Jawbone UP MOVE – Fitness Tracking for the Unfit

Jawbone UP MOVE

My prediction is that sales of fitness trackers are up massively year on year for the month of January. This time last year, this wearable tech was still quite niche with most of us thinking this would be a very short-lived fad. We were thinking it could be the Tamagotchi of the twenty-tens…for adults. Something people would play with for 5 minutes and then throw onto the discard pile along with their resolutions to make this the year they’d finally shift those extra pounds.

So far though, it seems to be more of a mobile phone; something that’s spawned a whole load of new brands trying to beat the ever popular Nokia 3210 (Fitbit). Everyone wants one and often they’re not really sure what they even do. Think about those 3210s for a minute; did you want one because you urgently needed to make calls on the move, or did you want to be able to play Snake and thrust your cool new tech in your friends’ faces? This is what’s happening with fitness trackers.

It’s January, we’ve all decided we’ll be happier, healthier, better people this year and since it’s now 2015, we can’t possibly contemplate doing this without a new gadget of some description. In comes the fitness tracker! (Cue round of applause)

Oh wait, what?

Fitness tracker. But that would mean I’d have to, like, get fit or something. My resolution was public declaration to show the world that I know I’m fat, it wasn’t an intention to fix it! Maybe I should get one anyway…

And so my journey began.

I did quite a lot of research into the various fitness trackers out there because most of them are pricey enough to make me think twice before impulse buying. In the end, I settled on the Jawbone UP MOVE because it has an accessible price point of £39 and it seems to have all of the functionality I need.

I haven’t turned into an athlete just because I purchased a device to track my movement and consequently, I don’t need a sophisticated tracker to tell me that. What I wanted was something to make me aware of just how sedentary my life is and how varied my sleep patterns can be. It’s working.

Every day my steps are monitored so I now know that on an average day working in my local office, I do a fraction of the exercise I assumed I was doing whereas on an average day working in London, I manage far more exercise than I had realised. This is great because I have a starting point and a real indication of how much more I need to move on those local days in order not to turn into a sloth.

I can also track what I eat with this little gadget which is useful for those who are calorie counting. I was already a fan of MyFitnessPal for that though and guess what, the two integrate! 

Basically, what I have is a little gadget I clip on to my tights or trousers in the morning to track my steps and then I press 1 button at night so it tracks my sleep instead. It’s so easy! There’s not even any charging. By charging, I mean that moment you have to separate yourself from the device for a few hours for the first time and then you never go back to it. I’ve been wearing this little Jawbone pal for about 7 days now, which is pretty much the longest I’ve ever played with any toy.

In the meantime, my friend who invested in a Fitbit is sat there staring at her wrist telling me she has no idea what the flashing lights do or how it works. She tried to track her sleep but it didn’t work and she can’t find any proper instructions. She’s 23 and works for a forward thinking software company, surely she’s meant to be able to figure it out!?!

If you’ve read this far, thank you for putting up with my waffle. I hope you can understand that what I’m trying to say is this; if you think you want a fitness tracker but you rarely do anything to warrant one, why not start with the reasonably priced Jawbone UP MOVE and see how you get on. By the time it’s battery dies in 4-6 months’ time, you’ll know whether you’re ready for the big boys or not. It really is the fitness tracker for the chronically unfit and I love it 🙂

How Not to Live for the Weekend

A few weeks ago I realised I had well and truly got myself into the rut of living for the weekend, complete with hideous Sunday night feeling of dread and disturbed sleep. Now, given that one of my most annoying neuroses is my constant panic that whatever I am doing, I might be missing out on something better, this was really not a good situation for me! So I began to think about what I could do to solve this, taking into consideration the fact that my poor digestive health means that I spend my week-nights bloated to the hilt and feeling very tired.

I decided that attack was the best form of…well, attack, really! I have bought several Groupon type vouchers and now have exercise classes coming out of my ears. The best thing is that a bunch of my good friends have also bought the same vouchers so I am beating the blues by seeing my friends and holding 2 fingers up at my digestive system and getting active! Not only this, but I am also trying to plan more random things such as cinema visits, etc. midweek as well. For example: last week, Pole Fitness Monday, girly night Tuesday, night in Wednesday, out for drinks with a friend Thursday…boom, it’s the weekend!

