Fitness Trackers: Do You Need One?

Welcome to my guest blogger, Caroline!

Do You Really Need A Fitness Tracker?

 

In a world where we’re surrounded by technology, it’s easy to think updating to the most high-tech equipment will automatically make your life better. And in the world of health and fitness, it’s no different. I remember when I first saw someone jogging with their phone attached to their arm. It confused me, yet it piqued my interest.

 

 

As someone who has always enjoyed adding technology to my life, I’ve used quite a few different fitness trackers over the years. Some of you have likely seen others get results using these devices, leading you to ask if you should get one too. While everyone will have their own personal needs, these devices are, generally speaking, a worthwhile investment. Before heading out and buying one, though, here are a few things to consider:

 

What are your goals?

 

When we begin our journeys into becoming fitter, we often set ourselves goals. These can be weight goals or ability targets. No matter what they are, they give us something to aim towards. Without these ambitions, it can be difficult to summon the enthusiasm and motivation needed to workout and diet effectively.

 

A fitness tracker may not be necessary if you plan on fulfilling a light exercise schedule, though. For example, doing an hour of aerobics on a daily basis. However, if you’re training for an upcoming sporting event, say a marathon, the in-depth statistics you can get from a fitness tracker might be more useful to you.

 

Most fitness trackers are set up to track your weight, heart rate, calorie burn and various other metrics, depending on the type of exercise you’re doing. For example, running apps can track how you perform on gradients, helping you learn useful information so that you can alter your activity to improve in certain areas of your training.

 

If you have specific goals to accomplish or if you’re interested in giving yourself an extra boost of motivation, fitness trackers are excellent solutions that will help you modify your workout to make it more effective for you.

 

Are they worth the money?

 

While fitness trackers are a lot cheaper than personal trainers, they aren’t the only way to track your progress. For example, depending on your fitness goals, you might be able to get away with using a journal. Running times or weights can be quickly jotted down, and this information will help you review your progress over time.

 

I suppose it comes down to personal preference, budget and your ambitions with fitness. If you’re interested in bringing your fitness routine beyond just a casual pastime but don’t feel like hiring a trainer, a fitness tracker can be a great middle ground. It gives you specific metrics to track. You can do your own research into what these mean and how to improve, turning your fitness routine into an opportunity for personal growth.

 

Which one is best?

 

There are many trackers on the market. My favorite is the popular wearable device known as the FitBit. It tracks my heart rate and calorie burn, and it also tells me when I’m in the “fat burning” zone. This data is accessible after workouts via the FitBit app—the device sends information to the app installed on your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth.

 

I prefer the interface of the app and functionality it gives, which is why the FitBit is my tracker of choice. However, there are plenty of apps you can use for all kinds of workouts without the need for a wearable device. You can simply use your smartphone and carry it with you while working out. It’s worth mentioning, though, that a lot of these apps require personal information for data tracking, so I always use a secure connection when running them since I mostly use them in public areas.

 

Smartphone fitness apps can track your activity in numerous ways. For example, “Argus” tracks your daily calorie intake as well as how much exercise you get throughout the day. If you enjoy jogging, “FitRadio” might be an option for you, as it plays continuous music with a steady beat that helps motivate you to continue exercising. FitRadio also tracks time and route, making it an all-in-one fitness motivator and tracker.

 

Fitness trackers are excellent tools to help you maximize your efforts and get more out of your workouts. For some, they can be just what’s needed to take your health and fitness to new levels. But for others, they might be excessive, as they don’t fit in with your fitness goals. Hopefully, this information has helped you decide which group you’re in, and if you decide to get one, I’m sure you’ll love it and the results it helps you achieve.

 

Author Bio: Caroline is a health and tech blogger with a keen passion for fitness. She enjoys spreading awareness of technological solutions that can help people reach their fitness goals in an easier fashion.

How to Keep Exercising with a Foot Injury

 

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

 

Got a foot injury? Think you have to quit working out and sit around getting flabby? You don’t! After you check and make sure it’s okay with your doctor, here’s several steps you can try.

Cushioning! Make sure the surface you are using for your workout has some give and cushion. I bought some interlocking mats that I set up in my home gym. No working out on concrete for me. I also bought some cushiony inserts for my sneakers. I have Dr. Scholl’s inserts for plantar fasciaitis. The two together work wonders.

Any cardio you do should be low impact. That means no jumping! Modify current workouts or find special low impact cardio workouts. When I am having foot trouble, I use low impact Zumba or TurboFire. Google them!

Change your exercises to get you off your foot when you can. Change walking or running to biking or swimming. A variety of weight exercises can be done from your knees or a chair instead of your feet.

Cut out exercises that irritate your injury. My foot injury could not tolerate the stationary bike, so out it went until the injury was healed.

Incorporate more rest days into your routine until the injury heals.

