20 Minute “Revenge Body” Workout

If you haven’t seen pictures or promo commercials for Khloe Kardashian’s newest reality series about her slimmer, stronger body, you are either really lucky (I am being entirely serious) or you don’t have cable/satellite TV, you avoid the magazines at the checkout lines, and you don’t use your computer for any social media at all.  Hmmm

Regardless, there is a new wave in fitness that is touting a faster and heavier workout regimen meant to sculpt muscle and burn the fat we girls all hate.  One of the trainers who worked with Khloe Kardashian shared her workout with Shape Magazine and even provided a video (click on the link below) to help keep those of us brave enough to give it a try from doing it wrong and getting hurt.

lacey-stone-fb

Lacey Stone’s 20 Minute Revenge Body Workout 

How it works: Perform all six exercises in a row, then repeat two more times. (This is what Stone calls a ‘Max Monster Set’). Take up to 2 minutes of rest during the workout, either in the middle or at the end.

You will need: An aerobic stepper with risers, one 30-pound dumbbell, and one 20-pound dumbbell (“If you feel you can do more reps—the weight isn’t heavy enough!,” Stone says.)

1. Bench Press with Leg Lift 

Laying on a weight bench with a 30-pound dumbbell in your right hand and your knees at a 90-degree angle, simultaneously lift your left leg up and perform a dumbbell press, reaching your right arm towards your ankle at the top. Perform 10 reps on each side.

2. Alternating Reverse Lunge 

backward-lungeWith your feet shoulder-width apart and a 30 to 35-pound dumbbell in each hand, step your left leg back to come into a lunge position going as low as you can to bring your right thigh parallel to the ground, while making sure to keep your right knee over your right ankle. Push off your toes to come back to starting position. Perform 10 reps on each side.

3. Plank Row 

plank-row-with-db_2Start in a plank position with your upper body elevated on a bench and your feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart. With a 20-pound dumbbell in your right hand, perform a row, lifting your elbow up towards the ceiling as you keep your core tight and glutes engaged. Perform 12 reps on each side. 

4. Speed In and Outs

speedupoversBegin standing with both feet on the riser, then step each foot off and back on as quickly as you can. Perform AMRAP for 1 minute (30 seconds leading with right leg and 30 seconds leading with left leg).

5. Reverse Lunge with Shoulder Press 

1103-lunge-to-pressBegin with both feet on the riser, and a 20-pound dumbbell in your right hand. Perform a shoulder press, then bring your right foot back to perform a reverse lunge. Perform 10 reps on each side.

6. Biceps/Triceps Combo 

Using 20-pound dumbbells, perform 10 bicep curls, then immediately begin triceps dips using the stepper, performing AMRAP for 1 minute. 

 

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A Few Reasons to Skip Your Workout

teenybikiniNobody with a serious fitness goal in mind, or who’s just days away from having to wear that TEENY TINY BIKINI on vacation, likes skipping a workout, but there are a few times that skipping it is exactly what you should do.

otcThis is especially the case if you have taken some specific over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for routine ailments.  Hmmm….

  1. Did you take any type of decongestant or “cold and flu” medication?  I’m talking about a very broad range of OTC here: Zicam, Theraflu, Mucinex, Sudafed, Tylenol Cold-Max, etc.  Because the entire class of cold and flu remedies has some sort of sedating effect, there is a risk of injuring yourself  while exercising due to a foggy feeling from that sedation or, at the other end of the spectrum, the decongestant can increase your blood pressure and heart rate, putting you at a slightly elevated risk for stroke if you work out when taking some decongestants.  In both cases, it’s better to just ride the treatment out and take a few days off to recover.
  2. Did you need to take a pill to get some shut eye last night?  If you took a sleeping pill after tossing and turning most of the night, it’s better to a) not try and work out while the effects of the sleeping pill could still be retarding your muscles response and, b) not try to work out unless you got a full 8 hours of sleep after taking the pill.
  3. Are you an allergy sufferer?  If you plan to work out, take a non-drowsy allergy relief pill like loratadine (Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra), or cetirizine (Zyrtec).
  4. If you’re hacking like you’ve just gotten off of a subway train full of smokers and need to take a swig from your handy bottle of cough medicine, you might need to consider a couple of things before you jump into your workout clothes and take off for the gym:  Does your cough medicine have a decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine or dextromethorphine in it? If it does, it can make you groggy and could increase your injury risk when working out. Cough medications without dextromethorphine should be safe to workout after taking, but if you are coughing enough to need to take it regularly, you could be suffering from some other ailment, like asthma, and should see a doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough to continue with your current exercise routine.

