Let that SHI(F)T go!

20170711_194904

Photo property of Beachbody, LLC.

Anything is possible when you remove the phrase “I can’t” from your vocabulary. I have to admit that I was initially intimidated by SHIFT SHOP. The moves are intense, and the meal plan is pretty strict. I wanted to fully commit myself to a program that is known for getting people great results in record time, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and jumped right in. I’m so glad I did.

This Beachbody workout is for everyone. Whether you’re new to fitness, a seasoned pro, or trying to bust through a weight loss plateau. It’s hard, but trust me, you CAN do this.

SHIFT SHOP is a 21-day program with six working days and either a stretch or rest day on Sunday. Since it’s such a short program, you work hard from beginning to end. If you get the Deluxe package, you get a few additional workouts to help you burn more calories and get fit faster. Most challengers (including me) will save these for round two.

I stream my workouts right from Beachbody on Demand (BOD)*. I am so in love with my BOD subscription. For a low monthly price of $8.25, you can access to ALL the Beachbody programs available (including any future releases). This service is the Holy Grail – the Netflix of Fitness!

Before You Begin

Make sure to track your results! Take measurements, weigh yourself, and figure out your container breakdown (more details under “Nutrition”).

Nutrition

Start each day off right – with breakfast. This can be a shake or another healthier option like scrambled egg stuffed sweet potatoes or Icelandic yogurt with berries, pistachios, and cacao nibs. I’m on a yogurt kick lately – I love adding a lot of mix ins to vanilla.

20170801_095849

A delicious mix of white plum, coconut chips, and pistachios!

A little Sunday meal prep can help you stay on track! I recently started using my Instant Pot for this, and it has helped tremendously.

The program recommends three meals and two snacks, but you can design your own plan. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating three filling meals with minimal snacking. Do what works best for you.

There are over 80 recipes designed just for SHIFT SHOP including Turkey and Brussels Sprouts Frittata, Pork & Sweet Potato Kabobs, and Watermelon Heirloom Salad. Yum!

I love that the newer Beachbody programs all use the same container breakdowns in some way. While SHIFT SHOP is really it’s own plan that varies by week, you still use the Portion Fix containers as a guide. A simple formula can help you figure out how many of each container you get per day. My plan is based on a 1,200-1,499 calorie diet. This turns out to be plenty of food, but SHIFT SHOP allows for unlimited veggies, so if you’re still hungry, pile on the greens! This plan can also be designed around a vegetarian or gluten free lifestyle.

20170731_145823

Snap peas are seriously the BEST snack. Plus, they satisfy that need for a crunch!

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger, keep you hydrated, and help prevent your muscles from cramping. Both Beachbody Performance Energize and Hydrate are encouraged for ultimate performance.

20170720_164915

I drink this before every workout to push harder and burn more calories.

Equipment

  • Agility Markers – (these can also be printed from BOD)
  • Weights
  • Yoga Mat
  • Towel (for Sunday stretch)
  • PT Sandbag (optional, used for Deluxe workouts)
20170713_202144

Great quality and definitely worth the investment – especially if you love the program.

The Workouts

I love every workout in the SHIFT SHOP and actually look forward to my daily 5 am sweat sesh. The variety is great – there are alternating cardio speed and fat-burning strength workouts for each of the three weeks, all building on the previous week’s sessions.

Week 1 workouts are 25 minutes, Week 2 are 35, and Week 3 are 45. If you get the Deluxe Kit (or have a BOD subscription), bonus workouts are 50 minutes. All are fun and challenging.

20170809_094742

Check out this calorie burn from Speed 45.

There is a modifier for every move, so you don’t have to worry about giving up or falling behind. Remember, remove the words “I can’t” from your vocabulary, and you’ll be capable of amazing things.

Each week ends with a 20-minute stretch or rest day. Some days you’ll supplement the workouts with a 12-minute core workout (15 minutes for the Deluxe). If your muscles are sore and you are so inclined, I highly recommend the Relief workout from Core de Force. It can be done each night right before bed – and get this: the trainers show up in their jammies!

