Fitness Trackers, are they worth it?

Fitness Trackers

I have had a Fitbit since 2008. In fact, I have had just about every Fitbit as they have evolved. I love the data, finding out how much restful sleep I have had, and making sure I keep active all day. Its a great way to really know how sedentary you are, and where you can make small changes that will make a big difference in your fitness.

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Fitbit – I am currently using The Fitbit Charge HR. I upgraded from the Fitbit Charge, which I upgraded from the Fitbit Zip, which I upgraded from the original Fitbit. First and most importantly, ALL of my Fitbit’s are still working with the exception of my Charge.

I don’t know what happened there, the button on the side must have been faulty. But even my original Fitbit is still going strong. I have passed them on to my family members and they are all happy with them. I prefer my Charge HR to the other wearable that clip on, I have lost the clip on kind more then I can count, they just do not stay on me, so strapping it to my wrist is preferable to me. My daughter however dose not like the watch type ones, and is happy using my old zip. Another reason why Fitbit is my favorite tracker is because of the amazing web site they have. You can track all your food, set goals and see all your data in one place. When I was using Basis, I still used the Fitbit site or my fitness pal to track my food. You can set alarms to silently wake you up, it does steps, calories, my heart rate, floors I have climbed and my distance in miles. I basically only take it off when I am in the shower.

Pros- data, easy tracking and pairing, and the web site is the bomb!

Cons- Loosing the clip on kind, and having to wear two watches or take it off if I want to dress up.

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iwatch – I thought this would retire my Fitbit. I was wrong. I have not been to impressed with the fitness tracker on my iwatch. I spent one entire week wearing both the Fitbit and the iwatch and the steps were completely off, it only logged about half of what Fitbit did. If you are trying to watch your calories in/calories out you need another app for logging your food and steps like my fitness pal or Fitbit. As of today I would not recommend iwatch to use as a fitness tracker, but I will keep my eye out for new updates, and new apps!

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Spire – This is a different little guy from your run of the mill fitness tracker. Spire is all about managing your stress and staying active. Its a clip on, so right away I wasn’t exited, but, the clip is way better then my Fitbit’s, it just feels more secure, and it has never gone missing. The app walks you through clipping the spire on correctly, and it monitors your stress level and activity all day. What make it different –  as your stress changes the app will walk you through different meditations or relaxation techniques, with the idea, that being active and managing your stress will keep you healthy. I love it, I must say most days I just like comparing my stress levels with my husbands, lol, I do not always do the exercises. What can I say I am working on it. But knowing is half the battle right?

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Basis – I was sooo excited for my basis. We were on a waiting list when it first came out, so this review is based on the first model. It has since had at least one incarnation, and been purchased by Intel. The data you get from Basis is top notch, I found it the same or better then my Fitbit. BUT, that’s where we go wrong, that’s all you really get, accurate data, when compared to the Fitbit, where all that data is synced to an amazing web site that helps you work towards a goal Basis is lacking. Again I found myself wearing the basis, but logging all my info on Fitbit. So unless Intel changes something, it makes no sense for me to use one tracker and log my data into another one.

Hands down Fitbit works for me the best. I like to have all my data merged with my goals. For those with weight loss goals, you can input all the food you are eating, and it will tell you based on the goals you set how many calories you can eat that day, and how you did working towards that goal all week, month etc. If you are serious about getting healthy, buy a tracker. If you like data and easy use, buy a Fitbit.

♥Pamela

My Peloton Bike has arrived!

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Repost from 2015 when I got my Peloton bike. 2017 update – I still love it! They update constantly and its a great work out!

 

Yes, I love yoga, and try to practice every day. But, I am a sucker for a nice sweaty spin class. I have done classes at my local gym or YMCA, but I don’t really have a studio close by. When ever I travel to a city that has a SoulCycle I book my classes before I even leave for the airport. At $32 per class, plus shoe rental (if you do not own a pair) its pretty expensive! and not convenient at all. Whats a girl to do?

