Thursday, July 31, 2014

Second Time At Soccer

Three weeks ago, I posted about going to SOCCER for the first time in years.  Overcoming my extreme anxiety for trying something new (Sweating Soccer Style). It was a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I had been looking forward to going again ... and then my munchkin got sick I had to skip it the next week. The week after that was a state holiday so no soccer that day. As I anticipated going back this week ... I can't believe how nervous I was about it! So anxious I considered not going.

I was actually afraid that would happen. I know myself!  Several years ago we did a family 5K. It was my first 5k race. It's been my ONLY 5k race. Seriously, I was on a pretty good high after finishing that first 5k. I came home and looked up others, anxious to try it again. Then I didn't. And I haven't.  And I'm not sure if I'll be able to overcome my anxiety issues enough to try again at this point. 

When my little guy got sick that Thursday morning two weeks ago and I skipped soccer ... I wondered if that would impact me going back. If I'd talk myself out of it. 

One of the things that helped me this morning was that I did NOT have my usual Zumba class to go to instead. My Thursday class took a summer break for July, but had been scheduled to start again today. But then they posted they were postponing the return until next week. So my schedule was absolutely open for soccer. I felt anxious and nervous instead of excited ... but I went.  And it was fun *Ü*  Now I'll have to make some decisions about Zumba/Soccer in the coming weeks, as they do happen at the same time.

My second soccer experience was similar to the first. This is a very casual, easy going, fun game. But it's so interesting to see how quickly my heart rate jumps, and how easily it stays elevated (whereas with all other exercise I really struggle to get my heart rate up and keep it up). I didn't quite get as high a calorie burn as I did the first time (635 vs 783 per my HRM). Although I was still super sweaty today, I didn't feel like I pushed it quite as much. After my first time, I had trouble driving home! My right leg was SO wiped out I actually had to use my hand to help lift my leg from gas to brake. I was SO sore for a couple days afterward. We'll see how I do this time!

I'm going to make it a goal to go to soccer at LEAST once a month. It will be interesting to see if my body acclimates to the sudden sprinting soccer requires. To watch if my heart rate continues to easily elevate, or if it adjusts. I'd like to improve my skills, run a bit more and up my step count and Fitbit calorie estimate. 

Back in the day when I actually played soccer (as a teen, Soccer Past & Present) I was always more comfortable in the defensive positions. I find myself naturally falling back into the defensive positions these times I've played as an adult. The forwards do have tend to run a lot more, and I fear the responsibility of taking a shot. But it would be fun to score ... I'll have to keep working at it.

I'm glad I went again today. Another NSV ... I hope at some point going to soccer will be ordinary and regular, NOT an NSV, but it still is today! *Ü* I wonder if I should just go and play, and not watch my heart rate, but it is so interesting to me to see how the different activities affect my heart rate and calorie burn estimates. I love numbers and the feedback and comparisons workout to workout.  Did you notice anything different about my HRM too?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Oops They Did It Again

I'm a Fitbit fan. Had mine for over four years now. There have been some changes over the years. The biggest for me was upgrading my original Ultra to the new One (it's been a good change). Last year, Fitbit updated their website dashboard (Fitbit Fluctuations) and it was a bit of a struggle for me to get used to. I liked some things better, but missed items that didn't survive the shift. Well ... they've done it again! Another Fitbit Dashboard Update.

If you scan through some of my Fitbit posts, you can see how things used to look ... this isn't a BIG change. The tiles are the same, the visuals are just tweaked slightly. I really like the look of the new "sleep" visual. I'm not sure I like the lines on my daily activity graph ... My Fitbit friends are now in circles instead of squares.  I had noticed the new "This Week's Activity" tile a couple weeks ago (I pointed it out in my July 21 Motivated Monday post). It was so new and they've already tweaked it too! I like the circle graphs, but the line graphs ... they seem SO blocky. Not sure I care for the look there. I assume I'll adjust with time.

You can see I've already done pretty well with my workouts today. Hit the elliptical first thing, then went to Zumba. Then another elliptical session. I might run to the salon to get my hair done. I HATE just sitting though, I dread it! I know ... what a rough life I lead *Ü*

Linking up with Workout Wednesday and the Hump Day Blog Hop.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sleep Stuff

Sleep. I love it! I feel pretty lucky that I have very few issues with sleeping. Yes, I have the occasional night when I have trouble getting to sleep, or wake up in the night, but those times are pretty few and far between.

There are a lot of articles out there telling us all the importance of sleep. We need our "beauty" sleep, we need to be well rested to function. I remember reading one not long ago saying that inconsistent bedtimes can lead to weight gain.

For the most part, the hubs and I are a pretty "early to bed early to rise" couple. It's not uncommon for us to start shutting things down around 9:00 or 10:00, much to the chagrin of our teenage children (#2, Mr. Social who wants to stay out late with friends but then also needs a ride home). I remember pushing the curfew myself when I was that age, but I was never really a night owl. My friends knew that after 10:00, Jen got a little loopy!

My wear my Fitbit One to bed, clipped onto my nightshirt (not in the little wristband as it is actually supposed to be worn). It tracks my sleep. I don't know how accurate it really is, but as of this year, I have been recording my "to bed" "awakened" and "hours asleep" with the rest of my numbers. It has been interesting to watch the trends. To compare how I felt my night was, with what the Fitbit feedback reflected.

I mentioned we did get #3 set up with a Fitbit (Tracking the Family. He was the last one to get one). He has the One, and I did want him to have that model because I was interested in having him use the sleep tracker. He complains constantly that it took him hours to get to sleep, that he didn't sleep at all. I thought it would be interesting to see what the Fitbit said about that. It's still very new, so we don't have a lot of data yet.  He's actually on a little vacation right now. I received a text from him this morning with a picture of his Fitbit, with 45 steps on it. He said he woke up with that. Now if you read the Fitbit forums, you'll probably come across tales of "phantom" steps ... sometimes that happens. But for my son, apparently there WAS a little sleepwalking going on (he does do that) as both a cousin and Aunt verified that he had walked around a little bit in the night.

Wearing the Fitbit to bed can track simple things like how often/when you got up during the night, as well as your restlessness while you lay in bed. I have posted about the Fitbit sleep tracking before. There are several other devices that track sleep too ... apps for your phone, or beddit (that one looks interesting).

