Category Archives: fitness

9 Awesome Fitness and Nutrition Apps

I am obsessed with my iPhone. I have my phone with me at all times to check in on my Etsy shop, to keep up with my friends on social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) and to research new project ideas on Pinterest. Come to think about it… this might not be healthy… I probably need help… Well I’ll worry about that later.

I am always looking for new apps to help me with the simplest of tasks. With that said, my iPhone has become my most reliable workout buddy. Here are some of my favorite apps for gym and home workouts.

Free Fitness

  • Bit Timer is a great app for strength training intervals. You can set the work time, rest time and the number of intervals you wish to repeat. Play your get pumped music in the background and the app will alert you when it’s time to start and end.
  • Gymboss allows you to create a timer with intervals and rounds. It also has preset programs and a basic stop watch.
  • Nike Training Club comes with various workouts and workout programs at the beginner, intermediate or advanced level. Use it for cardio, strength or a combo and set goals for toning, leaning out, getting strong or targeting certain areas. You can preset the amount of time and play your own music in the background.
  • Map My Run means you no longer have to estimate how far you’ve run, this app uses GPS to actually track them. You can change your activity to bike, run, walk and even hike. You can also create pre-made routes to make sure you’re covering the proper distance to meet your goals. Plus you can post your runs to Facebook and Twitter and use the Map My Run community to keep you motivated!
  • Fitness Pro is a great app for fitness junkies and newbies alike. It’s a great guide to new exercises and proper use of gym equipment. It’s not very useful at home but great for the gym.

Paid Fitness

  • Map My Run also has an MVP paid option which gives you coaching so I’m listing it a second time.
  • 10k Pro is a couch to 10k program that has preset goals for 30 days. You begin each day and follow the instructions for a certain amount of time. These instructions are spoken to you as you go along so there’s no need to keep an eye on the time. Fitnesity also has apps with a similar formate for situps, squats, arms, pushups, abs, pullups, cardio etc.
  • Yoga Studio offers classes for all levels and in varying lengths of time. You can specify the ambient sound and leanr about 250 different poses.

Free Nutrition

  • Lose It! is a food journal app to track how many calories are going in and how many are going out.
  • Fooducate helps you out when shopping for food. Use the scanner to scan the barcode of a product and the app assigns a grade based on health.

Give these apps a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.

-XOXO-

The Sssshhh!-We’re-trying-to-sleep Workout

We’ve all gotten the urge to workout in awkward situations. You don’t want to wake a sleeping baby with your grunts of motivation. You’re roommate is studying for a big test and can’t stand your heavy breathing. It’s 1 o’clock in the morning and your downstairs neighbors are pounding on your floor because of your incessant jumping on their ceiling. Now you are equipped with this little beauty. It’s a total-body workout which can be done in almost perfect silence.

You can download the printable pdf here.

Below is a description of how to do these workout moves. For a full list you can check out my glossary here. You can also find more printable workouts by clicking here.

Front Kicks
Start in a standing position. Lift your right leg straight out in front of your body until it is as close to parallel with the ground as you can lift it. Alternate legs.

Uppercut
Stand with feet hip-width distance apart. With a quick upward motion, scoop your right fist through the air to just in front of your face. Repeat on the other side.

Lunge Kick
Do a lunge then when you’re standing do a front kick.

Lunge
Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.

Front Kicks
Start in a standing position. Lift your right leg straight out in front of your body until it is as close to parallel with the ground as you can lift it. Alternate legs.

Squat
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, Squat slowly until both knees are bent 90 degrees and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Immediately rise out of squat, returning to standing with arms by side.

Pushup
Lay on your belly with hand flat on the floor on either side, forearms perpendicular to the floor. Stiffen body and literally push yourself away from the ground, hinging at the knees. When arms are straight hold and with control release your body, hover above the ground and repeat.

Russian Twist
Grab a 5- to 15-pound dumbbell with both hands. Stand with feet hip-width distance apart and your arms straight out. Take a big step forward with your left foot and, engaging your abs twist your torso to the left as you bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Twist back to center, push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.

Crunch
Lay flat on your back. Place your hands behind your head, and your feet flat on the floor. Pull your shoulders away from the mat. Make sure you don’t pull your head forward with your arms but rather keep your gaze upward and use your hand for neck support only. Lower yourself back to the mat.

Calf Raise
Stand with feet hip-width distance apart. Lift up onto your toes, hold and release.

Tricep Dip
Find an elevated surface such as a step, a coffee table over a chair. Place your palms on the surface directly behind your body. Hold yourself up and gently lower yourself down using your arms. When your arms make a 90-degree angle behind you lift yourself back up to the starting position.

Glute Kickback
Standing facing the back of a chair, hold onto the top of the back rest. Lift your right leg straight behind you as far as you can, hold and return to the floor. Repeat on left side.

Plank
Set-up the top of a push-up position with your hands directly below your shoulder. A variation of this is to rest on your forearms with elbows directly beneath shoulders. Hold your body completely straight by engaging your abs. If you can’t hold the plank for the full duration, work up to it. Form is more important the length of time: don’t drop your hips or raise your butt.

