Five Week Fitness Challenge

CHALLENGE: #5WeekChallenge – I am going to do at least four HIIT workouts per week for the next five weeks (along with other exercise) starting Monday, September 21. I encourage you to do a workout four days a week for the next five weeks, too! Follow along on my Instagram (@simplyemilyruth). I’ll be posting new HIIT workouts that I’m doing! Make sure to tag me in your posts so I can see what you are doing and your progress! Let’s get fit together!

Like many people, it has been a long time since I have been to a fitness studio or gym. 

When the gyms first closed, I was really motivated to stay active by doing outdoor activities as well as following YouTube fitness videos. I love HIIT workouts, and there are so many free videos to watch online. 

However, recently I have been in a funk. I have been exercising a lot outside (running, hiking, walking), but my motivation to follow along with fitness videos has decreased significantly.

I have been more upset about not being able to go to a gym or fitness studio lately. I really do miss both activities. Thinking about the fall/winter season has definitely contributed to my negative mindset on working out, too. I know that it is going to be challenging to get in good workouts in the fall/winter because it will often be cold and rainy.

Some advice for dealing with this negative mindset is to try not to worry too much about the future. It will come and we will all deal with the weather later on, but right now, focus on what you can do and be thankful that you are able to get a quality workout in (no matter what type of workout that is). I am focusing more on what I can do now than the challenges that will come in the winter. 

It’s definitely not easy, but there is no point in worrying about a workout a few months down the road. If 2020 has taught us anything, who knows what will be going on in a few months…. Or even a few days.

I wanted to share this because I want people to remember to try to focus on the now rather than the future if you have a difficult time doing so. I also wanted to share this because I think it shows that if you are in a funk, that is okay. 

Today, I woke up and felt more motivated to do a HIIT workout than I have in a long time. It feels great to have more motivation again. I am ready to build my strength back up to where it was a few months ago. I honestly felt stronger than I had in a long time when I was consistently doing at-home workouts. I am ready to feel like that again. 

Sometimes your body needs a break. One of the most important lessons I have learned lately is to listen to your body. A break can be a good way to reset both physically and mentally. Don’t be down on yourself if you don’t workout one day or even one week. Don’t be upset if you aren’t doing as many HIIT workouts as you had been before. Maybe it’s your body telling you that you need something else. 

For me, I always feel so much better when I stay active, but that doesn’t mean that I have to have a set schedule and do strength workouts every day. The past few weeks I took a break from consistently doing strength workouts, and started running and walking a lot. Now, I am ready to do a combination of both. 

Let me know what workout you are going to challenge yourself to do for five weeks!


Mental Health Tips

Having a difficult day emotionally is totally normal and okay. Recently, I was having a difficult day because of the current state of the world (and my city). Right now, COVID-19 makes many things difficult. It is hard to have a good social life, or a social life you are used to. It is also making everyday activities difficult to do, such as exercising. I felt so lucky to have nice weather that allowed me to go outside and run. Running is something that I love. I love it because it makes me feel better both physically and mentally. Those who know me know that I need to exercise to keep a positive mindset. 

Going outside to run was something I could always look forward to with everything going on. Then… wildfire season began. The West Coast has many wildfires causing hazardous air quality. I am so lucky to be in a place where I am (so far) safe from the fires. Although I am so thankful to be safe, I am still having a difficult time because I can’t go outside because of the air quality, and I don’t feel comfortable going to a gym because of COVID-19.

Some days are harder than others, and yesterday I had an especially difficult day. I struggled to keep a positive mindset. I just moved to a new city and was excited to meet new people, but COVID-19 makes that difficult. I luckily was able to go on hikes with friends or social distance outside…. But now we can’t do anything outside either. 

I think many people can agree with me… 2020 is not the best year. 

A Yoga Sculpt Teacher from Oahu, Tiana Hannemann, shared a post ( that really stuck with me. It made me realize that no matter where you are in the world, everyone has difficult days… It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny outside or smoky with hazardous air quality, you are allowed to have a hard day.

