It’s been crazy around the house this week. I haven’t been able to take any more back exercise video yet. I just got a new iPhone 5 and loaded some new workout apps on it. Here’s what I’m using these days:
This is a great music app, you can pick out several different types of music genres from the “concierge” depending on what you’re in the mood for. I use this app when I am riding the stationary bike or doing a number of other workouts where music enhances things. My favorite is, “drop a beat workout”, but there are tons you can choose from. Cost: FREE
All you need to do with this app is set the “work” time, the “rest” time and how many times you want it to repeat. Hit start and this timer will keep you on track for circuit and interval workouts. Bit Timer gives you a three second audible count before you change from work to rest or back. I use this app to time tabatas, mountain hike intervals and circuit workouts. Cost: 99 cents
Map My Walk:
This is what I call a motivational gadget. Start “Map My Walk” when you begin walking, or running. It will record a GPS map of your walk/run route. It will tell you when each mile has been completed. When you save your workout, you get a summary that includes total distance, speed, speed per mile, elevation changes and other nifty info. You then have the option to share your workout details on facebook, e-mail, or twitter. Cost: FREE (Note-there is a “Map My Walk” premium available at a cost. The company sends you e-mails frequently to see if you want to upgrade which is mildly annoying after a while)
This app is great for when you’re travelling or when you need to work out with no equipment and little space. (Warning: excuse eliminator!) Just program in the four types of exercises you want to do, plus a bonus exercise for jokers if you want. Rip Deck “shuffles” the cyber deck of cards. You touch the screen and do the exercise and the number of reps each card represents. Instant workout. You can read my review of Rip Deck here. This one costs 99 cents. Economical, simple and effective; this is my kind of app.
The only thing that has ever worked for me when it comes to weight loss is counting calories, making sure that calories burned from basal metabolism plus exercise is greater than calories in for the week. Lose it! makes this sooo much easier. Put in your age and current weight, how much weight you want to lose and how much per week you want that to be. (You HAVE to be realistic. I put in 1/2 pound per week.) Lose it gives you a daily calorie intake you should shoot for and helps you keep track of calories in and calories out through exercise. It has a HUGE database of foods, plus restaurants and brand name foods. You can also scan bar codes on any packaged foods you buy. This app is FREE. The free version does so much, but there is also a premium version that gives you extra features as well. Read my expanded review of Lose it! here.
Now I’m asking for your help. Let me know what workout apps you love. I want to add to my collection.
Ever do the Deck of Cards Workout? Each suit represents a different type of exercise (hearts are jumping jacks, spades are burpees etc.). Each card stands for a certain number of reps. My hubby tried this the old school way (real deck of cards) with his group training class. Being the techie that he is, he googled “deck of cards workout” and found the Rip Deck Workout App.
This app gives you four levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced and custom). Once you set up your workout, you just tap the screen to flip your cards. It gives you the suit, what exercise you should do, and the number of reps to complete. All you need to do is follow the directions. Simple! The workout takes about 30 minutes. You can do it literally anywhere and you don’t need any equipment at all.
It times you on each exercise and gives you a breakdown of how many reps you completed and how long it took to do each card. It has a social component too. You can e-mail your results to a friend and challenge them to beat your score. You can also post your results on facebook or twitter.
The cost of this app is only 99 cents. If you use it and get in great shape, it will be well worth the investment! If you have used Rip Deck, let me know what you think about it.
Have you ever heard of a Himalayan Salt Cave? This is the ultimate stress relief. Our local Curves just added one. I have visited it twice and love, love, love it! For $15 you can have 45 minutes of great relaxation. While you are relaxing, you are breathing in 84 different minerals and trace elements. These promote health by helping to reduce inflammation in the body. Lots of different ailments can be positively affected. The salt cave can help allergies, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, skin ailments and more. I could feel and hear (weird) my sinuses opening up a few minutes after I went into the salt cave.
My absolute favorite things about the salt cave is the total relaxation you get for the 45 minutes you are there. When you enter you sit in a recliner under softly lit lanterns and twinkling lights that resemble stars. You take about eight to ten deep breaths to get the minerals flowing through your system. Relaxing music begins to play and in just a few minutes I am transported somewhere else…some people fall asleep, but I feel like I get into more of a meditative state and I love it. When the lights come up, I feel totally relaxed and refreshed. If you get a chance, find a salt cave near you and give it a try!
If you have had a salt cave experience, share it in the comments.
We could all use a little motivation to stay on track when trying to eat healthy and exercise. For all you techies, a new website and iphone/ipad app is ready to help you stay on track. The folks at Slimkicker.com asked me to review their new website and app and let you know what I think.
Slimkicker is a website and app where you can keep track of your food intake and exercise calorie output. Nothing new. There are lots of websites and apps that do this. The difference? Slimkicker is designed to work like a video game. As you record what you eat and what your workout is each day, you earn points. The points move you to different “levels”.
Now I liked this idea because I have always been a health nut and always been pretty much the same weight. So the sights that emphasize weight loss just are not for me. This one intrigued me so I joined.