Hopefully you can tell this isn't me...

If you suffer from the common syndrome of “work sucks and I hate 9-5 in the office-itis” then you might want to try my technique. I cannot tell you how much quicker the last 2 Mondays have flown by knowing I will have fun getting fit and seeing my mates in the evening.

So there you have it…the answer was so simple I missed it for ages. All I had to do was stop living for the weekend and use the good 4 or 5 hours I have in the evening to do the things I wish I could do for the 9 hours a day I’m at work. Sermon over. x

The Easy Way to a Flat Stomach

Over the last few weeks I have been making a conscious effort to eat more healthily and exercise at least a bit…as per my goals for 2012. What I have been finding though is that exercise takes time I don’t have and I have literally no idea where to start. That’s when Justin Devonshire contacted me about writing a guest post and I thought…hang on…a personal trainer writing on my blog…BINGO! So here is Justin’s first post, “5-Minute Fixes for a Flat Stomach”.

If you’re reading this post I’m guessing you’re like most of the other 200+ women I’ve trained. Most of them try reading books and reading articles to find the best weight loss tips, but all they find is boatloads of complicated and contradictory information that tells them nothing.

You probably feel like screaming, “Get to the point!”

If that sounds familiar, you’re in the right place. I know your time is limited and valuable, so I am going to cut through the nonsense and tell you exactly what you need to do to get a flat stomach right now.

Here are 3 Quick-Fixes you can easily fit into your schedule to start shrinking your waist right now…

Quick-Fix #1: Use the Plank Exercise (and STOP doing crunches)

To perform a plank, get into a regular push up position, up on your toes, and rest on the underneath of your forearms. Now squeeze your tummy hard and try holding it for 30 – 60 seconds.

This exercise works ALL your core muscles in one go, and burns far more calories than doing hundreds of boring, painful crunches (which actually hurt your back and give you a forward leaning, unsexy posture).

Start getting down and holding a 30-second plank as many times as you can throughout the day. If you’re in work and getting bored, the quick rush of blood-flow from doing this exercise will even wake you up and help you to focus a little!

 Quick-Fix #2: Suck It Up!

Here’s another great exercise you can do if you are sat at the office all day and can’t fit in a full workout.

Simply sit up tall, back against the chair, and start sucking in your tummy and holding it as long as you can (whilst still taking breaths).

The easiest way to visualize it is to imagine you are trying to pull your belly button back toward your spine.

This will activate all your deep stomach muscles and improve your posture, making you look naturally taller and more confident.

Start by holding it for just 20 seconds, and getting used to breathing normal breaths at the same time. Then over the days build up your holding time until you can comfortably suck your tummy in for up to 5 minutes.

Doing this and the plank exercise alone will start taking the inches from your waist straight away!

Quick-Fix #3: The No-Sugar Drinks Challenge!

Cutting down sugar is obviously a fast way to stop fat getting stored on your belly. However, it’s sometimes more easily said than done.

Here is a dead simple way to cut out a LOAD of sugar from your diet and lose at least a pound or two in just one week:

Set yourself a challenge that you will not DRINK any calories for a week. Stick to water wherever possible, which will help flush excess fat and toxins out of your system. To flavour try cutting up some slices of lemon, lime or orange.

Switch to green tea instead of regular, and definitely cut out that Starbucks on the way to work!

This is just for one week. See how you feel after that week and decide if it was really that difficult to keep the sugary drinks at bay.

In reality there no ‘magic bullets’ to immediate fat-loss, but these are three of the closest things you’ll get to quick-fixes. Give them a try and let us know your results in 7 days time!

If you’re loving the results, check out Justin’s Blog: 

Justin Devonshire is a woman’s fat-loss & body-toning expert. He is the owner of Bodyshape Fitness – Personal Training & Bootcamp, which is run in both the UK and Cyprus.

For more free quick tips on weight loss, toning & motivation for women, visit the Bodyshape Fitness Blog, and get Justin’s “Little Black Dress Transformation Guide” as a FREE gift right now!

