15 Free Circuit Training Routines: Try These Fast Workouts Anywhere!

Conservatively speaking, this is is the greatest circuit training resource in the history of the internet (probably).

I mean come on, it has dinosaurs in it.

I’ll explain the benefits below, but if you’re just looking for routines to follow, click each below to take you to that workout:

Warm Up Circuit
Beginner Bodyweight Circuit
Advanced Bodyweight Circuit
Playground Workout Circuit
Kettlebell Workout Circuit
Beginner Gym Circuit
Hotel Workout Circuit
The Batman Workout Circuit
The Lord of the Rings Workout Circuit
The 300 Workout Circuit
The Wolverine Workout Circuit
Complete List of Circuit Training Exercises

If you’re hoping circuit training will maximize your results in a minimum amount of time, one of the 15 circuits above will do the trick!

What’s that, you say?

Your life is crazy busy and you don’t have a lot of time to work out? You’re not alone. Our community is filled with busy parents, people who travel frequently for work, and others who just don’t have a lot of time.

Which is why we build custom workout programs for customers in our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program. Your Nerd Fitness Coach will get to know you, your goals, and your lifestyle, and develop a workout plan that’s specific to your hectic schedule and life.

Click below to jump on a free call with our team to learn how our coaches can help you get results and level up your life:

What is circuit training?

 

use circuit training to get in shape like this lego foxThe “circuit” in circuit training comes from the fact that you do a sequence of exercises back to back to back, and then you repeat the sequence.

And then again. You cycle through the planned sequence of exercises, or circuit, multiple times.

That’s circuit training.

Generally you hit each major muscle group during one full circuit. You may do lower body for one exercise. Then upper body the next.

You’ll find all sorts of difference circuit training sequences. Here’s some things most will have in common:

Several different exercises. A normal circuit will have five to ten different movements per circuit. You’ll often hear these referred to as “stations.” Overhead press station, squat station, etc.
Little to no rest in between. The goal of circuit training is to keep your heart rate up. Ideally, if you’re physically able, you go from one exercise to another without stopping. Maybe you rest after the whole circuit. Maybe.
Rinse and repeat. Generally you’ll run through your circuit a few times. Three rounds is common.

Make sense? The point here is to work different parts of your body with different exercises, and then while those parts are recovering, you’re working on your other movements! This helps build cardiovascular health, while also improving muscular endurance and strength. Plus you’ll burn calories!

As we lay out in our article, Cardio vs Interval Training vs. Weight Training, research supports that doing strength training circuits is great for weight loss and overall health. More importantly, for somebody with limited time, doing a strength training circuit is more effective at building strength and burning fat than an equivalent amount of cardio.

In other words, if you are trying to lose weight, you should be doing circuit training.

Our Beginner Bodyweight Circuit would be a great place to begin, and you can download a worksheet to help you get started right here:

Grab Your Beginner Bodyweight Routine Worksheet. No Gym Required!
Complete this workout at home, no equipment required
Avoid the common mistakes everybody makes when doing bodyweight exercises
Learn how to finally get your first pull-up

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Why Should I do circuit training?

 

doing exercises like pull-ups are great in circuit training

Generally, you’ll hear exercise divided into strength training or aerobic exercise (cardio).

What’s the difference, you wonder?

Strength training. Strength training is also referred to as anaerobic exercise, which would be a short burst of energy for movement. Think of a push up or pull up. These exercises help build and tone muscle.
Aerobic Exercise. “Aerobic” means “needs oxygen.” Your heart rate increases to get oxygen where your body needs it, thus the word “cardio.” Running, biking, or jumping jacks would be examples of aerobic exercise.

The thing about a circuit is, you actually do both categories. Presses and lunges fall into strength training. Jumping jacks are cardio. And since you aren’t stopping much in between stations, you’ll need more oxygen, and voila. Even more cardio.

With circuit training, you build muscle and burn fat WHILE building stamina.

As Michael Scott would say, “that’s a win, win win.”

circuit training is a win win win

There’s some debate on what kind of exercise is better for weight loss: aerobic or anaerobic.

My thoughts? If you’re limited on time and only can pick one, I would pick strength training: when you strength train, you break your muscles down, and your body needs to work extra hard over the next 24-48 hours to rebuild those muscles (with increased calories burned).

Don’t overthink this though, we can cover both with a circuit.

Before and after your circuit training: Warm up and stretch

circuit training is awesome doing exercises like this dip

No matter which circuit you pick, I want you to start with one important thing:

Warm up!

I cover why to warm up in an article found right here. It doesn’t have to be much though, give it about five minutes to get your muscles active and your heart rate up. This will help you do exercises properly and help prevent injury. You can run in place, do air punches and kicks, or some jumping jacks.

Here is NF Senior Coach Staci (you might know her incredibly story) showing you many beginner options you can use to warm up as well:

Did I just tell you to prepare for circuit training, with a circuit?!

If you’re curious, here’s my personal warm-up:

Jump rope: 2-3 minutes 
Jumping jacks: 25 reps
Body weight squats: 20 reps
Lunges: 5 reps each leg.
Hip extensions: 10 reps each side
Hip rotations: 5 each leg
Forward leg swings: 10 each leg
Side leg swings: 10 each leg
Push ups: 10-20 reps
Spider-man steps: 10 reps

Our goal isn’t to tire you out, instead we want to warm up you up. That’s step one.

Completing your chosen circuit training routine would be step two. Below, you’ll find 15 workouts you can follow along with!

Beginner Bodyweight Workout Circuit

This workout circuit, as we lay out in our Beginner Bodyweight Workout article, is as follows:

Bodyweight squats: 20 reps
Push-ups: 10 reps
Walking lunges – 10 each leg
Dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug or another weight): 10 each arm.
Plank: 15 seconds
Jumping jacks: 30 reps

Run through this circuit three times. If you don’t have milk in the house for the rows, find something of roughly the same weight with a good handle.

If you want to download this Beginner Bodyweight Workout as a worksheet, you can do so when you sign up in the box below:

Grab Your Beginner Bodyweight Routine Worksheet. No Gym Required!
Complete this workout at home, no equipment required
Avoid the common mistakes everybody makes when doing bodyweight exercises
Learn how to finally get your first pull-up

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Advanced Bodyweight Exercises Circuit

If the beginner circuit above is too easy for you, move on to our Advanced Bodyweight Workout Circuit. Check out the original article where we covered it here. The workout looks like this:

One legged squats – 10 each side [warning super-difficult, only attempt if you’re in good enough shape]
Body weight squats: 20 reps
Walking lunges: 20 reps (10 each leg)
Jump step-ups: 20 reps (10 each leg)
Pull-ups: 10 reps [or inverted bodyweight rows]
Dips (between bar stools): 10 reps
Chin ups: 10 reps [or inverted bodyweight rows with underhand grip]
Push-ups: 10 reps
Plank: 30 seconds

I warn you, the above circuit will hurt… in a good way. You should be proud if you can get through this three times.

Playground Workout Circuit

Do you have a nearby playground? Why not workout there! If you have kids, you can do it together. Or let them ignore you.

I’ll give you a Level One workout, and a Level Two. Check out the main playground article for some Level Three exercises.

Level One

Alternating step-ups: 20 reps (10 each leg)
Elevated push-ups: 10 reps
Swing rows: 10 reps
Assisted lunges: 8 reps each leg
Bent leg reverse crunches: 10 reps

Level Two

Bench jumps: 10 reps
Lower incline push-ups: 10 reps
Body rows: 10 reps
Lunges: 8 reps each leg
Straight leg reverse crunches: 10 reps

After you’ve gone through a complete set three times, go down the slide!

Kettlebell Workout Circuit

Have a kettlebell lying around? Use it for a circuit!

Here’s our kettlebell workout full write-up, but you can also just watch the video and see the workout here:

Halos: 8 reps (each side)
Goblet squats: 10 reps
Overhead presses: 8 reps (each side)
Kettlebell swings: 15 reps
Bent Over Rows: 8 reps (each side)
Front rack reverse lunge: 6 reps (per side)

Once you’ve done the above three times, go ahead and put your kettlebell away for your final step: stretches.