The Trainer

Chris Downing – Officially Beachbody’s newest Super Trainer, Chris has trained both amateur and pro athletes, including individuals at all different fitness levels. He pushes you to do your best and give it your all. An amazing motivational coach – he will have you laughing your behind off (literally).

The Results

SHIFT SHOP works. You can expect to see results after the first week if you’re consistent with both workouts and healthy eating. This my favorite program. Overall, I lost 6.4 pounds and 9 inches during my first round, but most importantly, I gained strength, definition, and confidence. Nothing compares to feeling comfortable in your own skin.

IMG_20170807_213222_663000

My 3-Day Refresh & SHIFT SHOP results.

Bottom Line: I have and will continue to recommend this program to everyone. Give it a try. If you decide it’s not for you, Beachbody offers a 30-day money back guarantee (less s&h). If you do like it and you see results, be sure to submit your before and after photos, weight, and measurements to the Beachbody Challenge and they will send you a FREE t-shirt. Either way, you really can’t lose.

 

 

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

*Other package options available online. Team Beachbody Coaches save 25%.

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see full disclosure for more information.)

 

My aching back!

When my muscles start screaming, I know they are overworked and need a little TLC. In my earlier days, I would have popped a few Advil and called it a day, but now I rely on natural methods of pain relief. Here are a few things you can do to ease muscle tension and discomfort.

Drink more water

20170802_204048

Don’t like drinking water? Make it into an hourly game or buy fun water bottles like this one!

I think the girls in my challenge groups must be sick of me saying “drink more.” What happens when flowers don’t get enough water? They dry up. What happens when lakes don’t get enough water? They dry up. What happens when your body doesn’t get enough water? You literally dry up – flaky skin, brittle hair, chapped lips, etc. Hydrate your body and your muscles to help increase your energy and prevent muscle cramping.

Stretch

Never underestimate the power of the cool down. I used to hate this so much. Once I was done with the meat of the workout, I was DONE. That meant no extra time to stretch out those muscles I just literally worked to the bone. It hurt, and I quickly learned my lesson. Think of it as your reward for finishing a tough sweat sesh – your muscles and body deserve it. I also recommend stretching or light yoga just before bed to prevent cramping at night.

Eat up post-workout

20170802_204141

I love Icelandic yogurt with berries and pistachios post-workout. It’s a nice treat!

I never miss an opportunity for a snack! After working out, you’ll want something to fuel the day as well as calm inflammation, aid in muscle repair, and improve mental focus. I have a brand of gluten free post-workout bars that I absolutely LOVE, but you can also opt for eggs, a protein shake, grilled chicken, oatmeal, bananas, cottage cheese, berries, or a handful of nuts.

Take a warm bath

Nothing is more soothing than a warm bath with lots of bubbles. Add some Epsom salts and lavender essential oil and take a deep soak. Both help to ease the tension in your muscles and joints.

Rub on some essential oils

20170802_204202

I use these two oils post workout and also diffuse the lavender one throughout the day.

There are a host of oils that are good for post workout – cinnamon bark, wintergreen, and basil (for sore muscles and joints), grapefruit (lessons mental and physical fatigue), lavender (eases muscle tension), and peppermint (clears breathing). Diffuse in the air or rub directly on your skin. For sensitive skin, you’ll want to use a carrier oil or cream. Just mix a drop or two of your essential oil with your carrier and apply. I only use 100% pure essential oils of high quality so I know I’m putting the good stuff in my body.

Try a foam roller

Foam rollers improve flexibility and also help to massage tired, achy muscles. For this reason, it might be painful at first, but after prolonged use, it will feel oh so good! Benefits include the reduced likelihood of injury, better sleep, boosted energy, and soothed muscles aches.

Get some rest

wp-1501720797577.If you’re feeling sore, don’t overdo it. Curl up with a book or find something on Netflix and then get a good 7-8 hours of sleep. Your body needs time to recharge and create energy, so don’t skimp out on those old fashioned zzzs!

How do you relieve your achy muscles?

