I was originally going to focus on how to know when it’s time to replace your shoes. Runners can gauge this easier then folks doing cardio, but the same principle applies…. don’t stay in the same pair past their usefulness. But instead of going into the details, I came across this excellent blog article from Beachbody: How to know when to replace your workout shoes.
That then allows me to share my recent understanding of the importance to “finding the right shoe”. In the past I would go to a normal sporting store with sales associates not really caring or understanding the equipment they were selling. So I would always buy the hot marketing shoe at the moment at the lowest price. Shoe size was a best guess based off my past experience. Little did I know this was responsible for blowing out my calf muscle every other week. I’ll explain that more in a bit.
So I decided to get some compression socks to deal with my calf muscle issue. I walked into Fleet Feet located in Blue Ash Ohio and as soon as the sales associate engaged me, I knew this was going to be a different experience and outcome. I really wanted to buy the compression socks but she was like how old are your shoes? I thought this was a ridicules question, just sell me the compression socks!!!
But she then asked if I was ever properly fitted for shoes? At which point I took her offer to get properly fitted just to amuse her so I could get back to buying the compression socks! So in short order I learned I’ve been cramming my feet in too small size shoes, which results in the toe jamming up, which then causes a whole sort of alignment issues…resulting in…yup, my calfs getting those major cramps. She also watch my walk and run through 4 different pairs of shoes until we found the perfect match. So I left the store with a new pair of New Balance shoes and I never did buy the compression socks!
That was 3 weeks ago and I have been back into my running mode with not a single cramp!
So lesson of the day. It’s well worth the time and money to seek out these personalized shoe stores and get actual expert help. Don’t wing it on your own.
Who knew all this time I was dancing everyday, but I just don’t have the beat?
But seriously….NO…I really can’t dance. I don’t want to dance. I know my limitations and I’m happy with this. If there was any chance of dancing I think I would have given Zumba a chance.
But as I’ve said many times, thank goodness Beachbody has a program for every taste. Maybe this is something that excites you?? Myself, I’m heading into Body Beast’s Block 3 and loving the tempo workouts.
The short answer is None! And this applies to all fruit drinks folks buy off the shelf and think they are doing their family a healthy service. The truth is any fruit drink that is sold off the shelf has to go through a series of pasteurizing, chemical baths and then enriched with synthetic chemicals in the guise of healthy vitamins to make up for everything healthy that was stripped out in the above process. Here is an excellent piece about the OJ processing from a brand that most think would be the healthiest. I’ve also like this piece from Food Renegade that talks about the general process in much more detail.
But there is good news from all of this! Just make your own! Learn why folks are so fanatical about the Vitamix, or Ninja. Made a spinish, kale, cucumber, apple, avocado energy drink. Great stuff. But what won me over was making my own OJ. And here is the simple recipe…
2 oranges (peeled)…
1 cup water
3 tablespoons egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Sweetener (Recipe called for 1/4 sugar!)
1 1/2 cups ice
OMG….this is just toooooo good!!! Better than the old Orange Julius stands, I kid you not!
You will never drink processed OJ again. Enjoy!!
*I replaced the sweetener option and vanilla extract with my Sweatleaf stevia Vanilla drops. And remember, not all Stevia is the same. You can read about my Stevia rant here. The takeaway being only use the Sweatleaf brand folks.
To sum it up, I love it! Easy to wear, I love the geek factor in checking my email, sms, and calendar events. I can check on the weather, stocks and UV levels at a glance. I can even pay for my Starbucks coffee with my band! But I think the single most pleasure I get is talking with Cortana, which really annoys Annette. But at the end of the day, this is marketed as a fitness band. So I will attempt to stick to that aspect and not go to geeky. Well, there is also the fact that Annette won’t let me go there without getting into a giggle fit as you can see here:
Did Microsoft put together a great Fitness watch?
Absolutely! The hardware packs a wallop in the form of sensors. I find it easy to wear contrary to many other reviews. I will try to complete a video dedicated to this if I can get Annette to go serious for a few minutes. But lets move on to a quick review of the hardware and then the software.
What I have found from other reviewers is a distain for the hardware but they love the software. The Microsoft Health app is available on the Ios and Android platform as well. But Microsoft Phone users get the added feature of integration with Cortana!
So the syncing with the watch and smartphone is really dependable and doesn’t require any effort. Go for a run, do a workout and leave the phone in the other room. And vitals will be recorded and synced with the phone when re-connected with Bluetooth. It’s that simple! But lets jump into some details.