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Build an Elliptical Desktop in 30 Minutes

xcx_1050I moved my elliptical machine into my guest room/office this week to make room for the new rowing machine I just “had to have” but had no room for in the workout portion of the garage.  I had the space available and, after adding some component shelves to the walls beneath and beside the “extra” TV I gained this week when my husband insisted the spare bedroom needed a 40″ high def TV, (Don’t get me started, at least it was a daily deal on Amazon) it might spur me to get off my ever expanding backside more during the day.

The only rub was that I have always disliked the magazine/iPad tray on this Nordictrack CX 1050 Elliptical that caused heat to build up on the touch screen beneath.  So, lightbulb! I’d get a desk to stretch between the stationary arms so I could use my new favorite tech toy: Logitech k480 3 device Bluetooth wireless keyboard to use my laptop via the nifty screen mirroring app that came on the Sony DVD player that I attached to the old TV so, when I wasn’t striding and working on my blogs, I’d be able to watch videos & Netflix, etc. while spending hours on the elliptical.  Let’s not all fall out of our chairs at the same time laughing hysterically.  Hmmm

ellipticaldeskOf course, the desktop I ordered came nowhere close to working.  Undeterred, I gathered up scrap wood from some of my other “projects of desperation,” as I call the things I build when I can’t find what I need to suit my purpose, and set about making a desk that would work for me.  The best news for anyone who doesn’t have power tools, or isn’t comfortable using them, is you can go to Home Depot (or Lowe’s) and they’ll cut your wood for free and the whole thing can be assembled with wood glue if you don’t want to use screws.

Parts:

  • 1 Piece 24″ x 12″ wood sanded  (I glued & clamped 2 scrap pieces together)
  • 1 Piece 1″ x 2″ x 26″ wood sanded
  • 1 Piece 1″ x 2″ x 30″ wood sanded
  • 1 Piece 1″ x 8″ x 24″ wood sanded
  • 1 Piece 1″ x 2″ x 12″ wood sanded
  • Wood Glue
  • Clamps

Assembly Instructions:

  1. Lay the piece of 1″ x 2″ x 30″ wood (on it’s 2″ wide side) on your work surface.  Measure 15″ across and mark the enter point of your wood.  This is the cross member that will lie underneath the desk across the widest part of the stationary side arms of your machine.  The portion of the arms that are furthest away from the computer / screen of the machine.
  2. Measure 6″ away and lay down your 1″ x 2″ x 26″ piece of wood (sitting up tall on it’s 1″ skinny side) to begin to form the slope for a better viewing and working angle – this is where you will see the piece of leftover closet rod I used.  Measure 13″ across and mark the center point of your wood.  This piece is the piece of wood that will be sandwiched between the two pieces of wood that create the angle of the desk that will be closest to the front of your elliptical machine’s moving handles.  My machine handles move in a very compact movement, so these measurements work for my model (shown above).  You may need to adjust the measurements at this point to make sure that your arms have enough room to move once the desktop is glued down in step 4.
  3. Apply a line of wood glue to both of these pieces of wood on the portions facing up toward the ceiling.  I use Gorilla Wood Glue.  It dries in about 30 minutes and holds tight.
  4. Mark the center point of the piece of 24″ x 12″ wood at the top and bottom and connect the points with a solid line on the side that will be underneath (facing the floor and glued to the cross members).  Mark a point down from the top at 7″ at both ends and in the middle and draw a line connecting the marks and crossing the middle line.
  5. Lay the piece of 24″ x 12″ wood with the line side facing you, then lay the top cross member (1″ x 2″ x 26″) glue side down, matching the center point you marked at 13″ with the center line on the desktop underside, and make sure the cross member is in perfect alignment with the edge along the top.  Clamp the cross member to the top firmly.
  6. Match the center mark on the 30″cross member with the intersection point on the lines you drew on the underside of the top, line the top edge of the cross member up with the line all the way across, then firmly press the glued side down, clamping at the ends. There will be an excess 6″ that is not attached to anything beyond the 30″ cross member.
  7. With the bottom of the desktop still facing up, make sure that you can see the center point marking at 13″ then mark a point 2″ in from each end of the top cross member.
  8. On the bottom cross member make sure the center point is clearly marked at 15″ then mark a point 3″ in from each end.
  9. Remove the clamps and run a line of glue across both cross members between the marks you made.  Do not run the glue all the way to the ends.
  10. Take the piece of 1″ x 8″ x 24″ wood and mark the top and bottom edges at 12″ (the midpoint width-wise).  Line up with the center points you marked on the cross members and press the 1″ x 8″ x 24″ firmly in place.  Open the clamps up a bit and re-clamp the sandwiched cross members in place.  Allow the glue to dry for 30 minutes.
  11. Turn the desk over and allow the clamped ends to overhang your work surface (I put it in place on the elliptical so I could finish the last step while it dried).elldesk1
  12. Make sure you can clearly see the marked center point at the bottom of the desktop.  Take the remaining piece of 1″ x 2″ x 12″ wood, mark the center point at 6″ about 3/8″ up from the bottom of the wood when stood up on it’s end.
  13. Run a line of glue along the edge of the desktop facing you 6″ out each way from the center point.  Spread it with your finger so it won’t drip while you are placing the 1″ x 2″ x 12″ with the edges aligned at the bottom so that the 1″ x 2″ stands above as a lip or edge that guards against your keyboard, iPad, Book or Magazine slipping off while you are striding.  You can secure it with a expandable clamp, or strap clamp meant to stretch for this purpose, or do like I did and, using 1 1/2″ trim screws and my power screwdriver, sink a couple of screws in from the front and fill with wood filler to hide the holes.

