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Could Workout Technology Be Telling You Too Much?

Have you been getting a little obsessed with what your fitness tracker is telling you? You are not alone, as it appears that many are watching what their tracker tells them, like a hawk. There is nothing wrong with keeping tabs on how much effort you exert, as long as it isn’t taking a toll on your self-esteem. Everyone and their cousin seems to have a Fitbit, Garmin, or other device that give you all sorts of information, based on your movements. Welcoming the insight with open arms, most of us don’t have any issues with having our activity (or lack thereof) tracked and reported to us.

Things aren’t all going according to plan, as some users are finding these trackers as a source of humiliation. Body image is what you see when you look at yourself. Throw out all of the measurements and strength numbers, your image is only concerned with how you physically appear. If someone has a bad body image, they will always see areas of improvement and flaws. Even if you have two people are in perfect shape and look the same, one may think that they look flawless, while the other person will only see the negatives.

When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong

For those latter people, a tracker can start out as a friend and can turn into a hated enemy. This all occurs because someone with a low opinion of their own shape is not going to handle having every flaw reported to them, daily. Sometimes body conditions can crop up from being ridiculed in the past. Whether it was a mean name or someone pushing them too hard, a Fitbit can bring up these feelings from the past, leading some to push themselves to a borderline obsession. Over-exerting oneself, in order to appease an app is not the ideal way to stay healthy. Some are even being sent to the doctor because they overdid it, trying to meet the new daily or weekly goals, set by a fitness tracker.

fitbitpic

I have one of these myself and love being able to have something else track everything that I do, so that I don’t have to. I would say that I have thicker skin than some, which makes being told to push myself more a comment that doesn’t bother me. I could see where others, who are suffering from physical or psychological issues to have an opposite reaction to the ongoing critiques. When people are told that they need to be doing more, then get hurt because of it, it doesn’t mean that the trackers are to blame. I don’t have any image issues, making it hard to speak for those that do, but there has got be some kind of common sense to apply here. If you’re Fitbit is telling you to run and you feel abnormal pain, don’t run! I don’t like reading about people wanting to jump out of their current workout regimen, due to what a program recommends you do. Maybe all of this is a concern that makers of these trackers should listen to. These reports remind me of what happened when the Wiifit video game was released for the Wii gaming system. This product had a scale that came with this game, in order to accurately track your weight. One big flaw with the weight tracker was that it only tracked your actual weight and not your BMI. The body mass index is a better indicator, when looking at amount of fat versus how much you weigh. It was no surprise that when I, a bulkier weightlifter, stepped onto the scale that the Wii was calling me obese. I laughed it off but I would be lying if I said that it didn’t get to me, even if just for a minute. Putting in everything that I had, to only be told that I was considered obese is not a good memory.

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Why I Love Blink Fitness’s New Positive Message

There is a change coming to the way that you look at the next fitness billboard you see. Blink Fitness, a newer fitness chain, wants to deliver a new message than what you normally see. Their slogan is every body happy, meaning that everybody can be happy by working out here. This isn’t all that they did for their cool new ad though, they chose a different style than most anyone has. Blink’s concept is that they want this to be the place that any person can feel comfortable going to. I have, for a long time, stated that the very act of getting fit needs to be more of a community than how selfish it is known for being. This chain of gyms takes this to a whole new level by using normal people for their ads. Long gone are the days of the perfectly tanned and toned models that only make you feel like garbage about your own self-image, now we see regular people and I think that this is a welcome change. Who wants to look at a billboard of someone who is so far ahead of them, in terms of body composition. If it were me, I would only look at that image of the golden hair person in the shape that I want to be in and be driven away from going there.

A big issue for people who are only beginning to get fit is the body image issues that comes with being new at something. For most things in life, if you are new at something, no one can physically see that you haven’t tried something before. However, if you walk into a gym and it looks like a casting call for the new Expendables movie, you will have to fight the urge to just get back in the car and hit up McDonalds on the way home. If you are looking for a new place to workout, I haven’t been there, but Blink Fitness looks like a great one to go to. Apparently, the prices at this chain are very reasonable, another reason why they want to cater to everyone. Hopefully, this will lead a trend of average Joes going to this chain versus another gym loaded with people who look like they haven’t had a cheat meal since 1998. Here is the commercial, if you want to see it for yourself, I am still laughing.

