' Adventures with FitNyx: February 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

FiveFourTen Yoga Straps

Though I haven't posted much about it, I've been working hard to integrate more yoga into my life.  I've actually worked on a pose every day, picked at random from my Yoga Cards (review to come), and my practice and flexibility are slowly making forward progress.  Along with daily poses, I've been building up a better set of gear to assist me in more challenging poses until I have reached a point where I can perform those poses independently.  My yoga wheel has been instrumental, but it's hard to take with me now that I'm constantly on the go.  Instead, I've looked into ways to make my yoga practice a little more mobile, to match my current schedule!  Thanks to FiveFourTen, I now have a pair of yoga straps that give me no excuse not to practice any time, anywhere!

The first is a stretching strap that really helps me hit those straight-leg poses that are so difficult with my ultra-tight hamstrings!  Very simply, the strap is a long piece of fabric with a D-ring attachment to allow you to loop the strap back over and adjust as needed.  Most yoga straps are like this, and just like every other strap I've seen, the texture is rough and somewhat rigid.  It's effective for its purpose, but I'd love to someday see a softer material used for one of these.  Rigidity is fine, but the roughness can sometimes cut into my skin if I'm trying to hold a difficult pose for a while!

Second, I now have a yoga mat carrying strap!  It's fully adjustable, so it'll fit any size mat, and the simple construction makes it easy to use.  Just adjust the end loops to the right size, slip it over the mat, tighten down just a bit, and you're ready to go - no bag needed.  The carrying strap is great for when you want to travel light.  My only complaint is that the reinforced area that will bear the weight of the mat is very rigid, and with most of my (very soft) mats, the strap can cut into the material and leave deep impressions in the mat's surface.  This can get a little annoying when practicing; I hate when my fingers or toes hit a rut while I'm trying to focus.  For some people, this may not be a huge issue, and the convenience of the strap (especially being adjustable for any of my various mats) probably outweighs the minor inconvenience of a little dent in my mat!

Disclosure: I received both straps at no cost in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Have you used any special yoga props or accessories?  Did they help you with your practice?  How often do you practice yoga outside of a gym or your home?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fun Run Box Unboxing - Cold Weather Challenge (GIVEAWAY)

As I dig myself deeper and deeper into various facets of the fitness industry, my quest to find the best and most interesting products in fitness and wellness has led me to some great discoveries, especially in the subscription box category.  I've already found a definite favorite for mental/spiritual wellness and have some great front runners I'm checking out for lifting and strength building, but my encounters with endurance and running boxes have been less than stellar.  Now, though, I think I have finally found a favorite running box!

Disclaimer: I received one Fun Run Box at no cost in exchange for my review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Fun Run Box is more than just a smattering of "healthy samples" - it's a long-term challenge series that helps runners of any level find new and interesting ways to push themselves towards their goals.  Whether those goals are new PRs or just greater dedication, the Fun Run Box offers gear and incentives to keep you motivated and working hard.  AND, if you stick with the series, you earn a finisher's shirt and medal at the end!

My box is the second in the current challenge series, and as a February box created by a fellow Clevelander, it appropriately addresses the weather!  In fact, the challenge is all about getting out during the winter and sticking with your running despite the cold weather.  Each of the eight challenges on the included card has options for three difficulty levels, allowing any runner from newbie to racing pro to benefit from the Fun Run Box.  All the gear included in the box is perfectly on-point with the theme, too, which always makes for a great subscription box experience.  There's a card included showing the value of the items included (and a description, in case you haven't used an item before) so you can be sure you're getting your money's worth out of each box.

This winter running set contained some really cool stuff!  I received UV resistant arm warmers that say "One More Mile" on them, which will help keep my arms better insulated while running and double as post-run recovery compression sleeves later.  I don't have any arm warmers yet, so this was an exciting addition to my collection.  A pair of gloves with "Find Your Happy Place" partner nicely with the arm warmers, especially since so many people do run to find their happy place!  When ordering the box, there were no sizing options for customization, so the gloves I received are a little big for my small hands, but they're still wearable and helpful in single-digit temperature.

One of my favorite items in the box is the head buff, a versatile and essential piece of winter running gear that can function as a headscarf, face cover, neck warmer, headband, or whatever position you can stretch it into while you're out and about!  I especially liked that this buff has the Fun Run Box logo on it, as so many boxes include items from other vendors but kinda leave out their own touch.

