Fitbit: Who Does it FIT?

Fitbit: Who Does it FIT?

*Disclaimer: Thanks to the Tampa Bay Bloggers and AT&T spokeswoman Karen McAllister, I had the privilege of getting to use the Fitbit Charge HR for nine days in exchange for this post, social media love, and tickets to Lowry Park Zoo. All opinions are my own.*

After being in touch with Karen from AT&T and Tampa Bay Bloggers, the Fitbit Charge HR was a great product to try for over a week. It gives being active a new sense of awareness. It was nice being able to see my numbers throughout the day and it gave me something to push for during my workouts! I had secretly wanted to see for myself what the hype was all about and I’m really glad I did. It was a pretty cool product and a worthwhile nine days seeing how it worked with me throughout the day while teaching my classes, training clients, and incorporating into my own workouts.

FullSizeRender-3
Fitbit HR has a sleek design and felt light weight when I wasn’t checking my stats.

I specifically had the Charge HR band that tracked my heart rate on top of all the other features it came with: sleep tracker, calories burned, stairs climbed, distance traveled, active minutes etc. It read the heart rate via the radial pulse on my wrist and tracked it at rest and throughout the day. That part alone was especially cool! It was a great way to keep yourself motivated during an intense cardio session alone. During my spin class at Soho Cycling Studio it was handy to look down and check periodically throughout the class how I was doing and to see my total calorie burn post workout. As a group exercise instructor, I especially loved seeing the calories burned and steps tracked throughout my classes I teach. All the little movements and walking around really do add up to more calories burned and distance walked. Once you reach your step goal, mine was 10,000, it vibrates to notify you. From there you receive badges and can see your collection as it grows!

IMG_0421
A day I incorporated a strength day into my routine (note the 26 active minutes) among classes I taught and clients I saw

I would say that the Fitbit is a great tool for many people. Its a great fit for people returning to exercise after an injury, newbie to the fitness world, athlete or regular exerciser, individual with a nine to five desk job, and a cross trainer. Having this tool is great for anyone who needs that extra reminder, motivation, and awareness of their numbers at their fingertips to keep goals in check.

For the individual who are returning post injury and getting back into a routine or is just getting into fitness, this is a great first step. A few of my clients have them and I love asking how their steps are, what they burned during our workouts, their sleep, etc. It’s funny since even a few people in my group classes I teach always report to me how they did post class or even funnier–ask during class, “can we do more cardio? I need to get my steps in.”  In cases like these, I LOVE utilizing it THROUGH my clients and class participants to keep challenging them even more! 😉 From what I have learned about it through myself and others is to WEAR it, otherwise it doesn’t work. Sounds silly making this comment, but if it isn’t charged and ready to wear, don’t count on it doing it’s job. Less time wearing it = less motivation.

For the athlete/regular exerciser, this is great for the constant added challenge through the heart rate feature. I learned I could push harder throughout my spin class, so I continued to increase the intensity and after looking at my stats post class, I TORCHED about 800 calories! WOWZA!! I thought to myself, “I wonder how many I would have burned if I didn’t add the extra resistance?” Yeah no regrets there. 😉 In terms of strength training, my heart rate during the workout was not as high as it was during spin or a run, but it did take note of my elevated heart rate during my half hour strength workout. So, YES males/females that like to strength train and crank it out in the weight room–this is for you too!!

FullSizeRender
Badges earned each time you make your goal!

Even when not active, the Fitbit HR keeps the numbers going even at work during the day. Checking resting heart rate during the day and after a few cups of coffee (like I did) I saw a small increase in heart rate! However, it does not vibrate as a way of notifying you to move…which I thought was odd. It does track active minutes, so even though there is no obvious way of notifying you, being motivated to get up and walk around during your lunch break or throughout the day does count. The calories burned and distance traveled stat will soon be your friend.

IMG_0404
I’m pretty sure this was rest day for me, but I did go for a walk with a friend. Tracked my heart rate even during our walk!