Enter Peloton. I spotted their add on Pintrest and clicked over. I fell in love. A spin class in my own home. I could not get my credit card out of my purse fast enough. But is it worth it? I have had my bike for just under a week, here is what I think…

First off if you have not heard of SoulCycle or Peloton this is the scoop, imagine if you where at church, an amazing church where the entire congregation was totally into the sermon, and that church was in the hottest club, amazing music, fantastic lighting and every one was moving in sync. That church club  also got you into amazing shape and you were dying to become a member and wanted to worship there every day. That’s how a great spin class feels, and SoulCycle/Peloton has mastered it.

Most of these studios are in major cities, so if you live in suburb, or in a city hat was not blessed enough to be chosen you are pretty much out of luck. Peloton has created a spin bike, with a monitor attached where you can watch a library of classes, or the best part, join in live classes at their NYC location. You can stream the live classes as they happen or do a ride any time from their library which includes spin classes and long distance lance Armstrong kind of rides.

 

The only thing the video does not capture is the excitement of the rides, it can be really high energy and lots of fun! Below id some pros and cons.

Pros –

I don’t have to drive forever to find a class. I can join my favorite teachers and classes live, or ride any time of day.

Bike cleats- you clip in, hard to get used to if you have never done it before, but once you have other bikes do not make sense.

Its fun! Whether you want a pop diva themed class or a chill ride, they have it. The music really is amazing and keeps me going!

Endless choices. The computer on the bike came pre loaded with tons classes, and they are releasing more all the time. if you add that with the streaming classes, you can rise a different class every day for over a year.

Your shipping fee includes set up! The bike was delivered via UPS freight and Peloton arranged to have it put together and set up, I literally could start a ride as soon as the delivery guys left.

Cons –

Its expensive the bike is $1995, plus a monthly subscription ($39) for streaming. But for us, its lower then a gym membership, or paying for a spin class 3x per week. And I share with my hubby and my daughter, so per use it makes sense for me.

Cleats – you need to purchase spin shoes. Peloton gave me a 20% discount on any accessories, I took advantage of that, but you can buy them on amazon as well. If you have never bought bike shoes before try them on! Or read the sizing carefully, my normal size was way too tight.

Space – I am lucky enough to have a fitness centric family, so we all were happy to make our loft into a home gym, if you don’t have a designated room you are going to need space for the bike. You have to allow space to stand next to the bike as well, each session ends with stretching, in studios a lot of people leave at this point, don’t do it, its so rewarding after a long ride, and adds only about 5 minutes.

Wait time. It took over a week after I ordered it.  I was told it would be 4 days. To be fair she said 4 day shipping, which to me was after I paid, but to them, the clock didn’t start ticking until the order was “processed” which meant from the day I ordered it to delivery was 13 days including weekend.

So far I am in love, and the bike is getting a lot of use. I will update and give you more details on riding at home, and pics soon!

♥Pamela

I am Grateful – Cook Book Review

Cook book review – I Am Grateful Recipes and lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude
After my amazing food filled trip to Santa Cruz I was excited to get home, and get cooking in my own kitchen, with my Cafe Gratitude Cook Book. or should I say Un Cook Book.

So far I have made four recipes from the book. If you are unfamiliar with Cafe Gratitude, let me get you up to speed as quickly as I can.

Cafe Gratitude is a Raw Vegan restaurant, and so delish! I am lucky enough to have the location in Santa Cruz, with in driving distance from me.  Cafe Gratitude has this amazing vibe. The menu selections are all named affirmations, so when you order instead of “I will have the macrobiotic bowl”, you say “I am Whole”, and the waitress always says it back. When I visited the San Francisco locations they would always have a question of the day they would ask as well, but I have not had that experience in Santa Cruz.

There is great documentary called May I be Frank, The star, Frank stumbles into Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco, and meets Ryland, the cafe’s manager. Ryland asks Frank, the question of the day, what is one thing you’d like to do before you die? Frank answers ‘I want to fall in love one more time, but with a body like this, no one will love me, because i don’t love myself.’ What follows is 42 days of Frank, with the help of the staff at Cafe Gratitude, take on his weight, health, relationships and loving himself in just 42 days. Definitely worth a watch!

 

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Back to the Cook Book!