A pair of toe warmers and a full-size sample of Probar Bolt energy chews rounded out the box.  While the idea of toe warmers in a winter running box is awesome, they're one-time-use items, so I'll have to be picky about when I actually use them.  It's hard to know when your coldest run will be, and I'm the kind of person who worries about "wasting" this kind of item on anything less than the perfect day for it!  The energy chews have caffeine so I likely won't be trying them, but it's great to see a full size package included instead of a tiny little sample pouch.  These would be great on a long run!

Finally, the box also comes with a little award for finishing the previous challenge!  So not only do you receive something at the end of a full challenge series, but your accomplishments along the way earn you additional recognition and little prizes.  It's a total training program, complete with support system, all packed into a nice little box and delivered right to your doorstep every month!  How perfect is that?!

Well, you guys know how much I loooooove giveaways, so here's another one for ya!  Fun Run Box is giving away one March challenge box!  Enter below using the Rafflecopter to win; contest ends 3/1 at midnight.  If you're interested in signing up for the Fun Run Box challenge series, don't wait!  If you're picked as the winner, you'll be refunded for your first box - so get on it NOW!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Weekly Chase: Remembering to Do "Me"

Last week's goal to live Fiercely Serene every day got lost in the jumble of my currently crazy life!  And if you're a regular reader, you may have noticed my blogging also feel by the wayside, which is disappointing after weeks of keeping pretty solidly to a consistent schedule!  Between hectic work schedules, weekend events, and a few side pursuits I've been working to build, this past week I sacrificed a large portion of my "me time".  This week, though some of the scheduling is out of my hands, I'd like to remind myself to keep room in the schedule for that personal time as my Weekly Chase.

I have to major me-things to which I'd like to devote more time this week.  One is obviously the blog, which is a personal pursuit that I value highly in my life.  The other is my adorable puppy, who has been cooped up in side for much of the winter and hasn't always gotten the exercise and playtime she needs when I've had busy weeks like this past one.  My parents take very good care of her when I'm out and about, so she is always well-loved, but I miss running with her regularly!  Especially as the weather slowly starts to warm up, I'm excited to make Kaalia a bigger priority once again.

What weekly goals are YOU chasing?  How well did you accomplish last week's goals?  Check in with hosts Road Runner Girl and Molly Ritterbeck to see how everyone's Weekly Chase wrapped up, and how they're all moving forward in the new week!

Road Runner Girl

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wednesday Word: Stability

Today's word is stability, and to me, that can mean a lot of things about which I'd like to write.  For example, I'm still struggling to find stability in my career and living situation, but that's a blog post for a different time.  Instead, I'm actually going to stick to my running roots today and talk about the importance of finding the right footwear for your running style - because without proper footwear to help keep your body stable and properly aligned, you're setting yourself up for pain, injury, and early retirement!

When I first started running, I didn't think the shoe I wore would make much difference - all the running shoes are the same, more or less, right?  I didn't realize how wrong I was until my already sore knees started aching with even the easiest jog around the block!  After doing a little research, I learned that every person has a unique foot shape, leg alignment, and stride combination.  Different variations on the configuration of your "natural running gear" can affect the areas in which running impact is most felt, and the areas in which you will experience the greatest amount of pain or highest risk of injury.  It was a little scary to know that my knees were putting up with more stress on my runs than any other part of my body, especially after years of soccer knee injury horror stories!

Fortunately, I also learned that local running stores offer gait analysis and shoe fittings to help me find the RIGHT pair of shoes to keep my entire body more stable, which therefore would distribute the impact more evenly and help prevent immediate soreness AND long term injury.  I popped over to a nearby store and had a full fitting and analysis done.  It only took about ten minutes, and I received so much important feedback on my personal running mechanics!  Honestly, it's pretty cool to see your stride broken down and your weak points analyzed.  Knowledge of your mechanics can make you more aware when you're out on the road or trail, so you can correct any instabilities or imbalances on the go.

After my analysis I was able to purchase custom-fit inserts to help correct the splay of my feet (and therefore my knees) on top of purchasing a shoe designed to alleviate some of the strain of my gait.  Between the proper fit and support of the shoe and the made-for-me inserts, my running game has changed drastically!  I'm more stable on my feet, and I feel almost no knee pain anymore.  My imbalances are mostly corrected, and I've hit some crazy PRs in my special shoes!  And any runner knows that means you're doing something RIGHT!

