FitnessFridays: These are a Few of My Favorite (Running) Things

It is no secret that my first love may have been running. I wrote a post about it a little bit back.  So with spring right around the corner, and the hope of warmer days ahead, I thought I would share a few of my favorite running things.

Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra

Girls with big girls: this is your sports bra! Yes, you are going to spend some money but this really is the only sports bra I have used, and I have used about every brand out there, that really does control the bounce when running.

ASCIS GT 2000

I have run in some form of ASICS for as long as I can remember. Right now I am using these, but I think they’ve only got a few runs left in them.  If you are new to running, check out a local running store and have them look at your foot. They can recommend what type of shoe would work best.  If you want to try to figure it out on your own, here’s a site that can help.

Nike Dri-FIT Cushioned Low Cut

I know that there are some super fancy running socks out there. But these are what I run in and I LOVE THEM! They hug your feet while running so your shoe does not eat your sock. They are just the right amount of thickness so my toes do not hurt at the end of my run but they do not make my shoes too tight. You can also find them in cute colors, so that is always a plus. Nike makes some socks that look just like these but are thinner. While the thinner socks are nice, they are not the same in a long run!

Apple Nano

For longer runs I don’t like having a huge phone strapped to my arm.  So the nano is my IPod of choice for anything over 3 miles.

Sports Bean

I have tried gels and blocks, but really these are my favorite. I like the ones with caffeine in them. They are small and I can eat them fast and they do not leave a bad sugary after taste.

Quest Bars

Really I just love these bars anytime, not just before a run. The cookies and cream or the cookie dough  flavor are so amazingly good! I’m not sure if these are specific to running but I just wanted to share my love of them with you. Also, Quest Nutrition hook me up!!

Garmin Forerunner 10

This is the watch I use to track my longer runs. I did not want to spend a lot of money when I bought this, but I needed something more accurate then the old school Nike sports band. The battery life is great, it is easy to use and I love how it tells you when you hit a PR after your run.

Anyone have anything else? I need to be running with?

Abby

FitnessFridays: Thanks, Mom

Lately I have been reading a lot of stories about weight loss journeys.  Not just the “I lost a lot of weight” stories,  but the  “when did the ‘incorrect eating’ start” stories.

I guess I have always been intrigued by  women who can buy a box of candy and not eat the whole thing, like actually eat one piece a day. I mean the type of  women who enjoy their one piece of candy and go about their day not thinking about that box of candy obsessively until ultimately giving in and eating the entire said box of candy.

It is also intriguing to me when this unhealthy relationship with food begins with women. Some never develop one, for others it seems to always have been there, and then many can pin point a certain event or time period when it started (many in the tween to teenage years).

I have not done any scientific studies on when an unhealthy food relationship starts, I am simply going off of stories I have read that women have shared, my own story and, yes, the many I have heard from my real life friends.

So, with all that said, I have really been thinking lately about when I started to think about food in terms of: food will make me fit and feel good, or fat and feel bad. On the real, that’s how I think — food is my fuel, but also, in the back of my mind, I know it will/can also make me fat.

The answer, for me at least, is I do not know exactly. I do know I spent my early childhood in Alabama and I never once remember thinking I was overweight or chunky. But, alas, looking back at some pictures I can now say that was the case at times. I really feel lucky that at the time I did not know this, this was not the focus of my growing up.

I have to give credit my mom with this non-weight obsessed early life I had. I credit her with building up my self-esteem and not ever making me feel less than amazing. She did this in the so non-traditional southern mom way.

She told me I was pretty, and showed me how to curl my hair, and taught me that one coat of mascara was never enough. She bought me pearls and heels and dresses and taught me to always wear a good bra.

But she also taught me how to throw a softball (I had the injury upside my head as proof of that). She taught me to play Spades and spoons and 21 and how to excel in Scattegories. She always had books in the house to read.  She showed me how to throw my hip into people while playing basketball. She showed me how to be quick witted  but also how saying nothing at all is just as powerful.

I was not only allowed, but encouraged to pursue my interest in science, while also acquiring all the Barbies I possibly could.  Even today her compassion and willingness to do for those she loves is something I admire and strive to have. She has taught me the grace of forgiveness while also having the strength to move on from toxic relationships.  All these things and more as a girl growing up made me so sure of myself. I did not realize weight or even my weight was supposed to be an issue.