Microsoft Band Hardware
Look and feel
I really do find the band comfortable. The strap clasp is well made and I think one of the great features not talked about. Microsoft highly recommends you use their measure chart to determine which band size (small, medium, large) to purchase. I can’t stress how important this is. If you have a local MS store, just go there and try them on. That’s what I did and medium was my perfect fit. And this is really important because the band needs to be snug when exercising so that the heart rate measurements are accurate. I noticed when I had it loose that the recorded rate was wrong or not recording. And there does come in the work day or night when the watch feels stuck to the wrist. So the clasp allows me to easily adjust it wider and now it bands rests loosely on my wrist and I no longer feel it. So again, I think there should be high marks given to the strap mechanism as it’s well designed.
How should it be worn?
MS recommends for the best heart rate monitoring to wear the watch with the face under the wrist. I’ve worn it both ways and can’t say which way is any more accurate. [Edit] I do find the heart rate is more accurate when watch is face up.
MS also recommends under the wrist for privacy. So as new text messages come in, no one can see them.
I prefer not to scratch the face as I type, so I wear it facing up. This has also proven to work great for me as when I’m on the keyboard and receive my VPN authentication code via SMS, I can just glance down at my watch without touching anything or turning my wrist. In the past I had to fish out the smartphone, open the txt message in full view mode and enter the notification code.
However, when I work out, I do like to wear it down so that I can easily check my heart rate. [Edit] Due to the accuracy, I’ve stopped doing this.
Either case, this is something you just need to test out for yourself and find what works best for your needs. But…now it’s obvious why MS provides the screen protector. Don’t hesitate, put it on!
Built in GPS
Heart Rate Monitor
Skin temperature sensor
Microphone (only for Cortana as far as I can tell)
Galvanic skin response
Ambient Light sensor
And a few more I’m sure I’m missing
Goes as advertised if not longer. I can go 2-3 days before charging.
I’m finding out the battery life is based on usage. Recording work outs and normal uses does not put the battery to test. I’ve learned that enabling the GPS really puts a drain the battery. So now I understand why some are claiming they have to charge every night. It’s been too cold to run but we had a balmy 42 last weekend so I took the GPS for a spin. It went from 1/2 life to 1/4 life in that one short run. So again, your battery usage will be dependent on how you use the watch.
Music. I guess we can’t have everything, and I use an older smaller android phone for my music, so it does work out. But it would be nice to have an all in one solution to grab on the morning run.
Talking on phone would be nice. At the least listen to VM. But again, I understand they could only put so much into the watch…and it is a fitness watch.
Waterproof – only dust and splashing resistant. So this would be my pet peeve…as a fitness watch, folks would want to swim with this, take it on all their sporting activity which goes beyond a nice water spritz.
Microsoft Band Software
If I was gushing about the hardware, wait to you hear my drivel (and also Dribble) about the software. I forgot my band the other day and it hit me how much I realize I’ve fallen in love with this thing. So lets walk through the common tasks and options.
Calories Burned Details
GPS Run Details
Main Menu shows a nice overview of the current days activities.
Step details shows how I’m performing against my goals and I can look at my whole week to compare.
Calories burn works in the same manner, showing my current day details with ability to view week history.
The GPS run did a pretty good job mapping my run around Landen lake. And it’s pretty accurate showing the times I was dogging it and when I found my second wind.
The work out tracker along with heart rate monitor matches up to my strap up heart rate monitor and Endomondo sports tracker.
The Sleep mode tracker is a pleasant surprise. I’m learning a lot about my sleep patterns and how it relates to my stress and work productivity.
Setting up the watch and smartphone app is also a snap. The options to customize and arrange the tiles on the watch is another blog post in itself. So I will attempt to get to that one day.
But my main goal for this post was to stress that I think Microsoft has done a great job for their initial release and I highly recommend the MS Band!
Switching back to Windows Phone is not a fair statement. I started with the Motorola Q running Windows Mobile 5.0 (not pictured) and there is no way you can call that thing a smart phone. And I have no clue what OS was running on the Samsung Instinct pictured on the far left. Samsung got hammered for trying to market the Instinct in 2008 as the IPhone (first gen) killer. What a joke, calling it web enabled would be too kind.
So the Samsung Galaxy S was my first foray into Android and was hooked ever since. It was just a natural extension as I loved Google Gmail, Drive, Maps, Voice, …everything. So I totally ignored the first Window phones since my company didn’t have Exchange, SharePoint or anything that pushed that MS direction. But that’s slowly changed as we have fully implemented Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013 is around the corner, and Office 365 lync is in motion. So that made me start to take notice.
