Workout

Tools That Will Help You Meet Your Health and Fitness Goals

I was introduced to Oscar Insurance, a health insurance provider in New Jersey and New York, to write a post about tools that help me reach my health and fitness goals. Oscar recently started providing their members with Misfit bands to help them reach fitness goals. According to the Oscar Health Insurance website, “Sync with the Oscar app to count your steps and earn $1 when you hit your daily goal. We’ll personalize your goal to keep you moving. You can get up to $240 each year just for being active.” Pretty cool, right?

I thought the post was a good fit for Brown is the New Pink. I always appreciate recommendations for new apps and anything that can help me stay on track to reach my goals, and I hope that y’all will too.

Let’s start off with tools that I use . . .

RunKeeper (App)

RunKeeper is a great app for my fellow runners, walkers, or cyclists. I’ve been in the gym more as of late due to the insanely cold weather (I live in the South; what is this single digit temperatures business?!?), but I use this app when I run outside. It’s a GPS fitness tracker that measures your pace, distance, and time. The app will actually let you know your pace and distance every 5 minutes during the run, which is great if you’re aiming for a certain speed. The GPS feature also makes it so that you can turn any activity into a route to do again later.

RunKeeper tracks performance over time and notifies you of new personal “bests” and milestones. You can make detailed running plans or goals such as running 3x per week. It will send you friendly (and sometimes passive-aggressive) reminders to run. I got this same message below once, and it cracked me up. Nothing like my phone giving me a guilt trip.

MyFitnessPal (App/Website)

This app/website is perfect for tracking what you eat. MFP estimates your daily calorie need and can be used to track both intake and burning of calories. It can actually sync with other apps like RunKeeper to track calories burned during exercise.

MFP is easy to use and simply involves inputing what you eat. There is a HUGE database of foods to choose from. You can break it down by breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, which is helpful for seeing what time of day you may be struggling with healthy eating choices. I can tell from mine that afternoon snacking is my toughest time of day. You can also group foods together to make meals to make your tracking easier. For example, I have a small rotation of breakfasts that I saved as meals instead of entering each individual item every time. Finally, my favorite feature is the macro breakdown. You can set specific nutrition goals based on diets recommended by your doctor or nutritionist. I’m starting to look at my macro nutrient breakdown more than my calories, as it is often more nutritionally telling for me.

Garmin Forerunner 10 (Watch)

The Garmin Forerunner 10 is a simple (and cute) GPS watch. Similar to the RunKeeper app it tracks distance, speed/pace and calories. I prefer my watch to RunKeeper for longer runs so that I don’t necessarily have to lug my phone around. The watch also identifies your personal records such as fastest mile/5k and longest distance. One of my favorite features is that it automatically alerts you with a beep and displays your pace when you complete each mile. The watch also has virtual pacer and walk/run features if you’re looking to run at a specific pace or starting out with a mix of running and walking intervals, respectively. The coolest thing about this watch is that you can  upload your runs to Garmin Connect to see your run on a map and get more detail on each mile. It even includes elevation, which is perfect if your training for a hilly race.

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Now onto a few tools I’d like to try . . .

Fitbit (Activity Tracker)

If you haven’t already seen this, Fitbit is a wearable activity tracker. During the day it tracks steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, stairs climbed and active minutes. At night it tracks sleep. One of the coolest things about Fitbit is that it wirelessly syncs with most mobile devices and apps, including RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal. I would be really curious to see my steps, distance, and flights of stairs measured. I’m running around the hospital all day visiting patients, and it would be neat to see stats on my daily activity at work.

I got my dad a Fitbit for his birthday, and he liked it so much that he got my mom one for Christmas. Let me just tell you, my mom is definitely motivated to meet her activity goals. On more than one occasion I caught her walking in circles around the house trying to meet her step goals for the day. Haha!

Fitocracy (App)

Fitocracy is an app/website that can be used to track exercises at the gym. You can create workout plans or if your like me and need some guidance there are pre-made workouts that you can follow. Apparently the app also uses “gamification” to motivate users by assigning points based on the fitness benefits of each activity tracked. Gaining enough points helps you to “level up.” I don’t fully under stand the gaming part of the app, but I’m definitely curious and want to check it out.

*For the sake of transparency, I did not receive any gifts, money, or any other type of compensation for writing this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Reader question: Are there any apps or tools that help you reach your fitness or health goals? I’d love to explore some new ones!

 

These Are My Confessions . . . Part II

Back when I first started Brown is the New Pink, I made a post about my confessions and goals. I figured that after 6 months it’s time for an update and some new goals.

