3 Great Health & Fitness Apps for Staying Fit

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Over the past few years, health and fitness apps have skyrocketed in popularity. According to a recent report from Flurry, health and fitness apps rose 62 percent in daily usage, compared to all apps that only grew 33 percent.  The huge growth of fitness apps can be partly attributed to the rise of wearable fitness trackers, such as Fitbit and Jawbone. Nonetheless, these apps are an easy and convenient way for people to track their workouts and meals, monitor their progress, and push themselves to accomplish their goals.

If you’re new to the fitness app craze, try out one of these leading apps:

FitClick Talk-to-Track

Count calories with ease with the Fit-Click Talk-to-Track calorie counting app. With this app, you can count calories simply by talking into your phone. It eliminates the hassle of typing in food names, searching for foods, reading through long lists of food choices and entering quantities eaten. All you have to do is push your keyboard microphone and say what you ate for each meal, and then the app will count your calories, as well as your daily intake of carbs, fat, protein and fiber. The app is free and available for Android and iOS.

Hot5 Fitness

With the Hot5 Fitness app, you can use your phone to do a quick, intense, 5-minute workout wherever you are. The app offers tons of 5-minute workout videos led by the industry’s leading trainers. Whether you want to get in a quick yoga session before work or need a short and intense core workout after a run, the app has something for everyone. It has all kinds of workout videos for every difficulty level.  The app is available for iOS and free for limited use and $2.99/month for unlimited access.

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is a helpful app for those who are trying to lose weight and need an extra push to meet their goals. This app tracks your fitness and nutrition intake and acts as a virtual workout buddy.  The app will remind you to run an extra 10 minutes or snack on an apple rather than a bag of chips. The app is free for iOS and Android users and can sync with other fitness apps.

To get the most out of your workouts, utilize these great apps and shop for fitness clothes online at ShoppingBlitz.com.

 

Five Common Yoga Myths Debunked

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Photo courtesy of ©prAna

Yoga is here to stay. The $27 billion industry is practiced by over 21 million U.S. adults, according to a survey from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease and Prevention. Despite its ever growing following, several myths still hold water, even amongst devoted yogis. Let’s debunk some common myths and get you on (or back to) the mat.


1. Yoga is not a workout
When most people think of yoga they think of calming, seated poses and forget that there are many types of yoga designed to offer a full body practice. Take one power, Ashtanga or heated class and you will become a convert. These disciplines increase your heart rate while improving respiration, help balance metabolism, build full body strength and burn calories.

2. Yoga is too expensive

A lot of people get turned off from yoga because they believe the financial commitment will be more than they can handle. Many studios offer introductory packages for new students. Plus, anyone with a computer can find either free classes via YouTube or affordable online yoga services. Better yet, once a yogi develops their skills they can design a practice curated to their specific needs.

3. Yoga is too much of a time commitment

Completing a 60-90 minute class can feel like an accomplishment but for those that are short on time this is not always an option. Even a short, 20 minute yoga practice can provide results. Research shows that just 20 minutes of yoga can improve memory and brain function related to focus and new information retention.

4. Men don’t practice yoga

In ancient times yoga was only practiced by men. It is only in this country that we think of it is a female-only activity. The truth is more men are showing up in classes and realizing the benefits of increased muscle strength, improved performance in other sports and less injury.

5. Pregnant women should refrain from practicing yoga

The opposite is true, yoga during pregnancy can significantly reduce stress and contribute to a healthier pregnancy. Prenatal yoga can decrease the risk of depression, back pain and nausea. A 2012 study found that when pregnant women practiced yoga for one hour, three times a week, the risks of low birth weight babies, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure were decreased.

To get the most out of your yoga experience, shop for yoga gear online and make yoga apart of your daily routine.

3 CrossFit Moves to Incorporate Into Your Workout Regimen

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CrossFit has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, and today there are more than 10,000 CrossFit affiliated gyms, also known as boxes. CrossFit incorporates a wide range of strength training and cardio exercises that can help you boost your strength and endurance, while achieving a better physique. While CrossFit exercises pose many advantages, you don’t have to go to a CrossFit box to reap their benefits.  If you prefer to work out at home or a traditional gym, here are three great CrossFit moves to incorporate into your workout routine from Shopping Blitz, where you can shop for fitness shoes and clothes online.