Vertical Leg Crunches
Do crunches but instead of positioning your feet on the floor press them straight up as if trying to press them into the ceiling.

Side Plank
Lie on your side with your legs straight. Prop yourself up with your hand directly below your shoulder (or on your forearm with your elbow directly below your shoulder). Your body should form a diagonal line with your feet stacked on top of each other. If you can’t hold the plank for the full duration, work up to it. Form is more important the length of time: be sure your hips and knees stay of the floor.

Short Bridge
Lay on your back with arms by your side and feet flat against the floor, hip-width distance apart. Lift your hips from the mat until your body forms a straight line from shoulder to knee.

Bird Dogs
Postion yourself like a table top, knees flat on floor, hip-width distance apart directly below hips, hand shoulder-width apart, directly below shoulders. Lift your right arm and left left so they form a line parallel to the floor, hold then return to table-top. Switch sides.

Jack-Knife Sit-Up
Lay flat on the ground, arms extended over your head legs straight. Raise your arms and body off the ground at the same time as you lift your legs straight up so that you meet in a fold balanced on your lower back.

Runner’s Stretches

I’ve been learning so much in my running journey over the last three-months. Did you know that if you stretch your range of motion in your hip joint you can actually become a better runner? If your hips are too tight your leg won’t extend behind your body very far before swinging forward, which reduces the propulsion your body has the potential to exhibit. These stretches are meant to open your hip joint in order to improve your running.

The Happy Runner [dot] blogspot [dot] com

Kneeling Hip-Flexor Stretch
Step into a lunge position, and lower you back knee to the ground. Keep your upper body straight while you tilt your pelvis forward. Hold for one minute, release, and repeat twice more. Then switch to the other leg.

Knee-to-Chest Bridge
Pull in your right knee, holding it against your chest. Keeping your head and shoulder blades on the floor, push up with your left leg into a bridge position while keeping your right leg against you. Push up, keeping the pelvis level, then lower yourself down. Do 12 to 15, then switch legs. Do three sets on each side.

I Heart Inspiration [dot] com

Marching Bridge
With your head, shoulders, and both feet on the floor, push up into a bridge position. While up, begin “marching”—alternate lifting each foot about an inch off the ground, while keeping your pelvis steady and facing straight up. Do three sets of 20 marches (10 on each leg), with a short break between each set.

Swing Drill
Bend and lift your left leg in front of you, then swing it back behind you as far as it will reach without moving your pelvis or lower back. This is the running motion you want to have—hip extending back, pelvis and lower back neutral (not arched). Do two sets of 20 swings with each leg, alternating legs with each set.

Community [dot] Saucony [dot] com

Half-pidgeon

Starting in a v-shape position with hands and feet flat against the floor, pull your right leg through, placing your right foot next to your left hand and your right knee next to your right hand. Bring your butt as close to the floor as you can as you place the top of your left foot on the ground with your leg stretching behind you. Sit up tall and then bending forward at the waist, touch your forehead to the floor. Hold, release and repeat on the left side.
Runner’s Lunge
Get into a lunge position with the right knee at a 90-degree angle, knee not passing the toes, and the left leg straight.  Put your hands flat to the floor on either side of your right foot. Then move your right foot to the outside of your right hand, toes at a 45 degree angle. Move around in this stretch, roll to the outside edge of your right foot opening your right knee to the floor, or lower your left knee to the floor. When you feel adequately stretched, switch legs.
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What to Eat Prior to Working Out

It’s Workout Wednesday, and on this particular Workout Wednesday I would like to share with you a little secret about fueling your body for workouts.

We all know it’s a bad idea to exercise on an empty stomach, because your body burns muscle tissue when there is no food energy to use (contrary to popular belief, of burning fat in this situation). In fact according to this study, women who ate before working out actually ate less the rest of the day. But, did you know that there are many foods you shouldn’t eat before working out? Some can even cause cramping, dizziness and headaches. After some research I’ve come up with a few ideas of what to eat (and not to eat) before my runs and other workouts.

About 2 hours before:

Grab something full of carbs, protein and healthy fats:

  • Cooked quinoa and grilled chicken
  • Whole wheat pasta with cheese and veggies
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Greek yogurt with berries and almonds
  • Grilled fish, avocado and mango wrap

Avoid fibrous veggies:

  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Beans
Avoid high-fat foods:
  • Burgers
  • French fries
  • Ice cream

About 1 hour before:

Eat easily digestible carbs and a little protein:

  • Whole wheat toast with nut butter
  • Whole grain crackers or pretzels and hummus
  • Small bowl of cereal
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Some cottage cheese and grapes
  • Half a fruit and nut bar
  • Cheese stick and carrots

    Aviod gas-producing fruits:

    • Pears
    • Apples
    • Melon

    About 15 minutes before:

    Enjoy easily digestible carbs:

    • Banana
    • Applesauce
    • Some saltine crackers
    • Raisins

    Avoid large servings of protein and carbs and high-saturated fat and high-fiber foods:

    • Pasta
    • Bagel and cream cheese
    • Fried chicken
    • Granola bar (high fiber)

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      It’s All About the . . . Girls

      It’s Workout Wednesday: YAY! Here’s a printable workout for you…

      This post in my “It’s All About the…” series (see Arms and Legs) is about a problem all women face: gravity. You see gravity is a very strong force that causes certain… things to sag as time goes on. The good news is we can fight gravity and prevent these consequences of aging with simple and effective workouts like this one.