If you're serious about upping your running game, get serious about your stability early!  Not only will your body thank you for it, but your PR board just might, too...

Deb Runs

Don't forget to visit Deb Runs, host of this wonderful linkup, to see what other bloggers are saying about stability in their lives!  And check back next week for another edition of the Wednesday Word!

Have you tried custom shoe fitting yet?  Do you have running pains that might be addressed with better footwear?  How does stability factor into YOUR life?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuvizo Reflective Running Vest (GIVEAWAY)

It's winter.  In the Midwest, that means cold, snow, and darkness.  Honestly, I hate this time of year, and am still kicking myself for not finding some way to move south ages ago - but I'm stuck here and I'm learning to make the most of it.  One of the things that, for me, typically suffers during the winter months is running.  Mornings?  Dark til 8.  Afternoons?  Dark by 5.  Guess what happens between 8 and 5...  OH that's right, I have to work.  So when can I run?

Well, until recently the answer was, "I won't."  Running in the dark can be dangerous and during the cold months, there are additional issues with temperatures and slippery road conditions.  Taking a dark-furred puppy along for the run is almost completely out of the question at night, too, because while people might be able to see my pale face in the dark, they definitely won't be able to see the dog below driver's eye level if she gets away from me somehow.  Enter the Tuvizo reflective running vest:

Disclaimer: I received this product at no cost in exchange for my review.  I received no additional compensation, and all opinions expressed herein are my own.

This simple, clip clasp, lightweight running vest comes in bright pink or bright green, and features reflective piping along every strap to keep you as visible as possible while you're on the roads after dark.  It's fully adjustable at all points (waist and both shoulders) and very easy to put on or take off, making it a quick-grab accessory you can hang by the door.  It took me some trial and error to figure out the best configuration for wearing the vest, but that's mostly because I'm very picky about the way things fit me.  First I had it too loose and didn't like the bouncing, but then I quickly tightened the straps down a bit and made for a more snug fit.  I'm still not 100% sure I have it juuuuust right yet, but I'll keep playing with it!

Once the vest is on, the biggest question is obviously "how well does it reflect?"  I was a little skeptical when I originally opened my package.  Gray piping lines all of the vest straps, but it's flat and dull-looking under regular indoor lighting.  No matter which way I turned it while inside, I couldn't get any hint of reflectiveness!  But then I asked my dad to come outside with me and take a photo using the flash, and then I understood:

That sunspot made me feel MUCH more comfortable running at night!  I also clipped blinking LED lights to Kaalia's collar to help keep her safe, as well.  With the vest properly adjusted, it's a very comfortable way to stay safe out on the roads after dark, even if it's not always the most stylish accessory!  Of course, if it's dark enough that you're worried people can't see you, I guess you're not too worried about how stylish you look anyway!

So what keeps YOU safe when you're jogging at night?  If your answer wasn't "my awesome reflective vest," then you probably need to enter my GIVEAWAY for one of TWO Tuvizo vests!  Use the Rafflecopter below to enter to win - contest ends February 23rd at midnight!

What gear do you rely on to keep you safe in dangerous conditions?  Do you use reflective gear or lights when you run at night?

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Weekly Chase: Building on Intention

I am SO happy to report that I succeeded in ALL of my goals for last week!  I woke up a little earlier every day (and actually used the time productively), I took a few minutes to spruce up each morning, and I at the very least pinned a little reminder of my mantra up on my desk (though a more creative sign is still pending).  And you know what?  Doing those things made me feel very good!  So I'm going to try to carry that momentum through into this week's goals - or rather, this week's goal.  I only have one, but it's a big one!

Last week I mentioned my mantra, Fiercely Serene.  Well, I'd like that mantra to play a larger role in my life (and, possibly, a larger role on my blog as well), and I'd like to start working it in right now.  As I see it, one of the best ways to adapt myself to the future I want is to find that balance between fierce and serene - so I'm going to act out those two halves daily.  For now, I plan to be "fierce" by exercising my body every day this week, and "serene" by exercising my mind every day this week too.

Gym time and home exercises are pretty normal for me, but I've been taking a lot of needless "rest days" lately when I could be building my strength a little more effectively.  Plus, I have tons of home fitness toys that need to be played with!  I also am in need of time set aside for meditation and yoga, to maintain my emotional health.  Thanks to Spotify's Deep Focus playlist and the beautiful items I've received from Sapphire Soul over the past few months, I'm well prepared to get back in touch with my inner self again.  It's a single goal, with several facets, that will help me set true intention on a deeper level within myself.  Hopefully, I can make a daily habit out of becoming Fiercely Serene!