1. Burpees

Burpees are a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise that is ideal for conditioning and endurance. Rather than focusing on a target area, burpees work out your whole body and are effective at burning fat and strengthening muscles. To do a burpee, squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Then jump your feet back into a plank position and drop into a push up position. Do a push up and resume the plank position. Jump your feet back towards your hands and jump into the air, reaching your arms straight up.

2. Walking Lunge

Walking lunges work out your entire lower body, while also strengthening your core and improving your balance and hip flexibility. You can perform this move with or without dumbbells. If you are not using dumbbells, put your hands on your hips. Start in an upright position and take a far step forward with your left leg, while lifting onto the ball of your back foot. Lower your hips to the floor and bend your knees at an almost 90 degree angle. Your back knee should come close to touching the ground but never touch.  Push off with your right foot to resume the starting position. Take a step forward with your right leg to repeat the lunge.

3. Deadlifts

The deadlift is an intense exercise that involves using your entire body, including your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, back and core. It strengthens your upper and lower body and core, while working out your cardiovascular system. To do a deadlift, start with the bar on the ground. Pull the bar up, keeping it as close to your body as you can. Keep your body over the bar by using your hip hinge and pushing your knees back. Finish the move by extending your hips and squeezing your glutes.

By performing these three moves regularly, you’ll strengthen your body and increase your endurance.

Why We Don’t Support Naked Yoga … Or Do We?

Outside Magazine recently published an article about Bold & Naked, the first coed naked yoga studio in New York City. Now don’t get us wrong we love yoga and support all exercise endeavors, we are just not sure Awkward Pose needs to get any more awkward. Besides the fact that we can’t sell yoga gear to nude yogis, we have a hard time with it conceptually. Don’t flailing body parts get in the way of certain moves? Can you really let go when you can see more of your classmates than you ever wanted to?

Yoga instructor Dee Dussault strikes a pose during a nude yoga session in her downtown apartment stu

However, as we take a closer look into the idea I wonder if we are just being prudish? “By shedding their clothes and practicing yoga in the nude, students literally drop the masks and labels they hide behind all day,” according to the Bold & Naked website. “Practicing yoga naked frees you from negative feelings about your body and allows you to be more accepting of your physical imperfections.” Not a bad reason to shed your clothes and get moving! So whether it’s nude, coed, upside down or outdoors .. we support anything that moves our bodies in a positive and mindful way. Had any experience with naked yoga? Comment and let us know!

 

 

Zombies As Motivation?

We are now well into the new year and resolutions are beginning to lag. It’s always the same. The start of January brings with it a fervor for everything health and fitness. By the time February and the dregs of winter hit, we are back to our chips and couch-surfing. What if instead of the same old a wrench was thrown into the mix?

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A wrench in the form of a blood-thirsty, undead motivation like no other. Enter Race Yourself a new application for Google Glass, which adds a virtual reality element to exercise. The visual stimulation is meant to push you harder and faster, as you race yourself, friends and of course a pesky zombie or two. Race Yourself is currently available for pre-order.

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Google is not the only company getting into the Zombie race.  Zombies, Run! is a new app available for iPhones and soon for Androids. A narrator talks you through missions in order to survive a zombie apocalypse. Beyond just motivation, this app puts you smack in the middle of the story. The game continues even when the exercise is over. Users are encouraged to log in when they get home and assign items to different buildings as they map out their next run. As more missions are completed and your base grows, more of the story is revealed. So instead of the zombies in your line of sight, they are forever chasing behind you. Talk about motivation!

Get Closer to Your Beach Body the Shopping Blitz Way

Summer is a hop, skip and a jump away – are you all set for the bikini season or still scrambling to beach-proof your body in less than thirty days like the rest of us? If the latter refers to you, don’t despair! We have all you need to get moving and grooving!

Get Closer to Your Beach Body the Shopping Blitz Way!

Get Closer to Your Beach Body the Shopping Blitz Way!