Here’s a sample workout schedule I am using to rehab a bout of Plantar fasciaitis:

Monday Low impact TurboFire
Tuesday Upper body weightlifting
Wednesday PiYo Core with modifications
Thursday Upper body weightlifting
Friday Low impact TurboFire
Saturday Choice of what I can tolerate or rest day
Sunday Rest day

Hope this helps YOU if you are struggling with a foot or ankle injury.

Check out the Facebook live video for a few more details:

 

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

How to Put More Fiber in Your Diet

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Americans get woefully little fiber in their diets.  If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, you need to find a way to incorporate healthy fiber into your meals and snacks.  No, that doesn’t mean those giant, sugar filled “high fiber” bars.  Here’s why you need more and here’s how to get it.

The Benefits of Fiber

  • Keeps your cholesterol down. Soluble fiber blocks the absorption of cholesterol in to your bloodstream.
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight. Isn’t it worth adding more to your diet just for this reason alone?
  • Stabilizes blood sugar levels.  Blood sugar level spikes and crashes contribute to fatigue and the “fuzzy headed” feeling. Bleh!
  • Keeps you regular.  Yes let’s talk poop here. Less bouts of diarrhea and constipation.  I’m for that
  • Keeps your bowels and colon healthy. Fiber helps you avoid Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and hemorrhoids. I’m for that too.  Who wants either one of those!
  • Lowers your risk of heart disease (see cholesterol above).
  • May help prevent certain types of cancer. Breast, colon and prostate cancer have been linked to low fiber diets.
  • Gives you healthier skin. Fiber helps flush toxins from the body.  Let’s all get some glowing skin!
  • Gives you more energy.  Toxins, be gone!
  • Lowers your stroke risk. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels that can lead to stroke.

How much fiber is enough? The national Fiber Council says healthy adults should get 32 grams per day.

What are good sources of fiber?

Oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grain foods and leafy greens.

Want more info? Watch this facebook live video I did with added visuals!

Flexibility Training

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Strength training, check! Cardio? You bet! Core exercises.. okay. Flexibility training, well…. Here’s why you should make sure you add it to your routine.

  • It will help to prevent injury. Your joints have more range of motion if you are more flexible. If you twist your ankle or fall of the curb, being more flexible can keep you from a long recovery.
  • You will experience less back and hip pain, because your glutes, hamstrings, quads and IT bands will be more pliable.
  • Your shoulders and neck won’t hurt so much because your pecs and trapezius muscles will be stretched out.
  • You will experience the benefits of stress relief through the deep breathing techniques of flexibility training.
  • You will have better posture because flexibility training will keep your chest and hips opened up.

So don’t ignore flexibility training. Your body will thank you!

Here’s some great beginner yoga videos by Brett Larkin that can get you on the right track to a more flexible you.

 

Modify Any Workout

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Do you feel like you are too old, too heavy, too out of shape too whatever to do certain workouts? It’s not true! We often realize that you can modify a weight workout by lifting lighter weights or using fitness bands. If you are doing cardio, you don’t jump around. You do low impact.

If you are doing an old school Bodyweight workout you can modify any exercise to your fitness level. How? Well I’m here (in YouTube form) to show you how!

I’ll show you five basic exercises here and how to modify them. These five are used in a ton of bodyweight exercise routines. You can modify many “extreme” workouts to your own fitness level.

1. The jumping jack. This is a staple of many workouts. Here’s how you can adapt at several different levels

2. Crunches Get your abs in shape or step at a time

3. Squats. This exercise is so good for revving your metabolism. Start at level 1 and work your way up!

4. Push ups. You may think your push up days are over but think again using these many progressions

5. Burpees A great total body exercise that can be daunting at it’s highest level for some people. Never fear! You can start with an easier version and work your way up.

Charity Miles App

 

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!
Are you looking for some motivation to get moving? Do you wish you had more money to donate to your favorite charity? Wish no more! Download the Charity Miles app.

I discovered this app from getting one of those articles in your Facebook timeline that the algorithm thinks you might be interested in. It was an article on different ways to get motivated to exercise. I do a lot of walking and now biking since Awesome Hubby and I got each other good bicycles for Christmas. I thought it would be a good way to give back while I stay in shape.

The good stuff: This app is free. It is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson and they donate the money. You designate the charity from a list of many and do the walking, running or biking. Each time you get moving you can pick a different charity. It’s easy to get signed up and get started. All you need to do is have your phone with you while you are working out. You and your friends can also form a group on the app and keep each other motivated.