Shift Shop Sneak Peek!

image001-1

Photo property of Beachbody, LLC

I’ve never been so excited for a workout program to launch. Until now. Shift Shop challenges you to push your limits. It’s hard, but once you finish a workout, you’ll be so proud of yourself. It’s a shift for your body and your mind.

I have to admit that I’ve been super jealous of the top coaches who’ve had the opportunity to participate in the test group. Their results have been amazing. Seriously, I’m in awe of what can be accomplished in just 3 short weeks. If you thought the 21 Day Fix Extreme brought kick ass results, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Because the program doesn’t officially launch until July 12th, there are still a lot of unknowns, but I’ll do my best to paint an accurate (and unbiased) picture.

What, exactly, is the Shift Shop?

An awesome combination of cardio and resistance. It will get you shredded in record time. Over the course of three weeks, workout times will increase from 25 to 45 minutes and some days include a 12-minute bonus workout – Shift Core – which focuses on sculpting those abs. Sundays will either be a day of rest or stretching with Shift Mobility – your choice.

I was able to try out Speed 25 twice and it was exhilarating. This is actually the first time my heart rate skyrocketed over 190 and I burned over 200 calories in just under 30 minutes.

20170619_183618

My results from Speed 25

For this particular workout, there are one-minute rounds where you give it your all and then a little break in between to grab water as the trainer explains how to do the next move. I appreciated these breaks because I needed them.

The Trainer

image002

Photo property of Beachbody, LLC

Chris Downing – Officially Beachbody’s newest Super Trainer, Chris has trained both amateur and pro athletes, including individuals at all different fitness levels. He really pushes you to do your best and give it your all. A fantastic motivational coach!

Nutrition

Details are a little hazy here. I know that Portion Fix Containers are involved, but the breakdowns are not the same as with many of the other programs. I did hear that you can eat extra veggies – always a good thing!

Since the program seems strict, Sunday meal prep will help you stay on track. Even if you just make meal starters to help you with dinners throughout the week, you will be one step ahead.

It goes without saying, but make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger and keep you hydrated. You might even consider adding Beachbody Performance Hydrate into your routine. I also love Beachbody Performance Energize to get that jumpstart before the workout even begins.

Agility Markers

I personally think that the Agility Markers (pictured above) are too expensive when purchased separately – $19.95* plus $6.95 shipping. Yikes!

I’ve looked for comparable ones elsewhere, but those are around $20 as well. To me, it’s just not worth it. I might try my hand at making them with felt or foam from a craft store. Way more budget friendly!

Your best option would be to purchase a Challenge Pack, which includes a 30-day supply of Shakeology or (my favorite option) the Shift Shop Deluxe Kit, which for $119.70* includes 6 base workouts, two bonus workouts, three additional deluxe workouts, nutrition guide, jumpstart guide, 3-week calendar, 3-week deluxe calendar, agility markers, and sandbag.

I’m a Beachbody on Demand girl, myself, but I love having the original wall calendars (instead of printed ones). Maybe Beachbody will start printing and selling them one day!

The Results

Right now this is the newest program and it has a ton of hype surrounding it. For good reason – it works. Beachbody even claims that “anyone can get fit and lose up to 10 pounds with Shift Shop – now, that’s bold. I read a ton of positive reviews from those participating in the test group. You can expect to see results after the first week if you’re consistent. Expect to see a shift in both your body and your mind.

Bottom Line: Beachbody claims that Shift Shop is perfect for beginners, but I have to disagree. I will easily recommend this program to anyone, but I believe you have to be in the right mindset to make progress. The Shift Shop is a high-intensity program. If this was my first program, it probably would have turned me off from fitness altogether. Now, however, I welcome the challenge.

In all, I seriously can’t wait until July 12th!

 

 

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…always consult your doctor before beginning an intense exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

* Team Beachbody Club members save 10%, coaches save 25%. Current prices valid as of 6/28/2017.

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see full disclosure for more information.)

#FightForIt

The other day someone mentioned that I was really fit. Of course my first reaction was “who, me?” I’ve never really considered myself fit. Thin, at times, but never fit. I guess, when you think about it, working out regularly will get you there, a nd Icredit Core de Force for getting me there.

