Posts tagged fitness

How to work out at the cottage on vacation

Between burgers,  beers and bumming around at the cottage while on vacation,  your fitness program may be taking a back seat.
That’s fine – and probably a good thing if you want your body to take a bit of a break.
But I wanted to do a few exercises to keep my muscles moving a bit of weight.
Without dumbbells or a proper bench,  I got creative and did a few simple exercises using the things in the environment around me.
From a landscaping ledge to a garden watering canister, take a look at my photos to see how I recreated gym exercises in the great outdoors.





And even the dog thought he could get involved.


Cruise Control app plays the right music for runners

cruise_control1While there are lots of running apps to track your speed, pace and route, Cruise Control is different because it adjusts your music to help you have the best run possible.

It anlayzes your iPhone’s collection, looking for the beat in each song. From that, it’ll make playlists based on the tracks that it thinks will help you run longer, faster, etc.

The app uses sensors in your phone to determine how fast the music should be. Each step you take helps the app adjust the music.

Select the Free Run mode and the app will play music to match your stride. As you run faster, the music will automatically speed up. As you slow dow – so will the tunes.

With Pace mode, set your speed and hit the pavement. If you run too slow, the music will speed up (with the goal of speeding up your stride). The opposite will happen if you run too fast.

As someone who enjoys a good run, Cruise Control is my favourite app for the great outdoors. Download it here.

Workout Trainer – an app to push you harder in the gym

workout_trainer_appThere’s personal trainers who can coach you along and teach you new workouts to do in real life. And then there’s the digital trainer, the Workout Trainer app.

This app I reviewed during Season 3 Episode 31 of App Central seeks to replace a living and breathing trainer. How does it compare?

Well, it’s tough to compete with one-on-one coaching from someone who can see your form and how your body reacts to different exercises, but this app comes pretty damn close.

It offers thousands of different workout routines and exercises designed to help you achieve results. Use the voice coaching tool to receive commands from the app’s built in trainers that sound a little robotic, or pay a little extra for a trainer’s voice that actually sounds human.

Not sure how to perform an exercise? Workout Trainer has photos and videos to help guide you through the steps. One feature I particularly like is the timer that helps you push through those sets in just the right amount of time.

Like a workout? Add it to your list of favourites for easy access. You can also create your own if you like.

There’s also a community element to this as well – you can share your workouts with friends via email, Facebook and Twitter.

Looking for a workout that others like? You can also browse user ratings to get a workout going that others enjoy.

Available for your iPhone or Android device.

And for the record, my personal trainer is awesome. But the app will suffice between sessions.

Facebook could make you fat and poor: study

All that time spent stalking your friends on Facebook isn’t just creepy, it might also be making you fat and poor, according to a new study.

Researchers at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh analyzed the behaviour of Facebook users.

For starters, what they found was that people got a positive uptick in self esteem and well-being after getting updates and sharing content with friends on Facebook.

But, according to the results of the research – previewed by Forbes – there could be a negative effect after.

Read more


App Review: TicTrac

Countless apps and social networks allow you to track and document your activities. Whether you’re checking in to a restaurant on Foursquare or sharing run progress with Runkeeper, your activities are being tracked – and saved. So why not put all this info to good use?

TicTrac is designed to do just that. It monitors data from your social networks and apps to create meaningful information.

It works by cross-referencing your data to make suggestions. Run better when listening to Tiesto and the temperature is above 25 C? Gain weight after checking in to too many fast-food joints? This app will realy relevant information to help you improve the way you live.

Most companies are already collecting this data to offer targeted advertising, so it makes logical sense to put some self-hacking tools to good use.

iPhone and Android apps to lose weight and stay fit

You have your iPhone or Android device with you while you trot away on the treadmill or throw around some iron. Why not use that smartphone to help you burn calories, stay fit and stay motivated?

Run Keeper (iOSAndroid)

Track your active fitness progress with this free app available for iOS devices or Android phones.This app uses your phone’s GPS capabilities to map your progress, measure your time and monitor your progress over time.

The name has ‘run’ in it, but this app can track so many more activities, including: cycling, walking, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, rowing, hiking…the list goes on.

Run Keeper can also control your tunes to keep you motivated while exercising. The coaching option activates voice commands to keep you on pace – and on track to staying fit!

TargetWeight (iOS) BMI Calculator (Android)

Where is your body at? And where do you need to go?

Sure, 180 lbs for a guy measuring six feet high might be a reasonable weight, but what really matters is the Body Mass Index (BMI). This figure tells you more aboutyour figure. Is your weight healthy for someone your height? Or do you need to lower that stat and hit the gym?

TargetWeight will tell you whether your BMI reading categorizes you as being at a healthy weight, overweight or obese. Drag the slider up or down and it will tell you how much weight you need to shed to become healthy.

BMI Calculator for Android is similar, but it doesn’t offer the same ability to set goals.

Instant Heart Rate (iOS,Android)

It’s great that you’re working hard at staying fit, but you need to track your body’s vital signs. You could buy a separate heart rate monitor, but that’s just something extra to carry around at the gym. Instant Heart Rate uses your phone’s camera to read your heart rate. Simply place your finger on the lens and after a few seconds – it will calculate the speed at which your body’s most important organ is beating at.

This app is also useful because it tells you how healthy (or unhealthy) your heart rate is. Too high – need to work on improving your cardio. Below average? You’re doing great. Upgrade to the pro version and track your heart rate readings over time to tell you if you’re heading in the right direction.

If you’re hitting the gym regularly, you probably are.

Getting fit – my challenge to get results and lose weight

I’m not fat. I’m not skinny. At 182 lbs. and measuring 5’11” in height I have a reasonably average build.


But it’s not as healthy as it could be. With about 17 per cent body fat, there is as much room for improvement as there is to steer an aircraft carrier across the Atlantic Ocean.


I play soccer once a week, but my fitness level was at a much higher point several years ago.


In high school I was on the swim team. I could go to all-you-can-eat wings and ribs night and not worry about gaining weight.


In first year university I hit the gym almost as often as I hit the books.


Going to the RAC (Ryerson Athletics Centre) was so easy. All the guys on my floor in rez (all five) were always willing to hit the weight room and build muscle like we built our alcohol tolerance at the bar.


But years later things have changed. If i eat too much crap my body feels as efficient as the sauce on the wings – slow and thick. If I drink a little extra, my muscles move with the accuracy and urgency of government spending. That gym routine from 2003 is as effective as using a textbook to kill a fruit fly.


So I’ve decided to work with a trainer (Kevin) and get back on course.


I’m motivated to hit the gym – I often go three-four times a week. But what I do there has been the same for years. Kevin has helped me improve my technique and increase my results.


So here we go. My goal is to have a body fat index at 10 per cent or less in 12 weeks.


More on working with a trainer and lifestyle habits in the next little while.


Game on!
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