Monthly Archives: November 2013

The New UP App (Try saying that 10 times fast!)

I’ve had my Jawbone UP band for just about a year now, and of the 3 activity tracking bands I own, it’s my favorite so far.

Jawbone just introduced the UP24, the wireless version of the UP band (sold for $20 more – $149.99) and the new 3.0 UP App. While I’m not about to run out and get the new band yet, I’ve been playing around with the new app for about a week and want to let you know what I’ve found so far.

Last week I received an email telling me about the update and in very general terms what to expect.

The first change is the “Today I Will” Challenge and Milestones. The email said, “What will you achieve today? New insights help you conquer daily goals and celebrate meaningful milestones. Small changes today add up to big achievements over time.”

This excited me! I love a challenge and more importantly I love to conquer it. My excitement began to dwindle though because it turns out that you have to wait for the app to prompt the daily challenge. Total bummer! About 4 days later (after my update) I was finally prompted.

My first challenge was to add 500 steps to my biggest stepping day since my app update. I was asked if I would accept the challenge of moving 13,868 steps the next day. Challenge accepted! I like how the app keeps track of how many steps I still need to take.

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It took a little extra effort to conquer the challenge on this particular day. It was a Wednesday after all, and usually it’s a struggle just to get to my daily goal of 10,000 steps. I felt pretty good about this.

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So on to the next challenge!  Wait…what? You’re asking me to do the same challenge tomorrow? I wasn’t expecting this, but OK. Challenge accepted…again. So I clicked the ‘Tomorrow’ button. photo

Challenge conquered, again! Yippee! Again, it took a little extra effort, but it was worth it to get this little pat on the back.

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Now on the the next challenge! Wait…what? You’re offering me the same challenge a third day in a row? Sorry, ‘No Thanks’.

I declined the challenge, but wasn’t offered another one yet. It’s a little disappointing, but it’s just an app after all.

My husband received a different challenge: to drink 8 glasses of water that day. I love how the app keeps track of your progress!

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And of course, after completion of his challenge, he got a little pat on the back too!

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Of course after he completed his challenge, he was offered the SAME challenge again the next day. I suppose the app is trying to create habits with the repetitive challenges, which is good, but where’s the element of surprise?

Another change to the app is the activity log. I like this!

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Just scroll up and it gives you a list of your recent data. This is just YOUR data. When you have a ‘team’ like I do, everyone’s activity shows up on your ‘timeline’ similar to a Facebook newsfeed. The activity log is just like your home page. Your recent data at a glance.

The last change worth mentioning is the sleep recovery mode. Raise your hand if you occasionally forget to set you band to ‘sleep’ mode. Me, Me! Just last night in fact! The updated app lets you easily recover your sleep summary and even breaks down your light and deep sleep just as if you had set it. Awesome!

All in all I think the new app has a lot of great potential. I was a little disappointed with the repetitive nature of the challenges, but who knows, it could really help someone else. I also wish I could prompt the challenges instead of having to wait for the app to get around to it. I do appreciate the beautiful graphs and the occasional pat on the back though.

I can’t expect too much from it. It is just an app after all!

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Deck of Cards – The Workout

If you play your cards right you can get an excellent workout whether or not you’re a few cards short of a full deck!

Just a little humor to introduce one of my very favorite workout formats! I’ve seen different versions of the Deck of Cards concept, but this is mine.

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What Is it?

You really do use a full deck of playing cards to guide your workout! Place the deck face down and flip one card over at a time. Each suit is assigned a certain exercise, or in my version two different exercises, and the number on the card tells you how many reps to do. Face cards and Aces are always 15 reps. Your challenge is to complete the entire deck.

Why I LOVE it!

There is definitely an element of surprise. You can do this over and over again and always have a different result. You can also change out the exercises each time you do it so it’s a totally different workout. The possibilities are endless. If you want ho-hum and boring, please do not try this at home. It gets extra fun and challenging if you turn over 2 face cards of the same suit in a row. That’s 30 reps please!

