $6 that can be avoided by loading more than $800 and only applies after the first 30 days. My bank charges a $35 minimum for overdrafting... guess how I know? As much as I tend to be a stickler for tracking expenses it just is not possible for me around the holidays... I would rather spend money on dance tights and leotards than overdrafts. Plus I love that you can pick out of thousands of designs to add a little fun to your shopping.

I hope that these tips can give you a little more confidence in your shopping. Stay tuned for next week's post in the November Affordable Fitness Series on credit cards (yes, they can be your friends).

Monday, November 11, 2013

I Reserve the Right to Fangirl Out

Why is flattery always assumed to be fake? I was helping my husband study for his Business Interviewing class when I read that in an exchange you should not use a lot of flattery because it comes off as insincere and makes people feel uncomfortable. Well haul me off to flattery corrections! (Weekend Crush, anyone?)

Cape Flatter Trail (c) mlcastle
CC Attribution 2.0 License
I will concede that flattery can make people feel uncomfortable. I believe it should not. This is something conditioned in so many places to keep people from acting like arrogant snobs so I can understand the feeling. I liken it to the crippling need to qualify self-flattery. Women are very guilty of this--ask a woman about her best feature and you can bet she will also point out a flaw. Stop!!! You can take a compliment and you can boast about your best attributes without being snobby. It all comes down to tone and moderation. Sometimes it's okay to boast. I would even say as humans we have a need to do so.

So I try to limit my flattery. The truth of the matter is that if I tell I love how you dance or that your hair color is absolutely gorgeous, I mean it. There are certain people that I would have made my Weekend Crush several times over and mentioned in more posts if I did not hesitate to make them feel uncomfortable (like this magical goddess or my continual source of inspiration). Besides, I have a feeling I might seem like a bit of a stalker after the umpteenth time of saying how their posts light up my day. Just a little. 

I reserve the right to fangirl out

The magic of fitness and pole dance in particular is that everyday people make the best idols. People that have real jobs and real commitments to family on a real budget that manage to change to a healthy lifestyle inspire me. People with no dance background who learn lyrical pole dance inspire me. Being an everyday person is not an excuse I will ever let you use to get out of being one of my inspirations--it's part of the reason any one person would be.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Basic Money Tips for Fitness Fanatics

I find so much cool fitness swag I cannot afford. Pretty poles, cute workout clothes, and all sorts of fitness gear are out there tempting yet out of reach. This month I am sharing some of my strategies for making fitness work with a limited budget starting with a few basic tips in time for the holiday shopping season.

Do you need it?

Money (c) 401 (K) 2012
CC Attribution 2.0 License
There is always a new thing. There's Taebo, Zumba, the Fly Gym, Pole Sleeves, and so much fitness craze gear. Can you work up a sweat without a Taebo DVD? Sure, if you love running or walking. If you absolutely need Taebo to get you motivated then go for it--your health is certainly worth it. Do you need a Fly Gym to get flexible. Odds are you can get good results from following techniques in a yoga video from the library or YouTube videos. Maybe buying yoga blocks instead would help you more. Consider all your options.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Why I am Boycotting Pregnancy Front Splits

Alma & AnyFer 72 (c) Edgarholgin
CC Attribution 2.0 License
The splits are my holy grail. I made it a point to get back my splits when I lost flexibility despite recovering from anemia, being in school, and balancing all sorts of craziness in my life. Being pregnant didn't stop flexibility from being a part of my life. In fact, I made more progress in all areas of flexibility while expecting than ever before.

But I still am quitting my front splits.

The problem with front splits snuck up on me. With so much that I'm doing right now it was hard to pin point what was causing gradually progressing pain. Groin pain. I considered all the textbooks I carry from taking classes and tutoring. It could also be my light strength training because even though last pregnancy I did a lot more it is possible for my body's tolerance to change. Sex of course was another worry--I sure did not want it to be that. haha

Try getting out of bed with crotch pain. Yeah.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Weekend Crush: Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilar (c) Raffaele Fiorillo
CC Attribution 2.0 License
Yes, Christina Aguilera is pretty much the epitome of sexy song bird--but that's not the part of her I love. Her "Dirrty" days still make me cringe even if I am learning to love her over-the-top sexy boudoir look. But that's Christina Aguilera--always doing exactly what she loves and staying true to herself. That and belting out some ultra powerful songs. You know those songs that help you make it? The ones that keep you from falling the last few degrees down into insanity? Those are what make me adore her. Music and running kept me sane in the hardest times of my life. There is something pretty irresitistable about listening to songs that rebel against the things that make us "work a little bit harder" and gasping out "Fighter" while pounding the pavement. You just can't help but to believe in her as she belts it out--and to believe in yourself. Songs that make the best quotations like this are the ones sung as if the singer's life was poured out in them. Considering how passionate Christina is, I suspect that is exactly the case. As a fellow Latina, I love that she's representing with strength and individuality. It also helps that I got to play this song as one of the first flutes ahem... Proud band geek here. There is nothing like seeing the scoring that goes into the song for understanding it's depth.