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THE FITBIT BLOG

World Series Workout: Train Like an MLB Athlete

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The World Series kicks off today, and with America’s favorite pastime in the limelight for a seven-game series, we wondered: how do Major League Baseball players train to keep in top shape on the diamond? Believe it or not, the answer is rather simple.

We asked the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach Brendon Huttmann how he’s helped players stay trained for October. Here’s what we found:

Aside from weightlifting, which is an entire program within itself, we keep our preparation very simple.  We stick to simple movement exercises to keep several muscle groups engaged. Think squats, lunges, core exercises and other simple movements.

We stick to this—and adjust the types within each category—every day for our pre-game activation program.

Want to put in into action? Here’s a workout that will have you on your way to field shape.

Do 1 set of all exercises at 10 reps each. Keep it simple:

  • SquatsSquats are one of the best exercises you can do on a regular basis. A simple, full-body workout that trains the quads, hips, hamstrings and glutes (and improves flexibility and mobility), squats are incredibly efficient and provide multidimensional benefits. Especially important for MLB players who uses the aforementioned muscle groups to accelerate from dead stop to full sprint.
  • Lunges – Another lower-focused exercise that works the quads, hamstrings and glutes. Are we noticing a trend? Lower-half strength is extremely important for baseball players to generate extreme power from hitting to throwing to sprinting.
  • Abdominal and low back exercise of choice – With abdominal and lower back core movements, you don’t need more than 10 to feel the burn. Try varying your core workouts each day — there’s a seemingly endless amount to keep it varied and interesting.
  • Chop and lifts – When you use a machine, rope, bar or band in a movement that’s crosses over the mid-line of your body, that’s a chop or lift. It’s a great baseball exercise because it’s effective at creating core strength for sports that require body rotation. Again, think about all that rotational, core and lower-body strength used when swinging a bat to generate ballpark power.
  • Medicine ball movements - Try a squat with a chest press, lateral throws, lateral throw-downs and other medicine ball exercises. This is a unique Pirates training component that finishes off the workout.

 

 

 

Fall Fitness Tips to Keep You Active

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fall fitness

Changing weather can also mean a change in routine, which is the perfect time to update your fitness habits. While it may be tempting to let things become more relaxed when schedules fill up and sweaters come out of the closet, keeping up with your fitness goals (or creating new ones!) is the perfect way to stay healthy all year long. To make the most out of your Fall fitness plans, here are some tips to keep things going:

1. Try a Morning Workout. For those who live somewhere with daylight savings, you’ll be getting an extra hour to your mornings in just a few weeks. Instead of sleeping in, try moving up your wake-up time and using that extra hour to go for a run or hit the gym. With the sun going down earlier, it’s also great for those who don’t have the gear (or desire) to work out past sundown.

2. Wear Reflective Clothing. If you ARE someone who’s sticking to a later workout schedule, be sure to invest in reflective clothing. A setting sun can make it hard for cars to notice someone crossing the street, so stay safe and do your best to stay visible.

3. Start Using a Scale. Bulky clothes and jackets can make it harder to notice when our bodies are changing. Know where you stand by making a habit of weighing yourself once a week (without the heavy clothes) so that there are no surprises when you go back to spring fashion. The Fitbit Aria will even sync your weight stats to your Fitbit account so you can track your trends over time!

4. Make a Plan. Don’t just set goals – set up a plan to help you accomplish them. If you want to walk 10,000 steps a day but usually only walk 6,000, plan on taking a walk on your lunch break or heading to the gym and not leaving until your goal is met. Make sure any gear you need (workout clothes, running shoes) is packed up and ready to go the night before so that you don’t have to rush in the morning. Or if you want to eat healthier, plan your menus a week ahead so that you aren’t scrambling while hungry later.

5. Try Something New. Whether you’ve always wanted to try yoga or are looking to expand your recipe book, Fall is a great time to learn new things. Commit to trying one new exercise class or looking up healthy recipes to learn (or even serve during the holidays!).

6. Layer Up. It’s getting colder outside, but you’ll soon warm up if you’re exerting yourself. So make sure you dress in layers so you can keep yourself comfortable when working out outside.

7. Wear Sunscreen. It might not be summer, but it’s just as important to protect your skin in the Fall! Make sure you put sunscreen on before any sweatshirts and jackets so that you’re ready if you need to remove your top layer of clothing.

