Is DailyBurn 365 worth it?

Maybe you’ve seen the ads online or on TV for DailyBurn 365. I got an email about it (and a promo code!) so I decided to check it out. If you’re interested in fitness but don’t have access to a gym (hello, every freelancer ever) you may want to read this post!

I wrote about the “regular” DailyBurn in The Healthy Freelancer, but at the time we went to press the 365 product hadn’t been launched yet. So here’s a little bonus primer for everyone.

What is DailyBurn 365?
DailyBurn 365 is a website that live-streams a new 30-minute workout every day. You can only do that day’s workout on the day of; it vanishes the next day to be replaced by another.

The workouts are different every day but mostly are aimed at beginners or moderately fit people. For example, you’ll do burpees, but the instructor will always give a modification for people who can’t do them.

Of the workouts I’ve tried, none have required any equipment except an optional yoga mat.

Since my home office is nowhere near a gym, I’m always looking for ways to stay fit that don’t involve the gym–but I get bored of jogging pretty quickly. Enter streaming exercise videos.

What’s different about DailyBurn 365?
Because the workouts are live-streamed, if you get online at 9 am (Eastern) sharp you can actually watch as they’re taped, and interact with the teachers and hosts through a live chat. (Despite working from home, I have yet to actually succeed in doing this–mostly because I prefer working out in the afternoon. But it seems like it would be a really cool feature!) Also, because the workout is literally different every day, it’s not like your standard workout video program, where by Week 3, you’ve memorized all of the host’s jokes.

Why not just watch videos on Youtube?
There are some amazing fitness videos on Youtube. I’ve written about a bunch of them in The Healthy Freelancer and also on this site. But for every great video on Youtube, there are a half dozen duds. Sometimes I go back to my favorites on Youtube–but sometimes I want something new, and I’m not sure if I want to take the risk that the video that looked great in the thumbnail is actually way too easy, boring, poorly lit, or just has really inconveniently placed commercial breaks.

DailyBurn 365 does cost money: $12.95 per month. That also includes access to DailyBurn’s “regular” streaming exercise videos (i.e. pre-recorded ones that don’t update every day). Compared to the gym, that’s a pretty good deal, but as always, you have to weigh the cost against whether you’ll actually use it. You do get a 30-day free trial if you haven’t used it before, so if you’re curious about the program, give it a shot and let me know what you think. I’ll be sweating along with you.


So much breakfast quinoa

Photo: Minimalist Baker (

Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day. (Yeah, yeah.)

I did NOT know, until reading this post at Greatist, that you can eat quinoa for breakfast like oatmeal.

So here are 14 quinoa porridge recipes, 3 quinoa pancake recipes, 2 quinoa cookie recipes, and 9 eggy quinoa dishes that all make fantastic breakfasts.

I will say that some of these look like a lot of work in the morning. Just because we’re freelancers doesn’t mean we (always) have time to cook a 30-minute breakfast! But many of these can be made the night before, and pancakes freeze and defrost/reheat surprisingly well.

Don’t know how to do that? Check here for tips.

How to enjoy work when you’re busy (or when you’re super overwhelmed, or any time)

Embed from Getty Images

So this post from entrepreneur Sarah Von Bargen is everything you need to know about creating a good place for your brain while freelancing.

Her original post is called “How to enjoy work (even when you’re busy + kind of overwhelmed)” but I feel like that title barely scratches the surface. It should be more like “How to enjoy work when you are hyperventilating because you have five deadlines to hit in the next 12 hours and your computer keeps crashing and you hate everyone and everything.” Because that seems to be what freelancing is like—either you have nothing to do or you have ten million things to do and they’re all due at the same time.

Sarah’s post has 8 tips for enjoying work even when you are so busy you feel like your brain is leaking out your ears. I’m excerpting it here with some of my own additions.

Sarah says: 
Open your Google calendar, find a 20-minute window, and literally type “TAKE A BREAK, DUDE.” Set a reminder on your phone or computer and when that alarm goes off take an actual break.

