Couch 2 5K

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Running is my cardio of choice and aside from being a free workout, I find it great for clearing my head.  I used to have misconceptions that I wouldn’t ever be able to take up running because I have flat feet, I don’t have a lean figure, and I would never have the stamina for it.

In 2011 I discovered Couch to 5K (C25K) which is a free program that is designed to help someone who has never run be able to complete a 5K in 30 minutes after nine weeks. The way the program works is you do intervals of running and walking to help you build stamina. As you advance through the weeks you do more running and less walking during your workouts.  

There are a variety of apps you can download to help you with the program. Some of the apps are free, but most of the paid ones are under $4.99. I personally went with the NHS C25K podcast which is free to download. I liked the narrator’s voice and the music during the walk/run intervals. 

There were times when it was tough, but I stuck with it and now I love running. I even did the next level with is Bridge to 10K. There are additional programs for 10K to half marathon and half marathon to marathon if you have distance goals. I’d like to try the half marathon program at some point, but I don’t know if I want to go beyond that. When I feel off my routine which often happens in the winter if it gets icy or too cold. I’ll go back to the 5K or 10K programs to get back into a rhythm. 

If running is something you are thinking about trying then C25K is an accessible way to see if it’s the right sport for you.  

Mindful Monday: Fitness

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Last week I focused on food. This week I’m focusing on fitness. Now I don’t mean fitness in terms of having a certain exercise routine for weight loss. For me, it’s about finding activities that you enjoy and that challenge you in a good way.

My gym membership was up and instead of renewing I rejoined ClassPass. If you’re not familiar with it, ClassPass allows you to take different classes at a variety of studios throughout the month. There are pros and cons to this over a traditional membership. If you enjoy working out alone on machines or in the weight room this probably wouldn’t be the right plan for you.

I personally don’t enjoy using the treadmill and am more likely to show up to the gym if I have a specific class I’m looking forward to. This is why ClassPass is a good option for me. I’ll be talking about specific classes I’ve taken later in the week.

I also run which is a solo activity for me. I’ve run in groups before, but I run to also clear my head so I prefer to do that alone. I also track my steps using FitBit. I’ll go into all of this in other posts this week. What activities do you enjoy the most?

Mindful Monday: Sparkpeople

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Given last week’s setback, I want to focus my posts this week around what I’m doing to hit the ground running and let this change of plans become a challenge to help me prove to myself that I’m stronger than I ever imagined vs a defeat that I have no control over.

 I’ve mentioned both lap band surgery and running in previous as tools that have helped me loose and maintain my weight. Another tool that has helped me is SparkPeople. When I initially got my lap band SparkPeople was a place I’d turn to almost daily. In the past couple of years, it has been more of a resource that I occasionally visit for a reminder. Last week I got back in the habit of using it daily.

SparkPeople is a website and app that allows you to track calories, fitness goals, and water intake. In the past beyond nutrition and exercise journaling what I found really useful about SparkPeople is the community aspect.  The platform allows you to join teams made up of people with similar backgrounds, interests, or goals.  For example, I belong to teams for people who have lap bands, fans of The Ohio State Buckeyes, and writers.  You can join team goals, chat with each other in the forums, but most importantly cheer one another on.  The mini goals set by the teams and the camaraderie of supporting one another in victories and setbacks is what kept me coming back.  

I have to say since I was last regularly using the site the activity in the teams has died down a bit. My day job is in Community Managment so I know that this is pretty typical. I’m finding new teams with more active members to help me with the support aspect of this journey.

What is really helping me right now is the trackers for nutrition.  I do plug in my exercise too, but since I use a Fitbit for that, food is really what I focus on with SparkPeople. I love being able to easily pull up foods and enter them for each meal. The site automatically pulls up all the nutrients for me. You can set nutrition goals and trackers. Aside from calories I also track protein, fat, carbs, and fiber. I wish I could track sugar since that is something I’m really reducing, but unfortunately, that isn’t a current tracking feature on SparkPeople.  

Do you have other nutrition or fitness trackers that you swear by?