Health Boosters http://blog.withings.com Freshly blended healthy tips and news by Withings Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:47:39 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Actor Luke Adams Plays A Big Part In His Success http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/26/success-story-luke-adams/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/26/success-story-luke-adams/#comments Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:33:17 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21511

How one performer set the stage for his success Like many of us, Luke Adams, pictured, found that his weight started creeping up as he got older. The multi-talented 49-year-old told Withings he just wasn’t paying attention, and before he knew it, he was carrying 270 pounds on his 5’11’’ frame. “I love food, and […]

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Luke Adams

How one performer set the stage for his success

Like many of us, Luke Adams, pictured, found that his weight started creeping up as he got older. The multi-talented 49-year-old told Withings he just wasn’t paying attention, and before he knew it, he was carrying 270 pounds on his 5’11’’ frame. “I love food, and I’m from the south, where it’s all about food,” the Dallas-born performer said.

Age wasn’t the only contributing factor to his weight issues. For the last 25 years, Adams has worked as a karaoke host and DJ at renowned clubs such as The Cat’s Meow on Bourbon Street, Daddy Rock in Cancun, and now The Café Brass Monkey in Los Angeles, often starting his workdays late at night and not ending until the wee hours of the morning. When he’d get off work, he’d hang out with friends to wind down. And grabbing a bite was his way to socialize. “After work, it would often be, ‘So where do you want to go eat?’” he confided. Adams now realizes the habit of filling up before going to sleep led to packing on pounds. “Now, I don’t do that. I’m starting work at 9 p.m. now. I have my dinner before I go to work, and when people say, ‘Hey, let’s go have a bite’ — I don’t do that. I have my dinner early, and after work, I go right to bed.”

Adams was an early Withings scale adopter because, as he says, “I’m kind of a tech guy. I liked the idea of being able to monitor my weight, and I like how it’s all connected.” Adams tells us that he bought the scale for the cool factor. “It came out at the same time as the Apple HealthKit. I got the watch, and I think I saw the Withings scale for the first time on the Apple website. I bought mine at the Apple store.” At first, Adams said he might go several weeks without weighing. But things changed two years ago when he found out he had colon cancer.

“I attribute Obamacare with saving my life. As a performer, I had to pay privately for health insurance, so I just didn’t have it for about 10 years. If they hadn’t passed this bill requiring it, I wouldn’t have gotten a colonoscopy.” When he went in for his first check-up in a decade, the doc found that his iron levels were surprisingly low and ordered a battery of tests. The colonoscopy revealed bleeding, which allowed them to catch the cancer early. “I was stage one, and there was no spreading, nothing in the lymph nodes.” They removed about a third of his colon, and no radiation or chemo was required. Luke is currently cancer-free, and more serious about his health than he’s ever been.

Now, in addition to tracking his nutrition and calories with the MyFitnessPal app, and tracking his daily steps, Adams faithfully gets on the Withings scale in the morning. “Before, I was weighing whenever I wanted to. Now, I weigh every day. When you see a good result, it motivates you, gets you back on it. Before, I might go several weeks without weighing.” But now, Adams gets a rush from the feedback of his health graphs when things are good, and a nudge to do better when they temporarily go south. “The scale is like my punishment or my reward.”

 

Taking exercise one step at a time

When it comes to health, as with his career, Adams tells us he’ll commit to doing things that he likes. If he’s bored, forget about long-term commitment. “If dieting is about eating things you don’t like, you’re not going to stick with it.” To ensure that he’ll make healthy choices, Adams chose to move to a section of LA called Koreatown. “Dallas is a car town. I never walked anywhere. Where I live now, I realize that there are many places I need and want to go that are within walking distance.”

He chose to live near a subway stop that can take him to nearby Santa Monica where he walks around the pier to make exercise enjoyable. And he chooses to take the long staircases to ground level. As he clocks his daily steps, it’s the little choices that make a big difference, he says. “I think, ‘OK, am I going to let a machine carry me up those stairs or am I going to walk?’”

“I don’t like to go to the gym. It’s boring to me. I have to find things that keep me interested. I used to drive to the grocery store. I realized the store is only about a mile or so away. I grab my bags, go, and then I’ve walked and run an errand. I don’t want to have to get on the treadmill for 40 minutes and be bored.”

It’s the same with food, he tells us. To stay with a healthy eating plan, it has to work for you. If you don’t want to eat your food, you won’t stay with it and lose the weight. “It’s about finding something that can fill you up, that you really like, that gets rid of the food craving. It can be hard to find something you really want to eat if you’re a finicky eater. I’ll make some brown rice and tuna fish and corn, with no fat or cheese.”

Having lost 30 pounds, Adams has more energy. “I got my bike out of storage. It’s easier to walk now. “I get water delivered. As I was changing it one day, I realized in terms of weight, I had been carrying one of those around. In high school, I weighed around 180. My weight-loss goal now is to get down to about 210. It’s a very realistic goal.”

And he’s better able to move through space with less weight on his frame. “Now I can actually do some jogging. I’m on my feet over 6 hours at a time. My feet don’t hurt as much at the end of the night.” Less pain and better health means more energy for Adams to do things like sing with composer Ron Jones’s big band. Jones, the former composer for Family Guy and Star Trek: The Next Generation often invites Adams to sit in and croon some tunes. “I met him and (Family Guy Creator) Seth MacFarlane at the Brass Monkey. Sometimes Seth and I will sing with Ron’s band on the same night, and sometimes we do duets.”

It’s this joy in music that has kept Adams in his career for nearly three decades. “I get to sing every night, and meet good, fun people, like all the writers and voice-actors for Family Guy. I love music. I feel lucky that I get to have a job that lets me be around it.” He tells us that he records voice-overs in his home studio, and occasionally does musicals in regional theater, but hosting karaoke is his real love.

For now, Adams is focused on enjoying his career and getting healthy. “Next on my list is the Withings blood pressure cuff. I want to knock wood, but for now I’m pretty healthy. My blood pressure is great, but I want to monitor it. I want to add that to my morning routine.” Adams told us that he now has a hernia, and if he can lose 20 more pounds, the surgery can be done laparoscopically. “That’s good motivation.”

We asked what advice Adams has for people who want to take control of their weight and their heath, and he shared this: “I feel like getting in shape, taking better care of yourself is something anyone can do. But you’ve got to make it interesting. Getting on the scale every morning it’s like a score for a game, like a video game or sports game. With the scale, it’s more of a challenge and less of a chore. When I see the line has gone down on the graph, I get a surge… Just like if I got a good score in a game. And when you see that line go up in the morning, it’s like, ‘Oh, man, I have to do better. It’s all there: My actions, my choices, what I eat that day, how much I walk. It’s motivating, and it keeps me honest.”

And finally, since we don’t get to chat with a karaoke expert frequently, and we’re really into tools for success, we asked for his protips for choosing a song. We asked if there’s there a hard and fast Bonnie Tyler rule… or is Journey a no no?

Adams weighed in this advice: “When it comes to karaoke, don’t worry so much what the crowd will like. Sing a song you love. One that makes you happy when you sing it. The crowd will respond to your happiness.”

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Thanks so much to Luke for his time! You can follow him on Twitter @luketadams.

Want more inspiration? Check out more real-life Withings success stories.

