Friday, April 29, 2016

Sworkit Kids app mini-review

I've downloaded some apps for my phone with the goal of getting my 4 year old more interested in fitness, and I'm continuing to post some mini-reviews as we try out these apps.

We tried "Sworkit Kids" next.  I first heard of Sworkit on Shark Tank - they've got an app for adults where you can build customized workouts that you can easily do at home with no additional equipment.  Sounds great!  

Even better, they've got a kids-focused version, though they do describe it as being for kids 7-14.  So I use this app with him and make the key decisions, and then we do the workouts together.  

First, you select the type of workout - strength, agility, or flexibility and balance (or you can create a custom workout but I haven't done that yet).  You can choose a time (5 minutes and up) and the app puts together 30 seconds of various exercises. again with a short demo (5 seconds) and then 30 seconds to do it -- with the exercise continuing to be shown. Bonus is that this is designed for kids, so you see kids doing the movements. 

I really, really like this app.  Watching the kid do the exercise while the countdown is happening is key.  After every 5 exercises, it gives a 30 second break which is nice.  The graphics are clean, the voice guidance is calming and clear, and there's a ton of customization in here to be explored.  It's also a free app and ad-free.  Highly recommended!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fitbreak app mini-review

Recently, I downloaded some apps for my phone with the goal of getting my 4 year old more interested in fitness.  He's a visual guy, so I'm hoping this might entice him more than me just saying "hey, let's do a plank!" ;)  I'm going to post some mini-reviews as we try out these apps.

First, we tried the "FitBreak" app, developed by Weight Watchers.  It's full of one minute exercises.  You watch a quick (15-30 seconds) demo, then a 3 second countdown, and then you watch a timer count down while you do that exercise for one full minute.  My son loves to watch timers and count anything down (who knew microwaves could be so thrilling?), so this appeals to him.   

However, I really didn't like that you only see a big timer for that sixty seconds - you're not watching the actual exercise again.  I used a screenshot they provide on their web site here to show how it look.  It's great for little man who loves to countdown, but not so great when mama is trying to get him to do the movements with her.  

You can filter the exercises by environment (work, outside, home), intensity (low, moderate, high), and target area (arms/shoulder, abs, butt, legs, full body and cardio).  I like that you can do this type of customization, but it's frustrating that you spend so much time in the app without following along with an exercise.  30 seconds of demo, plus 3 seconds countdown - and then you do your movement for 60 seconds with no reference video or images.  Disappointing.

Overall I'm not recommending this as an app to use with young kids, but looks possibly motivating for adults who can only squeeze in a few minutes of activity at one time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

passing along the wrong genetics

I haven't written a lot about my son on my blog here, since I tend to selfishly focus on my weight loss journey.  My son just turned 4, and at his physical last week, the pediatrician gave us a lecture about nutrition because my son is technically obese.  He's 67%ile in height, 92%ile in weight and 96%ile in BMI.  

This breaks my heart.  I don't think he looks "fat" at all - he's got a little belly on him, but that doesn't seem excessive to me.  He seems tall, compared to his friends, but not apparently to the growth charts. ;)  

As you can guess, I've struggled with my weight my entire life - and this is something I've been hyper-aware about with the little guy.  His nutrition is great.  Only drinks water and one glass of milk a day.  Never any juice.  Lots of proteins and veggies and fruits, and whole grain carbs.  Sweets are a rare treat.  He just loves to eat - a lot.  

Lately we've been talking about which foods are good for your body and which foods you need to only have rarely.  It really helps that I don't keep crap food in our house and that we only eat out maybe twice a month.  (When relatives come to visit though, like they did this month, that number unfortunately goes up.)  

He's very much a homebody though - he loves to read and do puzzles and play with magnatiles and his new marble run and such.  He's happiest to be at home.  So we both need to work on incorporating more movement into our time at home - and also get more activity outside as well!  Luckily the weather is improving and hopefully we'll get out to parks more often.  Hopefully he'll also get interested in his bicycle more than just walking it. ;)

If you have kids, how do you show them a healthy lifestyle?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

trying new things

I've only had one chance to get back into a pool since my last post, but I did two lengths of the pool that time.  Progress! ;)