TIPS: 

  • I used 2 1/2″ wood screws driven up from the bottom through the closet rod because the round surface against the two flats didn’t adhere as well with the glue.
  • I used 1 1/4″ trim screws from underneath to secure the 30″ cross member to the desktop so that everything was extra secure.

Yours will be more “finished” looking than mine because I was utilizing scraps and you’ll be cutting to exact measurements with new pretty wood.

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A 30 Minute Full Body Workout That May NOT Kill Me!

I bought a set of TRX straps as well as a TRX Rip Trainer earlier this year and, to be perfectly honest, I have barely used them since March…

I just came across a workout using the straps in Shape Magazine that looks like it may not kill me (LOL) and says it works the entire body in about 30 minutes.  There is even video demonstration included!  Hmmm.

 

There’s nothing better than a full-body workout on days you just want to kick your own butt. And the TRX Suspension Trainer is the perfect tool, as it allows you to perform over 300 (!) exercises using just its straps and your own bodyweight. Plus, it can be found in most commercial gyms across the U.S. (so you don’t have to string it up from your rafters).

We tapped Erin Bulvanoski, trainer at KORE in New York City, for her best tone-all-over, TRX workout you can do wherever you can strap in. For the best results, perform each for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds then repeat before moving to the next exercise.

1. TRX Jump Squats

TRX Jump Squat

A Face the midpoint of the TRX, one handle in each hand. Pushing glutes back and knees out, squat down until butt goes passes knees, arms raised above your head still holding handles.
B Jump up into the air, land and repeat.

“This is a real calorie scorcher because it gets the heart rate going and works the largest muscles in the body—the legs and glutes,” says Bulvanoski.

2. TRX Single Leg Lunge

Single Leg Squat TRX

A Face the midpoint and grab both handles with slight bend in elbow. Step right leg behind you and lunge down so right hip is directly over right knee, left knee stacked over left ankle.
B Using legs, push back up to standing. Do 45 seconds, then switch legs.

Bulvanoski reminds you to be sure to use your legs to propel yourself up from the lunge so you really work the quads rather than relying too much on your arms to help you.

3. TRX Bicep Curl

Bicep Curl

A Face the midpoint, one handle in each hand, palms facing up, arms fully extended in front of you. Lean body back on a diagonal, keeping straight arms and straight legs still.
B Keeping core tight, bend at the elbows and curl hands towards shoulders. Lower back down.

“Keep your elbows in the same place the entire time—don’t let them flare out,” says Bulvanoski. “It makes for more of a challenge and will help to isolate the biceps.”

4. TRX Tricep Curl

TRX Tricep Press

A Face away from the midpoint, one handle in each hand, arms extended overhead, palms facing down and body tilted toward the floor on a diagonal. Without moving the rest of your body, bend elbows and bring hands towards forehead.
B Without moving elbow position, straighten arms again.

“Try not to let the TRX bands sway,” says Bulvanoski. “Only move your arms to really feel the work in those triceps.”