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8 Tips to Stay Healthy on Your Summer Vacation http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/22/8-tips-stay-healthy-summer-vacation/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/22/8-tips-stay-healthy-summer-vacation/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 12:25:41 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21456

1.Carry a Stash of Healthy Snacks Ever find yourself rushing to get to the airport on time, only to realize you haven’t eaten a thing since you woke up? Before you hit the road on your summer vacation, plan ahead in order to resist the siren song of a cinnamon roll the size of your […]

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1.Carry a Stash of Healthy Snacks

Breakfastsmoothie

Ever find yourself rushing to get to the airport on time, only to realize you haven’t eaten a thing since you woke up? Before you hit the road on your summer vacation, plan ahead in order to resist the siren song of a cinnamon roll the size of your head. “It’s really important to always be prepped with foods that can act as snacks or makeshift meals,” says nutritionist Keri Glassman. “If you don’t, you end up in a situation where you’re starving, then dine out and overdo it.” Make sure to have a stash of heart-healthy nuts, a high-protein nutrition bar, or a few pieces of whole, fresh fruit with you at all times to stave off emergency hunger. Don’t end up in a situation where you inhale a bag of greasy chips or stale doughnut just because you need to eat something.

 

2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Even though most people are aware of the importance of hydration, many don’t drink enough water even under ideal circumstances, which can cause fatigue and sluggishness. Traveling can make getting the hydration we need very tricky, especially if you’re traveling by plane. Because air at high altitudes is very cold, it can’t hold much moisture, so it can be very drying. Avoid alcohol, bring your own water bottle (and frequently re-fill it), and accept hydrating beverages every time they’re offered.

At your destination, hot temperatures, celebratory cocktails, and dry hotel air can sap your moisture. So make it your business to knock back extra H2O. Ask for a pitcher of water at your dinner table, and request a pint of water for every glass of wine at the bar. Aim for 8 glasses, but drink before you get thirsty… by the time your body sends the signal, you’re already dehydrated.

 

3. Avoid Liquid Calories

Cocktail

Partaking in an alcoholic drink or two is often part of a relaxing vacation, but those liquid calories can really add up. Sugary cocktails like margaritas can easily contain up to 500 calories in one large drink. If you’ve really been looking forward to this treat, then go for it, and enjoy every sip. But if you’d rather save your “indulgence calories” to try out the local cuisine or partake in dessert, stick mainly to water and other low-calorie beverages.

To amp up the “wow” factor and nutrition of your low-calorie, hydrating water or seltzer, why not infuse it? Keri Glassman advises that “Infusing your water is a great way to add new flavor without adding excess calories.” Try tossing in fresh berries or citrus slices for a punch of flavor and vitamin C, cucumbers for an eye-opening freshness and antioxidant boost, or crushed mint for a refreshing, anti-bacterial treat.

 

4. Plan Your Indulgences

When you’re in a fabulous new locale with exotic food and drink offerings, it would be a shame to stick to a draconian diet. After all, it’s vacation, a time to relax and enjoy yourself. Besides, if you’re the only one at the table eating salad and steamed veggies each night, you could find yourself overindulging on cookies and ice cream late at night as a result of feeling deprived. But you can have your cake and eat it too without gaining weight by choosing wisely.

Give yourself what you crave, but balance indulgences with healthy fare. Opening the door doesn’t have to mean opening the floodgate. Try the 80/20 rule: Choose foods and drinks that are health-boosting, high-fiber, and lower calorie for 80% of your diet, and let the other 20% be your treat. If you know you’re going to have the city’s famous deep-dish pizza for dinner, choose a lighter, produce-based entrée for lunch, such as a salad or sandwich loaded with veggies. If the day’s treat is a pitcher of sangria and crispy tortilla chips with your Mexican meal, make breakfast an egg-white and veggie omelet or a bowl of whole grain oatmeal with fruit. Plus, when you do indulgence, pay attention to your hunger cues and stop eating when you’re satisfied.

 

5. Bring Your Scale

“But I don’t want to know how much weight I’m gaining,” you might be thinking. And we hear you – but vacation doesn’t have to automatically equal weight gain. By keeping yourself accountable with your scale, you’ll be able to keep indulgences in perspective and not use vacation as an excuse to consistently overeat and stop exercising. We promise you’ll feel better, and have more energy during your vacation if you stay balanced too! And even if you do see the scale creeping up, that’s OK. Simply having an honest weight check-in each day can help you limit the damage. Better to come back a few pounds up than fifteen.

 

6. Drink in Sensory Pleasures

“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”

Vaca

So says Freya Stark, British explorer and travel writer, who knew a thing or two about enjoying vacation. Going on holiday offers the opportunity to delight in all the five senses have to offer – plus when your mind, spirit, and soul are full, the need to fill the stomach diminishes. The visual richness of an art gallery, the auditory splendor of a symphony concert, the tactile bliss of a massage, and the dizzying aroma of a spice market can bring about just as much pleasure and happiness. While good food and drink can be a truly pleasant experience as well, find a balance, and don’t make eating and drinking your vacation’s only thrill.

 

7. Get Some Shut-Eye

Traveling can wreak havoc on one’s sleep schedule. From odd arrival and departure times, to time-zone related jet lag, to staying up late dancing and exploring, vacations can be anything but routine. Studies have shown that sleeping fewer than 6 hours or more than 9 hours a night can lead to weight gain. According the Mayo Clinic blog, “One explanation might be that sleep duration affects hormones regulating hunger — ghrelin and leptin — and stimulates the appetite. Another contributing factor might be that lack of sleep leads to fatigue and results in less physical activity.” To stay healthy and stave off the extra pounds, try to sync your circadian rhythm to the local time as soon as possible, resist the urge to snack in the middle of the night, and go to sleep and rise at the same time each day.

 

8. Choose Workouts that Don’t Feel Like Working Out

Instead of forcing yourself to stick to your regular workout routine of challenging weight lifting sessions or high intensity cardio, use your vacation as a chance to try something new – and perhaps a little less strenuous.

Runner

If you’re a runner, a running tour of your destination can be a great way to get to know the locale. Don’t worry about pace or distance, and stop as often as you want to take pictures or explore the area. Another great way to burn calories is dancing, so get dressed up and hit the club floor or a nearby music festival. If you’ve chosen a beach vacation, take the opportunity to rent a paddle boat or try out water sports – this type of activity won’t feel like working out, but will still get your blood pumping.

If those options don’t appeal to you, don’t worry – just focus on walking. Instead of taking public transportion or driving, walk as much as you can. Not only is this a healthier choice, but it provides the opportunity to see a city or village up-close and personal. Choose to visit landmarks that require a little effort to reach. Is there a panoramic view or famous statue up a hill or mountain? Walk there. And in your hotel or resort, skip the elevators and escalators, and take the stairs instead. You’ll feel better, and burn more calories to boot.

There you have it! With a little planning, an eye toward balance, a couple of scale checks, and a healthy mindset, you can have all the fun you want to and still make it home healthy.

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Learn more about infused water for an easy way to save calories and still enjoy your summer drink.

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How did the Euro championship game impact activity levels? http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/21/how-did-the-euro-impact-activity-levels/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/21/how-did-the-euro-impact-activity-levels/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 08:47:30 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21450

Sunday July 10th was the final of the UEFA Euro Championship, one of the most important soccer tournaments in Europe. This year, the championship final drew a record audience of 300 million television viewers worldwide, with a major contribution from the two countries playing the final: Portugal and France. With the popularity of the tournament, […]

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Sunday July 10th was the final of the UEFA Euro Championship, one of the most important soccer tournaments in Europe. This year, the championship final drew a record audience of 300 million television viewers worldwide, with a major contribution from the two countries playing the final: Portugal and France.

