Category Archives: Review

Guest Post: Crossfit

Here is a post from my girl Melissa about her experience with Crossfit! Enjoy.

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I finally did it, I decided to try Crossfit! If you watch any videos or look at any Crossfit pictures online, it is pretty intimidating. The other item that has kept me away is the price, however I decided to splurge! I went to a Crossfit in Ann Arbor, which so far has been a great experience. They have you go through 10 sessions of personal training before they allow you to do class. During these sessions you learn technique so that when you are ready for class you have the correct form.

The first night I walked in there was a class going on, so of course I was checking it out. People were swinging the kettle bell then going over and doing pull ups, needless to say, I was IMPRESSED. The first time you it is your “tryout”.  They make sure that you are committed to the program and are doing it for the right reasons and before I even got to this “tryout” , I had to email them the reason I wanted to come to Crossfit. Which for me, was mostly to push myself harder, I definitely do not work out with weights enough and especially not heavy weights. In a way I was looking for more confidence when using weights and I definitely think I am going to have it by the end. For my tryout I had to do a few things, row, squat, sit up and pushups. It was not anything crazy but I was sweating. I decided that I liked it well enough, I wanted to get better. I signed up for my first personal training session!

So far I have been learning their squat technique, which is a much deeper squat than my normal sit in a chair mid-level squat. My second session was more squats and then learning how to use the bench press bar (without weights).  I learned how to do a dead lift, overheard press and a weighted squat. Literally there was so much to think about, keeping my core tight when doing an overhead press and my back straight but chest up doing a deadlift. Not to mention if my knees were slightly bent, bend or locked. It is defiantly going to take practice for it to become second nature to me.  My third class is tomorrow morning and I am looking forward to building on everything I have learned so far! In a few weeks I will probably be challenging family members to squat contests and arm wrestling!

Has anyone else tried Crossfit? What did you think?

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Blue Water Half Marathon

Today-Elliptical, bike, & strength

Today we are going way back to June 30th! That was the date of the Blue Water Half Marathon in Port Huron. It was the first long distance race in this town in a long time. The best cheerleaders were out on the course too. 😉

Robert, Melissa, and I headed to the race at a compromised hour of the morning. We may or may not have family members that like to show up to races at different time frames. I am just happy to have someone else drive & park. Both were easy!

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I wasn’t sure what I expected from this race other than to have fun. The weather is such a huge factor and with the late date in June I knew I would have to be flexible with slowing down. Race morning-it was perfect! Nice and cool and slightly overcast.

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I chased and chatted with a few other runners, but mostly ran alone. I was able to pick up my pace in the second half, and especially in the last 3 miles.

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I finished with a time of 1:57 and improved my time by 15 minutes from a few years back. I forgot how wonderful half marathons are and I would like to make 2014 the year of the half marathon.

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It was PR central for all three of us! Many other runners I know had their best times too. It was a fast course despite a lot of turns. The only drawback was a pretty rocky area in the last mile or so. I have heard they are working on some changes for next year!

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What do you think makes a good race?

Bear in Area

Today-More rest

I am still waiting to run again. I thought it might be fun to go through our latest camping trip with Mitch & Melissa. We went to Tobermory in the Bruce Peninsula.

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That was the story in pictures! A few more details: We hiked 2 hours just to get to our campsite and had to climb down a steep cliff. Our campsite was right on the shore of the Georgian Bay. A sign told us “Bear in Area”, not just beware of bears. We did not see a bear or any of the areas rattlesnakes. The water was absolutely perfect and absolutely freezing!! Where we live on Lake Huron the water is really warming up now, but this water took your breath away.

We made lots of great memories and got to visit such a beautiful place.

That’s pretty awesome.

What is the most beautiful place you have traveled to?

Goodbye Gym

Tonight-Evening 4 mile run planned

June was our last month at our local gym. We had to cancel our membership because we moved a town over. We are only 10-15 minutes away now, but Kevin and I both like a gym that is really close to our house. Our last 3 gyms have been less than a mile away from where we were living. Awesome! And it makes a quick run to get to the gym a nice warm-up.

So how do people pick their gym?

For Kevin and I, distance to the gym is huge and we also like to go somewhere that is reasonably priced and has the equipment we like best.

  • Proximity of the gym to our house
  • Price
  • New/well maintained equipment
  • Fitness classes (me)
  • Decent size weight room (Kevin)
  • Clean & air conditioned

Things we don’t really care about are locker rooms, tanning, sports drinks or supplements for sale, or childcare (duh).

These are our last 3 gyms. We liked the first two but the last one was rough.

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We are pumped to pick a new gym and we will probably go shopping in August.

What do you like in a gym?