Road Runner Girl

What weekly goals are YOU chasing?  How well did you accomplish last week's goals?  Check in with hosts Road Runner Girl and Molly Ritterbeck to see how everyone's Weekly Chase wrapped up, and how they're all moving forward in the new week!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

BeFit PRE Pre-Workout

Pre-workout can be a tricky purchase for me, thanks to a caffeine sensitivity I'm still trying to understand a little better, but there are many days when that extra kick in the pants is vital to my success as a fitness instructor.  When you're in front of a class, it doesn't matter how long your day or your week or your weekend was, or how exhausted you might be from a tough workday or yesterday's leg workout.  You have to bring your A-game every time, and that means energy and enthusiasm.  I've been relying on pre-workout on those days when the A-game isn't quite there, but I'm still trying to figure out how to balance the extra energy with the need to sleep after classes!

As part of the BeFit 30-day workout program I'm trying, I also received a new pre-workout supplement, simply called PRE.  Like other pre-workouts I've tried, PRE features natural ingredients that provide key nutrients to enhance your workout and boost energy.  It's one of four supplement products from BeFit, and I had high hopes for this fruit punch flavored powder.
Disclaimer: I received this product at no cost in exchange for my review.  When I have completed reviews of all supplements and workout products I received from BeFit, I will receive additional monetary compensation.  As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

Unfortunately, that fruit punch flavor is maybe the best thing about PRE.  And it isn't a very strong flavor, even though the powder does blend nicely into water with no grittiness.  That's the only thing I liked about this pre-workout.  I didn't get any noticeable energy burst from it, and I was testing it on especially difficult class nights that followed dragging days - exactly when I needed it most.  Instead, I got all the negative side effects of a pre-workout supplement: bloating, gas, and increased bowel movements.  In fact, my GI tract had so much trouble handling PRE that I actually messed up some of my class choreography because I was struggling so hard not to crop dust my front row!  Embarrassing and not at all something I want going on while I'm exercising.

Additionally, I suffered long after the workout phase was over.  My bowel movements didn't improve throughout the night, and I couldn't sleep a wink.  Despite not having enough energy boosting power at the time of my workouts, PRE did provide enough caffeine stimulation to wreck my sleep patterns, and when coupled with making constant trips to the bathroom, those nights were just awful.

Needless to say, PRE has already been removed from my supplement cabinet and likely won't be making a return.  All negatives, no positives?  I'll pass on that, thanks just the same.  Hopefully the other BeFit products I have to try will be a little better!  I can already tell you that the workout calendar and videos I'm using from BeFit are pretty good and will likely produce some solid results!  And not "solid results" like the PRE produced...  ;)

Do you use pre-workout or another type of energy booster before workouts?  What brands do you prefer?  Have you ever tried any of the BeFit family of products?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Weekly Roundup: February 8 through February 12

The weeks are getting fuller and busier, but I'm learning to juggle added responsibilities and a busier schedule with finding time for my own pursuits.  Of course, when you throw a birthday in, some of those pursuits get a little sidetracked too!  Here's what you missed on Adventures with FitNyx this week!

Monday - The Weekly Chase: Living with Intention

Setting weekly goals has already helped me live with more purpose, but I've missed my marks so many times.  Looking closely at why, I realized I don't have the proper foundations set to make some of the changes I want to make in my life.  This week's goals are intended to lay that groundwork so I can keep building towards a better future.

Tuesday - Happy Birthday!

My 30th birthday landed on Fat Tuesday.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Much of this week's blogging was kept short and sweet as I celebrated away from the computer screen.  I'm sure you understand.

Wednesday - Wednesday Word: Triumphant

With a little help from Keanu, I have been coming to a different understanding of what victory and triumph mean in my life.  As I learn and adapt my perspective, I'm finding myself experiencing many more triumphs than I ever had previously, and I'm quickly figuring out how to set myself up for a future full of many more!

Thursday - Help me!

The other day I posted a feedback form asking for readers to speak up about their Adventures with FitNyx experiences - and the response was underwhelming.  After a full day and dozens of views, I had only two responders, and they barely completed half the form.  It's very hard to blog without feedback, as I can only guess what people are enjoying or hating or want to see.  If you missed it, you can find the form HERE.  It only takes a couple minutes, I promise!

