Top 8 Fitness & Nutrition Apps

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As technology continues to grow, there are a number of fitness, health, wellness, and nutrition apps that we can download to our mobile devices to help us log our food, track our workouts, set goals, meditate, connect with other like-minded fitness enthusiasts, get inspired and motivated, stay accountable, try new recipes, find close-by health food, etc. If you’re looking for anything health and wellness related, as they say, there is probably “an app for that.” I’ve decided to collect and share with you some of my personal top 8 favorite apps with you. Give them a try or search out your own to motivate and guide you through your healthy lifestyle!

LoseIt

LoseIt is a really seamless nutrition logging application and website. It allows you to set a calorie budget for the day, track food, input exercise, and stay motivated with peer support and friendships. There is a premium membership and free membership based on your preference or level of desired features. You can also connect devices and accounts like a fitbit tracker, fitbit aria, Facebook, Twitter, Run Keeper, Nike, etc. I prefer this app over the more popular Myfitnesspal below because of its ease of use, simplicity, and the way they set up inputting your food and selection of portions.

Myfitnesspal

This is the most well-known and universal nutrition tracking app. This platform contains a much larger community of people, so if community is what you’re looking for, this app might be your choice. However, the set-up and features are slightly more complex than LoseIt, but you get very similar types of features from both platforms. Additionally, if you have other apps, accounts, and devices you’d like to connect, Myfitnesspal syncs with a greater amount of these than does LoseIt.

Pact

Want to make money from your fitness and nutrition commitments? This is your app! Pact allows you to create, well, a PACT with the app for a weekly commitment to fruits/veggies, nutrition logging, and/or workouts. Complete your workouts? Get paid by the community from those who didn’t adhere to their pact. Don’t complete your workouts? You pay what you wager per missed activity. The motivation to get sh!t done is really high when money is involved!

Lift

If you’re aware, goal-setting is one of the best ways to help boost your achievement in any area of your life – including fitness and health. Lift helps you succeed with coaching, community, and data. So you can get guidance, encouragement, and set up reminders, learn from users and experts, and track your goals progress to keep you moving forward.

Instagram

I know that Instagram is not specifically a health and wellness application, BUT the usefulness of this app for health and wellness purposes is HUGE – at least in my opinion. The community of fitness and health people here is so big that you can find inspiration and motivation for the development and continuation of your own lifestyle in seconds. (come find me! @tanyathurnau)

Fitlist

I used to track my workouts (sets/reps/time/etc.) the good old fashioned way up until VERY recently. I seriously think I was the only one carrying around a notebook or binder and pen around the gym with me. Then it hit me – there’s probably an “app for that.” Duh!! I ran across this little gem, fitlist. It allows you to save your workouts (sets, reps, and all) for future use. You can add your own exercises, as well. It’s so simple that it’s easy and fast to use DURING your workout so you never skip a beat. You can see past workouts with a quick calendar swipe or even plan future workouts.

Calm

The mind is just as important as the body in a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve never made meditation a daily practice (even 5 short minutes), I highly recommend it. Calm is great and has categories for different types of subject-centered focus and has times ranging from 2-30 minutes.

Guided Mind

Guided Mind is another meditation app similar to Calm. There are 8 Guide Experts, 20 guided meditations, option to download your meditations so you can listen without an internet connection, TONS of premium meditations you can buy, 5, 15, and 30 minute meditations, and a variety of meditation topics to choose from.

Yours in Health,

Tanya

Your Bike Helmet

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This is a post about bike helmets, but I will start it off by simply saying, “You need to be wearing one.”  I have heard all the reasons why people think they shouldn’t have to, and it comes down to one simple answer, “Just wear it.”  It doesn’t matter if you don’t go that fast, or if its going to wreck you hair, or its to hot.  Just wear the helmet!  Now that’s out of the way.  Here is the heart of what I would like to discuss today, the questions that may not have the easiest answers.

When should I replace my helmet?

I would say every other year if you are a consistent rider.  Sweat and the sun affect the break down of the helmet.  Sweat and the salt it releases are acidic and corrosive and eat away at the plastic of the helmet.   The sun also has a damaging effect on plastic, just take a look at anything that has spent a season or two out in the summer sun.   If you are a less consistent rider it should be every three or four years. If it has had any sort of impact replace is right away.  Also if you notice any cracks or break downs of the material, its time for a new helmet.

How can I prolong the life of my helmet?

Every other week or so rinse it in cold water, and let it completely dry out.  This will help clean out the dried sweat.  Make sure that you store it out of the sun, in a cool and dry place.

