Month: February 2014

The Best Fitness Trackers

Spring is just around the corner and that means it’s time to get back into those shorts, tank tops and of course swim suits.

Buying a fitness tracker might help you push yourself a little harder when you see the results at the end of your workout on your tracker and help reach your goals quicker.

There are some great fitness trackers out there that you can purchase and I myself have two of them that I use when I workout. Of course I will post the two I have since I think they are great products but I will also post others that seem to be great fitness trackers according to others that have purchased them.

Fitness Trackers can be pricy but they are worth the cost.

1. Polar FT4 Watch

Photo Credit: Polar.com

*Product I have*
Cost: $99.95 (can purchase cheaper on Amazon for around $70)

  • Basic Fitness Tracker that allows you to track your heart rate and calories burned.
  • Comes with a comfortable heart rate sensor band that you wear around your upper body that tracks your heart rate.
  • Comes in a variety of different colors
  • Battery Life lasts long (have only had to change battery once so far, have had it for 2 years)
  • Polar has many different other types of fitness trackers that you can purchase that have more options than just calories burned like the FT4.

2. FitBit Zip

Photo Credit: Fitbit.com

*Second Product I have*
Cost: $59.95 (sold online and at many sport department stores as well as Best Buy)

  • Very small tracker that you can attach anywhere to your clothing. I put mine on my waist.
  • Zip tracks steps taken, calories burned and distance covered each day.
  • You can sync it anywhere from your phone, computer or tablet/iPad.
  • Comes in 5 different colors (pink,black,lime green,gray and blue)
  • You can create a Fitbit account where you can also track goals, water and food consumed and of course challenge friends!
  • You can earn badges by daily and weekly achievements.

3. Nike+ Fuelband SE

Photo Credit: Nike.com

Cost: $149

  • Wear on your wrist
  • Tracks intensity of your workouts, steps taken, calories burned, time, number of active hours, and sleep tracking (with Nike+Sessions)
  • Available in three different sizes (small,medium/large, extra large) and available in a few different colors.
  • Water-resistant
  • Bluetooth 4.0 pairing with Iphones and Ipods 5th generation or higher to use the Nike Fuel Band App

4. Fitbit Flex

Photo Credit: Fitbit.com

Cost: $99.95

  • Similar to the Fitbit Zip only larger and worn on the wrist.
  • Tracks distance traveled, steps taken and calories burned.
  • During the night it can track your sleep quality and can wake you up in the morning with a silent alarm. (tracks hours slept and the quality of your sleep)
  • Also can sync with your phone, computer and tablet/ipad
  • Water-Resistant
  • Available in 5 different colors

5. Withings Pulse

Photo Credit: Withings.com

Cost: $99.95

  • Tracks steps, distance traveled, calories burned, elevation climbed, heartrate and even sleep quality.
  • Sync with your smartphone or tablet
  • Clips onto waistband or bra
  • Available in 4 colors (black, orange, blue, green)

Dietitian Holds Food Demonstration in Iowa City

JoAnn Miller, University of Iowa Dietitian hosted a food demonstration on February 19, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City,Iowa. The demonstration discussed how to incorporate healthier foods into the diet daily. JoAnn also provided four different recipes for everyone to try and many seemed to enjoy.

Recipes Made (Click to View Recipes)

  • Massaged Kale Salad
  • Fruity Thai Pita Pockets
  • Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
  • Breakfast Rice Cereal

Food Prepping

Lately I have been on a huge health kick and following many others on Twitter, Instagram and people’s own personal health blogs to keep me motivated when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle.

Photo Credit: SkinnieMinnieMoves

Food Prepping has become a huge thing according to my eyes when I see people’s posts of all the food they bought at the grocery store and how they prep their meals for the entire week. Weekend food prep is key to eating healthy during the week.

I myself have never gone and bought a whole week’s worth of meals but I just might give it a shot and see if it helps me eat better during the week and keep on track.

Another great benefit is that spring is just around the corner so that means more fresh vegetables and fruit will start to be in season and you will also be able to buy local fresh ingredients but also will be a lot cheaper.

I came across a few great blogs on how to food prep and I myself will give it a try and I think everyone should too.

HOW TO FOOD PREP

1. Make a grocery list
*Make a list of all the ingredients you need to buy for the weeks worth of meals. Remember to buy HEALTHY products.
*Be sure to check your cabinets first though so you don’t have to buy a product you already have in your home.
*Don’t forget to buy some ziploc baggies as well to help keep snacks in.

