The JogBlog Guide To Why You Should Use Fitness Apps

6 reasons to use fitness apps

Although I’m always downloading apps and trying new ones out, I keep forgetting to use them. They’re a great fitness tool though, and here are six reasons why:

1. You can unleash your inner (or not so inner) geek

Fitness apps are great for geeks. You’ll get hours and hours of fun from all those lovely charts and stats and graphs and stuff and, if all those lovely charts and stats and graphs and stuff start showing you’ve been slacking, that should shame you enough to unslack yourself.

2. You can unleash your inner (or not so inner) competitive streak

Most apps let you hook up with your friends who are also using the same app so you can spy on how they’re doing and silently set yourself up in competition with them and overtake them. Or, if you want to be less sly, a lot of apps will let you set up challenges with other users of the app, whether that’s by way of a leaderboard or as a one-to-one challenge (such as this one Warriorwoman and I undertook last year).

3. Accountability

Accountability. Now there’s a word that makes my teeth itch but apps do keep you accountable, it must be said. Miss a day’s training and there’ll be a little gap in the calendar to remind you that YOU ARE A SLACKER. And you wouldn’t want an app calling you a slacker, would you?

4. They’re convenient

Smartphones are great, aren’t they? No longer do we need to carry round a Garmin, a phone and an iPod; we can just take our phones out with us and have our GPS device, our making-phone-calls device and our music device all in one handy shiny black rectangle. And, as an added bonus, you don’t even need to look like a dick by having it on your arm in one of those armbands, you can get a handy pouch for them, like this Roosport Fitness Pouch.

5. They’re fun

The main reason for using a fitness app. They’re fun. Some let other people join in the fun by allowing you to link the app to Facebook, then when someone ‘likes’ the post that appears automatically once you start the app, you get a cheer through the headphones. Make sure you turn it off though if all you’re doing is walking the dog and don’t particularly feel the need to have people cheering you every five seconds.

There are apps that are also games, like the Zombies, Run! app. I have tried this and am rubbish at it. You’ll probably be better than me.

6. They’re free

Okay, that’s a bit of a fib. Most are free, although some don’t give you all the features you’d get if you paid for the premium version, while others have lots of features and are totally free, like the Superbody app, which is a personal nutritionist and workout coach.

So, there are a few of my reasons for using apps. Feel free to let me know which your favourite apps are.

High 5 Marathon Training Pack – Winner Announced!

High 5 marathon race pack

Look what you could have won

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway of a High 5 Marathon Training Pack. I’m pleased to announce, in haiku form:

John Gunn, yay, you’ve won!
A very worthy winner.
I will email you. 

And John does, indeed, sound a very worthy winner. Here was his entry which I picked out at random using random.org.

Winner of High 5 Marathon Training pack

If you didn’t win, never mind, I’ll be having another giveaway soon.

The JogBlog Guide to Hydration

I’m not one of those runners who can’t run even a 5k without clutching a drink and neither do I take a sports drink to the gym with me. But, I’ve got to say, my methods of hydration on a long run/walk/bike ride are a bit rubbish. Okay, a lot rubbish. So rubbish in fact, I didn’t take enough water out with me on a twenty-mile cross-country walk a few weeks ago on the second hottest day of the year and ran out of water at eleven miles. So, guess what? Yes, I fainted at the end of it. Yes, properly fainted, as in passed-out-unconscious-woke-up-thinking-where-the-fuck-am-I fainted.

Not good.

My excuse was that I didn’t want to fill my Camelbak up completely because I didn’t want to walk twenty-miles cross-country on the second hottest day of the year carrying 3 litres of water; because a) it was heavy; and b) I didn’t think I’d drink it all, but, obviously a) I would drink it all because b) I was walking twenty-miles cross-country on the second hottest day of the year.

Duh.

Still, I learnt my lesson and when I had a long marathon-training run come up, I not only took water with me but also took money out with me so I could buy a sports drink while I was out.  Unfortunately, the running shop I’d planned to buy a sports drink from didn’t sell any (eh?) and although the reception of the stadium in which the running shop lives did sell a sports drink, it was Lucozade, and I don’t buy Lucozade because they’re vivisectionist scum. I had been hoping they’d sell Powerade because Powerade has given me a massive boost both times I’ve run the Great South Run but, alas, I had to make do with water.

