My Favorite Health & Fitness Apps

There are literally thousands of health related apps these days, and I’ve tried SO many. I’ve finally found 12 different apps that have helped me tremendously on my journey to a healthy lifestyle do of course I just had to share it.

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I recently signed up for the 2015 Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon and this app has helped me start the training process. It allows you to put in all of your info, the date of the race, what your running ability is (whether you’re a seasoned runner, or someone just starting a running routine like myself), what days you like to run and what days are your rest days, and then it makes a training plan for you.

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Nike Training Club

This is definitely one of the most popular fitness apps out there, and for good reason. Not only does it have amazing workouts, you have the ability to create a 4-week program that helps you accomplish your goals.

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Buddhify 2

I’ve tried at least 10 different meditation apps and this is by far my favorite. All of the meditations are guided, although you do have the option to simply time yourself, but the guides are so relaxing and there are so many different ones to choose from. Another great thing about this app is that it also shows you your meditation stats so you can see how you’re doing.

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Lorna Jane

This. App. Is. Amazing. This is the app that I use to track my runs.  It shows you all the standard things like your speed, time, distance, calories burned, a map of your run, and it looks pretty while doing it.  Because let’s be honest, fitness is more fun when you have cute workout clothes and a pink running app. Not only can you track your running, but there is a whole list of activities you can keep track of.  So for me, I can track my running, walking, yoga, and my Kayla Itsines workouts all in one place.  PLUS There’s even a section of this app with really great recipes, and another section that always has a different motivational quote, for those days when working out is the last thing you want to do.

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Health App

This is the new health app that apple created and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed.  I’ve been using this to count my steps and show me how far I walk/run daily.  But this app doesn’t stop there.  There are so many things you can track with this app, from your sleep, to your weight, or your diet, or even your heart rate.  I’ve yet to add more things to my dashboard, but I’m excited to keep using it.

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Waterlogged

This app is really straightforward.  You just set a goal for how much water you want to drink daily, and then every time you do drink water, you record it.  I have it set up on my phone to remind me to drink water throughout the day.  Since I started using it about a year ago, I’ve definitely gotten better about staying hydrated.

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Foodie Recipes

I love food.  That’s no secret for anyone that knows me, so this app is perfect for me.  There are so many amazing recipes in here, and the great thing is that new ones are always being added.

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Whole Living Smoothies

You guys.  This is THE best smoothie app I’ve tried.  And believe me I’ve tried a lot.  There are TONS of recipes in here.  There are the essential, meal-in-a-glass, allergy free, detox, immunity boosting, and weight loss smoothies. So the possibilities are seriously endless.

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Garden Plate

This is another favorite food app, exempt this one only has vegan, gluten-free, and raw food options.  I tend to consume a lot of dairy, and I’ve been trying to scale it back, and this app has been so helpful.  There are recipes for every meal of the day, and my favorite kind of recipe, snacks.  I eat pretty healthy meals, but snacks are always my weakness.  So this has so many healthy snack alternatives that actually taste GOOD!

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Green Kitchen Recipes

Yet another food app (I told you guys I love food).  This is another great source for recipes, from actual meals, to simple juice recipes.

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Tastebud

I recently discovered this app and instantly fell in love.  There are so many times that I go in to my kitchen to make something, and have absolutely no idea what to make.  So I pull out this app, and plug in what foods I actually have, and it finds recipes that use those ingredients.  How genius is that?

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Lark

This is app is definitely different from any other health/fitness app I’ve used.  It talks to you! It’s set up like text messages, and it tell you how you’re activity is that day, what your sleep was like last night, and gives you encouraging messages.

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My Journey to Fit: 5 Week Check-In

They say it takes 21 days for something to become a habit.  I started my fitness journey roughly 38 days ago, and it definitely took a little longer for some habits to stick, and some still haven’t quite stuck.  I workout consistently, doing the Kayla Itsines guide, yoga, and running.  But there are still some things that I’m working on. Drinking water for instance; I only drink 1-2 glasses a day.  But I’m working on it! So here’s a glimpse at what’s been going on for the past 5 weeks:

Exercise:

My exercise routine is something I’m very proud of.  I do the Kayla Itsines guide 3 days a week, run 3 days a week, and do yoga everyday.  It may seem like a lot, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds.  My yoga routine can go anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, and a run will take me 15 to 45 minutes.  Like they say a 1 hour workout is only 4% of your day.  No matter how busy you are, you can find the time.  Trust me, between work and school I barely have time for anything, and yet I make it work.  So no excuses!