With the popularity of the tournament, we asked ourselves if there might be a large-scale impact on activity levels in France and Portugal. Did people stay put in front of their TVs or did they venture out to cheer for their national team?

To answer that question, we analyzed data from a pool of 10,000 users of Withings activity trackers. The following graph shows what the average activity profile of the Portuguese and the French looked like the day of the final.

Activity levels decreased during the match

As soon as the match began, activity levels dropped steeply in both France and Portugal. The match was composed of the two normal 45-minute halves – concluding with a score of 0-0 – plus 30-minutes of overtime, in which Portugal scored the winning goal to become the 2016 European champions.

Although people were relatively stationary during the match, the same does not apply during the break between halves, or between the 2nd half and the overtime. During these intervals, we observe a clear activity peak for both the Portuguese and the French. Maybe people got up to use the bathroom, grab more drinks, or simply stretch their legs.

Activity was lowest during the second half of the match for the Portuguese, but during overtime for the French.

After the match, the Portuguese partied, while the French went to bed

Right after the match ended, we see a spike in activity levels. For the French, this peak lasted for 30 minutes, and then activity dropped to a level that indicates they most certainly went to bed. The Portuguese, on the other hand, were very active for more than 2 hours, probably because they were out celebrating their victory.

About the study

This study was conducted by Withings, based on data from a panel of 10,000 users of Withings activity trackers in France and Portugal. Withings guarantees the confidentiality of personal data and protects the privacy of its users. Therefore, all data used for this study was rigorously anonymized and aggregated.

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Fever 101: Fever Causes, Treatments, and More http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/18/fever-causes-treatments/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/18/fever-causes-treatments/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2016 09:35:48 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21189

Fever is defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a central temperature above 100.4°F (38°C). While fever is one of the most common clinical symptoms in childhood, it is not a primary illness, but a physiological mechanism that can help the body fight infection. In fact, fever can slow the growth and reproduction of […]

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Fever is defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a central temperature above 100.4°F (38°C). While fever is one of the most common clinical symptoms in childhood, it is not a primary illness, but a physiological mechanism that can help the body fight infection. In fact, fever can slow the growth and reproduction of bacteria and viruses and enhance the body’s defense mechanisms.

Most of the time, a fever only lasts for a short time and is totally benign. Additionally, the degree of fever does not always correlate with the severity of illness.

Fever Causes

The main causes of fever are infections of various types.

  • While viral infection is probably the most common cause of fever in infants and young children, the other cause is bacterial infection
  • In general, the higher the fever, the more likely it is that the patient has an infection

Why Do People Feel Cold When They Have a Fever?

A normal body temperature is set by your internal thermostat at around 98.6°F, but when you have a fever, your body will increase this thermostat to bring the body’s temperature above 98.6°F.

  • This temperature increase is a fighting mechanism of the body to kill virus and bacterias
  • Your body temperature is now below your internal thermostat temperature, so you feel cold
  • The body then get chills to increase the temperature to that of the internal thermostat
  • Chills are due to muscle contractions which consume energy and produce heat, increasing temperature

The Most Reliable Sites to Take a Temperature

Though oral and auxillary temperature sites, such as the armpit, are more convenient to measure in children, they have more variability and are considered less reliable than rectal measurements.

  • Tympanic and temporal artery temperatures are considered to be closer to core body temperature

When To Worry

Because fever is just one symptom, it isn’t enough to tell you how to respond. Age, severity and duration of fever, severity of other symptoms, and response to medication are other important parameters to take into account. Here’s a general chart, followed by specifics.

fever varies by age

Age

  • 0 to 3 months:
    • Regardless of other symptoms, a temperature equal to or above 100.4°F (38°C) is an emergency
  • 3 to 36 months:
    • Mild Fever: 100.4°F (38°C) to 101.8°F (38.8°C) is not an emergency, and if well tolerated, may not need treatment.
    • High Fever: 102°F (38.9°C) or above is considered an emergency because it could lead to dehydration and may be a sign of infection. Seek medical advice.
  • Over 36 months:
    • Mild Fever: 100.4°F (38°C) to 102.7°F (39.3°C) is not an emergency, and if well tolarated, may not need treatment.
    • High Fever: 102.9°F (39.4°C) or above is considered an emergency because it could lead to dehydration and may be a sign of infection. Seek medical advice.

Fever Duration

  • If child is under 2 years old, seek medical advice if the fever lasts for more than 2 days
  • If child is over 2 years old, seek medical advice if the fever lasts for more than 3 days

Serious Symptoms

Even if the child has a normal temperature, seek a medical advice if your child:

  • Refuses to eat or drink or has difficulty waking up
  • Has severe headaches or neck stiffness
  • Is dehydrated (dry mucous membranes, decreased urinary frequency…)
  • Has a stomachache or diarrhea
  • Has difficulty breathing

Response to Medication

Seek medical advice if the fever continues despite medication intake.

 

Fever Treatment

The primary goal of treating a fever should be to improve the patient’s overall comfort rather than to normalize body temperature.

  • For children, pediatricians recommend antipyretic treatment to lower a temperature higher than 100.9°F (38.3°C) and to improve the child’s overall comfort.
  • Pharmacological treatment: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen => decrease of temperature in 30-60 minutes in 80% of children
  • Non-pharmacological treatment: Drink water or cold drinks as much as possible, breathe fresh air, don’t cover the child too much with blankets or clothing, and don’t overheat the room.
  • Potential benefits of fever reduction include relief of patient discomfort and reduction of insensible water loss, which may decrease the occurrence of dehydration.

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Get to Know Your Withings Thermo http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/18/get-know-withings-thermo/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/18/get-know-withings-thermo/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2016 07:00:14 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21196

Now that you’ve downloaded the Thermo app and set up your Thermo, you’re ready to learn how to make the most of your new smart thermometer. Watch Erin, our social media manager, introduce you to the main features of Thermo, and then read on to learn more. Take a Temperature Thermo is able to deliver […]

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Now that you’ve downloaded the Thermo app and set up your Thermo, you’re ready to learn how to make the most of your new smart thermometer. Watch Erin, our social media manager, introduce you to the main features of Thermo, and then read on to learn more.

Take a Temperature

Thermo is able to deliver a highly accurate and medically-approved result with the use of our patented HotSpot Sensor™ Technology, which uses 16 infrared sensors to take more than 4,000 measurements in just 2 seconds.  Taking a temperature reading is exceedingly simple.

Thermo take temperature

1. Remove the cap
2. Press the button
3. Place Thermo in the middle of the forehead, approximately 1cm above the skin, and slowly scan to the hairline.
4. A double vibration will signal that the scan is complete

*Note: Make sure to move Thermo straight across while scanning to ensure an accurate measurement

Assess your Measurement

Once the scan is complete, the temperature reading will appear on Thermo’s screen.
1. Assign the temperature to a user by scrolling through names on the touch-sensitive screen.
2. Press the button to assign the reading.
3. Once the reading is assigned, view instant color-coded feedback on the device based on the user’s age:

  • Green = No fever
  • Orange = Mild fever
  • Red = High fever

Get to Know the Thermo App

The Thermo app provides many additional features to help you manage a fever, including a fever timeline history and the ability to add notes to temperature readings, add medications taken, and set reminders to take your temperature.

