Summer Gym Bag Essentials a la Bexx

What does your summer gym bag need in it!  Here are 3 of the things that I don’t leave home without!

1- SPFSunscreen-  I must admit that I have tried a few different types of sunscreen, mostly because I burn and turn into a lobster shortly after being in the sun.  If you have ever vacationed with me or played a sport with me, you’ve probably at some point been asked to help me apply sunscreen to my back.  You’re welcome.  My skin thanks you.  Don’t be embarrassed or think it’s not cool to put on the sunscreen.  I’ve been there; I’ve blistered.  Just don’t.  If you’re outdoors for any sport, make sunscreen your best bud! Coppertone SPORT is my absolutely favourite!wahta

2-  Water.. (or Wahta, whichever you prefer really.)  Make sure you bring some with you wherever you go.  You never know when you’ll be stuck outside in the heat, or on a smelly streetcar.  When you’re playing sports or running, make sure you bring some with you in your fuel belt or in a large water bottle.  No sun/heat stroke for you! Sometimes when water feels like it’s  just not enough, grab some Wahta and try it out.  Fun to say and drink, it’s a new one that I love to carry around.

3nuun energyNuun Energy–  I was asked to review these, and I absolutely love these tablets.  I have tried the Cherry Limeade and they’re my favourite so far.  They give me that little boost of energy that I need in the afternoon to keep me on track for my upcoming workouts in the early evenings! I’m must confess I used to have soda in the afternoon, but I’m trying to give it up.  This is a great alternative for me.  I don’t drink coffee, so this is my only source of caffeine.

Happy Summer, guys!  Hope the heat treats you well!

-Bexx

The sharpest pencil in the box….

pencil

I think I’ve learned a lot in my short 30 years.  Part of me always wishes I could go back with the knowledge that I have now (like in 13 going on 30) and tell my teenaged self that everything will be just fine and not to worry so much – chill out, enjoy things and most importantly learn all that you can.  I still tell myself these days to chill out and to stop worrying so much about life, and just take it all in.  I’ve taken up yoga and meditation.  I try to slow myself down and appreciate what is around me.  I forget all this and resort back to my old thoughts sometimes.  I’m far from perfect.  Life is a learning process after all!

I did my first podcast the other day (Bexx plug here)  and even though I did it over the phone I was more nervous than I’ve been in a long time, and was super glad that the podcast was not in person. (I probably would have sweat all over the equipment and short-circuited everything, thereby sabotaging my very first podcast of history heh) I’m not sure why I was so nervous – I can’t really explain it, but I was. I never really pictured or thought that I would ever be featured on a podcast or have a blog that anyone read (besides my family and closest friends.) For me most of the things that are happening lately are a bit surreal and makes me feel kind of funny.

In the midst of all these recent happenings in my life – whether it be work, volunteering or just overall every day life events, have made me realize that we all have dr seusssomething special to offer. I think it’s good to accept what you are good at and realize that you have something to offer the world, that other people don’t.  No one is exactly like you, no one thinks exactly the way you do, or does things the way that you would.  Based on all your previous life experiences, you walk through the world sometimes giving yourself less credit than you deserve.  Maybe you think no one would listen or read if you wrote a blog, or maybe you’re afraid that people will judge you or already know the things you do.  They don’t always.  Sometimes people can share in what you write and connect with it through their experiences, but yours are still unique.

Use what you’re good at.  Don’t be afraid to tell your stories and share your thoughts.  I have always worried so much about what people think, and hesitated in a lot of ways in my life.  Say what you want to say. You’re important.

Play on playas,

-Bexx

Run, run, as fast as you CAN’T!

excusesYou always want to do things that you can’t.

Usually I want to run marathons, ULTRAS even, when I can’t even walk down a flight of stairs because I have an injury plaguing my beloved calves (#sorrynotsorry?!)

Oh, the things I would do right now if I could, I say silently to myself, as if I actually would if I could.  Who am I kidding? Rebecca! Are you bonkers?  The answer to that question is obviously yes in most cases when I ask that question, but I find it both humourous and ironic that in most cases we crave to do the thing that we can’t more than anything in the world.

I feel like maybe if someone started a really nasty rumour that the world JUST ran out of turnips, and there was only one left that I, Rebecca P., had the opportunity to try – then maybe (just maybe) I’d eat one.  I’d probably gobble the whole thing up like it tasted like a  buncha Cool Ranch Doritos and be sad that there wasn’t more.

