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I like to think we've all been here. Wanting to workout at a gym but then once you venture out to a gym to take a look at your options you realize gym memberships are extremely pricey, and let's not forget the random hidden fees that they don't tell you about. Since September, I've been building up my strength through home workouts alongside my running as going to the gym wasn't an option for me because I couldn't justify spending X amount and it not being worth X amount.

From the long ride of September to March, I now have a base of what I personally use to build my strength. At the beginning of March, I came across a gym that was within my price range and! has a pool! and no hidden fees! Although now I do go to a gym, I do personally do a variation of these at the gym or continue to do some at home on the days I'm road running as I find them extremely helpful.

So, let's get started!

Nike Training App: 4 - Week Guide to Build Strength 

In my training, prior to having a gym membership, what I did was run one day and then do a workout in the order they had it in, and repeat. One thing I really liked was that I felt myself becoming stronger than I previously was before doing this. There is also a workout day called Leg - pocalypse Now and I can confirm, my legs died but were happy about it. 

Strength + Stability 

One thing that I noticed was that my calves really need some lovin'. As a runner, my calves are constantly working overtime, this means that without strong calves goodbye running in general. By not having strong calves, shin splints were normally on the horizon while I'd cross my fingers hoping it'd pass me - one thing I will say is that once I've come back from an injury I am always so scared that I'll be sidelined again. There are a couple of videos that have helped me with calf strength + also stability training (in which I notice me and balance don't actually know each other).

This video is actually aimed for people who do ballet. Do I do ballet? No, no I do not. HOWEVER, what ballet-rs + runners have in common is that your calves are super important and in the words of the woman in the video 'As dancers, your calves take a lot of beating'. My legs actually died the first few times I did this, but it's so so worth it! I 100% believe it's one of the reasons me and shin splints haven't met up for tea in 2019 so far. I even sometimes do these exercises as I'm warming up on the track!

runner holding yoga mat
you don't even wanna KNOW about the outtakes

Now remember how I said me and balance don't know each other? Yeah, so this is where this workout is my saving grace. In the video, the person uses a Kettlebell and a barbell. Now, if you are at home and do not have a Kettlebell or a barbell (who actually has a barbell lying around??) then that's also okay! Use what you have! In the beginning, I actually used a trick-or-treat basket and filled it with some heavy things to lift. As for a barbell, I used a plastic baseball bat that I had - obviously, not heavy but I did want to do the exercise balanced on one leg.

Also, a really great exercise is to put 2 mini cones (if you have) / 2 water bottles /literally 2 rocks - anything - just 2 of whatever it is you choose a small distance apart.  Hop from side to side - in line with the two things you chose - on one leg with your other leg bent for about a minute. I saw Zeina Nassar (Boxer from Germany) do this in her Instagram Story and wow my calves weren't ready. Also, she's actually AMAZING if you want to check her out, I really can't recommend her enough!

Core Workout

Ah yes, we're here. The section that most runners focus on - their core. Most videos that I've done focussing on core, I always end up wondering am I doing this properly? Am I supposed to be feeling something over here or there? Is my form right? And then, Stacey Ervin Jr dropped a 10 minute ab workout and my ab workout life started to make sense.

Now, I'm not saying if you do this workout once you're going to have a 6-Pack. What I'm saying is this workout is going to help you get to that 6-Pack as you do it continuously. The first time I did this, I actually didn't have to ask myself Am I doing this right? because when I tell you I felt the burn, I FELT IT. 

Also, for the longest time, I've been doing Russian Twists wrong - and then he mentioned how your elbow should come all the way across - that's how I stopped feeling anything in my back. Since I felt it in my back and not my abs I knew I was doing it wrong for the longest time, after watching + hearing him explain VWALLA I can finally do a Russian Twist properly.

Also you may be wondering who Stacey Ervin Jr. is and what his credentials are: He is a U.S. Gymnast and now a Professional Wrestler (WWE).


