Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Running For Weight Loss App Review

About a week ago I was introduced by a friend to this app called Running For Weight Loss. I have never really been into running very much but have always wanted to give it a fair shot so I thought....what the heck! and downloaded the app and began my journey to check out running as a part of my regular weekly workout routine. I have always been more of a speed walker and hiker so this change for me was kind of a big deal. I wondered if my forty-something body would react well to this new abuse. To my surprise I did way better than I thought I would and may have even grown to like running.

The functionality of this app is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate. I downloaded the app and within five minutes I was ready to go. When you initially open the app it will ask you for a some of your basic information such as, age, weight and if you consider yourself a beginner runner, intermediate or expert. Once all of that is entered the app will than create an 8 week running plan for you based on the information provided. My weekly plan is set up for running 3 days a week but I imagine this can vary depending on experience and goals. Now as you can tell by the title of the app this is geared for weight loss but I think anyone that would like to give running a shot could benefit from using this app.

One of the things I liked best about this app is that it just isn't telling you to go out and run a mile to build up endurance. It is actually set up where you have a "coach" instructing you to start with a warm up of a brisk paced walk for five minutes. You then begin the workout by running for a minute and a half, then walk for two minutes. You do this for thirty five minutes. The time frames for walking and running will vary. As your routine progresses the time frames of running verse walking will start to vary and get longer. Since I am starting out in the beginner phase my run time is only at a minute and a half to a minute. My training plan has it set up where I only run 3 days a week as to not get burned out.

The app is very easy to use and I like the fact that it gives you a weekly plan so you don't just have to wing it. I am the type of person that does better with a plan in place so this feature is very helpful for me. I am using the free version of this app for the moment but it does have the option to upgrade to premium for $9.99 a month or if you purchase 12 months up front it works out to be $3.33 a month. So far I find that I am perfectly happy with the functionality of the free version but for serious training runners and those that are looking to lose weight there is definite value in the premium version. One dislike I have with the free version is all of the ad popups to go premium and other advertisements BUT I also understand why that is in place on the free version. Over all my experience with this app has been a pretty great one. It got me interested in running and did it in a way that was easy on my body. I never had any issues with  the app failing or crashing. I honestly had a lot of fun using it and will probably continue to do so. If you are interested in checking out this app go to the app store on your phone and type in "Running For Weight Loss" and check it out. It is very easy and straight forward and a great tool for implementing running into your workout routine.  

Do you have any favorite running apps that you use? What do you like best about them? Share in the comment section. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Busted! 5 Foods That Have "Hidden" Sugars in Them and Ways To Avoid Them

Grocery shopping can be tricky! Especially if you are trying to avoid sugar. Walking up and down the isles of any grocery store will prove a daunting task when just about every packaged food item contains some amount of sugar. There is sugar loaded into items that no one would ever expect sugar to be in, let alone in high quantities. Listed below are 5 foods that have hidden sugars in them that may surprise you and hopefully make you think twice before putting them in your cart.

  • Fruit Yogurt - Ahhh, yogurt! Often thought of as a "healthy" food, fruit yogurt is usually loaded with lots of added sugar. Coming in at a whooping 19 grams of sugar, fruit yogurt should be more aptly named dessert. Instead of going for the sweetened yogurts with fruit already in them a good option would be to buy plain yogurt and the fruit you desire and make your own. By doing this you can control how much sweetener actually makes it into your yogurt and avoid the over access of 19 grams of sugar. (By the way, in case you were wondering....19 grams of sugar is the rough equivalent of 5 sugar packets.) Using a sweetener like Stevia might be a good option to replace the sugar altogether. 
  • Dried Fruits - Now you would think that dried fruit would be healthy enough BUT if you are buying this from the grocery store chances are it is also loaded with added sugars. Just look at the ingredient list and in most cases the second ingredient is sugar. In some instances just 1/3 cup of dried fruit can contain as much as 24 grams of sugar or roughly 6 sugar packets. That is a lot of extra sugar added to some dried fruit that is already sweet enough on its own. If you really want some dried fruit look for unsweetened varieties or make your own in a food dehydrator or oven. This way you will know you are only getting the natural sugars from the fruit and not all the extra from added sugars. 
  • Energy Drinks -  This one may not be a surprise that it has sugar added to it but just how much it has might be. In some instances this little can of "pep" can contain a monumental 83 grams of sugar! The sugar packet equivalent on this one comes out to be about 19 1/2 sugar packets. That is A LOT of sugar. Not all energy drinks are made the same and sugar content will vary but it would be wise to check out the food label before drinking one of these down and definitely proceed with caution. 
  • Pasta Sauces - Believe it or not your favorite pasta sauce probably contains on average 10 to 12 grams of sugar or the equivalent of 3 sugar packets of added sugar to it. It doesn't occur to most people to look for sugar in pasta sauces but it is there and in surprising amounts. Depending on what type of sauce you are using this will greatly vary the amount of sugar that is present. Some sauces can average well over 24 grams of sugar per bottle so it pays to look at the food labels and see just how much sugar is in your favorites. A good way around this is of course to make homemade sauce but if that isn't possible there are some pretty good sauces available that have very little if any added sugars. Just be sure to read the labels to know what you are buying.
  • Granola Bars -  Known by some as a "healthy" snack this little gem of a bar can hold some secrets. These convenient snack bars can have about 12 grams of sugar per bar or roughly 3 1/2 sugar packets worth per bar. It always pays to read the food labels before devouring one of these up. Making your own granola bars are not only a good way to control how much sugar gets added but also gives you more control over the variety of bar you can have too. Experiment with different flavor combinations and let your creativity soar. You may just create your new favorite.