I'm a very light sleeper ... maybe it's the "mommy" in me, always keeping an ear out for the kids. We're at a great stage right now though, where all my kids are really good about going to bed and staying asleep. I don't miss the baby days of night-time feedings and kids in the bed with us!

While many things affecting our sleep are out of our control, our actions can contribute to bad sleeping habits.  Caffeine or over eating too close to bedtime ... the late exercise, watching tv or electronics really doesn't seem to impact ME negatively (generally I'm falling asleep with my iphone kindle app in hand). I DO keep our bedroom cool, as I have trouble sleeping if it's hot. We keep the room pretty dark, although I do wish our window blinds were a bit better at blocking out any outdoor light. I thought this article (Can't Sleep? Your Guide To A Better Night's Rest) had some good ideas. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Five Look Back and WWI#53

Yesterday I talked about the number 22 ... today it's five, Friday Five. The DC Bloggers are looking back at their goals. I didn't set any "New Years Resolutions" and my goals have stayed pretty much the same ... but I thought I'd look back on five things I'd mentioned a while back and let you know where things are standing now.

  • Revising My Records: Back in January I posted how I was switching from my small recording notebook to a bigger one. It didn't QUITE work out that way. I did revert back to the small one for downstairs. I do still write my stats on it each day and tear off the sheet and bring it upstairs. I so still have the bigger notebook, which I keep upstairs by the computer. I'm pretty good about transferring the stats from my single sheet to the notebook and then tossing the small sheet so they don't pile up (like in the picture). I do like having the bigger notebook with everything in it, nice and organized for me to keep (although I do still transfer the info to the computer as well). 
  • A Farewell To French Tips: Back in March I said goodbye to my pretty, acrylic nails. I loved the look. I didn't love the upkeep or the cost (in time and money). It took a good two months to finally grow out the damage. I really don't know that I'll ever be able to grow them to anything I'll be happy with. I did just invest in some Pink Armor Nail Gel that had some good reviews ... but as far as I can tell it's no different than any other nail strengthener I've tried. I was doing ok ... until yesterday! One of my nails got a snag and I couldn't leave it alone. I'd nibble at it and soon it was gone. Once I've attacked one, I often attack the others. Not down to the quick, but I lost the tiny progress I had. Starting over ...
  • My Treadmill 5K: In April, I was excited to finally "jog" a 5k (no walking!). In that post I pondered "will I do this once a month" .... ummm, no, I haven't even attempted it again.
  • Check Engine: Also in April, I posted about our car troubles. The dang "check engine" light on in my son's truck and in my suburban. Happily, the light magically went off in my car Someone had commented that once it was just their gas cap not on tight enough ... I HAD had that warning, and I guess it just took a little time for things to regulate after I had fixed that tiny issue.  My son's car did not have such a happy ending ... we couldn't pass emmissions inspection, thus couldn't register the car and be legal. No easy fix either ... a "cylinder misfire" which can't really even be repaired. You have to replace the engine! We did manage to get a waiver to just buy us some time (got registered for this year) while we figure out what to do. I'm actually driving the truck this coming week. Hope it holds up for me!
  • Committing to Fruits/Veggies: I've posted about Pact a few times, and every time I wonder aloud if in addition to the "gym" and "food logging" pacts I've committed to, if I should try the "veggie" pact. I really considered it ... but have decided NOT to do it. Having to take a picture, post it and wait for people to vote and approve it just seemed more stress than it would be worth (especially as I'm on a Facebook group where people post some of their vote downs and showcase people cheating). I just decided to stick with my food and fitness pacts, which are easy peasy for me. I will TRY to eat more fruits and veggies still ... just not commit to them on Pact.
I just KNOW you've been wondering about these topics with baited breath, so there you go. The updates! I also know you are anxiously awaiting my weigh-in results, so without any further adieu ...

I'm the S.A.M.E. Again! Down to the ounce. I'm consistent at least, right? That's three weeks in a row at 152.6. I did finally go in and update my WEEKLY WEIGH-IN page... easier to see the week to week trend. I haven't yet crunched my weekly numbers, I will. I'm happy I'm not gaining ... I AM still trying to lose, not maintain. Just taunting me with these few pounds, that elusive 150. Gotta get below and THEN stay steady. I know it's just a few pounds, and I know it's just a number ... but it's the number I have in my head! 

So, linking up with the Friday Five blog hops ... the DC Bloggers ((Courtney, Mar and Cynthia) Friday Five.  Other Friday linkups ... Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes, Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour, High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth and Five Things Friday at Fitting It All In and with my weekly check-in link-ups: Fitness Friday with Jill and Aubrey  and a late Weigh-In Wednesday.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Number 22

Twenty-Two. What do you think of when you hear that number? 22,000 just happens to be my daily step goal, but this past Tuesday (the 22nd!) it had a different meaning. My 22nd anniversary. I went through some old photos and posted a bunch to a Facebook album (J&G). 

We've had our ups and downs these past 22 years. Life ups and downs, weight ups and downs. Life has been good and I consider myself very lucky!  We had a pretty basic day ... the hubs worked, I hit Zumba, did laundry, kept the kidlets entertained. In the evening we went out to Texas Roadhouse, it's one of our favorite places. I'm a simple steak and potatoes kind of gal. I ate a couple too many rolls but they are so good. We did skip dessert.

I hadn't been sure I'd get to my daily goal of 22,000 steps here on the 22nd of July, my 22nd wedding anniversary. But there at the end of the day I could see I was close, and I did walk around until I had passed that magic number *Ü*  Twenty Two.

As I prepped the photo collage and anniversary album was just interesting to note the prevalence of pictures (and the lack thereof) . There were quite a few photos from the dating years and our early married life. Then they slowed. At least the pictures of ME. For years, I was pretty successful at avoiding the camera. Then came 2006 when I lost the weight. Suddenly, I was in quite a few photos again (hubs and I were also actively "dating" again and taking more pictures, in fact we did a little "photo a day challenge" of us together one month *Ü*) I do still struggle with pictures though! Having lost some of the weight, the chances of looking good in a picture have increased, but I still don't think I'm very photogenic. And if you say "but you look good" ... it's because I only post the decent ones (do you do that?) I have posted about this before (Picture Imperfect). I do try not to hide from the camera so much. 