Track Food: Record what you eat by searching for the food item and entering the food amount. It will keep track of the calories you have consumed and compare that to your preset calorie goal according to height, weight, exercise levels and amount of weight you want to lose or gain.
Track exercise: You can record the calories you expend during exercise by entering the types and amounts of activities you take part in each day. There is a large data base of exercises you can search to record what you have done.
Challenges: This is my favorite part. There are a huge amount of challenges you can join that help you reach your health and fitness goals. Get points for checking in each day the challenge progresses. There are fitness and diet challenges as well as others. I joined the “Beauty Sleep” challenge. It’s a seven day challenge to help you get to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual. So far it has helped me get in bed before 11 p.m. each nite this week. There are also some challenges you can join that offer a chance to win prizes (like $100 gift cards) to people who finish.
Social Sharing: You can friend other members within the group and comment on their status updates and check-ins. You can really support each other during your fitness journey. There are lots of groups you can join to connect with like minded people. I joined a beta tester group to give suggestions to make the site even better.
Rewards: You can select and share what reward you will give yourself when you level up. When I reached level two I downloaded an MP3 from Florence and the Machine. When I leveled up to #3 I treated myself to a movie night and we watched “The Help” at our house. Haven’t decided what to reward myself with for level 4. Any suggestions??
Things I’m hoping to see at Slimkicker soon
A barcode scanner in the track foods area. It makes recording your calories so much easier
I use DVD programs to exercise like P90X, Zumba etc. It would be nice if they were in the exercise area to choose from.
A way to connect with friends you make in Slimkicker via facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc.
An app for my Android phone please!
Take a look at Slimkicker at http://www.slimkicker.com or download the app if you have an Iphone/pad. Then comment here on how you like it.
The featured blog for the first week in April is Carrots N Cake. Tina writes this blog from her home in Boston, Massachussets. She originally started it as a personal journal to keep her focused on healthy eating and exercise. The blog caught on and has a large readership. She also recently secured a book deal based on her blog. What I like abou this one is the variety of fitness and food info. you can find on here. It’s vast!
She’s got weekly meal plans, weekly workout plans, a half marathon training guide and treadmill workouts. She has 30, count ’em, 30 different blog categories. The cool thing about them is they are health and fitness based, but there’s more that gives you a peek into Tina’s very busy life. You can check out “Boston” where you get a glimpse into the excitement of Boston Marathon day and what it’s like at “Local 149” a downtown eatery where Tina and her husband head for date night. Click on “Home” and you can follow along while Tina updates her home office.
This is a blog to go back to again and again, because you will always find something new to motivate you in your fitness journey. Check out Carrots N Cake and tell me what you think.
The featured blog for the first week of March is Fit Bottomed Girls. This is a great blog for a number of reasons. First, it’s not just a blog by one person, it’s a blog by four people. Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead are the original founders. They were later joined by Tish Merritt and Kristen Seymour. They are all journalists with a passion for fitness. Second, you could literally spend hours surfing this site. There is a wealth of information from exercise DVD reviews, nutritious recipes, and words of encouragement to workout playlists and give-aways. Whether you are just getting started in the world of fitness, or you are a seasoned veteran, Fit Bottomed Girls is a great blog to put on your go-to list.
This week’s featured blog is another of my favorite foodie blogs. Eating Bird Food is a labor of love for Brittany Mullins. Her story is inspirational because she changed over to a healthy lifestyle as a college student and has continued her healthy ways ever since. She wants to help others eat well and stay active.
She has great recipes (with colorful photos). Her latest blog is a review of a restaurant near her home in Richmond, VA. I like her writing style. It kind of makes you feel like you are sitting in her living room having a chat. You can also follow her wedding plans in progress along with all the recipes and healthy eating advice.
It’s week number 2 and this week’s featured blog is Skinnytaste.com . This blog has loads of low fat recipes that can help you keep on track when you are trying to eat healthy. One feature I like is the Weightwatchers point system that is part of the recipes. If you are using the points system, you could easily find a variety of dishes you could make. There is a really easy to use index of recipes on the left side of the home page. It’s called the recipe box (clever). Of course there are loads of great pictures. Gina, the author, is also and accomplished photographer. You should definitely put Skinnytaste into your blog reader!
Help yourself to Gina’s Bio below:
“Gina Homolka is the author, recipe developer, and photographer of Skinnytaste, which features low fat, family-friendly, healthy recipes. She started Skinnytaste back in 2008 in an attempt to help her stay healthy, experiment with creating skinny recipes, and develop her photography skills to expand her own background as a digital photo retoucher.
On Skinnytaste, you’ll find healthy dishes that don’t sacrifice any of the flavor that can be found in their full-fat origins. Gina knows all the food she prepares for Skinnytaste is tasty and satisfying, because after all, this is the same food she cooks on a daily basis for her friends and family, and they are some of her toughest critics!
Skinnytaste recipes have been featured on sites such as Glamour.com, Gourmet Live, The Kitchn, Finecooking.com, Fitness Magazine, More Magazine, Country Living, and was the winner of the SHAPE Magazine Best Healthy Eating Blogs 2011, The Homies: Best Home Cooking Blog for 2011 . Gina was born and raised in the suburbs of Long Island, NY.”