Thermo insights

Thermo also provides in-app fever management advice through Thermia, a service developed by Boston Children’s Hospital. Simply answer a few additional questions in the app, and Thermia can tell you if your fever needs treatment and what dosage of medication you should take.

Thermo Ask Thermia

 That’s it! You’re ready to start using Thermo and enjoying all its unique benefits.

Questions? Concerns? Our customer service team is here to help you out.
Contact Withings Support

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Want to learn more about fever, and when it’s important to take action? Check out Fever 101.

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A Race to the Finish: Marathon Training Weeks 3 & 4 http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/17/marathon-training-weeks-3-4/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/17/marathon-training-weeks-3-4/#comments Sun, 17 Jul 2016 20:59:03 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21422

It’s easy to romanticize training – to remember the feelings of accomplishment, the runner’s highs, and the delicious post-run brunches. According to this NY Times Well blog article, Forgetting the Pain of Exercise, marathon runners may in fact have “selective amnesia,” which allows us to remember pain associated with a pleasant experience as much less […]

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marathon-training

It’s easy to romanticize training – to remember the feelings of accomplishment, the runner’s highs, and the delicious post-run brunches. According to this NY Times Well blog article, Forgetting the Pain of Exercise, marathon runners may in fact have “selective amnesia,” which allows us to remember pain associated with a pleasant experience as much less intense in hindsight than it actually was. This probably explains why mid-way through training for my first marathon I vowed it would be my only one, yet a few days after I completed the race, I was ready to do it again the following year.

While much of training is enjoyable, a lot of it is also frustrating, draining, challenging, and just downright unpleasant. And all of the bad stuff came rushing back at me during week four’s 14 mile run.

 

What I did wrong

It was a hot day, and despite stepping out the door at 7:30am, the sun was already beating down strongly. But my biggest mistake was not bringing any food with me. For the past few months, I’ve been consistently running up to 12 miles without needing additional carbohydrates, but that distance should have been my cut-off. Feeling the combined effects of heat, dehydration (despite consistently drinking from the water fountains along my route), and carb depletion, my head felt quite foggy until I was able to get a real meal in. Plus, as much as I don’t like to admit it, my legs started to feel tired around mile 10.

Next time I’ll be sure to bring fuel with me, but I’m experienced enough to know that a few extra carbs won’t take away all of the unpleasantness that comes with a long run.

 

My Mantra

All of this is to say that the realities of training are easy to forget when you’re not in the throes of it, because you view it through the rosy lens of endorphins, mileage goals met, and (if it’s not your first race) medal-adorned, smiling post-race pictures. When I’m having a tough time on a run, I always repeat to myself, “It’s supposed to be hard.” Now that might sound harsh, but to me it’s motivating. Let me explain:

One of the reasons completing a marathon is so rewarding is because you have to push yourself to your physical and mental limits to achieve that goal. You have to grit your teeth through the challenge, summon all your willpower to make it one more mile than the previous week, ignore your exhaustion, and let go of that voice that keeps telling you to stop. It teaches you how much stronger you are than you thought, which is an unbelievably empowering experience. And that is why despite having a tough time on my run, there is no doubt in my mind that I’m 100% committed to this journey.

 

Topic of the week: Sleep & Nutrition

While marathon training is going to be difficult no matter what, paying attention to proper nutrition and adequate sleep can make a huge difference in how successful you are. When I sleep well and fuel myself with healthy food, I have more energy, recover from workouts faster, and feel more motivated to train. I also feel more mentally clear and just plain happier!

It’s probably not news to most of you that a healthy diet and sleep schedule can make you feel better, but you’ve also probably heard someone tell a long-distance runner, “You run so much, you can eat whatever you want!” This is so far from the truth – when you’re already putting your body through a grueling physical challenge, poor diet or sleep can have a profound negative effect your training.

The truth is that you may have to make some sacrifices – You might not be able to go out for drinks with your co-workers after work, eat out at restaurants frequently, or stay up late on the weekends if you want to feel your best. Of course, all of this is up to you – and depends on how serious you are about your goal. But my advice would be to pay attention to how sleep and diet affect your performance during this process, and to not discount it as unimportant.

Remember: It’s supposed to be hard. That’s what makes it worth it.

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Missed the last training post? Check out Rachel’s recap from weeks 1 & 2

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Rucking Awesome! Why Backpack Fitness Is All The Rage. http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/15/rucking-awesome-backpack-fitness-rage/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/15/rucking-awesome-backpack-fitness-rage/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2016 20:19:37 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21412

Rucking sounds like a Scooby Doo curse word, but in fact, it is a new fitness trend sweeping the nation. If you haven’t spent time in or around the military, you may not be familiar with this fitness activity that dates back to the American Revolution. And although I didn’t know the term at the […]

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rucking

Rucking sounds like a Scooby Doo curse word, but in fact, it is a new fitness trend sweeping the nation. If you haven’t spent time in or around the military, you may not be familiar with this fitness activity that dates back to the American Revolution. And although I didn’t know the term at the time, rucking is, in fact, the reason why I was so thin in college, roaming the campus for hours on foot wearing a backpack the size of Texas.

The short and sweet definition of rucking is walking with a weighted pack on your back. The name is derived from “ruck sack,” which is a military term for backpack. Rucking is based on the military training exercise of marching or walking while wearing a backpack loaded with heavy gear, but it turns out this form of fitness can be super effective for the civilian population as well.

The Navy Seals often tote packs bearing the equivalent weight of a grown man for up to 25 miles, but adding just a little weight to a backpack that you already own and going out for a walk can be great for calorie burning, fat loss, and a myriad of other health benefits. You don’t even have to buy weights – just fill up your backpack with books, cans, or other household objects that add heft and hit the trails.

You won’t be rucking alone out there either. The popularity of rucking as a form of fitness, especially among men, is skyrocketing. In May of last year, HNGN ran the headline, “Fitness Trend 2015: Rucking Emerges as Number One Choice.” A recent article about the rucking craze in Men’s Health Magazine explains the difference that walking with the backpack makes. “For the average guy, a 30-minute walk burns about 125 calories,” according to the Compendium of Physical Activities, “but throw a weighted backpack on and take that exact same walk, and you burn about 325 calories.” The article goes on to state that the benefits of a weighted backpack worn for 30 minutes every day can add up to nearly 10 pounds of fat burning in a year.

Hearing about this exercise, I assumed it might be hard on your back since that is where you’re carrying the weight, but it turns out the opposite may be true. Some experts say that a weighted backpack helps hold your torso up, so your back muscles don’t have to work as hard. Another benefit is that rucking is said to have a lower injury rate than jogging or running, but can offer similar results.

Rucking is a social fitness activity that can connect you to your community. It can get you out of your gym and into the outdoors where tackling different terrains is also good for your brain. With rucking, you can even transform everyday activities into calorie crushing and fat burning opportunities. Do you walk the dog? Throw on a weighted backpack. Do you stroll with your new baby? Put the baby in a baby carrier on your back instead. Do you walk to the store? Take a backpack and bring your groceries home on your back. You can also check websites to find local meet-ups for group rucking hikes or walks in your hometown. Rucking is the chance to become commander of your fitness, while you take down fat and conquer calories.

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Want more unique fitness ideas? Check out Pole Dancing Fitness and Imax Spin Class.