Sunday Supplement Preview - BeFit Pre-Workout
What were you up to this week?  Anything exciting planned for Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Help Me!

I keep tweaking and moving things around and trying new things here at Adventures with FitNyx, and while I'm for the most part happy with the changes I've been making, I realized I haven't really received much input from YOU, my readers!  Many of the changes I've been trying to implement are in the interest of making this site better for visitors, but it's pretty hard to know how well I'm succeeding when I'm not asking for feedback!

With this in mind, I've created a feedback form and I'd love to have you take a few minutes to let me know how I'm doing, what you like, what you don't like, and what you think can be done better here on the blog.  It shouldn't take too long, and all your responses will be kept confidential.  Adventures with FitNyx has so much room to grow, but I want to be sure I'm providing helpful, interesting content to everyone who stops by to read.  Your help in this is vital!

Please be sure to scroll all the way down and click the Submit button to ensure your responses are recorded.  You can also access a larger version of the form here.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday Word: Triumphant

This isn't a post about a triumph I've already experienced.  It's a promise to myself to make my next decade truly triumphant.  Now that I am officially 30, and my rocky 20s are a thing of the past, the future is wide open for any victories I choose to pursue.

Most triumphant.

I'm already achieving, and setting goals to propel me further forward.  There's that old saying, "life is what you make of it," and I used to think that was a crock.  Now that I'm living the life I'm making for myself, I've learned that it's spot-on.  Set your purpose, roll up your sleeves, work hard, and never lose sight of what you truly want in your life - and suddenly you'll start to feel like the perfect opportunities are simply being handed to you.  Put in the work and the results will come.  It took me a long time to see results on some of the hard work I've done in my past decade, but with the way this new decade is starting, I have every confidence that by 40, every day will start with a victory dance.

That's right - TWO Keanu triumphs today.

Apologies for the super-short post again today - as I mentioned yesterday, there were many birthday and Fat Tuesday shenanigans taking up my time so I stayed away from the laptop for an evening.  You can still go check out all the other Wednesday Word posts by visiting Deb Runs.  See how my fellow bloggers have triumphed in their lives!

Deb Runs

Do you have a moment of great triumph in your life?  How will you commit to making every day of your future a triumph as well?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Happy Birthday!

It's my birthday!  I'm a whopping 30 YEARS OLD now, which some people tell me means I'm officially "old."  But while my joints might feel 60+ at times, my heart and soul are as young as ever, and I'm not going to let the big three-O get me down!

I'm also not going to waste too much time blogging today - it's more of a celebrating kind of a day than a writing one!  I was going to do a 30-things-about-me post, but I'd rather go hang out with my friends and family, I'm sure you understand!  Don't forget to check out this week's giveaway for a $50 gift card to Swanson Vitamins, and I'll see you tomorrow with the Wednesday Word!

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Weekly Chase: Living with Intention

So I pretty much failed at my goals for last week, with the exception of drinking a protein shake every day.  I didn't have any smoothies, and I only brought a lunch maybe one day out of the whole week.  Those goals will continue to be in the back of my mind as I make adjustments and try to figure out how best to accommodate better nutrition.  I think one of the fundamental issues with following through on some of last week's goals (like packing a lunch every day) stems from my difficulty getting myself moving in the morning.  With that in mind, this week's goals are all about learning to live with intention - especially at the start of each day.

  • Set my alarm five minutes earlier than normal - and actually wake up to it.  Giving myself just a little more time in the morning, even if it's only five minutes, will help me work in the things I don't do as part of my morning routine.  Whether it's eating breakfast, packing a lunch, doing my hair, or even just sitting for a couple minutes to think about what's on tap for the day, that extra time will help me set the tone for the rest of the day.
  • Use eyeliner every morning.  Anyone who knows me also knows I'm pretty much anti-makeup, especially on a daily basis.  I'll do a little primping for big events, but I'm not a false-face kinda gal.  However, I do like to use bright or jewel colored chunky eye pencils for a touch of color sometimes, and as I've been doing it more and more on random days, I've noticed my confidence in my appearance has increased, which has led to my overall confidence increasing.  Taking that moment each day to do something that makes me feel good about myself is a great way to get started on the right foot.
  • Create a mantra image to post at my desk to remind me to always be Fiercely Serene.  I created this personal mantra last year at the Soul Pose yoga festival, and have kept it close to my heart ever since.  I'm still learning to be serene, but I have made tons of progress towards chilling myself out a bit, which has already provided advantages in daily life.  To better remind myself to embrace both my natural fierceness and my much-needed serenity, I'd like to make a sign or something that I can put someplace I'll see it frequently.  Doing so will make it easy to live my mantra every day.
These may seem so minor, but lasting change starts with small steps.  I need to make lasting changes in my life; I'm already on the right path, but by guiding my footsteps with a little more purpose and intention will most assuredly take me to even greater places.  As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step!

