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Welcome to the life of a 6 foot tall runner living in Saskatchewan, Canada. This is where I document my adventures in food, fitness, and my life in general. My sarcasm hand is always raised and 90% of my iPhone photos are of my dog.

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DISCLAIMER

Please consult your medical professional before making any fitness and/or nutritional changes.

ALWAYS honour your body.

 

Monday
Mar022015

Polar M400 GPS Watch and HR Monitor Review

Good Monday morning to you all! I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend :)

We did the standard over here – relaxed, caught up with friends, visited with my family, meal prepped, and of course the RV show ;)

Well, I guess the RV show isn't typically on the wekeend schedule ;)

My parents are on the edge of retirement and have decided to make their way around North America for a few years in a fifth wheel! Pretty cool if you ask me. They’ve purchased all the big things that are vital to this type of lifestyle – a fifth wheel and a big diesel truck – so my dad took my sister, Mike, and I to the local RV show so we could see what model of trailer they bought.

You guys, their trailer is nicer than my condo. I’m talking big spacious kitchen/living room area, (fake) wood flooring, lots of cabinets and counter space, a super cool closet in the bedroom…I wouldn’t mind selling our place and taking off around the world in their trailer! As long as there’s a big enough bed and room for me to lay out a yoga mat, I’m down ;)

On Sunday, Mike and I headed to the university to partake in our usual 1pm run class, only to find out that the class had been rescheduled to 8am that morning…and we were never told! Instead of turning around and going home, we decided to conduct a little run class of our own – 1 mile warm up, 30 minutes of HIIT followed by a leg strength circuit (10 lunges each leg, 20 squats, 15 leg abductions each side, 50 second wall sit X 3).

I brought my trusty Polar M400 with me, as I usually do for run class

Which brings us to the meat of today’s post! Right around Christmas time, Polar sent me the M400 watch and heart rate monitor to try out in exchange for a review. I was pretty pumped to get this handy little thing because I’d never used a HR monitor in my workouts before. It’s probably not a bad idea since I tend to be on the high end of the HR scale and should keep an eye on it.

The Features

This particular model boasts awesome tracking functionalities:

  • GPS (pace, distance, altitude)
  • Personalized targets and HR zones
  • 24/7 activity tracking (activity, calories, steps)

Plus, it all syncs up to the Polar Flow website so you can pour over your data like a crazy person (aka me).

Other goodies in the box besides the M400: the Polar H7 HR monitor and strap to pair with the M400 watch, a USB cable (to charge and sync the watch), and a quick start guide.

Set Up and Usability

Set-up was a BREEZE. The quick guide really helped me navigate through the set-up and how to change some of the settings once I got through to the main menu (ie: I’m a bad Canadian and like imperial vs metric). Pairing the two devices together was also super simple. There are some how-to videos available on the Polar website, but I didn’t feel like I needed any additional help! Everything was really well laid out and intuitive.

Since I’m a HR monitor newbie, I appreciated the instructions in the quick guide about getting the sensors a little bit wet and where on your chest to place the strap. I never once had an issue with locating my HR!

The watch’s menu is pretty easy to navigate once you’ve had about 5 minutes to play around with it:

  • set all the standard watch settings (time, date, and turn button sounds on/off etc)
  • set your physical settings (height, weight, age, sex, training type, etc)
  • start recording a workout without having to go deep into the menu
  • see your daily activity progress bar displayed in a percentage format and then drill down deeper (activity time, calories, and steps)
  • see a history of your recorded workouts by date
  • conduct a HR fitness test
  • access timers (interval and finish time estimator)

Once you’ve started recording a workout, you can flip through a bunch of screens that give you the different types of data I mentioned above – GPS and HR tracking stats. You can pause the recording and then press and hold a button to save the workout.

Synching your workout to the Polar Flow website to go over all the data requires you to plug the watch into a computer with the USB cord or download the Polar Flow app to synch it through Bluetooth. I personally didn’t use the app – my phone is already overrun with apps! I need my storage space y’all!

My Experience

I absolutely LOVED using this watch and HR monitor combo for workouts. I’m never been able to find my pulse so being able to track it through these devices was heaven sent for me. For my run class, I loved having the timer and lap functionalities to keep track of my workout progress. Plus, it gave you virtual trophies - all about that bling yo!

The GPS functionalities were pretty standard to other devices I’ve used, although I’m not sure how much more creative you can get with those type of stats! I liked having a screen that displayed all the important stats at once – HR, pace, distance, and time.