I’ve currently got a Tesco own brand sports drink in the fridge that I’d planned to take out with me on my next long marathon-training run but as I’m no longer doing Dymchurch Marathon because I won’t make the cut-off time, it looks like it’s going to stay in the fridge for ever.

You may be the kind of person who prefers an energy drink to a sports drink but I have no knowledge of energy drinks except I used to have a boyfriend who drank them and it stank. Some people swear by energy drinks though, as opposed to swearing at them, so if you’d like to read up about the ingredients, effects and risks of energy drinks, here’s a pretty infographic for you.

 

Kinesio Tape Giveaway – Winner Announced!

Kinesio Tex Gold Tape

Kinesio Tape

After announcing the winners of a previous giveaway where I incorporated a haiku into the post, I foolishly told Facebook that from now on I would announce all giveaway winners in haiku form.

haiku

Me and my big mouth

So, thank you to everyone who entered the Kinesio Tex Gold Tape giveaway and so:

Who won the tape, eh?
Lauren, @poweredbypb:
I believe it’s you!

Well done, Lauren, I’ll email you.

More stuff to win

If you didn’t win the tape but the postie’s just delivered a mag with a bee on the front, you should check out my marathon race pack giveaway. You should check it out anyway if you regularly run further than a parkrun.

Giveaway: Win a High 5 Marathon Race Pack!

The less said about my marathon training the better. Despite having a plan, and planning to stick to my plan, my plan so far hasn’t really gone to plan.

I did, however, sort-of successfully complete a 12 mile run a week or so ago, with ‘sort-of successfully’ meaning I managed to do the twelve miles within the minimum 13 minute miles I need to do to finish Dymchurch Marathon within the six-hour cut-off time and claim my medal and goody bag before everyone’s packed up and gone home, a-la London Duathlon 2013.

But since that twelve mile run, I’ve done what I believe the technical term for is ‘fuck all’. I haven’t even been to the gym or gone on a walk. I cycled to the station on Saturday but although I would count that as a valid form of exercise during an ‘athon, I’m not sure I can call it cross-training for a marathon.

Despite all this slacking though, I’ve entered the Folkestone Half Marathon which is taking place this Sunday. If I run it this time as badly as I ran it last time (limping over the finish line in about 3 hours) then I’ll probably decide the marathon isn’t for me and hope Helen, Cassie and Rachel don’t find out I’ve wimped out and never talk to me again.

Don’t be a loser like me – enter my giveaway and win stuff

Anyway, just because I’m a loser who has lost the ability to run quicker than I can walk, doesn’t mean everyone else is and so, if you’re training for a marathon and would like to win some stuff to help you fuel before, during and after training and the race itself, then I’ve got just the giveaway for you.

High 5 marathon race pack

Win all these things

High 5 marathon race pack

High 5 marathon race pack

What’s in the box

High 5 marathon race pack

Suitable for vegetarians, yay

Maxi Milk Maxi Nutrition Recovery Protein Shake

The winner will also receive a case of 6 chocolate protein shakes

With thanks to Discount Supplements, one winner will receive:

  • an XL Nutrition High Protein Flapjack Jumbo Bar;
  • a case of 6 Maxi Milk Maxi Nutrition Recovery Protein Shakes; and
  • a High 5 Marathon Race Pack containing:
    • Iso gel plus x 1
      • Iso gel x 2
      • Energygel plus x 4
      • Energygel x 8
      • Protein Sachet x 1
      • Energybar x 1
      • 10 tube zero x 1
      • 3 x sachet zero X’treme
      • Run Bottle
      • Run Lounge membership (3 month membership FOC)
      • Marathon Nutrition Guide

So, that’s everything you see in the photos (don’t worry, you’ll get a nice new one sent directly to you; you won’t be getting my battered and opened one).

How to enter

To be in with a chance of winning the High 5 Marathon Race Pack, just leave a comment below letting me know which marathon you would love to do if time, money, family commitments, etc., were no problem.

