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

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!

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!

Skinny And Company Coconut Oil


Every now and again, I get asked to try and then review a “health” product. I’m very finicky about which ones I review. Quite frankly, some of them are not very healthy. So when Nina Martin e-mailed me asking me to sample Skinny and Company Coconut Oil Products, I did my research to see if this was the type of product I wanted you to see on my blog.

Skinny and Company was founded by Luke and Matthew Geddie, two adventurous brothers who travelled to Viet Nam and fell in love with the country people and culture. Along with Kim Vo, they decided to found a company that could bring the natural coconut products of the country to the world while supporting the local Vietnamese community. The products are:

100% natural and truly “tree to table”, cold processed (never heated above 97 degrees), no chemicals, no fillers, no preservatives and pesticide free.

That was good enough for me to tell Nina to go ahead and send me a sample box. When I got them I was excited to try the coconut oil, facial oil, and sugar scrub they sent me.


The first one I tried was the facial oil. I used it first as a moisturizer for my hands.
The guide that came with the products said it was good for sensitive skin. I will caution you not to expect miracles when it comes to inflamed skin (I have some eczema that just won’t quit) but it worked well on my other sensitive skin. As a make-up remover it worked really well too. My favorite use was as a conditioner for my hair. I put just a little bit in after shampooing and worked it all through my hair. It gave me a lot of extra body and shine that my regular conditioner could not match.


The next product I tried was the coconut oil. I was intrigued by the claim that adding it to my favorite foods would keep me feeling fuller for longer. I added a teaspoon to my morning protein shake. It added a nice coconut flavor to my chocolate, peanut butter, strawberry shake. And yes, I drank my shake at 8:30 am and did not feel hungry again until about 1 pm. That’s unheard of for me. I also used it to cook. I would recommend using it in foods you would enjoy an added coconut flavor. I added it to quinoa, mushrooms, and pine nuts. Not the best flavor mix. The next time I cook with it, I will try it with chicken, shrimp or tilapia. That would taste great!


The last (and favorite) product I tried was the sugar scrub. It tastes delicious and as soon as the weather cools down, I am trying it in my tea (yes, you can eat all these products). During my shower, this stuff sloughed the rough skin right off. It also doubles as a moisturizer. No need to lotion after my shower. Bonus!

If YOU would like to try any of the Skinny and Company Coconut oil products, I have a code that will get you 10% off your purchase. Just comment “skinny” below and I will send it to you.

 

Yummy Snack Recipe to Fill You Up

When 3:30 p.m. rolls around on a school day, I am famished. What to eat that will fill me up and get me to supper time? It has to be something healthy and it has to be enough calories to keep me from stuffing my face with the first thing I can find when I get home from school.

I found a good trail mix recipe that I shared with you in an earlier post. Now I have another one, that fits the bill. I’m sharing it with you so you you can enjoy it too. It’s only 251 calories and has a scant 3 grams of added sugar.

1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt. (I use Stonyfield)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup gluten free Honey Nut Cheerios.

Put the yogurt in a 1 cup plastic container with a lid, add the raisins and stir them in. It’s best to do this the night before. They get big and plump and delicious!
Put the Cheerios in a 1/2 cup plastic container. Take it to work and when you are ready to eat, stir the Cheerios into the yogurt and raisin mixture.

*If you want less calories, try fresh fruit like strawberries or grapes instead of raisins.


This gives you just the right amount of sweetness and the whole milk yogurt will keep you feeling full until dinner time.

Try it and let me know how you like it!

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3 Steps to Your Goal Weight

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I have reached my goal weight!!  After Starting out at 135 right after Christmas, I lost the 5 pounds I gained. There were some ups and downs, but I did it!  Here’s how.

  1. 7 days of “Cut the Crap”. No alcohol, no gluten, no dairy and as little sugar as possible.
  2. 18 days of portion control, using this system All you need to actually do the program is a one cup container, a 1/2 cup container and a tablespoon and a teaspoon.  I got mine at my local grocery store. There are plenty of recipes you can use here.
  3. At least two days of resistance training.  Here’s a sample program.
  4. At least two days of cardio training. (walking, running, swimming, aerobic exercise etc.)
  5. At least 10,000 steps a day. I have a fitbit.  I you don’t here’s an app you can use.
I’m going to keep going with the portion control, workouts and 10,ooo steps until I go on my Winter vacation in Cancun (Yay!).  While I’m there I will blog what I’m doing to keep my vacation as healthy as possible. If you want to get daily updates on my progress, join me on Periscope!  You can find me here: @Adiar62
Watch this periscope about hitting my goal.


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5 Tips to Get Weight Loss Back on Track After A Bad Weekend

Fell off the weight loss wagon? 5 Tips to get back on.
Fell off the weight loss wagon? 5 Tips to get back on.

I had a disasterous weekend!  I was working at the PA Farm Show in Harrisburg. We worked 12 hour days. We ate a big breakfast. We had no lunch.  We nibbled our way to 9 p.m on snack food.  We got little exercise (except for a walk to get a famous Farm Show milkshake).  We ate dinner in a restaurant at 9:30 p.m.  We didn’t get to bed till midnight.  We did it all over again the next day.  I tried to make healthy food choices, but when I got home the scale was WAY up.

Has this happened to you? From time to time, we all fall off the weight loss (or weight maintenance) wagon. It’s okay! Don’t throw your hands up in defeat and quit forever.  Here are 5 tips to get you back on track.

  1. Forgive yourself- It does absolutely no good to beat yourself up over it.  That causes undo stress that, guess what?  Makes it harder to lose weight and keep it off. The stress hormone Cortisol makes it more difficult to lose weight and keep it off.
  2. Realize there may be other factors at play-Being on my feet all day, lack of sleep, lack of water (we forgot to take some in our cooler) and eating late all played a part in the big number on the scale Monday morning. (My fingers were so swollen, I couldn’t budge my rings).  By Monday afternoon I had already lost a pound.
  3. Get back to regular habits as soon as possible-I can’t stress this enough.  Many people think, “Oh well, I blew it, I failed, I’m done.” Then they use that as an excuse for more unhealthy behavior.  You will feel better quickly if you just get back to healthy eating, sleeping and moving.
  4. Get moving-As soon as possible, get moving. Do some yoga, take a walk at lunchtime, get your workout in.  My aching feet and sore back from all that standing in one place thanked me!
  5. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet-There will always be bad weekends, or vacations, or holidays that will be stumbling points.  Think of them as hurdles to jump over or go around rather than brick walls that stop your progress!

Do you have any “get back on track” tips?  Share them in the comments!

Here’s the periscope video I did about my disaster weekend:

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