Wicked! Surprise Party and Life in the Real World

Wow, I literally can barely remember the person I was last time I posted something and have even less memory of what I cared about at that time! I figure I must have been obsessed with planning a surprise birthday party for my bf – that is now done and dusted!

What a night the surprise was; the initial panic set in earlier in the week when the hostess came down with a hideous ear infection and was off work sick. Luckily she had recovered enough the night before for us to start decorating her pad in preparation (sparkly red hearts are very manly don’t you know!). Then the fateful night arrived and as we walked through the door and everyone yelled “surprise” with cameras flashing everywhere, what did my bf do…act totally nonchalant, walk straight in and start saying hi to people. Worst “surprise” face ever! Everyone said it too – no emotion…not even a hint! This of course added to my nerves so I decided it would be best to hit the booze and fast! Hit it I did – vodka and cranberry juice and lots of it. I still don’t know why I chose vodka given that it always makes me hideously drunk and sick. As you can now imagine, I did indeed reach the point in the night where I literaly snapped from being drunk one minute to complaining I was going to vom the  next. (Of course none of this had anything to do with the fact that I could barely breathe in my size 8 dress!!!) Luckily my lovely friends managed to get an IKEA bag in front of me to catch the pink wonder that flew out of my mouth. I then proceeded  to fall asleep on the sofa in the corner and missed most of the party I had put so much effort into organising…fail! The important thing is he enjoyed it though.

That night then set the precedent for the next day – matinee tickets to see Wicked in the West End. For local theatre I am almost always bang on time / late, for the big shows I always like to be early. Not this time. I awoke on the Saturday morning feeling particularly shite as my stomach is dodgy at the best of times and proceeded to delay us whilst I was unsure I could manage food. We then got on the train, at which point it became bf’s time to feel ill, he did have to crouch down like a pervert with a foot fetish as of course there were no seats available. Finally we arrive at Paddington only to find the Circle Line closed so we have to take a longer route to the theatre. We literally got there as they were closing the curtain to stop anyone else coming in…but boy was it worth it!

Wicked was superb! I didn’t actually know that much about the show or the storyline prior to going, I just assumed it would be good as I had heard so many rave reviews. Turns out I loved it! There had been a slight bit of scepticism based on my love for The Wizard of Oz but the humour and talent in Wicked really brought the story to life and made me appreciate it as a whole separate entity. Interestingly it has also made me look at Wiz in a new light and I shall be re-watching soon to look for hints of this backstory. I definitely recommend a trip to Wicked for young and old alike.

Anyhow, the birthday went well and seems to have improved my standing as a truly amazing gf.  Sadly it seems that the rest of life still exists and I keep having to do that work thing in order to get the money I NEED to spend on shoes! However, even good news here! I have taken on a whole new aspect of my role – temp recruitment. What a volatile beast that is!!! I love it and it has definitely made the days go quicker but heck there are some annoying people out there – how hard can it be to say you will take a job and actually turn up on the day!?! Mentals! Love love love though and hope to carry this on for much longer 🙂

The next exciting event is our Come Dine with Me competition amongst friends. We have teamed up with 3 other couples we know to host dinner parties; ours is first, this Saturday. Luckily we have an obvious theme to choose and have gone for bonfire night. Already the drama has started though; we decided some pink sparkly paper to print the invitations onto would be just the ticket…easy…or not!?! Apparently inkjet printers will print onto shiny paper but the ink won’t dry and laser printers will print and the ink will dry but the paper will also get stuck in the printer / create a burning smell…twice…at work…oops! Luckily bf lives with the IT Manager so all is sorted. It did mean we ended up inkjet printing, then mounting on more paper and laminating but now we have firework proof invites, hehehe! Update to follow on the dinner party as I don’t want to give any more away at this stage.

You may have noticed a lack of mentions of exercise…it dropped off the radar – even my new Nike outfit has not kept me going. In all fairness my gym buddy and I have been busy people but still no excuse. It may have something to do with the fact that we nearly died at the Capoeira class we went to but we have definitely booked ourselves in to another class tomorrow – I WILL fit into the size 8 dress I bought for the Xmas party and be able to breathe at the same time! Ideas on a postcard of how to do this whilst still eating at least 3 choccie bars a day please!

Update done! Will defo be back much sooner next time x