The first time I wrote about my confessions, I set three goals for myself:

  1. Eat more whole foods.
  2. Exercise more.
  3. Identify my all-or-nothing thinking and come up with alternative thoughts.

Overall, I’ve been eating more whole foods and definitely exercising more. Up until 2.5 weeks ago I was running 4 days/week training for a half-marathon. Sadly, the half marathon didn’t pan out due to injuries, but I’m still happy with all of my exercising. I also think I did a good job of sharing my training plans and meal plans on the blog. Finally, I’m still working on my all-or-nothing thinking. While I mentally noted thoughts when they occurred, I never actually wrote them down. Something to keep working on!

Now that I’m keeping up with eating whole foods and exercising (most of the time), I want to make some more specific goals. With that said, these are my confessions . . . part II.

(Yes, it is necessary for me to post the corresponding Usher music video every time I write that.)

I let myself get way too hungry.

This is a big issue for me. I tend not to snack between meals, and I’m starving by the time I eat the next meal. I think that if I eat healthy snacks I will be less likely to overeat during meals or to get hangry.

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I always choose cardio over strength training or yoga.

I’m pretty good at keeping up with cardio, but I am not nearly as consistent with strength training. Though I actually love the way I feel when I strength train regularly, I don’t enjoy it as much as cardio. I honestly just find it boring, but I probably just need to find something that works for me. I also enjoy yoga, but practicing it puts me out of my comfort zone. It’s a totally different kind of exercise for me, but I think I would definitely benefit from practicing it consistently, especially given my recent overuse injuries.

I often reward myself with food.

Survived a rough week of work? Celebrate with Mexican food. Finished everything on my to-do list? Wind down with a piece of chocolate. I love food, and I tend to associate it with joy, success, and love. While I will continue to enjoy food and cooking, especially as part of special celebrations like holidays, I need to find other ways to reward myself on a day-to-day basis that don’t involve empty calories.

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So what am I going to do about these confessions?

  1. Eat 2 healthy snacks (with fiber and protein) everyday. I’ll post snack ideas on Brown is the New Pink and include snacks in my weekly meal plan posts.
  2. Strength train at least 2 times per week and do yoga 1 time per week. Instead of a half marathon training plan, I’ll post weekly workout recaps to keep myself accountable with this goal.
  3. Find new ways to reward myself that don’t involve food. I’ll post ideas on the blog and incorporate personal examples of new rewards in my future posts.

4 Bridges Training {Week 10}

Greetings! How was your weekend?? I had one of those great, rare weekends when you have fun AND get a lot of things done. I spent Friday night over at my best friend Jenna’s house drinking wine and watching the Shonda trilogy– Grey’s AnatomyScandal, and How to Get Away With Murder. Saturday was spent around the house with Derek. We did a lot of cleaning and organizing, which was much-needed. We also started watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It absolutely cracks me up; I definitely suggest checking it out if you haven’t already. Today we had our friends over to watch the Panthers game. The game was not pretty, but we had fun and ate a lot of delicious food. On Tuesday, I will be sharing a vegetarian chili recipe that I tried out for the party. NOM.

On a sad note, I did not run last week. My foot wasn’t doing well, so I decided to rest and just do my long run today. At first I felt great. My legs were much better than they have been in a couple of weeks. Then, around mile 4 of 10, my left calf suddenly started to hurt. It wasn’t bad at first, so I kept running. By mile 5 the pain got so bad that I couldn’t continue. I actually had to call Derek to come pick me up. (He’s the best.) I’ve been limping around since then because it hurts just to walk. I am so bummed. I’ve been training for 2 months, and I really hope things will get better so I can run on the 19th. 😦

Needless to say, I’m not sure how running will go this week. I’m hoping this is just a strain, and I’ll be good to go in a couple of days. Cross your fingers for me, please! Anyway, below is my tentative plan for this week.


4 Bridges Half-Marathon Training – Week 10

Monday: Yoga + strength

Tuesday: 3 miles

Wednesday: 5 miles or cross-train

Thursday: 3 miles + strength

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Cross-train for 50 minutes

Sunday: 10 miles

4 Bridges Training {Week 9} + Meal Plan

Less than a month until race day! Last week’s training was just OK. As I mentioned in my Week 8 post, I’ve been having some trouble with plantar fasciitis. I ended up lowering my mileage substantially last week. I ran 2-3 miles on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, and I ran about 5 miles today. I’m still experiencing some pain, but it’s definitely improving. I started doing some Runner’s World yoga classes, and it seems to be helping. I’m glad I rested some last week. I’m going to attempt to get back to my normal mileage this week and see how things go.

On a good note, I finally have a gym membership again! Derek was able to get me an inexpensive gym membership at UNC since I am the spouse of a student. We worked out together 3 times last week. I am SO sore, but it feels great to lift again.

