Product Review

Gear Review: Running and lifting in Swiftwick Socks

A few months ago, the nice people at Swiftwick sent me three pairs of their running socks to test out and review. Because you can only get a good feel for workout clothes — and socks in particular — by wearing them during all kinds of workouts in all kinds of weather and conditions, I took my time putting each pair through their paces. Also, I’ve only been running once or twice a week, so I wanted to make sure I got a good feel for each pair as they are all a bit different in terms of material, cushioning and compression.

Yes, socks can be as custom as running shoes are these days! (more…)

Recipe: Healthy banana chocolate chip protein muffins

The nice folks at Naked Nutrition sent me this massive tub of protein powder to try a few weeks ago. Since whey protein doesn’t sit well with me in protein shakes (and I prefer plant-based protein in general), I decided to use it in baking last week.

Not just for Rickys and Bobbys!

I threw together some banana chocolate chip protein muffins for snacks during the week and was really happy with how they turned out, so I made some again this week and measured everything this time so I could share it with you guys. (more…)

{Five Things Friday} 5 kinds of protein and energy bars that kept me fueled this week

five things fridayHappy Friday, friends! I’m finally feeling back to normal after my pre- and post-marathon illness and got back into the gym this week to do some light circuit training and short treadmill runs. I’d say my body is about 80% recovered and I’m actually itching to start running again, which isn’t usually the case after a hard marathon.

The only good part about being home for most of last week (well, aside from resting and taking the time to get better) was that I was around to receive a few protein bar samples that came my way in the mail to try.

Here are a few new protein bars I tried this week, as well as three of my trusty go-to bars I keep on hand when I need an afternoon snack at work or something quick after a workout.  (more…)

A runner’s review of the FitBit Charge 2 Heart Rate Plus

gear-review_-the-fitbit-charge-2-heart-rateAbout a month ago, my FitBit Charge HR got a random crack in the display so I contacted FitBit support to see if I could get a replacement as it was still under warranty. They offered to send me another one free of charge (which was awesome because I relied on it daily as a watch, silent alarm clock and easy way to track my workouts), but since the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate Plus was coming out soon I asked if I could have a discount off a new purchase instead. They agreed, and I got my snazzy new FitBit several weeks later.

How the FitBit Charge 2 compares to the FitBit Charge

The display is bigger, but not too big. I love being able to see two activity stats (that you are able to choose) along with the time when I tilt my wrist up to check my FitBit. To see more stats, such as distance travelled, calories burner, steps taken and heart rate, you just have to tap the watch face to scroll through. I also love that it’s roughly the same size as the Charge, so it’s still very comfortable to sleep with.

fitbit charge 2

There are more ways to track workouts. When you press the single button on the side of your FitBit Charge 2, you can scroll through to the workout function that gives you several kinds of workouts to track by tapping the watch face. You can select a run, treadmill, elliptical, bike, weights, workout or interval workout, which actually has a built in timer to vibrate every 30 seconds so you know when to go hard and when to rest. The run function shows your time and distance on the main display, or you can tap through to get your pace, heart rate, average pace, steps and calorie burn. The only workout functions I haven’t tried yet are bike and elliptical, so I’m not sure if those have any unique features to them. I wish it had a yoga function!

FitBit Charge 2 vs. a Garmin 235

FitBit Charge 2 vs. a Garmin 235

You can see and do more things from your wrist. Since the display is bigger, you don’t have to tap through as much to see your stats. You are also able to set and turn off alarms from your wrist and check your pace, heart rate, resting heart rate and other stats while working out instead of relying on the FitBit phone app to see everything.

There’s a breathing tracker. The FitBit Charge 2 has a function that can track your breathing and guide you through a slow breathing exercise for two or five minutes. You can do it all from your wrist, which is handy.

The wrist bands are replaceable/interchangeable. I had to replace my previous FitBit Charge because the wrist band broke, so I was super happy to find out the FitBit Charge 2 bands are replaceable and interchangeable. Finally, no more plain boring black all the time!

Things I don’t like about the FitBit Charge 2

The breathing tracker isn’t very helpful. I tried the breathing exercise a few times but didn’t find it very relaxing to hold up my wrist to stare at it to follow along. What would be really helpful is an alert that tells you when you’re breathing too shallow and remind you to stop and take a deep breath. I feel like I need that!

It still doesn’t track runs as well as a Garmin, even when using the GPS on your phone. The FitBit Charge without the GPS is still slightly off when it comes to tracking runs. It’s good for a generally distance, but if you’re training for a race I’d suggest using something more accurate.

Verdict: Overall, I love the Fitbit Charge 2 even more than the original and it’s totally worth the $200 price tag if you’re a regular fitness tracker wearer.

Do you wear an activity tracker? What’s your favourite type?
What are your “must-haves” for a fitness tracker?
What features do you like/dislike most about the FitBit?

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Disclaimer: This post contain Amazon affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

The
Linking up with the lovely:

Annmarie at The Fit Foodie Mama, Nicole at Fitful Focus, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Jen at Pretty Little Grub

Want to get better at backbends in yoga? Try a Yoga Wheel!

backbends yoga wheelRemember in January of 2015 when I set a goal to hold a scorpion pose by the end of the year?

Yeah… that didn’t happen. Although I improved my headstand and could get into scorpion position propped up against a wall, I definitely didn’t achieve the forearm-balancing, back-bending badassery I had hoped to by the end of the year.

