Saturday, August 17, 2013

Apparently I'm a Yogi

I went to a new yoga class recently.  A friend of mine has opened a studio and started teaching her own classes, and I wanted to support her and to try a new class for a change.  The room was filled with yoga newbies, as well as a couple people who have been doing yoga forever.

At the end of the class, somebody made a comment to me about me being "really good."  I was shocked.  Am I really good at yoga?  I don't see myself as being that person.  But maybe I am.  I guess I compare myself to all these perfect little size 2's who can throw their legs over their shoulders, and I know that's not me.

But I guess, compared to a room full of beginners, I'm "really good."  Compared to what I could do a year or two ago, I'm "really good."  Maybe this is who I am now.

I think I like it!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

FitBit One and Withings Pulse Comparison

I previously mentioned my desire to try out both of these products--and as of the mail delivery yesterday - I own them both.  Here is what you can learn from me.  I've had the FitBit One for a little over a month - and while I purchased it only to "get me by" until Pulse was released...I've grown very fond of it.  I've had the Pulse on for about 24 hours - so the comparison here may not be my "final vote".  I wanted the Pulse because it works with Android.  Both devices run around $99.  The FitBit has been around longer and can be found online and in stores (Best Buy / Target / eBay).  The Pulse is available on Withings website - checkout through Amazon or Google+.

FitBit One - Pulse
Good battery life.  It goes about a week between charges.  It sends an email to me when it is running low.  Reports a two week battery life.  Charged fast with a USB. (Don't know how it will tell me when it is low.)

Good online community.  There are "groups" and message boards - the groups are hard to search as there are thousands and NO search feature. Duh.  Also, if you join a group, you are following EVERY post in that group - sometimes annoying.  I like the online competition.  It ranks your steps vs. others.  For this reason alone yesterday, I found myself walking in front of the TV to surpass my steps goal by about 4,000...had to bring my ranking up!!! I will admit, I have avoided adding "high steppers" as friends as I need someone that is in my ballpark range so there is hope of catching up .This feature is said to "be coming" for Pulse.  Will see how annoying this is with the timeline and also if the community is accessible from laptop or only from phone.  The lack of this feature does leave me feeling a little sad.   :(

It is sweat and splash proof.  Not shower or pool proof.  (Though several people have reported accidental dunks and survival with the rice drying method.)  Reported sweat and splash proof - however, it does encourage you to wear it where it will get the less contact with sweaty that doesn't inspire confidence.  

It "talks" with My Fitness Pal.  So you get credits for your steps / activity on My Fitness Pal automatically.  I still had to play around with where to add an Exercise (MFP is the answer for me) but the tools work well together.  Does not work with MFP - so info currently would have to be plugged in.  

It tracks sleep - reports how long it took you to fall asleep, how many times you woke, how much time was restless.  I look forward to this data every morning.  It also has a silent alarm vibration - it is a nice way to wake up.  Others report they have used this alarm to remind them to get up and move.  Tracks sleep.  Very similar data.  It does offer an additional App to go with it for more sleep data - I haven't explored yet, but curious.  

Records calorie burn based on BMR - if you are more active your calorie burn is higher.  I like that it shows calorie burn for all life events - because you can clearly see how much energy it takes to run your body and compare that to how many calories you are consuming.  Only counts active calorie burn.  I haven't decided if this is a pro or con yet.  On the good side - IF it begins to work with MFP, it will only share calories burned from activity.  This also means I could hit my steps goal and still not look active on MFP.  

It allows you to set your own step goal - I started mine at 7,000 because of my desk job.  Steps seem to be accurate. It does not allow you to adjust your goal - daily suggestion is 10,000. 

And how do you get this data?  There is a plug for charging (USB) and a plug for transmitting info to your computer - so all the groups / rankings can be accessed on your laptop.  When you are close by it auto-syncs every 15ish minutes.  If you have an iphone it syncs to that as well.  If you don't it has VERY LIMITED Android friendliness.  So my phone dashboard is only as accurate as my last sync.  On the FitBit device you can only view TODAY's stats!    Data syncs to Android with Bluetooth connection at the push of a button (which I will admit is slightly annoying).  There is no computer setup but there is also no access with your computer to your dashboard.  The Pulse will allow you to view several days data on the device.  

Both devices track walking up an incline - the Pulse refers to this in feet climbed, which is at least a standard measurement.  FitBit tracks flights of stairs - how many stairs is a flight?  Who knows.  Sometimes a hill is a flight of stairs, sometimes it is 2 flights.  I have not figured out the measurement.  You can set a goal for how many flights you would like to hit each day.

Pulse has the ability to take your pulse.  It is not meant to be a Heart Rate Monitor.  It is meant to compare your resting heart rate - by taking this early each day you can see if you have lowered your resting heart rate.  Lower resting heart rates are healthier.  It's a cool feature.  

I haven't' decided which one is for me yet - apparently I have 7 days for a Pulse return.  It's going to be tough choice. But if you are in the market for an activity / sleep tracker these are two of the top in the market to consider.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Breaking My Own Rules

I've been up to a variety of things---and the theme seems to be, "if you would never consider doing it, better try it out".  I have previously HATED Zumba.  I was intimidated by the whole idea of being in a class and not being good enough / able to keep up.  And honestly, the idea of sweating with strangers is something I have not been able to wrap my mind around ---and people PAY for these classes!