I promise I do have a point.

My point is, the mind is a powerful thing!  Half of working out and eating properly on your health journey has to do with your mind.  Obviously if you’re injured, it’s a bit of a different story, however, if you can’t run because of your calves, then you know for a FACT that you can do arms, or you can do abs.   You probably won’t do an Ultra even though your mind wanders and wants you to, but you don’t really have excuses to jump completely off the fitness train.  If you do make excuses you’re choosing to be a victim to your crazy thoughts of the “I can’ts”.  Sometimes I wallow in my own self pity when injured, so I get it. The best thing you can do is figure out what you CAN do, and be open-minded about things.

Turnips and I may never be friends, and I may never run an Ultra marathon (injured or not), but I WILL make sure that I aim high in my fitness/nutrition challenges and give each and everything a shot, or taste for that matter!

PS I Google’d “Get what you want” and this came up? What the flying F…..*sigh* False. This is NOT what I wanted.wtf

Review: Fitbit vs Nike Fuel

fbnfseBexx Note (03/19/14):  Since posting this review I have stopped using my Fitbit, as it has burned my wrists and left permanent scarring.  Reports are saying it is a chemical burn or skin reaction.  I am not currently allergic to anything at all, and from the looks of the burn it appears to be chemical.  The fitbit Flex is still fine according to reports, but the Force should be recalled.  I still saw it in stores last week in Ontario, Canada, so be careful.

My friend Hilary got a Fitbit and when I was working out with her one Friday she told me all about it.  I went out the very next day and purchased one myself.  I had heard about the Fitbit before, but I was curious, and intrigued.  I also wanted to see if something like this could help me be more conscious of my every day activity levels, and overall fitness.  Her husband had the regular Fitbit Flex, which offers more colour options, but less in terms of display.  This ultimately made my decision easier – I’m all about the visual so I went with the Fitbit Force.

That week my friend Lawrence who works with Nike provided me with a Nike FuelBand SE so that I could test it out.  He swore it was better than the Fitbit.  I must admit that for my purposes, I am still in love with the Fitbit Force.

FitBitForceFitbit Force $130 CAD
Pros:
i)  Clear display.  Measures daily steps, miles, stair flights climbed, active minutes, calories burned, allows you to input weight changes, track sleep patterns, and allows you to track your calories and water intake.
ii)  If you are a fan and user of MyFitnessPal, it links with the Fitbit allowing you to track calories in and calories out, along with all your activity.
iii) Vibrates and lights up once you’ve hit your step goal for the day.
iv) Has a great application for iPhone users and also a great Dashboard for PCs.  You can add your friends to it, and have them cheer you on, or taunt you for fun!

Cons:
i)  Limited wrist bands colours available.  Currently available in grey and black.
ii)  The community for Fitbit is not as large as the Nike community.  If you are big into community engagement, you may want to wait a little longer until this community is built up…or maybe get one and join me!
iii)  If you are into cycling, it doesn’t accurately count your activity.  I’ve heard of people attaching the Fitbit to their shoes to account for their activity, but I haven’t tried that yet myself 😉

Overall: Comfortable wristband,  no flashy branding,  and can blend in with other jewelry accessories.  I love that is links with MyFitnessPal and I find myself making sure that I get my steps in even if that requires that I do some ‘foot-fire’ football running drills to hit my steps in my room before bed.  *Note: My neighbours may not be a fan of this as much as I am haha.   I’m a bit crazy like that.  By far my favourite fitness related tracker thus far.  I usually quit or stop tracking with technological devices like this, but with Fitbit Force I am going on strong  – a month and a half now and down 15 lbs! Fitbit and MyFitnessPal combined really make you aware of what you are  doing and what  you’re not.  Awareness has also been an issue for me, so this is absolutely wonderful.

NikeFuelSENike FuelBand SE Retail: $150 CAD

Pros:
i) Uses motion-sensing technology to capture your movements during the day and converts it to NikeFuel. Tracks the intensity of your workouts, sleep, counts yours steps  and tells time.
ii) Strong community is what Nike is known for – this aspect does not disappoint. You can compete against your friends in some ‘friendly’ competition to see who has earned the most NikeFuel.
ii)  NikeFuel SE  has a coloured meter which allows you to see where you are at in terms of activity for the day.  Also allows you the opportunity to track which hours you have ‘won’ for the day.  (An hour ‘won’ is an hour where you have been active and earned NikeFuel for 6 minutes consecutively within an hour.)  It reminds you to get up and get active, which is especially helpful when you have an office job where you sit a lot.  It sends you a personalized (essentially a Go, Rebecca, Go!) message of encouragement.  If this isn’t for you, you can also shut this option off.