This Beachbody workout is for you if you want to work your ass off (literally), want that bikini body, have a lot of pent up anger and need an outlet to release it, enjoy hard work, and/or aren’t afraid of looking like a fool (at first anyway). It’s labeled intermediate, but it’s hard. You really have to work for it to get results – that means no wimpy punches or baby kicks. You need to put in all the effort “until the bell.”

Core de Force lasts 30 days without a rest day. Since it’s such a short program, you work hard from beginning to end. The last day of the week is as close as you’ll come to resting – give your body a break with Active Recovery. You’re still working, but you’re loosening up those muscles and preparing for another week of tough work. If you get the Deluxe package, you get a few additional workouts to help you burn more calories and get fit faster – some of these focus on toning the bum (aka MMA Kick Butt).

I have a serious love-hate relationship with Core de Force. I hate the push-ups, but I love the MMA workouts. Dynamic Strength is my absolute worst enemy – if you take the challenge, you’ll see why. What’s enticing about this program is that it’s only 30 days and you can do anything for a month. You definitely feel like you’re working out, but the trainers are great and help you get through it. There is also a modifier who does – you guessed it! – less intense, but still powerful, versions of the exercises. Routines are upwards of 30 minutes. Some days you’ll have two, which could bring the time up to an hour. It’s really not bad when you plan for it. Even if you don’t usually sweat (like me), you’ll be drenched by the end, and I mean hair soaking wet. It feels good.

You may be wondering why I love it if it sounds so…bad? hard? Well, you get results. Fast. Plus, the workouts really are fun. You have 3-minute rounds where you go all out, a  quick opportunity for a water break in between, and then go full force again. When you’re doing it, you hate yourself, you’re cursing the trainers, and you literally just want it to be over. Then, when it is over, you want more. That’s why I’m currently in my second round.

This is the second program I’ve purchased digitally from Beachbody on Demand (BOD)*. I am so in love with my BOD subscription. Now you can purchase a monthly subscription for less than $9 and that gives you access to ALL the Beachbody programs available!

Note: I used to stream on the Amazon Firestick, but have since upgraded to the Apple TV and it was so worth it. The menus are better and so is the display. Highly recommend it. The only downside is that it’s not as portable.

Photo property of Beachbody, LLC.

Before You Begin

Make sure to track your results! Take measurements, weigh yourself, and figure out your container breakdown (more details under “Nutrition”).

Watch the move breakdown videos; trust me – they will come in handy.

Nutrition

Start each day off right – with breakfast. This can be a shake or another healthier option like sweet potato hash and eggs. I’m a fan of eating non-traditional breakfasts. Sweet potato chocolate chili, anyone?

A little Sunday meal prep can help you stay on track! I recently started using my Instant Pot  for this and it has helped tremendously.

The program recommends eating small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating 3 filling meals with minimal snacking. Do what works best for you. The included recipe booklet has fun meals such as BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza and Energy Trail Mix.

I love that the newer Beachbody programs all use the same container breakdowns. (NOTE: These will be updating soon to make it a little easier to convert recipes.) It makes it super easy to stay on top of your nutrition as you move through the programs. Use a simple formula to figure out how many of each container you get per day. My plan is based on a 1,200-1,499 calorie diet: 4Red (protein), 3Green (veggies), 2Purple (fruits), 2Yellow (carbs), 1Blue (healthy fats), 1Orange (nuts and seeds), and 2Teaspoons (oils). This turns out to be plenty of food, but if you’re still hungry, and a glass of water doesn’t do the trick, add another green or red. This plan can also be designed around a vegetarian or gluten free lifestyle.

The Portion Fix Containers help you eat just the right amount.

wp-1486303038296.png

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger and keep you hydrated. You might even consider adding Beachbody Hydrate into your routine.

