VHALKYRIE   16,233
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Horseback Riding (and calorie data)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Today was a wonderful day to go horseback riding. We went to Lawton Stables in Hilton Head, SC. We've driven by it a number of times during our weekend outings. Yesterday, we decided to make a reservation.

I'll get back to that in a minute. First, many of you know that I am a user of the BodyMedia Fit device. Also known as a "BodyBugg" popularized by the Biggest Loser and 24 Hour Fitness. I did, in fact, record my activities for today, including the horseback riding.

Here is the raw data.

The morning started off with house chores. Putting away dishes, washing dishes, making breakfast, cleaning the fish bowl, watering the plants, etc. If you're curious, this burned about 381 calories in approximately 2 hour period.

It was a lovely partly sunny day in the coastal southeast today, which suited us just fine. Sunny, but not too sunny. Warm, but most sweltering hot. After breakfast, we traveled from Savannah to Hilton Head, with plenty of time to spare.

Or so we thought.

Unbeknownst to us, there was a PGA tournament in Sea Pines Hilton Head today. Yes, *THE* PGA. We've never seen this kind of traffic in the area before. I start to panic, thinking we are going to miss our reservation time.

We get onto the gated plantation, and there is a traffic cop pointing everyone to the right. We get to him, and we tell him we are going to the stables. He says, "Go to the right." Except the stables were in front of us. He told us to turn right anyway. We drive right by the horses and are like, uhhh. No. We've been through this area dozens of times, we are going the wrong way. So we stop the car. I grab my backpack, get out of the car, and start running towards the stables so I can tell them we're coming. As I get closer, I see a group of horses already leaving on the trail. My heart sank. I thought we already missed it.

This spike is me running around the fence to check in.

The fiance turns the car around (despite some protests from the traffic cop, but finally gets waved through) and meets up with me. The people at the stables are shocked about the misdirection from the traffic cops who wouldn't let us through. They are very friendly and say it is no problem, they have our horses ready. They had two groups going, and the group I saw leaving was group 1. We were in group 2.

It was perfect day from there. Yay!

We got on our horses. My horse is named Cajun.

We took an hour ride through the Sea Pines Forest Preserves. We saw some gorgeous scenery with trees and marshes. I'm relatively inexperienced riding horses, though, I must have been doing something wrong. Or Cajun was purposely ignoring me telling him to turn so I would get hit with the trees and bushes.

We saw 3 or 4 alligators. I don't know how to ride a galloping horse, but I'm sure I would learn quick if I had to! We also saw a few turtles basking in the sun.

I didn't want the ride to end, but also ready for it to end. My biscuits were burning! Next time I will wear my padded bicycle shorts! I was getting tired balancing myself on the horse. It was definitely a workout! When I got off the horse, I could definitely feel the burn in my gluts and thighs.

When we got home, I jumped into the pool to swim for about 15 minutes to stretch out a bit.

Here is the data for the ride. About 300 calories burned.

How accurate is it? Well...I think in this instance it might be a tad bit on the high side. The device works partially based on motion, and partially based on biometric data on your skin. I do think I burned more calories than sitting at my desk, but the horse is doing most of the work. I was not wearing my heart rate monitor, but I estimate my heart rate to be about walking speed - maybe 100-110bpm. That would mean about 200-250 calories in an hour (for my weight and height). 300 is in the ballpark, so I think it is close. More of a resistance workout (from the buns/thigh burn) than cardio for this type of riding.

This was fun time. If you find activities you love to do, you'll never have trouble getting your fitness activities done. I do the grind at the gym on the elliptical during the weekday, so I can do stuff like this on the weekend. This is my driving motivation - my carrot on the stick. It's worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 4/28/2011 4:10PM

    What fun! I haven't been horseback riding in years. I'm so glad you did it. What a neat little gadget you have there. I would quickly become addicted to it I think! I love the picture of you and Cajun!

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TRAXINA 4/24/2011 9:42AM

    You may be surprised tomorrow -- horseback riding works your core more than you think! Sounds like a great time, in spite of the hitch... pun intended. emoticon

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RESOLVEDTOWIN 4/23/2011 10:27PM

    When we used to ride, most of the calories burned were from racing around the pasture, trying to catch my daughter's very naughty pony. Second place went to the amount of effort it took to brush all the mud they had collected on their bodies off before putting the saddles on. The actual riding was the easiest part of the whole endeavor.

Glad you had fun!

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NEURONERD 4/23/2011 7:32PM

    It sounds like you had a wonderful day! Well, besides the traffic and the cop.

It's been a while since I have gone horseback riding but I remember that I loved it!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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N4 Heart Rate Monitor

Friday, April 22, 2011

I just bought a new heart rate monitor. The one that I got is the New Balance N4 Heart Rate Monitor Pearl for Women. I've seen it on Amazon for about $70, but I bought it from Costco for $40.