Check With Your MD
Well, we don’t exactly carry doctors on our website, but we highly recommend that you see one anyways – you wouldn’t believe how many people end up in emergency rooms with avoidable injuries. Get the OK from your physician and make sure there aren’t any pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or high-blood pressure, that need to be addressed before you begin any exercise program.

Get In Gear
Workout gear, that is. Brands like Under Armour – with their Signature Moisture Transport System – keeps you comfortable and dry by wicking away sweat as you perspire during workouts. Make sure to get an ample amount of  tees and shorts as well as comfortable sneakers –  you want to avoid the “I don’t have anything to wear” excuse at all costs! If you plan on exercising in the daytime, don’t forget the sunscreen and some shades to protect your eyes as well. For those working out at night, we carry reflective apparel and footwear  to keep you safe and visible after hours.

Monitor Your Heart Rate
I wasn’t too fond of doing this myself at first, but it is important. According to medical professionals, closely tracking your heart rate during exercise can help you derive more from your workouts.  You heart rate tells you how fast you should be moving, when it’s time to slow down, and how in (or out) of shape you truly are. Luckily, brands like Soleus make water resistant HRM watches that can do the leg work for you.

Get Lost
No, please come back! I mean get lost in whatever it is you are doing to fine tune your bod.  Find an exercise routine that you love (or at least don’t hate) and make it fun! Blast your favorite tunes while doing workout videos at home or load up the iPod for gym sessions. Grab a buddy if you don’t want to do it alone, or join an online support group with like-minded individuals to track your progress and get encouragement. Stay at your own pace, keep a smile on your face and make this your best summer yet!

 

Let It Be: Neon

One of the many fashion musts this spring is neon. This means any style maven out there who has yet to get over the Eighties is going to have a ball! If you are a bit more conservative however with your outfit colors,
or your career simply Fila Pullover Hoody Shirtwouldn’t survive an electric pink dress worn to the office, their is still a way to jump on the neon bandwagon and show that you’re in with the trends!

For everyday wear let neon be the go-to color for accessories; be it a bag, a pump or a scarf. But you can, without suffering any consequence, go all out on exercise wear. Because who would ever judge you for wearing this oh-so-cute hoodie while running by the river, going to the gym or riding a bike? If I met you, I would probably be wearing the same (I have my eye on the blue one!), and would greet my fellow fashionista with a knowing nod.

I Love My Bike and am Not Afraid to Show It.

It is hot as hell all over the U.S., and as far as I can tell, most of the world is experiencing heat waves as well. So I came up with a totally unusual way to cool myself down. I would like to share it with all of you out there who are looking to stay cool without sacrificing any of the fun of summer.

You see, riding a bike, even in this heat, is great. Even though your primal instincts are making you want to crawl in front of the nearest AC and just lie there waiting for the night to come, you should really try hopping on your bike and simply going for a ride!

Here’s the secret: If you drive, the breeze is inevitable. Yes, that is correct, instead of waiting for a cool breeze, go out and make your own! Even though you’ll be pedaling you’ll be less hot than sitting on a sofa, believe me.

Of course, you might want to choose the time of day wisely, especially if you have any chronic illnesses. Otherwise there is no reason why not to use the heat to your advantage and get that beach body faster. The more you sweat, the easier  it will be to lose your tummy flab and rid your legs of cellulite.

Naturally, there are some things you cannot do without. First, a pair of good sneakers, that will support your feet and give you extra stability while on two wheels. I personally adore the classic look of the Fila R8, because I am old-fashioned like that.

Next, you need some pants, and if I may suggest, make it a pair of comfortable capris; and a supportive tank top, that will not only show your fashion sense, but also keep the ‘girls’ in place.

I personally wear a hat too, because the Carhartt Plaid Bucket Hat is beyond cute, but cool shades might be more your cup of tea.

Which reminds me! DRINK WATER! Plenty of it! It washes the bad, bad fatty cells out of your system along with toxins left over from last night’s partying. Also, don’t be tricked into buying expensive ‘vitamin’ or ‘sport’ waters, those are for high- performing athletes and have more sugar than an average person needs. Tap water is just fine.

Let me know how you’re doing, also leave your tips and tricks to surviving the heat in the comments!

Ivy writes because she wants to share her strange shoe addiction with as many people possible.