2. Get all your tupperware out that you will use to store your food in for the week.

3. Cut up all your vegetables and fruit that you bought to be put into your meals and set them aside.

4. Cut up and cook any meat that you bought that you will be using for your meals.

5. Divide all your vegetables,fruits and meats throughout your storage containers so each meal is equally divided.
*Put in the meat first into your tupperware and then add your vegetables, fruits, grains over the top.

Sounds pretty easy to me. Just be sure to set some time to yourself for meal prepping. At least one to two hours worth of time is what it takes to food prep.

Top 5 Must Haves for Home Fitness Equipment

We all enjoy the benefits to working out but not all of us can afford a gym membership. Working out at home is even better especially living in Iowa, not always can you get to the gym if the weather is bad.

For one, you are allowed to wake up and not care what you look like since nobody (except your family maybe?) will see you. You will save money on gas for not having to travel to the gym and you can workout whenever you want from your very own home. You don’t need expensive gym equipment at home to still get in a good workout .

All you need are these top 5 essentials and you are good to workout from home. Save time and money from going to the gym.

1. Yoga Mat

Photo Credit: Fit & Feminist


Not everyone has nice carpeting in their homes.So having a yoga met will help with not having to lay on a hard floor. And you don’t have to use it just for yoga. Yoga mats are great for stretching, doing sit ups, planks and other forms of core work and push ups. Also most yoga mats are non-slip so they wont go sliding from underneath you when using.

2. Dumbbells/Kettlebells

Photo Credit: StrengthRules

Whether they are 3 pounds, 5 pounds or even 15 pound dumbbells, they are always great to have at home. Dumbbells are great for strength training and focuses on the muscles you want to improve on toning up on. They are portable and you can find many different sizes at reasonable prices at any sports or department stores.
Kettlebells are also great to have. Lifting and controlling a kettlebell engages multiple muscle groups at once and they are easy to hold onto.

Alternatives if you don’t have dumbbells: Filled Water Bottles, cans, books. Anything heavy and easy to hold onto.

3. WATER BOTTLE

Photo Credit: CookingLight

Its essential to drink water while working out. It keeps you hydrated and lets you work out longer. So make sure to have a full bottle of water ready before you workout. Hydration is key. It is good to get in at least 8 cups of water each day, that totals to be about 64 ounces of water daily.

4. Aerobic DVDs

If you love cardio workouts, aerobic dvds are a must have. I myself have over 5 different workout DVDs that I enjoy working out to and keep the routine mixed up so I am not always doing the same thing over and over again. All you need is a dvd player and a tv and you are set.

Some of my favorite workout dvds are:

5. Resistance Bands

Photo Credit: Amazon

There are a variety of different size resistance bands of your choosing such as light,medium and heavy. They are great for strength training and are used to tone up all different muscles in your body. You can do chest presses, tricep extenstions, shoulder presses,rows, bicep curls, and even squats when you place the band under your feet.  Resistance bands are very cheap to buy and can be purchased for under $10.

There are many more items that are great to have in your home gym but those 5 are the 5 must haves! Some others you could purchase are medicine balls, stability balls, chin up bars, jump ropes and stop watchers or timers.

Run all over Iowa

A new year means a whole new year of races that will take place all over Iowa. Whether its a one mile race or a marathon, Iowa has a variety of different races that anyone can be a part of that will be spread out throughout the year.

Color Run

I myself have decided to start running more races this year and I am glad to have found out how many races there are among Iowa that I can register and run for, which many are for a good cause so why not participate in a race and have the money you register with go to a good cause? Its not a competition for me, I just enjoy the race and am happy to be a part of it. Plus its exercise which is even better.

So where are all of these races located at? The Cornbelt Running Club has a huge list of all the races that will be taking place all over the state of Iowa throughout the 2014 year. Be sure to check it out to see if any are in your area.

RUN!

Click here for Nearby Races.

Some of the ones I am really looking forward to in my area which is in the Quad Cities as well as one in Iowa City are:

1. St. Patrick’s Day 5K Race– March 15 @ 10:00 a.m.
Located in Davenport Iowa
Registration Cost $40.00

2. Black and Gold Fun Run (Color Your Campus) 5K Race– April 12 @ 10:00 a.m.
Located in Iowa City, Iowa (Hubbard Park)
Registration Cost $40 per person or Team Registration $35.00
What makes this run fun? You are to wear ALL WHITE and by the end of the race you will be covered in Black & Gold by getting covered in colorful cornstarch.
Charity? A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit University of Iowa Children’s Hospital through the University of Iowa Foundation

3. Race for the Cure- Susan B Komen 5k Race– June 14 @ 8:00 a.m.
Located in Moline, Illinois
Registration Cost $30.00
Benefits of this race: The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® Series is the world’s largest and most successful fundraising and education event for breast cancer ever created. Your participation in this event helps us provide significant funds and bring awareness about breast cancer to our local community. Whether you walk, run, volunteer or donate, your support is helping us save lives and provide priceless support to those in need.