I’ll draw a winner at random after the closing date of Saturday, 24 October 2015.

UK entries only, sorry.

HardCore Fitness Foam Roller Giveaway: Winners Announced and Bonus Haiku

HardCore Fitness Foam Roller

HardCore Fitness Foam Roller

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a foam roller from HardCore Fitness. The random number generator has spoken and the winners are:

Samantha Atherton

Leona S Fisher

Veronica Butt

Well done, you three – I’ve emailed you, so check your inboxes.

If you didn’t win but still want a foam roller, you can buy one here.

If you didn’t win but still want to try and win things, you can enter my giveaway for a roll of Kinesio tape here.

I can’t think of any more ‘if you didn’t win’ things, so I’m going to stop now but I’ve just noticed the first one makes a haiku, look:

If you didn’t win
but still want a foam roller,
you can buy one here.

This pleases me more than it probably should.

Review: Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels

Dr Zak's protein bagel

It’s not very often I’ll eat bread at lunchtime – I’m more often to be seen drinking soup or munching a salad and, more recently, enjoying tapas-style lunches with tofu, sundried tomatoes, stuffed vine leaves, olives and hummus (you can see such a lunch over on my vegetarian blog). However, there are the odd occasions when I fancy something more substantial, although I know I’m risking the mid-afternoon slump that usually follows me eating bread at lunchtime.

So, because I’d – shock, horror – run out of tofu and stuffed vine leaves, after peeking in the fridge and freezer foraging for food, I remembered the Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels that had been sent to me a few weeks ago.

Dr Zak's High Protein Bagels are high in protein, low in carbs

High in protein, low in carbs

As you’d imagine, these bagels are high in protein, with each bagel containing 24g of the stuff. The packet also states each bagel also has 40% less carbohydrate but 40% less than what, I don’t know.

But, yeah yeah yeah, that’s all well and good, but there’s no point being high in protein if they ming in a big way, resulting in me taking one bite, and throwing the rest in the bin.

Dr Zak's High Protein Bagels

I toasted one of the bagels and filled it with Violife vegan cheese, homemade hummus, spinach, tomato and cucumber and while it was perfectly edible and didn’t ming, it was a bit dry and dense but didn’t taste weird at all, which had been my main concern.

Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels don’t appear to be widely available in the shops (on looking at the store locator on the website, it said my nearest stockist was 40 miles away) but they do have a list of where you can buy them online. I had a look at the first website in the list and the bagels are being sold on there for £3.25 for a pack of 4. That sounds like a lot of money for a pack of bagels to me but if high protein is your thing, you might want to give them a go.

For more information about the bagels, to see the other products Dr Zak’s make and a list of stockists, visit the Dr Zak’s website.

Dymchurch Marathon 2015 Training: Week 4

Yesterday, I started to write a post about how I haven’t been slacking off, but that post was flatter than a can of Coke that had been left open for three weeks and so I spared you all and deleted it.

However, in case you’d been wondering – what with the lack of marathon training updates – if I had been slacking, then I’m here to tell you that no, I haven’t. Whoop.

But (you knew there was a ‘but’ coming, didn’t you?), I probably should confess that I’ve ignored the Thursday runs my schedule has down for me but, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not possible to slack off something you had no intention of doing in the first place.

Anyway, so now I’ve confessed to not slacking, I’m going to confess to not slacking again. I really didn’t fancy a 5 mile run today, so I asked Twitter if I could go to the gym instead and Twitter – bless it and all who Tweets in it – replied.

That was good enough for me (although the only weakness I could see the gym highlighting for me was my ‘slacking off to the gym’ weakness*). This next reply was also good enough for me:

and the confirmations I wasn’t a slacker just kept coming:

and so off I skipped to the gym, happy in my heart that I wasn’t a slacker. But… then… oh no… Twitter must have been broken because it was letting Tweets disagreeing with me through, like this one:

and this one (although this was more encouraging than disagreeing):

but it was too late – I’d already been to the gym. While I was there though, I did 20 minutes on the rowing machine, 15 minutes on the treadmill and 5 miles on the cross-trainer (that’s about all we have in my little local gym – nothing posh like a vibration plate or anything, not that I’m complaining; I love my little gym) and, seeing as those 5 miles were the 5 miles I was supposed to run, I’m considering this valid marathon training.