I realize now weight was not an issue in our house because it truly was not one.

I remember one time at a party in middle school the girls asking what size pants everyone wore. I literally had no idea what size mine were. I later asked my mom and her response was: the size that fits you.

That was that.  Not a number or a number I should strive to be– just the size that fits you. Not until much later in my teen years did I realize those numbers in your pants were, for some reason, super important and must completely be tied to my self worth.

Whatever crazy issues I may or may not have had, or currently have with food, I can say it did not come from mom. For that I am so grateful. So, thanks mom. Thanks for always having a home where I could escape crazy girl world full of airbrushed models and fad diets and “friends” who call you fat.  Thank you for allowing my childhood and teen years to not be about food and diets and pants sizes.

Someone once thought aloud to me that maybe had my mom pointed out when I was chunky, I would have learned how to control my eating, thus having a better relationship with food.

Well, who really knows? I know I had other people in family who at times made it clear to me that I could have been smaller. So I am going to guess: no, it would not have helped me. I am going to guess it would have taken away that care free confidence I had when I was younger. So, again, thanks mom.

Don’t worry mom, we can talk later about how not having that leather jacket in middle school set me up for disaster (I kid, that was not what set me up for disaster). It was the… well, we can leave that for another time.

Abby

FitnessFridays: Getting Started, Part 2 (Lift the Weights)

Now that you can read the workouts and understand them (Getting Started Part 1) you need to be able to walk in the gym and actually lift!

lift heavy

I am going to get real basic and real…. real with you on this lifting thing. To be 100% honest, this post could be summed up with one word: Google. Okay. maybe two: Google and YouTube.

Want to know how chest press with dumbbells?

  • Step 1: Google chest press with dumbbells
  • Step 2: Click images or video
  • Step 3: Watch video or look at pictures
  • Step 4: Bookmark page on phone to revert back to while at gym

So, by now you may be like, well, that’s great and kind of sarcastic (that is really how most people would describe me) but I do not even know WHAT EXERCISES to Google, and what to do when, and how often, or how long, and how much weight….. ALL THE QUESTIONS!!

Okay, to that I say two things: Google and YouTube… Joking, joking, maybe….

It really can be SUPER overwhelming and I understand a trainer is expensive.  So I have done some of the work for you and found three FREE workouts online for you to try if you want.

—————

→ Jamie Eason Free Workout (and Bonus Nutrition Plan)  

This is a great beginners plan! While you are on this website click around. Pretty much any information you need to know can be found somewhere on bodybuilding.com

→ 12 Week Beginners Program 

This program starts with you only lifting 2 days a week and slowly progresses to more days and specific body parts being targeted.

→Muscle and Fitness Hers Beginners Program

This program has great pictures right along with the workouts.

—————

There are a TON more workouts out there. These are just three that I know are good!

e card irresistible

Do not forget to check out Pinterest and Instagram for workout ideas.

Speaking of IG, I have an account where I do post workouts from time to time, so make sure to check me out there.

Now: go Google how to lift things… and then go lift them.

Abby

Review: FitBit Charge HR


For chart examples for the FitBit Charge HR: Click Here.


The sister and I both purchased the FitBit Charge HR and we were both really excited to track all our steps and breaths and sleeping and eating and heartrates. In the spirit of full disclosure, I had suggested that we purchase the JawBone Up3, because it seemed like a better tracker, but they kept delaying the release date and so we ended up going for the FitBit Charge HR. Abby and I have completely different types of days. She is a stay-at-home mom and I work from 9-5. She is in the 5am workout club, and I work out on my lunch break. Our workouts also differ.

            IMG_5984   IMG_5986

Just FYI: the FitBit Charge HR comes with the FitBit, a USB charger, and a Doggle (for syncing to your computer via Bluetooth). It also includes an instructional manual.