Now, this section is really just dedicated to jump rope. How long has it been since you yourself skipped rope? I'm pretty sure we all had that dream to be a professional at double dutch. Have you seen the Disney Movie Jump In? I came across jump ropes after seeing Georganne Moline running while jumping rope and Chari Hawkin's also discussing how beneficial it is to jump rope:

I’ve been doing a lot of jump rope lately, and I’m telling you it’s a killer! My @rxsmartgear fam taught me a thing or two so that I can maximize the cardio work I do when I jump. . Benefits of jump rope workouts: ✨strengthens foot, ankles, joints allowing for lower risk in injuries. ✨amazing cardio workout. ✨improves coordination. ✨improves bone density. ✨a workout you can take and do anywhere. ✨tones and slims arms. ✨increases brain function . If you don’t already incorporate jump rope in your workout routine, I REALLY recommend it! . The ropes I use are Rx Smart Gear and when I say I’ve never used a better jump rope I mean it 👏. . . . #jumprope #cardio #positivevibes #followyourdreams #tracknfield #trackandfield #track #roadtodoha #lovelife #cardiothatisntrunning
A post shared by Chari Hawkins (@_charihawkins) on

I've been incorporating some jump rope in my training and I've forgotten how fun it is! I think I still have to cut the rope a bit to get it to my height as it seems a bit long, but it's bearable!

Runner holding jump rope
hello i think this is my fav photo ever that is all - thank u tripod remote for existing 

And there we have it! How to build your strength if going to the gym isn't an option for you at the moment! A word of advice: Do not let your lack of equipment stop you from doing a workout / anything - use what you have and don't thinking about what you don't. Before buying a jump rope, I actually just jumped in place the way I would be jumping if I had a jump rope.

The more I thought of how much I didn't have a gym membership and the negative affects of that (strength build up not being as great) the more I hated working out. Fill your mind with positive thoughts on what you have - since working out at home I am pretty disciplined with my fitness and do not need the environment of a gym to keep me going - just myself and my drive to be a better athlete than I was yesterday. 

I would like to note, if you are an avid gym goer - this post I made a while back is pretty much still the format I use whenever I go to the gym: July Gym Routine + Tips - I discuss/give tips on how to increase your weight lifting, machines and also explain reps in a set etc.! 

Also, the hardest part of working out is literally getting ready to workout - putting your workout clothes on and sneakers. Trust me when I say you may not enjoy every workout you do, but you'll be happy that you did them at the end of the day. Some days are harder than others, but keep showing up - you'll end up surprising yourself at how amazingly you excel. You can do this, you will be able to run faster than you currently run, you will be able to lift a heavier amount, you will have a strong strong core - just keep going and stay consistent and you're already halfway there.

me being a goofball
I'm not even sure what I'm doing in this photo but uh hi

a very mini side bar: this is an older photo (i.e. not current) but thought to use it as it went well with the topic and uh I kind of don't have another photo to use for this crash course. 

Seeing as we're either looking at our phone keyboard when writing tweets, captioning our latest instagram photos, writing papers, or writing blog posts, have you ever wondered what exactly is the birth story of the QWERTY keyboard?

Okay, realistically speaking probably not, but uh hi I am curious and that means a quality history tea session is about to begin. You may have heard of the placement of the letters being for back in the day when we had typewriters to avoid jamming it, and to make typists type slower. And I am here to tell you that that is a lie.

So before we dive into the history of the keyboard itself, and how QWERTY came to be, we're going to have to jump into history for a long ride. First stop, Denmark 1865: The first commercially produced typewriter - The Hansen Writing Ball (or, in danish, skrivekugle - my duolingo danish that I've abandoned after a couple of months is most likely side-eying me through my phone now)

What did this typewriter look like?

The english name of the typewriter is very much relevant to what it looks like - freeze frame, me looking into camera ~ to my danish fam - does skrivekugle mean writing ball like google translate is telling me? I've learned never to trust google translate with anything. Ok please tell me if google translate is lying to me ~

To put it plainly, it looks like a massive ball with letters on top with paper placed underneath it. Okay, so to make this visual in your mind a lot better in the event that you don't want to click on this link to see the photo, think of a pin cushion it instead of pins going into it, letters are.

Black and White Photo | Color Photo 

(You kind of need to see the two photos of The Hansen Writing Ball to see how epic this really is)

Who invented it?

This invention was actually made by Reverand Rasmus Malling-Hansen, the principal of the Royal Institute for Deaf-Mutes in Copenhagen.

The really cool thing about this machine (honestly can I buy one? I don't know where I'll put it, but I'll Marie Kondo my room for it) is that the most frequently used keys were placed where your fingers would be placed for a pen - i.e. in the center! And then on the righthand side there were consonants and on the lefthand side we have our lovely vowels.


So, while placing the letters on the ~writing ball~ he paid attention to pianists. Why? Because while playing the piano, the main objective is sort of getting your fingers to the keys you want to push down quickly. So, Hansen used the speed a pianist had to touch certain keys at a pretty fast speed as an example of how ~elegantly fast~ he wanted people who used this machine to type. Also, can I just mention there was a bell to signify the end of a line.