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Data Shows Pokémon Go Causes Millennials To Walk More http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/13/data-shows-pokemon-go-causes-more-activity/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/13/data-shows-pokemon-go-causes-more-activity/#comments Wed, 13 Jul 2016 17:12:09 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21389

Gotta Catch ‘Em All? Pokémon Go has become a genuine craze, now aptly referred to as Pokémania. But if you’ve never heard of it, it’s probably because this virtual reality game was only released in the U.S. on July 6, 2016. When you play, you need to travel in the real world to catch these virtual […]

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Playing Pokemon Go wearing activity & sleep tracker Withings Go

Gotta Catch ‘Em All?

Pokémon Go has become a genuine craze, now aptly referred to as Pokémania. But if you’ve never heard of it, it’s probably because this virtual reality game was only released in the U.S. on July 6, 2016. When you play, you need to travel in the real world to catch these virtual monsters, as well as the eggs and balls that enhance your game.

As the object of the game “gotta catch ‘em all” is making lots of people hunt around on foot, we wanted to see if step counts have been higher since the release of Pokemon Go. Our data team compared the average number of steps during the week of July 6th to July 12th (7-day interval) 2016, and compared this year’s average with last year’s average for the exact same dates.

Check out the graph of the results, followed by our conclusions:

Pokemon Go activity study

15-24 years old
Avg. number of steps: 7202 — That’s 104 steps more than last year’s average, 7098

25-34 years old
Avg. number of steps: 7084 — That’s 75 steps more than last year’s average, 7009

35-50 years old
Avg. number of steps: — That’s 114 steps less than last year’s average, 6889

Conclusion: People aged 15 to 34 walked more with the release of Pokémon Go. Teens were more impacted than 25 to 34 year olds. People 35 and older were not affected, perhaps because they did not grow up with Pokémon.

We’re in support of any game that encourages more activity – so grab your Withings Go, load up Pokémon Go on your smartphone, and get moving!

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This study was conducted by Withings based on data from a panel of 70,000 users of Withings activity trackers in the U.S. aged 15 to 50 years old. All data used for this study was anonymized and aggregated, as Withings guarantees the confidentiality of personal data and protects the privacy of all its users. 

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Keri Glassman: A Holistic Approach To A Nutritious Life http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/12/keri-glassman-holistic-approach-nutritious-life/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/12/keri-glassman-holistic-approach-nutritious-life/#comments Tue, 12 Jul 2016 19:01:34 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21369

  Born To Transform… Keri Glassman, pictured, feels as if she was born to help people transform their lives through health. Developing an interest in food and nutrition early on, Keri remembers a time in seventh grade when she insisted she needed almonds, as her body was craving vitamin E. Although she didn’t yet fully […]

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Copy of Copy of Keri-Glassman(92of158)

 

Born To Transform…

Keri Glassman, pictured, feels as if she was born to help people transform their lives through health. Developing an interest in food and nutrition early on, Keri remembers a time in seventh grade when she insisted she needed almonds, as her body was craving vitamin E. Although she didn’t yet fully understand the role of vitamin E in the body at the time, Keri’s interest in nutrition was clearly ignited early on, and only grew as she got older.

As an active kid growing up, Keri also made the connection between how food fuels the body long before many of her teammates. And at home, while her food choices weren’t always the healthiest, sitting down to a balanced meal was a very important part of her family’s routine. Keri recalls, “We used to start every dinner with grapefruit, and then we would have a side salad, and then we also had a vegetable, a starch, and a protein every single night. And it wasn’t always healthy – the starch could have been Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese. It wasn’t even necessarily that it was gourmet or perfectly healthy all the time, but it was perfectly balanced.”

While her house had a junk food drawer, Keri rarely dipped into it, preferring to eat food she considered healthier. While food was meant to taste good, Keri had also learned that it can promote health, help fuel athletic performance, and serve as a tool for human connection during mealtimes.

 

The Freshman 15-20

Her relationship with food remained largely positive until college, where she gained 15-20 pounds and began to develop emotional eating habits. Keri recalls watching her non-athletic friends stay slim easily, drinking diet coke and eating whatever they wanted, and thinking, “How come they’re thin and I’m an athlete trying to be healthy, and I feel like I don’t want to wear my skinny jeans?” To Keri, it seemed that it was much harder to be healthy and thin than it was to engage in unhealthy behaviors and stay slim.

This led Keri to realize that nutrition was just one of the pieces in the puzzle of a healthy life, and helped her develop her current philosophy of holistic health, including the importance of exercise, sleep, stress, emotional and social health in addition to diet, and helped her be empathetic with the struggles that her clients had.

 

You Better Work It Girl

Despite her persistent interest in nutrition, Keri never viewed it as a career. After undergrad, thinking she wanted to pursue a career in TV and sports, she landed a job in ad sales at Sports Illustrated. While the job was not her preferred department, she figured it would be a great way to get her foot in the door. Yet she found herself constantly reading the health and nutrition magazines that showed up for free at work. Keri recalls that “when Health would come out, I’d sit there, not do my work, and read.” It was this passion that made Keri realize that she was not working in the right field.

Eventually, she quit her job, started taking introductory nutrition courses, and got her Masters at NYU in Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition Services. At the same time, she worked as a nutrition counselor at Equinox health club and volunteered at a hospital to begin getting experience. After receiving her Masters, she spent almost two years working for an online health and fitness company developing nutrition programs before taking the plunge to open up her own private nutrition practice.

Keri says that while she’s far from perfect, one of her greatest strengths is her fearlessness, a trait that allowed her to dive full force into the unknown waters of nutrition counseling, with no mentor to guide her. She rented a space in a personal training studio, had a logo designed, and began figuring out the necessary forms she needed, how to charge for services, and how each nutrition session should be structured. Eventually, she had filled a binder of materials to help herself stay organized and keep accountable.

Keri found success with her practice and found the work fulfilling. “When you’re working one on one with someone… it’s a very deep, powerful relationship…and you’re able to really connect with that person and educate them and really change their lives.”

But in the back of her mind, she felt like if she developed and collected all of these materials, she could teach others to become a self-starter just as she had. Today, 15 years later, Keri has done just that with her creation of The Nutrition School, a 12-week certification program that provides mentorship from Keri, nutrition education, and business coaching to help nutrition professionals achieve success.

Keri also expanded into other mediums of nutrition counseling, including writing for several blogs and magazines, appearing on various tv segments, authoring books, and more. Keri explains, “I love educating people on nutrition. So one way is one-on-one. Another way is through blogs. Another way is through social media. Another way is through TV. Another way is through books. Another might be radio. Every medium is very different…You can talk to 5 million people on TV at one time, and you might not have that deep connection, but you can give one great, strong tip that 10,000 people actually implement and put into their lives.”

While Keri has encountered a variety of nutrition struggles throughout her career, the most common include people eating too much sugar, emotional eating, and not taking the time to prepare food and prioritize nutrition. Keri’s main advice is to “focus on eating whole, real foods consistently throughout the day and listening to your body. Because if you listen to your body, then you’re going to control portions. And if you’re eating whole, real foods, and you control portions, pretty much everything’s going to fall into place.”

 

Taking It Healthy Day By Day

As a busy entrepreneur and a mom of two, Keri tries to live as much of a nutritious life as possible, but she still struggles with some aspects. As sleep and stress are her greatest weaknesses, she takes steps to improve those aspects of her life. For example, she makes a cup of chamomile tea before bed to encourage restful sleep, and wakes up early to write a to-do list to reduce stress for the day. She believes that one of the keys to living a healthy, balanced life is to develop routines that become healthy habits, such as preparing healthy meals for the week ahead of time or exercising because you’ve scheduled it into your day.