Sugar! Sugar! Sugar! It is everywhere and in just about everything. Hopefully by giving you the above examples it will help in learning how to avoid extra sugars that are hidden in some of our most unsuspecting foods. A good rule of thumb at the grocery store is: If it comes in a package....it probably has added sugar. With so many things like diabetes and obesity on the rise it is so important to watch sugar intake and be mindful of what is going into your body. By learning how to read food labels and being aware of all the hidden sugar possibilities obtaining optimal health will become easier and easier as the knowledge base broadens. What are some foods that you have found to contain hidden sugars in them? Were you able to find an alternative solution? If so, share in the comment section below.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Getting Back On Track When You Have Strayed From Your Plan

We have all been there......We set out with the best plan of action to reach our health and fitness goals, execute it with precision and dedication and something comes up and knocks us off course. There are always going to be times when we stray from our plan but that doesn't mean all hope is lost. Getting back on track when we have strayed from our plan can be fairly easy to fix. Listed below are a few tips on how to identify pitfalls and ways to stay motivated when those pitfalls come to stay on plan.

  1. Snack Attacks: One of the biggest pitfalls to diet success is snack attacks. Snacks are a tough obstacle to get around. There are so many temptations every where we look. The best plan to beat out the snack attack and get back on track is to be prepared and utilize meal prep as our ally. Being prepared and already having things ready to munch on when a snack attack hits is the best offense. Meal prepping doesn't have to be a huge task. It could simply mean taking 20 minutes one day a week to cut up some fruits and vegetables and put them in containers for easy access. Doing this one simple thing can help out dramatically in getting back on track.
  2. Meal Planning: Planning out meals for the week can be a huge game changer. Not only does it take the guess work out of what the next meal will be but it also makes being prepared that much easier. It is a simple step that can make a huge impact in getting back on track. Make sure to add in a large variety of healthy whole foods, healthy grains and lean sources of protein. 
  3. Daily Exercise: Getting back on track with an exercise routine that isn't overwhelming can be key into turning things around. Not everyday has to be spent in the gym lifting as much weight as possible and spending hours on the eliptical. Daily exercise can be as simple as walking at a brisk pace for 30 to 40 minutes after work. It could be spending the day biking with family or friends or it could be a dance off in the livingroom to some favorite tunes. What ever it is the key is to be in movement and to raise the heart rate. Utilizing weights and HIIT cardio routines can definitely jump start the heart rate and get things back on track. Aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily can be a great starting point. Optimally movement through out the entire day is best and can add up to way more than 30 minutes. Make a game out of how active you can be throughout the day. 
  4. Sleep: This one might not be as obvious for getting back on track but is vital to success. Allowing the body enough time to recoup and rest from the days activities is crucial in reaching health and fitness goals. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night helps the body run at its optimum efficiency and also helps relieve stress, creates better mental clarity and allows the body to repair itself and build muscle tissue. Sleep is extremely important in getting back on track. Make it a priority!
  5. Staying Hydrated: Drink lots and lots of water. Nothing will keep you hydrated better than water and staying hydrated is also a major player in getting back on track. It is awful tempting to drink up on sugary drinks, coffee and tea but the truth is, most of those drinks come with a lot of extra calories and can make thirst even worse because most of them actually dehydrate the body. Drinking them once in a while is okay but the main beverage to consume is water. Depending on activity levels, drinking 2 liters of water or more can help the body function at its optimal level while also balancing out hunger cravings and body bloat. Drink up!

