My three favorite health and fitness apps

I love using technology for everything in my life. So it’s not surprising that I have a bunch of health and fitness apps that I use on a regular basis. Today I’m sharing a couple of my favorite ones!

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Calm

I use Calm every single morning for meditating. I take five minutes after I’m done getting ready to let my mind clear before starting the day and I’ve found it’s been a huge help in my mental wellness. I’ve been using Calm since early December (and every day in 2018) and love it! I’m only the free version so I have only have timed, non-guided meditations but the 7 Days of Calm included helped me start off meditating.

NTC

Back in February, I wrote an entire post about why I love the NTC app and my love for it continues! It’s so convenient to have a library of workouts at my fingertips for free so I can choose what I want to do each day. Plus they are always adding new ones so I can mix it up for a new challenge.

Clue

So Clue is not for everyone, just for those who menstruate but it’s my favorite period tracking app! It’s a super clean, user-friendly app with lots of room for customization. Plus it’s not screaming girly pink and flowers like other apps I’ve used. Even though I’m on a birth control pill and get my period right on schedule, I still track it (and I’m trying to keep track of my symptoms). There’s so many options of what you can choose to track and what kind of reminders I want.

What are your favorite health or fitness apps? Share them in the comments!

April Faves

Well, when I shared with you my March faves, I was excited about the spring-like weather which didn’t last long. But we’ve made it through an April blizzard and it’s finally looking like winter is done. Let’s get into some of my favorite things from April!

Sunshine and warm weather running!

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This last week has been a glimpse of race day weather (fingers crossed) and it’s been gorgeous! It’s so nice to finally put away the long pants and jackets for the season. And it’s gotten me thinking about when I’m going to switch to early morning runs.

The Book Thief

I’ve been slowly working my way through this book but that’s only because I’m not making the time to sit down and finish it! It’s a great book but emotional since it tells the story of an orphan in Nazi Germany.

Early morning walks

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Going along with how nice it’s been, I’ve been taking Vinnie on longer walks in the morning. It’s so nice to get outside as the sun is coming up. Especially when I can just throw on a fleece zip up rather than my winter coat.

Spin class

Besides running (of course!) this has been my favorite form of cardio. It’s been a while since I’ve taken a group fitness class but I’m loving my Monday spin class. It’s a great way to get my heart rate up without the impact of running. Plus I can easily zone out and not worry about keeping track of where I am.
 

What are some of your favorites from the last month? Share them in the comments!

Four easy stretches for the office

I spend my work day mostly at the computer and I also work on this blog for a little bit most nights. Which means I get a lot of tightness in my back, neck and shoulders from sitting and typing for 40+ hours a week. To combat this (especially with all the running I’m doing now), I try to incorporate stretches at my desk. Here’s four of my favorites!

Seated Spinal Twist

Spinal Twist

Sit up straight, place your feet on the ground and place your hands on the arms of the chair. Using your arms, twist, pulling yourself toward the chair. Switch the side of the chair you’re sitting on and repeat.

Seated Cat/Cow

Cat Cow Stretch

Sit up straight, place your feet flat on the floor, and rest the palms of your hands on top of your knees. Inhale, arch your back and look up, pulling your shoulders back as you do so. When you exhale, round your spine, pull the shoulders toward each other at the front of the body and drop your head toward your chest.

Eagle Arms

Eagle Arms

Reach your arms straight out in front of you, keeping them parallel with your shoulders and shoulder-distance apart. Bend the left arm upward and sweep the right arm under it. Wrap your right arm around the left until you are able to grab the outside edge of the left arm or until you are able to clasp your palms together. Lift the elbows away toward the ceiling and pull your hands away from your face. Turn your head side-to-side. Repeat on the other side.

Upper Back Stretch

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Simply interlace your fingers in front of you and stretch your arms to the front. Drop your chin to your chest.

What are some of your favorite stretches to get in during the work day?

What's happened with my body composition during marathon training?

Now that I’m less than four weeks out from my next marathon, I thought I’d give an update on how my body body composition has changed between marathons.

If you don’t remember I did a three month long cut after the Twin Cities Marathon (you can check out my updates for months 1, 2 and 3 of that) to lose a little bit of weight and gain some muscle. So I went from running 20 miles a week and doing strength training three times a week to strength training once a week (sometimes bodyweight, sometimes with weight) and running anywhere from 25-50 miles.

 
October 1
November 1
December 1
January 1
April 4
Weight (lbs)
142.6
137.8
135.6
135.6
134.9
Body fat (%)
27.5
26.3
25.7
25.7
25.5
Waist (inches)
29
28.5
28.5
28.5
28.5
Hips (inches)
37
36.5
36
36
35.5
Thighs (inches)
20.25
20
20
20
19.75
Forearms (inches)
11
10.5
10.5
10.5
10.5

As you can see, not a whole lot has changed with my body composition. My weight has been around the 133.5-135 lb range during marathon training. Usually I’m right around 134lb but being extra sore or leading up to my long run days I’m on the heavier side. The one thing I’m seeing in the mirror is that I have a little bit less definition in my arms but I’m not working those muscles as much as was.

But I’m really glad with how this training cycle has been doing transitioning from eating less to more. I kept my calories right around 2,000 for most of training and only bumped it up when I started hitting 16+ mile long runs. I’m calorie cycling right now since my activity levels vary so much through the week and I’ve never felt hungry (or overly stuffed).

One thing I’m getting sick of is tracking my calories which I had a feeling I would be. I’ve been tracking for over a year straight and I know pretty well now what my body needs. So my plan is, after the marathon, to transition into intuitive eating. It will be a great mental break for me from playing macros Tetris and it will help me get more in tune with what my body is really wanting.

Five Ways I Keep Stress Down

April is Stress Awareness Month so today I wanted to share some of the things I do to keep stress down in my daily life. Between work, marathon training and everything else going on, the day can get quite hectic. So instead of being frazzled and stressed, I try to incorporate these in daily to calm down.

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Meditation

I’ve been meditating for at least 5 minutes daily ever since January 1st. It helps me get the day started on the right foot by sitting down and letting all the thoughts go from my mind. I can’t be the only one who wake up and their mind starts racing with thoughts, right?

Walks

Getting out and moving, especially when I’ve been sitting at a computer all day. I at least get out for two walks with Vinnie every day and I’m also trying to get out for a walk during the workday. But, of course, it would help if the weather would cooperate with me.

Knitting

I love knitting, it’s a calming activity that doesn’t require too much thought. Especially the projects that I’m working on right now. All but one I’m at the point where I can just go without looking at the pattern. Plus, I get homemade clothing and accessories in the end!

Podcasts

I am addicted to podcasts. I am subscribed to 50+ and I usually keep up to date with them. Usually, right now I have over 20 hours to listen to. But it’s a good way to keep entertained during work and since Mike and I listen to the same ones, we have a lot to talk about.

Reading

One thing I’m trying to get into is reading a little bit before bed. It helps me wind down before going to sleep. I don’t do a ton of reading during the day otherwise so it’s a way to mix up my entertainment.

What are some things you do to keep your stress down?