  Just sharing my thoughts on the number 22 and on appearing in pictures. 
Thinking out Loud this Thursday. 
Shouting out "I Love You" to my man!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Heart Rate Monitors

I've been a pedometer person for over eight years. I discovered Fitbit four years ago. It wasn't until last year (Spring 2013) that I first invested in a heart rate monitor. I wasn't that impressed at the beginning, and I'm always anxious to take it off asap (unlike my Fitbit which I wear 24/7) ... but my HRM has become an integral part of my fitness feedback and tracking.

I had been perfectly pleased with my Fitbit, and wasn't really looking for anything new. As I joined MFP and started reading the forums there, it seemed heart rate monitors were highly recommended for calorie estimates during your workouts. I looked into some, was impressed with the reviews and price of the PolarFT4 and purchased it. 

Originally ... I didn't like it much at all and I very close to giving it away to someone who would appreciate it. Having to wear the strap (and moisten the strap, yuck!) was uncomfortable. I'd have to put the pieces together and put it on before every workout (as I would take it off immediately after).  I had to remember to actually start it (oh the frustration on finishing a workout only to determine I had not done that), and sometimes it had trouble finding my heart beat. Then of course, there were the actual estimates. They were LOW. Lower than the machine readouts, lower than the Fitbit. It seems like everyone else would say their HRM readings came in higher than their other estimates. If they were accurate, I guess that was good for me to know though.

As I'm on and off my elliptical multiple times a day ... I don't put on my HRM for it anymore (after a few times to see that I am pretty consistent, and consistently lower than the machine and Fitbit estimates). Same goes for the stationary bike. I would wear it if I walked or jogged, for my 30DS workouts, and most recently for Zumba. I'd still wear my Fitbit and then compare the estimates.

Beyond the calorie estimate itself ... a HRM can provide you with very interesting data DURING your workout. You can watch you heart rate go up and down, see what it takes to maintain it "in the zone", see how high it gets, see how quickly it can drop if you stop moving. I really use the feedback when jogging or during Zumba, and I purposely try to keep it "in the zone" (between 115-150 beats), increasing my intensity if I see it dropping down. Many will also dial it back if they get it up too high ... THAT just doesn't really seem to be a problem for me (I guess maybe I'm a bit wimpy). 

I am a numbers gal. I would LOVE to know for sure what my calorie burn (and intake) is, but I know it's all estimates (Exercise Estimates). Just to make the matter even more confusing, I keep reading that HRMs, while probably the best estimator for steady-state cardio, are NOT good for tracking other exercises (weight training for example).   Heart Rate Monitors and Strength Training & Heart Rate Monitors and Calorie Estimation. I don't know how "expert" the authors are, but as I try to look into it, it does seem to be supported. I'm always interested in learning more and trying to get my numbers as accurate as possible.

So while I'll never look at my HRM and say "I just burned xx of calories" and take it as fact, I will appreciate any and all feedback. I'll take the calorie estimate with a grain of salt, but if it's higher than yesterday's calorie estimate for the same type of workout, I consider that a thumbs up. I'll watch my max, and my average ... at how fast my heart rate drops back down (that's a good thing, right? Your heart recovering quickly?)  I'm still learning myself!  Here's another article spotlighting the PolarFT4 and another good article about HRMs in general (The Real Facts about HRMs). So much information!  

Do you own a heart rate monitor?
What's your experience?
Thoughts on their calorie estimates?

Linking up with Workout Wednesday and the Hump Day Blog Hop.

Just for fun, going along with my topic today ... I thought I'd share a couple "heart beat" songs that I've been enjoying lately. Both have a great jogging beat (around 160BPM) and both are available for FREE download from Freegal (libraries all over the US participate in this, sign in with your library card and download the MP3s for free!) Linking up with The Thrifty Home.
Heart Skips a Beat by Lenka on Grooveshark

 Song #1 is "My Heart Skips a Beat" by Lenka
Song #2 is "Pulses" by Karmin (which I couldn't find on Grooveshark to include here).


Monday, July 21, 2014

Motivated Monday!

I'm not normal. It seems like whenever people talk about something "the average person" likes, dislikes, needs, etc ... it just doesn't seem to apply to me. Take Mondays. I LOVE Mondays. I dread the weekends! While I know many fitness fanatics don't care for rest days ... they often seem to say they come back refreshed anyway. Not me. I took a rest day last Sunday and proceeded to have a pretty crappy week. Admittedly, there was some other stuff going on too (see last Thurs and/or Friday's posts) but I feel like the rest day just stopped my momentum. I did NOT rest this Sunday and I'm feeling totally ready to attack the week!

Looking back on the weekend ... on Friday, at Zumba, I FINALLY felt like I was "back". I felt the Zumba joy, finally! The hubs and I hit a movie in the evening (The Edge of Tomorrow) and I really enjoyed it. Ate too much popcorn and treats though, not sure if it was that, or if I just picked up the germs for the kidlets (who had been sick Monday and Thursday last week) ... in the wee hours of Saturday morning ... I was sick. Luckily I was a "one and done" but my Saturday was pretty much shot.

I've mentioned my various reward programs (Reaping the Rewards, Reward Updates) before and said that I wasn't sure if they motivate me, as I'm generally working out regardless ... but this weekend was an exception. I am signed up with PACT, where I have committed to "workout"  six out of seven days in the week (10,000 Fitbit steps count as a workout).  I like that little bit of leeway, but I like to have my Pact completed by Saturday, so I can take it easy on Sunday if I want.  I did try some elliptical on Saturday, but I was feeling pretty wiped out. I only got in 15 minutes, and a couple little five minute sessions. Near the end of the day I was at 8,500 steps, so I decided to just go ahead and hit the elliptical again to get to 10k for the day.
Often I try to get 10,000 steps by 10 a.m. 
... on Saturday, it was all I could do to get them by 10 p.m.
But I got them!

 Unfortunately my sickness didn't affect my appetite.
#1 picked up donuts on Saturday ... and they tasted good.
I still had plenty to add to my food log.