I also tried this HR + watch combo out during a Zumba class to what kind of stats I would have. My biggest pet peeve is people complaining that Zumba isn’t a workout, so I LOVED having the data to oppose that statement! Plus, the HR monitor never bothered me once during my class…even with all that twisting and popping!

Check out the Zumba burn!

The Polar Flow website allows you to dive deeper into the data.


This was my run class workout from yesterday. I love that you can see the breaks from the warm up to the HIIT to the leg strength portion!

Here’s a chart from the day I wore the monitor and watch to teach Zumba. You can clearly see the warm up, when I break to take water, and the cool down portion of the class.

The portion of the watch’s features that I didn’t take full advantage of? 24/7 activity tracking :(

I TRIED. I honestly did. I just couldn’t get on board with the big bulky watch on my wrist all day! I wore it for about half a day before I gave up and took it off my wrist. I LOVED having the big display for my workouts, but for my daily life? Not so much. It was annoying to have on with long sleeves and looked terrible with my non-workout outfits. I just couldn’t deal.

Pros:

-loved the data available on the Polar Flow website

-super easy to use

-fantastic stat tracking for workouts and runs

-affordable in comparison to other sport watches of the same caliber ($259.99 for watch + HR monitor; $209.99 for the watch alone)

-big screen for displaying stats during a run or workout! Easy to read and see without having to stop your run

Cons:

-way too bulky to be an activity tracker. I would LOVE to have an activity tracker since I’m an office worker. Getting reminders to move more and having the ability to track my steps would be awesome! I would also love a device to track stats for my runs and workouts. However, I don’t know if you can have the best of both worlds in one product. You need that big watch display for runs/workouts but it’s such a downside when used as an activity tracker device.

 

I had no cons for using the M400 for a running/workout watch – I loved it! I would 100% use this watch with the HR monitor for my workouts and run if I didn’t have to send it back :( This device definitely made me a HR monitor convert and a HR monitor has moved the top of my fitness tech wish list :)

 

Do you use any devices to track your workouts and/or activities?

What features are most important to you in an athletic device?

 

Friday
Feb272015

Things I'm Loving {Feb 2015}

Good morning friends! How was the week? Mine was pretty jam packed with Zumba and volleyball starting up again this week! Although, I did miss being busy with that kind of stuff :)

Can we talk about how it’s been 11 days on the Whole30 and I think I’m over the “MUST EAT ALL THE CARBS AND CHOCOLATE” phase?!

source

This happened to me last time I did the Whole30 so I knew it was coming, but you’re never really ready for that carb craving monster. That first week of Whole30 eating is ROUGH. Granted, I don’t eat a ton of breads and grains normally but there’s something about cutting it out completely that makes me go CRAZY.

I’d fail so hard at the Atkins diet.

Anyway, the past two days I’ve actually been completely satiated and full all day for the first time since I started this round of Whole30. I think my body has started to adjust from the overeating pattern I was in down to proper portion sizes way of eating I’m in now. I’m 100% that person who will mindlessly eat just because the food is there in front of my face regardless of if I’ve just eaten a massive meal or not!

Things I’m Loving – February

There’s so many things I love sharing with you guys whether it’s new music, a fantastic beauty product, a well written and interesting article, or just something I find randomly hilarious! That’s been the basis of my Things I’m Loving posts so I thought, hey, let’s turn this into a monthly thang!

Here’s everything I’ve been loving and obsessing over in February.

POSH Podcast

I’ve been all about that podcast life lately but this month’s recommendation is a little different than before. POSH podcast is a music podcast that uploads a new DJ mix every week. The mixes incorporate a lot of the popular club music (think top 40 dance and hip hop tracks) and sometimes throw in a little old school flavor. My favorite mix has been February 3rd’s mix done by DJ Lil Cee but every week I’ve listened to so far has been fantastic! I’ve listened to POSH mixes at the gym, on runs, and (oddly enough) cleaning around the house. 100% would recommend to anyone for workout sessions! If I ever teach a fitness class that’s not set to music (like circuit, bootcamp classes), this podcast is going to be what we’re going to be sweating to!

Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo

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This has saved my hair life more than once since I picked it up on my last trip to Sephora! My hair gets really greasy and flat if I shampoo it every day so I’m an every second day kind of gal. But on some days, I need just a little bit of dry shampoo to get some extra grease out of the roots and to add volume back after sleeping on my hair all night. I’ve tried a ton of different spray shampoos but none of them compared to this powdered formula. It’s love. The powder is white but it blends right into my dark brown hair and is untraceable. It gets rid of the grease and adds texture and volume so I can actually do something with my hair other than just pull it back into a ponytail…although that’s a solid go to style for me ;)

Lifting Heavy Again

It’s been FAR too long since I’ve done a real benchpress, squat rack set, and all the other glorious exercises you can only do with a gym membership. I’m doing a self-modified version of the LiveFit weight exercises 3 times a week and have been looooving it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my at home bodyweight circuits and dumbbell exercises but there’s just something about lifting heavy that puts me in a happy place.