It comes with a watch and a chest strap.

My last HRM was just a watch. You put your thumb on the sensor when you wanted to take a pulse reading. I didn't like it too much, and I stopped using it.

I've been trying this chest strap version this week, and it is a great improvement. I guess what I didn't like about the other one was the 'maintenance' in having to take a pulse reading. With this one, I just glance at the watch and get an instant read. Lower maintenance is good!

It has storage for up to 9 "runs" that has averages for max/min heart rate and calorie burn, but no usb to download data. That's ok. I am manually entering the information in a spreadsheet. I've even been wearing it when not exercising, too, so I can calculate my average resting heart rate. I'm tracking that to get a general idea of my fitness improvement. My resting heart rate is currently 76, which is average for my age. I think I can improve that.

I was worried about the chest strap being uncomfortable or in the way, but it is surprisingly comfortable. It fits snuggly under the bust, and sits right above the band in my sports bra. It's not visible under the sports bra. I don't even notice it's there once I start my workout. After my workout, I just rinse it with water and hang in my shower to dry.

The instruction booklet says the watch is water resistant to 50m and can be used for surface swimming. I was surprised by this. I thought it would be a great bonus if I could use it while swimming! I sent an email to the manufacturer, just to be sure. They say it is water resistant, but not waterproof, so they don't recommend it for swimming. Bummer, but I knew it was too good to be true.

If you're in the market for a HRM, I would consider the N4 on your list. Make sure to find the one that is specifically designed for women, for optimal comfort. (If you're a woman, that is!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EATNBOOGERS 4/22/2011 8:51PM

    Good info... keep us posted!

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REBCCA 4/22/2011 4:44PM

    Thanks for this information. I traded in my HRM for a BodyMedia Fit monitor back in January larger due to a series of excellent posts you wrote about them. I am loving my BMF and thank you for your blog and posts. emoticon

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ANGEISBACK 4/22/2011 1:02PM

    please let me know how you like it when you do your excersises...ive been in the market for a hrm and have asked the question on sparks and i got huge responses back with multi different names and they all seem really good but im cheep lol and i dont want to pay 100 for one so please let me know any feedback on yours since thats more in my price range....
thanks in advance

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The Motivator

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Here it is. The motivator.

We're going to Mexico in 4 months, and I'm gonna rock this thing!

I fit in this now, but I do not fit in it WELL! The bikini bottom is really tiny. With my current butt size, I'd need a very close shave!! We'll leave it at that - LOL

- No poochie belly sticking out. Must be flatter!
- No super thick thighs. Muscular, hard thighs - yes. Thick, soft and pudgy - no.
- No rolls of fat coming out the sides.
- No red lines on the skin from being pinched and squeezed.
- Gotta live with the cellulite - never getting rid of it completely. But can do shrink it.

My plan:
- Exercise 4-5 times per week. Alternating days: 45-60 minutes steady state with resistance. Endurance training. 30 minutes HIIT. Cardio improvement and fat/calorie burning.
- CLEAN eating. Going to resume my 'vegetarian til 6' diet. No red meat until dinner time.
- 1300-1400 calories per day. The activity level I'm pushing for demands good quality calories. Weight loss is 80% what you consume. Most problems with fat loss can be directly attributed to food. Not losing fat? Need to change what is consumed, not usually more exercise. I lose weight with 30 minute workouts IF my food quality is clean.
- Zone diet ratios of roughly 40% carbs/30% protein/30% fat.
- 1-2 alcoholic beverages, limited to weekends.
- Zero calories from drinks. Water, plain coffee, plain tea. No juice.
- Low to no sugar consumption that doesn't come directly from fruit.
- Monitoring stats with BodyMedia Fit and Heart Rate Monitor. Tracking food on Spark.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JMAYS831 4/22/2011 1:59PM


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NEURONERD 4/22/2011 12:08PM

    Nice bikini! You can do it! You will get into that cute bikini and you will rock it on the beach in Mexico!


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VHALKYRIE 4/22/2011 9:24AM

    EATNBOOGERS: If you take a look at my food tracker and my meal plan for today, I get pretty close.

Breakfast: Greek yogurt, cereal, blueberries, and plain coffee.
Lunch: French onions soup with part skim mozzerella, french bread, and a side salad.
Dinner: Shrimp, chicken and sausage Jambalaya with side salad.
Snacks: Crackers with neufchatel cream cheese, and an apple with almond butter.

That comes out to 1242 calories, with 75g of protein. 60g protein is the minimum for women. About 41% carbs/24% protein/35% fat. It's not perfect, but it's in the ballpark, which is what I'm shooting for!


