Sunday, June 21, 2015

Activity Trackers

All the rage these days seems to be counting your steps with an activity tracker.  For over a decade I have always used a heart-rate monitor with chest strap when I exercise.  I have one that tracks my heart-rate and calories burned while working out.  I have been very happy with using one of these watches for years.  But back around the holidays I decided to cave in a get a Garmin Vivofit activity tracker.

I liked that it had a heart-rate monitor strap.  The calories burned during a workout were pretty close to what my other heart-rate monitor showed.  But as time passed, I found myself really trying to like the Vivofit, but just didn't.  First of all I did not like wearing the watch 24/7.  I missed wearing my other watches that were prettier and and a lot more comfortable.  Then after a few months, the Vivofit began to reset the steps I had already walked that day mid morning.  At that point I knew that my days of wearing a Vivofit were coming to an end.  I would be walking around at work and then glance down and see that I only had a few hundred steps opposed to a few thousand steps.  It started randomly resetting about once a week.  Then about a month later it began doing it every other day.

Another thing that I had researched was the accuracy of wearing an activity tracker on your arm.  In order to accurately count the steps walked, a device must be centered on your body, for example at your waist or on a bra strap.  To prove this, whenever I dried my hair I would get about a 1,000 steps just by moving my arms about.  Another time I was cooking in the kitchen and I had to mix something by hand.  If I used the hand with the Vivofit to whisk the food, the numbers began to escalate as though I were running a sprint.  I did find that if I wore the watch on my non-dominant hand it wasn't as inaccurate, but I finally got to the point that I had to take it off whenever I moved my arms such as I mentioned above.

So, after some communication to the company, I made the decision to return my Vivofit.  Luckily, I was able to trade it in for a Fitbit One.  I have had my Fitbit One for about a month now and I am 100% satisfied with it!

The Fitbit One is very small and easily attaches to the waist of my pants or on the strap of my bra.  This little gadget has so many cool features!  You can press the button on the top to see your current steps for the day, stairs climbed, miles walked, calories burned, and the current time.  It will also show a flower such as the one above.  If you are very active your flower will grow tall.  But if you are not moving around, your flower will begin to shrink.   
The Fitbit One comes with a wristband that you can slip the device into at night.  You hold the button down until it vibrates and a stopwatch comes on the device.  It will track your sleep.  I was very impressed with the wristband.  I was not sure if I would be comfortable wearing it, but quickly discovered that I hardly even noticed it on my arm.  So far, the Fitbit One seems very accurate with my sleep patterns.  Another cool feature that the Fitbit One offers is an alarm.  Through their website or with the app, you can set the device to vibrate and wake you up.  I found this very useful as I it woke me up without disturbing my husband.  The Fitbit One needs to be charged through a USB cable approximately every 7 to 10 days and takes about 1.5 hours to fully charge.
Everything that comes with the Fitbit One: Wireless Sync Dongle, Fitbit One, Silicone & Metal Clip, Sleep Wristband, Charging Cord
The other cool thing about the Fitbit One is that once you have set up your account on their website you can set weight loss goals and how many calories you should consume daily.  I also love that I can track all of my workouts and anything that you eat.  I am still wearing my heart-rate monitor when I exercise.  After a workout, I get onto the Fitbit website and type in which workout I did and input the calories burned.  It then calculates that into my daily goals.  Another nifty feature found on the app is a bar code to scan what you eat.  For example, I am able to scan a package of lunch meat that I use to make a sandwich and input how many slices I had.  After I submit it, Fitbit tabulates the total calories.  I must say that using the nutrition tracker on the Fitbit website has certainly assisted in keeping me on track with proportions and what I put in my mouth.  I find that using my Fitbit One has become a natural part of my daily routine and I am so glad that I found the Fitbit One.
Here is a snapshot of the dashboard that shows at a glance how I am currently doing for the day.
So if you're thinking of getting an activity tracker I highly recommend getting the Fitbit One!  


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Forever Fit 21 Day Challenge

In May, I wholeheartedly agreed to participate in another one of my friend and coach Erika's fitness challenges.  We began the Forever Fit Challenge on May 11th.  Since I had great results with 21 Day Fix, I decided that for this  challenge I would use 21 Day Fix Extreme for the three weeks.  This was one challenge that I truly felt motivated each day.  We had daily check-ins on Facebook where we would let the group know our progress with the Fit 5 (Workout, Nutrition, Water Consumption, if you had your Shakeology, and Hours Slept).  Each morning Coach Erika would post a motivational message and mini challenge for the day.  I am by nature a very competitive person, so the mini challenges were a must for me.  For example, one day the challenge was to do squats each time after you went to the bathroom.  Another one was to take a picture of yourself doing a plank in an unusual setting.  Here I am outside a local restaurant near the road doing my plank.
Erika and the women in the challenge were all very motivational.  Even though I am considered pretty fit, I still work to maintain my balance.  I see exercise and nutrition a vital part of my daily life.  Erika was always positive and reminded us that we rise by lifting others.  Each day she told us that we are amazing and can do it!

Since this was my second challenge to complete, I don't think that I felt quite the pressure to stick to the meal plan 100% as I did in the first challenge the previous month, but I did give it my all.  I kept to my beliefs of eating sensibly and sticking with an 80/20 healthy habits plan.  I made sure that I posted my progress daily.

