I want to start the third post of this series with a big thank you to all of you. I am so excited that you found Back to Fitness helpful, and more and more of you let me know through various channels that you found fitness inspiration by trying the tips/suggestions. We are in this together and your encouragement makes me want to exercise and be active every single day too. 🙂
As I announced before I feature reader questions every week. Please keep them coming either here, my e-mail or theboxqueen Facebook. I am not a fitness/nutrition expert per se but I have a lot of experience I can share with you being an athlete all through my school years and then an avid exerciser. Also being a three time mom, I have a lot to share with fellow moms as well. I know firsthand how hard it is for us to get back on track while juggling a lot of responsibilities.
If you are completely new here you can start off the series from the beginning with first and second Back to Fitness installments. First part deals with setting realistic goals and letting ourselves start simple at first. The second part of the series is all about Home Fitness and partnering up with friends for support.
This week I have three great reader questions that I base my suggestions on. Thank you ladies!
Sophia asked me a couple weeks ago: ” Are you using any fitness apps” ?
Aylin asked me “Do you have any suggestions for someone who needs an exercise buddy but does not start moving cause there is nobody around. ” ?
This section was on my list of things to talk about from the start. The quick answer is yes, fitness apps have actually helped me so much after I got really committed to getting active again after the birth of my youngest. Relating back to Aylin’s question; I think it would not be a too bold of a statement if I said without a couple of these apps, I may not have succeeded in those first two years. At first I was doing home fitness and did not have an exercise buddy that would hold me accountable. Instead I relied on these fitness apps. Here is a short list of my most used ones, I actually have a much longer list of apps on my phone.
My Fitness Pal
This is the app of all app’s for me; and here’s why: My hubby gained about twenty pounds during my last pregnancy. There is even research on this phenomenon; some men are so sympathetic to their wives gaining weight that they gain almost as much. Well at least this is the explanation he gave me at the time and I took it. 🙂 Come on, it’s much better than me admitting I was so overwhelmed that I made us go eat out all the time haha. After our baby was born, my sweetie had no more excuses; he already was a pretty serious runner so the exercise part was covered. He discovered My Fitness Pal to learn more about his calorie intake and got me hooked on it too.
My Fitness Pal is an online calorie and exercise tracking system. This nutritional database have pretty much all the foods you can think of with corresponding calorie values. You simply put in the foods you eat as a food diary and MFP learns from you what you eat and in time the usage becomes even simpler. You can set goals for yourself and the system will tell you what your ultimate calorie intake should be. You also keep track of your exercise the same way and you eat back all the calories you spent. Pretty cool!
Guys it was such an awakening for us. At this point we were back to our normal eating habits but we did not notice that too much of a good thing is, well still too much 🙂 Don’t get me wrong I LOVE food so much to ever limit myself to certain diets, or not eat dessert. (Chocolate promise our love affair is going strong) 🙂 The nicest thing- for me at least- is that I was able to eat any food I want just in reasonable proportions as long as I stayed in my daily limits. For instance I still ate a lot of chocolate, just not the whole box. 😉 This app also made me realize eating less than what our body needs is actually counteractive to our goals of losing weight. Our bodies go into survival mode when we take in less than what it needs. MFP made it easy to track this for me and my hubby; we tracked our calorie intake making sure we are not below the daily goal. All very valuable info if you ask me.
Also going back to Aylin’s exercise question; MFP really was a huge motivator for me to keep exercising everyday. I just loved putting in the type and duration of each exercise I did; it was almost like a game. I noticed that even on my rest days I talked myself into a short walk or a ten minute quick ab work to record it on MFP; funny but true story. 😉
Since late 2013 I noticed that I use the Hot5 app quite a bit. Hot5 is a collection of 5-minute video workouts. The videos are good quality and modern and there is a big variety of exercises from abs, lower body to yoga and flexibility. I always find something I like when I can’t get to my sports club and need a quick to the point workout. If you are an at home exerciser like I used to be; you can mix and match a lot of the videos to come up with a whole session. This app is also amazing for travels; it’s like taking your gym with you. I do it in 20 minute durations in hotel rooms when I am on the go.
This app is an oldie but a goodie. It is no secret that I love running. (my running post) Runkeeper has been great for tracking my runs. It uses your phone’s GPS system for the tracking and the best part is viewing your progress over time. There is also an audio option where you literally get instructions on your running pace, time etc; very helpful and cool. My hubby and I love to get competitive with each other and track each other’s progress too. Love this option; a little competition is healthy in fitness. 😉
GymPact ( Not used but suggestion for keeping yourself committed)
This suggestion comes again for Aylin who asked what she could do to get moving when she makes excuses for herself and doesn’t have a friend she exercises with to keep her going. I have not used this app myself but some ladies from my exercise class use it and they swear by it. Essentially you set some exercise and nutrition goals for yourself each week. Now listen to this; you bet your $ (minimum $5) on your commitment and then you check in to your gym with your GPS, you take pics of your meals and verify for others that you are making good on your promises. If you don’t meet your goals they charge your credit card or paypal account. Serious, no? If you keep your goals you receive rewards. I think an app like this would be super effective for someone who needs an extra push. I read on their F&Q’s 92% of the days their users commit to their goals; no wonder. 🙂
Which fitness apps have you tried? Which ones have worked for you?
Nutrition- A meal from my day; Mediterranean Spring Salad
I will share a meal from my day with you from time to time in this series. Today it’s fitting as one of my readers Sibel asked about my nutrition.( I am not a nutrition expert; I love to share things that have worked for me personally in hopes that it may work for you too.) 🙂
“How is your diet? Can you give us an example of what you usually eat in a given day”? Sibel
My daily menu includes a little bit of everything I like to eat. Just to give you an idea growing up I was mainly raised on a Mediterranean cuisine (my salad is named after this) consisting of a lot of salads, olive oil, lean proteins, seafood, cooked vegetables, pasta, lots of super yummy but healthy meals. This kind of eating still influences me quite a bit but I have vices like savory pastries and chocolate. I think for me balance is everything and as long as my meals are about 80% nutritious and healthy and about 20% pure indulgence that’s the sweet spot for me.
Here is an example of a healthy salad I recently had at lunch:
List of ingredients:
- Romain Heart Lettuce
- Fresh Mint
- Halloumi Cheese ( This can be substituted by Mozzerella or Feta Cheese )
- Dressing: Lime and lemon juices mixed with extra virgin olive oil
Putting the salad together is pretty straightforward. Constantly on the go with my kids from school and activities during the day my lunch has to be easy to make. The one special trick for extra taste is frying the cheese in a pan with a tiny bit of olive oil. Having super fresh ingredients is the key. I eat all my salads ( that are made at home) with the above dressing since I was a little girl and I never stopped this habit. It’s light, healthy and makes everything taste lovely in my opinion. I eat heavier salad dressings only at restaurants or at dinner parties. What is your go to healthy and simple meal?
Next week I plan to talk a bit deeper about specific exercise classes I have been taking recently and feature more reader questions. Don’t forget to get back to me with those. I love hearing from you and chatting with you so much ; it totally makes my day. If you haven’t already make sure to join theboxqueen family below via my social media or with your email on the main page. XOXO,
BLOGLOVIN | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TWITTER
I have linked up to a wonderful link party at Friday’s Fab Favorites.
PS: I have no affiliations with any of the fitness apps I mentioned in this post; it all comes from my personal experience.