I spent a little time Saturday playing around on the Fitstudio site too ... generally I've just been pretty happy to check in once or twice during the week to check on my points. I mainly just want to get the 14 miles to earn my 5,000 points ($5 store credit). I'll usually take a minute to sign up for a goal or a challenge while I'm there, approve any friend requests. These little things get you a few extra points. I was proactively going after some additional points though ... linking up my Facebook, posting a status, sharing my status on Facebook. I think I might try to do that more often to get a few more points ...  and of course exercising too! 

I spent a little time on the Fitbit site over the weekend as well! I'd been talking to Fitbit customer service about my little device. For the past several weeks, my "floors" counter has gone a bit crazy (I mentioned it mid-June, Stacked Stats). I just wasn't sure if the Fitbit crediting me with 200+ flights of stairs was perhaps inflating my calorie count. Even though my Fitbit was over a year old, and otherwise working properly, Fitbit customer service said they would send me out a new one. I received it on Saturday and got myself set up. As my old one did count steps and active minutes properly, I went ahead and assigned it to kid #3 (the only one in the family without a Fitbit). We'll just disregard the floors and the calorie burn, but he can compete with us all on steps.

 As I was on the Fitbit site, I rearranged my tiles, and discovered one (This Week's Activity ... see it in the middle there) which hadn't been there last time I checked. Admittedly ... I don't remember when I had actually looked last. I can switch that tab to to calories too (in and out!)

I think I'll keep it there on my chart.  Fitbit is always changing and evolving. I still remember the old dashboard ... and I still really miss the pie chart (Fitbit Fluctuations). There are some additional changes I'd REALLY LIKE (future blog post rant?)

So ... back to the weekend! Sunday, I woke up feeling completely better and ready to get at it again. NOT taking a rest day, not taking it easy as I sometimes do on "Slow Sundays". The hubs went off for a bike ride, and I hit the elliptical and then did some YouTube Zumba. It was raining off and on ... it would stop and start so suddenly. I've been walking to and from church every week, but I just wasn't sure if I should risk it. I did. And I got rained on! I was completely speckled walking into church even with my mad dash there at the end! Pretty funny! The little boys had been shooting some bb guns over the weekend, and after church they were out shooting cans when the rain came again. It didn't stop them either (which is actually kind of a big deal, if you know my #4 who has a weather phobia! Anxiety Issues).

I also finished up my latest TV series over the weekend (Big Love ... all five seasons). I was ready for it to be done. Ready to move onto something else. I guess I'll try Warehouse 13. I've heard good things about it and was a fan of The X-Files back in the day (also watched season 1 of Fringe, which seems similar). You know TV is a big motivator for me (Me and the TV). I finished up my book too. Sometimes it's hard to decide what to commit to next in both TV and books. I do want something I'm excited about, that urges me to hit the elliptical or stationary bike to get in a show or some reading.

Linking up with MIMM and of course, co-hosting the Motivation Monday linkup.
How was YOUR weekend?
What have you found has been motivating you lately?

Link Up With Us!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Funnies - Colbert Clip

I have always loved grabbing the comics section from the Sunday paper ... I just used a Zits comic strip in my Friday post! I don't always blog on Sundays, buthere and there I try to spotlight some Sunday Fitness Funnies. This week, I thought I'd share a clip from the Colbert Report which touched on the Fitbit (you know I'm a fan!) and a new way to track your liquid calories ...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Zumba Favorites and WWI#52

Ah Zumba ...I've had a bit of an off week, and today for the first time, I felt BACK. At Zumba, feeling the energy and the joy. There were a few of my favorite numbers today, I'm sure that helped knock me back into the mood. I think everyone has some favorites when it comes to Zumba. Whether it's the music or the moves, the instructor's smile and energy ... or just the simple fact of it being a number you KNOW. That you are familiar enough with the steps that you can easily dance along. For the Friday Five today, I thought I'd feature five of my favorite routines I've learned in the various classes I've attended.

I think I loved this one from the first time it was introduced. I went home and purchased the song, and was happy when I found the video on YouTube. A few weeks went by without it coming up in the rotation, I mentioned that we should do it to the instructor and the very next song she did! We did this one today in class (after a small suggestion from me).  

This was another "love" at first dance. I'd actually seen the song come across the official Zumba Facebook page, but hadn't checked out the moves. But I recognized it when it came on in class that same day. Very catchy and easy to follow.

I remember the first time I saw this number, my eyes were glued to the instructor's feet, just trying to follow along. Once I got the steps, this has been a favorite! I COULD actually do this one without looking at the instructor now!

This one has been popular in many classes .... and each instructor does seem to do parts of it differently. The main part, the kick and side hop is the same (although several instructors only do it twice and then move into different steps).

This one was not originally a favorite, but it has really grown on me! It's pretty funny to even imagine a bunch of older ladies getting down to this ... I know MY kids are shocked that I know this song (much less dance to it and like it!) I thought this was a good one to include, in light of the comic strip I started with.

It was hard to choose just five. I'll have to share some other favorites in the future! I do have a pretty good YouTube playlist going ...

This does go along with the theme of the DC Bloggers ((Courtney, Mar and Cynthia) Friday Five.  Other Friday linkups ... Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes, Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour, High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth and Five Things Friday at Fitting It All In.

And now it's time for my week recap and weigh-in ...

... and, the exact same weight I was last week. I did fluctuate a bit more during the week, hitting a high of 155.3. Low was 151.8. The average was up slightly. 2379 was the average calories in. 2767 was the average burn, which is lower than usual.

It's been an off week. A little over a week ago, I tried soccer for the first time in years and by Saturday morning, my legs were SO stiff and sore. I didn't get much in on Saturday, and took Sunday as a rest day. I was not feeling super motivated Monday morning ... and then had a barfing boy, which pulled me away from my Zumba class. I still ended up getting good numbers Monday, but just felt like I was dragging Tuesday/Wednesday... instead of reinvigorating and motivating me, my rest day seemed to have done just the opposite. Made me lazy.  Thursday I had another child down with the stomach flu, I didn't get much done that day. Scout camps and some other stuff added to some emotional turmoil so ... not a great week. I guess I'm glad I simply stayed steady!