Comment edited on: 4/22/2011 10:32:55 AM

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EATNBOOGERS 4/21/2011 11:20PM

    I'm right there with you, believe me! Discipline!

My only comment is that it will be hard eating mostly veg to hit 30% protein (and if you do, I want to know what you're eating!).

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Fitness Gadgets to Make Daily Workouts Fun

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'll admit it. I do not like going to the gym. Peddling for an hour on a elliptical or bike machine aren't my most favorite activities.

When I lived in Seattle, I had no trouble getting on my bike everyday after work and riding the Burke Gilman trail for an hour everyday. I'd ride for 4-6 hours on the weekend. I loved it.

In GA where I live now, bike trails aren't plentiful around here. Drivers aren't so inclined to share the road, and can be downright aggressive and scary. I only get to ride my bike on the weekend when we haul it down to the beach.

That means, I have to do the gym during the week. Fortunately, our apartment complex has a small gym on site, so it is convenient.

In order to get through my workouts, there are fitness tools that I must have to make it through.

1) iPod Nano. No better tool for interval training. 5 minute warmup. 1 minute high speed. 4 minutes cool down. Repeat until 30 minutes down. The music helps keep pace. I take the Nano with me when I want a high intensity workout.

2) Nook eReader. This is a relatively new addition to my fitness toolkit. Reading paper books is too awkward on a machine. I have no trouble reading the Nook on the elliptical and cycling machines. I love to read, but get so little time to do it. When working out is one of the few times I get to myself. I bring the Nook along when I want to do a steady state workout. It's easy to keep in a 60-70% target heart rate, sustain, and catch up on my reading. Sometimes I've even extended my workout past 30 minutes because I had to finish the chapter, or find out what happened next!

3) BodyMedia Fit (or Gowear Fit). The company is more known for the BodyBugg sold by 24 Hour Fitness. I've been a member for over a year, I still have my subscription. It is not 100% accurate, but anyone with those kind of expectations is being unrealistic. There is no better tool for gauging how much I am moving during the week. For me, it has been very accurate. On weeks where I don't have a calorie deficit, I don't lose weight. Weeks where I have a calorie deficit, I lose weight. I track my food on Spark, but enter my calorie totals on GWF website. I'm a data geek, so I love it. It's not a chore - I actually enjoy it.

4) Heart Rate Monitor. I had a HRM a while back, but I didn't use it much. It had a button I had to press when I wanted to take a HR reading, and it didn't have data storage so I had no idea what my averages were. I've replaced it with a New Balance N4 with a chest strap. It has numerous tracking capabilities. I tried it yesterday, and I liked it! I wish it had a USB port so I could download the data, but that's ok. I can track it in an excel spreadsheet. I got it because I want to take a spinning class, and I want to make sure I am getting a good workout, but not working too hard. I can see that I will be taking this with me for all my workouts. Even just wearing it while sitting at my desk, I can see that I need to work on improving my resting heart rate. My resting heart rate for my age is average, but it's teetering on the below average threshold. I need to improve this.

This gets me going through the grind at the gym until the weekend, where I can play on my bike or walk on the beach.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NMMAMA2011 5/2/2011 1:23PM

    Thanks for your response to my questions about the Bodymedia Fit. I still haven't made a decision, but I am a data geek too, so maybe it would be fun! I appreciate your input!

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FATHINSN 4/22/2011 12:45AM

    Sounds good idea for those not gym fans. I think I much prefer reading the old-fashioned books as if I accidently drop it or sweat all over the pages, not too much worry, hehe. Though now I do lots of jumping rope, reading is not an option unless someone call show me how to read while jump up and down!

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LADYROSE 4/21/2011 12:44PM

    Love my gadgets during sweat time! Though sometimes I like to train 'nekkid without the gadgets, just to stay in touch with what my body is saying, ya know?

One of the best thing about my HRM is seeing how my endurance improves. During my HIIT workouts, it's great to see how my much heart rate drops during recovery times... good indicator of overall fitness. :)

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MNCYCLIST 4/21/2011 12:18PM

    Well, we all have to do what we have to do so that we do the right things! Thanks for sharing.

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JESS0107 4/21/2011 11:57AM

    You know, I wouldn't be able to read and exercise. You would find me flat on the floor! So hats off to you!

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JMAYS831 4/21/2011 9:54AM

    I don't use my nano while doing cardio...I much prefer the quiet time to reflect.

But I use it alot when weight training...helps motivate me.

One addition to your list...I do alot of outdoor hiking so I use a pedometer all the time, I never leave home without it.

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MEANCARLEEN 4/21/2011 8:17AM

    I am FINALLY coming around to getting an IPOD and taking my niece with me to pick out THE one!