And then I joined a fitness program with the city that was a couple of events a month...I thought it was a walking group in different locations around town.  Turned out the kickoff event was a 2 hour Zumba class!

I spent a large amount of the first class laughing.  I did get sweaty, but I wasn't "good".  And I was baffled that everyone in the room knew the routines.  The second event was to be outside, but bad weather made it inside...and it was Zumba again.  I was much less nervous this time and actually found that I remembered bits and pieces of the dances.  And this small dose of success is all it took to make me fall deeply in love with the classes.

I started going to the regular classes with friends - and soon, I had to muster up the courage to attend alone (previously a thought that has caused panic).  I've been going a lot.  Often alone - I kind of like going alone now.  And I've felt confident enough to work my way up to row 4.

I've also decided to try Yoga - my work is offering a free class - it is at a very inconvenient time, at an inconvenient location and smack dab in the middle of the day.  I have previously done one Yoga DVD - I thought it was frustrating, too fast, not enough instruction and overall confusing.  I committed to trying the live class once - totally prepared to hate it, and three weeks later I'm loving it enough that I've requested it at my own location - so beginning in August I will be plugging it into my calendar twice a week.

And finally, I attended a Title Boxing Club class.  This also scared the crap out of me - I was seriously concerned about collapsing on the mats mid-class.  And during class this thought did re-enter my mind.  But I enjoyed it.  I have a free 7 day pass and hope to use it as much as my sore muscles will allow...haven't quite wrapped my mind around the cost associated with the club.

Overall, trying these new things has brought variety to my exercise - sometimes enough to make me LOOK FORWARD to it!  And I have often been surprised by how strong I am---that I'm not the worst one in the class and that I can push myself in ways I just couldn't explore without the peer pressure of an instructor / class.

And best of all - all of these sweaty experiences are showing up on the scale!  Perhaps my rebel spirit will be the secret to my weight loss?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Yoga is Hard

I've always thought plank was a hard pose.  The yoga class I'm going to lately has me doing all sorts of crazy twisty bendy balancing really hard stuff.  It's a different kind of hard than other yoga classes I've attended.

This chick is trying to get us all to do handstands and stuff.  But, believe it or not, I like it.  I mean, I can't actually DO most of it.  But she does a good job teaching us poses to do building up to these harder things.  And last time she said something about realizing that handstands are hard, and a lot of us aren't there yet, but we'll never GET there if we don't TRY and practice and work at it.

Anyway, as she had me doing all these lungy, sweaty, hard things, she said to step back into plank, and I found myself thinking, "Oh, thank God, plank.  Now I can finally rest a second."

Wow.  Maybe she's right.  I am getting better if plank is a restful pose!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Triple Bonus Points

I demand triple credit for going to yoga yesterday.

1.  I hadn't been in over a month due to the instructor's vacation and my sickness.  So, it's just hard to start up something like that when it's been so long.

2.  Both people who sometimes go with me decided not go to, and I still went all by myself.

3.  I showed up for class, in the location where class has always been, and there was no class.  No sign, no nothing.  And this studio is above a restaurant, as in, I had to walk through the restaurant with my yoga mat to go up to the studio.  Yet nobody who worked in the restaurant seemed to have a clue why there was no class.  As I was talking with a waitress, I noticed a sign on a bulletin board advertising yoga at the library at the same time.  So, whatever, I figured The Universe intended me to go to the library and do yoga last night.  And I did.  And lo and behold, there was THE CLASS at the library doing yoga.  Like oblivious to my confusion and the lack of communication.

Anyway, I went.  I did yoga.  It was hard.   And I get triple bonus points.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Can Taste Hot

How many times have I posted something about getting back on the wagon?  I don't even know.  But here I am again, this time because I've been sick for two weeks.  Some kind of sinus thing that's going around, and it's nasty, and I don't like it.

Yesterday was the first day in a long time that I wasn't just completely exhausted and feeling generally crappy.  I'm still not great, but I made it through my day today, and it was quite a long and stressful day.

I haven't been to yoga in two weeks.  I think I've walked a mile or so two times in two weeks.  I haven't been sleeping well, and my eating has been crazy.  I mean, I can't much taste anything, so I've eaten a lot of Taco Bell with a ton of hot sauce, simply because I can taste hot.

Plus I'm travelling and attending meetings, which always makes me testy, tired, and hungry.

So, tomorrow I'll be back home, and hopefully feeling even more like myself.  Then I can get back on a regular schedule of working out and eating well.  And sleeping.  Sleep is nice.   

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

All Kinds of Awesome

I'm settling back into my exercise routine, and I had an awesome yoga class today.  I found a new place, and I'm liking it a bit better than where I'd been going.  The environment is more yoga friendly (as opposed to the community center which is just a huge gym), and the class is earlier.  I'd rather leave work a bit early and be done with my day at 5:30 than work until 5:00 and then have to wait around for yoga at 6:30.  I don't get home until 8:00 then, IF I can make myself go to begin with.
Anyhow, this teacher almost always has us do some handstand stuff against the wall, and I never try it.  But I decided I would try today.  And then she didn't do it!  But, she did have us do wheel at the end, also known as a back bend.  I haven't done that in years.  Today I decided, well, heck, if she isn't going to do the handstands, I'll try wheel.  And I did it!  For a few seconds, but still.  I did it!
And then I ate the first strawberry out of my garden.  This strawberry:
Isn't it gorgeous?  And I GREW it.
I grew a strawberry, and I did a wheel.  I'm all kinds of awesome today.