Several Withings products have helped Keri develop some of these healthy habits. While she doesn’t personally advise that everyone weigh themselves each day, as some people may not be emotionally served by doing so, she enjoys using her Withings scale as a touch point each day to make sure that she’s staying on track with her healthy habits.

And while Keri already has a regular habit of working out, she appreciates how her Activité Steel helps her be just a little more active throughout the day, such as nudging her to her walk more when running errands.

Keri tries to encourage her kids to have healthy habits as well, but stresses the importance of not “over-talking” health. “I always say you have to show, not tell…Just have healthy foods. Don’t over-talk it.” While the majority of the food in her house is fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, she also keeps some ice cream and cookies in the house, and makes sure not to deprive her kids of food that they want when they go out to eat.

While Keri leads a nutritious life overall, she admits to having quite the sweet tooth. While she limits the treats to ensure that she stays on track, she admits, that yes, even nutritionists sometimes struggle with eating healthy.

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Enjoyed hearing from Keri? Follow her on Instagram @nutritiouslifeofficial, on Twitter @KeriGlassman, or on Facebook for nutrition information and healthy living tips! 

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Infused Water Craze Adds Taste, Health, and Style to H2O http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/07/infused-water/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/07/infused-water/#comments Thu, 07 Jul 2016 19:04:24 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21343

The elixir of life is getting a makeover with the infused water craze. Most folks today know the importance of proper hydration. The Mayo Clinic’s website offers this quick summary of why water is vital to our vitality, “Every system in your body depends on water…Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that […]

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infused water

The elixir of life is getting a makeover with the infused water craze.

Most folks today know the importance of proper hydration. The Mayo Clinic’s website offers this quick summary of why water is vital to our vitality, “Every system in your body depends on water…Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.”

It used to be a simple 8 glasses a day, but now doctors realize the exact amount of water your body needs varies from person to person and depends on size, climate, and level of activity. According to a recent WEB MD article, How Much Water Do You Need?, you should “drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.” They add that if you live in a hot climate or exercise a lot, you should aim for the high end of the range. Fever, kidney stones, constipation and many other situations, such as breastfeeding, also call for added hydration.

But whatever the amount that’s right for you, it can be challenging to consume enough water every day. While water is calorie-free, water is also flavor-free, but it doesn’t have to be. It turns out adding a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs can increase the flavor and the likelihood that you can meet your personal aqua quota. We asked celebrity nutritionist and Withings enthusiast Keri Glassman about the trend and she was all for it, saying, “Infusing your water is a great way to add new flavor without adding excess calories!”

And you don’t have to be a top chef of buy special equipment to whip up these concoctions. All you have to do is take your favorite fruits, veggies, or herbs, wash them and cut or slice them into small pieces. Herbs can remain whole. Place them in a container of water for a few hours and consume. If you’re not going to drink right away, pop into the fridge to maintain freshness. The longer the water is infused, the more flavorful it will be. And you can refill with the same produce several times. You can also purchase water bottles and pitchers specifically designed for making infused elixirs.

Adding your own produce to water can be cheaper than buying many of the vitamin water products available for purchase, and you can custom design the water for your taste buds and health needs. An added bonus is that it just looks cool and is sure to impress guests at any gathering.

Here then are four easy and popular picks for infused water:

 

LEMON WATER

Lemons contain vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. They contain more potassium than apples or grapes. Lemons are also said to assist with digestion, fighting viral infections, and reducing inflammation.

 

CUCUMBER WATER

Cucumbers aren’t just refreshing, they contain silica that helps the skin and your muscle tissues stay healthy and they also have antioxidants that will help battle free radicals. And although cucumbers might not be dense in nutrition, they do have an impressive range of vitamins and minerals hanging out there.

 

MINT WATER

Mint isn’t just for toothpaste — in its greeny leafy form it can actually improve health of a person’s mouth. It has germicidal qualities that quickly freshens breath and adds to oral health by inhibiting harmful bacterial growth inside the mouth and by cleaning the tongue and teeth. Also helps ward off allergies and hay fever. Properties of mint leaves have been shown to inhibit the release of histamines, which often exacerbate the nasal symptoms that are associated with hay fever and seasonal allergies.

 

INFUSED ICE CUBES

infused ice basil and berries

Basically anything that you can think of for infused water can be made ahead as ice cubes. Got some berries looking a little too squishy? Got basil? Got mint sprigs? Whatever you have, chop it up, add water and freeze in ice trays — or even silicone muffin trays as we did, above — to make water and look, and taste, way cooler. So, ready to add some garden to your glass? Join the infused water party and create a signature beverage that will satisfy your need for taste, health, and hydration.

 

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 Want more healthy content? Check out 5 Vegan Myths Debunked

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Sia Cooper Balances Motherhood & A Growing Fitness Empire http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/06/sia-cooper-balancing-motherhood-fitness/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/06/sia-cooper-balancing-motherhood-fitness/#comments Wed, 06 Jul 2016 20:09:43 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21323

Sia Cooper, pictured, recently gave birth to her second child, but despite the ample photographic evidence to the contrary, she wasn’t always the picture of health. In 2010, she attended nursing school, and weight began to creep on. By the time she graduated, she was overweight, lethargic, and often sick. Starting with no knowledge about […]

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Sia Cooper, pictured, recently gave birth to her second child, but despite the ample photographic evidence to the contrary, she wasn’t always the picture of health. In 2010, she attended nursing school, and weight began to creep on. By the time she graduated, she was overweight, lethargic, and often sick. Starting with no knowledge about health and fitness, she slowly began to educate herself. With a diet overhaul, she dropped 45 pounds in just 9 months, even without exercise.

Sia started her blog as a way to help keep her accountable, but it grew into so much more. As her passion for fitness blossomed, her blog grew into a reputable place to find both heathy eating and fitness tips. Sia has since documented how she stayed fit and healthy throughout her two pregnancies. Currently a NASM certified personal trainer specializing in both Fitness Nutrition & Women’s Fitness, Sia provides workouts, recipes, and advice for mothers, pregnant women, and women considering becoming pregnant.

Get to Know Sia

Withings: What was your motivation for starting Diary of a Fit Mommy?

I was newly pregnant with my first child and I wanted to keep track of it all by starting a blog just for myself. After posting my workouts, pregnancy updates, and meals, it soon received a ton of response, and I started gaining followers. It was unexpected!

How did your blog become your profession?

It was first a hobby of mine, but after getting my personal training certification, I decided why not turn it into a business to help people from afar?

What is your favorite part of being a professional blogger?

I love writing and having freedom of speech. My blog is MINE and I can literally write whatever I want. It is so thrilling and refreshing to be able to do that. The fact that people want to hear what I have to say is even more of an awesome feeling.

What was it like to document both of your pregnancies online?

The first time around, it was super casual since I did not have many followers and was just starting out. I received a lot of praise while getting a few negative comments here and there. The second time around, it was honestly more of my “job” to document my pregnancy because so many people were keeping a close eye on me and following everything that I did. I received tons of good feedback, but lots of backlash as well. That just comes with having a large following though.

What was the most challenging part of your recent pregnancy? How was it different from your first pregnancy?

Honestly, the most challenging part of my second pregnancy was being pregnant with a toddler around and having to care for him, which was exhausting. The second pregnancy went by so fast because I was so busy taking care of my son and running a business. With my first pregnancy, I had more time to relax and to soak everything in.