How to Play

The first suggestion is to grab a friend or ten! Of course this can be done solitaire style, but a partner can help you press on if you end up having to do 30 Burpees in a row. Yes I did use the ‘B’ word, and it’s highly recommended you include them as part of this workout because they are awesome. I’ve done this format in a boot camp, with partners and by myself with my dogs licking my face. The last option would be OK minus the dogs.

Planning the workout

You can choose 4 body weight/cardio type exercises or use mine below. Each is assigned a suit.

  • Push-ups – Hearts
  • Burpees – Spades
  • Sit ups – Clubs
  • Squat Jumps – Diamonds

You can choose 4 strength exercises (add weights) or use mine below. Each is assigned a suit.

  • Overhead press – Hearts
  • Squat – Spades
  • Russian twist – Clubs
  • Hammer curl with tricep extension – Diamonds

First, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle the deck. You don’t want to know the order of the cards, that would ruin the fun!

Second, divide the deck equally in two.

The first half of the workout is your cardio time. You will only do the 4 body weight/cardio type exercises for the first 26 cards. For example, for every Heart you turn over you will do pushups, and for every Spade you will do burpees. Remember, you do the number of reps that’s on the card you turn over,  and all face cards are 15 reps.

After you complete the first 26 cards you move on to the strength portion of the workout. Now every time you turn over a Heart, you will do the overhead press, Spades become squats, etc.

I threw in a special exercise for Aces just for variety.

Every time you turn over an Ace, whether it’s in the first half of the deck or the second, you perform walking lunges with a twist, 15 each side or a total of 30.

Variations

My favorite way to do this workout is the way I described above, however, you can put it together in different ways.

First, you can just do the top 4 body weight/cardio type of exercises for the entire workout, while also adding in the walking lunges for the Aces. This  works especially well if you don’t have equipment. When you add up all the reps per exercise type, it’s quite impressive! (But if you like nice round numbers like me, you might want to throw in an extra rep of each!) Here are the stats:

  • Push-ups 99
  • Burpees 99
  • Sit ups 99
  • Squat Jumps 99
  • Walking lunges with a twist 120

Second, you can do the whole workout with weights, like the second half of the workout. I’ve never tried it this way though, so if you do, let me know how it goes.

Third, you can throw all my suggested exercises out the window and use your own!

Final Thoughts

I’m going to lay my cards on the table and say I love to combine cardio and strength in all my workouts. The beauty of this though, is that YOU hold all the cards. So what will it be?

Team Em

I often say in my day to day life there is strength in numbers and one person is never too small to make a difference in our world. In fact, if it weren’t for the cumulative efforts of many people, where would we be?

For this reason I am thrilled to introduce you to Emily.

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Emily is currently a senior in high school and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 12.  Growing up is hard enough, but dealing with Type 1 diabetes as a child is a challenging road for both the child and the parents. Suddenly their lives were changed. They had to learn a lot, and fast. The whole family’s schedule was disrupted throughout the day and night with insulin shots and checking blood sugar levels. Emily missed out on many activities over the years because of this demanding disease. It wasn’t a life she chose but one that was thrust upon her. Many people fall victim to such adverse circumstances, but not Emily. She wants to be a victor over the disease and be proactive in finding a cure.

This weekend I had the privilege of being a part of Team Em in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.

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Pictured above is just 1/4 of the team Emily put together to raise money for diabetes research. She gathered family and friends, had t-shrits made and led her team of 40 with enthusiasm. Team Em raised $3,000 to date.

Learning to live with Type 1 Diabetes has been difficult for Emily, but according to her mother, “Understanding and living with the disease has taught her compassion, responsibility and how to rise above her circumstances”. These are lessons some people never learn.

Team Em inspired me. What a great example of taking the life you’re given and using it for the greater good. Embracing your circumstances, no matter what they are, to make a better tomorrow for many others.

Everyone can make a positive difference in this world. It doesn’t depend on your age, social status or bank account. It depends on your heart!