The “eh” stuff: If you want to keep track of your miles, steps etc. for the sake of your fitness tracker, don’t use this. You’re going to need a back-up. It does not sinc with Fitbit, Apple Watch etc. I found the GPS tracker to be pretty accurate, but if you use it in pedometer mode it’s not so hot. To use the GPS it needs to be set to “always” in your phone settings. That can be a huge suck on your battery and data. I switch it to “always” only if I’m taking a bike ride or walking outdoors. I don’t use it in my everyday walking at work because I don’t want to wear or carry my phone all day long. If it would sinc with my Fitbit, I would earn my charity a lot more money. Maybe someday in the not so far off future, they will update so you can sinc with your fav fitness tracker. Hope so! It will show you how much money the your charity has made in total, but the app no longer shows how much money your personal run, walk or bike has contributed. I would be even more motivated if I could see that each time.

The bottom line is, I figure since I’m out there busting my butt anyway, someone else can benefit from my effort!

Here’s the easy steps to get started:

1. Download the app
2. Do the user name and password thing
3. Make yourself a profile


4. Pick your charity (you can pick a different on each time your work out).


5. PIck your activity


6. Enable your GPS or the pedometer (If you choose “no, not right now” you get the pedometer option.

Your all set to get started raising money for your charity!

February Fitness Challenge

 

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!
Starting Monday, February 6, I will be running a new fitness challenge. To join, go to http://www.facebook.com/SueKauffmanFitness and like the page. Find a friend to join you and then you will have a workout buddy. Here’s how it will work:

1. We’ll be using the “Spell Your Name Workout” above each day.
2. Each morning, I will post a sentence or phrase to use as your workout. Do the exercises that are assigned to each letter in the sentence. Do a workout at least two times a week. You may do one every day if you want to! Start easy if you are an exercise beginner!
3. I will also post one word. You can use this to do a finisher if you have a current workout schedule you are following.
4. If you need to modify any exercises, go ahead! You can go to my YouTube channel to see modifications of many of these exercises.
5. Each time you work out, post on SueKauffmanFitness and let us all know how it went. Post a selfie after your workout (optional)
6. Post a picture of what you are having for your evening meal. You’ll be more likely to eat healthy if you know you have to show the world!

Special thanks to  robolikesifit.tumblr.com For the Spell Your Name  Workout.

Have fun and don’t forget to ask a friend to join you!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

How to Lose 5 Pounds When You Need To

 

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

When I need to lose a few pounds (usually it’s three to five after Christmas or vacation) I follow these steps:

Three days, no added sugar

Step 1. PIck three days when it’s easiest for you to cut out any added sugar. That’s anything that has white sugar on it or in it. Donuts and cake come to mind, but make sure you read the labels. Things like spaghetti sauce and canned veggies have added sugar in them too. While you are doing this part of the “diet”, don’t really watch portions or calories. Eat when you are hungry.

Don’t worry about the sugar in fresh veggies, fruits or dairy products. That is natural sugar. If you are eating yogurt, make sure you are eating low fat plain yogurt for 3 days After you’ve done three days with no sugar, it will be a lot easier to leave those sugary treats alone. Three days seem to be the tipping point.

Step 2. Pick the best way for you to watch how much you eat. For some people, this is portion control, for others it’s counting calories. Use a tool like http://www.choosemyplate.gov to calculate how many calories you should be eating according to your height, weight, how much weight you want to lose and how much time you want to take to do it. The safest and most effective timeline is losing 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Step 3. Find a way to accurately calculate calories or portions. A few good mobile apps are 21 day fix, Lose It, my fitness pal or, the calorie counter on your fitness tracker if it has one. To use 21 day fix, you’ll need to get a set of containers. You can order them online from Beachbody. I have also seen cheaper versions at CVS.

Step 4. Do some sort of exercise for at least 30 minutes, at least 3 times a day. If you are a total beginner, you can start with walking or some of the beginner workouts you can find on the internet.

It’s important to stick with it! You may lose quickly at first and then things will slow down. Keep to the plan, even if you only lose a little bit each week. Don’t lose heart and give up if you have a day where you eat more or fall of the wagon. Remember that slow and steady always wins the race.

Here’s the video from “Real LIve Fitness” that explains the plan.

3 Days, No Added Sugar

 

Whenever you’ve had a stretch of time where you feel “sugared out”, a great way to get back on track is to plan 3 days of no added sugar in a row. After a 3 day break from added sugar, your body will not crave it (it’s addictive, but that’s a whole other post) and it will be much easier to stay away from excess amounts of it. “What is she talking about?”, you may ask. And what is the difference between added sugar and natural sugar?

Natural sugar is the kind of sugar that occurs naturally in foods, such as the sugar in fruits and veggies or the ones in dairy products. Added sugar is processed sugar the manufacturer adds to packaged and processed foods.