I am having a little love affair with Kale right now, who isn’t? so the first recipe I tried out was I Am Giving, a marinated Kale salad. It was put together in almost no time, and tasted amazing! I left out the hijiki seaweed it called for, due to an allergy of mine, and didn’t add any thing in its place. In the book it has you put it all together and serve right away, but I prefer my kale ( I used curly) a little softer, so i made it about a half hour to 45 minutes ahead of time, to let it get a little less firm. The kale was perfect for me. I loved it, and Hubby loved it! We had quite a bit left over which I ate in a wrap the next day for lunch with a bit of brown rice and that was great too, the kale really holds up well in the fridge.
Next I whipped up  I Am Attentive, a spicy tahini sauce. Again, due to it being raw food, it was a cinch to prepare, I just put all my ingredients in my VitaMix V(Thank you Hubby!) and whirled it around for a few seconds. Done! I used the sauce on a rice bowl I threw together using a brown rice and quinoa mix, kale, avocado, cucumber, scallions, basil, and some cilantro. The sauce was hearty and just the perfect amount of spicy. I had left overs of this as well, which was surprising considering every one went back for more, so I put it in a dressing bottle and the fam has been using it on sandwiches and lots more rice bowls.

In short every thing I have made from this book has been great, some of the recipes can be a little complicated, but from what I have tasted so far I am sure they are worth it, if you have a lazy Sunday afternoon to spare. Next I think I will try some of the yummy desserts, or maybe some of the raw crackers!

I am Grateful Cook Book – 4 out of 5 carrots!

 

Taking Care of your dry skin this winter

Taking care of your

 

With winter comes wonderful family get together, cozy sweaters, crock pot meals and unfortunately dry parched skin.

Here are some of my tips on keeping your skin hydrated and healthy this holiday season,

Drink more water! The more the better. Toss in a few cups of herbal peppermint tea to keep it festive!

Exfoliate! I like to use my Clairisonic at least once a day, its water proof, so I keep mine in the shower to save time.

Moisturize the heck out of your skin I like Valentia Even Glow Serum. Its loaded with vitamin C, which brightens up your skin, and feels amazing. It is a little thick, which is great for winter dryness. My skin feels so smooth and amazing! And it smells delicious!!

Speaking of moisturizing, don’t forget the fragile skin around your eyes, Since I am obsessed with Vitamin C skin creams I tried Valentia True Glow Eye Cream and I was just as tickled with it as with my serum. It has that same yummy smell and just disappears into my skin, leaving my eyes feeling refreshed and bright.

Use a humidifier at night. This helps with both moisture AND anti aging. I use mine year round.

How do you change your skin care routine for the winter?

♥ – p

 

 

Peloton Bike Update

As promised, here is an update on my experience owning a Peloton Bike.

I have had the bike now for about a month, and I am still in love with it as ever! It has been amazing having it here in my house being able to join a live class or stream from the library when ever I want to. The only hiccup I had was the shoes, I ordered a pair from Peloton using their size recommendations, and they were way too small, the pair ended up fitting my daughter, so she kept them and I ordered another pair off amazon following their sizing chart, they arrived, too small again! I was so frustrated. In the end, I headed to a local bike shop to get a pair i could try on, but in the process I bought 3 pairs of shoes!

Now that I am all set with my gear, I tend to ride pretty much every day. What is great about the streaming classes is even if I don’t have a lot of time there is usually a class I can fit in, from 15 minute beginner classes, up to 45 minutes theme rides they have it.

My husband likes the metric rides the best, he feels like the hills and weights give him the best work outs, I like the music themed classes. The Justin Timberlake vs NSync ride with Cody is my favorite so far! He’s amazing and motivating and the music keeps me into it. I did make some adjustments to our home gym area. It helped me to install some room darkening curtains, that way I did not get any glare and it felt more like a ride at one of the studios. It made a big difference for me as far as really focusing on the class.

If you remember from my original post, I love me some SoulCycle, I was a little worried that Peloton would not live up to my experiences in a SoulCycle studio, but it has! I just love being able to get a spin class of this quality in my home! Totally recommend getting your own bike.

♥P