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Archive for the tag “weekend”

Tom Tom Runner Cardio GPS Watch

Hi there!

A while ago, for my birthday, I was given the Tom Tom Cardio GPS Watch. It’s been months since I received it but I wanted to give it a really good go before I spoke about it. And, since there’s been a couple of gaps in posts and I’m wide awake at 6am I thought I would tell you a little bit more about it! What appealed to me about it was the fact that it has a heart rate monitor, which is a more accurate measure of calorie burn and fitness improvement. It’s a great way to keep track of how well you’re doing throughout your training and that was a major appeal to me. The heart rate monitor is also not a strap around your chest (which I’ve heard can be annoying). The heart rate monitor is placed underneath the watch face and is an optical monitor. A rather bright green light (do not look into it) will appear when the watch is active and this measures your pulse on the top of your wrist to measure your heart rate. Another appeal is the GPS tracking device that is very accurate and can be paired with an app on your laptop, smart phone, tablet etc to get a really nice looking presentation of each of your runs and your progress.

Fit The fitting of this watch is important. The heart rate monitor will not work properly unless it’s placed in the correct place on your wrist, which is just above the wrist bone. It’s not uncomfortable fortunately, even though you have to fasten the watch in such a way the watch fits snugly. The fit is tighter than I wear a normal watch, but the wide strap makes it more a comfortable fit . The strap is wide and fastens very securely, so there’s no movement on the run (at least there shouldn’t be it you’ve tightened it enough). Once fitted, the watch is pretty quick at detecting your heart rate.

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Use Once you’ve excitedly torn the watch from it’s impressively sturdy plastic box you need to charge it. It’s a relatively quick process and once it’s charged it’s very easy to get started. You can fill in all your details regarding your age, height, weight and gender to get accurate readings. It is also possible to have it in pounds or kilograms, miles or kilometres and centimetres or feet. Once fully charged the battery lasts between 4-6 hours, depending on length of your runs. Using the watch is really easy. There is one large button underneath the watch face that you use to navigate through the menu. There’s 3 options for running; run, treadmill or stopwatch. You can custom the run into sprint, speed, endure, fat burn and easy. It’s a super easy watch to navigate which is brilliant. Also, I know other runners who have touch sensitive watches and running in the rain makes it a nightmare sometimes to use them, this one does not have this problem! It is also waterproof (although I do not recommend showering with it on). The GPS element of the watch is also quick. I typically don’t initiate the GPS loading until I’m outside walking towards my gate and usually by the time I’ve gotten to the gate (about 30 seconds) the watch is ready to go. Once you start running you can have the watch display calories, distance, time, heart rate or average pace. If you have customised your run, for example to sprints, it will beep and vibrate to inform you of when to speed up or slow down, so you don’t need to be constantly looking down to monitor your pace (which results in a time check, which can be hard). During your run you can pause the run very easily by holding down the left button for 3 seconds, then to re-start the run you press the right button. The screen moves fluently through the menus and is easy to read whilst bobbing up and down. You can also activate a light by touching the actual face of the watch, the back light is powerful and brilliant for less than ideal visibility. Post-run you can check your run statistics on numerous channels. The first is the actual watch, via the ‘History’ option, you can also sync it via bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet if you have the Tom Tom Sports app (recommended). You can also set it up on your laptop or computer and plug it in via USB. The bluetooth connection takes a bit longer than the USB but sometimes it’s less hassle to sync via bluetooth than boot up a laptop! Monitoring your progress is very easy with the Tom Tom app (laptop/smart phone/tablet version) interface. You can see all your runs in chronological order and by clicking on it you can see a map of where you ran plus graphs showing elevation, speed, calories and average pace. It also very easy to use.

Overall This is my first running watch, but I’ve used a couple of Garmin watches in passing and I’ve got to say, the Tom Tom experience for me has been a lot better. I find it a lot easier to use and the built-in heart rate monitor is the real deal breaker or me. I can’t imagine having to wear a chest strap (a sports bra is enough, thank you). The watch fits well, doesn’t rub and gives me an in-depth analysis of my run. You can also connect the device to websites such as The Running Bug, which allows you to track your runs and exercise on a social network. It’s both brilliant for the gym and running outside.

I won’t lie, I had issues with this watch regarding the heart rate monitor. Upon arriving in Spain the heart rate monitor started to cut out when I got sweaty (which was very quick, given it was 30°C or higher). However, I contacted Tom Tom support, who very quickly got the watch repaired for me! Tom Tom’s quick and careful service ensured I would actually review this watch. I can accept sometimes things malfunction and Tom Tom’s professional handling of the mistake makes me believe the watch is definitely worth buying because if something doe go wrong, Tom Tom will help.