If you want a kettlebell worksheet, grab one by signing up in the box below:

Grab Your Beginner Kettlebell Routine Worksheet!
Complete this workout at home or gym with 1 kettlebell.
Avoid the common mistakes everybody makes when doing kettlebell exercises.
Build strength, burn fat, level up your life!

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Beginner Gym Circuit Training

 

use free weights and to do circuit trainingIf you have access to a gym, you have a lot of circuit options.

If it’s your first time stepping foot in a fitness facility, check out our Beginner’s Guide to the Gym. The gym can be a scary place, but we’ll give you a strategy to get comfy.

We’ll also walk you through each movement above, for both Days A and B below. I would recommend reading that article, going through the leveled progressions, and working your way up to the circuits below:

Day A

Barbell squats: 10 reps
Push-ups: 10 reps
Pull-ups or pull-up alternatives: 10 reps

Day B

Barbell romanian deadlifts/regular deadlifts: 10 reps
Push-ups: 10 reps
Dumbbell rows: 10 reps per arm

Alternate your circuits on different days. Rest in between. “Day A” could be Monday. Rest Tuesday. Wednesday could be “Day B.”

And you can download our full Strength 101 guide too, which has this routine along with other circuits to help you start building strength today:

Download our comprehensive guide STRENGTH TRAINING 101!
Everything you need to know about getting strong.
Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

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The Hotel Workout Circuit: For Travelers that Train

you can do this travel circuit training workout in your hotel room

Sometimes, you just plain find yourself stuck in a hotel room. Maybe you can find the hotel gym, but I bet it’s terrible! It probably has 2 machines, a broken treadmill, and no free weights. 

Ugh.

Instead, how about a workout circuit you can do in the room itself! Utilize the furniture to its full potential.

Level 1

Body weight squats: 20 reps
Incline push-ups: 15 reps (feet on floor, hands on edge of bed or desk)
One-arm luggage rows: 10 reps (each arm, use your suitcase as your weight)
Reverse crunches: 10 reps

Level 2

Overhead Squats: 25 reps
Push Ups: 20 reps
Inverted Rows using the desk in your hotel room: 10 reps
Reverse Crunches: 15 reps

Set the alarm clock to 15 minutes from now and see how many circuits you can do!

Check out our full post on hotel circuits if you want Level 3!

Nerdy Circuit Training Exercises

 

try these nerdy themed circuit training workouts

If those workouts above don’t tickle your fancy, we have these other nerdy circuits you can do too!

The Batman Workout Circuit

Day 1

Rolling squat tuck-up jumps: 5 reps
Side to side push-ups: 5 reps
Modified headstand push-ups: 5 reps
Jump pull-up with tuck / Pull-up with Tuck-up: 5 reps
Handstands against wall: 8 seconds

Day 2

‘180 Degree’ jump turns: 5 reps
Tuck front lever hold: 8 seconds
Tuck back lever hold: 8 seconds
Low frog hold: 8 seconds

The Lord of the Rings Workout Circuit

try this lord of the rings circuit training workout

Superset 1: The Fellowship of the Ring

“YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Slams: 3 medicine ball slams
Legolas Bow Pulls: 7 renegade rows
“One does not simply walking lunge into Mordor”: 9 lunges, each leg
Hip “Bridge of Khazad Dum”: 1 minute hip raises and hold at the top position

Superset 2: The Two Towers

Riders of ROWhan: 3 bodyweight rows
Gimli “Shall I get you a box?” jumps: 7 box jumps – REALLY explode
Helm’s Deep-Squats: 9 bodyweight squats – get your ass to the ground
Tower of Orthanc Holds: 1 minutes (Kick up against a wall and hold a handstand for as long as you can until 1 minute is complete, in as few as sets as possible. Check out our Guide to Handstands.)

Superset 3: The Return of the King

Eowyn “I am no Man!”makers: 3 manmakers
Light of Galadriel raises: 7 arm overhead dumbbell presses
“Army of Dead”lifts: 9 light weight reps, barbell or dumbbell
Samwise Gamgee Carries: 1 minute (Demonstrated here by AKLulu carrying me at a NF meetup) A heavy sandbag over the shoulder works too. No sandbag? Just carry two dumbbells around the gym for a minute.

If you can get through a superset three times, consider yourself an honorary Ranger. Nothing found in Mordor can faze you.

The 300 Workout Circuit

do the 300 circuit training workout to get strong like King Leonidas

The below circuit is no joke. Then again, neither were the Spartans.

Pull-ups: 25 reps
Deadlifts with 135lbs: 50 reps
Push-ups: 50 reps
‘24-inch’ Box jumps: 50 reps
Floor wipers: 50 reps
Single-arm clean-and-press with 36 lbs. kettlebell: 25 each side
Pull-ups: 25 reps

The above sequence is designed to be completed once. If you can go through it twice, you’re ready to defend Greece.

The Wolverine Workout Circuit

Barbell Deadlift / Dumbbell RDL / Banded Good Morning / Regular Good Morning: 10 reps
Medicine Ball Slam / Quick Downwards Bodyweight Squat: 10 reps
Push-up to Renegade row (push-up, row left, push-up, row right, repeat): 5 Rows per side
Transverse Lunge and Chop: 5 reps each side

How many times do you do this circuit? AMRAP, or, As Many Rounds As Possible. I suggest setting a 12 minute timer and getting to work. Be careful though, because only Wolverine can heal automatically.

wolverine does workout circuits tooYou’ll need actual rest.

Boom! There are your nerdy circuits. Feel free to rock the soundtrack of the referenced movies during your workout. If you own a cape, now’s the time.

Complete List of Circuit Training Exercises

build your own circuit training workout with exercises like kettlebell presses

You can do any of the workouts in this article and get a great workout, but if you want to build your own workout, you can totally do that too!

Here is a list of exercises you can use to create your workout.

Simply pick a few, and do one after the other in as many circuits as you want!

Pick your exercises from this list to build your own circuit training workout, or suggest your own for us to add in the comments below!

Jump rope
Burpees
Mountain climbers
Stairs
Sprints
High knees or running in place
Box jumps
Rowing machine
Long-distance jumps
Push-ups (any variation)
Pull-ups (learn to do pull-ups)
Bodyweight rows
Bodyweight squats
Kettlebell swings
Farmer carries (carry dumbbells and walk around)
Lunges
Planks
Side planks
Reverse crunches

Pick 3-5 exercises. Do 3 circuits with 10 reps of each exercise, one after the other! Have fun and keep things interesting.

How to Stretch After Circuit Training

Once you finish your workout, the final step (three) would be stretching and cool down. No matter what circuit you go through, stretch after. It can help a lot with muscle recovery.

Scope this video for an awesome stretching sequence to follow:

You could also do some yoga poses. For stretching, find what feels good and take your time. Let your heart rate come down while you stretch.

You could even do some foam rolling too if you’re a glutton for punishment!

Getting Started With Circuit Training

 

want to be a superhero like these legos? do circuit training!

There are all sorts of different ways to do circuit training. We just showed you fifteen.

Warm Up Circuit
Bodyweight Exercises Circuit
Advanced Bodyweight Exercises Circuit
Playground Workout Circuit
Kettlebell Workout Circuit
Beginner Gym Circuit
Hotel Workout Circuit
The Batman Workout Circuit
The Lord of the Rings Workout Circuit
The 300 Workout Circuit
The Wolverine Workout Circuit
Complete List of Circuit Training Exercises

YOUR MISSION: Complete one of the above circuit training workouts! If you don’t know which one to pick, start with the Beginner Bodyweight Circuit. It’ll get you used to the idea of hustling from one exercise to the next.

And you can do it in your living room!

If you got this far in the article, I really want you to try one of these workouts. Right NOW. I always mention the most important step in a fitness journey is starting it. Today, start circuit training.

Once completed, I’d love for you to share your story with the community in the comments:

How’d it go?
Did you get through three full circuits?
Which routine did you pick?

Here’s a more important question though: Are you doing the right workouts and eating the right way for your goals?

Most people aren’t. They follow a random workout and wonder why they don’t see results. There’s nothing worse than spending months or years putting in the effort, only to not get the results you’re expecting.