I didn't get weights in this week. 
It's the first week I've missed in quite a while!

This next week will have some stuff going on (my anniversary, state holiday, vacation prep) so we'll have to see how it goes! There's always something, isn't there?

How was your week?

I'm linking up with  Fitness Friday with Jill and Aubrey  
and a late Weigh-In Wednesday.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Scouts, Sickness, Soccer, Sunburn & Steals

It's Thursday. Time for "Thinking Out Loud" ... I have had a lot on my mind of late. I often join this linkup and expound on one particular topic, but today I'll be a little more random (which is more what blog host Amanda at Running With Spoons does each week).  As I like alliteration, this week's Thinking Out Loud is brought to you by the letter "S" ...
  • SCOUTS: The picture is old (2011) ... but that's ok, as it's Throwback Thursday! I have a love/hate relationship with scouts. Ok, I must admit, there is no love. I'm just NOT a scouting mama, which is a shame as I have five boys (Blackham Boy Scouts). The hubs is quite involved though, and perhaps that plays into some of my dislike. He spends so much time and money, I guess I do resent it sometimes. And my boys don't particularly like it. I have a hard time being the "mean mom" and making them go when I have negative feelings toward it myself. This week has been an ordeal! #3 had his week long scout camp, which he did NOT want to go on. The two little ones had their day camp, which they did not want to go on. There have been tears and tantrums and misery. Instead of getting a "mommy break" having my boys gone, I'm super stressed the entire time :(
  • SICKNESS:  Monday morning, #4 was complaining of a tummy ache. He then threw up. He had a couple more violent sessions then made it through most of the day, only to have another attack in the evening. We've had some bad bugs go through the entire family, I had a bad case last December (after a week of the seasonal flu ... Flu x2). I was really hoping that no one else would get it, and thought we were ok after a couple days passed. But last night, #5 barged into the bedroom "I'm going to throw up"  and he did. I had managed to get him out into the hallway, so at least it was hardwood floors, not carpet or bedding (I'd spent much of Monday/Tuesday washing as #4 hadn't had such luck). 
  • SOCCER: So ... no soccer for me today (because of the sick kid). I was SO sore for days after playing last week, but had finally recovered. Just in time to hit the field again. But alas ... and they won't have it next week (July24 is a state holiday here in Utah) and then the week after that Zumba starts up again. Should I stick with soccer (a different workout, a killer workout)? I'd have a hard time missing out on my Zumba class, but they are only offered at the same time! What to do ...
  • SUNBURNED SKIN: Hubs and the kids hit the lake on Saturday. Even with application of sunscreen, most of them got toasted. They are all now peeling and flaking. I feel bad every time I look at them! I need to restock on the sunscreen, and hope they apply better/more often on the upcoming Seattle trip. I snuck in a little sun myself, but I have managed not to get burned in years!
  • STEALS: I know I've mentioned FitStudio several times, but I just keep being amazed at this programs and the deals and steals I get! I went ahead and set up an account for my oldest, now that he is up and running with his Fitbit again (Tracking the Family). He had earned enough points that I picked him up a pair of basketball shorts free and clear. The points paid for it all ($10). With my account, I picked up a couple hula hoops and some summer toys for the boys and paid under $2. I got a 12-pack of paper towels completely free last week!
... although honestly, sometimes trying to save a little here, a little there is a bit pointless, as the hubs isn't on the super saver side *Ü*. He took the scouts scuba diving last night. Went out and bought a brand new waterproof camera to document it (pictures below and you can see a VIDEO too) ... at least #2 said it was really fun.

I must admit, I was thinking about this blog post in the wee hours of the morning. I got back to bed after tending to the little one ... I didn't get back to sleep. I'm dragging today. I hope to get in a few elliptical sessions, maybe a nap. What are you thinking about this Thursday?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tracking the Family

OK everyone, give me  your Fitbits! Time for a Fitbit Family Photoshoot! There are seven people in my immediate family (mom, dad, five boys) ... at present, we have SIX Fitbits. #3 has said he doesn't really want one, but I don't want him to feel left out. *Ü*

I didn't really plan on purchasing this gadget for the little boys (ages 8 and 10). I was attempting to get my 18-year old back up and running. After losing a Jawbone Up, deciding he didn't like the Flex, and then losing a Zip ... I wasn't sure how much to invest. I looked to ebay and watched the Zip sales, and then snagged one for $25 (+$3 shipping). 

Silly me ... I bought a blue one. The 18-year old said blue was unacceptable. So I went on ebay again and got a black one this time. My son then expressed his distaste at it being used (he's a germ-a-phobe). 

#1 now has a brand new black Zip ... and I had two extra Zips just sitting around.  I set up accounts with my alternate emails and then figured I'd strap them on the two little boys. Originally, I was just curious as to how much they moved during the day. I didn't really know if it would motivate them to move more ... but it did! On the first day, my youngest got 7,000 steps. He upped it to 10K the next day, then 16,5000 the day after. On Friday, it was 9:30 at night. It was dark and he was still outside kicking the ball. I told him to come in and get ready for bed to which he replied "but I'm at 28,000 steps, I only need 2,000 more to get to 30!"  Crazy kid. I sent one of the older boys out to keep and eye on him and sure enough, he earned his 30K badge.

The 10-year old has also been moving more. He can be one of my more stationary kids, but with the Fitbit on, he was outside inventing new games (frisbee goal), jumping rope, and was more willing to go to Jump N Bounce (sometimes he'd rather just stay home) and walk to/from church with me. All for more steps on the pedometer :)

I've even got the hubs on board a bit! He's adopted #1's old Flex. He doesn't wear the wristband, but just slips the small device itself into his pocket. He's not the best at remembering ... I have rescued it once already from his sweaty shorts in the "to wash" pile. He still forgets it about as much as he remembers ... even with "FITBIT?" written on the bathroom mirror with a dryerase marker. His work has a Friday volleyball event, and I was curious how many steps that earned him ... now we know. He got 20K from a few hours of volleyball. He can see getting a run in the morning is essential to getting steps ... he gets as much in then, as he does the entire rest of the day (dang desk jobs and commute).