4. The Color Run 5k Race– July 12
Located in Des Moines, Iowa
Registration Cost: TBA
This race is just like the Color your Campus run but getting covered in a variety of different colors!

Those are just a few of the races that I will like to be a part of and there are MANY different runs that are available and I too most likely will also be participating in besides these 4. Besides the Color Run there is also a run that is called “Color Me Rad” that also will be in the Quad Cities but not until fall 2014. Be sure to check out those websites as well that I will list for you to check out to see if they will be in your area.

It’s a new year. Try something new. Get out and run and help out your city.

Color Me Rad 5k Race
Run or Dye 5k Race
Color Vibe 5k Race
Glow Run 5k Race

List of all the Races Among Iowa

 

Iowa City Coffee

Iowa City is a hot spot for some great places to grab a cup of coffee, whether on the go or needing a place to sit down there are a few places you might like to check out (if you haven’t already). Not only is there a Starbucks like always in pretty much every city you visit but there are also local coffee shops to try out. Why not give them a chance too.

Whether you are a student walking around campus or just anybody looking for a cup of joe, I wanted to provide you a list of some of the great places to check out if you are looking for a warm or cool treat to fill your body or just looking for a place to relax and get some stuff done on your own time.

1. The Java House (Located Downtown Iowa City: 211 1/2 East Washington Street) – 6 other Locations as well *check website for more details*
Hours: Monday-Saturday 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
                Sunday 7:00 a.m.- 12:00 a.m.
The Java House made the list of America’s Best 50 College Coffee Shops on Complex at number 19!

  • Choose from Coffee, Tea, Smoothies, Frappes, and a variety of bakery items.

2. May’s Cafe (Located at 136 S. Dubuque St, Downtown Iowa City)
Hours: Monday-Thursday 6:30 a.m.- 11:00 p.m.
                Friday 6:30 a.m.- 10:00 p.m.
                Saturday and Sunday 7:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m.
New to Iowa City by opening up in May 2013, May’s brings in some of the highest quality of coffee in the nation to Iowa City. They source two of the top roasters in the country, Kickapoo and Intelligentsia.

  • Choose from coffee, iced drinks, tea, smoothies, and even locally made Ice Cream- Choose from 24 different flavors.

3. T-Spoons (Located at 201 South Clinton St – in Old Capitol Mall) – 1 Other Location * E. Market St.
Hours: Monday- Thursday 6:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m
               Friday 6:30 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.
               Saturday 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
               Sunday 11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.

  • Choose from coffee, teas, other drinks and a variety of diff food items for breakfast or lunch

4. Prairie Lights Books (Located at 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City)
Hours: Monday- Saturday 9:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m.
               Sunday 9:00 a.m.-6 p.m.
Not only is Prairie Lights a bookstore but it also is a coffee shop!

  • Choose from a variety of different coffee, tea, other cold drinks, bakery goods, and even wine and beer.

5. High Ground Cafe

(Located at 301 E. Market St- Iowa City)
Hours: Monday-Sunday 7:00 a.m- 11:00 p.m.
High Ground Cafe offers Organic coffee and espresso drinks as well as organic teas. They even have smoothies and lemonade and even wine & beer. Not only do they have drinks but they also serve food as well ranging from paninis to salads.

Be sure to check them all out and skip the usual Starbucks. It is always nice to try some place new! You might find a new favorite.

 

 

 

Coffee and Workouts

Coffee. It’s what we look forward to each morning to help us wake up and start off our day right. 54% of Americans 18 and over drink coffee everyday according to Statistic Brain. But what benefits does it have with workouts?

Caffeine has many powerful effects which help function the brain in different ways. So is it good to drink coffee before or after a workout? The answer is before.

Caffeine is a stimulant and the caffeine will help improve your workout and let you workout longer by increasing your heart rate and improving blood flow from the heart to the rest of your body. It also increases the amount of adrenaline in your system, causing a rush of extra oxygen and glucose to your muscles. Not only that but it will help your body burn more fat as well. Who doesn’t want to drop those few extra pounds?

Dark roasted coffee has less caffeine than light roasted coffee. Whatever you prefer though to drink is your choice. If you need that extra boost of energy go for the dark roasted. Along with increased energy to push through tough workouts, black coffee provides an increase in mental focus as well. Improved focus will help keep workouts effective and productive.

Do set a limit though to how much you consume. Too much caffeine prior to your workout can actually decrease performance causing you to feel dizzy or even nauseous. 300 mg is about the amount you want to aim for, no more than that.