This is why we built our popular 1-on-1 Coaching program. You’ll work with our certified NF instructors who will get to know you better than you know yourself, and then build a workout program that is specific to your exact goals.

Simply put, we tell you exactly what to do every day, and how to eat. And then, we check in with you regularly to make sure you’re doing it!

There’s no better way to maximize your effort than with an experienced coach. Which is why I have one!

Either way, find a circuit you’re comfortable with, and do it. Then do it next week. And the following. If you add circuit training to your fitness routine, you’ll be on a solid path for leveling up your life.

-Steve

PS: I couldn’t quite figure out how to use this gif, but it was too good not to include.

I bet short circuit likes circuit training

If someone creates the “Short Circuit Workout Circuit” you’ll be my best friend forever.

###

All Photo credits can be found right here[1].

Footnotes    ( returns to text)

Photo Source: blur, fox bike, pull-up, raptor, gym, hotel, killer croc, wuestenigel: Kettlebell Push Pressgforce

Read more: nerdfitness.com

3 Steps to Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick!

social media for network marketing

It’s that time again!

If you’re anything like most folks, January 1st always brings big aspirations about what’s possible the coming year.

Maybe you’ll…

Hit the gym and lose 15 pounds?
Quit smoking, TV, or carbs?
Spend less time on your phone or Facebook?
Write the next great American novel?
Get your business massively into the black?

Whatever fresh start you’ve got in your sights, I’ve got some sobering news…

New Year’s resolutions are a complete waste of time!

You’ve probably observed the annual pattern of short-lived good intentions over the years, but here are the stats…

According to a recent study from the University of Scranton, only 8% of all people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions.

The other 92%?

Well, not to sound harsh, but if you could ask each of them personally, they’d surely tell you they couldn’t drop those stubborn 15 pounds because “the gym was always too crowded”; or they’d come up with clever rationalizations to explain how they were always “too busy to read for 30 minutes before bed every night.”

And hey, we’ve all found ourselves making resolutions every year just to see them fade away as time goes by (I’m as guilty as anyone else!)

In fact, most of us are unable to keep up with our resolutions past the first few days of the year…

Studies have shown that close to 70% of people who’ve made New Year’s resolutions will have abandoned them within the first two weeks!

So what’s the difference between those who actually achieve their goals, and those who keep making excuses?

What keeps pushing us off course whenever we THINK we’re on the right track to reaching our goals?

What separates the doers from the dreamers?

You might want to sit down for this one, because…

Your brain is getting in the way of your success!

More specifically, a part of our brain called the “basal ganglia,” which is in charge of certain motor functions, pattern recognition, procedural learning, and, most importantly:

Habit-forming behaviors.

Humans are hardwired to resist changes to our behavior; it’s simply part of our nature.

“Between the great things we cannot do, and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing.”
—Adolphe Monod

Now, don’t get me wrong…

This doesn’t mean all your resolutions are doomed from the start.

It just means you’ll have to tackle them from a different angle, one that’s more in-tune with your biochemistry.

Lasting change can only be achieved through the power of HABITS

Those who fail have their minds completely set on these “specific goals,” but they are not aware of the small changes that need to take place in order to actually succeed.

And what’s even worse, this failure to achieve goals plagues every aspect of our lives, from our relationships with friends and family, to our day jobs, and our online businesses!

This might sound cliché, but humans are creatures of habit!

Literally.

Successful people are simply those with successful habits.
—Brian Tracy

In his best-selling book, The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg tells the story of “Eugene”—a man whose brain was so damaged by a viral infection that he survived with only his short-term memory, and the memories of his life prior to the infection.

That’s a pretty tough situation, but something interesting happened in the final decades of Eugene’s life, when he and his wife moved to be closer to their children.

If asked to draw a simple map of his new home or neighborhood, he couldn’t do it, since he had absolutely no memory of this new location.

However, he was able to successfully navigate his way around their home, find items in the cupboards with ease, and even take a stroll around the neighborhood…as long as NOTHING changed along his route.

So how was he able to do this with absolutely no memory?

The short answer is: the virus didn’t damage his basal ganglia!

Eugene was basically living day to day on “autopilot.”

…much like when you can’t remember if you locked the door—you did, of course, you just can’t remember because you were “sleepwalking” through a well-established routine!

By studying Eugene’s unique condition, researchers came to this conclusion:

You are literally little more than the repetition of your behaviors.

In fact, research shows that over 40% of all our daily activities are simply routines that require little conscious thought.

Thus, if you’re truly motivated to create different results in your life, it’s imperative that you break bad habits and replace them with good ones.

But how do we get rid of those age-old habits?

The process starts with an audit

Dreamers fantasize about the rewards while doers must first understand where they currently are to figure out where they want to go, and how to get there.

We are all susceptible to our bad habits.

It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.
—Benjamin Franklin

I’ll give you a personal example: a couple of years ago I catalogued my routine and found that I was falling far short of what I deemed acceptable…

You might ask yourself similar questions:

How much am I exercising?
How well am I eating?
How much am I reading?
How often am I creating content for my business?
How often am I using social media for network marketing (instead of personal entertainment)?

During my audit, I found that…

I wasn’t exercising regularly
I was eating out far too much
I’d not read nearly enough books in the past 12 months
And I wasn’t creating an acceptable output of content

Does this sound familiar?

Audit your own routine and identify the habits you’d like to replace.

“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.”
—Jack Dixon

Once you’ve got a clear picture of where you’re at and where you want to go, it’s time to take a look at…

The science of habit formation

In The Power of Habit, Duhigg describes the three-step neurological process that forms habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward.

What Duhigg calls the “Habit Loop” starts with the…

Cue, an event that triggers your brain to react on autopilot through one of your habits; then, an emotional, physical or mental…
Routine follows; and finally, the…
Reward is presented, which helps the brain decide whether a particular “Habit Loop” is worth remembering or not.

The first step towards replacing harmful habits is choosing a cue that will trigger an effective response.

It could be anything from a simple note on your refrigerator to something more complicated like setting a radio alarm clock to a specific station that will get you on board a particular train of thought that will ultimately lead to you take action.

Let’s say your goal is to get into the habit of jogging 30 minutes every morning.

What would remind you to go jogging?

Setting an alarm on your cell phone?
Hanging a poster of a professional athlete on your wall?
Leaving your running shoes on the floor, next to your bed, so you literally stumble over them every morning?

You can try different cues, and experiment with any combination of them.

The goal is to figure out what works for you!

The reward within your particular Habit Loop needs to provide immediate and undeniable motivation, so that you’ll immediately start to yearn for it the second you come in contact with your cue.

Think about what motivates you.

Whether it’s a fine piece of chocolate waiting for you when you get home from jogging…
An episode of your favorite sitcom just waiting on your DVR for you to press play…
Or that collection of funny cat videos you’ve watched over and over, but still manages to crack you up every single time.

This step can be a bit tricky, especially since a time may come when you are no longer properly motivated by such a reward, which might lead you astray.

After a few days of executing your Habit Loop, you should ask yourself if you still crave the reward you’ve chosen.

If not, then it’s time to choose a new reward in order to continue building a powerful habit.

With your cue and reward in place, it’s time for action!

Execute your routine as part of your Habit Loop, and truly commit to your plan.

You could even put your plan in writing in order to really hammer it into your brain. It could be something like:

“Whenever I see [insert CUE here], I will [insert ROUTINE here], to get [insert reward here]”

Specifically, if we go back to the example of jogging…

“Whenever I see my running shoes next to my bed, I will go jogging, to get that delicious piece of chocolate.”

You get the idea…

You can adopt any new habit whenever you want…you just have to set your mind to it.

Now, in order to “stay with the program,” and continue to build favorable habits, it’s always a good idea to…

Set actionable, quantifiable goals

Dreamers imagine themselves reaching their goals with one giant leap, while doers realize the road to success is comprised of smaller, gradual steps.

One of the concepts of goal-setting that has become increasingly popular over the past few years is the SMART acronym, which basically states that in order to successfully reach objectives, your goals should be…

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Time-based

There’s just one problem with this popular methodology, however.

