Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Little Late on the Fitness Tracker Phase (Weekly Wrap-Up May 7-13)

It is often said that an idea is stupid when it's first introduced.

Automobiles? Stupid. (Get a horse!)

DVR? Stupid. (We have VCRs to do that for us!)

iPhones? Stupid. (Flip phones are way cooler!)

Eventually those ideas are integrated into mainstream culture and people don't designate them any longer as "stupid."

I was one of those people that thought fitness trackers were stupid. Why would you need all that information? Those things are for people who are obsessed with fitness - not me! You wear it at night? How obnoxious that must be!

Then I started gaining weight.

If you've been a longtime follower of the blog, then you know I have done a lot of running. That really helped me shed some pounds and inches in recent years. Unfortunately, I stopped running and ate more than I should have. Even though I continued walking and doing workouts, my calories consumed didn't even out with the calories I needed to burn.

I noticed this especially at the start of 2018. I tried to put more into my fitness regimen, but it didn't seem to work. After a visit to the doctor and a look at my BMI and how close it was to the "obese" category, I decided a major change was necessary.

My remaining funds in my budget are currently being reserved for my summer classes and Tokyo 2020 trip, so investing in a large gym membership wasn't in the cards. Running would need to come back to the forefront, but there was more that I was going to have to do.

Last week was my birthday, and I got some money as a present from my parents (which they don't need to do, but insist on doing every year, and I love them for it). I had noticed in a recent trip home that my sister was using the My Fitness Pal app, and I asked her if she liked it. She said she did, and it had helped her out. 

All of these things were rumbling around in my head (and the money was burning a hole in my pocket), so I put it all together and decided that I could use the My Fitness Pal app and a fitness tracker to help me get to a goal weight.

I spent way too much time in the electronics section of my local Meijer, deliberating whether or not to put down $120 on a fancy FitBit, which I've seen many people using. I also (very, very briefly) thought of getting an AppleWatch, before the pricetag (and its bulky design) made me say no.

Then I glanced over and noticed a sale item. The UnderArmour Record band was on sale for half price - originally $120, but now only $60! I checked my phone and saw that they were discontinuing the bands but continuing the software, so that was why it was cheaper than the rest. If you're unaware, UnderArmour is the main company behind the My Fitness Pal app, so the band would sync with the app on my phone. I bought it!

Once I put my mind to a goal, it's hard for me to stop. So as soon as I had the My Fitness Pal and UA Record apps on my phone, I got started logging in my food intake and counting steps.

Yes, I started feeling like one of the people I rolled my eyes at when they mentioned their step counts for the day. But sometimes you have to avoid ignorance and see the benefits.

Over this first week, I have noticed a big change. My sleep habits are pretty good, but my food intake was atrocious. I looked for ways to lower my calorie count and find snacks that were healthy, too. I also started carrying my Contigo waterbottle with me everywhere as I increased how much water I drank. My band kept track of steps and also could log my workouts, and that information transferred over to the My Fitness Pal app so that it could adjust my caloric intake for the day.

I've kept pretty close to my calorie requirements, though it was hard on Monday because Teacher Appreciation Week began (donuts from a local group in the staff room) and the room moms celebrated my birthday (4 dozen cookies and ice cream for me and the kids), but I stayed strong. I ate only what I knew was worthwhile and didn't snack on a bunch of cookies after school, even though I really wanted to.

I'm curious how this will work with dining out, which I've done only once so far. The app is definitely going to show that some places have thousands of calories for certain food items, and I'm just going to have to learn to enjoy sparingly or not get those items at all!

The step count and workout log has been cool to use. Today, for example, I hit my step goal before 12:30 because I did some major workouts in the morning, and I walked to the store instead of taking my car!

Will it result in weight loss and inches trimmed? I certainly hope so, but I don't expect to see results immediately. Will I be able to enroll in the Next Olympic Hopeful thing that 24 Hour Fitness and Team USA put together? Definitely not. But I'll feel good, and that is all I can hope for!

Thanks for letting me personally indulge you. Now let's get back to the Olympics!