My favorite way to keep hydrated is with my healthy human water bottle.

wp-1487968742257.jpg

Optional Equipment

  • Yoga Mat / Towel for elbow planks (the first round I got rug burn!)
  • Agility Ladder (Deluxe workouts only)

The Workouts

Workouts are switched up throughout the four weeks. Each varies from 6-12 three-minute rounds. You might not get them down right away, but you will as you repeat them. Again, the move breakdown videos are helpful.

Each week ends with a 21-minute Active Recovery (described above). Some days you’ll supplement the workouts with 5 Minute Core on the Floor and 16-minute Core Kinetics. Both are tough, but will get you where you need to be. If your muscles are sore and you are so inclined, there is a Relief workout that can be done each night – and get this: the trainers show up in their jammies!

The Trainers

Joel Freeman – Elite personal trainer and one of the newest Super Trainers in the Beachbody family.

Jericho McMatthews – Self-proclaimed “fitness chameleon,” new mommy (to the cutest baby!), and one of the newest Super Trainers in the Beachbody family.

The Results

Right now this is the newest program (but not for long!) and it has a lot of hype surrounding it. For good reason – it works. I read a ton of positive reviews online. You can expect to see results after the first week if you’re consistent. This is my favorite program. I may whine about it, but I still look forward to my workouts every day. Overall, I lost 4.6 pounds and 4 inches during my first round, but most importantly, I gained strength and definition. Nothing compares to feeling confident in your own skin.

Bottom Line: I have and will continue to recommend this to all of my friends and family. Try it out for yourself. What’s the worst that can happen? If you decide it’s not really your thing, Beachbody offers a 30-day money back guarantee (less s&h). If you do like it and you see results, be sure to submit your before and after photos, weight, and measurements to the Beachbody Challenge and they will send you a FREE t-shirt. Either way, you really can’t lose.

20170415_154800

Seriously, the comfiest shirt I own!

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

*Other package options available online. Team Beachbody Club members save 10%, coaches save 25%.

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see full disclosure for more information.)

Get your dance on

Let me just say this – I never knew dancing to country music could be so much fun! At first I was really unsure about Country Heat. A lot of Beachbody coaches and friends of mine were posting great things about the program, saying it was easy enough for people who can’t dance (AKA me). I tried a preview track online (Routine 1: Country Swing) and was hooked from the very first move. You don’t have to be a dancer to start or rock this program, but you will be a better one by the end of it.

 

This Beachbody workout is for you if you don’t really like putting the “work” in workouts, you want something with minimal commitment, you like to dance like a fool when no one’s watching, and/or you’re a country girl (or guy!) at heart. I honestly can’t think of any reasons why you wouldn’t want to try it. If you’re new to working out, this would make a great first program.

 

Country Heat lasts 30 days with a rest day on Sunday to give your body a break – so technically it’s only 26 days, which is totally doable. If you get the Deluxe package, you get a couple additional workouts to help you burn more calories and get fit faster.

 

What’s enticing about this program is that it’s so much fun that you don’t even feel like you’re working out. even so, you’ll still work up a sweat be the end. Most days the routines are approximately 30 minutes. You also have the option to add a quick line dance before or after your workout for an extra challenge. After your first week there are 7 days that include a second, 25-minute workout called Dance Conditioning.

 

This is the first program I’ve purchased digitally from Beachbody on Demand (BOD). My reason was simple – I did NOT want another set of portion control containers. (At the time of purchase, Beachbody had not released a DVD only set.) I couldn’t be happier with my BOD subscription. I stream the workouts on the big screen with my Amazon Firestick. I can easily access my purchased programs and try others that are available in the member library. Since the Firestick is portable, I can virtually take my workouts with me wherever I go – even on vacation.

Cost*

  • •Country Heat Base DVD Package w/o containers – $39.90 + s&h
  • •Country Heat Base DVD Package w/containers – $59.85 + s&h
  • •Country Heat Deluxe DVD Package – $119.70 + s&h
  • •Country Heat & Shakeology Challenge Pack – $140 + s&h

Before You Begin

Make sure to track your results! Take measurements, weigh yourself, and figure out your container breakdown (more details under “Nutrition”).

Watch the move breakdown videos; trust me – they will come in handy.