Road Runner Girl

What weekly goals are YOU chasing?  How well did you accomplish last week's goals?  Check in with hosts Road Runner Girl and Molly Ritterbeck to see how everyone's Weekly Chase wrapped up, and how they're all moving forward in the new week!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Nubreed Helix BCAA Review (GIVEAWAY!)

I've recently started using Nubreed Helix BCAAs as part of my recovery routine after tough workouts.  BCAA stands for branched chain amino acids, which includes essential amino acids the body needs for protein synthesis, while also decreasing the rate of protein breakdown.  Between the increased production and decreased breakdown, BCAAs can help your body maintain muscle mass or even help increase muscle mass - which is kinda the point of all this working out, right?

I noticed improvements in recovery time almost immediately after adding BCAAs to my supplement regimen. I've also found myself more capable of pushing hard in the next workout if I used BCAA recovery supplements previously.  In fact, there is some evidence that the direct absorption into the bloodstream from taking BCAA supplements might even be an effective way to increase the intensity of your workouts and fight off fatigue.  I haven't actually taken the supplement mid-workout, reserving it instead for post-workout as that was the primary reason I purchased it, but someday I'll have to give it a try when I need that extra boost without throwing caffeine into the fire!

Helix BCAA has actually been my favorite supplement of any I have tried so far!  The powder blends completely into water, and the blue raspberry flavor is delicious!  I've been tempted to mix up a second shakerful on many occasions, even though I don't necessarily need a bigger dose.  Helix BCAA has become an essential part of my fitness routine as I have been building into a more difficult and taxing program, and I'll most likely be sticking to this brand for a good while knowing how reliable it has been so far.

Did you know you can get Helix BCAA from Swanson Vitamins?  You can also get last week's MRM Driven pre-workout supplement, or dozens of other items, at a great discount!  I'm hoping to start searching for a new creatine brand soon, and Swanson will probably be the first place I look.  Wanna try something too?  Let me help!  Thanks to the generous people at Swanson Vitamins, I have a $50 gift card to give away to a reader!  As always, use the Rafflecopter below, contest ends 2/16 at 11:59pm.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What are your go-to supplements right now?  Have you used BCAAs before?  What else do you do for recovery after hard workouts?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Weekly Roundup: February 1st through February 6th

I'm starting to feel like taking Fridays off from blogging might not be a bad idea.  Thursdays are my busiest days, and with running season around the corner, my weekends will be too full to prep much content in advance (especially since the content to come will be so much more in-depth than my previous posting history).  Still, in general I am doing so much better with consistency on the blog, and I've gotten to try some really interesting products lately!  Here's what you missed this past week!

As always, I started the week by setting some goals.  Knowing how bad my diet really is, I'm trying to start being more conscious of nutrition, so this week's goals are intended to help lay the foundation.  I'll be honest though - I'm struggling, and I've only met one of these goals this week.

This funky piece of fitness equipment surprised me a little!  I wasn't too sure what to expect from this little thing, but I still managed to work up a sweat and put some decent strain on my muscles.  The Body Trimmer is just the first of many home fitness products I've acquired to play around with - and once I have a clearer picture of how I'm going to approach it, I'll be starting a series on building and using a home gym on any budget and for any set of goals.  Roughly penciled in for early summer!

Wednesday - Blog Status Update

With big plans for Adventures with FitNyx swirling around in my head, I'm trying to lay some groundwork and play around with some options for revamping the blog and moving forward.  It's taking away from content time, but I'm okay with it.  Especially since I got to spend the maintenance time at a delightful local restaurant!  Check out a summary of what's new in Wednesday's post!

I tend to dislike using weight as a measure of anything other than the pull of gravity on an object, relying instead on functional fitness and the way I feel to judge progress (and, in brutal honesty, I consider the way my body looks to be an indicator too), but there are other types of body measurements that can be helpful in creating goals and monitoring progress.  I tried a new scale with lots of measurement functions to see if I could enhance my goals through technology.