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Marrying Goldilocks

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Did anyone else think Goldilocks was a high maintenance picky eater? I think Goldilocks grew up to be Sally from "When Harry Met Sally", and my fiance is her cousin!

Last week I wrote that the fiance declared he was on a diet, and wanted no more fatty fried food. This caused a disturbance in the household as I objected strenuously that I do not cook fatty fried food. I try to make my food taste good without using heavy oils and fats. I try to use clean eating principles - fresh ingredients over processed food. I prepare small portions of meat and large portions of veggies. My meals are balanced to fill up on veggies, not meat and starch. I've studied nutrition on Spark and many other websites over the years to learn how to prepare balanced meals for weight loss and maintenance.

He eventually relented and agreed I do not make fatty foods. (I lost a pound over the past week.)

However, now my food is TOO healthy!

One of the things that drives me nuts is he comes home hungry, and starts ransacking the cupboards for snacks while I'm trying to make dinner. We have a small apartment kitchen. There is not room for me to grab the things that I need to make dinner, and have him rooting around. So I thought I would stave him off with a soup to keep him out of the kitchen.

In one of my cooking magazines, there's a section on how to make your own vegetable soups. It isn't a recipe per say. It's a list of ingredients you mix and match to create your own balanced, gourmet soup. You pick 1 or 2 aromatics (like onion, celery, or garlic), a veggie (carrot, broccoli, squash or tomato), a soup base (chicken or vegetable broth), then finish with dairy or an acid. I made a really awesome carrot soup with onions, celery, carrots, homemade chicken stock, and orange zest/juice. I was so proud of myself. It tasted like a cafe soup. SO loves carrot soup, so I thought he would be pleasantly surprised. Tiny, tiny bit of fat from the olive oil used to saute the veggies. No dairy. Very clean and fresh tasting.

He comes in the door, and I happily pour him a bowl of the carrot soup with a background note of orange. I hand the bowl to him and he has the most disappointed look on his face. He says very sadly, "Oh, so I guess I'm on a diet". What happened to the guy who declared a week ago, "I'm on a diet, no fatty foods!"

I showed him the chicken breasts roasting in the oven. He looked relieved. I asked him, "I thought you wanted healthier food? I thought you liked carrot soup?" He said, "Yeah, but not when I thought carrot soup was the only thing I was getting."

I immediately thought to myself, "This plate has too much fatty foods. This bowl doesn't have enough fatty foods. I'm marrying Goldilocks!"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAXINA 4/20/2011 8:33PM

    My hubby ransacks the kitchen while I'm cooking, too -- and I have to politely request that he NOT set the chips and salsa out in front of me! (Later he will complain, "You ate ALL the chips and salsa, and I didn't get ANY!")
Too funny.

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THINRONNA 4/20/2011 1:51PM

    Oh my!!!! I knew just where you were heading when I started reading this though! Is he on Spark? Does he do any reading about weight loss and nutrition? If he did he might better be able to fully participate in the conversation. I can honestly say that it worked around here. Once he joined and ...got it...we got on the same page and everything was easier. He did have to come to the choice on his own though.

Good luck! (you are smart to have a plan for his pre meal munchies though!)

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NEURONERD 4/20/2011 1:19PM

    I absolutely understand your delimena! My husband is supposed to be losing weight and eating healthier with me but he isn't. And he is also such a picky eater. Sometimes they can be quite frustrating!

I have no advice as I haven't been able to get my husband to really participate with healthy eating and losing weight. Just wanted to send you happy vibes.

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LADYROSE 4/20/2011 11:37AM

    LOL! It sounds so much like my hubby! "no snacky foods in the house, please"... "Why are there no snacky foods?! No, I don't want fruit, where's the cookies?!"


Though that hasn't happened in a while...now he's joined me in the "How long have these been in the freezer? 3-4 months? Remember when I couldn't keep oreo's in the house?"

I have very little advice to offer than just be consistent, do what you need to do to keep your body happy, communicate regularly about why you're doing what you're doing (encourage him to do the same), and be willing to find a compromise (maybe make Friday's Free-feed day so he knows 'restriction' isn't forever, or something like that...)

You WILL eventually hit your stride together, just like you did on your own. Promise! :)

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EATNBOOGERS 4/20/2011 10:51AM

    Just keep on doing what you're doing, and let Goldilocks learn on his own. Congrats on the pound!

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ANGEREDMONKEY 4/20/2011 8:58AM

    I think this is something we all face when we are cooking for more than just ourselves. My husband has declared on numerous occasions that he is on a diet, eating healthy etc... then he looks at the healthy meal I made for dinner and I can see the wheels turning as he precalculates how much more than that he actually can eat. I have finally learned to cook for myself. If I try to cook for him I end up eating less healthy. So, I cook what I know fits into my goals and if he wants something more/different, then he is welcome to make it himself!

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