Did this invention snowball and eventually lead to everyone wanting to be a typewriter inventor?

I want to say yes, because I really want to believe it, but no. That would be John Pratt's Pterotype in 1867 that got the aspiring typewriters that didn't know they were aspiring type writers to the drawing board.

Mini Side bar
who would I be if I didn't go on random tangents during my crash courses

Ok, so John Pratt is actually American right, now stay with me folks for this tea. With the Civil War happening, he decided to pack his bags and take a lovely voyage to England where he secured the bag from Queen Anne (i.e. secured a patent for his typewriting machine that gives him the title of grandfather of the typewriter)

Wait but please get this: His typewriter was really popular in England, however in America something else was happening, someone invented a better one. I like to think that's America saying oh you think you can just pack your stuff and leave like the dust, that's cute.  HAI BOI WE ARE ON TOP with a better typewriter than yours, enjoy your tea x

End of mini side bar

Who is this American that's not John Pratt that created the first commercially successful typewriter?

That would be Christopher Latham Sholes. However, he didn't actually think hey I want to join this typewriter race, it just sort of happened. And no I don't mean he went to sleep one day and the typewriter appeared on his pillow the next day as if it were delivered by the tooth fairy. In 1864, he and his friend Samuel Soule got a patent for a page numbering machine. Then an inventor - Carlos Glidden- brought up the idea of ~joining the best typewriter race~ by showing Christopher an article of John Pratt's typewriter invention in the Scientific American.

In 1873,  he began to have a difficult time raising money for the development of it, so he sold the patent he had for $12,000 to Remington Arms Company. At the time, Remington sold sewing supplies and machines for shooting and felt like getting their feet wet in the business of typewriters. Christopher still worked on the design of the keyboard which went through some changes here and there, nothing set in stone, and then 1878 happened.

Wait a second, so what you're saying is some American guy just put the keys together on the keyboard and QWERTY keyboard layout is standard forever?

Well, sort of. There were some thoughts floating around that QWERTY might not be the most perfect design. So this lead to some competition to make a better keyboard, a more perfect one. And guess who also made a competition keyboard? Christopher Latham Sholes. Yes, you read that right. The man who created the QWERTY keyboard created another one. He created another keyboard layout in 1889 before he died called: XPMCHR.

Mini Side Bar
Can you imagine being so good at what you do, dominating the field of design for the keyboard like you're the king of typewriters, that your only competition is yourself!? 

Can't relate.

End of Mini Side Bar

I like to think Christopher Sholes thought process of seeing Remington Arms Company promoting the QWERTY layout like it was the best thing since sliced bread went a lot like this: If Remington Arms Company promotes my rough draft of a Keyboard - QWERTY - ONE MORE TIME I'm going to lose my whole mind.

Okay - but how did we end up with QWERTY as a final result?

Well, let's take a look at the old typewriter ads. Most of them featured women - more specifically women in classes. Why does this matter? Well, unlike in today's day in age where typing is as easy as 1 2 3, back then typists trained and took classes to type faster and more efficiently. (Who else has flashbacks of computer classes where they were taught how to efficiently type with Mavis Beacon?) 

With classes, they took it on the most common keyboard - the Remington Arms Company was THRIVING in the typewriting industry, their QWERTY layout was the queen of all keyboards - so this meant everyone was taking classes on how to efficiently type on the Queen of all Keyboards: QWERTY. 

And where did they take those classes?

At Remington! They provided training courses for typists, which meant the more typists they had, the more that companies would have to buy the Remington typewriter for the typist they hired to be able to do their job efficiently.

So the real answer here is: 

QWERTY was so well promoted by Remington Arms Company that it became the standard.

There is also another theory which I find interesting:

The first people to use typewriters were telegraph operators who needed to quickly write messages. One of the first keyboard layouts was alphabetical - this wasn't the most efficient for typists to type when translating morse code. So, it is said that QWERTY could also be the product of the input from telegraph operators.

In conclusion: Telegraph Operators + Remington Promotion = QWERTY Success 


And there ya have it, myth of of letters being placed for typists to slow down is A LIE and now you know the entire birth story of QWERTY! I hope you all enjoyed this VERY long ride through history - I learned a whole lot (my brain is currently filled with a lot of QWERTY information wow).

ps. To let you know, the last known Writing Ball was sold for $123,000, guess I won't need Marie Kondo my room after all.