Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nike Training Club

It may be too soon to post this since I'm only a week in, but... I'M IN LOVE! I'M IN LOVE! AND I DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS IT.

I recently downloaded the Nike Training Club app for iPhone on the suggestion from Joy the Baker on her podcast.  I was still struggling to find a regular workout routine, so I decided, what the hell? and loaded it on my phone.

And OMG you guys I CAN'T believe this thing is free.  It does exactly what I've been looking for: someone to tell me what to do, but I don't have to pay a boat load of money for it.


The app offers a range of exercises based on your fitness goals: Get Lean, Get Toned, Get Strong, Get Focused and then matches your goal to your fitness level: beginner, and intermediate and advanced. Based on your selections, it provides a variety of work outs to choose from.

Once you've selected your workout and you're ready to start. Here's an example of what you might see:



This is just a small chunk of a larger 45 minute workout.  Once you hit start, the app calls out which exercises to do, and for how long.  It even offers tips on form and announces when you're halfway through the exercise. Not sure what is meant by the title of a move? You can pause the work out to view a step by step of the exercise in pictures, or if that's not enough there is video demonstration available.

What I am really enjoying is the Program feature. Again you select your goal and level of fitness and then the app generates a 4 week program of pre-selected exercises. I am doing a Get Toned program at the intermediate level. Its a mix of 30-45 minute exercise circuits, yoga, and running.

Pros:
1. Minimal equipment required. Thus far its been all hand weights and medicine balls. One routine  called for a jump rope I don't have, so I just jumped in place spinning an imaginary rope. Seriously, it gets the job done and you don't have to worry about accidentally whipping yourself in the calf. 
2. Portable. So long as you have your phone, you have access to your workout. I do mine in my driveway. Lots of entertainment for the neighbors.
3. Provides an estimate of calories burned
4. Tracks your runs on the nike+ app which syncs with the NTC app
5. FREE


Cons:
1. Inflexibility of the program feature. If you miss a day, you cannot access that exercise to make up for it on what would have been an "off day." Unfortunately, emergencies happen or you just get too busy and and exercising goes out the window. If I miss a day, I usually go into the app and find the scheduled exercise and do it on an off day.   It doesn't sync up with the program, so the sad grey incomplete circle taunts me like an A- used to in high school, but at least I know I did it.





2. If you haven't done yoga before, I can see the yoga sessions being a challenge.  There are some advanced positions and the app is very light on descriptions of how to achieve the poses. It also does not suggest modifications to make a pose easier like an instructor might.  I have done yoga off and on for the last 4 years and found some of the moves challenging. Hello, Side Plank Big Toe Pose.
Trust me when I say, mine did not look anything near this. 

3. In addition to tracking calories, it also keeps up with the "NikeFuel" you've earned/burned. To which I said WTF is NikeFuel?  I tried googling the definition which was vague and read more like an advertisement than a scientific explanation of this unit of measurement, so I gave up.  From what I can tell its an arbitrary measurement the company created  to tempt you into purchasing the Nike Fuel Band. I just ignore the NikeFuel counter in the app. 

The cons are small relative to the service Nike is providing. Overall, I am really pleased with the app, so I'm categorizing this under "Baby, I like it!"

I was not compensated in any way for this review, its just something I like, and maybe you will too!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Favorites: The Cleveland Edition

I have been really blown away by the local businesses in North East Ohio lately, so this post is for tooting NEO's horn with my local version of Friday favorites.

Restaurant: Cork and Cleaver Social Kitchen
Holy crap on a cracker this place was amazing. In fact, it was the exact opposite of crap on a cracker. I had high expectations given the head chef works over at one of my other favorite locations (What up, LUXE!) A co-worker suggested this place and I'm only sorry I haven't been sooner. Cocktails top out at $9, with most coming in at $8. They were WAY better than their pricier counterparts I've had at bars in the "trendy" parts of town.
Blackberry Mandy
For dinner  I ordered the pork chop with homemade baked beans. The generous cut of meat could have easily fed two people and the bed of beans it was served on were an elegant take on beanies  and weenies. I think they had used dried beans soaked and boiled in house; love that attention to detail!  I also sampled the gnocchi off my friends plate and I have to say, even though my meal was great, I think she won the ordering contest.

Massage: Sacred Hour.  The inside is so luxuriously decorated, I wish my appointment had run late so I could have sat around longer to enjoy the atmosphere. Alas, they were punctual and professional. I had my first deep tissue massage here, which is what I've been looking for in a massage my whole life. (Woah doesn't that sound bourgeoisie? Honestly,  I don't get many massages, maybe one per year, if that.  Thats why it is so important to me that they be as amazing as possible!)