Price: $149.95

———————————————-

We are going to rate the FitBit Charge HR using a simple 5 star rating system (5 stars = best):

1 star     2 stars      3 stars      4 stars      5 stars

⇒First Impressions / Set-Up

MaryKatherine:  5 stars

The FitBit Charge HR is easy to pull out of the box and set-up. You will most likely have to charge it. Before it comes in the mail, go ahead and install the FitBit stuff on your phone and computer and set up an account so you’ll be ready. I didn’t have any problems syncing it to my phone or computer. No issues for me.

Abby: 2 stars

I bought my FitBit Charge HR after MaryKatherine. So, I basically used her as tech support. I would not say my first impressions were as peachy as hers. I had, per her instructions, already installed  the app on my phone and loaded all things on the computer. Mine arrived so dead I could not get anything to show up on the screen. I plugged it in and still nothing. I had no idea if it was even charging. .It was, so just plug it up and wait the 2 hours it takes to charge. Super aggravating, but worth it. Also, I had to try several times and many phone calls to MaryKatherine to get it to sync to my computer and it still doesn’t sync great. I had no trouble with the app, so I usually just sync it to my phone and then open the webpage and it uploads that way.


 ⇒Size

MaryKatherine:  4 stars

I ordered a small, and I wear it with two notches left, so it almost doesn’t fit. I don’t have overly large wrists and I printed out and used the reference sheet from the website, so I was a little suprised that it fit so tightly. I wish there was an option for a medium — I think that would work best for the standard woman.

Abby: 4 stars

I ordered the large and wear it with only two notches to go– as in as small as it will go. So, the opposite of MaryKatherine. I was right at the cut off between the two sizes according to their sizing guide. The extra strap length is nicely tucked away with an adjustable loop. So the extra strap length is not noticeable or annoying.


⇒Comfort / Wearability

MaryKatherine: 5 stars

Honestly, at first, the FitBit kind of bothered me, but I don’t wear watches or a lot of bracelets so I’m not used to having something constantly on my wrist. After a few days I forgot it was there. It doesn’t appear bulky or large on the wrist like I think the Fitbit Surge would. Once you get used to it being on your wrist, it’s no bother. I wear mine above the wrist bone.

Abby:4 stars

The width of the Fitbit is not much different than the Timex (this is close to mine) I use to wear daily or the Garmin running watch I wear on long runs. It is somewhat uncomfortable to wear at night, as I don’t usually wear a watch to sleep in and I am a side sleeper. You really do forget it is there during the day.


⇒Ease of Use after Set-Up

MaryKatherine:  5 stars

I haven’t had any issues with using the FitBit Charge HR. It’s pretty self-explanatory and you can go into the app on your phone or use your computer and set everything to what you want — target heart rate, goals, calories in vs. calories out, etc.

Abby:5 stars

After the initial set up I have not had any issues.  The app and website have a great overview of how to use the FitBit Charge HR. Everything is easy to change if needed, like your goals for all the things it tracks.


⇒Fitness Tracking

MaryKatherine:  4 stars

The FitBit will sometimes pick up on your activity, listed as Active Minutes, but for the most part I’ve found that you must start the Active Minutes tracking on your FitBit. This triggers the FitBit to record a workout. Which isn’t hard, you just press down the side button and it will vibrate and you’re tracking. Since it measures calories burned based off heart rate, I feel like I’m getting a better read-out than just a normal running tracker. Lifting weights and HIIT workouts will up my heart rate, this letting me know I’m burning more calories. I wish the tracking was automatic, though.

Abby: 5 stars

I always start the Active Minutes tracking when working out. Which is easy to do- I simply push the side button as I am leaving the locker room. I have yet to forget to start it so I cannot compare what happens when it decides to start tracking active minutes itself during an actual workout. I like that it tracks using my heart rate so I can get a better feel for calories burned during my lifting sessions as well as typical cardio (running and spin).


⇒Sleep Tracking

MaryKatherine: 5 stars

So far I’ve had zero issue with the sleep tracking. It’s not over sensitive and you can change the hours slept in the app on your phone, so if something isn’t right, you can fix it. It picks my naps up, too. I read some reviews that stated it was too sensitive, and was marking sleep times down for people when they were just watching TV. I’m not sure how still these people are sitting, but I haven’t had this happen.