Tokyo 2020 Prep

I saw some websites that suggested waiting until closer to the Olympics to purchase airline tickets and hotel rooms. Man, I am not that patient. I'd spend all that time freaking out that everything is going to be sold out!

It does seem like Tokyo is going to be a very popular destination for American tourists in 2020, as opposed to Rio de Janeiro or PyeongChang. That alone will make me purchase things way earlier than I need to. Patience, Claire! Patience!

Mini Blurbs

  • This week's BlurbWatch:
    • triathlon
    • softball
    • track and field 
  • It sounds like Armand Duplantis is making a name for himself in Louisiana. He's a Swedish-American pole vaulter and is beating high school records all over the place. This weekend he broke the high school indoor/outdoor record by clearing 18 feet, 5 inches! He'll be someone to watch when he competes in the Olympics. 
  • The Lopez brothers were seen as shining stars in the most recent Olympic games in taekwondo, but now Steven Lopez has been suspended by the US Center for SafeSport and USA Taekwondo due to allegations of sexual assault. If SafeSport is doing stuff like this after the terrible things that happened with USA Gymnastics, I am happy. 
  • Russian figure skating silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva has broken up with her coach (who also coached gold medalist Alina Zagitova) and is going to Canada to work with coach Brian Orser. Orser coached Yuna Kim (South Korea) to a gold and silver medal, and coaches Yzuru Hanyu (Japan) and Javier Fernandez (Spain), who both medaled this year. I am reeeeally curious how this turns out, and if Medvedeva competes in 2022, I will be rooting for her!
  • Triathlon competitions are happening all over the world right now. I watched one that took place a few weeks ago in Bermuda, and another from this weekend in Shanghai. One thing I noticed: they are on their bikes forever. The swimming and running don't seem too long, but they are on their bikes for a large majority of the race. 
  • A Bermudan - Flora Duffy - won the Bermuda Triathlon and the Shanghai Triathlon. She won both handily, and I'm looking forward to seeing if she can continue her dominance. 
  • In Shanghai, the water was much colder, and the athletes needed to wear full-body wetsuits to do the swimming, which meant that before they could go on their bikes, they had to peel the wetsuit off. How annoying!
  • The Diamond League was also in Shanghai, and my fantasy team did a little better. I picked four correct winners (Omar McLeod in the 110m hurdles, Steven Gardiner in the 400m, Catarine Ibarguyen in the triple jump, and Timothy Cheruiyot in the 1500m), and that got me to 97 points overall. The high score was still 240, so I have no chance of ever winning, basically. But it's still fun!
  • Christian Taylor, who did the triple jump last week in Doha, tried out the 400m yesterday and got fifth place! It's cool when athletes can do the track and the field. Maybe he can just go all-out and do the decathlon!
  • In a non-Diamond League event, the 3000m steeplechase, there was a fight for first between Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech and Norah Jeruto. But right after the last hurdle, Jeruto slipped on the wet track and fell! It was a shame, but made for an exciting finish. 
  • The Team USA awards were finally broadcasted Saturday night on NBCSN, and they were fun! I thought that they were very well done and not self-indulgent. Athletes like these Olympians and Paralympians are much easier to relate to than actors and musicians, and they seem genuinely honest when they accept awards. (Well, maybe not all of them. Chloe Kim and Shaun White didn't go to the ceremony and sent video of themselves, which seems like more of an actor/musician route to take.) 
  • I liked how the Olympians and Paralympians got an equal amount of time. There were only five awards for each, but the Paralympic athletes didn't get relegated to the commercial time or something like that. 
  • Olympic and Paralympic superfan Mr. T was there, and he was awesome! He gets how much work these athletes put in, and appreciates them as much as the athletes appreciate his enthusiasm. 
  • I saw the full video the University of Oregon put out for the Hayward Field renovations, and wow. Usually renovations like this are reserved for the basketball and hockey teams - not the track and field athletes! Some people are lamenting the loss of the old bleachers, but if a university (and its donors like Nike - let's be honest here) are willing to shell out big bucks for a non-football stadium, I am more than willing to get excited and eventually go to see it for myself! Here's the video so you can see what I'm talking about: 

Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????

...No.


I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! You can start with my daily recap of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics HERE!

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