8. Stay Hydrated. Hydration is important in every season. Just because it’s not hot out doesn’t mean you should drink any less water. Try keeping a bottle next to you at all times and tracking how much you drink throughout the day on Fitbit to hold yourself accountable.

9. Try Tea. If you get bored of plain water, you can keep hydrated AND warm with herbal teas! Teas have also been known to have health benefits on their own, so read up on different kinds to give yourself a boost in other areas of your health as well. Plus, just sitting with a hot cup of tea can help you get a little extra R&R as well.

10. Reward Yourself. One way to stay motivated is to give yourself rewards when you meet certain milestones. Whether you’re motivated by treating yourself to a healthy meal out or a trip to the spa, find things to let yourself indulge in along your path to fitness.

And whatever you do, have fun! It’s easier to keep up with something when you enjoy what you’re doing, so find a way to combine fitness with fun.

8 Ways to Avoid Common Gym Mistakes with Harley Pasternak

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gym mistake

With the weather cooling down, getting into the gym might be the best way to keep your fitness routine going. But the ins and outs of gym etiquette can be daunting if you’re new. Rather than let any gym anxiety get the best of you, we asked celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak for his tips to avoid typical gym mistakes. Here are 8 easy ways to keep your routine going. read more

These Students Used Fitbit to Win MIT’s Biggest Hackathon

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(Image of BeaverDash via Zoe Sheinkopf, Technique)

Over the first weekend in October, MIT held its biggest hackathon yet. Hundreds of undergraduates set up camp for HackMIT with a shot at a potential prize of up to $4,000. Fitbit—along with other services including Uber, Google Places, and DirecTV—provided its API for participants to create cutting-edge tech.

BeaverDash, the winning team, created a Web application that alerts students when free food or items are being offered, where and how long it would take to get to them.

From BostInno: “The team used MIT’s free food and reuse mailing lists as their proof-of-concept, alerting individuals when an email is sent to those lists. BeaverDash then displays the free items on a Google map, with estimated travel times, as well as walking and biking directions. For users who choose to walk or bike, BeaverDash is integrated with the Fitbit API, meaning they can receive customized calculations on how many calories would be burned getting to the free items, as well as store their activity to their Fitbit log with a single click.”

Pretty cool, huh? Congrats to team BeaverDash. You can read more about HackMIT here.

Stay Active While Keeping Up With Your Favorite Fall Shows

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Indoor workout

Fall sometimes means a change to routine; with kids back in school, the weather quickly changing, and the holiday season just around the corner there’s plenty of new things to disrupt our workout schedules. But even with a busier schedule and cooler weather, there are still plenty of ways to keep up with your daily goals.

One way to work fitness into an otherwise-sedentary routine? Work out during your favorite Fall shows! There’s no reason you can’t keep up with your favorite series and get off the couch at the same time. So to help you move more, here are just a few ways work in a little extra exercise in your day.

  • Walk laps during commercials. If you aren’t able to fast-forward through the ads, why stick around to watch? Unless it’s Super Bowl time, you won’t be missing much. So get up and walk laps for the two minutes or so they’re running, and you’ll probably boost your step count by a few hundred at a time! We bet you can reach 1000 before the end of an episode if you do this for every commercial.
  • Finish a 15-minute workout between episodes. Not into commercials, and binge-watching something on Netflix instead? Promise yourself to get up and do a quick workout between episodes. It could be as simple as completing a circuit workout you like, or try something new each time. If you need some suggestions of where to start, there are plenty of workouts we’ve shared that can be easily modified.
  • Create a workout game. Create a game that lets you work out when certain things happen in the show. So every time Prince Charming and Snow kiss you do 10 crunches, or get up for 20 squats whenever they start a new workout on Biggest Loser. Figure something out that will see you sweating by the end of an episode!
  • Switch up sitting/standing between commercials. Sitting for most of the day is bad for your health. Even though it’s tempting to collapse on the couch after a long day, try to minimize how much you’re sitting by standing up every other commercial, and staying standing until the next commercial.
  • Use TV time as a reward for exercise. Sometimes you just need some downtime, and we get that too. But if you want that half hour of uninterrupted couch time, AND want to motivate yourself to exercise more, try using your time with the TV as a reward for working out. So tell yourself you aren’t allowed to watch the latest episode until you complete a workout, and you’ll have a regular workout routine in no time!

If you’re already finding ways to get extra steps at home, let us know in the comments!