“There is no greater mistake than to try to leap an abyss in two jumps.”
—David Lloyd George

You see, while certain aspects of SMART goals are spot-on—such as setting specific, measurable, and time-based objectives—it fails when you ask if your goals are achievable and realistic, because those questions will cause you to look at your past experiences and inevitably limit your possibilities.

Think about it: if you’ve got a “moonshot” goal, how are you to determine whether it’s actually achievable and realistic for you?

After all, who’s more qualified to set, say, your fitness goals and timelines, you or a personal trainer?

Make sense?

This is the primary benefit of having a coach to work with you to achieve your goals: you could easily be the worst judge of your own potential.

So be aware of the biases you have based on your past, and don’t limit your possibilities based on them.

Now, another important consideration to be mindful of is this…

Staying motivated can be tricky

Staying motivated is extremely important, particularly when building new habits.

Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, discovered the primary forces of motivation after studying hundreds of employees at over half a dozen major companies.

Her recommendation for the most effective motivational tool?

Keeping a daily journal.

Here’s why…

Doing meaningful work is one of the biggest drivers of motivation.

“Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.”
—Unknown

It’s been proven to be more important than any monetary reward, shockingly enough.

And the trick to creating meaning in even the most mundane is progress.

You deal with setbacks and negativity as part of your daily life.

However, by keeping a daily chronicle of progress towards your goals, you’ll be able to reflect on the positives, however small, which will elicit feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment.

Here’s an idea…

Why not think of these feelings as the reward within a new Habit Loop in order to become a more productive person?

To stay motivated, record your progress consistently.

“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”
—Zig Ziglar

The most effective mode of journaling is to recollect and capture what you achieved over the course of your day.

These are your trophies.

Hang ‘em up to admire!

To sum things up…

I’d like to recap some of the key points we’ve covered here today:

Humans are creatures of habit, and therefore hardwired to resist change.
To defeat our human nature and achieve our goals, we need to replace harmful habits with good ones.
New habits are formed through the “Habit Loop”: the cue, the reward, and the routine.
The changes you wish to make to your behavior should be specific, measurable, and time-based.
Tracking your progress through a journal will help you stay motivated.

We all have dreams and aspirations, and making them a reality is just a matter of plotting a specific course and using every available resource to stay on it.

Turn yourself into a “doer,” or your dreams will end up in the sewer

Doers and dreamers are not that different from each other; they are both driven by a genuine desire to make a change.

Hey, the world is your oyster!

YOU must decide if you’re a dreamer—perfectly content with fantasizing about the treasures hidden all over the globe, but never actually setting sail to find them…

Or a doer—looking to get more out of life, and willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means venturing into unknown territories and facing seemingly unbeatable odds.

Here’s the thing…

A dreamer’s ship will end up dead in the water, while a doer will harness the power of the wind to sail smoothly towards success..

The clock is ticking!

In a few more days, this week will be over.

Then, before you know it, this month will be done with.

And next thing you know, this year will zip by even faster than last year.

Come December 31st…

You’ll be either celebrating some big accomplishments, or looking back at another year of mediocre results, without a whole lot to brag about, still hoping next year will be better.

Unfortunately, most people will be in the latter camp.

Because as the old adage goes…

If ya keep doing the same thing over and over again, you’ll keep gettin’ the same results.

So, the big question is…

What are you going to DO differently this year, starting RIGHT NOW that will make this year bigger, better, and much more profitable than ever before?

Your answer will dictate what you do…and how today, this week, this month and the rest of the year will turn out for you.

Allow me to make a suggestion…

If one of your major goals for this is to generate more leads and recruit new reps for your business this year, then you’re going to need a proven action plan to habitually execute—day in, day out.

Luckily we’ve got just the thing to help…

Sign up for Elite Marketing Pro’s FREE 10-Day Online Recruiting Bootcamp and you’ll discover a step-by-step business-building blueprint called “attraction marketing,” which has a decade-plus track record of creating well-quantified success stories.

You’ll learn about about the specific tools and techniques you can use to connect with prospects online, so you’ll never have to act desperate, chase down or strong-arm anybody to make a sale, or deal with cold calling and rejection, ever again.

These methods allow you to build your business automatically—where prospects reach out to you (instead of you having to reach out to them).

The bottom line is that, in today’s age, you don’t need to be pushy, obnoxious, or overly-aggressive to build a successful business!

So if you’re ready to get started…

Click here to access our 10-Day Online Recruiting Bootcamp today!

 

Sincerely,
Andrew Draughon
Director of Content
Elite Marketing Pro

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The post 3 Steps to Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick! appeared first on Elite Marketing Pro.

Read more: elitemarketingpro.com

9 Amazing Ways to Use Google Analytics for E-Commerce

9 Amazing Ways to Use Google Analytics for E-Commerce

Google Analytics allows you to access detailed information regarding your online store’s traffic and sales.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have or what your selling, Google Analytics is a staple component of your marketing strategy that will allow you to monitor and grow online conversions.

Google Analytics can seem a bit confusing at times even for a seasoned analyst. Sometimes it’s hard to know which metrics or reports are relevant to your e-commerce store, and which ones are just fluff.

In this article, I’ll be showing nine ways to use Google Analytics for your e-commerce store to help you get started today.

If you’re new to Google Analytics or you’d like to create an account you can use this guide to help set up Google Analytics in under 15 minutes. to follow along better in this article.

1. Use Google Analytics to Track Your Marketing campaigns.

With the power of Google Analytics, you can track any of your store’s online marketing campaigns (with or without Google Adwords/AdSense).

Track which landing pages and sources of the campaigns people interact with to complete a purchase. Giving a detailed data to see which funnels are the most effective and which aren’t so you can do A/B testing.

Maybe you already have a landing page running and your not sure what to do? Why not try these 7 Step from a Conversion Playbook To Quickly Optimize Your Landing Pages to point you in the right direction.

Age Range

Take a glimpse at your audience age range so you can understand which age ranges are most likely to visit your site. You can find this report under Audience > Demographics > Age.

Interest Reports in Google Analytics will tell you your users’ interests on other parts of the internet. This will help you identify a more specific target audience, cross or upselling opportunities, better blog content ideas.

You can find this report under Audience > Interest > Overview.

6. Use Google Analytics for Specialized SEO & Keyword Search

The Google Analytics “Site Search” report gives an overview of the terms, keywords and pages customers are searching for the most on your website.

Instead of relying heavily on Google Keyword Search you can get insight from visitors coming to your page. Site Search helps you to optimize your website so that you can rank higher in search for topics, features or products that customers are actually looking for.

To find this report go to Behaviour > Site Search.

8. Use Google Analytics with Google AdWords & AdSense for Better Ads

Linking you’re Google Analytics account with your AdWords accounts allows you to access powerful information to create PPC campaigns and Google Ads that convert. Because the data from Google Analytics data is specialized to your online store, you can find keywords that result in better conversions.

Combined this with your AdSense account, you can find useful data results including the ability to view your online store’s earnings based on how many users visits you have/ or had instead of relying on page impressions.

If your interested in seeing it in action you can use this guide to Link AdSense with Google Analytics to Track Earnings Per Page, it’s pretty easy to do.

How Connect Google Analytics with your Ecommerce store

I’ve listed the best step-by-step guides you can use to connect Google Analytics to your e-commerce store. If you have more than one e-commerce store, you choose to link it to one or two different Google Analytic accounts.

Add Google Analytics to my 3dcart
Add Google Analytics to my HTML Website
Add Google Analytics to my Shopify
Add Google Analytics to my Square Space
Add Google Analytics to my Woo-Commerce
Add Google Analytics to my WordPress
Add Google Analytics to my Wix

How to Connect Google Analytics to Your Social Media

Google Analytics isn’t just for your website, it’s can also be used for your website’s social media. Here’s a list of the best ways to use:

Google Analytics on YouTube
Google Analytics on Facebook
Google Analytics on Twitter
Google Analytics on Instagram
Google Analytics on Pinterest

Top Google Analytics Reports for E-commerce Stores

In order for you to see some of these reports or gather the data you need for them, you’ll have to set up Google Analytics e-commerce tracking.