After the marathon on October 9, my post-race plan is to focus on strength and flexibility again until I inevitably start training for my next race (and who knows when that will be). So I was stoked when YogDev, a Vancouver-based yoga prop company, asked if I would like to try their Yoga Wheel and write a review for my blog. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as I’ve been incorporating more yoga and stretching into my training plan and have been using a big foam roller for releasing lower back tension at the end of the day. (more…)

Get back to basics with these delicious and simple after-school-snack inspired smoothie recipes

Get back to basics with these deliciously simple after-school snack inspired smoothie recipesEven though I’ve been out of post-secondary school for over six years now, I still get a sense of anxiety on Labour Day. I actually have to sit down and remind myself that I’m just going to work tomorrow at my regular old job, not spending thousands of dollars on textbooks I’ll never use again, missing the bus because it was too crowded and walking in late for my first class, and reviewing the course syllabus only to see a presentation on there worth 50 per cent of my grade (which pretty much means FAIL to someone who has a fear of public speaking).

Going back to grade school each September was no different. Summer was over, I didn’t know if my friends were in my class or not and if the teacher was going to be nice or mean, and I didn’t know if what I was wearing was considered “cool” or not until I saw what everyone else was wearing (so Nike sneakers and Adidas tear-away pants are out, and platform sandals and black flares are in? Okay then…).

Ugh — school was a stressful time for this overly anxious and introverted kid. (more…)

Product Review: HUM Nutrition supplements

Although the majority of us probably DON’T need to waste our money on vitamins and supplements to be healthy human beings, some of us — like female endurance athletes who live in Canada, are vegetarian, have poor circulation and wacky hormones (*cough* me) — might need to take supplements to support their health to help them continue to do the activities they love.

HUM Nutrition review

 

Because I run marathons, work out six days a week and don’t eat red meat, my doctor suggested I take zinc and magnesium (since I sweat pretty much every day) and iron (I’m borderline anemic but my levels have improved quite a bit with supplementation). And because I’m female with a problematic gut, my doctor also suggested I take calcium (when I don’t eat yogurt), a probiotic for my gut health and vitamin D in the winter.

These are the essential vitamins and minerals I need to add in daily (depending on my diet and the time of year) to support my health so I can keep running marathons and doing other active things I love as recommended by my doctor. And I suggest you also visit your doctor FIRST if you’re not feeling your best to see if you might be lacking in an essential vitamin, mineral or nutrient before buying up the supplement store. (more…)

Results of my #evenbetter 5K run challenge with Ocean Spray® – Did I get faster?

Challenging myself to be #evenbetter resultsTwo weeks ago, I shared that I was hoping to improve my 5K run time—which was hovering around a 5:30-per-kilometre pace since my last marathon in February thanks to minimal running and preferring strength training over cardio in general—in an attempt to get faster to prepare myself for those speedy tempo runs as part of my next round of Boston Qualifier marathon training. I set the goal as part of the #evenbetter challenge with Ocean Spray®, which meant I had to set a healthy goal I could obtain within two weeks, make myself accountable to it by announcing it on my blog, and update my readers and social media followers about my progress in reaching said goal over the next two weeks.

As part of the challenge, Ocean Spray® sent me three flavours of their PACt® Cranberry Extract Waters (Cranberry Pomegranate, Cranberry Raspberry and Cranberry Mango Passionfruit) to help keep me hydrated, which I downed after my runs and brought to work with me to encourage me to drink more water during the day. (more…)

Challenging myself to be #evenbetter in 2 weeks with Ocean Spray®: My 5K run challenge!

Challenging myself to be #evenbetter in 2 weeks with Ocean Spray®_ My 5K run challenge!In two weeks, I’ll begin training for my third and final attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon while I’m eligible for the 30-35 year age bracket. (This means I need to run a 3:35 marathon time to qualify – which I’ve done – BUT actually need to train for and run a 3:30 or less to get into Boston.) Even though I’m only 31 and could keep trying to hit that 3:30 before I turn 35, I feel like I will need a break after this attempt due to general life busyness and other fitness goals I’d like to focus on – I love running, but I really don’t love marathon training. It always makes me feel really run down and those long runs really beat up my body if I don’t take a long enough break in between training cycles.

I’ve really been enjoying strength training and the Tone It Up workouts these past few months since my last BQ attempt in February of this year, and although I’ve still been running a 5K to 8K once or twice a week to maintain cardio, I’ve been taking it much too easy and letting my pace slip down more and more each week.

That’s why I was excited when Ocean Spray® challenged me to be #evenbetter by setting a healthy goal I could obtain within two weeks, making myself accountable to it by announcing it on my blog, and updating my readers and social media followers about my progress in reaching said goal over the next two weeks. So what’s my #evenbetter challenge goal, you ask? (more…)

Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016: Week 7 Recap

Happy Friday, friends!

Even though I haven’t been updating my Tone It Up Bikini Series progress as regularly on the blog and Instagram, I promise you I’ve still been doing the workouts and about 85% of the nutrition plan. Over the past few weeks we’ve been really busy with camping, BBQs, parties and other fun social stuff, plus taking care of the new addition…

THAT FACE

THAT FACE

… so I haven’t had much time to blog and share my experience so far.

Thanks to said social stuff and parties, my nutrition the past few weeks hasn’t been great. Well, from Sunday to Thursday I’ve been on point. But Fridays and Saturdays have been another story. I’ve only been slightly below maintenance these past three weeks, so my progress has pretty much stalled. I’m definitely feeling the Pilates/barre workouts and some of the moves are getting easier, which I’m happy about, and my core is getting stronger. But I’m still overdoing it a bit on the weekend and paying the price digestion-wise for it. I’m bloated like 50% of the time thanks to not eating Bri-friendly foods on the weekends, so it’s really hard to tell if my clothes are fitting a bit better. I also have another potential health issue going on that’s semi-related, and I’ll blog more about soon once I have a clear diagnosis. Ugh. (more…)

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