So, if you’re looking for a new running watch and want good, accurate readings, go for this one! You can also get it’s sister Tom Tom Multi Sport Cardio GPS Watch, which has additional settings for cycling and swimming. The Runner comes in black and red or red and white and whilst it does have a high price (standard RRP of £219.99, I got mine on Wiggle for £190 on offer) it is worth it if you’re really focused on training and improving. The watch can also be a great source of motivation as it pushes you to keep trying to improve your performance. Looking at your progress on the app and seeing it displayed run by run really motivates you to try “shaves those last few seconds off”. It also helps you get the most out of your workout. I really love my watch and it’s easy use, comfortable fit and sleek technology definitely make it one of my better purchases! Last minute Christmas gift, anyone?

Hope everyone has an excellent Friday and an even better weekend!

Gym Bug


Stretches to get you through your day

Hi there!

I’ve already done a post on the importance of stretching but this is about some stretches to do whilst at work, studying, sitting at desk etc to help prevent aches and pains associated with sitting down (which is becoming an increasingly covered health risk). I like doing these as mini-revision breaks to clear my mind a bit and help stretch out muscles that have lay idle for too long. I’ve decided it’s best to give you the links to th stretches I use, since it’s easier to be shown how to perform the stretch through photos than it is to explain!

I also do basic likes bending over with straight legs and back, doing arm circles, reaching for the ceiling without lifting my feet from the ground and giving myself a big hug to stretch off my back.

Not only will these help stretch out any aches and pains from repetitive desk work sitting but it will also get your body moving a bit. As I’ve said, sitting is getting an increasingly bad reputation. It is becoming associated with poorer mental health, increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of becoming disabled and more. It’s also linked with obesity, high blood pressure and stress.
Other issues associated with sitting relate to increased risk of blood clots, increased pressure on the spine, poor circulation and fluid collecting in your legs.

This doesn’t mean you must invest in a standing desk or refuse to sit when you eat or watch TV. Instead, try move more, make it a habit to get up once and hour and pace around the room, stretch, just stand. Try reduce the amount your sitting down and you’ll hopefully feel more energised and focused. It’s also a nice break from the computer or TV!

Have a great weekend!

Gym Bug


Documentaries; Odd Source of Motivation?

Hi there!

Weekend is almost over but fear not I have developed a list of educational health, related documentaries for you to look forward to watching next weekend (or to fill your relaxing Sunday)! Yaay for educational activities! Okay, you probably think I’m really sad but these documentaries are actually really interesting and they really opened my eyes up to different health concerns, food production issues and other things. If you have a chance to watch them I recommend doing so! It’s really is interesting and motivational. You may find some of these have you changing what you eat, how you eat, how you view food and how you view the media’s view of “perfect and healthy”. Click on the titles of each movies to see the trailer.

  • Food, Inc; this is about the food production industry and is really interesting (and at times a little upsetting). It’s all about the multinational corporate control of food production and how profit seeking has led to poor health standards and treatment of animals and workers.
  • Fork Over Knives; this is about how degenerative diseases can be controlled (and in some cases reversed) by changing what we eat. The focus of this documentary is rejecting our current go-to diets of meat and processed foods.
  • Food Matters; this is about mass food production making the world sicker and how the constant promotion of “healthy foods” that are actually pumped full of very harmful chemicals.
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead; this follows one man’s journey to regaining his health. Joe Cross (our overweight, sick man in question) not only devotes himself to a 30 day diet of fruit and vegetable juices, he interviews over 500 Americans about food and eating habits. There’s also a special bond created between the main man and someone who shares the same illness as him.
  • I Want To Look Like That Guy; one man’s journey to getting those “magazine perfect” abs. This is great insight into the intense dedication required to get the types of bodies our media (unfortunately) perpetuates as being perfect. It’s an eye-opener and helped me accept that my own limits. However, make sure to read around it, there is some speculation as to the time-frame with this one. None the less, an interesting watch.
  • Bigger, Stronger, Faster; a more intense look into the world of bodybuilding and the unfortunate high use of steroids. It looks at the pressures of making it in the industry. It’s interesting to see how intense it is and the dangers of taking it too far.
  • Supersize Me; we’ve all heard of this one but it took me a long time to watch it. It was not pleasant but very interesting and McDonalds has never been the same for me! It’s a must-see if you’re going to make your way through this list (just don’t eat when watching).

There we have it! This list is not exhaustive; you can find heaps of documentaries related to health and fitness all over the web. I enjoy looking through Films For Action, they have some great ones. They also have a huge variety, so you can find any type of educational or informative movie or documentary for any interest!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Gym Bug

Slow or Fast; who wins this weights race?

Hi there!

Another weight training session today and I tried a slightly different technique based on some research I’d done. I got curious as to whether it was best to do fast repetitions or slow ones, so I researched it and tried out a slower routine today than normal.