Supplement Sunday Sneak Peek: Helix BCAA Post-Workout

How was your week?  What were your highlights?  Have any exciting plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

EatSmart Precision BodyCheck Scale

Well, I broke down and got my own scale.  Despite being an advocate for non-numbers goals and focusing on feeling and living better over worry about your weight, I decided to try to look at the scale as another tool in my fitness arsenal.  It's much easier to do that with some of the fancy scales available these days - scales aren't just for weight anymore!

The EatSmart Precision BodyCheck digital scale actually offers a wide range of measurements and calculations to give you a much fuller picture of what's happening inside your body.  While it still weighs you, there are also settings for measuring body mass index (BMI), bone mass, body water, mineral mass, and calorie estimation.  That's a whole lot of information!

Disclaimer: I was provided a scale at no cost in exchange for my review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

So how does the scale actually *ahem* measure up when put to use?  For starters, it's pretty simple to use, and the instruction manual makes it very easy to learn.  The first thing I did was create a "profile" with my gender, activity level, height, and age.  Up to eight profiles can be stored; supposedly the scale can tell which user just stepped on by taking the person's weight, so you don't have to push buttons to find your profile (or remember which was yours).  I don't have any other profiles stored on the scale, and testing with another profile of my own information wouldn't really let me test it, so that function remains untried.

As far as accuracy, I can definitely say the weight measurements seem to be pretty accurate.  I tested this by weight in on my scale, then weighing in on several other scales to take an average, which I compared to my scale.  The average was less than half a pound off the EatSmart measurement - I'd say that's pretty good.  I'm skeptical of the other measurements, though.  It isn't as easy to verify the accuracy of calculations you're not sure how to take yourself, and the method of data collection for those measurements and calculations is an electropulse from a thin strip of metal on the scale face.  Maybe this is a normal way to collect that data, but honestly I do not fully understand how that little pulse can accurately measure something like BMI.

Once I better understand how the functions are calculated, I'll probably appreciate the scale a lot more.  I definitely do like the big, bright, easy to read display!  I also very much like the sleek, modern design of the scale, much better than the old clunky thing my parents had in the house.  By the time I get my own place again, I'll know better how to use the various bells and whistles to help me understand my body better, which will help me continue to build a better lifestyle.  That's the real goal, after all!

Do you use a scale frequently?  How do you feel about weight as a fitness measure?  Ever used a scale with other measurement functions?

Blog Status Update

Hi friends!

I spent most of last night's "blogging time" working on some blog maintenance I haven't spent much time on lately, so I don't have any new content for today.  Instead, I've updated some of the other pages on Adventures with FitNyx, so check out some of the new (and updated) links on my top bar!

Meet Amanda now functions more like a CV for my fitness certifications, publications, and events.  If you're looking for race recaps, this is where you should start!

Fitness Classes has been simplified from a temperamental calendar to a more straightforward class list.  I've also cut back on my teaching schedule to make room for other opportunities, so you'll find most of my classes will be at my favorite gym!

Product Reviews is a new tab that serves as a repository for - you guessed it - product reviews!  As my list of reviewed products grows, I'm trying to keep them easily accessible and categorized for easy access.

Blog Affiliations is still under construction, but will be housing all the brand ambassador and blogger collective buttons that used to be in my sidebar.  Head over to this page to show some love to the fantastic communities that have helped make Adventures with FitNyx possible!

Discounts and Promotions has been updated to provide more relevant shopping links, and will hopefully be home to more exciting discount opportunities once I have more time to devote to brand ambassador and affiliate programs.

Thank you, as always, for your readership and your patience as I experiment with the future of this blog.  I am hoping to find the time in 2016 to move to a better site with a more streamlined interface, which will give Adventures with FitNyx a cleaner look, increased interactivity, and a wider range of possibilities for sharing content.  I also have several big blog series planned once the planets align to make them possible, so stick around!  This year promises to be my best yet!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Body Trimmer Review

As my life continues to build in Cleveland, I'm finding myself more and more on the go during the day - every day.  It's getting harder and harder to commit decent chunks of time to working out, especially with some of the local gyms' hours.  I've started instead to consider some products that allow me to work out in my own home, on my own time, and am slowly building a bit of a home gym.  Primarily I've been looking for low-profile, easy-to-store items (since I don't really have my own home right now) that provide a versatile range of exercises to be done in small spaces.