As long as I'm in Cleveland, I won't go anywhere else. First rate service, and with prices that are comparable to the more bare-bones spas in town, why go any where else?
 
Image from sacred hour website.

New(ish) local business: Tea Spot on Detroit Road in Lakewood. They do not appear to have a website but they are in Lakewood near the intersection of Detroit and Belle. They sell loose leaf tea by the ounce and nifty (yes, nifty) tea accessories like to-go mugs and steepers. You can also purchase any tea freshly brewed, hot or cold, for $3. Perfect place to shop for the fancy-pants in your life.

Clothing Store: CLE Clothing Store
Show your local pride or foist it upon others by shopping here! They are constantly updating their inventory and the shirts are actually something you would WANT to wear. Great place to get gifts for people. I recently purchased this onesie for an expecting friend. 
 
Cleveland Onesie. You know you want one!
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think Cleveland gets a bad repuation it doesn't fully deserve. Sure our sports teams disappoint us time after time and our weather is cold (to which I argue so is NYC and so is Chicago)  but we've got a really vibrant city that is home to an ever growing population of artists and industry. Give it a chance! This T-shirt sums up my feelings quite nicely:
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Linking up with Meet at the Barre for Friday Favorites. Thanks for hosting!

Meet At The Barre

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cryabetes

I have had this post in draft for ages. I've hemmed and hawed about publishing it because it is not wholly mine to share. But, its doing no good for anyone sitting in my drafts. Sometimes you just have to be brave and put it out there. Today is the day for honesty and bravery.

I am not diabetic. My boyfriend is. Type 1,  Also known as insulin dependent or Juvenile Diabetes. It's not the reversible kind many Americans have due to poor diet. You can read more about it here if you want to know more. I'll spare you the lesson, I'm no expert.

He'd probably roll his eyes about my writing this; anyone who knows me personally is probably sick to death of hearing about it.  I'm not the one with the disease, so what right do I have to complain? But the illness is not confined to the body of the affected. The illness rooted in one creeps above ground and furls its tendrils around anyone within reach.

Woah. That was dark. I should clarify it does not always feel suffocating.  Maybe for some people, it does not feel that way at all. Maybe there are some really tightly controlled Type 1's  who  never go low or recognize a low quickly. Maybe their loved ones aren't a worrier by nature. But I'm am. Once I allow myself to entertain the "what if's" it becomes a spiraling nose dive of worry. Why hasn't he called me back? Did he not hear his phone ring or is his blood sugar low, and he is too spaced out to realize he should eat something? Sometimes I travel for work.  What happens when I'm not there?  I have to talk myself off of a ledge. Over time, I've gotten better about not approaching the ledge at all.

We laugh it off when the lows happen. I'll tell him some crazy thing he said or did. He'll laugh at me and some of the crazy things I've done when he's been particularly stubborn in his low state-of-mind. I've literally thrown sugar at his face. In hindsight there were other methods I could have tried that would have been less messy. But when you're in the moment, nothing is very clear. For either of us.

There are times you can't laugh it off. I've had to call an ambulance twice. Once was very early in the relationship when I had no idea what was happening. The diabetes-savvy person I am today could have easily handled that situation without paramedics. But the second time I was in over my head, anyone would be.  I woke up to him seizing, jaw clenched and mind dropped out of consciousness. I squeezed some honey onto his lips in hopes that some would seep into his mouth and called 911.

Within minutes he was hooked up to IV fluids hanging from the ceiling fan in the room, his eyes focused, talking cohesively. It was almost like nothing had happened, our faces slicked with sweat from the fracas and the presence of our first responder guests betrayed us. The medics said  practically half of their calls involve diabetic lows. That was comforting in a small way, that we're not the only ones who struggle.

The highs, while not as immediately scary or life threatening, are unpleasant in their own way: manifested with irritability, a foggy head and the feeling of cold water coursing through veins. The mental exhaustion takes its toll, too. Fear of future complications. Never missing a pill or an injection and still numbers on the glucometer read 3 and 4 times higher than the target range. Frustration. Feeling like a failure. A new grey hair, a new wrinkle dedicated to the disease.

Then there are stretches of time where everything clicks along smoothly. You're able to hack away the overgrowth, free yourself of the vines and the tangles. You reset. Almost forget about the roots that are still underground. You want to pull them up but you can't. No one can.  No one knows how.

Its a clumsy metaphor for a life of managing chronic illness, this terrible weed. But truly, all you can do is be vigilant. Watch for signs of it trying to break through the surface again, ready to consume you.  You can't let that happen.  Don't let it creep up on you and don't ever forget.



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