I’ve been using Google Reader for quite a while to follow the many blogs I read, mainly for the convenience factor. Over the last week or so, MaDonna and I have been wondering if there are any better options out there and right now we’re both giving Bloglovin a go. So far, I do like the set-up on Bloglovin a bit better, but I’m not entirely sold. Do you use a reader to follow blogs? If you do, what do you use and why do you like it?
(image via Pinterest)
So it was bound to happen sometime: I went through about two weeks of a serious lack of motivation. Week 8 was the worst week of the month, which always kills my motivation, so I only did one workout. Then last week I was out of the routine thanks to Week 8, so I only did two workouts. However I weighed myself today and I’m finally down another pound, so lord only knows what’s going on with that.
The good news is that I’m back on track with motivation! A friend of mine told me about the Couch to 5K running plan that’s supposed to get you from not being a runner at all to running a 5K in about two months. That sounds pretty good to me, so I’ve decided to give it a go! They outline the plan on their website so you can do it on your own, but I decided to download an app for it & went with this one from Felt Tip. I’ve done the first two days and so far so good! The app is really nice because instead of tracking time myself, I have a voice in my ear saying “run now!” and “walk now!” I always seem to do better when I have a real routine, so I think this may work well for me.
So for this week, my goal is to do the three days of Couch to 5K for the week and also fit in two days of targeted strength/weights workouts with my beloved Nike Fit Club app. I’d say it could be an excellent combination! Even with just the first two days of Couch to 5K, I came home feeling like my metabolism got an almost immediate boost and that is always a good thing.
One thing I’ve realized is that if I’m going to be jogging/running more, I am in desperate need of a better sports bra. Have any good recommendations, ladies?
One of the things I want to share here are some of my favorite apps. I am unabashedly addicted to my iPhone, so a lot of them will be iPhone apps, but I will most likely be drawing from Twitter apps and other fun tools I love as well.
This week, in the spirit of Fit and Fabulous, I want to highlight the Nike Training Club app! I’ve been a member of a gym in the past, but essentially I end up not wanting to make the drive over there and it becomes a monthly drain on my bank account. I seem to do better when I can work out either in the comfort of my own home or walking out the front door. I’ve discovered some really great tools that help make my home workouts as effective as possible!
First of all, the Nike Training Club is great because I’ve just been doing the beginner workouts (they have three levels), and already I sweat my face off every time I use it! These workouts are definitely not messing around, but if I’m taking the time out of my day to work on fitness, I need to feel like I’ve accomplished something at the end.
I also want to highlight a few of my favorite features, as shown in the image above:
- The Exercises: This may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s really a great variety in the workouts and I appreciate the time they’ve taken to set them up. For every exercise, there’s a video showing you the correct way to do it. They also have a countdown on each one and they let you know if you need any equipment. On top of that, there are a ton of different workouts to try, so it never gets monotonous.
- Recovery: I think this is such an important part of a workout and it’s easy to forget when you’re doing it on your own. You need to take those little breaks, even during a half hour workout, to let yourself catch your breath so you can give it your all in the next exercise. This also ties into one of my most important fitness tips that I learned from doing yoga: Take extra rest when you need it. There’s no shame in that! Everyone has to start somewhere and if you have to take a couple seconds of rest in the middle of an exercise, take those couple seconds. The rest of your workout will be much more effective. When I feel like I just can’t go on anymore, I take a couple seconds of rest, then make myself do at least one more rep of the exercise. You’ll be glad you did: I promise.
- The Stretches: It’s way too easy to just finish your workout and go about your business. I love that every workout in the app (other than the 15-minute problem area targeted ones) incorporates a warm-up at the beginning and stretch period at the end. I am inevitably sore the next day after I do one of these workouts and I know that it would be that much worse if I didn’t do at least the five minutes of stretches they provide for you.
- Music Options: For me, one of the biggest workout motivators can be the music I’m listening to. Particularly with cardio, if a song has a great beat, it’s that much easier to forget how hard I’m working and before I know it I’ve finished the exercise! The Nike Training Club app has the music built in so you can choose a playlist, album or just all your music on shuffle while you’re working out. Then it automatically mutes a bit when they give you exercise instructions. Pretty nice if you ask me.
- The Price: Free! For what you get, I kind of can’t believe they made this app free, but I’m sure not going to complain. So I’d say give it a try: what have you got to lose? (except a few more pounds)
Since we’re talking about fitness, I thought I’d throw in a little update on my Fit and Fabulous goals for this week. I have already worked out three days of my four that I set as a goal for myself this week! Also: I have lost a pound since the beginning of the week, so I’m pretty excited about how my progress will continue as this goes on week to week. Did anyone else set a goal for the week? How are you doing?
Also: I’m watching my fourth musical of the last two days. They’ve been: Dreamgirls, Beauty and the Beast, The Sound of Music, and now Across the Universe. No regrets!
I guess you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about the fitness app that makes me sweat my face off.