Can you describe a typical day of eating during the pregnancy? Was it difficult to continue eating healthy?

I craved lots and lots of sweets while pregnant with my baby girl. I would allow myself two cheat meals per week if I wanted and since I worked out 5 days per week, I was not as strict as I normally would have been. I ate oatmeal for breakfast followed by a protein shake as my mid-morning snack, a salad with lean protein for lunch, another snack in the afternoon, and then I would cook a big dinner for my family. At bedtime, I always ate a bowl of yogurt topped with honey and granola.

Did you have any strange pregnancy cravings or aversions?

No weird cravings — my biggest aversion was to meats.

Did you use the Withings scale to track your weight gain during pregnancy?

I did not receive the scale until after I gave birth, but I am using it to track my postpartum weight loss now. It is the coolest scale I have ever gotten the pleasure of using!

How did your workouts change throughout your pregnancy?

They actually did not change much. During the last trimester, I upped my cardio but that is about it.

When did you and your husband start using the Withings Activité Steel? How has it helped you be healthier?

We used our Activité Steel watches after I gave birth to work out together. My favorite part of it is being able to track my sleep!

What are your plans for resuming a fitness routine once you are cleared by your doctor?

My plans are to start my Fit For Life home program and to get back to heavy lifting. I want to restore any muscle mass that was lost during pregnancy.

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How will your blog and website content change now that you have a second child?

Well, I will certainly have to update my photos for one thing! I will hopefully post more content on how to work out with multiple kiddos around the house.

Is there anything that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I am actually super shy! I am not a big people person which many would find hard to believe since I deal with people socially on a regular basis. I love people, I just tend to be awkward.

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Thanks to Sia for her time! For information and tips on staying fit during pregnancy and motherhood, check out Sia’s website, Diary of a Fit Mommy, and follow her on Instagram @diaryofafitmommyofficial and Facebook @DiaryofaFitMommy.

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A Race to the Finish: Marathon Training Weeks 1 & 2 http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/05/marathon-training-gear-music-more/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/07/05/marathon-training-gear-music-more/#comments Tue, 05 Jul 2016 18:45:14 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21298

Training Recap And just like that, the first two weeks are over. This early on, it’s easy to forget that I’m in the midst of training, as my mileage is very similar to what I’ve been doing for the past few months. The more challenging exercise is wrapping my head around the fact that yes, […]

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Training Recap

And just like that, the first two weeks are over. This early on, it’s easy to forget that I’m in the midst of training, as my mileage is very similar to what I’ve been doing for the past few months. The more challenging exercise is wrapping my head around the fact that yes, I was crazy enough to sign up for another marathon, and on top of that, I committed myself to a ridiculous time goal of under 3 hours 35 minutes. Still working through the denial stage there…

In terms of what my actual workout plan looks like, I have 5 running workouts, 2 strength sessions, and 1 rest/yoga day per week.

Here’s an example of what my week looks like at the moment:

M: Rest/yoga
T: 6.5 miles with speed work + strength training
W: 5 miles easy
TH: Strength training
F: 5.5 miles with speed work
SAT: 12 miles easy
SUN: 5 miles easy
Total miles: 34

If you want to know more about the specific speed work I’m doing, check out the details at @FitFoodieFiles.

Highs and Lows

Training for a marathon induces very strong emotions, from full-out “on top of the world” endorphin high to the lowest “I hate everything and never want to run again” of lows. Here’s what I’ve experienced:

High: PR-ing a 10k
During week 1, I swapped out a long run for the BAA 10k. I signed up for this race with some Withings employees just for fun, but surprised myself with a faster finish time than I’d expected, 47:42. Hooray for setting Personal Records!

Low: Running in the Humidity
My Friday morning 6am wake-up call felt particularly challenging, so I pushed off my run until lunch-time. This was a terrible idea on Friday, as the humidity was in full force by the afternoon. I made it through the run, but it really zapped my energy.

High: My first long run
Running 12 miles without much trouble felt pretty great. I’ve come into this training with a very solid endurance base, and I’m hoping it will serve me well.

Topic of the Week: Gear

Now let’s chat running gear. While a good pair of sneakers may be all you really need to start running, most long-distance runners will tell you that their house is littered with running-related gear and clothing. While it’s easy to go crazy with expensive gels and chews, running belts, sweat-proof sunglasses, and Epsom salts, but let’s get down to the basics.

Here then, are my absolute essentials for marathon training:

1. A good pair of sneakers
Well, you saw that one coming…but this is really the most important. I have had sneakers that caused injuries, made my feet hurt for days, made me fall when the pavement was wet.

If you can, go to a specialty running store that can assess your gait and recommend the perfect pair of sneakers for you. I’ve found that a design skewing towards more minimal, with a small heel-to-toe drop works best for me, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different designs to find what works best for you.

2. A running watch or app
If you’re at all serious about training, it’s essential to be able to track your distance, time, and pace. This is especially necessary for any speed work.

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Pictured above, is my Activité Steel, but whichever Withings activity tracker you use, check out RunKeeper, which tracks all of these metrics and automatically syncs with your tracker.

3. Music + headphones
Some runners pound the pavement without music, but I simply can’t imagine doing that for more than a few miles. According to Scientific American, music can actually help your run feel easier and significantly increase enjoyment. I also like to listen to podcasts during longer runs, which help take my mind off any negative feedback my body is giving me. I even save podcast episodes, and use them as motivation to get out the door.

4. Sunblock/Chapstick with SPF
If you’re training during the summer, you need to be wearing sunblock. It’s not the most pleasant aspect of training in hot weather, but it’s non-negotiable. I also swear by SPF chapstick, and even bring it with me during long runs, because getting a sunburn on your lips is the worst. Trust me.

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for weeks 3 & 4, as I tackle my first 14-mile run.

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Missed the details? Check out Rachel’s introductory Meet the Marathoner post. 

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Aqua Tone: Not Your Mama’s Water Aerobics http://blog.withings.com/2016/06/29/aqua-tone-new-water-aerobics/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/06/29/aqua-tone-new-water-aerobics/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 20:31:18 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21218

For more than a decade, gyms and facilities with pools have offered traditional water aerobics. More recently, an expanded range of water classes such as Aqua Zumba, water yoga, and even water jogging have gained popularity. Celebrity trainer and fitness instructor Sandy Campanella a/k/a Sandy Campy, pictured, now adds Aqua Tone to the mix, an innovative water […]

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For more than a decade, gyms and facilities with pools have offered traditional water aerobics. More recently, an expanded range of water classes such as Aqua Zumba, water yoga, and even water jogging have gained popularity. Celebrity trainer and fitness instructor Sandy Campanella a/k/a Sandy Campy, pictured, now adds Aqua Tone to the mix, an innovative water workout that brings a new dimensions of underwater weight training to the H2O exercise enthusiast.

sandy campy aquatone

Despite being in her 50s and a mother of three, Sandy has the body of a fit 20-year-old. Certified to teach many forms of group fitness and with 20 years in the business, it’s easy to see why celebrities like Jennifer Love Hewitt turn to Sandy for their physical conditioning. During Aqua Tone, 90% of your body weight is supported, so this workout is easy on your joints while providing twice the resistance of land-based exercises.

aquatone classI recently headed to Sandy’s private pool in Los Angeles to dip my toe in the world of Aqua Tone, and after one class, I was hooked. Sandy’s positive energy is contagious, and I found her gentle, warm spirit to be reassuring as we students plunged into a challenging hour of non-stop motion in the pool. The whole class is choreographed to an upbeat soundtrack of fun, popular music to keep the energy up.