Rachel says:
Yup. It sometimes feels impossible to step away for even 10 minutes but it’s so important to try. You know what else makes for an amazing break? A quick workout. It’ll get your mind off your project (sometimes sparking amazing ideas in the meantime) AND give you an awesome endorphin boost. You don’t have to make this a huge thing. Go for a jog around the block or put on an online workout. (There are lots of Youtube channels for this, like this one, and I also talk about a bunch of different options in The Healthy Freelancer, the book).

Sarah says:
Every time you get a kind email from a blog reader/client/customer, move it into a folder that you’ve specifically designated for these glowing missives.Reference all these kind, glowing words when you’re feeling run down and unsure of why you’re working so hard.

Rachel says:
Seriously this works! Mine is called “Yay me” because “smile file” sounds like a strange procedure you’d have done at the dentist, but same diff.

Sarah says:

Spoiler alert: GRE study guides and social media marketing plans don’t make for very good bedtime reading and they certainly don’t give you and your brain an opportunity to recharge.

Rachel says:
It doesn’t have to be glorious and escapist (though I am partial to ridiculous sword-and-sorcery stuff). It definitely shouldn’t be more “work stuff” though. Read a magazine, read your favorite non-work blog, read a comic book.

Sarah says:

Rachel says:
When I built my standing desk (which is fodder for another post, I think) I wanted it to feel as light and airy as possible so I painted it a bright shiny white. Guess what color dirt shows up best on? Still, it’s my fault – I could spend five minutes every few days to wipe it down but I haven’t, and it’s showing in my mood (honestly).

Also, we are doing some deep cleaning in the same room where my desk is. And you know how when you’re cleaning sometimes you pick an object up and go, Hmm, this doesn’t belong here on the floor, but I’m not sure where it does belong, so I’ll just put it on the nearest flat surface? (No? Maybe that’s just me?) At any rate you guys my desk was literally covered in garbage until ten minutes ago when I got so fed up I just chucked everything in a box. And let me tell you, having a gross desk is NOT conducive to keeping your sanity. So…don’t be like me.

Sarah says:

Rachel says:
Ergonomics, yo. Lots of tips in The Healthy Freelancer or just read what Sarah has to say.

Sarah says:

Rachel says:
Here’s a pasta dish you can make once on the weekend and have for a couple days (or more) in a row.

Sarah says:

Ferociously guard the boundaries between work and play.

Rachel says:
Work when it’s time to work, but when you’re off work, be off. That doesn’t mean you have to work 9-5. If you work better at midnight, so be it, but set your “office hours” and stick to them.

Also, there are some days when you have to work late to meet a deadline, and that’s fine. But if you can, treat your working late like real work, which it is. You might think it would be less painful to “just finish a few things” on the couch while your significant other/kids/housemates watch TV, but it’s just a reminder that they’re having fun and you’re not (plus the distration will make you take longer). Go to your desk, close the door if you have one, and hunker down and get that ish done.

Finally, Sarah says:

Create a visual reminder of your goals and aspirations. Maybe you’re working this hard so you can afford a three-week vacation in Thailand. Maybe you’re putting your kids through college. Maybe you want your name on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Whatever the goal, find a related photo or image and make it your screensaver, or frame it and hang it next to your desk!

Rachel says:
Maybe it’s not even something that big. Maybe a huge project dropped into your lap and you felt like you simply couldn’t turn down the job. Last year, a surprise, urgent project (it’s always urgent, right?) appeared right before Thanksgiving, and it was looking likely that I would have to work if not on Thanksgiving proper, then certainly on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afterward–time I had planned to spend with loved ones. Immediately as soon as I booked the gig, I booked a reservation for the following week at a fancy restaurant I’d been dying to try. Then, as the job dragged on, I could at least comfort myself with thinking about how delicious that food was going to be.
Can you try something similar? Book a massage for the day after you hit your deadline, or put a book by a beloved author or a fancy kitchen gadget in your Amazon cart and pull the trigger when you know a big project is about to end? It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive thing, but such small treats can work wonders for your mental state.

What do you do when it’s crunch time, and how do you stay upbeat?

Do you need an anti-fatigue mat with your standing desk?