So, I don't know how long the interest in the Fitbits will last with the little ones (or the hubs ... or how long #1 can keep track of his!). It's been fun to see the boys tapping their Zips and comparing their steps. They also like checking out the graph to see if they earned a "green spike" (very active minutes ... a certain amount of steps in a set time).

I've posted about our Fitbit Family before. The kids have "friended" Grandma and Grandpa, so now they can compete against them as well.

I read an article a while back, about personal trainers keeping tabs on clients via Fitbits ... peeking in at their daily activity to get an idea of their lifestyle when they aren't right in front of them at the gym. I am a bit of a Mommy Stalker that way too. I like being able to peek at #1's day, and "see" his activity while he's at work framing homes (gets in the steps, but no "green spike" activity, all yellow), or what #2 has been up to all day after I drop him off at the gym.  When he was gone for a week to basketball camp, I could peek at his profile and tell exactly when he'd had games (green spike!) and when he finally went to bed. Sometimes the kids forget to check-in and update their account, I'm often telling the kidlets "Sync Yourself!"

Do you get tired of my Fitbit stories?
If you want to know more about the Fitbit, check out my post
Wondering About A Fitbit?
and I talk about it pretty regularly here on my blog *Ü*
Fitbit Label Posts

Linking up with Workout Wednesday and the Hump Day Blog Hop ...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I don't know about you, but I do like to save money when I can. In addition to fitness and food, I've talked about frugality here and there on my blog (Fit&Frugal). You know I've hooked up my Fitbit to many of the reward sites (Reaping the Rewards), I love my local library and all it offers (Library Love) and I take advantage of the Free Zumba here locally! But sometimes ... the word "FREE" totally scares me away! If it's something that brings crowds and chaos, it is SO not worth it to me.

I'm sure many of  you are aware of the annual 7-11 promotion on July 11 (7-11) ... otherwise known as "Free Slurpee Day".  I know many families have hit their local 7-11 and happily walked away with free frozen delight. I tried it a couple years ago. Had loaded up the kids and made a trip in only to see the sign "sorry, out of free cups".  Of course I couldn't disappoint the kidlets, so my "free" slurpees cost me about $8 (they were only out of the small "free" cups, they still had plenty of the cups you pay for).

This past Thursday ... we didn't make a special trip out. We were out and about anyway, and I decided we'd risk stopping. I pulled up and took one glance at the crowd inside. Seriously, 50+ people, probably a 15 minute or so wait. I took the kids across the street to Chevron and let them each get a small Frazil, which they actually prefer ...

They really were happy with the Frazils ...
 They just give me that face for photos almost all the time!

So once again ... "Free Slurpees" were a fail for me.

IF you were interested, 7-11 is offering a week of free goodies. 
Whereas the free slurpee on 7-11 was available to anyone walking through the door, these other freebies do require you to download the 7-11 app and access the offers, and show that to the cashier. I've heard demand has caused the app to crash, and I'm not sure if it's been resolved. Again ... I've considered trying it. I do pass a 7-11 everyday after picking up #2 from the rec center. But I'm not sure if I want another app on my phone, sending me push notifications. I'm not sure if I want to struggle with it if there are difficulties. None of the free items are healthy in any way ... so I'm thinking I'll probably pass. Even if they are free. Are any of you going to try for it? Let me know how it goes!

Linking up with Nifty Thrify Things and The Thrifty Homemaker's Penny Pinching Party

What "free" promotions draw you in?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Day of Rest?

My last "Rest Day" was ... ummm, April I think. Easter. I don't do rest days well. I just enjoy my exercise too much. It's so much a part of my daily routine. Instead of wearing me out, my workouts energize me and keep me motivated in other areas in my life. I do know rest days are important.

I took a rest day yesterday.  I didn't do much on Saturday either ... a "rest weekend" if you will. Inspired a bit by being super sore and barely able to move!

I posted about my soccer experience on Thursday. Friday, I still went a little crazy with double Zumba in the morning. I was stiff and sore, couldn't quite do some of the moves,  but I felt pretty good, I did manage to get goal numbers. I had 30K in steps at the end of the day ( ... so did my 8-year old, more on that in another post! *Ü*)

The stiffness/soreness got worse as Friday progressed. Saturday morning I got up and went to Zumba.  I was REALLY feeling it in my legs. I didn't have my usual joy (I still enjoyed it, but I did struggle though it as well, which is unusual for me) and wasn't able to get goal numbers. I did a couple half-hearted 15-minute sessions on the elliptical on Saturday too ... and that was it.

Seriously ... I didn't do much of anything else all day.

My motivation for moving at all was gone. Not just for exercise ... for anything! I did make it to the store for some grocery shopping, but other things on my to-do list did NOT get done. Hubs and the kids were gone too ... I had the house to myself. I took a nap, I read a book (in bed, not on the bike). I got a little sun. Ate too much. The hubs and I watched movie in the evening.

In a way it was a good day. In a way, it wasn't.

Sunday I had thought I'd do my YouTube Zumba, get some elliptical, maybe some reading and riding ... but I decided to take an actual rest day. No exercise. Church. Nap. More reading.  I think the "rest day" feels a little more natural (I feel less guilt) on a Sunday.

I'm really hoping that I can shake this soreness. I have Zumba today (and tomorrow, and the day after).  I'm planning on hitting soccer again on Thursday. I'll get back to my elliptical and bike, maybe even jog a mile. I need to do weights sometime this week. I don't feel particularly motivated after my rest day. I'm dragging, feeling lazy. The scale also definitely reflected the "rest weekend" as well. I'm thinking Newton's first law of motion really applies to me. An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest, stays at rest. I seem to be one for extremes. All or nothing.

I'm hoping Zumba will jumpstart my motivation. Get me moving again. I'm still feeling a tad sore, but it's fading.

Linking up with MIMM and of course, Motivational Monday.
Do YOU take rest days regularly?
Do you look forward to them? Like them or loathe them?
Do you feel more energized after?


Friday, July 11, 2014

Fitness Snapshots from the Week & WWI52

 ... and it's Friday! Time for the Friday Five and my weekly weigh-in and recap. The DC bloggers (Courtney, Mar and Cynthia) set up a theme for their Five on Friday link-up. Fitness snapshots from the week. I had happened to take a couple pictures during the week, but I had to take a few more just for this post *Ü*.  