Set up E-commerce Tracking in Google Analytics in 3 Easy Steps

Step 1. After creating your Google Analytic, go to the “Admin” Section which is shown on the top right side. Under “View” select “E-commerce Setting.”

Step 3. You can view your e-commerce reports under the “Conversion” tab on the left-hand side of your page. You might not see your reports fill up as yet so give Google Analytics some time to gather the data from your website.

Read more: business2community.com

Stephenson Design Collective designs House on the Cove to blend with coastal Washington setting

House On The Cove residence by Stephenson Design Collective in Bellingham, Washington

This residence in the Pacific Northwest by US firm Stephenson Design Collective features exterior walls clad in weathering steel and black-stained cedar, along with large windows that offer sweeping views of the mountains and sea.

House On The Cove residence by Stephenson Design Collective in Bellingham, Washington

The House on the Cove is located in the coastal town of Bellingham in northern Washington. The residence consists of a main dwelling and a detached structure that houses a garage and music studio.

Together, the two rectilinear buildings form an L-shaped plan.

House On The Cove residence by Stephenson Design Collective in Bellingham, Washington

A primary goal for the design team was to respect and embrace the natural surroundings. The elevated, wooded site offers sweeping views of the Puget Sound, San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains.

“We had to maintain this environment with minimal intrusion when adding the structure,” said Seattle-based Stephenson Design Collective in a project description. “It is hard to discount the fact that we had a great opportunity to destroy this site if we weren’t considerate and thoughtful.”

House On The Cove residence by Stephenson Design Collective in Bellingham, Washington

To help the home blend with its surroundings, the team wrapped exterior walls in weathering steel and black-stained cedar The house is intended to be a “shadow among the trees”.

The entry elevation is fairly opaque in order to conceal the interior and the spectacular views that lie beyond. Windows are carefully placed to bring in light and provide a connection to the neighbourhood. The home’s interior stairwell is hinted at on the street-facing facade by angled metal cladding and a trio of skylights.

House On The Cove residence by Stephenson Design Collective in Bellingham, Washington

In contrast, the rear facade has large stretches of glass that draw in the scenery. Rooms open onto terraces that provide opportunities for taking in the ocean air.

Rising two storeys, the main dwelling encompasses 2,504 square feet (233 square metres). The ground level contains public spaces, along with a bedroom and an office. The upper level houses the master suite and a dimly lit nook for relaxing.

House On The Cove residence by Stephenson Design Collective in Bellingham, Washington

“We knew the house would be bright, so we created a ‘nest’ behind the main bedroom that could be completely closed and dark for refuge in the heat of the summer,” the team said.

A neutral colour palette was employed throughout the dwelling. Finishes include wood and concrete flooring and a fireplace column sheathed in grey stone. Textured rugs, wooden tables and fluffy pillows help create a cosy atmosphere.

House On The Cove residence by Stephenson Design Collective in Bellingham, Washington

To the north of the home is the separate two-storey structure. The upper level of the 765-square-foot (71-square-metre) building houses the music studio, which can also be used as guest quarters.

The lower level contains the garage and a small workshop for metal fabrication. The client is a blacksmith by trade, and the shop acts as “his escape to create without demand”.

House On The Cove residence by Stephenson Design Collective in Bellingham, Washington

The architects note that their initial site meeting with the client entailed “drinks, dogs and music”. The meeting began in the afternoon and stretched well into the evening.

“The client requested that we watch the movie Minka and listen to Marc Cohen’s Olanna before beginning the process,” the studio said. “He needed his home to spark the same emotions that these pieces inspire.”

House On The Cove residence by Stephenson Design Collective in Bellingham, Washington

The client had no set expectations regarding the home’s size. His focus was more on the experiential qualities.

“We continued the design process as a discussion of experience and interaction,” the architects said. “We never established a ‘goal’ square footage or size, only what needed to happen within the home and how it would take place.”

House On The Cove residence by Stephenson Design Collective in Bellingham, Washington

Sustainability was an important concern for the clients. In turn, the team incorporated a range of eco-friendly features including radiant concrete floors and high-performance windows. In the winter, a fireplace and its pipes provide instant heat.

Washington is well-known for its lush forests, snow-capped peaks and beautiful coastline. Other homes in the state include a waterfront home by Prentiss Balance Wickline that consists of cascading boxes with green roofs, and a dwelling by David Coleman that cuts into a hillside “like a rusty blade”.

Photography is by Andrew Pogue.

Project credits:

Architects: Stephenson Design Collective
Builder: Indigo Enterprises NW
Engineer: Malsam Tsang Structural Engineering
Metal fabrication: Indeco
Manufacturers: Thermador, Zola, Victoria and Albert, Kohler

The post Stephenson Design Collective designs House on the Cove to blend with coastal Washington setting appeared first on Dezeen.

Read more: dezeen.com

Self Improvement Might Sound Healthy. But There’s a Downside to Wanting to Change

Ours is a culture that values change. Millions of Americans set resolutions each winter and buy self-help books year round.

But a new study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science finds there’s also value in aiming to stay the same. People who imagine staying fairly constant over the years may have more satisfying lives than those who think they’ll grow to be different, according to the study.

“When people think about themselves over time, the people who perceive there to be the most similarity between who they are now and who they will be in the future end up being more satisfied with their lives in 10 years time,” says study co-author Hal Hershfield, an associate professor of marketing at the University of California Los Angeles Anderson School of Management.

The study was based on data from almost 5,000 adults who took the Midlife Development in the United States survey. In the 1990s, when people were ages 20 to 75, they answered questions about their current personality traits — how calm, caring, wise, willing to learn, energetic and knowledgeable they were — and how they thought those traits might change over the coming decade. They also answered questions about how satisfied they were with their work, health, relationships and life overall.

A decade later, they answered similar questions again. After comparing the results and adjusting for factors such as age, gender, income and education, the researchers found that there was a correlation between predicting a future you who’s similar to the current you and being satisfied with life later on. Imagining a similar future was more strongly linked to well-being than any amount of predicted change, whether negative or positive.

“People were not accurate at all at predicting how much they were going to change,” says study co-author Joseph Reiff, a doctoral student in behavioral decision-making at UCLA Anderson. But that didn’t matter; thinking you’ll remain fairly constant, even if you were wrong, was linked to greater future well-being, Reiff says.

In some ways, the findings are intuitive. Someone who expects to stay the same probably has a fairly pleasant and stable life, while someone who expects to change may have good reason for wanting something different. But Reiff says the findings were constant regardless of life circumstances that often affect well-being, like socioeconomic class and age.

That may be because people who predict feeling similar to their future selves tend to make choices that will benefit the person they’ll become, whether that means maintaining good health by exercising and eating right or saving for retirement, Hershfield says. But people who think they’ll be totally different in the future may be less motivated to make forward-looking choices now.

Aspiration has long been known to have a downside. One 2002 study found that people who had positive fantasies about their future lives tended to have more negative life outcomes, perhaps because fantasizing often means downplaying the hard work that actually goes into success, and can therefore discourage people from working to make their dreams come true. Research has also shown that trying too hard to be happy can backfire, since you’re more likely to get hung up on negative emotions when they inevitably surface.

But does that mean you shouldn’t make a change if you see room for improvement?

While the new study didn’t address that question directly, Hershfield says there’s likely no harm in striving for self-improvement, as long as people act on a realistic, specific plan for that change. There’s a reason experts advise breaking goals into smaller chunks; making a concrete plan of action, and understanding how to reach a larger goal and overcome obstacles, can help you achieve results, research shows.

People who thoughtfully consider changes they want to make, as well as impediments that stand in their way, may also be likely to make the measured, proactive decisions of someone connected to their future self, Hershfield says.

“My guess is that people who want to be better and also recognize what stands in the way of doing that are the people who would take action to get to a better place in life,” he says. “It’s not bad to think positively about the future, so long as we think about what stands in the way and how we can overcome it.”

Read more: time.com

How Heartbreak Can Be Just What The Soul Needs

After a breakup about two years ago that left me too emotionally paralyzed to entertain dating anyone, I sequestered myself from civilization. I can still remember the pain as if it were today. Sadly, the love for this man was far greater than for myself and the very reason for my existence was devoted to him. Crying myself to sleep nearly every night for nearly six months, I barely had the will to get out of bed, let alone learn self-love.