And then I heard about Windows Phone 8.1 with Cortana. Yes, I’m a big original Halo on the PC nerd and who wouldn’t want a sassy Cortana AI? I looked into the different Window Phones and found that ATT was offering their Nokia 1520 as refurbish on their web site for FREE! I’ve bought my last two Android phone using ATT’s web refurb program and completely happy with the quality of the phones. So this was a no brainer in my book. So read some more reviews and poked around to find that the singular common complaint was a perceived lack of apps. I dug deeper and found that the Microsoft store hit a recent milestone of 400,000 apps and then doubled that just this year. So while they may not have the millions and billions of apps that Google and Apple provide in their stores, I really don’t feel depressed that I won’t be able to install Kim Kardisian: Hollywood. Ok, I lie, I am a bit bummed about that. But seriously, as long as the top 100 apps are supported, I’ll be happy. And so far, the only app I’m missing is ironically enough the Word Press app. But the Windows Phone IE experience is amazing and WordPress has made a mobile version of their Admin page that makes posting this on my Windows phone easy.
So it’s only my second day with Nokia 1520 and I realize that I’ve already adjusted to the new 6 Inch screen. I went back to my HTC X (next to Nokia 1520) to retrieve a contact and it felt like child’s play. I’ve used the 1520 for note taking in a meeting, Lync conference call, and just now getting around to Cortana. She has already help me check my calendar and actually create some events with reminders of conflicts. Not too shabby.
So I will provide more updates as my next area I’m excited to check out is the 20 mp camera and the famed Nokia camera apps.
My copy of P90x3 has just arrived!! I’m starting a 90 day P90x3 Challenge group in Facebook starting Jan 3rd!! So message me if you would like to be included. It’s a great way to keep accountable. And now that the workouts are 30 min, that removes the biggest obstacle for most folks….TIME!!!
In the meantime I plan to understand the workouts, schedule and nutrition guide. And of course get a few workouts under my belt!
If you haven’t decided on P90x3 yet, or understand what all the hype and excitement is about, check out my p90x3 Primer.
And remember, place an order in December and get free shipping. Order before Dec 31st and you also get that free cool P90x3 hat!!
How do I order? Good question. Here are the links. Refer to the above Primer for details!
We are having a great time with T25 in our fit club. But don’t feel left out, the beautiful thing about T25 is that it’s made to do at home with minimal equipment! And I love Challenge Pack specials as it’s a great way to kick start your nutrition. A Challenge Pack just for T25 is downright sweet!! So much so that I will open up an On-line Challenge group here shortly just for T25. I want to keep it to a small group so that we can keep everyone accountable, so let me know if you’re interested in joining for August. If so, the below Challenge Pack has your name on it.
And a common question I get over and over is….how long are the workouts? Just remember that T not only stands for Shaun T, but it’s also for TIME!! And yes, the work outs are only 25 minutes long. And yes, it’s very effective! Shaun T says over and over that he just wants you to focus for 25 minutes and if you do that, you will get results.
What is FOCUS T25?
In-home workouts designed to deliver an hour’s results in just 25 minutes a day.
The latest creation by fitness expert and former track star Shaun T—who brought the world INSANITY®.
Fast-paced routines that are jam-packed with dynamic, hi-intensity moves designed for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
What is the target audience?
Busy people who want to work out less time but still get great results.
Those who enjoy a high-intensity, no-nonsense program that makes every minute count.
Men and women who want to work out just 25 minutes a day to get in the best shape of their lives.
What do people love most about FOCUS T25?
Even those people with incredibly tight schedules can always find 25 minutes a day to work out.
Major studies have shown that 30 minutes of exercise can be just as effective at burning fat and even more efficient than 60 minutes of exercise.
There’s always a modifier on screen, so literally anyone at any fitness level can GET IT DONE with FOCUS T25.
So if you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me or click the JOIN NOW IT’s FREE link above to create your free Team Beachbody Account. Why? Because you get free on-line tools from Beachbody, makes us friends in the Beachbody WOWY on-line gym, and allows me to keep you updated on new Beachbody events and products. So what you waiting for, it’s FREE!!
Can you guess what the number 1 excuse to not work out is? If you said “Time”, or better yet, “no time” you would be correct. So Carl Diekler asked Shawn T to put together a program that removes that excuse, while allowing folks with all fitness levels to get results like they never have before. So welcome…Focus T25!!!
Focus T25 is the first workout of it’s kind to allow you to burn as many calories in 25 minutes, as you do in 1 hour! In 25 minutes a day, you can GET IT DONE! No more excuses.
And to repeat, focus T25 will allow folks from all fitness levels to get results…from those that never experirenced Shawn t’s Hip hop Abs or Insanity…to folks to have done it all including Asylum!
So with this in mind, I will be putting together an accountablity group for those that want to join but can’t physically be with us in our local fit club. No worries, let me know, I’ll put the Challenge group together, make sure you have the right tools and we can do this together. No more excuses!!!
To get started, click the JOIN NOW IT’s FREE to make me your coach, and the SHOP link for T25 is now live!!!