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Instructors Choosing Hip Hop for Fit Classes

There is no doubt that dance classes are a great way to get people to perform aerobics that might not normally. The mere idea of dancing to music is certainly nothing new, but one particular genre seems to be changing opinions. Gaining more of a following than it has since its inception, hip hop is becoming more widely accepted by just about everybody. We aren’t sweating to the oldies anymore, people are now taking hip hop dance classes, not just to learn some new dance moves. So, why has this craze for rap music suddenly taken nearly every fitness center by storm? Having studied some music in by spare time, I wanted to look closer to help explain what is happening.

rap combined with dance

The date when the first hip hop album or song came out has been something that not many can agree has a clear answer. Through its gritty roots, this genre of music has risen up from obscurity and is now all the way at the top of the music charts. As the audience for hip hop began to expand, it became more accepted, even by those who had shunned it in the beginning. One reason that the hip hop fitness camps are being filled by more people could very well be due to the general tempo. In most cases, hip hop will have a more upbeat sound combined with a faster tempo. Have you ever tried to listen to nothing but ballads while you are training? If you have, you will know that it really doesn’t bring about the biggest feelings of that attitude that you need to go into beast mode. A song that gets you to want to move your body, whether it be dancing or feeling motivated, it is something that needs to stay in your workout playlist.

If we take the subject of tempo off of the table, another big positive for placing hip hop in fitness centers everywhere is the lyrics. Hip hop has always had a certain swagger and confidence that has always been all its own. In most places, you aren’t going to hear the more obscenity laced hits but the general message will still hit home for you. Hearing the same old messages of love can only do so much when you are trying to get your mind into the mode it needs to be in to challenge yourself. Lyrics from hip hop will generally have to do with some sort of obstacle in the rapper’s way. It is much easier to relate to hearing a song about aggression than it is to hear some old and cheesy ballad about missing an old love.

If your musical tastes have not tried hip hop yet, do yourself a favor and pick just one artist. Look through all of the hundreds of lists of great songs from that genre and listen to them. Try looking through some of Eminem’s catalog, take this from someone who goes into a whole new world when I throw one of his playlists on. All this coming from someone who used to listen to nothing but country music, growing up in the southern states. Anyway, the rise of one genre of music is easy to make sense of when we look at the close relationship between the mindset needed to succeed and the music that we choose to listen to.

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How Under Armor Plans to Revolutionize Fit Tracking

As we all are awash with all of the fitness trackers out there, something has come along to change the way that we track our progress. Under Armor has released what is known as the Speedform 2 Gemini. Although this doesn’t exactly roll off of the tongue, these shoes are really gaining some popularity. I want to note that I actually tried to look at getting a pair of these at the Under Armor website, and they were all sold out! How these special shoes work is due to the computer chip that they have in them. Yes, you read that right, there is an actual small computer chip within these shoes that is able to track everything that you do!

Well, maybe not every single thing but everything that you could need, if you are someone who wants to track your results. Measuring how far you go, as well as your pace, these shoes look like something out of the future. I had only heard of any sort of tracking being done with watches, and whatnot. With these shoes, you are going to get all of your information about your runs readily available. Another cool feature is that these shoes have a built-in calories burned counter within them. If you are expecting to shell out a small fortune for the Speedform line, you are in luck, these only retail for about $150. This price, especially when talking about sneakers, is nothing out of the ordinary. I think that these shoes will be a bigger and bigger hit, as time goes by.

More people are going to be in need of new shoes, as opposed to a watch, so these shoes could very well dominate the workout tracking market. Over at the Under Armor website, I could only see them available in the blue color that was featured. Due to them being sold out, as of this writing, I was unable to see any other colors. However, after doing a bit of searching, I was able to see some of the other colors and they all look really cool. I am partial to the light blue colored ones, just because it matches what I will usually wear to go workout.

Looking past the amazing tracking abilities that these shoes have, I also wanted to mention some other cool features for anyone that is thinking about grabbing a pair. From checking out this product, it looks like comfort was another big concern among the makers of these tracking shoes. The Gemini line is made to fit your feet with the 4D foam and seamless heel that these shoes have. One of the most annoying things about getting a new pair of shoes is having to take the time to wear them in. With the Speedform, you don’t have to worry about going on a first run in these only to end up accidentally kicking them off before you leave your yard!