The Topo mat from Ergodriven:
The Topo mat from Ergodriven:

I’ve never used one with my standing desk, but many experts do recommend it. They say it will allow you to stay on your feet longer and get less tired.

I’ve been seeing ads in my Facebook feed for a new type of anti-fatigue mat called Topo. This mat claims to have “calculated terrain” (in other words, as far as I can tell, it’s lumpy) that keep you making micro-movements instead of standing in one place. It also slides so you can put it away when you pull out your chair. Most anti-fatigue mats have to be dragged. So that’s cool.

It costs $120, which seems a bit steep at first, but it looks like most *good* anti-fatigue mats cost at least $100. It turns out that, unsurprisingly, there’s a difference in quality between the kind of mat that is meant to be used for 30 minutes a day to wash dishes or cut veggies and the kind of mat that is meant to be used for 40 hours a week or more. (Yes, I’ve spent my morning reading about mats.)

This thing’s Amazon reviews are off the charts. Still, $120 is a lot to shell out. I find myself moving naturally even without a fancy mat. However, if you’re trying to get into standing and have the money to spare, please get one of these and tell me how you like it.

Whether you have a mat or not, RoseMary Chapman, who I interviewed for The Healthy Freelancer book, emailed me recently to remind readers to periodically do a posture check. That goes for standers as well as sitters. And it even goes for me, even though I’m slouching on the couch today while my regular computer goes through about a million upgrades.

This post isn’t an endorsement of Topo or any other product–I’m genuinely curious about it, though!

At-home workout: exercise like a figure skater

Well, this is something new.

Have you ever wished you could work out like a figure skater? OK, I admit it’s not the top thing that comes to mind, but then again, those sparkly outfits…

Competitive figure skater Sofie Barnova has a Youtube channel shares her workouts–a mixture of Pilates, core, and ballet–for free, as well as sharing tips for improving your figure skating. (I could use some tips for not falling down, but that’s another story.)


I tried the Total Ballet Body Workout earlier this week and I’m still sore! The comments on the video indicate that I’m not the only one. Check that video out above, or visit the entire channel here.


Stop. Eat Lunch.

(Look, it’s a woman laughing alone with salad!)

Lunch today was a baked sweet potato and a PB&J, so not the most healthy, but I did at least attempt to eat it away from my desk. And science says that’s a good thing.

Basically–and you already know this–taking a break makes you more creative and reduces stress, and eating a balanced lunch powers up your brain.

If you have colleagues to eat with (which is not always true of us freelancers), the social interaction can also help advance your career, Kimberly Elsbach, professor of management at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California at Davis, told the Washington Post. An official business lunch doesn’t count as a mentally recharging break, she says, but talking casually with a co-worker does, and can be an effective way to network at the same time. Should you try this as a freelancer, it’s a great way to learn what clients in your area are hiring and get tips from other pros.

What to cook for lunch when you don’t feel like cooking

In The Healthy Freelancer, I share recipes that can be made in quantity ahead of time and then reheated for lunches that taste good and help you power through the second half of your day. I like this kind of recipe because it means you cook once and eat for a week.

But sometimes even that is a lot of work. So I’m going to try to share on this blog a few recipes that take even less hands-on time. One really good trick in that case is the Kale Bowl. You’re not going to win any presentation awards with this, but it will fill you up while tasting good and also delivering tons of vitamins.


3/4 cup cooked rice (don’t have leftover rice in the fridge? It’s easy to start a pot of rice and ignore it/do work in the other room while it cooks–just set a timer or something to go check on it.)
About 4 cups roughly chopped, loosely packed kale, washed

Put those things in a microwave safe bowl with about two tablespoons (or a splash) of water and microwave on HIGH, checking every minute or so for the kale to become bright green and slightly wilted. Mix vigorously and add your favorite seasonings. A pre-mixed spice blend, like this one, makes lunch super easy, but you could also add sesame seeds, soy sauce, or toasted sesame oil.

Friends of mine say their no-cook meals are popcorn, or pasta with sauce from a jar and a few garlic cloves. What’s your go-to hot lunch when working from home?