5. TRX Chest Press

Chest Press TRX

A Face away from the midpoint, one handle in each hand, arms extended forward, walk your feet back until your in a high plank position, body in line from head to toe. Bend at the elbows and lower into a push-up, bringing the chest down to the same level as your hands.
B Push back up until arms are fully extended.

Again, it’s important to keep your core tight and body in a straight line. “This will ensure you’re isolating the chest, arms and back,” says Bulvanoski.

6. TRX Plank

TRX Plank

Sit on the ground facing the midpoint and place both feet in the bottom loops of the TRX bands. Flip over so you’re facing away from the midpoint. Place your hands on the ground shoulder width apart, and using your arms and legs, push your body off the ground so you’re in an elevated plank, body in line from head to toe and hold.

“For an added challenge, lower down to your forearms, then back up to your hands while trying to keep your hips as still as possible,” says Bulvanoski. You’ll feel it in your abs!

7. TRX Atomic Pushup

Atomic Pushup

A Start in elevated plank position. Keeping legs together, raise your hips, bringing knees towards your face.
B Return to plank position, perform a push-up, then repeat.

“This move works the entire body, with special emphasis on the abdominals,” says Bulvanoski.

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UG! Bathing Suit Season Has Begun

thiongNot that it ever ends in Southern California, we maybe take a few days off here and there when the temperature dips into the 50’s & 60’s, but, with the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, there is no mistaking that bathing suit season has officially begun.

There is really no excuse for me not to be in  peak bikini shape, having taken 12 days to bask in the Caribbean and Mexican sunshine in March, but what can I say?  I got lazy, I let my tan fade, I fell back in love with my sweatpants, I HAD to test the recipes and visit the restaurants I’ve been reviewing on my food blog: This Girl Loves to Eat, the excuses go on and on…

Now that I’ve made my confession it’s time to repent.

For a while it’ll be:

That’s a lot of goodbyes.  These are some of my very best friends and sources of comfort and joy. 😦

Have no fear my friends, you will be back (in better moderation) in no time!

In their places I commit (grudgingly) to:

  • Eat no fast food for the next 4 weeks
  • Cut out all processed foods
  • Increase my fruit and vegetables
  • In my world Wine is both a Fruit and a liquid – I am not getting rid of my glass of wine and won’t beat myself up for it.  I will drink 2 additional glasses of water for every glass of wine
  • Eat more salad with lean protein
  • Reduce my red meats and add more fish and chicken
  • Have a solid breakfast (oatmeal, fruit, high fiber cereal with skim milk, hard boiled eggs, etc.)
  • Add two snacks a day (late morning/late afternoon)
  • Don’t skip meals
  • No carbs after 5:00 PM
  • Finish eating my last meal of the day by 8:00 PM
  • Cut out desserts and sweets
  • Get off of my butt, dust off my treadmill and re-hang my TRX straps – THEN USE THEM at least 30 minutes a day
  • Become part of the “Gallon A Day” club

What is the Gallon a Day Club?  The Gallon a Day Club is a commitment to drink 128 US Gallons of Water every day for 4 weeks (28 days).  Today is my day 1.

gallonwaterDid you know that a gallon of water weighs 8.34 Pounds?  Right now you are probably thinking the same thing I am: WTF??? I am trying to lose the pudge, not add to it!  Patience young Jedi 😉 there is supposedly a method to this madness.

  • Drinking a gallon of water a day leaves less room for food, or idle snacking during the day, which prevents overeating.  Hmmm
  • Skin becomes smoother, more supple, glowing.  Less acne, fewer wrinkles, less dullness?  Sign me up!
  • Water helps you flush more of the toxins that tend to build up in your body.  128 ounces in will push themselves, and some more to boot, out in your many trips to pee.  In addition, being well hydrated makes constipation a memory and helps push out more poop too!
  • Cold Water Burns Calories.  Your body has to work harder (i.e. warm up/use calories) when you are drinking 128 ounces of ice cold water.
  • Metabolic rate increases about 30% after drinking 2 cups of water.  Boost your metabolism+burn more calories=lose more weight.
  • Drinking more water means fewer headaches since headaches can be triggered by dehydration.
  • Proper hydration: gets rid of puffiness and dark eye circles, helps you wake with more energy, and reduces acne flare ups.
  • All of this has been said to remove up to 10 years from your face!  I’ll take that.

Day 1 photos have been taken and fingers are crossed that day 28 photos reveal all of these good things plus the loss of a few pounds, some puffiness and the return of the angles in my face!  Hmmm indeed.