From Steps to IRONMAN: Running for Melanoma Research

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IM Kona Nicole

Hi, I’m Nicole Serraiocco. I’m a wife, mother of three adorable maniacs, and soon I’ll be an IRONMAN. I’m not a fitness expert or a lifelong devotee to sport. In fact, I only completed my first marathon less than a year ago. But the universe seems to have conspired to present me with this challenge and I’ve decided to accept.

I spend most of my days wrangling three young children, carting them to school and their various activities, trying to keep the house in some kind of relative order and squeeze in workouts when I can. I’ve found that being a part of a class or a group keeps me accountable and motivated, and it was as a member of one of these groups that I met the man who threw the proverbial IRONMAN glove in my face; my rockstar coach, Thad Beaty.

Thad and I discovered that we had the same shared history of losing loved ones to Melanoma cancer, myself having lost my father shortly after I was married, and now supporting a dear friend and mother of three who has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma.

The other day I realized it was only 9am and I had already logged close to 30K steps.

After losing his IRONMAN Kona-inspired teammate Naomi Cermak to the cancer last year, Thad wanted to make an impact on this common disease that seems to get so little attention in the press. He saw something in me, some crazy fire and determination, that prompted him to team me up with the Melanoma Research Foundation as their official IRONMAN athlete for the World Championships at Kona, 2014. Together, we’ve committed to raising $50,000 for the awareness and prevention of Melanoma.

A Day In The Life

My challenge, (aside from tackling the biggest, scariest endurance race of my life) is to find the balance between taking care of myself, taking care of this commitment and taking care of my family.

Taking care of my family means I have to do most of my training early in the morning. If I want to squeeze in a 14-mile run before the kids get up, that means I get up at 4:15am for a run, to be done in time to get the first kid on the bus at 6:30am.

The other day I realized it was only 9am and I had already logged close to 30K steps. I’m bound to get some helicopter badges here, right? read more

Fitbit Success Stories: Ann D.

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Fitbit Success Stories is a recurring feature on the Fitbit Blog. You’ll read inspirational and personal stories about Fitbit users who have achieved amazing things as a result of their Fitbit tracker, diet, exercise, and sheer ambition.

Ann successstory

“It’s time.” That’s what the voice in my head was telling me: that it was time to do something about my weight. It was early 2013 and I was carrying around 286 lbs. on my 5’6” frame—not a healthy place to be as I approached my 50th birthday.

I knew that things had to be different this time around – that whatever changes I made to my life had to be sustainable over the long-term. After all, what would be the point of working really hard to lose weight, only to end up gaining that weight back again?

I started out by keeping a food diary so I could get an accurate handle on the quantities and types of foods I was eating.

About four months into my weight loss journey, I treated myself to a Fitbit Flex with the hope of boosting my physical activity level.

That changed everything for me. read more

Watch this Fitbit Cameo on NBC’s “Parenthood”

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Are you a Parenthood fan? If so, you probably caught Fitbit co-starring in Thursday’s episode on NBC.

For Zeek’s (Craig T. Nelson) birthday, the fam gifts him a Fitbit to help get him into shape after his doctor’s recommendation to have heart surgery. We think it’s a great gift. But the tasteless gluten-free cake? Not so much.

Just click play on the video above—we’ve got it all queued up for you.

Sweet Surrender: 5 Easy Tips to Cut Back on Sugar

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sugar

“Sugar has a bullseye on its back these days”—that’s what one of the speakers said at a recent nutrition conference I attended.

But rather than rolling our eyes at all the “sugar media,” we should realize there’s truth to this messaging. Sugar stinks and it deserves all the negative press it’s receiving.

However, I don’t believe quitting sugar cold-turkey is always the answer. In reality, you need a plan. We all need guidance and using Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar, we quit sugar in the Foodtrainers’ offices for one month.

As someone who has never felt especially drawn to a dessert tray or cookie plate, it was still extremely difficult. Sugar lurks everywhere. So here are a few tips if you’re planning a sugar breakup or just looking to spend less time together with your sweet old pal. read more

Essential Sleep Tips: How to Wake Up Easier in the Morning

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Fall is the perfect season for sleep. Cool and crisp nights cuddled up in a blanket are the best. That is, until you need to get up the next morning.

In full disclosure: I’m a morning lark so in a lot of ways, the dark mornings help me sleep in to a normal human hour (rather than waking at 5:45am with the sun). But for many people, the dark mornings make it even harder to get up and going, especially on workdays.

Aside from improving your sleep by tracking your progress with a Fitbit Flex or One, here are a few tips for increasing your ability to hop out of bed, even before the sunrise: read more