Why are there different price points for helmets? 

The main differences in price is going to be comfort , quality of materials, and breath-ability. That is of course unless you are buying a specialty helmet such as an Aero helmet.  If you are doing a lot of riding comfort is king.  The most important thing to make sure your helmet has is that it complies with the U.S. CPSC Standard for Bicycle Helmets.  Helmets at a lower price point may not be up to this standard.  If your taking time to put a helmet on, make sure that it has the ability to protect you.

I hope this was helpful, and encourages you to be safe.

See you on the road, in the lake, or on the trails.

Brandon

Thank You!

 

I don’t know if its better to be lucky or good, but I’d like to think I’m a little of both.  I feel extremely fortunate to have a job at a place that I get to talk with customers all day about fitness and triathlon.  It’s easy for me to come to work knowing that I will be able to interact with people that have similar passions as I do.  So I just wanted to take this time to say, “Thank You.’  I know that online shopping at times may seem more convenient, so thank all of you for coming through the doors of our store and training center.  Thank you for trusting us with your training and apparel needs, and thank you for supporting Trifitness.      

In knowing this we as a staff are always working hard to keep up on the latest product knowledge so that we can best serve you.  Because we want to continue to earn your trust and support every time you walk through our doors.   

So once again thank you for supporting us, and giving me the opportunity to have a career that I love and am passionate about.  

 

See you on the road, in the lake or on the trails (and of course the store and training center also),

Brandon

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My First Tri

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If you have ever thought about trying triathlon, this is the race for you!  It is set up specifically for the first time triathlete.   We do everything we can to help you have the most positive experience for your first triathlon.  I know this first hand because this triathlon was also my first(I participated in it a few years ago).  And it changed everything.  The experience was so great that not only have I continued the sport of triathlon, but I know work for the very people that put this race on.  And I get to see people come through the store and experience the race just as I did.

 

Here are a few of the things that we do to lesson the anxiety of completing your first triathlon.

  • Time trial start.  Every 3 seconds we start a new person.  So you don’t have to worry about a big group start.
  • We limit the number of participants.  That way there is plenty of room on the course, and everyone can be comfortable.
  • We have a mentor program.  You can actually have an experienced triathlete swim, bike and run along side you on race day.  (This service is an additional $15).
  • We offer a free, “Tri for Dummies” seminar at out store location.  We let you know what to expect, and will answer any questions you may have.
  • We also have the Beginner Triathlete Program.  This program offers advise, training tips, and basically everything you need to know to be both physically and mentally prepared for your first triathlon.   Clients in this program meet once a week with a coach as a group and go over everything from transitions to actually practicing an open water swim. (The July-Aug. program has a $75 fee).  But if there are just a few sessions you are interested in you can attend them for a $22.50 drop in fee.

 

I hope to see everyone give Triathlon a try, and enjoy this awesome experience with us.  Here at Trifitness our motto is, “Well Beyond Limits, ”  lets us take you there!  For more information about My First Tri, and the Beginner Triathlete Program visit our website. http://www.trifitnesswbl.com

 

See you on the road, in the lake, or on the trails,

Brandon

 

Protein Powders: What’s The Difference?

5-Gluten-Free-Protein-PowdersWalk into any health food store or supplement shop and you’ll see walls full of protein powder brands and varieties to choose from. The possibilities are almost endless and, especially if you’re a newbie, this can be extremely overwhelming.

Before I get into the various kinds of protein and the differences between them, let’s first determine the who, why, and how of protein powder.

Who can benefit from protein powder?

The answer here is simple: EVERYONE! It’s often thought that protein powder is just for the super-fanatics of fitness and the bodybuilders. Those interested in general health or the newbies are often a little intimidated by the idea of using protein powder to supplement their nutrition. This is due to the myth that if you use it, you’ll get weight or get big bulky muscles. This is not the case. Protein powder is simply that – protein. It’s just protein extracted from your standard protein sources – plants or animals. Some protein powders also contain extra vitamins, minerals, BCAAs, etc., but don’t pack the power to turn your physique into the Incredible Hulk.

Why use protein powder?

Most people are deficient in an adequate intake of protein. I’ve found that most of my clients don’t even consume 50g protein/day (which is half of a very general minimum requirement). We should all be consuming at least 5 small meals/day spaced every 2-3 hours apart. Every one of your meals should contain a portion of protein. And when most people think of this, they assume they need to prepare a portion of fish, chicken, or turkey, etc., with every single meal. This becomes impossible, inconvenient, and overwhelming for a vast number of people. A fantastic solution to this dilemma? Protein powder! Having 2 protein shakes per day can help make an adequate calorie/protein intake extremely doable.