Through the moments of hysteria, I encountered small moments of epiphanies which were usually from a small platitude that hit me so hard, it was as if I had been smacked on the head. One fateful evening I realized that the end was to become the first day of the rest of my life and that was when the wallowing ceased and when I started to become my own best friend.

SEE ALSO: What’s The Right Spiritual Attitude Towards Failure?

After the heartache

During the recession, I placed a strong emphasis on cultivating self-worth, delved much deeper into the esoteric, found what makes my inner fire burn, and learned to be the love of my own damn life. It certainly wasn’t an easy trek. I was consumed with so many tears, truths, and painful lessons surfacing to the forefront, but I also wouldn’t dare trade it in for anything else.

Somewhere along the way, the much-needed winds of change blew in my direction and the things that I once valued no longer took precedence. He eventually became a figment of my imagination. He became someone that I used to know. Relationships with those who I thought were friends resulted in me saying good riddance. My relationship with family prioritized my time. Material possessions became a waste of space.

Attaining what I thought to be the idyllic status quo was no longer of any importance to me. In fact, I started to view it as settling for mediocrity whereas true success meant blazing your own trails while creating and defining what success means. Spending countless hours on the internet perusing clothing sites all at an attempt to validate myself germinated into taking courses on various topics that piqued my interest. Going out partying every night ceased when I decided once and for all that I was going to abstain from alcohol. Bouncing in and out of intimate relationships came to a halt when I decided that I needed to be in a nurturing relationship with yours truly.

Fantasizing about traveling solo became reality. Relishing my oasis of solitude became my life. I became my own best friend.

Changes happen through small steps

How did the culmination of my drastic lifestyle changes to come to fruition? Baby steps. For everything that was no longer serving me, I simply said that it was no longer a part of my lifestyle and would weed them out of existence. It’s human nature to want what we can’t have, so rather than viewing certain things as an act of deprivation, I embarked on goal setting towards what I wanted to bring into my life. I started living as the person that I know I am rather than wishing and hoping to be the person that I so desperately craved to be.

It’s all about self-psychological manipulation. We constantly put ourselves in a state of negativity with our thoughts, which means that we can just as early brainwash ourselves into thinking positive. The bottom line is that our thoughts manifest into reality which means that we are the creators of our own destiny, the architects of our future, the very epitome of what we think.

Of course, it’s difficult to change your ways after being so accustomed to less than ideal habits, but the key is to keep on trucking. I didn’t beat myself up when goals weren’t reached but rather kept persevering until what I wanted became a part of my life. There were even times that I repeatedly floundered at the same thing, that putting whatever goal on a temporary hiatus until I was truly ready for it was the best outcome for my own sanity.

If anything, my failures propelled me to strive harder to accomplish my goals because every victory was the result of a thousand failed attempts. The fact of the matter is that I needed to change my ways and the breakup was the cataclysmic event which changed my life for the better. I actually attribute that breakup as the greatest thing to have ever happened to me. It led me to become the woman that I was aspiring to be but always lacked the courage and confidence to become.

There is magic

If we all coast through life living in our comfort zone without any trials and tribulations, we would never reach our fullest potential. Sometimes what we deem as a tragedy is truly a blessing in disguise for the roads that we’re forced to traverse, as bumpy and rocky as they may be, wind up being filled with magic at the end.

But don’t go seeking the magic. Just open your eyes wide enough to see it.

The post How Heartbreak Can Be Just What The Soul Needs appeared first on Sivana East.

Read more: blog.sivanaspirit.com

Best Practices For Your Pinterest Business Account with Kim Vij

PinterestBusinessSM

This episode of “The Manly Pinterest Tips Show” has something for anyone who is using, or is thinking of using, a business account on Pinterest.

Our special guest, Kim Vij, is no stranger to this platform. Kim joined way back when Pinterest was still private and found it to be a useful tool in directing traffic to her blog. She is now a Pinterest consultant, blogger, author, and speaker. Kim co-hosts a weekly Twitter chat and a Facebook community called “Pin Chat.”

As a “pin-fluencer” Kim has created award winning boards on Pinterest with an incredible 1.6 million followers. She is a teacher at heart and enjoys sharing ways to make everyday moments into teachable opportunities on her popular parenting site, “The Educator’s Spin on it.” She also has an upcoming book, “100 Fun and Easy Learning Games for Kids.”

Although the goal of Kim’s boards is to promote parenting and educational resources, what she has learned about business and Pinterest along the way can be applied in many different situations. For those who are new to the concept of Pinterest for business, Kim takes us through a sort of Pinterest 101, where she discusses the basics of setting up and managing a Pinterest business account. For those who have already mastered the basics, she goes deeper, giving tips on things like effective board and pin descriptions, using tools and analytics, and how to adapt to recent changes that affect board arrangements.

Kim emphasizes that many people use Pinterest as a search engine. Knowing how to capitalize on that is a valuable skill. The expertise she offers is a great tool in pointing anyone in the right direction.

Here’s a list of questions we discussed:

Tell your story – how you got involved in this thing called “Pinterest.” (1:23)
How long has your blog been going on? (3:08)
For somebody who’s just dipping their toes into Pinterest, why is Pinterest so important? (3:25)
Who uses Pinterest? Are they buyers or seekers? (5:39)
Let’s say I’m getting on Pinterest for the first time. What kind of options are there for when I first create an account? (7:12)
Explain what the difference is between a regular Pinterest account and a business account? (8:13)
What do you not get with a personal account that you do with a business account? (10:40)
Why is account bio so important? (12:06)
When should I change up or refresh my account bio? (14:38)
What are some best practices for board descriptions? (16:19)
You mentioned in your article to make sure you put in a board category. Is there any best practices for that, and can I go back and switch them later? (17:36)
Board arrangements: Can you talk a little bit about why people got upset about those Pinterest changes and what they did? (19:49)
Is it worth it to do custom board covers? (21:20)
Now on mobile your most recent boards are coming to the top. What does that do to your group board strategy? (22:57)
How many boards do you think it’s good to have to first start out? (24:58)
What are some of the best practices for writing compelling pin descriptions? (25:45)
Would you suggest a backdrop image with overlay text or a solid color background with text for blog post pins? (33:14)
How often should I pin? (33:56)
Are there tools to monitor analytics? (35:09)
Any news about promoted pins and buyable? When are they going to go global? (38:25)
Are most popular pins attached to an article? Do people pin based on a photo? (41:00)
Do you use any automation? (42:48)
What’s your take on combining business with personal on Pinterest? (43:18)
Where can we find out more about you and your services? (45:40

Thanks For Watching And Listening!

I really appreciate you joining me for this week’s episode.  Have questions or comments?  Leave a message in the comment section below!

If you’ve enjoyed the show, please share it using the buttons at the top or bottom of the page.

Also, please leave an honest review for The Manly Pinterest Tips Podcast on iTunes!  Ratings and reviews mean a ton to podcasters and I would really appreciate it.  They matter in how iTunes ranks the show and I honestly do read every one of them.

If you’d like to learn more about a certain topic or have something you’d like me to talk about during the show, feel free to contact me.

Thanks to Kim for being such a great guest.  See you for the next episode where we’ll be adding testosterone, one pin at a time!

The post Best Practices For Your Pinterest Business Account with Kim Vij appeared first on Manly Pinterest Tips.

Read more: manlypinteresttips.com

Quantum measurement could improve gravitational wave detection sensitivity

Minutes before dawn on Sept. 14, 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) became the first-ever instrument on Earth to directly detect a gravitational wave. This work, led by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration with prominent roles from MIT and Caltech, was the first confirmation of this consequence of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity — 100 years after he first predicted it. The groundbreaking detection represented an enormous step forward in the field of astrophysics. In the years since, scientists have striven to achieve even greater sensitivity in the LIGO detectors.

New research has taken investigators one step closer to this goal. Nergis Mavalvala, the Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics at MIT, postdoc Robert Lanza, graduate student Nancy Aggarwal, and their collaborators at Louisiana State University (LSU) recently conducted experiments that could help overcome a future limitation in Advanced LIGO. In their laboratory study, the team successfully measured a type of noise that will soon hold the LIGO instruments back from detecting gravitational waves with greater sensitivity.