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Rare Treat: paid iPhone apps for FREE

I’m always on the lookout for technology I can run from my iPhone or iPad that will make my life easier, safer or more fun.  The apps listed below will help me free up space on my devices, help me find my way to safety if I’m lost without a signal or in an area unmapped by traditional navigation apps, capture an entire website in one screen shot, and will help me get back into 5K form in just 7 weeks.  The bonus is that, for a limited time, the apps are Free!  Hmmm

Free Up Space Normally $4.99   It recovers wasted space on your iOS device by:

  1. Finding duplicate photos: If you take a lot of photos/selfies you should use this feature often. This helps you find duplicate photos of all levels ranging from least similar to exact duplicates.
  2. Resizing Photos: You can save a lot of space by resizing large photos. Quality is maintained while reducing the size.
  3. Compress Photos & Videos: You can save storage space by compressing large photos & videos. Once you’ve compressed them, you can easily share them with your friends via attachments, messaging apps etc.

SwiPartyNormally $1.99

  1. Easy-to-use music map.  Swipe to stream your personal party playlist!
  2. SwiWorkout classifies and recommends workout music for you.
    Fast tempo on the right, slow ones on the left; New on top, old on bottom.
    SwiWorkout gives you a playlist immediately!
    You can suggest/add workout music you love by contacting Swibeat directly: http://www.swibeat.com/Contact.p

Run 5K ProNormally $1.99   Train to run a 5K in 7 Weeks!

EASY TRAINING PLAN

  • 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week – and you’ll be able to run 5K in 7 weeks;
  • Effective training plan from professional coaches;
  • Use outdoors and on a treadmill;
  • Audio cues during all workouts to keep you focused;
  • GPS maps saved for each training session;
  • Apple Watch support.

NEVER GET BORED

  • Gradual increase of workout intensity for best result;
  • Inspirational quotes keep you motivated while running;
  • Motivational tips on running with each training session;
  • Listening and managing your favorite music from the app;
  • Sharing results with Facebook & Twitter friends.

MUSIC TIMED TO YOUR WORKOUT

  • Unlimited access to the best running music right from the app;
  • Music tempo adjusts to your workout rhythm – music plays faster as you run faster;
  • New mixes from talented DJs are available every day;
  • All genres – from Classical and Oldies to Rock, Hip-hop and R&B;
  • Convenient search and suggestions to find perfect mixes.

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

  • Calorie counting;
  • Detailed statistics: pace, distance, time and other parameters;
  • Synchronization of your stats & logs with an upgrade from the free version;
  • Synchronization with Apple Health app;
  • Integration with Runkeeper, Fitbit, MapMyRun.

WebpageShotNormally $4.99   

  • A simple tool to convert a webpage into an image.
  • It captures the whole web page not just what you see on the screen.
  • It also provides a screenshot extension for Safari on iOS 8.

iarrowiArrowNormally $1.99   iArrow provides navigation where there are no roads. The app will lead you back to your car, campsite or hotel and help you reach the nearest settlement if you get lost. This app features a built-in database of 2,000,000 localities around the world and does not require internet or cellular connection.

Unlike navigation systems that show a blank map, iArrow instantly launches and very clearly indicates the direction and distance to the destination. The app consumes little energy and saves battery power.

Great for travelers, fishermen, hunters, extreme or off track athletes and anyone who works in remote locations. You can save the coordinates of key points along your route to your clipboard to share via SMS, Email, Twitter, Airdrop, etc..

APP FEATURES

  • User Guide
  • You do not need an Internet connection *
  • 2,000,000 settlements in the database
  • Built-in online map
  • Ability to search for objects by address
  • Automatic detection of the address of the current position
  • Indication of GPS accuracy
  • Determination of direction using magnetic compass
  • Determination of direction using GPS coordinates
  • Radar mode that displays Favorites, History and settlements
  • Displays full information about position, speed, altitude, etc.
  • Lock screen
  • Settings
  • Metric and Imperial Units
  • Low energy usage
  • Support for iOS8 and iPhone 5/5s/6/6+

WORKING WITH COORDINATES

  • Support for the latitude/longitude, UTM and MGRS coordinate formats
  • Support latitude and longitude as decimal degrees, degrees/minutes/seconds etc.
  • Easy input of coordinates – special keyboards for each format
  • Setting destination using azimuth and distance
  • Convert GPS coordinates between degrees formats, UTM and MGRS on the fly
  • Viewing coordinates on an online map
  • Sending and receiving coordinates via SMS
  • Import and export coordinates via SMS, Email, and Airdrop
  • Import and export list of coordinates
  • Import and export links to Google, Apple, Yandex, and OSM maps
  • Import coordinates from the clipboard
  • Automatic determination of format of imported coordinates
  • Easily add, delete, or edit coordinates
  • Automatically save the coordinates in History
  • Search in Favorites and History
  • Sorting Favorites/History by new and nearest points
  • List of nearby settlements

I am not anxious to need the iArrow app, but I am going to load it in the off chance I ever get lost and need to find my way out of the wilderness. You can find all of these in your App Store.