What if you’re not a high intensity fitness freak but still enjoy being active–in a less intense way? Maybe yoga/pilates or cross training is your thing? That counts too! Again active minutes and a jump in heart rate counts as a workout and automatically tracked in active minutes. As mentioned above, looking at calories burned is another great way to track as well!

IMG_0447
Each week I got a daily “progress report” on my activity. Great overview to keep me motivated!

As a runner, I LOVE/LIVE by my Garmin Forerunner 15. It tracks my pace, speed, and includes a GPS. It also has a built in heart rate monitor with a strap. I feel the Fitbit would be a good fit for someone who wants to track their overall healthy habits and activity and isn’t necessary focused solely on running. I had this product during my half recently, and chose not to wear it simply because it did not track my running stats–specifically my pace. However, it was GREAT for other activities I participated in.

IMG_0422
Fitbit made it to the Gasparilla Expo!
IMG_0377
Had to take a selfie with it after getting it from Karen!

Throughout the week I used the Fitbit, I did learn a lot about myself and confirmed some things I wasn’t sure of. I learned I can really challenge myself MORE which is exciting to know (via the heart rate feature), I really do need eight hours of sleep..lol, and I have a low resting heart rate. Aside from it being an overall positive experience, in a technological way (the app and way it worked was super easy) and motivating sense, I would recommend this product to everyone looking to enhance or maintain their fitness.

Advertisement
Enjoy the Season and Stop Cringing at Calories: Try my Peppermint Bark!

Enjoy the Season and Stop Cringing at Calories: Try my Peppermint Bark!

Sooo…I don’t typically post a lot of recipes (my fault) especially dessert recipes but its the holiday season so how could I not?! Everyone loves treats this time of year so I figured why not make some! This recipe is not “healthified” whatsoever. Instead it is full of a of good reasons to try it that will put you in the holiday spirit instead of cringing at the calories. I feel there so many “approved” and “diet-friendly” desserts, which is great because we all have “get healthy” type goals…but sometimes it nice to give up that label for something indulgent anyways. The key is moderation. This recipe is indulgent, but it is also simple, fast, requires no baking, and won’t break the bank/budget friendly! However, it IS very addicting and yummy so enjoy at your own risk, aka moderation. 😉

I tried this recipe using only one bag of white chocolate and one of dark chocolate and it came out too thin. I used two bags of each chocolate instead and it came out perfectly thick! The peppermints also didn’t stick well in the first batch so I sprinkled them on when the white chocolate was warm and gently pressed them in with plastic wrap to eliminate direct contact with my hands. It took me about a half hour to whip up, and while the chocolate set in the fridge I was able to multi-task. For gifting, I bought christmas-y goodie bags from the dollar store and gave them out to some friends and my landlord (who doesn’t like getting food as a gift?!). A win-win I’d say!

Get In The Spirit Peppermint Bark

2 14oz bags of white chocolate chips

2 14 oz bags of dark chocolate chips

1 tsp of peppermint extract

1 Tbsp of vegetable oil

14 oz of peppermints or candy canes

-Start with crushing 14 oz of peppermints in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or heavy mallet until you see small chunks. If you have food processor, pulse 10-15x  (I used my ninja and it pulverized them very efficiently and quickly)

-Start with melting both bags of dark chocolate chips in a microwave save bowl with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Melt in microwave for 1:30 sec at at power level of 50 until melted or in intervals of 30 sec. Combine well to make sure there are no lumps. Spread dark chocolate onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let set in fridge for 30 min. 

Once dark chocolate has set, in another microwave bowl, melt both bags of white chocolate with a tsp of peppermint extract for 1:30 sec or intervals of 30 sec at a power level of 50. Combine well to make sure there are no lumps.Take out the set dark chocolate from fridge and spread evenly the white chocolate over the top, making sure to get every edge 😉

-Sprinkle peppermint chunks over top of the white chocolate. Using plastic wrap (not your hands), gently press the chunks into the chocolate so they stick. *It’s important to sprinkle the peppermints into the warm white chocolate so they stay*

-Pop the tray back into the fridge until set. Once ready, break apart into irregular pieces and devour [moderately] (or share and devour with others). 