From the cool design, to all of the options that you have to keep track of your runs, the Speedform 2 Gemini line of fitness tracking shoes are a great choice. I can really see more companies looking to capitalize on this, so we might just see other companies throw their hat into the race to make a great fitness tracking shoe. Until then, it looks like Under Armor has a winner on their hands! My only complaint that I have with them, at the moment, is that I can’t get a pair for myself yet.

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What I Thought of the Recent Supplement Award Winners

As we come to another year, the big time supplement awards are in the books and we have an interesting list of winners this year. Here I am going to be talking about the winners and if I think that these picks were justified or not. There is a lot to cover so I will go ahead and get right down to it. For the mass gainer product, the award went to BSN. This is something that really made me happy to see. BSN has been putting out some excellent products in recent memory. Their preworkout, Hyper FX, was one of the best ones that I have tried and it garnered a spot in my regimen. True Mass is the product that won the award, and I think that that was a great pick. I have been using this particular product for the past couple years, off and on. If I am needing to really pack on some base weight in the colder months, this product is my go-to. They have a ton of great flavors and, with so many gross tasting mass gainers out there, it is nice to see one win that really deserves it.

I had also saw that Dymatize had won the award, as far as isolate protein powders are concerned. I thought that this was a great pick, if you haven’t tried any of the products from Dymatize, I would highly suggest checking them out as well. A while back, they put together a couple of great supplements that I had kept coming back to. Unfortunately, I know that they had changed around some of the way that their products were made. I don’t know just how true this is but I am glad to see that they are still getting some awards won. Beyond that, there were no real big surprises that I didn’t see coming. I think that all of the competitors that had won these awards were very deserving of them. Although I didn’t see any big upsets or products that I thought should have won that didn’t, it is interesting to see just how many of the newer brands out there that had ended up winning. I think that this is a big sign that we are seeing some new companies come up out of the blue to take over. Being that there are so many changes going on with what we take with us to the gym, these awards are showing the changes are really happening right now.

As we look to a future that is filled with products that are on the safer side, who knows what the award lineup will be next year? Either way, I look forward to seeing all of the changes that will be coming our way as we head into 2016 and beyond. I have been hearing some news about some new stuff coming out that could really change the way that we all train. However, these are early news stories, so only time will tell if these new kids on the block are going to be sticking around. Judging from all of the good reviews that I have been reading about, I think we are at a very good place right now with what companies are sending out for us all to try! I am really looking forward to seeing what the next year award nominees will consist of!

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Terry Crews and His Fitness Philosophy

Terry Crew’s Fitness Philosophy: An Amazing Concept that Will Lead to Brilliant Results

terry354

In a recent Reddit interview known as an ask me anything or, AMA for short, Terry Crews really brought to light a great fitness philosophy to have. He mentions that before you really are fully able to commit to a fit and healthy lifestyle, you first must set one important habit, going to the gym. Now, he did not mean going to the gym, working out for three hours your first time and making a commitment to push for that same intensity and drive every time. No, what he meant was to literally go to the gym. If you’re someone who is not ready to make the commitment to work out yet, it does not matter. He basically states that you just need to make the habit of literately getting to the gym and from there your options are limitless. If you wanted to go to the gym, sit there and read a book, this is what he meant.

What This Philosophy of Working Out First Meant

At first, I had to reread this a couple times before it fully dawned on me how brilliant of an idea this was. So many people seem to start working out and then find that their drive and desire decreases and that is usually what leads them to quit working out and being fat altogether. This is something that I have seen with many family members and friends and I have to say it is really heartbreaking to watch. You kind of see that glow disappear from them and they seem less happy after they break their commitment. I think that every beginner should heed the advice of Mr. Crews and simply start going to the gym just to make it a habit.

Fitness and Habits: How They Are Related

As we all know, habits are a great indicator of success. If Arnold did not have the drive and ambition to keep going to the gym, he wouldn’t have become the megastar that he was. For some of us, we don’t share that right out of the gate and need to make sure we put something in place to get us in the habit of just going to the gym. I think the idea behind this is that once you’re there and you do nothing enough and watch other people work out your drive will increase and you will want to do it yourself.