*’weakness’ reminded me of this scene from Trainspotting. (Please note I am not advocating a) taking speed before a job interview; or b) telling an interviewer your weakness is that you’re a perfectionist. If you do that, you’re a nincompoop.) 

Try a Box of Tribe Snacks for Just £1!

#inspiredrunning

Will run for pizza

Tribe recently ran a 10-day #InspiredRunning campaign which involved asking over 5,000 runners what inspires them to run. A team of 50 Tribe runners also spent the early mornings and evenings in running hot-spots around London, asking runners to let Tribe know, in one word: “What inspires you to run?”

Tribe also asked a few bloggers to join in by writing down on a piece of card one word explaining why we run and then taking a selfie of said piece of card. I must have been in an exceptionally good mood or, perhaps, drunk when I agreed to this, but the more likely explanation is that I just wanted the box of healthy snacks they promised me.

Still, a deal’s a deal and so after coming back from a run one morning, I decided to take my selfie. Then I looked in the mirror and disguised myself in a hat and a pair of sunglasses, as you can see in the photo at the top of this post.

Tribe subscription box

Tribe subscription box (there was also a packet of baobob but I had that before taking the pic)

Of course, I don’t just run for pizza. I will also run for wine, chocolate, crisps and boxes of healthy snacks like the ones Tribe do. You can choose from a weekly, fortnightly or monthly subscription and each box contains four Tribe health snacks, one Discover Health snack, nutrition and training tips and invitations to Tribe events.

Tribe healthy snacks subscription box

Tribe leaflet telling you stuff about stuff

Special offer: Try a box of Tribe snacks for just £1

A weekly subscription to Tribe usually costs £6.50 but if you’d like to try Tribe for just £1, go to the Tribe website and enter the code CATHYTRIBE at the checkout (selfies optional).




Giveaway: Win a Roll of Kinesio Tex Gold Tape

Kinesio Tex Gold Tape

Kinesio Tape

You probably know what Kinesio tape is – it’s that tape that sportspeople wear and, although I’ve only ever seen it worn around the knees (purely because I don’t watch any kind of sport on the television and so the only people I see doing any kind of sporting activity are runners when I’m out running myself – either on my own or at a race), a quick Google image search shows me it can be used all over the body and even on dogs and horses, too.

When I’ve seen runners’ knees all taped up, my initial thought has always been, ‘If you need to tape your knee up, maybe you should be resting, not running’ but upon investigating further for the purpose of this blog post, Kinesio tape isn’t just used for support but also to help alleviate pain, relax the muscles, enhance performance and to help with rehabilitation.

That told me then. But what do I know? I’ve been relying on stretchy bandages since the 70s, which, incidentally, was when Dr Kenzo Kase – a Japanese chiropractor – invented Kinesio tape in the first place.

 

Win a roll of Kinesio Tex Gold Tape

Premier Healthcare & Hygiene Ltd have given me a roll of Kinesio tape to give away. The features of this tape are:

  • 100% cotton and latex free
  • Elasticity of up to 30-40% from resting length
  • Tape is applied with 10% stretch
  • Medical grade, heat sensitive acrylic adhesive
  • Allows the skin to breathe
  • Thickness and weight approximates that of skin
  • Easily tolerated
  • Allows range of motion and does not restrict like conventional athletic tape
  • Elastic properties support and reduce muscle fatigue
  • Facilitated myofascial release and improves lymphatic flow – in turn reducing pain and swelling
  • Can be worn for several days (3-5) without re-application
  • Cost effective patient management (6-10 applications per roll)

If you’d like to win a roll of this Kinesio tape, simply leave the answer to this question in the comments box below:

What colour is the tape I’m giving away? 

a) Pink with blue stripes
b) Orange with rainbow polka-dots
c) Gold

Giveaway ends at midnight Saturday 26 September 2015. UK entries only.

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