Enjoy & Merry Christmas!12371131_10207069418070674_3047505519158374543_o

Monday Motivation: Tired of Starting Over?

Monday Motivation: Tired of Starting Over?

Hellooooo!! Monday Motivation time. Been trying to get more ideas for topics, and this one came to mind! How many times does it seem like you’ve yo-yoed back and forth with a fitness routine or healthy habits? This time of year is notorious for that. Instead of setting the scale back ten pounds, use this time to figure out why you keep restarting. Below are some factors that may help you figure out why!

  • Not sure what you like/don’t like when it comes to exercise
    • Possible ideas: group fitness cardio/strength training classes, working out alone vs. a group/dependable workout buddy, mind-body workouts (yoga, barre, pilates), recreation (biking, running, swimming), social ties (running/biking club),  willing to invest in a  personal trainer? (see personal training tab for more info ;)), etc.
    • Take into your account your personality, interests, schedule etc.
    • Its okay to NOT like something!
    • Make a note of what you like and don’t like…e.g. like spin, but not a fan of the class time or instructor? try another!
  • Location
    • Possible ideas: outside at a local park, big box gym vs. private boutique style gym, female based gym (curves), travel time (close vs. further away), corporate fitness gym. Deciding on location can be a make-it or break-it factor since it is a reflection of how often you will go. 
  • Emotions (this may take more thought)
    • Possible ideas: underlying cause to feeling a certain way towards exercise, nervous, intimidated, open to new things, enthusiastic to making a change etc. If you struggle with investing in a gym because you feel intimidated/excited for change, ask yourself WHY do you feel intimidated/excited for change.
  • Costs/budget
    • Possible ideas: Exercise doesn’t have to be costly!! Gaining happiness and starting a healthy lifestyle doesn’t require hefty price tag, however it may mean a small investment to jump start your routine. Buying workout clothes from Target is more affordable then Nike, running/walking in your neighborhood doesn’t require a gym membership, and healthy recipes can be found on the internet (particularly on pinterest!).
  • FOOD!
    • Sometimes a big culprit is not exercise but food. Yo-yoing because you feel confused over calories, what a fat or carb is, what is good for building muscle, etc. is something that is immensely helpful in achieving our goals. Checking out resourceful sites such as acefitness.org on nutrition basics can make a difference. If its a combination, looking into Weight Watchers or Beachbody can help with both exercise and nutrition! If you are serious about investing your time in to eating well, utilizing a nutritionist or RD is the ultimate way to go!
  • Lifestyle Choices
    • Being on the go, eating out a lot, food choices (e.g alcohol consumption, minimal fruits/veggies), vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, allergies, picky vs. non-picky eater etc. The little things you might not think of play a role too!

Even if you don’t make the effort now to do this, setting yourself up for success in the new year will still help you in figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to jot down thoughts in a notebook, bounce ideas of others, do some research on a topic, heck! try on different styles of workout clothes to see what stuff/brands you like and don’t like! What works for you may not work for someone else, so there is NO RUSH! Exercising and healthy living isn’t going anywhere so focus on you and do it right. Don’t be afraid to DIG DEEP and be HONEST with yourself! You know you the best! 😉

Jumping Rope: An Oldie But Goodie

Jumping Rope: An Oldie But Goodie

HELLO! Over the past few weeks I’ve added some new cardio so my workouts. Lately, I’ve been all about quick effective workouts (see my last post on HIIT) and jumping rope has come to mind. I also recently read an article on Runner’s World and they had some interesting points on how jumping rope can help with running. Through that article as well as some research on my own, there are tons of benefits when including jump rope to your strength and cross training routine. Not only the obvious benefits including:

  • Can be done anywhere
  • Cheap
  • Easy storage
  • Good, fast way to get cardio in

BUT also adds components that enhance running performance as well. WHO KNEW?! Check out the benefits below!:

  • Aids in good posture 
    • During a race or run, rounded shoulders become more obvious as you fatigue. Training your upper body to stand tall as you jump keeps your form efficient.
  • Fast Footing
    • More efficient way to quicken your steps and stride leading to improved speed while keeping light on your feet.
  • Recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers 
    • Jumping without much break in between can help with explosiveness and power at the start of a run or race. 