I’m keeping things pretty simple on the food front this week. The latter part of the week is forecasted to be cool and rainy – perfect for breaking out the crock pot. I’m really excited for next Sunday. Derek and I are having friends over to watch the Panthers game, which of course means delicious food is in order. Also, I promise to share a recipe this week. I’ve been really bad about that lately. I keep forgetting to take pictures while I cook. Whoops!


 

4 Bridges Half-Marathon Training – Week 9

Monday: Yoga + strength

Tuesday: 4.5 miles

Wednesday: 3 miles or cross-train

Thursday: 4.5 miles + strength

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Cross-train for 50 minutes

Sunday: 10 miles (Double digits!!!)

Meal Plan- Week of 9/22/14

Monday: Homemade Hawaiian/Veggie Pizza + Salad

Tuesday: Turkey Meatballs + Sweet Potato Tots + Green Beans

Wednesday: Maple Glazed Salmon + Couscous + Broccoli

Thursday: Provencal Beef Stew

Friday: Dinner Out

Saturday: Fiesta Chicken Enchiladas + Salad

Sunday: White Chili + Cornbread + Snacks + Beer

4 Bridges Training {Week 8} + Meal Plan

Whew! Another week of training down. Last week went pretty well. I shifted all of my runs back a day because I was too exhausted from traveling to run on Tuesday. I’m back on track after my long run (8 miles) today though.

Unfortunately, I’m starting to have a lot of trouble with my right foot again. I have very high arches, which makes me prone to plantar fasciitis. If you don’t know, plantar fasciitis is a common problem among runners that causes pain in the heel and underside of the foot. The pain is especially bad with first steps in the morning. Fortunately/unfortunately I am quite familiar with plantar fasciitis, and I know what helps me. I wear orthotics, but it might be time to break out the old night splint. I also need to increase my stretching and start icing my heel at night. If the pain doesn’t subside some, I will cross-train more this week to give my foot a break.  It’s a bummer, but at least I know what to do about it.

On a good note, I’m back to posting my meal plans. I’m going to try to post a recipe on Brown is the New Pink soon. It’s been a while!


4 Bridges Half-Marathon Training – Week 8

Monday: Yoga + strength

Tuesday: 4.5 miles

Wednesday: 3 miles or cross-train

Thursday: 4.5 miles + strength

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Cross-train for 50 minutes

Sunday: 9 miles

Meal Plan- Week of 9/15/14

Monday: Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Sandwiches + Homemade Sweet Potato “Fries” + Salad

Wednesday: Maple Glazed Salmon + Couscous + Broccoli

Thursday: Slow Cooker Chili

Friday: Dinner Out

Saturday: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Sunday: Leftovers/Wing It

4 Bridges Training {Week 7}

I am officially half way through half-marathon training! Other than missing my 2 mile run on Wednesday due to crazy thunderstorms, I completed all of my workouts. My long run this week was glorious! It was in the low- to mid-60s, breezy, and cloudy. Perfect running weather! For the first time in my training, I got in the zone and felt like I could keep running. Don’t you love that feeling? I’m hoping my good running vibes will last through this coming week. I’m bumping up my mileage a little bit on every run compared to last week. Bring it on, week 7!

If you’re interested in the 6 previous weeks of training, you can find the posts here:

Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, and Week 6.


4 Bridges Half-Marathon Training – Week 7

Monday: Yoga + strength (My brother, who’s training for a full marathon, suggested I start doing yoga. He said it’s really helped his legs recover fasts. Figured I’d give it a shot.)

Tuesday: 4.5 miles

Wednesday: 3 miles

Thursday: 4.5 miles + strength

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Cross-train for 50 minutes

Sunday: 8 miles

4 Bridges Training {Week 6}

Wow, I can’t believe I’m almost half way through my training plan. T-7 weeks until the race! Once again I’ve been keeping up with the runs, but my strength training has been lackluster. Meh. I’ll try again this week. I won’t be including my meal plan because I’m only in town for half of the week. I’m heading to Kentucky on Thursday for a long weekend with my family. I can’t wait! My dad is an awesome cook, and I know I’ll be spoiled with his delicious food. 🙂

If you’re interested in the previous weeks, you can find them here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, and Week 5.


4 Bridges Half-Marathon Training – Week 6

Monday: Strength + stretch

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: 2 miles

Thursday: Rest (Flight to Kentucky)

Friday: 4 miles + strength

Saturday: Cross-train for 40 minutes (Likely taking Scooter for a long walk!)

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Scooter is my parents’ husky-boxer mix. He’s quite the character.

Sunday: 7 miles

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