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THE FITBIT BLOG

Bouldering: Your Favorite New Workout

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Rocking climbing without ropes—sound intriguing? Bouldering is like climbing’s close cousin, less high-flying but equally demanding. And a heck of a lot of fun.

Your target is a short series of individual moves, laid out in a specific route. It’s physically challenging but also mentally tough; you’re always thinking a few moves ahead. Plus, you can boulder solo—no belayer needed.

Indoor bouldering gyms are a great place to start, but outdoor facilities are also popular. Still not convinced? Here are 5 great reasons to give bouldering a try.

  1. It’s a freakin’ workout. If you think 5-10 climbing moves will be a breeze, think again. Bouldering is a full-body workout…arms, shoulders, back, core and legs. Everything’s working. First-time climbers often over rely on arm strength, but properly utilizing core and legs is essential so you’re not taxing individual muscles.
  2. It’s as much mental as physical. Yes, after a few routes you’ll likely be physically taxed. But properly thinking out each route is essentially to success and stamina. Head to a bouldering gym and observe. You’ll find groups of boulderers conversing, pointing, and staring intently at the wall. This is pre-planning. Knowing where you’re next move will be is the key to completing a route without burning yourself out.
  3. Body positioning is key. Attacking the wall straight up and down is a bad strategy. Instead, keeping your body in a sideways position will help you with fluid motions and use less precious energy.
  4. Stay hydrated. Water is key. Keep your fluids near as you’ll need them. Believe it or not, two minutes on the wall will often max out your heart rate.
  5. Step up your resistance training. When you’re starting out, you may feel like you don’t have the stamina to tackle more than a few routes. And that’s OK. What can help is stepping up your strength and resistance training. Think pull-ups, push-ups, squats and planks—easy to do outside a gym and crazy effective in building a foundation for the wall.
  6. Don’t skimp on gear. Climbing is relatively low-tech. But grabbing a nice pair of climbing shoes is a solid investment. These will immensely help your wall positioning and movement, and keep your feet comfy enough so that you’re not worrying about foot pain or slipping. And you’ll want clothes allow for a full range of motion, and here cotton reigns supreme, holding up best against the abrasive surface of the wall.

What Type of Yoga is Right For You?

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As a yoga newbie or even a seasoned yoga veteran, deciphering the studio schedule can be baffling. And that’s often an understatement.

Luckily, there’s a yoga class out there for everyone and every body. Here’s a quick guide (in order from active to mellow) to help you navigate the yoga maze. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different classes to figure out what type of class is best for you. You just might be surprised by what hooks you in.

Ashtanga:  Expect a similar sequence each class with vigorous and gymnastic transitions between poses. The origin of vinyasa/power/flow classes.

Vinyasa/Power/Flow: These terms are used interchangeably for sweaty and faster moving classes. Best for folks already familiar with the basic poses and who are seeking a workout.

Hatha: A garden variety term for yoga. Expect moderate to low intensity. A good class for beginners or folks returning to yoga. Hatha can be a great branching off point to more advanced classes.

Iyengar: Detailed, slow instructions, lots of props (blocks, straps, bolsters, etc.) and plenty of teacher demos. Great for students wanting to master or return to the basics.

Gentle/Therapeutic: Expect a mild and slow class with lots of time on the floor. Great for older, injured, or just plain burnt out students. A solid yoga reset…

Restorative: Wiped out and need a nap? In this class you’ll cuddle up on bolsters and get a serious recharge. And if you think you’re above a restorative class, think again—you’ll be surprised at just how much you need a reset every once in a while.

Prenatal: Great for anyone who is pregnant, prenatal yoga is a great way to prepare for childbirth and may even promote good health for a newborn baby.

Each teacher shares his/her own take on the yoga tradition, so these class descriptions are a general guide. Research teachers by talking to other students, asking the front desk staff, and reading the bios on the studio website. Remember each teacher writes his/her own bio so if a teacher’s language resonates with you, it could be a good fit. Your alchemy with a teacher will matter more than the type of class listed on the schedule. If you find a teacher, a time, and a location that works for you, you’ll soon get hooked!

Sadie Chanlett-Avery is a certified yoga and kettlebell instructor, as well as the in-house yogi at Clif Bar & Company here in the Bay area.

Fitbit Inspiration: Jennifer C.

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Tough Mudder image

Running isn’t a hobby it’s a career, and on February 27, 2014 my career got a little more interesting. That was the day I got invited to join a work group to complete Tough Mudder.

In the beginning, I was thrilled telling myself that it’s just like some of the other obstacle races I had run, only longer. At the time, I was averaging 10K steps per day, using my Fitbit Zip to calculate each move I made.

With only seven months to train, I knew I had my work cut out for me. My primary goal was just getting up to a 12-mile run, about three times longer than my usual distance. Each week I added 1K steps to my run until I hit my 12-mile goal, I then decided to make it a little more challenging.

My weekends began to fill with 10-mile trail walks on Saturdays and 12-mile trail runs on Sundays. At this point, two months before Tough Mudder, I felt I was trained and ready to go. But then I started browsing the race website and quickly realized: I was not ready.