As you can see getting back on track can be fairly easy by implementing the above tips. The most important thing to remember is to not be to hard on yourself. The towel hasn't been thrown in just because you strayed off course. Getting back on track just means the reset button has been hit and the next level is ready and waiting. Are you ready? What are some things that you do that have helped you either get back on track or stay on track? Share in the comments section. I would love to hear what some of your tips and tricks are.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

3 Incredible Summer Salad Recipes - Easy, Fast and Delicious!

The summer season is upon us and is starting to kick into high gear and so are my summer food cravings. Lately, I have been craving summer salads. One of the things that I LOVE about summer salads is that there is no limit to the variety and creativity of what can go into your salad. You can constantly change things up depending on your mood and what you have on hand. Today, I am bringing you one of my favorite YouTubers The Domestic Geek. In this video she shows you how to make three amazing summer salad recipes that are not only delicious but easy to make too. I also want to add that they are pretty darn healthy. That's a win-win situation right there. Check it out!

If you would like to make any of these awesome recipes, the recipes are listed in the description box of the video. Give them a try. Your taste buds will thank you! What are some of your favorite summer salad recipes? Favorite ingredients to work with? Share in the comments below and also make sure to subscribe to my blog to stay connected and up to date on the latest things happening. Also make sure to check out The Domestic Geek YouTube channel for more fabulous and fun recipes to make.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Garmin Vivosmart HR - The Benefits of Using An Activity Tracker

I procrastinated for the longest time over getting an activity tracker for myself. I pondered on if it was worth the money. I wondered what kind of benefit an activity tracker could possibly do for me that any numerous phone apps couldn't. And then.....I finally caved and got one. And when I say I caved and got one, I really mean I was selected and given one for testing purposes which made the selection process quite easy. The activity tracker that I received is the Garmin Vivosmart HR. To say that I am pleasantly surprised by how useful a tool this is would be an understatement. I have always considered myself a fairly active person but after getting this activity tracker I soon learned I could be doing WAY more.

Friday, June 3, 2016

C9 Power Core Compression Racer Back Sports Bra Review

Okay....sorry to all the guys out there but this post is aimed at my all of my women readers today. Its time to talk sports bras ladies. It can be a hard task to find a good one. One that offers support, doesn't suffocate you and even looks cute can be near impossible to find. Being that I work in the health and fitness field I am constantly on the look out for a really good sports bra not only for myself but also for clients. The C9 Power Core Compression Racer Back Sports Bra by Champion is a winner!

From Drab to Fab - 10 Fun Ways to Burn 100 Calories

Have you ever stopped to wonder just how many different ways you can burn 100 calories? If you are anything like me, then we are always on the hunt for a few fun creative ways to get in a little extra calorie burn throughout the day. Today I am teaming up with CHOBANI to share their fun and easy ways to burn 100 calories. Some of them you may already be doing but a few of them could become new favorites. A couple of my favorite ways to stay active throughout the day when I can't get in my normal gym workout routine is to go for a walk around my neighborhood or play frisbee disc golf. When the weather is nice and warm outside I love walking the beach and taking in the fresh air. Getting in some activity throughout the day doesn't have to be drab and boring but it is essential to maintaining a happy healthy lifestyle. Listed below are a few creative ways to get in an easy 100 calorie burn and have fun while you are at it:

Finding the right snack to fuel up on after getting in all these fun activities is extremely important. You want the snack to be filling without being loaded with tons of junk and fat. After all a healthy balanced body is based on the 80/20 rule.......80% diet and what you fuel your body with and 20% exercise and staying active. Greek yogurt is a perfect option to fuel your body up right. Not only is it filling but it is loaded with lots of healthy proteins and nutrients and is low in fat. One of my new favorite go-to snacks to have after an active afternoon is the new CHOBANI SIMPLY 100 Crunch. Packed full of awesome goodness and only 100 calories each, this greek yogurt is a refreshing choice to grab when you need a snack. With combinations like Blueberry Cookie Crumble and Strawberry Chocolate Truffle how can you go wrong? If you head over to the CHOBANI website thelightthatsright.com you can download a coupon for $1.00 off of your purchase. It couldn't be simpler to print off a coupon and head to the store to try some of this great greek yogurt. I have discovered that the Strawberry Chocolate Truffle is my new favorite followed by the Mango Cone Crisp. It has a very nice flavor and I LOVE having the extra crunch in my yogurt. I can eat this and enjoy without feeling any sort of guilt. If you are into making smoothies the CHOBANI website also has a few delicious looking smoothie recipes to try out. While I haven't made the smoothie recipes yet, they look delicious and I am planning on making a few of them up very soon! 
What are some of your favorite ways to stay active throughout the day? Has bouncing on your kids trampoline become your new favorite thing to do when no one is looking? Besides going to the gym and working out what are some of your favorite ways to stay active throughout the day? Share them in the comment section below and be sure to grab the coupon on the CHOBANI site and try out the new CHOBANI Simply 100 Crunch.  It really is a great way to fuel up and not have to worry about any negative consequences.