Running: Alone or with friends

Today- 1/2 marathon

Today I ran the Blue Water Half Marathon and had a great race! My sister and brother-in law ran as well, and we all had a PR. PR city!! My time was 1:57 and improved from 2:12 a few years ago. I felt that my training all spring for the Cleveland Marathon finally gave me some results. Hooray for awesome races and awesome weather. Race recap coming soon!

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I have been enjoying a lot more group runs this year. It started when the local running store started up a Wednesday night group. Those group runs have kind of fizzled out, but I have been meeting other runners around town too. I have always loved running with my sister-in law Melissa and occasionally Kevin and I will run together.

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I find running with someone very enjoyable. It helps the time pass quickly and is a great place to share and talk through things. Something about the conversation + exercise + endorphins makes me feel super awesome. It is more difficult to keep up a conversation if the goal of the run is to work on speed. Although, it can be nice to suffer in silence with someone else during a tough run. Another great reason to run with other people is to change up your pace & route. Run with someone faster to challenge yourself, or run with someone a bit slower than you to challenge them.

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I like running by myself as well, and I probably do this at least 1/2 of my runs. My favorite time of day to run by myself is really early in the morning. It is nice to clear your mind & relax on your own.

Do you like running alone or with a friend?

Healthy Living Apps

Today-Glutes-Guns-Guts class + 5 mi tempo

Here are a few pictures of lately!

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Sandwich on marble rye bread with craisins & walnuts

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Spinach, whey protein, frozen banana, frozen mango & flax seed smoothie

Did I tell you that I have a new iphone? I bet you could tell based on my great pictures recently. I am really enjoying having a phone that can handle the newest apps. Apps are really amazing tools for healthy living too!

My go-to tracker for food & exercise has been Lose It. I really like this app and it’s super easy to use. It has any and every food and workout you can imagine. You simply plug in your workouts and eats for the day and it will keep track of your progress toward your goals. The app tells you how much to eat if you want to lose a certain amount of weight.

I am trying out My Fitness Pal currently. It is very similar to Lose It but it has a few more stats on the food that you are eating. It can tell you the amount of protein, fiber, and fat in a food item. The only problem I find with tracking workouts is I feel the “calories burned” estimate is always a little bit high. A 3 mile run for me at a 9 minute pace wouldn’t burn as much as someone just starting to run. And when I strength train I move quickly and sweat like crazy so I know I’m working really hard and probably burning more than the estimate. I try to balance the predicted calories burned with my perceived exertion to determine what range I’m in.

Another app that my friend Alli told me about is called Fooducate and this another way of tracking food. I really like this app for checking on foods to see their rating on the program. You can check certain food items to find out which are top rated as healthy. For example, Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal is rated A-, and has notes such as 100% whole grain, 24% daily fiber, and natural added flavors. To compare, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal is rated a C+ because of low fiber, amount of sugar, and highly processed with additives like BHT.

Some other apps that I have heard of for exercise are Runtastic & Couch to 5k. All rave reviews!

Working out & eating healthy have never been easier.

What apps do you use for healthy living?

Insanity Review & Shower

Today-Insanity (Plyometric Cardio Circuit)

Yesterday I went to a beautiful bridal shower for my friend Alli. The food was great and the desserts were off the hook. Alli was so cute about opening her gifts and she was very grateful for all of the love.

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Today I am stuck at home because my car AC is getting fixed. And it’s a rainy & gloomy day. I decided a workout dvd would be my best option for getting a good sweat in. I went with my favorite Shaun T’s Insanity. I did the Insanity videos for a month before my wedding and loved my results. I felt that my core had never been stronger and I was really happy with how I looked for my bridal events.

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Insanity is REALLY tough! The workouts are Max Interval Training which means there are long bursts of really intense exercise movements followed by short 30 seconds rest intervals. Just enough time to take a drink and wipe off the sweat. I am usually sweating already by the end of the warm-up.

For insanity you need the dvd, a towel, and a large container of water. I usually wear my cross-training shoes, shorts, and a sports bra. I like to wear just a sports bra so I can really focus on keeping my core tight and I stay cooler. Plus, I’m at home and don’t care how I look.

The exercises are a lot of quick feet drills, high knees, jumping squats, and suicide drills. Each dvd is different and the longest Max dvd’s are super intense. Shaun-T does a stretching sequence after the warm-up and again at the end. He is really motivating and I like seeing the people in his class.

Now I just do insanity when I need a quick & sweaty workout at home. I really enjoyed doing the whole program for a month, but right now I am trying to focus on being well-rounded and incorporating lots of different workouts.

Have you tried Insanity?

What is your favorite at-home workout option?