Nutrition

Start each day off right – with breakfast. This can be a shake or another healthier option like sweet potato hash and eggs. I’m a fan of eating non-traditional breakfasts. Sweet potato chocolate chili, anyone?

A little Sunday meal prep can help you stay on track!

The program recommends eating small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating 3 filling meals with minimal snacking. Do what works best for you. The included recipe booklet has fun meals such as Double Chocolate Cookies, Smoked Baked Beans, and Southwest Breakfast Scramble. You can even have a glass of wine a couple of days a week!

I love that the newer Beachbody programs all use the same container breakdowns. It makes it super easy to stay on top of your nutrition as you move through the programs. Use a simple formula to figure out how many of each container you get per day. Mine are based on a 1,200-1,499 calorie diet: 4Red (protein), 3Green (veggies), 2Purple (fruits), 2Yellow (carbs), 1Blue (healthy fats), 1Orange (nuts and seeds), and 2Teaspoons (oils). This turns out to be plenty of food, but if you’re still hungry, and a glass of water doesn’t do the trick, add another green or red. This plan can also be designed around a vegetarian or gluten free lifestyle.

The fix containers help you eat just the right amount.

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger and keep you hydrated. It might not seem like you’ll need it, but these workouts get you really sweaty.

My favorite way to keep hydrated – with my Healthy Human water bottle.

Optional Equipment

Yoga mat / towel for Dance Conditioning workouts

The Workouts

(In the Deluxe Program) there are 7 workouts that are alternated between the weeks. Each has 22 moves total and they are broken into pairs. You do the first move for 8 counts, the second move for 8, you put them together for 4 repetitions and then you move on to the next set. You might not get them down right away – I didn’t – but, by the end of the week, you’ll be good to go.

Dance Conditioning makes an appearance in week 2 and is only done 7 of the 26 working days. This is more about stretching and bodywork than it is about dancing, but it’s still fun and feels really good.

There are also two bonus line dances that you can add before or after your workout. One is a complete routine set to a song called “Night Crawl,” which was developed by Jody Messina specifically for this program. The other is a routine set to Jill Johnson’s “Cowboy Up.” At the end, Autumn will show you how to do the turns required in “real” country line dancing.

The dance routines feature well-known music tracks such as “Footloose,” “That’s My Kinda Night,” “5 1 5 0,” and “I Like It, I Love It.”

The Trainer

Image is the property of Beachbody, LLC.

Autumn Calabrese – Celebrity Fitness Trainer, creator of the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix EXTREME, co-creator of Hammer & Chisel, and author of the Fixate cookbook. She’s a doll and her upbeat attitude will motivate you to finish every rep.

The Results

A lot of people seem to love this program – and I can definitely add myself to that list. I read a ton of positive reviews online. You can definitely expect to see results in week two if you follow through. This is one of my favorites. I looked forward to my workouts every day. Overall I lost a few pounds, but for me, the biggest victory way realizing that I actually enjoy working out. I honestly never thought I would be the type of person who worked out every day. Since starting Country Heat in October, I’ve worked out 5-6 days a week. And most recently, I’ve been on a 7-day streak since January 2nd.

The Beachbody app makes it easy and fun to log and track workouts.

Bottom Line: I have and will continue to recommend this to all of my friends and family. Try it out for yourself. What’s the worst that can happen? If you decide it’s not really your thing, Beachbody offers a 30-day money back guarantee (less s&h). If you do like it and you see results, be sure to submit your before and after photos, weight, and measurements to the Beachbody Challenge and they will send you a FREE t-shirt. Either way, you really can’t lose.

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

*Other package options available online. Team Beachbody Club members save 10%, coaches save 25%. Prices valid as of 2/1/2017. Visit teambeachbody.com/KPfitMiss for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach!

 

Keep on blazin’ on

What is the Fitbit Blaze? A smart watch that, in addition to telling time, allows you to track your steps, calories burned, heart rate, and log daily exercise, among other things.
Who is it for? Anyone who wants to track daily activity, up their fitness game, add challenges, and look stylish while doing so.