One of the items I've encountered on my search immediately caught my attention for its unusual design: the Body Trimmer elastic exerciser.  It's essentially a variation on resistance tubing, and even features a set of four resistance tubes as the core of the product, but it uniquely adds a double handlebar and some little foot stirrups!

Disclaimer: I received this product at a discount in exchange for my review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Right away I had some ideas for how to use it - which is good, because the overseas company that sells it doesn't include any type of instructions in or on the packaging.  Fortunately, I've been doing this fitness stuff long enough to have a whole repertoire of resistance tubing exercises at my fingertips for just such an item.  After learning that only my stocking feet would fit into the stirrups (and barely at that, the loops are pretty small), I took off my shoes and got settled with the Body Trimmer.

First I tried standard exercises like standing rows and seated biceps curls:

Then I realized that with the band anchored to my feet instead of a wall or pole (as with traditional resistance tubing), I could challenge my stability, and therefore work my core, by lifting my legs and making the resistance work against gravity at the same time:

THEN I realized I could add both dimensions together to REALLY work my core!  By moving both arms and legs at the same time, I could make traditional core exercises like boat pose or v-situps more challenging and more functional:

I was pleasantly surprised to realize that this weird little thing actually had some new options to add to my repertoire.  Core work is difficult and takes a lot of time, but when you find new ways to challenge those muscles, especially with dynamic exercises, gains are a little easier to come by.

At the end of the day, though, it's basically a cheaply made resistance tube that only fits small feet.  There's enough resistance for my fitness level for now, but there's no way to increase or decrease the resistance to meet other levels, and once the Body Trimmer breaks, it's probably done for good.  I have serious doubts about how sturdy this thing will be in the long run, or even in the short term.  If it lasts, it could be an interesting piece of equipment for a home gym, but I probably wouldn't spend too much money on it because it just doesn't offer as much versatility as other products.  I'd much rather invest in a set of traditional resistance tubing for the variety and ability to change difficulty.

What interesting or unique fitness products have you seen on the market?  What's the most unusual piece of equipment you've tried?  Any suggestions for other Body Trimmer uses?

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Weekly Chase: Working on Nutrition

Happy to report that last week's strength goals were almost all met!  I didn't make it to boxing, as I had very busy evenings and then slept in too late on the weekend to make it to available class times, but everything else was a success!  It's a great start towards rebuilding my habits, and those goals will stay ongoing as part of my regular schedule.

This week, I'm going to try to start focusing on my nutrition a little better.  I'm an atrocious eater, and I notice more and more that it's causing huge self-sabotage issues with my fitness and body image goals.  Starting to pull my diet back in line ought to be a big step towards performing on the next level and matching my appearance to my fitness level a little more accurately.

  • Drink a protein shake every day.  Protein is chronically lacking in my diet, which is unfortunate - protein breaks down slower than the simple carbs I typically eat, so a higher protein consumption will help keep me fuller for longer.  This can cut back on some of my needless snacking.  Plus, protein is important for muscle building and recovery.  More protein in my diet will only serve to augment my gym time.
  • Pack a lunch for work.  My office diet is either nothing at all (causing me to overeat when I get home) or whatever junk food is in the vending machine.  Neither of those options are very healthy!  Even if it's just a time-tested PB&J and a cup of yogurt, I believe packing a lunch will get me eating in a more timely fashion, and providing more nourishment than a candy bar when I DO eat.
  • Get back into smoothies.  While I'd love to say "make a smoothie every day", I know that's not going to happen quite yet.  Instead, I'd like to try to consume at least three smoothies over the course of the week, either home-made or from a decent smoothie store (no McDonald's smoothies here).  More smoothies equals more fruit and veggies, both of which are severely lacking in my normal diet.
Changing my diet habits will take a long time.  I know this.  That's why this week's goals are somewhat simple.  If I can start small, and actually forge some habits, eventually I can stack bigger building blocks on the foundation I lay now.  The biggest changes have to start small, or the shock of change will be unsustainable.  I know if I make the commitment at the basic level, I will eventually be able to make the bigger commitment of A Healthy Diet!

Road Runner Girl

What weekly goals are YOU chasing?  How well did you accomplish last week's goals?  Check in with hosts Road Runner Girl and Molly Ritterbeck to see how everyone's Weekly Chase wrapped up, and how they're all moving forward in the new week!