This morning, I did DOUBLE Zumba. I hit an 8:30 class, and then a 10:00 class. I hate shoes, so I have to take them off in-between. I don't really like putting on the same pair, so I headed out with two different ones today. My legs (quads mostly) are SO sore from yesterday when ...

  I played soccer!
A shapshot of my sweaty self after.

Every week I get in at least an hour of elliptical. It's just my basic daily activity ... it's the only time I watch TV.  I get in a 20 minute session first thing in the morning, and then at least two more throughout the day.  (Elliptical Love).

I got in a few sessions on my recumbent bike this past week. I go for 30 minutes, 8 miles. The bike is my reading time and I've had some books I've really wanted to get through ... so more time on the bike (Reading and Riding).  I've had several sessions this week!

Gotta get in some strength training in addition to the cardio. I'm really basic ... just a bench, some dumbbells, a kettle bell and a ball. That's all I need. I have posted about my weights workout before (Not Just a Weight Watcher).  I did weights on Saturday and on Tuesday. I try for 2-3 times a week, but make sure I get in at least one session of strength training.

Other Friday linkups ... Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes, Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour, High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth and Five Things Friday at Fitting It All In.  

Being Friday ... it's also time for the 
Weekly Weigh-In

Same-o, same-o on the scale... little ups, little downs. Down .03 from last week (is that even enough to say it was a change?) High was 153.5. Low was 151.8. Average weight was up a bit. Average intake was 2280, Average burn 3100. I had a weekly deficit of 3680 ... if I crunched my numbers correctly (which of course is a lot of guesswork, even with gadgets and food trackers).

I actually felt like it was a good week. I really enjoyed my Zumba sessions and feel like I'm getting better. In addition to the fitness snapshots above, I did get in my mile once. I just reviewed a couple books on GoodReads (meaning I've been reading and riding!). The soccer was huge for me! Both in HRM numbers and just trying something new. SO still feeling it, I'm hobbling around! It makes me want to try other things though; tennis, racquetball, swimming, volleyball. Just other "fun" exercise!

Eating continues to be a struggle. I never feel out of control. I don't "binge" ... I am counting and this is actually me keeping calories in check! If I wasn't as conscious as I am, I could easily eat a lot more... my calories add up so quickly! I just don't crave any "good for you food" like I see others raving about and actually enjoying. A daily challenge!

I'm linking up with  Fitness Friday with Jill and Aubrey  
and a late Weigh-In Wednesday.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sweating Soccer Style

Oh my heavens, I am wiped out! I thought I was somewhat in shape ... with my Zumba, elliptical and other workouts. But a few minutes out there on the soccer field and I knew, this was different! I've played soccer before, when I was a teen, and then again very casually about eight years ago. I also got a little in while coaching the kids (Soccer, Past&Present). A couple weeks ago (Soccer Stuff) I mentioned driving by a building called "Soccer City" on the way to one of my Zumba classes. There were signs out by the road advertising adult leagues, and I was intrigued enough to check them out online. I was pretty sure I wasn't ready to commit to an actual team or league, but when I read about the drop-in open play ... hmmmm.

It almost seemed like fate. My Thursday morning  Zumba class was taking July off. This was offered on Thursday mornings. I continued my Zumba class through June, and the first week of July I went to a different Thursday Zumba (I'd looked around for an alternate class, so I'd at least have that option).

But today ... I tried the soccer.  I am always SO nervous when I try something new like this. I had my heart rate monitor, and I find it funny to watch my heart rate speed up on the WAY to a new exercise option, before any actual exercise even starts! I'm always uber anxious about driving to a new location as well. At least today, I knew exactly where I was going. That was good!

I brought some running shoes (no cleats on the indoor fields) ... I brought soccer socks and shin guards, but didn't end up putting them on (they aren't very comfortable). I wasn't sure if I'd be allowed to wear my HRM (watch on wrist). Even in kids soccer/sports, they usually require all jewelry, watches and other items off just to avoid any possible injury. But no one said anything, so I left it on and was very happy for it's feedback throughout the game. I started my Fitbit timer too ...

Very interesting to compare the stats to my Zumba workouts.   I'd glanced at my Fitbit during the game and wasn't too impressed with my numbers. I did notice my heart rate was UP ... and it stayed up, even when the game slowed (or I just slowed, unable to keep up anymore). Usually my heart rate drops quite quickly if I stop moving. Today, I waited a couple of minutes to take my stats picture (we were chatting a bit) and it was STILL in the 140s when I pressed the button to stop the count.  I took my HRM off when I got in the car, but I probably should have left it on, and watched to see how long it remained elevated (I'll do that next time).  For a moment, I was a bit confused that I was only "in the zone" for 20 minutes ... then I realized that much of my time out of the zone, I was above it! 159 was my average heart rate. Personally I knew I was more sweaty and felt absolutely exhausted and hurting in a few places (not injury hurt, just "you used this muscle" type hurt). Seriously, driving home and having to lift my foot from the gas to the brake was a challenge!

So I'm glad I went, and I plan on going again. It will be interesting to see if I can get these HRM again and if I can improve the Fitbit numbers. Today, I played the entire time (although admittedly, some of the time I was really wimpy and just watching as I tried not to collapse). If more people show, they form three teams and rotate (one or two games on, then a rest). While normally I don't like stopping and just watching ... I probably could have benefited from it today!

Thought I'd share my experience as a definite NSV for me! Just the courage to try something new, adding a new exercise, hitting a new HRM high. I've been thinking about trying this for so long now (several weeks, since I drove by the building). It's great to have put the thought into action. Still, I know I'll be thinking about this, and Thinking Out Loud about soccer today, and I'm sure I'll be posting about it again in the future!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Zumba Calories

Have you seen this graphic (or one like it) floating around? Have you heard the incredible caloric claims coming out of Zumba classes? I've only been going to Zumba classes since January 2014, but I'd been aware of the buzz long before. The estimate in the graph above is on the high side (although I have heard claims up to 1000 calories per hour), but it wasn't unusual to read about 600+ burns from people I knew personally (well, on Facebook and such. But actual people, not just a generic graph).