Coffee

Just another reason to enjoy coffee in our lives. Wake up, drink coffee and workout!

University of Iowa offers free Intuitive Eating Workshop

IOWA CITY, Iowa- Do you think you know your body well enough when it comes to nutrition and physical activity? Most people might say they do but there is a lot that goes into it. Unless you are a health expert you probably don’t. That’s where Intuitive Eating comes into play.

Photo Credit: Intuitive Eating Website

What exactly is Intuitive Eating? According to the Student Health and Wellness site at the University of Iowa, they say that “Intuitive eating is an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body.” You yourself would become to know your body so well you would feel an expert at knowing what your body truly needs each day. You would learn how to distinguish between emotional and physical feelings and also would gain a sense of body wisdom. Sound like something you’d be interested in?

The Student Health and Wellness at the University of Iowa is offering free workshops for students that are interested in creating a healthy relationship with food, their bodies and their minds where students will be able to become experts of knowing themselves and their bodies.

The University of Iowa is offering free four-week workshops for students that will be taught by certified Intuitive Eating Counselors. This is the third year that the University of Iowa has held the Intuitive Eating workshops. There will be two different workshops available to register for and will be held at the CRWC (Campus Rec and Wellness Center) in downtown Iowa City on Tuesday nights. The first 4 week workshop starts on February 11th and ends March 4th.  It will begin at 7 p.m. and goes until 8:30. If you were not able to make the first workshop, students will have a second chance to attend beginning April 7 and runs until April 28. Same time as the first workshop but will be held on Monday nights.

Heidi Bohall, Behavioral Health Consultant at the University of Iowa spoke about the Intuitive Eating workshops and what all will be involved.

“The goal of Intuitive Eating is to create a health relationship between mind, body, food and exercise.” Bohall explained. “We spend time on each of the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating.”

“It’s a combination of us sharing information, video clips, participant discussions, practice activities and take-home challenges.”

Students do not need to bring anything but themselves to the workshops. Packets will be distributed at the first workshop which students are expected to bring each week for activities and practice. The class sizes consist of 10 to 12 individuals but allow up to 25 in registration. There will be three different health educators that will rotate the workshops. JoAnn Miller (SHW Dietician), Trish Welter (SHW Senior Behavioral Consultant) and Heidi Bohall (SHW Behavioral Health Consultant).

If you’re a University of Iowa student interested in participating in the Intuitive Eating Workshop, click one of the links below where you can register for either workshop that suits you.

1st Workshop- 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday’s Feb 11-March 4

2nd Workshop- 7-8:30 p.m. Monday’s April 7- April 28

If you are interested in the program but can’t make it to the workshops you can even have your own 1-hour session for your dorm floor, sorority or organization with a health educator.  The health educator is then able to provide anyone with a 1-hour session that will introduce you to Intuitive Eating andthe 10 Principles that it has to offer. If you are interested in this program you can request the 1-hour program and fill out a program request form.

Want to know more on Intuitive Eating, check out the Intuitive Eating site at http://www.intuitiveeating.org/

Any other questions you can contact Heidi at heidi-bohall@uiowa.edu.

Five Weeks to Wellness

Are you participating in the Five Weeks to Wellness Challenge at The University of Iowa?

Photo Credit: Student Health & Wellness Five Weeks to Wellness

The University of Iowa launched its 5 Weeks to Wellness Challenge on February 3rd and the challenge goes on until March 9th, 2014.

So what exactly is the 5 weeks to Wellness Challenge?

The Five Weeks to Wellness Challenge is a challenge that focuses on improving your nutrition and fitness habits while boosting your overall wellness. Not only are you striving to eat better each day and look better by participating in physical activities but at the end of the challenge you will get a prize of your choosing for participating.

Each Monday you will receive weekly goals, expert tips on how to stay healthy and support from experts. Once you are registered you will track your progress with a scorecard each week to monitor what you have been doing. You can either print off the scorecard or keep track on ICON of your progress. There are physical activity and nutrition goals for each week. Each goal is worth 1 token per day so the more the better!

The goal is 50 tokens.

So what happens at the end of the challenge? Once the challenge is over on March 9th, you will complete an online evaluation on March 10th that is emailed to you and submit the total amount of tokens you earned so you can be eligible for prizes.You will receive an email on how to pick up the prize of your choice if you accumulated 50+ tokens. The prize choices include: water bottle, salad shaker, gym towel, and food container. Students who complete the challenge (50+ tokens) will also be entered in the large prize drawing (dry-fit shirt from Running Wild, mug and smoothie from Tropical Smoothie, and Recreational Services personal training session).

So far my progress is going well as I too am taking on this challenge. Who’s with me?!