Their study, reported recently in Nature, was the first to measure an important source of quantum noise at room temperature and at frequencies relevant to gravitational wave detectors. Funded by the National Science Foundation, this work could enable researchers to understand this limiting noise source and test ideas for circumventing it to further increase LIGO’s sensitivity to gravitational waves.

In addition to future applications for improving LIGO’s detection abilities, Mavalvala says these observations of quantum effects at room temperature could help scientists learn more about how quantum mechanics can disturb the precision of measurements generally — and how best to get around these quantum noise limits.

“This result was important for the gravitational wave community,” says Mavalvala. “But more broadly, this is essentially a room-temperature quantum resource, and that’s something that many communities should care about.”

Sensitivity upgrade

LIGO has undergone upgrades since its first gravitational wave searches in 2002; the currently operating version of the instrumentation is called Advanced LIGO following major upgrades in 2015. But to get LIGO to its maximum design sensitivity, Mavalvala says her team needs to be able to conduct experiments and test improvement strategies in the laboratory rather than on the LIGO instruments themselves. LIGO’s astrophysical detection work is too important to interfere with, so she and her collaborators have developed instruments in the lab that can mimic the sensitivity of the real thing. In this case, the team aimed to reproduce processes that occur in LIGO to measure a type of noise called quantum radiation pressure noise (QRPN).

In LIGO, gravitational waves are detected by using lasers to probe the motion of mirrors. The mirrors are suspended as pendulums, allowing them to have periodic motion similar to a mass on a spring. When laser beams hit the movable mirrors, the momentum carried by the light applies pressure on the mirror and causes them to move slightly.

“I like to think of it like a pool table,” says Aggarwal. “When your white cue ball strikes the ball in front of it, the cue ball comes back but it still moves the other ball. When a photon that was traveling forward then travels backwards, the momentum went somewhere; [in this case] that momentum went into the mirror.”

The quantum nature of light, which is made up of photons, dictates that there are quantum fluctuations in the number of photons hitting the mirrors, creating an uncertain amount of force on the mirrors at any given moment. This uncertainty results in random perturbations of the mirror. When the laser power is high enough, this QRPN can interfere with gravitational wave detection. At Advanced LIGO’s full design sensitivity, with many hundreds of kilowatts of laser power hitting 40-kilogram mirrors, QRPN will become a dominant limitation.

Minuscule mirrors

To address this imminent issue, Mavalvala, Aggarwal, and their collaborators designed an experiment to recreate the effects of QRPN in a laboratory setting. One challenge was that the team could not use lasers as powerful as those in Advanced LIGO in their lab experiments. The greater the laser power and the lighter the mass of the mirror oscillator, the stronger the radiation pressure-driven motion. To be able to detect this motion with less laser power, they needed to create an extremely low-mass mirror oscillator. They scaled down the 40-kilogram mirrors of Advanced LIGO with a 100-nanogram mirror oscillator (less than the mass of a grain of salt).

The team also faced the significant challenge of designing a mirror oscillator that could exhibit quantum behavior at room temperature. Previously, observing quantum effects like QRPN required cryogenic cooling so that the motion due to heat energy of the oscillator would not mask the QRPN. In addition to being challenging and impractical, vibrations associated with cryogenic cooling interferes with LIGO’s operation, so conducting experiments at room temperature would be more readily applicable to LIGO itself. After many iterations of design and testing, Mavalvala and her MIT colleagues designed a mirror oscillator that allowed the team to reach a low enough level of thermally driven fluctuations that the mirror motion was dominated by QRPN at room temperature — the first-ever study to do so.

“It’s really pretty mind-boggling that we can observe this room-temperature, macroscopic object — you can see it with the naked eye if you squint enough — being pushed around by quantum fluctuations,” Mavalvala says. “Its thermal jitter is small enough that it’s being tickled ever-so-slightly by quantum fluctuations, and we can measure that.”

This was also the first study to detect QRPN at frequencies relevant to gravitational wave detectors. Their success means that they can now design additional experiments that reflect the radiation pressure conditions in Advanced LIGO itself.

“This experiment mimics an important noise source in Advanced LIGO,” says Mavalvala. “It’s now a test bed where we can try out new ideas for improving Advanced LIGO without impinging on the instrument’s own operating time.”

Advanced LIGO does not yet run its lasers at strong enough power for QRPN to be a limiting factor in gravitational wave detections. But, as the instruments become more sensitive, this type of noise will soon become a problem and limit Advanced LIGO’s capabilities. When Mavalvala and her collaborators recognized QRPN as an imminent issue, they strove to recreate its effects in the laboratory so that they can start exploring ways to overcome this challenge.

“We’ve known for a long time that this QRPN would be a limitation for Advanced LIGO,” says Mavalvala. “Now that we are able to reproduce that effect in a laboratory setting, we can start to test ideas for how to improve that limit.”

Mavalvala’s primary collaborator at LSU was Thomas Corbitt, an associate professor of physics and astronomy. Corbitt was formerly a graduate student and post-doctoral scholar in Mavalvala’s lab at MIT. They have since collaborated for many years.

“This is the first time this effect has been observed in a system similar to gravitational wave interferometers and in LIGO’s frequency band,” says Corbitt. “While this work was motivated by the imperative to make ever-more-sensitive gravitational wave detectors, it is of wide interest.”

New directions

Since the original detection of a binary black hole merger in 2015, LIGO has also captured signals from collisions of neutron stars, as well as additional black hole collisions. These waves ripple outward from interactions that can take place more than a billion light years away. While LIGO’s capabilities are impressive, Mavalvala and her team plan to continue finding ways to make LIGO even more powerful.

Before they collide, black holes, for example, orbit each other slowly and at lower frequencies. As the two black holes get closer, their orbits speed up and they swirl around each other at high speeds and high frequencies. If Advanced LIGO becomes sensitive enough to pick up lower frequencies, Mavalvala says we may someday detect these systems earlier in the process, before the pair collides, allowing us to draw an ever-clearer picture of these distant spacetime phenomena. She and her team aim to make sure that factors such as QRPN don’t limit Advanced LIGO’s growing power.

“At this moment in time, Advanced LIGO is the best it can be at its job: to look out at the sky and detect gravitational wave events,” says Mavalvala. “In parallel, we have all of these ideas for making it better, and we have to be able to try those out in laboratories. This measurement allows that to happen with QRPN for the first time.”

Read more: news.mit.edu

Portal Cord is a Charger Cable With a Power Bank Hiding Inside

Power banks are an incredible invention. They make it so we can keep our devices running for substantially longer than their built-in batteries.

They’re not without flaws, though. Part of the reason a device like a smartphone is so useful is that it’s easy to carry around. It fits right into your pocket. Most power banks, however, aren’t so portable.

Portal Cord is setting out to solve that problem by tucking the power bank right inside of the cord.

Portal Cord Features

The way the Portal Cord is able to contain the power within the cord is by having multiple batteries lining the length of the device. While a traditional power bank features one large battery, this one uses a bunch of smaller ones.

Obviously, even by having multiple batteries along the cable, there’s just no way to fit a huge amount of juice. As such, the Portal Cord features 1,800 mAh of charging power. To put that into perspective, an iPhone XS Max features a 3,174 mAh battery, while a Pixel 3 features a 2900 mAh battery. Basically, you won’t get a full charge for your devices out of this power bank, but thanks to Quick Charge technology, you’ll get a decent amount of juice rather quickly.

The Portal Cord is available in USB-C, Lightning, and micro USB, so it’ll work with a wide range of devices including newer iPhones and most Android devices.

For length, the Portal Cord measures three feet, which is pretty standard for power cables. Not going with an incredibly long cable allows the device to remain portable. The cable and attached batteries are pretty light, coming with a weight of only 4.24 ounces.

Portal Cord Availability

Portal Power is seeking funding for Portal Cord on Kickstarter right now. The project is tracking to meet is $20,000 funding goal with around $15K as of this writing. Backers who would like to order a device can do so for $55 while the early special lasts. After that, the price goes up by $10. The company plans to ship the power banks to backers in October 2019.