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Don’t Follow This Advice

no-pain-no-gainWhether we admit it or not, we women especially, suck up every bit of fitness and weight loss advice we can find.  We follow fad diets, take that magic fat burning pill, join gyms, buy the latest and greatest equipment to “shrink those trouble zones,” and scour the magazine racks looking for that quick fix to take years of neglect off of our bodies.

Newsflash!  Most of the advice we follow is crap meant to entice us to open our wallets.

fitness-myths-part-1     fitness-myths-part-2

Here is some other bad advice I found, and the rationale behind why it’s advice you should ignore:

  1. If you exercise you can eat all you want and still lose weight:  Not true.  You can’t stuff your pie hole full and expect to burn off the calories with exercise alone.  The National Weight Control Registry, established in 1994 by scientists at the University of Colorado and Brown Medical School, followed more than 10,000 Americans who have lost weight and kept it off for years. Just 1% kept the pounds off with exercise alone, 10% did it with diet alone, and 89% balanced eating healthier foods, controlling their portions and incorporating regular exercise into their lives.
  2. Never squat below parallel (no more than 90° angle to your knees): Not True.  The National Institutes of Health published a manuscript of a study focused on Knee Joint Kinetics in Relation to Commonly Prescribed Squat Loads and Depths that supports the following squat guidelines:  to avoid injury to your knees and hit the “sweet spot” for sculpting firm muscles, you need to drop your butt as low as you can while maintaining your balance so your glutes kick in and do the work.
  3. NO PAIN, NO GAIN:  Absolutely Not true.  An article in Psychology Today, written by Dr. Michael Otto, author of Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being, confirms that all of our coaches and personal trainers are wrong. “If you’re not an elite athlete and you’re exercising for the health benefits, including better heart health, improved mood, weight regulation, increased energy, or getting more sleep, there is no need for pain. You can attain all of these benefits with minimal discomfort.”
  4. You aren’t fit unless you have a 6 pack:  NOPE NOT TRUE.  Scientific American notes that the healthy range for a 20- to 40-year-old man’s body fat is 8-19%.  To get those perfect 6-pack abs men usually have to dip well below 8%, which is dangerous because their bodies actually have too little fat. Serious damage can result from trying to achieve and maintain a 6-pack: weakened immune system,  genital problems,  damage to the heart and nervous system, shrinkage of internal organs, and, even worse, death.
  5. Doing lots of cardio will result in weight loss: Not Entirely True.  In a Shape Magazine article, Chris Artis writes that, “Diet is the most important part to weight loss and… long, slow ‘steady-state’ cardio training has been shown to deplete T3, the thyroid hormone that controls metabolism—especially in women. Normal T3 levels allow our bodies and muscles to function efficiently, but too little T3 (hypo-thyroidism) puts the body in a state where fat is gained more easily, regardless of activity levels. That’s why many casual gym-goers can spend lots of time on a treadmill with little or even negative results.”

I am the biggest offender of being sold on a quick fix or shortcut to fitness.  If it were as easy as buying a new gadget or taking a magic pill the obesity epidemic in America would cease to exist.  The bottom line to all of the advice seems to come back to eating a healthy diet most of the time, exercising regularly and moderately (even if it is housework that makes you sweat), not taking any one activity or eating plan to the extreme and being consistent.  While I know and understand all of this, I may have to be physically restrained the next time I see some wonder workout or nifty gadget that can restore my body to where it was when I was 30.  Oh I loved my body at 30….hmmm

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I’m Afraid to Ride My Bike on the Streets

redroadbikeI’m as health and eco-conscious as the next girl, but the lack of awareness, attention, knowledge of right-of-way laws/general rules of the road and distracted driving I see exhibited by those who occupy the roads with me every day, has made me terrified to take to the streets on two wheels.

California has laws to protect the safety of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike, but I am amazed daily by the number of violations that continue to happen as if no legislation exists because they go unnoticed by violators and law enforcement alike.