Pretty short and sweet if you ask me! After learning these benefits, I love incorporating the jump rope! Who knew the such an oldie could reap awesome benefits in such a short time. To be honest, it is fatiguing. But my heart rate is up in no time and the added challenge is giving me something to work towards. To start, try to do 20-30 reps without stopping. Then add 5-10 more each time. I jump for time so I did 1 min when I added it to a workout. If a minute is tough, try 30 seconds and work up. Be sure your rope is not too long either. Hold the handles at your side and notice if the middle of rope touches the floor. If more than middle does, it’s too long, if not enough touches, it’s too short.

If not for enhancing performance, adding it to your cardio routine is a fun way to mix it up. You’ll be reap the benefits of an old school activity while gaining cardio health benefits along the way.

Why Eggs Are the Perfect Post-Workout Snack

Why Eggs Are the Perfect Post-Workout Snack

Eggs are a great form of protein and are relatively cheap. They’re also rich in muscle-friendly protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and selenium…a good reason to add them to your diet! Eggs go back and forth with being healthy all the time it seems. “Too much cholesterol”, “too much fat”, “only eat the whites”, the list goes on.  I always say moderation is key. They also can be cooked several ways and can be seasoned/flavored however you like! My mom has always had hard-boiled eggs handy for snacking, but I, myself, have gone in phases with eggs. Recently, I decided to find a good recipe for cooking eggs while also trying to find the best way to peel them so they look pretty (presentation is key 😉 ) I used some of my mom’s ideas and some of my own, but also went on pinterest looking for tips and recipes and found a couple ideas:

  • use older eggs for hard-boiling
  • boil eggs using vinegar/baking soda can help eggs peel easier
  • hummus and/or lemon pepper seasoning makes for a good addition when taking/leaving out the yolk for a hardy, satisfying snack
  • use an egg-timer, specifically the Norpro Egg Rite Egg Timer from Amazon 

I find that using baking soda has really helped the peeling of my eggs go smoothly! They don’t look like they’ve been massacred, which is one of the main goals, along with cooking them perfectly. Recently, I’ve been using an egg slicer and putting them on toast with a slice of cheese and salt and pepper for easy breakfast. A few weeks ago I made Curry Egg Salad from Runners World which was delicious with raisins and green onions! Really good with a slice of toast too or with a whole grain bagel. I didn’t garnish mine with avocado or cilantro since it was good without, but this recipe is versatile so go for it! Below is the recipe for Curry Egg Salad, as well as how I boil my eggs!

Curry Egg Salad from Runners World

Mix 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons golden raisins, 1 teaspoon Dijon, 2 sliced green onions, 1/2 teaspoon curry, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix 4 chopped, hard-boiled eggs with yogurt. Cut two whole-grain bagels in half. Divide mixture among 2 slices; top each with avocado, cilantro, and remaining bagel.

Perfectly Peel-able Hard-Boiled Eggs

Add 1 tablespoon of baking powder to 4 cups of water and dissolve. Add eggs to pot with egg timer. Turn on burner to high and wait for water to boil. Once water boils, set timer (regular timer) for 15 min and turn down heat from a rolling boil to softer boil. Once 15 min is up and timer shows eggs are boiled, run cool water into the hot water with eggs until the water becomes cool and you can no longer feel the hot water (don’t drain the hot water!). Let eggs sit in cool water for 5 min. Begin peeling and enjoy!

IMG_3457