Once I might have felt like doing workouts such as 21 Day Fix Extreme might have been too over the top for me now that I am in my forties, Erika reminded me that "Yes, I could do it!"  In the end, I did succeed!  I felt great about how I looked and felt.  At the end of this Challenge I had lost 7.25 inches and 3 pounds.  Oh, and guess what... I was the winner of this Challenge!  It felt awesome to know that all of my hard work paid off regardless of winning or not.  The 21 Day Challenge was a blast! I was actually feeling a bit off when it was over since I didn't have to complete my daily check-in with the group any longer.  Many thanks go out to Erika, Jenni and all of the other awesome women that participated in the Forever Fit Challenge!
Working out during the Challenge
Here's a motivating quote that Erika had posted for us that is so true!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fitness Challenge

Although I have stayed true to working out over the years, I can't say that my eating habits have always been the best.  While I do adhere to a 80/20 lifestyle of healthy eating habits for the most part, I had gained about ten pounds over the last five years.  In March, I was approached by some wonderful ladies from work to participate in a fitness challenge.  After reading about the program being used (21 Day Fix), I knew this sounded exactly like the kind of thing I needed.  So I ordered the program from my wonder friend and coach Erika.  I was so excited to start this challenge that I even talked my husband into doing the challenge with me.  Don't worry, it wasn't the first time I have gotten him into this sort of thing with me.  Anyway, since he was going to do the challenge as well, we decided that we would order both 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme so that we would each have Shakeology to drink during the challenge.

I began using the 21 Day Fix workouts and eating plan on March 30th and stuck it out for the 21 days which ended on April 20th.  As a part of the 21 Day Fix, there are little containers that you can use to measure out portions of the recommended foods you can eat.  I must say, that this was the missing piece for me.  I think that holding myself accountable for what and how much I was eating had slacked up.  During the challenge I really restricted myself to only eating what was on the approved lists and didn't cheat.  I had a really great time with this challenge, and lost about five pounds and 8.5 inches.  While I didn't win this challenge, I did feel like a winner personally.  I was reminded of portion control and got a handle on nutrition for myself and my family.  In addition to toning up some, my husband lost some weight as well.  Our daughter also got into the fun of it and did some of the yoga and pilates workouts with me.

Week one of the Fitness Challenge.
"Remember it doesn't get easier, you get better."  Autumn Calabrese

Monday, June 15, 2015

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I have gotten on my fitness blog.  I originally created this blog to keep track of all of my workouts on DVD, and to compile great healthy recipes that I came across.  But, life began to get in the way, and it seems that my little blog was neglected.  Once my daughter grew out of taking naps, I just didn't keep up with writing on here.  However, I have stayed true to my fitness journey.   I still work out consistently 6 days a week.  I hope to find more time to reflect on my fitness journey and share here.
I recently got 2 new workouts from Kelly.  I'll have to write more about them another time.  If you have never gotten any of her workouts I highly recommend anything by her!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My All Time Favorite Workouts

I've been meaning all summer to list those workouts that are on my favorite list. These are all time favorites that if I could only have a handful of workouts these would be the ones.  I especially like the Cathe workouts.  Although they are over an hour, I rarely do the workout in it's entirety.  Cathe has many premixes that actually make these into many different workouts that are under an hour.

Best Cardio with Step:  It's a tie!
Cathe Friedrich Low Max
This workout is over an hour and has some great premixes that run about 45 minutes of good music with step choreography.

Tracie Long Core Cardio
This is just about one of the best step workouts that I have ever done!  The workout is about 50 minutes.  It uses a medicine ball.  After I finish this workout I feel great!  The picture is not actually from the workout.  This workout is no longer in print and I couldn't find a picture doing several internet searches.

Best Kick Boxing Style Workout:
Turbo Jam Punch, Kick, and Jam
Great Chalene workout that runs about 50 minutes.

Best Cardio and Strength Workout:  Another Tie
Cathe Friedrich Low Impact Circuit
This is another workout that has motivating music.  It uses both a step and weights.  Again I usually stick with the lower body leg circuit premix that runs about 55 minutes.  When I finish this workout I am drenched and usually burn about 450 calories!

Cathe Friedrich Hi Step Challenge
It has awesome premixes that make for a shorter workout.  The music alone on this workout will pump you up and keep you going!  This is an advanced workout.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Great Place to find Healthy Recipes

Have you ever heard of Eat Better America?  They have a really great site with loads of healthy recipes.

Here is the link to one of our favorites:  Healthified Mexican Pasta Skillet.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Low Fat Cake

Here's a recipe for a single serving chocolate cake that I'm going to give a try.  Looks very yummy!
5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

4 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup egg substitute (with yolk) or 1 egg
3 tablespoons lowfat milk or fat free half and half
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons fat free sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)
light vanilla bean ice cream (optional)
sliced strawberries or other fresh fruit (optional)
  1. In microwave-safe coffee mug, combine whole-wheat flour, sugar, and cocoa.
  2. Pour egg substitute or egg, lowfat milk, canola oil, sour cream and vanilla into the mug with dry ingredients and mix well with fork.
  3. Stir chocolate chips into the cake batter in mug, if desired. Place mug in center of microwave (preferably one that has a turn table) and cook on HIGH for 3 minutes. The cake will rise about an inch or so above the top of the mug (don’t worry it won’t drip down the sides of the mug).
  4. Let cake cool in mug for a few minutes then turn mug upside down over a serving bowl (the cake should slide out fairly easily).
  5. Cut cake in half for a smaller sized serving and top with a small scoop of light vanilla bean ice cream and sliced strawberries (or other fresh fruit).
Serving Suggestion: Serve with a scoop of light vanilla ice cream and some fresh fruit like sliced strawberries or raspberries.
Yield: Makes 2 servings
Nutritional Information:
Per serving (if two per recipe): 240 calories, 7 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat, .7 g saturated fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 115 mg sodium. Calories from fats: 30 percent.