Sandy employs weights for the first half of class. Each student needs a set of floating barbells, specially made for us in the water and easily purchased from a company called Sporti. After a brief warm up of traditional dance and aerobic moves in the water, we picked up our barbells and got to work on strength training. I was surprised at how difficult it was just to press and hold the barbells down in the water. The weights seem to want to pop up and float so the challenge of keeping them submerged immediately engages your arms, shoulders, chest, back and abs.

Simultaneously doing a variety of arm exercises with the weights in the water, we kept our feet moving constantly, skiing, lunging, or doing jumping jacks, scissor kicks, jumps, and squats. We then moved on to core work, with exercises such as keeping your arms straight, pushing down the barbells, and pulling your legs up straight toward the surface of the water. We then did sets of jogging in the water, pumping the weights.

Finally we put down the weights and picked up a noodle. We embarked on a series of laps, each lap focusing on toning different muscle groups while emphasizing cardiovascular endurance. Finally, the cool down and stretch used the noodle to elongate those muscle groups that we worked so hard during class. As an added bonus, during the warm-up and first few exercises, you aren’t breathing too hard to chat, and students often discuss nutrition tips and advice for healthy living. Last week Sandy described a breakfast recipe for a delicious almond milk chia pudding.

There are similar classes to Aqua Tone appearing on the fitness scene all over the country. Sandy explains that working out in the water has a natural detox effect in addition to burning calories and reshaping your body. This workout is safe for pregnant women or anyone with an injury looking for an intense workout without joint pressure. So grab some water weights, and cool down in the pool while you turn up the heat on your workout. And when you’ve completed your workout, as Sandy says to close each of her sessions, “bow down to your fabulous self!”

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Want the skinny on more unique fitness class options? Check out our features on Skyrobics and Piloxing.

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Erin’s Top 4 Summer Essentials http://blog.withings.com/2016/06/29/erins-top-4-summer-essentials/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/06/29/erins-top-4-summer-essentials/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 15:40:30 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21200

Our social media Manager, Erin, rounds up some of her summer faves to help you make this your best summer yet… Summer lovin’ it I live for summer, which is ironic considering I live in Boston, one of the coldest, snowiest cities in America. But that’s probably why I love summer that much more — […]

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Our social media Manager, Erin, rounds up some of her summer faves to help you make this your best summer yet…

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Summer lovin’ it

I live for summer, which is ironic considering I live in Boston, one of the coldest, snowiest cities in America. But that’s probably why I love summer that much more — I’ve earned it after suffering through sub-freezing temperatures. So like many of you who live up north, the instant it’s above 60 degrees, I’m outside as much as possible. And to help you make the most of your time in the sun, I’ve decided to roundup some of my favorite summer essentials. Check ‘em out, and see if they don’t help you take full advantage of being a wee bit closer to the sun.

1. Sweat Cosmetics

Now that I’m 25, I’ve realized that it’s not a good idea to bake in the sun all day in pursuit of a deep tan. Skin care is so important, and Sweat Cosmetics makes a wonderful SPF 30, sweat-proof mineral foundation to address all your summer needs. I wear it daily – whether I’m on a morning run, out and about in the city, or basking in the sun, this SPF foundation is a lifesaver. Sound good? Well now you can head to our Instagram for a chance to win your own Sweat Cosmetics products.

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2. Kulani Kinis

As Nerdstrong fitness instructor Corrin says on her Instagram, you only need two things for a bikini body: A bikini and a body. And when I look for cute new swimwear, I typically gravitate towards bright patterns and sporty styles for all beach activities! Kulani Kinis has stolen my heart this summer. I treated myself to two new suits, in the sundowner and Mexico patterns. The suits are so comfortable, and many are even reversible! They have many different styles and patterns, including one pieces to match everyone’s style.

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3. Jugos

Come summer I crave fruit in all forms: chopped, juiced, blended, or frozen. Jugos is a local juice/smoothie bar in Boston that I cannot get enough of. I stop by a few times a week before work to pick up a juice. My favorite is called the #1 with kale, cucumber, green apple, ginger and lemon. Then on the weekends, I treat myself to their Acai bowls. They’re heaven! Everything Jugos makes is high quality and made with fresh, healthy ingredients, so I know I’m fueling my body right.

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4. S’well

It’s no secret S’well bottles are trendy right now and I’ll admit I’m completely on the S’well bandwagon. Yes they’re expensive, but they’re 100% worth it. Any bottle that can keep my water icy cold for 24 hours in a sleek, fashionable, and eco-friendly design is a miracle in my book. Because let’s be honest, unless you’re packing some tea bags, there is nothing worse than laying out at the pool and drinking hot water that’s been sitting in the sun.

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That’s it! If you have any summer faves you want us to know about, just ping us on social. We’re always looking for exciting new places and things to try out. #WithErin

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A Race to the Finish: Meet the Marathoner http://blog.withings.com/2016/06/27/marathon-training-with-rachel/ http://blog.withings.com/2016/06/27/marathon-training-with-rachel/#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2016 21:28:06 +0000 http://blog-admin.withings.com/?p=21179

Welcome to this Marathon Training Series! I’m excited to take you along with me as I train for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 20. For my second marathon, I’ve decided to take on a lofty goal and attempt to cross the finish line in a Boston-qualifying time of under 3 hours and 35 minutes. Qualifying […]

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Welcome to this Marathon Training Series! I’m excited to take you along with me as I train for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 20. For my second marathon, I’ve decided to take on a lofty goal and attempt to cross the finish line in a Boston-qualifying time of under 3 hours and 35 minutes.

Qualifying for the Boston marathon is a big deal in the distance running world, and a goal that many chase throughout their running careers. I’m roughly following this Boston Marathon training plan, but I’ve modified it to fit with my schedule, goals, and what I’ve learned from past experiences.

BAA10kRachel

The above picture is from my most recent race, the BAA 10k, where I finished in 47:42. But there was a time when I couldn’t run a mile without stopping…

My Running History

While I’ve been an exercise-lover for over ten years, I used to think that running simply wasn’t in the cards for me. Struggling through the mandatory one mile in gym class was the closest I had ever come to being a runner.

Then one sunny spring morning in college, I accompanied my boyfriend and his labmates on a 3-mile training run for their upcoming Tough Mudder race. I gasped my way through those 3 miles, frequently stopping to walk, and it left me feeling decidedly unfit. Struggling so much through a fitness-related endeavor was quite the blow to my ego, so I started running regularly to improve. A few months later, I had run my first 5k, no walking breaks needed.

In the four years since then, running has become one of my greatest passions. It has taught me how much further I can push beyond my perceived limits, a lesson that spills over into other areas of life. From the first time I ran 3 miles straight without walking, to finishing my first marathon last fall, each new running goal has started out as one I never thought I could achieve, only to prove myself wrong once again. Running is now my main fitness love, and one that has brought me more joy, support, and confidence than I thought was possible.

But training for a race is not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s challenging, messy, inconvenient, and time-consuming, along with being inspiring, invigorating, and fun. So check back every two weeks for a full, honest update on my training, along with some tips and tricks for success if a marathon is on your bucket list too!

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Want to see how training is going? Check out Rachel’s recap of Training Weeks 1 & 2

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