For me, I know there is a big-time truth to this. For example, we all know how scary the first week of the job can be. Then, one day you wake up and find that you’ve been going and doing the same job for 10, 15,  and 20+ years. It is the importance of habit the play such a rude in your success as far as business is concerned. You will have to build different habits, whether it be eating or working out. The power of habit is an amazing one and if you’re on the fence about starting to get in better shape, try making a drive to the gym one day. I know there will be gaps in your schedule where you will have some free time, just take something that entertains you, or even play games on your phone. Just bad habit of going to the gym, repeated overtime, is a big key to success and changing your life for the better.

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Intra-Workout Products: Taking Fitness to New Levels

The longer that you work out, the more you may look to supplements to provide you with some sort of guidelines. Some will meet specific goals and there will be others that don’t really need the goals you think you need, until you try them out. I had read about intra-workout supplements for quite a while and honestly I was never really that blown away. I thought it was some sort of hokey scam because after all if you’re drinking water or a sports drink, isn’t that enough? On a whim, I decided I might as well trying out big time from on my favorite companies as they were having a sale to see if it really worked out well for me.

intra workout supplements

I got the supplement in two different flavors one was lemonade and one was cherry. Although I did read about the benefits of using a BCAA product, I didn’t really read well enough as to learn about how horrible they mix with water. I immediately had to get shaker cups with the ball in them before I could even get anywhere near this product. Let that be a note to you all people, do not try this or any other BCAA product by mixing with a spoon and a tub, it just will not work out well. After mixing this product for the spoon and cup, I was left with some sort of foam and it was super not drinkable.

So after mixing it up the right way, I found out, although I wasn’t crazy about the consistency, that the drink actually tasted really well. The drink did give me mild heartburn afterwords, but this is something that is common with me and these drinks and is has always been that way. The drink tasted great and, I thought, after a couple workouts, that I really was noticing some benefits. Namely, I was able to have increased endurance and stamina which really help me push my workouts to the next level.

I would sip on the drink, whatever portion I didn’t finish, after my workout and noticed that I was able to actually feel less fatigue after my workouts. This is such a big deal because at the time I was actually smoking cigarettes, shame on me! Even though I was making that silly mistake, it was pretty cool to know that I was able to have a little more endurance as I needed all the help I could get. The lesson that I learned from waiting so long to use intra workout supplements is that it is a shame to to judge a book by its cover.

I came up with the silly notion that the supplements would not provide me with any real benefits and because of that I missed out on using these for quite a few years. However, now that I know just how well they work I do keep them in rotation in my supplement regiment. Do I find them to be my number one best supplement for building any kind of muscle? No, but I still do enjoy them quite a bit and I think that they will most likely always have a place in my supplement cabinet.

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Fitness and Video Games: How They Work Together

Can You Get More Fit by Playing Video Games?

I am someone who’s hobbies include both fitness and video games. Sometimes, these are always a likely match but recent technology has worked to help bring them together. There are many different types of fitness video games out there, some focus more on fitness, while others updates on the game itself and work fitness into beginners modes. Some of the most popular examples include the Zumba fitness games where people can actually, by the power of the Xbox Kinect, have their own Zumba workout privately in their own home. Others seem to blur the lines between game and fitness like some of the Kinect adventure games and the Nintendo fitness game. These offer more mini-game type events while also getting you more and more fit in the background, but do they really work?

video games and fitness

There have been actual experiments done, primarily when the Wii fitness game came out and it they showed that these do you actually help you get into better shape. Now will this be able to be at a gym? Not at this time, but more and more advances are being made almost every single day. If you have ever played some of the just dance video games or other Xbox Kinect titles, you will know that you get a good sweat broken pretty quick into playing the game. As you play these games for longer and longer you were moving and standing usually, which will also help to boost your metabolism. This boost in metabolism is what will cause you to burn calories at a more rapid rate, leading to weight loss. Even some video games, they require a resistance band, that will actually help to put on more muscle mass. Sports fans know that there are a ton of great games designed to help get you moving. One of the most recent ones that I have seen, I had to do with bouncing a basketball around but this one had more to do with rhythm than fitness overall.

However, the game still to get you moving so I could consider counting it on my list. Other games at their offer to help you get more fit while practicing your best dance moves. These games remain very popular with the youth and are a great way to help burn some calories, yes I admit I have played them in the past and they are a blast. As technology and video gaming advances more and more, I think we will truly find the perfect game to really help get people into shape. I’m not saying that there aren’t already great games out there now but I do think that as advancements start to show up, we will be seeing better and better examples of how fitness and video games can combine to make something truly great.