I have been sharing mental health tips for work, and I realized that many people are struggling mentally and emotionally right now, so I wanted to share some mental health tips: 

  1. The CDC has great tips for managing stress during the pandemic:  COVID-19 has increased fear and anxiety. The pandemic and new work environments can be overwhelming and stressful. How you cope with these emotions and stress can affect not only your well-being, but also the well-being of the people around you. It is important to recognize what stress looks like, learn how to manage stress, and know where to go if you need help. 
  2. Taking screen breaks throughout your day will help you get more done with greater ease and enjoyment and will also lower stress on your body and mind. Try listening to relaxing music, take a few deep breaths, look out the window, or sip some tea. Try not to look at your phone if you are bored. Here are some activities you can do instead: bake, cook, exercise, try yoga, read, etc.
  3. Seek out and connect with social support, and/or spend time with family and friends (at a safe distance). 
  4. Try to establish a schedule so that your life doesn’t feel chaotic or out of control.
  5. Focus on self-care. 
  6. Limit exposure to images of the issue. This is especially important with the wildfires going on. It can be harmful to constantly look at images or videos of the fires and the destruction they have caused. 

I hope these help and remember, everyone has bad days. We will all get through these tough times. Better days will come soon. Stay positive. Do the best you can given your current situation. Most importantly, know that it is okay to feel sad or have a difficult day. 

Let me know something that has helped you through tough times in the comments below. 

I hope you all are staying safe and healthy.

Oregon Wildfires – Resources

As many of you know, there are many wildfires on the West Coast destroying communities and land. 

In Oregon, wildfires have already burned more than 400,000 acres. I grew up in Southern Oregon, which is being hit hard by wildfires. So many people have lost homes and businesses. So many people have been evacuated and are unsure of where to go. It is already such a difficult time. My heart breaks for everyone affected by the fires. 

It definitely hits harder when cities and towns you grew up in are burning up. 

The goal of this post is to provide information for everyone affected by these horrific fires. If there is anything I can do to help anyone, please reach out. 

  • United Way of Lane County launched an emergency fund to support local wildfire response efforts across Lane County:
  • Check out the Red Cross in your area. They are providing as much support and assistance as they can. 
  • Here is a Fire Evacuation Checklist to help you plan: 


I will update this post with more helpful information as I get it, but I wanted to put this out as quickly as I could. 

Please, be careful and stay safe. 


Eco-Friendly Travel

“When I travel to _____, what can I do to bring positive change?”

One of my goals this year is to focus on sustainable living. There are so many easy ways to help the environment. 

Recently, I started thinking about sustainable travel. I started researching the topic and came across a question from Two Wandering Souls that really stuck with me: “When I travel to ____, what can I do to bring positive change?”

To me, this statement is so powerful. Oftentimes we book vacations so that we have the best experience possible for ourselves. Sometimes that means visiting a high class resort, sometimes that means camping in a tent. There are many ways to make a vacation more sustainable, and I think this thought often gets lost while creating travel plans. 

Here are some ideas on how to travel more sustainably and/or bring positive change while traveling: 

  • Look for eco-friendly hotels.
  • Learn about history and culture and connect with locals.
  • Take public transportation.
  • Support small, family-run businesses.
  • Be more aware of what is going on in the world.
    • Companies are realizing that tourists are becoming more aware of animal welfare issues and some organizations will unfortunately call themselves a “sanctuary” while still maintaining bad practices.
  • Share your experiences with others (good or bad). 
    • If you came across an “animal sanctuary” that is treating animals poorly, let people know so they can avoid going there. 
    • If you went to an eco-hotel that you loved, let people know. Who knows, it could help someone plan their next trip and make it more eco-friendly even if they weren’t trying to. 

Elephant Nature Park, Thailand, Photo by Christian Haugen

Of course, right now, there isn’t a lot of traveling going on, but it is something to think about for the future. Even if you go on a camping trip, think about how you can be more sustainable. Think about waste when planning meals and snacks. Try to avoid plastic products. Are you going on a hike? Think about cleaning up a trail while doing so. These are easy actions that can make a big difference. 

I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can make your next trip more sustainable. I also hope we will all be able to travel more soon! 

What are some sustainable things you do while traveling? Let me know in the comments below!