Abby: 5 stars

No issues here. I was actually surprised I slept as soundly as I did. I would not say it was overly sensitive at all. I have never had it think I was sleeping while just sitting or laying on the couch.


⇒Heart Rate Tracking

MaryKatherine:  5 stars

I’ve never had a heart rate tracker before, so for me, this is new. But, my resting heart rate on the FitBit vs. when I take it myself is accurate. I also appreciate that the heart rate tracking will calculate calories burned by my heart rate. This is so helpful, because it helps me during HIIT workouts (tracking burpees, mountain climbers, knee highs, etc.) I am sad that I’m not hitting my peak zone more often, because I feel like I’m working really hard, but I left the heart rate zones at the standard zones calculated by the FitBit. I may need to personalize them.

Abby: 4 stars

I have never used a chest heart rate monitor, but I can say I have taken my heart during several workouts this week to compare to the FitBit Charge HR. They were actually very close. Please do not expect them to be close to the monitors cardio machines– those are famous for their inaccuracy.


⇒Battery Life

MaryKatherine:  3 stars

The battery does not last 3-5 days. I have to charge my FitBit Charge HR about every other day. It does charge rather quickly. It only comes with one small charger, though, so make sure you keep up with the charger and don’t lose it. Otherwise, you’re screwed — no other charger will work. It is kind of annoying that the battery drains so quickly and that you are only sent one charger.

Abby: 2 stars

Ok, wow, I don’t know what people are doing to make theirs last 3-5 days. I guess never syncing or checking it? I usually charge mine every 2 days. You can only use the provided charger to charge it so that is kind of annoying. I am giving two stars because I think they really over shoot the statement of 3-5 days.


⇒Other App Integration

MaryKatherine: 5 stars

I set the FitBit Charge HR to sync with MyFitnessPal with no problems at all. I don’t have to re-enter my food into the FitBit app and the two apps talk to each other, so FitBit sends over my calories burned to MyFitnessPal. They appear to work seamlessly. No issues. I don’t use any other apps with the tracker.

Abby: 5 stars

I have synced mine to MyFitnessPal and to Dietbet with no problems. Having it integrated with MyFitnessPal is really  nice. I log my food into MFP and it syncs right over to my FitBit.


Over All Rating

MaryKatherine: 4 stars

If you want a tracker that will help you measure calories burned during all sorts of exercise, this is a great option. The heart rate monitor will allow you to track other activity, not just running. It doesn’t track swimming, because you can’t wear it under water, so if you’re a swimmer this isn’t for you. I’d be honest about your wrist size and size up if you feel like you would choose a medium size, if offered. The more personalized you make it, the better read you’re going to get on your workouts. The battery life is not great, and I don’t like that I have to pay for another charger. I would recommend this tracker to anybody who works out, at any level. That being said, I’m not an elite athlete, so perhaps I shouldn’t recommend what elite athletes should wear… anyway, if you’re in the market for a fitness tracker, I vote yes for the FitBit Charge HR.

Abby: 4 stars

I was really on the fence about spending this much money on something to give me more numbers to worry about.  I have been pleasantly surprised by this tracker. I have found myself being more active when outside with the kids in order to up my numbers. It has also really been an eye opener for me in my workouts. I found that I was not really pushing myself as hard as I could. Now, with a heart rate monitor, I have something to keep me accountable.  Also, I am super competitive and hate seeing other people logging more steps, so I have been making the kids go on more walks with me.  I guess overall the whole family now has to be more active.  The only reasons I am not giving 5 stars is because of the battery life and it not being 100% water proof. I am VERY happy with the FitBit Charge HR and would recommend it to a friend.

Here are links to our FitBit profiles, so you can play around on there:

MaryKatherine     Abby

(EDIT: The FitBit Charge HR helped me in more ways than I could have imagined: How My FitBit (Possibly) Saved My Life.)

Any other questions? Thoughts? Suggestions? Let us know!

MKB & Abby

Disclaimer: Neither Abby nor MaryKatherine were provided any incentive to review the FitBit Charge HR. Please consult a doctor before beginning any new workout regiment or diet. These are our opinions concerning the FitBit Charge HR and we are not liable for any other experience(s) you may have with the product. Abby would like to add that if Fitbit would like to send her anything she would gladly accept.