Cons:
i) Heavily branded, and is not as comfortable on the wrist despite having adjustment pieces available.
ii) Display is not as clear as the Fitbit, and it is a little less clear what exactly you’re seeing when you hit the button.
iii)  Battery lasted approximately from Sunday to Wednesday evening vs the Fitbit week-long battery life.

Overall:  I think this is a good option for someone who is heavily into training and measuring the intensity of their training.  Ultimately it depends what you’re trying to track, and what is important to you.  With its sporty sleek look and great community, this device is awesome if you are competitive and want to have that community engagement and support.  It has come a long way from the original NikeFuel that first came out years ago.  The sleep tracker is also an added bonus that a lot of other devices don’t have.  Nike has done a great job in improving this device and I’m interested to see the next model and how they adapt to the needs of the user.

It really depends on you.  I’m a bit biased because I tried my Fitbit first and I think it’s really hard to change my mind when I love something.  Different strokes for different folks.  I think when purchasing you need to keep in mind what exactly you’re wanting the device for.   Overall, these types of devices shine a light on your habits and actual activity level.  I think a lot can be said for something that allows you to see what you’re really up to in a day.  It makes you accountable, aware and allows you to really gauge whether or not you actually want to do something with the results you find.  Maybe you’re a lot more active than you thought, or maybe it’s the opposite.  Either way, knowledge is power, as they say! 😉

Feel free to leave comments below on your experience with Fitbit or NikeFuel.  I’d love to hear your opinions!

Happy Training!
xo
-Bexx

MM: Before you…

learningI’ve struggled with this one in the past and recently.  I’m working hard to make sure that I get better at these things.  I think that introspection and thoughtfulness will take me a long way.  I’m going to be that person that I’ve always wanted to be; not perfect, just the best version of me.

Tree Pose Focused

hot yogaI think some things and people come in to your life for a reason.

Recently I started going to Tula West at Ossington and Bloor, and I’d have to say it has been quite the game changer.  I’ve done yoga before.  I actually used to go to Bikram yoga a couple of years ago, but it didn’t last.  I liked the heat aspect, but didn’t really connect with the poses and type of yoga that it was.  I thought at the time that my little flirt with yoga was pretty much over forever.

This new year, marked a time in my life when I really wanted to do something different, put the past year behind me, reflect, learn and make myself better.  (Pretty much everyone starts the year off this way, no?! hah)

I decided that I wanted to do yoga on a Saturday morning and asked my friend Jill to join me.  I’m glad that we did this – not only do we have Saturday morning brunch dates afterwards or before, but I’ve also had someone with me on this spiritual journey.  I had never done hot hatha before, but was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this class, and how much I pushed myself during.  After the class, I felt like a million bucks and was in a head space that I hadn’t been in a long time.  I was that grinning idiot on the subway 😉

I must admit that I was rather skeptical about all this “zen” stuff, and didn’t really think that this would change my life or really make me a better person.   I thought I’d end the class twisted up like a sweaty pretzel, sad about the poses that my little stumpy legs couldn’t/wouldn’t ever do, but  SURPRISE! – that was the furthest thing from what actually happened.

I’m not going to tell you that I am a super flexible yogi with it all figured out, because I am not that either.  What I am though, is someone who is open to this new experience; willing to concentrate and push myself further than the week before, and someone who is truly feeling that yoga should have a bigger place and role in my life.

The instructor last week during tree pose, scared the heck out of everyone when she was talking calmly one minute and then started clapping and yelling in the next minute.  “This is your life.  There are always twenty things coming at you at once trying to distract you from the goals that you are focused on.  Keep focused in your tree pose.  Take the lessons you learn here and apply them to your outside life.  Don’t let anything distract you from the things you zenwant and deserve.”

After a long week in the hustle and bustle of the city, with what seems like a million work projects on the go, and the normal stress of every day life that sometimes overwhelms you – there is something about putting down your yoga mat, placing your towel on top, laying down, inhaling deeply and letting everything sigh right out.  Gone are the stresses of the week, your shoulders loosen, your head clears and you are focused on then and now.