The obvious added sugars are found in sugary treats like donuts, cakes and cookies. But did you know there are added sugars in almost all processed and packaged foods to up their flavor appeal? Here’s a list of foods that include added sugar that you may not be aware of:

Canned or jarred pasta sauce
Ketchup and other similar condiments
Breads (even whole wheat), rolls and other bread based products
Gluten free packaged snacks
Crackers
Canned soup
Salad dressing
Snack bars
Energy drinks (they are chock full of sugar)
Take-out food
Almost all canned food
Sweetened yogurt (this includes fruit on the bottom)
Refined (white) flour and products made with refined flour
Soda
Juice
Alcohol

(Thank you to ElizabethRider.com for this list)

So…now you know what to stay away from. What should I eat? How should I plan for the three days?

  • First, pick three days in a row where eating 0 added sugar would be the easiest. For me, this is three workdays in a row, i.e. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Weekends are out because an unexpected get-together with friends or family can quickly derail all my best laid plans. I also have much more control of what I will eat for lunch because I pack it ahead of time. Can’t eat what I didn’t bring!
  • Second, throw out or at least make it extra hard to get to any “added sugar” snacks in your home.
  • Third, get online and search for low sugar or no sugar breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas. You’ll need at least three of each meal idea and nine snack ideas. If you’re a Pinterest person, make yourself a board titled “no sugar meals” and pin your favorites.
  • Fourth, make a grocery list that includes ingredients for your nine meals and nine snacks you have planned out. Also stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, raw nuts etc. in case you need a little extra something.
  • Fifth, drink plenty of water during these three days. You should have at least 64 ounces of water each day. My suggestion is to drink ONLY water. Three days is not that long to go without some other type of drink. If you have to have coffee, drink it black and no sweetener in your tea. Okay, Stevia if you have to, but nothing else!
  • Once you are done with your 3 days with no added sugar, keep track of your grams of sugar on food labels. Men should have no more than 37.5 grams and women should have no more than 25 grams daily. Will you stay under every day? Probably not, but the more days you can hit that goal, the better you will feel!

I usually do a 3 days, no added sugar challenge right after New Years Day. If you would like to join me this year go to my Facebook page, Sue Kauffman Fitness and like the page. I’ll be posting links to resources you can use and we will be supporting each other during the three days.

Want more personalized help living the healthy lifestyle? Fill out this application and I will be in touch!

10 Healthy Changes in 10 Weeks

fitchallenge

Why do so many people fail at living the healthy lifestyle? So many people get disappointed and give up. It’s because people make drastic changes all at once that can’t be maintained.  They restrict calories to the point where they are miserable.  How long do you think that will last? A week tops! They start an extreme workout, get sore and quit within 5 days.  Then they feel like a failure and console themselves with food.  The unhealthy cycle continues. If this sounds like the merry-go-round you’ve been on, take heart!  There is an easier way and it can be achieved.  Gradual changes over time have more of a chance to become a healthy habit you will adopt as a lifestyle change. When it becomes as second nature as brushing your teeth, you will know it’s working.  Here are ten doable changes you can make in ten weeks.  Make a plan to start NOW and by Christmas, you will be excited about the new healthier you! Each week add on the new and continue the old.  Ask a friend to start this ten week challenge with you.  It’s even easier when you have an accountability partner! These suggestions are designed for total beginners.  Feel free to modify depending on your fitness level and your current style of eating.

Click this link to download an enhanced PDF of this info!

10-weeks-to-a-healthier-lifestyle

Week 1

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Replace one sugary drink with an 8 ounce glass of water

Week 2

Walk for 10 minutes and add one minute to your walk each day until you get to 30 minutes. You’re starting this at week 2, but it will take longer than one week to get to 30 minutes.

Week 3

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Add one serving of raw, frozen or canned vegetables to your daily food.  Eliminate one sugary or salty snack.

Week 4

Add one serving of fresh fruit to your daily diet.  Eliminate one sugary or salty snack

Week 5

Plank for 15 seconds three times this week.

Week 6

Replace another sugary drink with another 8 ounce glass of water.  The goal here is to drink at least eight 8 oz glasses.  We’re added them gradually and cutting back the sugary drinks.

Week 7

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Time for a treat! Replace your usual weekend dinner outing with an activity outing.  Hiking, biking, mall kayaking, swimming, golfing, a cool fitness class you would like to try.  Take your favorite friend who is up for trying something new.

Week 8

Switch your “white” carbs to whole grain carbs.  For example, swap out your white rice for brown rice and your white bread to 100% whole grain.

Week 9

online fitness coaching: Find time to work out and eat right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work very  hard at getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night this week.

Week 10

Find a body weight workout that meets your fitness level and do it three times this week.  You can do this in place of the planking. Or if you’re feeling spunky, add it to the planking.

Congratulations! If you have followed this ten week plan, you are now doing cardio and resistance exercise, drinking the recommended amount of water for your health, getting more sleep and eating a healthier diet.  Keep it going by thinking up new challenges for the next 10 weeks.