My internet BFFs.

At the beginning of the year, even prior to COVID being a thing, I set a modest goal to get myself in better shape. I started up a daily yoga practice with Yoga with Adriene sessions on YouTube, a suggestion from Lori that I followed up on, and it quickly became something I look forward to every day. I was a complete newbie to yoga, and I found Adriene’s yoga for beginners videos were great and eased me into it. She also has many 30-day playlists of daily yoga sessions that make it easy to keep you interested for a month at a time.

After about 4 months with Adriene, I started mixing in some other yoga sessions with Yoga with Kassandra, also on YouTube. I found they were less chatty, especially Kassandra’s “minimal prompts” videos. Adriene spends time in each video emphasizing how to properly align your arms, legs, hips, back, etc. to avoid injury. I found Kassandra’s sessions a bit more challenging, which I was looking for, and she has some sessions longer than 30 minutes, which I enjoy rotating in. After about 3 months of doing Kassandra’s more challenging videos, I found that I had hurt my right wrist and left elbow. Sure enough, I was not using proper alignment and must have put too much weight in the wrong places too many times. Shame on me. I should have listened to Adriene.

That left me at the end of August not able to do the yoga poses that put all my weight on my wrists and elbows. So I searched out some other workouts to keep me moving. And… I found Heather! Heather Robertson recorded a free 12-week workout series of YouTube videos at the beginning of the year that mix in high intensity interval training, cardio, and tabata (I had to look that up). There are 5 sessions per week, each 30-40 minutes long. They are challenging (for me), but very doable. You really don’t need much more room than what a yoga mat takes up, so the workouts are great for small spaces.

My space.

I am excited to say that I just completed the entire series! It took me a couple weeks longer than 12 weeks, as I took some time off while aboard Trident. But, even so, I did complete a number of workouts on the boat in the 4 weeks that I was away from home. Lori and I took turns working out in the salon on the boat while the other person did boat chores.

After 3 months of doing Heather, I think I’ll start her 12-week workout plan all over again. My wrist and elbow that I had injured both feel strong and pain-free now, so I plan to mix in some yoga again, with both Adriene and Kassandra.

I also began walking most days, mixing in a little bit of running.

Entering the last few weeks of the year, I’m extremely happy that I have realized my goal from the beginning of the year. I’m in better shape than I have been in a very long time. I feel stronger and more flexible. It’s not easy for me to keep it up, but I hope I do. It’s really all up to me. I am incredibly grateful to the YouTube ladies that inspire me and help me keep moving – certainly a bright spot in the otherwise dull year that is 2020. Thanks Adriene, Kassandra, and Heather!!!

Little buddy.

Last year I went on a girls’ trip to Washington, D.C. and we walked EVERYWHERE!   One of my friends had a fitbit One (electronic fitness / health tracking gadget) which intrigued me, and I ordered one for myself before I even got back home.  I’ve been using it for almost a year now and I love it.

IMG_8955

As you can see, it is small, it clips onto your clothes (bra, waistband, etc) and Along with its dashboard tracks calories expended, distance walked, vertical steps climbed, sleep pattern, food (calories in), weight gain/loss.  I found it to be a good tool to incent, remind, and update me on where I am versus where I want to be.   It doesn’t work magic – when I don’t expend more calories than I take in, I gain weight.   But my experience has been that if i use it that way I’m supposed to (i.e., keep the food tracker updated and actively try to achieve my daily targets, every day) I am a better fit-izen  🙂

My 2 cents on why I love my fitbit:

  • Usability:  It is easy to wear and forget about.  I clip it onto my bra (sports or frilly) and it usually is undetectable.  It is very easy to keep continually on my person 🙂  I’ve even forgotten about it and worn it through a TSA checkpoint at the airport several times – without getting stopped.  I tried using the little wristband it comes with to wear the fitbit at night but gave up and now just clip it to what I’m wearing to bed.  I don’t even know it’s there.
  • Durability:  It’s water-resistant.  It’s definitely not bothered by lots of sweat.  It is not advertised as being water proof.   BUT it did go through the washing machine once and still works.  My washer is a High-Efficiency one wrt how much water it uses – maybe that’s why my fitbit thankfully didn’t drown.  But, you should have seen the number of steps I logged during the spin cycle overnight!
  • Battery life:  I have found that the battery lasts two weeks or more for me on a given charge.  It warns you when it is low.  And to charge it just requires using the short cord in the picture above – USB on one end, and attaching to the end of the fit bit with the adapter on the other end.
  • Ease and flexibility of uploading data from the device:   You can choose to sync the bits of data from the fitbit device to the dashboard for viewing by either (or both) of two methods.  The fitbit One can talk to/sync with the fitbit Connect application (that runs on your laptop) via the smaller USB wireless sync dongle thingie in the picture above.    And/or it can talk to/sync with the fitbit mobile app (that runs on your phone) via a bluetooth-enabled interface with your phone.  I use both.  I like that if i go on a trip where I don’t want to lug my laptop, I can still sync with my phone for the time I am gone and view the dashboard from there.   Syncing is where things might get a little less intuitive, but there are lots of FAQs to explain the ins and outs of syncing.
  • User interface:  The web dashboard can be accessed via either a web browser on a laptop, or through their mobile app.  Both are easy to use, customize, and display lots of info to glean. 
  • Customer service:  I have found most of my questions are easily answered by info found in fitbit’s online help, or the fitbit community forums.   I did have a problem recently where my wireless syncing dongle simply stopped working.  I quickly found the phone number online – it’s posted on their twitter feed(877) 623-4997.  (I’m old fashioned – there are online methods to get support here).  After less than 10 minutes on the phone with the support person I had an email in my inbox documenting that a replacement fitbit wireless sync dongle was on its way to me – free of charge.  I was back in business a few days later.
  • Value:  for me, it’s worth it.  I’ve worn it pretty much every day for almost a year.   I’ve actively used it the way I should for probably 75% of that time.  I fall off the wagon from time to time.   I think I paid a little under $100 dollars for my fitbit One.  But I struggle with my weight, and any tool that helps me stay on the path to fitness is worth it.  And that’s what my fitbit One helps me do.

Oh, one more thing….I did misplace my fitbit once.  I knew it couldn’t have gone far, though.   I googled online for an app that communicates with bluetooth devices nearby… and it was able to pick up the signal from my fitbit One and eventually zero in on its location under the couch about 10 feet away.  The free iphone app I used was called Bluetooth Smart Scanner, but there are others out there that should work as well.

Is all this really necessary?

eFitness.

It’s time.  I’m not saying it was a resolution or anything, since I’m so bad at sticking to resolutions, but just a change.  I don’t know if i can keep it up, but i sure hope i can.

TIme to get in shape.

It’s SO hard for me to carve time out of my day to exercise.   I’ve tried so many times over the years, to fight my calendar for time to myself.  My calendar always wins.   Getting up for calls at 5 and 6 AM…. working late in the night.  I’ve used that as an excuse for way too long.

It’s time, dammit.  I’m worth it.

So, I’m trying.   Wish me luck.  I’ll need it.

I have reached out to Amazon.com for a little help.  I bought a new heart rate monitor watch and transmitter, and a neat little gadget that will transfer the data off the watch and upload it for tracking.  No, it’s not necessary, but it helps incent me.   And I need all the help I can get. 🙂