Make sure you understand the risks of backing a crowdfunding project before you jump in though. Read our guide featuring things you need to know before backing a Kickstarter.

Read the full article: Portal Cord is a Charger Cable With a Power Bank Hiding Inside

Read more: makeuseof.com

10 Brilliant Money Moves to Make When You’re Between the Ages of 27 and 29

You know your finances could use some serious TLC, but you’ve been putting it off… and off… and off.

When you finally do sit down to think about it, you immediately become overwhelmed. Which goal do you attack first? You need a budget, a savings plan, a debt-repayment strategy, a better credit score, a plan for retirement and… oh, you’re running away again, aren’t you?

Calm down and come back. To tackle big goals, you have to start small.

Simple Money Management Steps to Take Today

Here are a few simple tips you can take today to get your finances under control and start working toward a healthier financial future.

1. Invest in Envelopes
A woman is shown sitting criss-cross on her bed, as she hunches over and labels envelopes for the envelope budgeting method.

Buy a box of envelopes. Now stuff some cash inside each one.

OK, so it’s not that simple but the envelope budgeting method, popularized by Dave Ramsey, helps folks who tend to overspend. Each month or each pay period, take out a chunk of money. Now divide that money up: groceries, dining out, personal care, etc. Then, stuff each envelope with your spending limit.

This budgeting method helps you be more mindful of your spending and keeps you above the red. Money management made simple. 

2. Invest in Real Estate (Even If You’re Not Wealthy)

Want to try real-estate investing without playing landlord? A company called Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In addition to four rental properties, Christopher and Meghan Miller have invested in a diversified portfolio of real estate projects across the country — from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles — through Fundrise’s automated investment experience.

“I don’t have to manage them; I don’t have to do the work to improve the properties; I don’t have to find tenants, evict tenants,” Christopher says.

They follow the progress of each project they’ve invested money into through Fundrise, and Christopher receives automatic payments directly into his checking account.

But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since at least Q2 2016, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.

You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.

3. Give Your Credit Score a Boost — Add up to 300 Points
cash back apps

A really easy way to do this is to get a “credit report card” from Credit Sesame.

Credit Sesame is like your favorite teacher from high school — without the pop quizzes.

It gives you a free credit score, plus lays out your credit history so you can see exactly how much money you owe and to whom. It even tells you your monthly payments and interest rate, as well as which debts (if any) are in collections.

And you don’t have to stay home to do it. The Credit Sesame app lets you keep track of your credit score and ways to improve it — on the go!

To keep a closer eye on your credit, you can also get a “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. It breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how you might address it.

James Cooper, a motivational speaker, raised his credit score 277 points using Credit Sesame. Now he talks to high school students about the importance of having good credit and uses what he’s learned through Credit Sesame as a blueprint for his lessons.

“We want to touch the Z Generation,” Cooper says “We’re not in the business of fixing credit. We want to get to you before you have to fix your credit.”

4. Find out If You’re Paying Too Much for Car Insurance

You’re probably overpaying for car insurance. And how would you know, really?

Have you shopped around lately? Have you compared rates from the 20 largest auto insurers that do business in your area? That sounds kind of difficult and time-consuming, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, a service called Gabi will do it for you, and you don’t even have to fill out any forms. Simply link your insurance account and provide your driver’s license number, and Gabi will go to work.

Once you link your insurance account to Gabi, it will:

Scan your existing insurance plan.
Analyze what coverage you have.
Compare the major insurers’ rates for that same coverage.
Help you switch on the spot if it finds you a better rate.

Gabi says it finds an average savings of $720 per year for its customers.

It is a true apples-to-apples comparison at the same coverage levels and deductibles you currently have. Once you sign up, you never have to shop again. Gabi’s software has your policy on file and keeps on monitoring for savings as your life changes.

5. Let This Company Pay Off Your Credit Cards
Two hands reaching out to each other.

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. If you’re in that boat, consolidation and refinancing might be worth a look.

That’s where a company like Fiona can be helpful. It can help you find personalized lending options to refinance or consolidate your debt to potentially save thousands of dollars in interest.

Fiona will show you all the lenders willing to help you pay off your credit card and eliminate the headache of paying bills by allowing you to make one payment each month.

If your credit score is at least 620, you can borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) and compare interest rates, which start at 3.84%. The idea is to secure a loan at a lower interest rate, potentially helping you save thousands. Repayment plans range from 24 to 84 months.

Take, for example, Katherine, who faced $12,000 in credit-card debt. Holding her back? The 15.24% interest rate. By refinancing with a 5%-interest, seven-year personal loan, she saved $12,000 in interest.

If she’d kept on the same road, she would have paid something like $14,000 in interest alone over 25 years. Yikes.

So even if you’re simply curious about what’s out there, know that checking rates on Fiona won’t hurt your credit score — and can probably save you in interest.

6. Get Paid Every Time You Swipe Your Debit Card
An Aspiration debit cards slightly pokes out of a closed wallet. A cup of coffee is nearby.

Those cash-back credit cards are wicked cool, aren’t they? Unfortunately, it can be hard to qualify for these cards. The Credit Card Gods are awfully picky when it comes to handing them out.

We found another option, though.

One of our favorites is Aspiration’s Spend and Save account.  This online account comes with a debit card that gets you 0.5% cash back on purchases. It basically turns your debit card into a cash-back card.

Plus, you’ll pay no monthly fees, and you’ll earn up to 2.00% APY on your savings.

7. Get Paid to Use Renewable Energy

Did you know you can use your energy bill to support renewable energy — no matter where you live?

With renewable energy company Arcadia Power, you can offset up to 100% of your monthly energy consumption with 100% renewable sources in about two minutes. It’s free and the company will give you a free $20 Amazon gift card just for being a good person.

Arcadia Power matches each kilowatt-hour of power you use with a kilowatt-hour of wind energy. Basically, the company purchases certified renewable energy certificates in your name, so others can take advantage of clean energy in their area.

Visit Arcadia Power’s website, connect your utility account, claim your free $20 Amazon gift card and then you don’t ever have to think about it again.

8. Freeze Your Credit Cards
A young woman lays on the grass next to a lot of different credit cards.

You’ve heard the whole “freeze your credit” advice. We agree: It’s a smart practice. But in order to save money, freeze your credit cards.

Literally — in the freezer they’ll go.

Sure, it sounds extreme, but if you tend to make impulsive credit card purchases, stick your card in a Ziploc bag, submerge it in a canister of water and slide it into the freezer.  When you’re tempted to spend, you’ll have to wait for the card to thaw, requiring you to think through your spending decision.

9. Ask Your HR Department These Questions
Two woman sitting next to each other in an office-type setting, and they go over material on a cell phone and laptop.

Got a new job? Here’s what to do next: Enroll in your company’s 401(k) plan ASAP so you can start saving for retirement. And yes, it fits in your budget!

As much as you want to be prepared for present-day responsibilities, the last thing you want is to leave old(er), future-you with bills, bills, bills and more bills.

If your employer sponsors a 401(k) plan, you should have access to people who can answer questions in your best interest — AKA HR.

And you’re going to have questions, because, well… 401(k)’s are tricky. To get the most out of your plan, here are some important questions to ask to ensure you’re putting your retirement savings in the best possible hands:

Does your employer match?
Where is your money invested?
Can you rollover from your existing 401(k)?
What fees are you paying?
What can you do if your plan sucks?

10. Secure up to $1 Million in Life Insurance

Pop quiz time. What do you think about when you think about buying life insurance?

Time’s up! Did you think of pushy salespeople? Or maybe your mind went to the dreaded thought of getting locked into a 20-year policy that isn’t right for you even five years down the road.

You can use Ladder’s coverage calculator to figure out how much coverage you should have. Then take five minutes to fill out an online application and answer a few questions about your life and health, such as your income.

You’ll get an instant decision on coverage, and there’s no risk. You won’t even have to go get a full physical. Some simple lab work might be required, but that’s easy, right? You’ll pay no policy fees, and you can cancel anytime. There’s even a 30-day money-back guarantee.

This post was originally published here

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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