Think about it, in California (and many other states) it against the law to:

  • Hold any handheld communication device while driving
  • If you drive a Bus you can’t use a cell phone at all
  • If you are a new driver (anyone under 18) you can’t use a handheld OR handsfree cell phone
  • No texting while driving

Although these things are just as dangerous to other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who share the road with them, it ISN’T written in the law that you can’t operate a vehicle and:

  • Eat or Drink
  • Talk/Sing/Argue with Passengers
  • Have a Pet Roaming the Car or Sitting in the Driver’s Lap
  • Perform Grooming Tasks (brush hair/teeth, shave, apply makeup, etc.)
  • Read (I’ve seen books, newspapers, maps and more!)
  • Use Navigation System
  • Watch Video Entertainment
  • Fiddle with Radio, CD, MP3, etc.

We all know that even more than this goes on when cars are being driven.  I know I am a perpetrator of some of the above, especially the singing 😉

I have a great bike and I’d love to ride it, in fact, when I’m feeling brave enough to hit the streets of my town, I’ve been known to ride it to the place where I get my messages (two miles from my house) and I’ve even ridden it to the gym about a mile and a half away.  But it seems more and more frequently, the news is reporting another car vs pedestrian or car vs cyclist incident on the streets of the cities near the place I call home.

If you think I am simplifying or exaggerating the risks taken when a pedestrian or cyclist hits the street, consider some of the following statistics cited in a 127 hour video-documented study by Monash University in Austrailia, where 54 car vs cyclist incidents were recorded: 2 collisions, 6 near-collisions and 46 other incidents.  That averaged out to a very scary incident every 2.5 hours, with the blame falling primarily on the drivers of the motor vehicles!

  • Prior to events, 88.9% of cyclists traveled in a safe and legal manner.
  • Vehicle drivers were at fault in 87% of the events, with more than 83% of drivers showing no post-event reaction.
  • The most frequent event was caused by drivers suddenly changing lanes, 40.7%.
  • 70.3% of events occurred at an intersection or intersection-related locations.
  • Cyclists who frequently looked over their shoulders had the highest situational awareness and the greatest ability to avoid collisions or near-collisions with cars.

In this country’s big cities, which have seen a growth in both population and traffic, campaigns have been made to get people to commute by foot or bike, but the same risks, and maybe even more, exist.  More people means more cars and more traffic, but infrastructure (streets, roadways, etc.) have not seen updates in decades and there just isn’t enough room for cars, cyclists, and pedestrians to co-exist.

In September 2013, California governor Jerry Brown signed a law requiring that motorists give cyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing.  That’s nice in theory, but the width of any existing bike lanes (which riders have a tendency to hug toward the car side of the lane to avoid bumpy/poorly maintained lanes, debris and slopes toward the curbs) and the need to move more traffic through narrower roads on more lanes than is safe, forces drivers to push into the lane of the driver to their left and could result in a vehicle vs vehicle collision.  Doesn’t seem like the 3 feet rule leaves enough space for ANYONE to be safe!

Consider some other safety issues posed by those who are supposed to share these crowded roadways:

  • Use of cell phones, smart phones, and MP3 players has resulted in a greater possibility than ever of injury to a cyclist or pedestrian who may have one or both of their ears covered by earphones/earbuds.  Their attention is focused down on texting or playing a handheld game while walking, listening to music at a high volume, or having a conversation instead of paying attention to the traffic noises or paying attention to the others who share the sidewalks/roadways;
  • Children are supposed to wear helmets while bicycling, skate boarding, etc., but many parents don’t enforce that rule in their homes;
  • Bicycle riders are instructed to stop and walk their bikes across intersections with cross walks (but most don’t), ride with traffic (not against), and to always ride in a safe and observant manner; and
  • Pedestrians are tasked to walk facing traffic, maintain alertness and obey traffic signals;

With all of these distractions, plus the addition of student drivers, drivers who don’t speak or read the language who may not understand what a sign like “Yield” means in practice, nervous or elderly drivers, and the list goes on, unless it’s a country lane where there are few, if any vehicles, my bike just may continue to gather dust in the garage.  Hmmm

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Very Disappointed By My Fitbit Experience

fitbit-logo-300x109I have bought and used many different fitness trackers from the Polar watch linked chest strap heart rate monitor to the Nike+ shoe insert, Adidas Micoach no strap/in the sports bra heart rate monitor, Scosche Arm Band, iFit Chest Strap Monitor, Garmin Vivofit, and others I’m sure I’ve bought and forgotten.  But, even when I’ve strayed and tried the flavor of the month, I’ve been a loyal wearer of the Fitbit from it’s first clip on to the latest Charge HR.