Women’s Health Mag has discussed that both can have great benefits for the body. The key is the point in your training you’re at. If you’re a beginner, going fast will likely lead to injury. Going slow is also great if you’re looking to build strength. What you want to do is really focus on slowing down on the “release” stage of the lift. For example, doing a bicep curl, really focus on slowing the rate on the way down rather than on the way up.  By going too fast, too soon you risk injury to muscles and joints, especially if your technique isn’t quite on form. However, when performing the repetitions it’s best that you slow it down on the ‘release’ phase. I tried it today and I could definitely feel more of a burn, particularly with my abs. By doing the repetitions slower (for example, with a bicycle crunch) I could really feel my abs working hard.

Men’s Fitness also discuss this and state that lifting slow will see you develop more muscle mass. Again, it’s all about going slow on the ‘release’ phase of the repetition, this way you’re really working the muscles hard and developing more strength. Don’t worry ladies though, going slow won’t mean walking out the gym one day a bodybuilder, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it takes more than just lifting to get those types of muscles. Females lack testosterone, which is what’s needed to give you those bulging muscles. Always remember female bodybuilders or very muscular females are probably taking supplements to enable that type of muscle growth!

But does that mean fast isn’t beneficial? Not at all, however, it’s only wise to use faster repetitions when you’ve got the overall technique nailed down. This will help prevent injury. It’s also pertinent you’ve got muscle strength to maintain a safe technique whilst going through the more intense workout. By going faster you improve power and burn more calories but you need to be physically capable of maintaining a proper technique when more fatigued. By forcing the weight to move faster you’re using more energy, so you will notice you’re more tired, sweaty and out of breath by following this technique.  Be careful though!  Jerky, poor controlled movements will cause injury. You must remain in control of the weights to reap the rewards!

Here are a couple of exercises you can do both fast and slow;

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Bicep Curls
  • Squats (maybe not too fast if you’re using a bar)
  • Push Ups
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Tricep Dips

I’m going to do a session of 10 slow repetitions of different exercises, then next session try 15 repetitions in the same time frame for the same exercises. This way I’ll get to experience both! Hopefully it’s a new way to mix up my workouts. You should give it a try too!

Almost Friday. Keep going!

Gym Bug


Hi there!

Today’s post shall about something I’m sure we’ve all experienced. CRAVINGS. Horrible, potentially mood ruining thoughts in our mind that can cause us to scoff a whole chocolate bar within seconds. It can leave us feeling full, sick, frustrated, guilty or just downright sad. I’ve been there, sometimes it’s not even on bad food. Last night for example I was stuffing my face with oats and cornflakes, which aren’t super unhealthy. It was the fact I just didn’t control it that annoyed me so much, plus I felt sick. However, there are ways to combat cravings, because the actual craving itself is typically short-lived, so it can be overcome. Here’s a few tips I’ve come across either through talking to people, reading or my own learning.

  • Drink water. If you start craving an extra line of the chocolate bar or third helping at dinner take a big, long drink of water first. This will fill you up and hopefully keep your brain reminded that it is fully and does not want that food.
  • Walk away. If you’re near whatever you’re craving just walk away for a little bit and do something else. It can be anything, watch a film or video, listen to music, talk to someone, read a book, do some squats. Just distract yourself until you’re back in control.
  • Don’t tell yourself “I can’t have that” or “No”, you’ll want it even more. A great tip I’ve learned from the excellent documentary “Foodmatters” is to say to yourself “I can have it, but I don’t want it”. It sounds stupid, but it actually works. I recommend getting your hands on a copy of the film. It’s excellent.
  • Have a little bit. If you’re really craving it and it’s not passed, then cut a piece off, take a spoonful, whatever. Just portion it out, walk away from the main source and sit down and enjoy it. Then don’t go back until you’re sure you won’t have more.
  • Consider why you might be feeling the way you do. It sounds silly but seriously consider are you hungry, upset, angry, thirsty, stressed? Is there something else going on causing you to crave that entire cheesecake? (been there).
  • Don’t let yourself get too hungry. You’re then more likely to lose control later on when you do eat and give in or not properly control portions.
  • Be aware they might mean something else. The infographic below sums it up perfectly. I have pinned it on Pinterest also if you use it.


My final point will be it’s okay if you’ve given in. Whilst it’s not great to give in every single time. The occasional slip will not ruin your long term goals. Best thing to do? Shake it off. Accept it happened and move on. This is something I’m terrible at however and most definitely need to work. Cravings are a nasty thing to deal with and can be so frustrating. But sometimes we have set-backs. It’s not the end of the world.

Rejoice! It’s Friday. Weekend has arrived! Have a good one.

Gym Bug

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