Tonight, the gym had a special event thing going on, where you got a passport and had to get it stamped at six stations.  I did this *after* my 60 minute booty-kicking U-Jam Fitness class, when I was already soaked with sweat.  First station: burpees.  Oh hell no, I said.  The perky trainer showed me a couple of lower-impact variations, and I knocked out ten of them to earn my stamp.  I don't know if I can do one proper burpee, but it was pretty motivating to be able to do 10 of the modified version - and quickly, too.  Other stations included a 30 second plank (I do those at home often), 30 seconds of mountain climbers, 5 hands-overhead-squats, and ten TRX-rope pull-ups (I have no clue if I'm calling it anything near what it actually is...).  The trainers were all super-overly-encouraging, which I appreciate and understand since this really is a selling point for getting you to sign up for personal training. ;)

For me though, it was motivating to try things I don't normally do and to have a small bit of success.  I want to make a goal of trying a new workout each month (starting next month) and start to challenge my body in a different way.  My weight loss is slow right now (thanks to kid's birthday and extended houseguest visits), so I need to get back on track.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Changing it up

I've been feeling less-than-fabulous lately, which lead to a really unpleasant workout on Friday, and then no workouts at all for the next three days.  Tip from my group exercise instructor friend - if you don't feel well and it's all in your head, go ahead and go to class... but if it's lower, skip it.  Lesson I learned: don't even try a cardio exercise class when you're having gastrointestinal issues.  I nearly threw up when trying to do subtle crunches.  Ugh.

Thankfully, I'm feeling a bit better now, and have worked out this morning and the past two nights too (not back to 100%, but better!).

This morning after my cardio workout, I changed into my swimsuit to jump into the hot tub - one of my favorite "rewards" after workouts when I can fit in the time (maybe once or twice a week if I'm lucky).  Today however, I jumped into the lap pool first (only one lane was occupied - the two empty lanes called to me!).  I haven't swum a lap in years - maybe even decades?  I used to do a lot of water aerobics about 11-13 years ago, but that wasn't laps.

Well, uhm.  I did one length of the pool with the traditional forward crawl.  Felt good while I was doing it, and then I touched the wall and stood up for a moment.  Oh my.  I was so out of breath!  I stood there for a few minutes and just was kinda amazed and a bit disappointed in my body's reaction - I had done a 60 minute dance workout less than an hour prior, and have been doing those an average of 5 or 6 days a week.  But one length of the pool and I was ready to keel over!  UGH!

Quite the reminder that you need to change it up to help keep your body healthy - and hopefully next time, I'll get in that full lap. ;)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Goals - March report

March is done! Let's review the goals:
  1. Lose an average of one pound a week - not met.  Doh.  So this is a weird one, and one that really makes me feel like a data geek. ;)  Straight numbers on the scale, I'm down 2.6 pounds.  But the trend is actually just shy of 4 pounds down for the month.  The dots on the graph (provided from the Happy Scale app) are the actual weight each day, the blue line is the overall trend, and the green shading is the trends from 30 days prior.  I'm frustrated that I'm two pounds higher than my lowest weight earlier this month, but I did have a couple of poor food decisions, and that does have an effect!  However, I am still taking this as a WIN for the month because I weighed less at the end of the month than I did at the start of the month. ;)
  2. Work out at least 20 times a month - met!  27 workouts this month.  Seven days with no workouts and 3 days with two workouts.  Thankfully, none of the no workout days were back-to-back.  I'm at 82 workouts for the year.  Woo!  I haven't felt 100% fabulous every day this month, and had some outside obligations take away workouts on a couple of days.  I'm trying to make it a big priority to not miss workouts two days in a row - I missed yesterday due to a stomach bug, and really hoping I feel better this evening and make it to a class!
  3. Cook one new (and healthy!) recipe a month - met!  Even posted one of the recipes here on the blog.  I tried two others, one was a hit and one was not.  Need to keep a focus on this and doing more "new" cooking instead of relying on the old basics.  
  4. Make an effort to eat clean and healthy the majority of the time - partially met?  I'm trying hard on this - and really, really trying to resist temptation when I can.  Didn't buy any Easter candy before the holiday, and only bought a couple of things afterwards on sale. ;)  I did give in to all-you-can-eat sushi one night, but then we got bad news while we were at dinner so I lost my appetite and didn't end up overeating as much as I used to (but that's the spike you see on the scale near the end of the month).  We used to go to that place once a month or so, but haven't been in at least 9 months so that's an improvement? ;)  
A quarter of the year in, I'm down over 12 pounds and I've got 82 workouts under my belt.  Challenges ahead this month include my son's birthday and having family staying with us for over a week.  Would love to meet all these goals in April! :)