That said, I am quite disappointed that, as much as the Fitbit step monitoring product has “advanced” with each version, it has actually fallen behind the competition and I am strongly considering a change:

  • The clip-ons (Zip, Ultra, and One) had a tendency to unclip and disappear mid-workout
  • The Flex bands would come unsnapped during workouts, were brittle and cracked/broke, and worst of all, were apparently very yummy as my dogs chewed up 4 of them…hmmm
  • As soon as it became available, I bought a Fitbit Aria Scale.  Then I started noticing that I didn’t like having my weight broadcast to my Fitbit app and visible to my friends, “How Rude!”  Apparently there’s a setting to stop that, but my shame was complete, so Aria and I ended our brief & rocky relationship!
  • I loved the Force, which was on backorder forever then pulled off the market abruptly a short time later.  The Force was waterproof – I could finally track “steps” while swimming! But the Force also had a tendency to emit a gentle yet stingy pulse every once in a while that left a mark.  No Bueno indeed!  So I returned to one of my Flex models from the drawer of obsolete trackers.
  • With great excitement I saw the announcement for the Fitbit Charge and Charge HR that would be coming out in time for me to ask my husband to get me one for my Christmastime birthday.  He got on the waiting list at the local sporting goods store and we waited patiently for the arrival.  Finally the Charge became available so we snapped two of them up, anxious to see what all the hype was about.  Besides being a bit bigger and having a new secure wrist strap, the Charge was just a more expensive version of the Flex, but happily we wore it while I secretly pined for the arrival of the be-all-to-end-all.
  • The Charge HR! I don’t rely on steps alone to determine how my “Fit Day” has gone, I love the addition of a heart rate monitor that requires no chest strap and can count additional calories burned based on my actual 24 hour heart rate readings!  That’s the good, now here’s the bad of the Charge HR that I immediately replaced my Charge with once it became widely available in May of this year.  1) The plastic housing for the stat screen cracked in the first 2 months of normal wear, causing me to have to contact the company for a replacement 2) It is NOT waterproof, in fact it’s barely water resistant.  I had it on while standing in shallow water and got splashed.  When I touched the Charge HR to remove it to a dry place, I got a painful shock!  and 3) The battery life blows!  I have to charge it every 36-48 hours.  That is neither convenient nor does it allow me to get a whole day+ sleep picture.  Charging it during my 5 minute (CA drought/water use imposed) shower just doesn’t cut it.  I am in motion most of my day and have very few opportunities to take it off and charge it.  That is not what this Fit Girl envisioned at all!
  • They do have the Surge: A giant men’s watch-sized version that has a screen large enough to display all stats at once, but that doesn’t interest me at all.

I have to say that my Garmin Vivofit has the most features that meet my needs:

  • It was less expensive than the closest Fitbit product with similar features
  • It has a battery that is guaranteed to last at least 1 year – no taking off to charge – big advantage
  • It can be worn 24/7 because it is truly water resistant.  During the many times I had to have my One, Flex, and Charge replaced due to loss or damage, I have worn mine in the shower, the pool and when very sweaty during workouts and never had an issue.  It’s kind of like the old Timex saying, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking!”
  • It reminds you to stay active with move bar and audible alert
  • It learns your activity level and proposes a personalized daily goal
  • It shows steps, calories, distance and time of day on backlit display; monitors sleep
  • It doesn’t track how many flights of stairs I walk and give me fancy little achievement awards, but I can add the stairs as an activity and monitor them that way
  • It also won’t sync up to let me participate in Fitbit challenges, but I never win anyway (LMAO) so I can live without that “feature” too
  • It automatically syncs to Garmin Connect™ to save, plan and share progress
  • It does have heart rate tracking with the optional heart rate strap.  That it needs a strap to monitor heart rate is the only negative to me on this one.  If it had strapless heart rate monitoring I would have given up on my Fitbit long ago
  • Another negative to the Garmin Vivofit is that some Apps say they make it compatible to share with the Fitbit App for competing with your friends.  I have had great difficulty getting that to be a reality

all_color_garmin_vivofit-1024x501After all of the time, money and effort I’ve invested in Fitbit, I have come to the realize that I am better off going back to the Garmin Vivofit to monitor my fitness goals.  A very expensive lesson indeed.  Hmmm

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