My Zip pushed me to get gradually increase my steps/distance, betting my time and training.

Needless to say, I increased my workout intensity lifting weights, swinging kettleballs, kickboxing, and completing various core workouts to increase my upper body and core strength as quickly as possible. The ultimate goal was preparing for a Tough Mudder obstacle called Everest—a quarter pipe climb covered in mud and grease. With just one month to train for this terrifying climb,  the one tool that I used the most was my Zip.

I found the highest hill near my house and ran all-out wind sprints. I started with just a few feet, but gradually increased to sprinting the entire hill and back several times. My Zip pushed me to get gradually increase my steps/distance, betting my time and training.

On the morning of race day, I was nervous and excited. At 9am we were on the road and by 10am, at the starting line to the Tough Mudder in Montgomery City, MO. In the back of my pants was a zipper pouch where I had my most reliable tool, my Fitbit, in two plastic bags hoping that it would survive along with me on our 12-mile obstacle race.

With my husband by my side, we completed one obstacle after another—even one where I had to carry him 500 feet!

We jumped in the arctic enema (think tank full of ice water) diving underwater, shaking as I moved through the ice bath to the opposite side.

The final obstacle—a muddy sprint through a barrage of hanging, electrically charged wires—stood between me and the finish line. With a couple shocks to my frame, I crossed the finish line, hoping my Zip was still in one piece.

Through all the mud, water, and obstacles both me and my trusty Zip and survived. It tracked all 12 miles, validating one of the most physically challenging days of my life.

It’s amazing what a person can accomplish by overcoming your fears with the tools and team to help achieve your goals.

 

Cold Weather Training: 6 Tips for Running in the Fall & Winter

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winter running

We recently wrote about Fall fitness tips to help you keep pumped and active all season long. But today, let’s take it a step further with specific tips for all you runners/joggers out there!

If you’re planning to stay on schedule with your running as the weather’s getting cold, there are some extra things to keep in mind. Race season may be months away, but keeping up with your running goals now will help you pick up your training right where you left off once the weather warms up.

Here’s how to stay focused:

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Fitbit Success Stories: Jonathan B.

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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.

jonthan success story 1

“Fight! No matter what happens in the next 24 hours I want you to fight and never give up. You hear me?”

Those were the words whispered to me on November 4, 2013, and they shaped the last year of my life. You see, that was the day I was rolled back into an operating room for a gastric bypass surgery. Everyone was scared of what would happen once I came out of surgery. The doctor was preparing everyone for the possibility that I would wind up in the ICU for a couple days or longer.

It was a surgery that not only saved my life, but gave me a new body and a new lease on life. I never went to the ICU. Though I had no major complications from the surgery and my recovery was a breeze, that comment about fighting has stuck with me this last year. It has become my motivation and my credo.

No matter what happens, each and every day I need to fight. I need to fight to get my body back. read more

Fitbit Halloween by the Numbers

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This is a guest post from Robert da Silva, a data scientist on the Fitbit R&D Team with a PhD. in Astrophysics. His favorite Halloween candy is Reese’s Pieces, just like E.T.

It can be a challenge to stay healthy during the holidays. Mostly it’s eating too much turkey or holiday desserts. And the king of all the unhealthy holidays just might be Halloween, a day entirely based upon collecting buckets of candy. But Halloween is also a holiday where walking plays a large role. Whether trick-or-treating or just walking with the kids, people go door-to-door collecting candy and racking up steps.

As members of the Data Science Team at Fitbit, we wanted to know how all those steps stacked up against that extra candy. We used our massive database of user step data, which allows us to analyze the impact of Halloween.

We started by exploring anonymized data from Halloween last year (2013), which fell on a Thursday. We found that, on average, users that went trick-or-treating gained 2,750 steps—that’s nearly 1.25 miles. And we know everyone loves Halloween candy, so we put together a few easy ways you can offset those extra calories by increasing your daily steps or engaging in a holiday workout. What else did we find? See the infographic below to find out.

So go out and rack up some spooky steps, just make sure the scariest part of your day isn’t your calorie total

Halloween Final Final web

 

Fitbit Charge, Charge HR & Surge: Welcome to a Whole New World of Fitness

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Today is an exciting day for Fitbit, and we’re so happy to share this news with you, our fans. Today we unveiled three new activity and sleep-tracking products: Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge. Continuing our mission to inspire people to lead healthier, more active lives, we’re releasing these three new innovative devices to help reach everyday, active or performance health and fitness goals.

So let’s take an in-depth look at each new product. read more

6 Dynamic Workouts You Can Do Outside the Gym

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hiking blog

Not everyone has the time or inclination to make it to the gym on a regular basis. And let’s be honest—sometimes the simple act of breaking a routine can be inspiring enough to create new habits.

So before the winter weather sets in, why not take advantage of the outdoors and take your workout outside of the gym? If you find yourself wanting to shake things up with a new outdoor workout, here are six favorites from celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak: read more

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:

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