      I actually got this workout from Self.com so you can thank them for the clever names. You can view the slideshow by following the link. All you need is medium resistance bands to do this workout on 3 non-consecutive days each week to stop the sag and add perk up the girls.

      Description of workout (full glossary):

      Breast-in-Show Row
      Stand on left leg, loop band around right foot and hold an end in each hand. Extend right leg and arms out in front of you to start. Bend arms and draw elbows straight back. Be careful not to hunch forward; keep back straight and shoulders down and back. Slowly release arms, keeping leg extended. Do reps and switch legs.
      Bust a Move
      Stand in a side lunge, right leg bent and right foot turned out at an angle. Place one end of a band under right foot. Bend at waist so chest points over right thigh toward floor and hold arms extended out to sides to start. In one fluid motion, pull the brand up and back, diagonally across body, as you raise torso and rotate it open. Slowly return to start. Do reps then repeat on opposite side.
      Cleavage Kickback
      Stand on an exercise band, feet hip-width apart, holding an end in each hand. With arms down at sides, squat and bend slightly at waist, keeping back flat. Draw the band behind you, keeping arms straight, squeezing shoulder blades together and feeling chest stretch open. Slowly release arms for one rep.
      Full Circle
      Start in a push-up position on knees or toes with hands set wide. In one fluid, circular motion, shift weight to right arm, lower yourself to the floor, the shift weight across body to left arms and push yourself back to start. Do reps then change direction.
      Glute Bridge March
      Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms on the floor at should level, with palms facing up. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Engage your abs and lift your knee toward your chest, hold then lower. Repeat on other leg.

      Perky Pike
      Start in an inverted-V pike position, hands and feet on floor, butt lifted high, to start. Lower left forearm to floor, then lower right forearm to floor. Straighten left elbow the right elbow, to return to start for one rep. Do reps then reverse order.

      Sag Stopper
      Start in a lunge with a band looped under back foot. Hold an end in each hand buy shoulders, arms bent and parallel to the floor, elbows behind you. Press arms straight out to front, level with shoulders. Slowly and with control, bring arms back to start so you feel chest stretch open. Do reps then repeat on opposite side.
      Superwoman Slide
      Start in a push-up position, hands directly under shoulders, resting on paper or plastic plates (for carpet) or washcloths (on wood or linoleum) as gliders. Keeping arms straight, slowly slide them out in front of you in a V shape to lower chest toward floor. Hover above floor if possible, and then rest on floor. Bend arms to slide hands under shoulders and push up to start.
      X-Raise
      Stand with feet hip-with distance apart, the end of a band under each foot. Hold the other end in the opposite hand so band crisscross in front of you, hands at sides. Bend knees and squat extending arms out slightly to sides. As you straighten legs to stand, simultaneously reach up and out. Return to squat.


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      Running 101

      I have tried adopting running off and about once every month for the last 6 years. There were times when I had my schedule down pat and I even got to the point where I actually started enjoying it. Every time I have tried running program I stop for some reason. Sometimes I would get too busy, sometimes it was that I became a wimp in the winter, sometimes it was that I became a wimp in the summer, sometimes I was just a wimp, and sometimes I plain forgot that I was trying to start running. Needless to say I am not a runner.


      I want to be though. I love running culture and I generally enjoy the activity (except when I first start out after not doing it for a long time and the wheezing begins). So I’m sticking to it this time. And I’m posting it to my blog because this way someone out there knows if I fail. I just don’t think I can take that kind of disappointment from you.

      One thing I discovered about my past attempts is that everyone who has tried to teach me about running, (friends, trainers, coaches, blogs, vlogs, etc.) have all been very athletic. Because of this, and my consistent gung-ho attitude about all things in general (Anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you), I would always jump in with both feet and no net. I would think to myself, “I’m going to run five miles today,” and then I would feel like a failure when I couldn’t accomplish these impossible goals. 

      But the truth is, most of the plans that were presented to me were made for athletic people, by athletic people. I am not an athletic people. I need to start small and take baby steps.

      Since this is the real deal, I’m trying something new. I’m going to sneak running in to my daily routine and the change will be so gradual I won’t even know that I’m being so sneaky (shhh, don’t tell Maggie!)

      Soooooo, here’s the game plan. I am on week two and going strong. Every week I amp up the running time or tone down the walking time until suddenly I can run twenty minutes straight, no sweat (pun intended?). Or at least that’s the plan.

      Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Running 101: A Beginner's Guide to Running
      If you want to follow my running plan too, you can download the pdf here.
      (I am still getting used to using blogger: Google Docs displays the preview without some of the detail but they tell me it will be restored in printing. If you have problems with this feel free to shoot me an email: maggiesmingmumbles@gmail.com or leave a comment with your email address and I will send you the pdf directly)