17 Times Fitspiration Was Wrong and We Fixed It

Yes, fitness motivation can be a good thing but PLEASE, remember to treat yourself with love and respect. Sometimes I have to close out of the “Health and Fitness” section of Pinterest because the unrealistic images and negative phrasing makes me go to a bad place. Love yourself and the rest will follow.

52 Hilarious Moments from Happy Endings


#bringthisshowbackdamnit #bestshowever

Lululemon High Times Crops

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My sister introduced me to this style of crop at lulu and I’m obsessed. I love the high waist for leg day and when I’m teaching (#nowhaletail2015) and the crop is just perfect. Not too long, not too short. I’m already saving for my next pair. Lulu, why you gotta be so expensive?!

 

What’s something you’ve been loving this past month?

 

 

Previous Things I'm Loving posts

July 2012
October 2012
February 2013
May 2013
September 2013
December 2013
March 2014
November 2014
January 2015

Wednesday
Feb252015

Whole30 Week 1, Bridal Party, & New Jams!

Guys, I’ve been slacking on the blogging lately! Our laptop OS crashed unexpectedly last weekend and we just got it back from Best Buy after a series of mishaps. Safe to say we’ll never be using them to fix any electronics from here on out....

But I’m BACK! Let’s catch up, shall we?

-Whole30 is still going strong, although we did participate in some vino this weekend

My mom and I went to a cooking class at Schoolhaus Culinary Arts. The theme was Mediterranean and we made a bunch of delicious mini meals...all of which were actually pretty close to being Whole30 compliant!

Toasting almonds for Spanish chicken stew with green olives.

In addition to the food, there was a wine expert there pairing different wines with each dish and telling us about them.

Portuguese feijoada on a bed of sauteed kale

Usually when people are talking about the notes, body, and other wine speak, I just roll my eyes and go “sure sure” but this guy actually made sense. Maybe it was because I’ve never had super good wine that actually paired with the food I was eating but I could actually taste the flavours he was rambling about.  I liked one of the wines so much that I went out the next day and picked some up to bring over to a dinner we were going to

The cute labels won me over too ;)

So other than wine, a little bit of flatbread, and a bite of cupcake (gluten free & dairy free) at a dinner we attended, we stuck to the Whole30. And I feel GREAT. It’s been a little over a week now and I’m less bloated, have more energy, and my mind feels “clear”. Not sure how else to describe that feeling you get when you eat clean consistently....

-The wedding party is starting to assemble!

Remember that weekend I made wedding crafts? I was making necklaces for my bridal party invites!

Sorry about the bad pictures...my real camera charger went MIA!

I asked my sister to be my maid of honour (as if she didn’t know that was coming) and one of my oldest and best friends to be my bridesmaid. One step closer to the wedding!

-I’m back teaching Zumba after a week off! I teach at the University of Regina and they close down for spring break so I took the week off to work on some new choreo to some new jams. New songs to my class this week:

GDRF - Flo Rida feat Sage the Gemini & Lookas

Booty - Jennifer Lopez feat Iggy Azalea

 

Nota De Amor - Wisin feat Carlos Vives & Daddy Yankee

Booty Wurk - T-Pain feat Joey Galaxy

All About That Bass - Meghan Trainor

 

See a theme? ;)

 

It was great to be back teaching. I never realize how much I miss it until I’m not teaching for a period of time! Plus, I was sore yesterday after lots of squats and booty popping action in Monday’s class. Always a sign of hard work!

 

Coming up on Friday – Things I’m Loving February Edition! I have some awesome finds to tell you guys about :)

 

Wednesday
Feb182015

Whole30 Round Two

Did everyone survive the snowpocalypse that hit what seems like all northern regions of North America?

The snow storm hit us on Valentine’s Day, so Mike and I stayed in from the cold and snow with a bottle of wine and Star Wars (guess who picked that...)

We did get quite a bit done on this long weekend though! Lots of wedding stuff

Making “will you be in our wedding party” gifts! Still have some people to ask so I’ll show you the final product at a later date :)

We also did a bunch of running around town, cleaning, a little bit of work, spent time with friends...all of which there are no pictures of. Blogger fail #picsoritdidnthappen

Whole30 Round Two

Monday was spent meal prepping for Whole30!