Price. Starts out at $199.95, but can be caught on sale.

Why I like it

Stylish. The watch has received criticism for its 80s-like retro feel. (As if that were a bad thing!) I prefer the Fitbit’s rectangular shape over a circular watch face. But really, it’s just about personal preference.

Comfortable. I’ll admit that when I first saw the watch in person, I wasn’t sure I would be able to sleep with it. It’s pretty large in comparison to my small wrist. BUT, like (un-itchy) clothing, once you have it on, you don’t really feel it anymore. The band is soft and flexible and there are plenty of holes to find the right fit. I don’t even notice it while sleeping.

Awesome App. The app is very user friendly and automatically syncs to the watch to provide you with updated stats upon launch. You can see your steps, miles traveled, calories burned, time exercised, sleep quality, and so much more. You can even look at trends for the week or month. It also shows you how much battery is left and when you need a recharge. It’s really awesome and gets an A++ from me.

Move Reminders. If you have a desk job, you’ll appreciate the hourly reminders to get up and move. Small movements throughout the day add up – if you take 250 steps each hour while at work, you will have taken 2,000 by the time you quit for the night. Take a walk to refill your water, grab a cup of tea, or, like I prefer, walk to the farthest bathroom and back.

Sleep. Easily track your sleep quality and habits, and awake to a silent alarm each morning. I wasn’t sure that the slight vibrations would wake me up. They do. The problem is hitting snooze!

Customizable. There are so many fun ways to switch up your style. Fitbit sells a variety of interchangeable bands, but some cost upwards of $75. Check eBay for many bands under $5. You can also change the way the clock displays – there are 9 digital and analog styles to choose from.

Battery Life. The battery lasts about 4 days, which is fantastic (and a lot longer than other smart watches). You also get a pretty long warning before the system shuts down. Mine blinked red for over 8 hours and I was able to plug it in before it flat lined (not ideal, but it happens).

Why some people don’t

Display. The Blaze has been criticized for NOT having an Always On display. I can tell you that I’m not a fan of always on for two reasons – it drains the battery faster and it is kind of annoying. With the Blaze, you click the left button to turn on the screen and it stays on for a few seconds – long enough to check the time, the date, and your stats. You can also raise your wrist (as if to check the time) and the display will appear. If that’s a total deal breaker, you might want to look into other smart watches.

It’s not waterproof. I’ve had other activity trackers that you can shower and swim with. It would make it more convenient, but it’s not a must for me. I just remove it with the rest of my jewelry before I hop in the shower and put it back on when I’m done. No big deal.

Charging. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the method of charging. You have to pop the device out of the band / unit and put it into the charging “dock.” I would much prefer wireless charging, or another method that doesn’t require disassembling the unit. But it does only take about 2 hours to get a full charge that lasts 4 days – I definitely can’t complain about that.

These future upgrades would be totally awesome

Notifications. You can get multiple notifications – text, email, calendar appointments, etc. sent straight to your Blaze. I wish you could respond to them with a touch of a finger, but you can’t. While the watch is smart, it’s a smart FITNESS watch, with fitness being the top priority. Future models could include the ability to respond and I’m sure the ratings would be off the charts.

FitStar. The watch comes with a built-in module called FitStar, which helps you to get fit anywhere through body weight workouts. You can do a warm-up, 7-minute workout, or 10-minute abs. The problem? If you don’t use the application, you can’t remove it. Is it annoying? Not to me, but I’ve seen a few complaints about it. Future models could suppress this feature.

Camera. Typical smart watches include the ability to point the camera with the phone and snap a picture from the watch. What an awesome feature this would be on the Blaze. The technology to make a shutter button is out there – think Bluetooth selfie sticks!

The icing on the cake (AKA why this is my must-have fitness gadget)

Heart Rate

  • I started tracking my stress levels and heart rate a few months ago to see if they were migraine triggers. I know that my resting heart rate is between 68 and 72, so when I’m feeling stressed or upset, I can check the watch and see if there is any elevation. Of course there usually is. I know that when my heart rate is elevated I need to practice some relaxation techniques to bring it down.
  • I can also track my heart rate during exercise to see what my average and max heart rates are and when I’m in the fat burning zone. This is also really helpful if you are looking to lose weight.