Before & After:

So the moment we’ve been waiting for (and that I’ve been dreading).

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The End Results (so far at least):

So here’s what 5 weeks looks like.  My stomach is gaining definition, my arms are getting toned (although it doesn’t show all that much in the photo), and even more important, I feel GOOD after a workout.  I used to dread it, and now I actually look forward to it.  I can actually do burpees and pushups without collapsing into a heap, which is a pretty big deal for me.  Another amazing change I’ve noticed is in my running.  I hadn’t gone for a run in 3 years…no, I’m not kidding.  Until I decided about 2 weeks ago to pick it up again.  I could barely run 5 minutes, I was out of breath by the end, I couldn’t run a mile, and I always ended up with a pain in my side.  Now, I can run 5 miles, no problem.  No side pains, no shortness of breath, and I don’t feel like I’m on the verge of death after 5 minutes.  I’ve even set a pretty big goal for myself.  I registered for the 2015 Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver, BC. I’ve got a little less than a year to train, and I plan to keep you updated on my training plan, and my progress.  So wish me luck! I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m so proud of everything I’ve accomplished so far, and I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in 5 more weeks.

-Kate, @bitsandpeaches

Review of Kayla Itsines’ Nutrition Guide

Sometimes when I scroll through the comments on Kayla Itsines’ instagram, I see multiple cries for help regarding nutrition.  Kayla has responded to those pleas with her H.E.L.P. guide which costs 69.95 AUD on top of the 69.95 for the Bikini Body Guide.  I must disclose that I did not buy the H.E.L.P. but was sent it by a friend who did not see the merits of the guide and definitely did not see it being worth the cost.  Below I share my thoughts about it. Continue reading

The Science of Breath

Breathing.  Pretty straightforward right?  But the way we breathe impacts us in more ways than one, especially when we exercise.  We don’t pay much mind to our breath, we’re aware of it, but typically it just slips to the background.  Even though breathing comes naturally to us, there is a right and a wrong way.  The wrong way is sharp agitated breathing, or breathing in and out through the mouth. The right way is smooth, deep, even breaths through the nose.  Now, I know I’m guilty of being a mouth-breather when I do rigorous exercise, but when we do this, we’re missing out on all of the good things our nose does for us.  Think of the nose like an air purifier.  It filters and moisturizes the air, warms and directs the airflow, and registers our sense of smell.  

So how much does our breathing really affect us?  When we have poor breathing habits we end up with lower energy levels, shortness of breath, anxiety, stress, poor concentration, and internal distress in our nervous system.  When our nervous system is in distress our body cues are not recognized and are then replaced with sporadic or nervous eating (I know I’m guilty of this one), and our movements become clumsy.  Sounds pretty bad.  So to avoid all of that, try this:

  • Get into a habit of deep breathing in the morning when you first wake up, and in the evening before bed.  You can meditate, or simply close your eyes and focus on the breath.  
  • Be aware of your breath throughout the day, notice how it changes depending on what you’re doing and see how it feels to take slower, deeper, fuller, and more even breaths throughout the day.  You’ll feel more relaxed and focused. 
  • Whatever you do, don’t be a mouth-breather! 

Now that you know what happens when you breathe poorly, and how to change that, here’s what happens when you breathe the right way. Relaxed breathing can help with the treatment of cardiovascular disease, panic/anxiety, headaches, hypertension, and asthma.  It helps us stay focused, de-stress, stay calm, and energizes us.

So whether you’re at work, running errands, or going for a run, don’t forget to breathe!

 

Put the Juice Down: Why Juice Cleanses Are Bad for You

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I don’t know how many emails I get a day telling me about a new juice cleanse. I cringe every time I read it. So many smart healthy women I know have fallen for the hopeful messages from juice companies trying to shill their product in large quantities. “Lose five pounds this weekend!” they promise. Yeah, you might lose five pounds but at what cost?

Continue reading