Mike and I started a new round of Whole30 this past Monday. We are (kind of) experienced in the Whole30 dealio after completing a round for the first time two years ago.

I feel like I’m way more prepared for this round than the first time. I know what to expect, how to prep, and have less “what can I have” questions. It was hard to get my footing the first time around. I actually had a tough time getting enough calories for the first week or so and felt dizzy at points when I did this program 2 years ago. After powering up my meals and getting out of the “only eat 3 meals” mentality (snacks aren’t bad!), I found a good balance and felt amazing during the Whole30. Since I knew this info for this round, I know how much food to pack and prep, I know what snacks to have on hand for my heavier fitness days, and I am know less likely to give into cravings.

I’ll be cheating a little bit during this round because of previously made plans. My mom and I are going to a cooking class at Schoolhaus here in Regina – a Mediterranean Europe food and wine pairing class! We’ve had these classes for a while now (it was a Mother’s Day present) so there’s no way I’m missing out on really good wine and really REALLY good food :)

Other than that, it’ll be home cooking for every meal! Some things we’ve been munching on this first Whole30 week:

-italian chicken casserole

-sweet and savoury blueberry tortilla

-paleo slow cooker butternut squash soup

-thai pork and veggie meatballs

-ground beef and veggie stir fry

-veggie omelettes

-ginger beef and broccoli with Portobello mushrooms

-berries and almonds

-raw veg

 

It’s actually been amazing to prep and eat these really good recipes. I tend to gravitate towards super easy recipes for meal prep but this whole30 really makes me step outside of my comfort zone. I spent a long time in the kitchen on Monday afternoon with Netflix and lots of food on the go! And I actually enjoyed it? Weird. We’ll see how long this lasts...week 3 might be just eggs, chicken, and veggies all day.

If you want more info about Whole30, check out my three posts about it here, here, and here. The Whole30 website has actually improved A LOT since the last time I did this and it has a ton of amazing resources. Lots of recipes, infographics, forums, and super great information about Whole30.

 

Any favourite Whole30/paleo friendly recipes I should check out? I need to keep up my fancy recipe motivation!

Monday
Feb092015

Weekly Food Prep and Workout Plan

Things that made me happy this weekend:

-sleeping in on my Friday off

-cleaning the house while catching up on Gilmore Guys podcast

-having a lovely dinner out with Mike thanks to a Keg gift card from my serving job

-playing Cards Against Humanity with the same friends that got married last weekend...while drinking all the free booze that was left over from their wedding

-the hour long yoga practice I managed to squeeze in between house cleaning activities

-awesome running form advice I received from the coach of the run class Mike and I are taking. We both have bad overpronation when we run so she had us download a metronome app to keep our turn over quick. As soon as we started running to the metronome, our overpronation and kick flips were minimized. She said that the more we can keep off our feet while running (aka keep the turnover quick), the better our running form is going to be. It felt better but weird to run with that quick of a turnover. I’m sure I’ll get used to it as time goes by.

-#TakeTheLeap breaks throughout the day...especially after run class!

The new quick turnover style really worked my sartorius and iliopsoas (thanks anatomy class!) so there were lots of runner’s lunges and pigeon poses going on. Plus, pedalling out the legs during downdog feels SO GOOD on the calves.

Weekly Food and Fitness Prep

If you couldn’t tell already from the list-heavy format of this post, this weekend was a fail on picture taking :( I was way too busy bingeing on The Good Wife during meal prep and week planning to take any pictures! I’m on season 4 already...obsessed.

A few hours on Sunday is always devoted to meal prep and workout/weekly planning. Today I thought I’d share what foods I prep and what my workouts schedule is for this coming week. I always like reading these types of things on other blogs because it gives me ideas for my own meal prep and workouts.

Foods prepped

-turkey burgers (lean ground turkey, reduced sodium soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, salt, pepper)
-beef and broccoli crock pot recipe from Brittany’s site)

-carrots peeled and cut

-protein balls (recipe from Gina)

-blueberries washed and separated into portions for lunches

Workout plan

Monday: teach Zumba + strength (triceps, chest, shoulders); restorative yoga

Tuesday: strength (legs); 30 minute yoga practice

Wednesday: teach zumba; 30 minute yoga practice

Thursday: 1 hour yoga practice

Friday: run + strength (biceps, back, abs); restorative yoga

Saturday: 1 hour yoga practice

Sunday: run class; 30 minute yoga practice

 

Yoga, strength, zumba, and running. Love it.

 

What’s on your food prep menu?

Any workouts planned for this week?