When I went to my first Zumba class, I had on my Fitbit and heart rate monitor. The HRM estimated a burn of 270, and the Fitbit said 319. I'll admit, I was disappointed. I almost gave up on it all. I went a second time. HRM was 280 and Fitbit was 358. Those types of numbers continued ... but I grew to love Zumba regardless of the stats. Even though my calorie burn was more equivalent to a 3mph walk, I wasn't about to strap on my shoes and walk for an hour in the morning. I just wouldn't. But I WAS still going to Zumba, and in fact was actively looking for additional classes.

I now Zumba pretty much every day. As I mentioned in a previous post, here in Utah, there are a lot of free classes being offered (Free Zumba In Utah). I've been able to locate close classes that fit my schedule (and being free, my wallet!) and even did some via YouTube at home on days I didn't have a class.

I have been able to improve my calorie burn numbers ... although still nothing like what is touted above (the jogging and the walking estimates are pretty accurate for me I think). I thought this article (Zumba: Sure It's Fun But Is It Effective) was a little more accurate and had some good information. I've been keeping track of all my stats, taking a picture of my Fitbit and HRM readings and posting them to my Facebook page after each workout (Zumba Stats). This past weekend, I entered some of my highs, and the last few weeks onto a spreadsheet for side-by-side comparison ... 

I've been to dozens of different instructors, learned so many new songs and steps.  I don't compare myself to others, and I don't take these calorie burn estimates as gospel truth, but I DO like to compare MY workouts with my same gadgets, and see if I can improve and maybe get a new high. While I recorded my calorie burn and steps from the start, I've only been including the other stats (time in zone, average heart rate, max heart rate) for the past few months.  I really like having my HRM on my wrist, and I watch it and try to keep my heart rate up. It does seem to take a lot to get it up, and it drops again so quickly if the dancing slows or stops (I think that is a good thing, means the heart is healthy. I need to do more research on that and write up a blog post about my heart rate monitor experience.)

I look forward to my Zumba classes. I WANT to go, I'm excited to go dance around. I do get in a lot of steps, and a solid hour, which I just wouldn't do on my own with any other exercise.

Linking up with Workout Wednesday.

Well ... it's time for Zumba!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Me and the TV

I'm doing my best Vanna White pose for the picture above. Seemed like a logical shot to go with my title. This is the television in our master bedroom. It's nice for watching a movie with the hubs, or sneaking in an episode for before bed (with the hubs). There is no fighting over the remote in our marriage ... hubby has such a  high tech device that I don't even know how to use it! The hubs has been gone for a week, and I didn't even turn on this TV once while he was gone. The kids monopolize the television in the family room, but again I don't mind. I do actually watch a ton, just not on either of those!

Here's MY setup. A television, a DVD player, a Roku box and a Wii (also a speaker for my ipod when I'm in a musical mood). All right there in front of my elliptical and treadmill (and my "happy place" picture wall).  I have touched on this topic before (TV Time = Exercise Time) but as I was thinking about what motivates me, I thought I'd mention it here on Motivation Monday.

My television is not hooked up to our cable. I can't get a signal to watch live programming, but that's ok with me. We have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and PlayOn/PlayLater ... I can get almost any show I want between them. I do have the DVD backup just in case WiFi is having issues.  I'm very patient. I don't need to see a show immediately, generally, I'm more than willing to wait until an entire season (sometimes an entire series) is available for me to watch back-to-back (rather than waiting for weeks in between episodes). Because I don't watch any live TV, I don't see commercials or spoilers (although sometimes they do spill over onto Facebook). 

I'll watch movies here and there, but I like TV series. I prefer the "hour" (40 minutes sans commercials) shows to the shorter sitcoms (although I watch them occasionally). I'll elliptical for 20 minutes, press pause ... and then come back to finish my episode. If it's super exciting ... all the more motivation for me to get back to the elliptical for another session. 

I see some of these "commercial break" workouts out there ... but I just work out the entire time! I love the shows where the adrenaline is pumping (24, Friday Night Lights, Arrow) as that helps energize MY workout. 

I know I'm spoiled with my home gym ...being able to pop downstairs multiple times a day, being in complete control of my programming. I know many big gyms do have televisions or theaters, but it's not exactly the same thing. Some people might try watching on an ipad (hubs would even do that here in our own gym, not wanting to disrupt my paused show ... ok YES, do NOT mess with a DVD, because that is a pain to try and find my spot again, but I can resume Netflix or Amazon easily ... PlayOn is a bit more particular, but I could deal) ... I've tried an Ipad but my neck didn't like it, I much prefer the bigger screen and looking straight ahead.

I'm glad I found something that motivates me. Sometimes, I actually not sure if I'm actually addicted to the exercise ... or if I just like to watch TV *Ü* I'm so happy I have a workable set-up that makes it possible to do double duty.

As it is Monday, I'll do my quick weekend recap for MIMM.  Hubs and boys #1 and #3 were off at Lake Powell for the week. On Friday (the 4th of July) I took the remaining three boys and we went swimming at my parent's community pool. I didn't get in though, it was a little crowded. We went out to lunch afterward at Red Robin (last time I went to Red Robin was back in April, with three boys and my folks while Hubs and boys #1 and #2 were in New York). We bought $40 worth of fireworks (I mentioned our five favorite fireworks in my Friday Five post) and the boys had some fun with those, and the neighbors did not disappoint (they put on a big show every year). 

The hubs and the boys got back on Sunday. It's nice to have them home safe and sound. I was without contact with them the entire week. I liked the New York trip better, where I was able to get daily updates and photos. Their trip had a little bit of everything, a lot of water and fun, but some stressors too.  Like a Party Boat that pulled up along side their camp and proceeded to pump karaoke music and flash lights into the night. Winds that threatened to swamp the boat and rocked the wave runners all night. Beetles crawling all over ... and it was hot. Hubs can honestly say it was probably good I decided to sit this one out (and #4 also, my weather worrier ... hubs said he would have been pushed to the limit. We actually had a microburst here at home which did send the poor kid screaming to the basement, away from the kitchen windows). I discussed our Anxiety Issues last week ...

It's Monday. Jack is back (24 is on tonight!) so I'll be catching that tomorrow! For now, time to go to Zumba! I DO exercise without the TV too!
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