How can protein powder be used?

In addition to the more obvious protein shake, protein powder can be consumed plain with water, added to yogurt or cottage cheese, mixed into healthy baked goods, or added to waffles, pancakes, or oatmeal! There are a number of convenient uses! Just be aware, whatever you add your protein powder to, it’ll taste only as good as your protein powder tastes, so find one you enjoy!

So now that you understand the basic who, why, and how, let’s get into the various different kinds of protein powder so you can decide the best choice for you! There are five main protein powders to choose from: whey, casein, soy, brown rice, and hemp. Although they’re all protein sources, their functions and benefits vary slightly from type to type.

Whey

  • Most popular protein powder on the market
  • Comes from milk
  • Helps repair muscle quickly, which is why it’s ideal post-workout
  • Fast-digesting
  • It is a complete protein which means it contains a full amino acid profile
  • Aids in fat burning
  • Great for improving general health

Casein

  • Anti-catabolic protein powder which means it fights the breakdown of muscle tissue by releasing amino acids slowly into the muscles
  • Perfect for late night/pre-bedtime consumption
  • Comes from milk
  • Helps repair and build muscle
  • Aids in fat-burning

Soy

  • Popular for vegetarians or vegans
  • Great for overall health
  • Contains isoflavones, which are beneficial to women – they’ve been shown to help with menopause and reduce the risk of breast cancer
  • Aids in fat-burning
  • There is a lot of controversy surrounding soy, so some people prefer to stay away from all soy products

Brown Rice

  • Another option for vegetarians or vegans
  • Great for anyone who deals with gas or bloating due to being lactose intolerant or having a sensitive tummy
  • Absorbs easily
  • Incomplete protein
  • Plant protein

Hemp

  • Great option for vegans
  • Incomplete protein
  • Plant protein
  • Contains a good dose of fatty acids and omega-3s, which aid in lowering cholesterol levels and enhance memory, focus, and concentration
  • Aids in muscle recovery and inflammation

If you don’t have any sensitivities or are not a vegetarian or vegan, I would recommend whey and casein protein powders the most, but there are now even varieties on the market that don’t upset those who ARE sensitive. There are really affordable varieties and the texture of these types are smooth. The vegan/vegetarian varieties tend to get grainy. If you can, choose a brand that is all-natural, undenatured, has a high level of bioavailability, and contains a great vitamin and mineral profile to REALLY make your protein powder work for you, get the best bang for your buck, and speed up your results.

I hope this helps you understand the different varieties of protein powder and why it is such a great addition to your nutrition no matter what your level of fitness/health! As always…

Yours in Health,

Tanya

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga-Happiness1I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a yogi and I don’t do yoga as much as I know I should. I do, however, understand the benefits and am striving to make it a larger part of my fitness routine. Despite my lack-of-a-relationship with yoga in the past, I’m here to tell you why you should strive to include it in your routine, too.

1. STRESS

Our days are busy. We ALL become extremely absorbed in our schedules and the crazy lives we live. We hardly take the time to stop and take a deep breath. If we don’t learn to manage the stress we build on a daily basis, it can have a negative impact on our health – emotionally, mentally, and physically. Yoga is an incredible way to quiet our minds, relax our bodies, and relieve built up stress…even if just performed one day per week.

2. FLEXIBILITY

Stretching and improving flexibility is often one of the most neglected components of fitness. Working to improve flexibility improves our weightlifting and cardio workouts, but also helps to prevent injury through better range of motion and form. Yoga stretches both muscles and soft tissues of the body like tendons and ligaments.

3. BLOOD FLOW & OXYGEN

Yoga is as much about breath as it is about moving through fluid asanas and balance postures. Blood flow and oxygen intake contribute to nutrient transportation and nitric oxide in the blood. Oxygen leads to nitric oxide leads to the opening of blood vessels leads to better blood flow leads to better transportation of nutrients throughout the body leads to better health, better workouts, and better cardiovascular health. Got it? Good!

4. POSTURE

Yoga formations are specific…very specific…and difficult (but modifiable)…and worth it! A lot of formations involve tipping at the hip while keeping everything straight up through the top of the head. Through learning how to stack your body properly, you improve posture significantly. Not just for workouts, but naturally for everyday life.

5. STRENGTH

Yoga involves some rather awkward and unnatural movements that are either held or put together in a fluid sequence of motion. Your body weight is your resistance. You’re not only working many of the larger muscles within the body, but the small stabilizer muscles, as well. The result? Overall strength and improved balance!