Calories Burned

  • I had another fitness tracker that wasn’t so great at the calorie tracking. I was getting so discouraged because my morning cardio workouts were only registering as 33 calories burned. I felt like I was just wasting my time. With the Blaze, I can see that I’m burning over 200 calories for every 30 minutes of exercise. That really motivates me to keep it up!

Smart Features

  • This is not just your typical fitness tracker. You can see your texts and calls, and control your music with the tap of your finger. This comes in handy at work when I need to pause my music or audiobook to take a call or if someone stops by my desk – it’s faster than pausing through the phone.

Badges

  • You can earn different badges for exercise milestones and then share them on Facebook or Twitter. When I was in Colorado in early December and we hiked up a gigantic mountain, I got a Stadium badge for climbing 150 floors in a day! I’ll probably never get close to that again, but it was a pretty awesome achievement.

 

Bottom Line: This is, hands-down, the best investment you could make for your personal health. Why? Because you will either see your fitness efforts paying off, which will push you to keep going OR you will realize how inactive you really are during the day and form better habits. I would totally recommend this to a friend.

Shake it up!

Do you know how hard it is to find a dairy-free protein shake that actually tastes good? It was like looking for a unicorn…until now. Vega protein is certified vegan, non-GMO, gluten free, and just as the name suggests – completely plant-based and devoid of dairy. This stuff is liquid gold (especially for us lactose intolerant peeps!).

Vega Protein & Greens (prices vary by size)

Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry, Tropical, Natural, Coconut Almond.

This protein is so versatile – use it to make a morning shake, smoothie bowl, overnight oats, waffles, and more. Check out Vega’s Recipe Center for a mountain of ideas.

It has 20 grams of protein, a whopping 2 servings of veggies (including kale, spinach, and broccoli), and is only 110 calories. It’s literally a salad in a glass – except, it tastes like dessert. It’s a great way to get those veggies in.

Vanilla

This one is my favorite from the product line. The mild vanilla flavor makes it a great base for seasonal shakes such as a fresh berry smoothie in the summer and a pumpkin spice one in the fall. I prefer to drink the shake blended with either almond or coconut milk because it’s so smooth and creamy.

Chocolate

This one is great for desserts and baking. Of course I love drinking my chocolate salad, but it also functions as a good cocoa powder for chocolate recipes such as protein power balls and mug cakes. Yum!

At about $1.50 per serving, you can’t go wrong. It’s probably the cheapest you’ll pay for a healthy breakfast.

Vega One Starter Bundle ($14.99)

A shake for each day of the week – how cool is that? Try them all and find your favorites before committing to an entire container. Test the shakes for an entire week to see how your body feels after drinking them. That’s a great price for a week’s worth of breakfasts, if you ask me.

And if you want more than just a shake, there is a super awesome recipe for Chocolate Donuts on the site – what!

Vega Sport Starter Bundle ($19.99)

This package includes singles of: Pre-Workout Energizer in Lemon Lime & Acai Berry, Endurance Gel in Raspberry & Orange Zest, Electrolyte Hydrator in Lemon Lime & Berry, Recovery Accelerator in Tropical & Apple Berry, Performance Protein Singles in Chocolate, Berry, and Vanilla, and Protein Bars in Chocolate Coconut (2) and Chocolate Peanut Butter (2).

It is well worth the small investment to find products that you can add right into your daily routine. If you’re really active, this might be a good bundle for you. I’ve gotten into the habit of working out 1-2 times a day and definitely noticed a change with the Pre-Workout Energizer. It gave me the boost I needed to power through my 5am workout! I also fell in love with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars and Berry Performance Protein – they both kept me full and satisfied for hours.

Vega offers many other products, such as smoothies, protein powders, snack bars, and vitamins. For more information or to make a purchase, visit myvega.com.

 

DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Vega. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.