One final thought…the lower back is one of the most injured and problematic parts of the body for many many people. Yoga has the power to create an incredibly strong lower back through engagement of the entire core (very important). A healthy lower back and core is a result of all of the benefits of yoga put together, which leads to improvement in almost every aspect of a healthy and fit body.

These are just a few benefits of yoga. Let me know how your yoga session(s) go and share all the additional benefits you discover on your own!

Yours in Health,

Tanya

9 Most Common Workout Mistakes

Workout-MistakesYou work really hard to keep yourself on a good workout schedule and eating right, but there are a couple things you could be doing that may have a significant impact on getting you and your fitness goals. These are mistakes even the most disciplined and devoted fitness addicts can make. Let’s fine-tune your workouts!

1) Not fueling up after your workout session.
Food is SO important. 80% of your results is food and how your fuel your body. This includes pre and post workout meals. After you’ve worked your body, you have a small time-slot of about 45 minutes (optimize in 45!) to provide your body with the much needed nutrition it requires. When you fuel up after a workout, the calories, carbs, and protein you consume get right to work on repairing and rejuvenating your muscles.

2) Allowing gravity to do all of your work for you.
How are you suppose to get the most out of your weight workouts if you let gravity drop your weight? The negative movement (bringing the weight down) is just as important as the positive movement (bringing the weight up). If you don’t resist the weight coming down, you’re missing out on half of the exercise and not getting the most out of your rep. If you’re going to make the decision to get into the gym, don’t you want your work to go to good use? So take your time and slow down the movement to build that lean, beautiful muscle that’s going to be burning tons of fat!

3) Not getting in enough resistance training.
Resistance training isn’t just for bodybuilders…and neither is HEAVY resistance training. I lift heavy all the time and have never become bulky. Cardio definitely helps you burn fat, but it will do nothing to shape those muscles. And when you build muscle, it will burn fat ALL the time…even when you’re sleeping! I know I’d love to burn more fat when I’m not working to burn it!

4) Not lifting heavy enough.
If you want to change the way you look, you have to challenge your muscles…and in order to challenge your muscles, you have to lift heavier. If you’re not struggling with your last three reps, you’re not making significant changes in your body. When you can complete a set of reps with the current weight you’re using, increase your weight!

5) Not drinking enough water.
Water is a necessity! It is responsible in aiding so much of what are bodies do on a regular basis! It helps build muscles, keeps your metabolism up, aids in digestion and losing weight, keeps your organs running smoothly, and flushes your system. Aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces a day! And the first thing that should go into your mouth before anything else in the morning is a glass of water.  If you think water is extremely boring, try adding some cucumber, lemon/lime, herbs/mint, or frozen fruit to infuse your water and add a hint of flavor.

6) Focusing too much on the short term.
Our bodies are extremely smart, but takes time to be trained to run the proper way through food and exercise. So be patient to see the results. Our bodies also adapt very quickly to workout routines, so be sure to change up your schedule every 3-4 weeks to keep from plateau-ing. And it doesn’t have to be anything really drastic…think about changing the sequence of your workouts or the angle at which you’re lifting your weight.

7) Not allowing yourself enough rest time.
Your body needs rest. Especially between resistance training sessions. Try to wait at least 48 hours when training the same muscle group. This will give it time to develop, heal, and grow for your next session. In any workout, whether it’s cardio or strength training, the muscle fibers tear, which causes the soreness you experience. It’s important to allow your body to mend itself back together. Additionally, it’s critical to get between 7-9 hours of sleep at night.

8) Not eating enough.
If you’re not eating enough, your body will not improve. When you’re working your body, it needs more fuel to support it. The more you work, the more fuel it needs. When you work hard and eat often your body will consume and use those calories – they don’t sit and store as fat like everyone expects they will. If you aren’t seeing the kinds of results you’re looking for, the problem usually lies in how or what you’re eating, so keep yourself aware and track when you need to. There are great online and mobile apps like LoseIt and myfitnesspal you can use.

9) Not creating enough variety in your cardio.
Variety is the spice of life…and in workout land as well! For example, if you’re running the same pace on the treadmill over and over again, your body will adapt and you will plateau. You won’t be challenged anymore. Try interval training instead and run at a higher intensity for a little while, then a lower intensity…then try bringing up the incline and work your legs at a slightly different angle….play around with it and you’ll have a much more effective session.

So be aware and keep an eye on some of these things. Make some changes, even small ones, where you need to and you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference they’ll make!

Yours in Health,

Tanya