This weekend, because apparently we have nothing better to do with our time, Sweaty Hubby and I decided to re-paint our living room. It's been a cozy, warm shade of red for about 5 years. We decided to brighten it up and modernize it with a smoky blue. Okay, maybe you might "brighten" your home up with something cheery like yellow or white. I like intense colours in my home. To me, blue = bright.
By the way, it was Sarah Gunn's photo blog of blue Christmas decor that made me jump into the world of blue with both feet. I had been thinking about it and her blog sealed the deal. Thanks, Sarah!
Whenever we paint anything, I am stuck on edging. I have to do the overhead I-want-to-stick-this-paintbrush-in-my-own-eye work around the moldings. Sweaty Hubby gets to roll paint. Not sure what past deed I am still making up for, but this is the division of labour we've sorted out. I spent the better part of Saturday evening and night with my arms overhead. And aching. I didn't work out on Saturday, so I enjoyed that bit of self-punishment in a way.
So - go ahead. Hire painters.
If you've done any of the following activites, you can officially skip your workout for the day. I authorize it.
Shoveled a really long driveway.
Raked a really big lawn.
Walked around a giant craft show all day with your preschooler (This was my workout on Sunday... thanks, One of a Kind Show, for the dehydration and ringing in my ears.)
Helped your friends move. (Who are these friends & why do they not grow up and hire movers, by the way?)
Went to the beach, the park, the woods or any other natural attraction for the day.
Hosted a children's birthday party, holiday dinner or any other marathon of entertaining and food preparation.
Spent the better part of a day traipsing around your local mega-mall hunting for Christmas presents (Bonus points if at least one child is physically on you - in a sling, carrier, on your hip or throwing a tantrum while you drag them.)
Undertook a full-on spring (or fall, winter, summer) cleaning of your entire home.
Painted a really big room (obviously...)"
Last week I had the pleasure of co-hosting a fantastic launch party with Erica for 12 of our lucky readers. We all had the chance to play the brand spankin' new Kinect for Xbox 360 and the ultra-cool Your Shape: Fitness Evolved by Ubisoft.
I completely embarrassed myself at the very end of the evening, when Erica so kindly suggested I challenge our co-host, one of the designers of Your Shape. He doubled my score and then laughed in my face.
Our mummy guests loved Your Shape! It was so gratifying for me to see a group of mommies, all of different ages, lifestyles and fitness levels, enjoying some active play. To up the intensity level, I took it upon myself to travel around the room and give the mummies some drill sergeant treatment while they waited their turns on the consoles.
I arrived home that night, exhausted (because I was up past my 8:30 bedtime... lame... so lame...) and excited. I told Sweaty Hubby just how cool Xbox 360 was.
The next day, true to hubby form, he went out and bought us an Xbox with Kinect.
I was all, "We don't need it. We just bought a Wii last year..." doing my fiscally-responsible, anti-consumerism wife thing.
But secretly, I was all, "YES! YES! YES!"
If you haven't heard of the Xbox Kinect or haven't seen it in action, here's a gratuitously cheesy (but short) preview of our new favourite game, Kinect Adventures.
So... the real matter here is, of course... Is it a workout?
It's not going to give you the workout that your regular step class or 5K is going to, but you'll be amazed how the Kinect can really get your heart rate up! One of my favourite mini-games on the Kinect Adventures game involves jumping, squatting, sidestepping and hopping so quickly that I was actually getting a cardio workout... albeit for the 2-3 minutes my turn lasted. There are other games that use various amounts of physical effort.
The Your Shape game by Ubisoft offers virtual personal training, cardio, and fun active games to get your heart rate up and train a variety of muscles. The key is to put some old fashioned elbow grease into it. As with most things, you'll get out of it what you put it. Move quickly, ai for the best form with the most effort you can muster and you'll definitely get a mild to moderate workout. Whether you play for 10 minutes or 2 hours, you've made a healthy choice and modeled an active lifestyle to your children.
Don't invest in the Xbox Kinect expecting to finally fit into your old prom dress. But, if you're looking for a great new family activity or a fun idea for Friday date nights, why not get off the couch, move your muscles and have a blast at the same time?
I'm all for it!
Now I'm going to email Sweaty Hubby and set up a Kinect date for tonight!
A couple of months ago, a longtime client – let’s call her “S” - asked my opinion on the Reetone series of shoes.
S has a daughter-in-law who works for Reebok, as a matter of fact, and she gets some pretty amazing discounts on Reebok shoes and athletic wear... enough to make me very jealous as she’s usually looking cute and coordinated while we’re training... I, on the other hand, am generally dishevelled and underslept. But smiling. Always smiling.
S jogs 2-3 times per week, does strength training 2 times per week and usually does yoga once per week. Her question to me:
Do the Reetone shoes really make a difference? Should she bother?
First, there are a few different Reetone products. Take your pick... they’re all based on the same technology:
Reebok Easytone Walking Shoes
Reebok Runtone Running Shoes
Reebok Traintone Cross-training Shoes
Reebok Easytone Flip Flops
Reebok claims: “Easytone’s balance ball-inspired technology with moving air creates micro instability, toning key leg muscles as you walk: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, calves.”
What does this mean? Basically, the sole of the shoe has been made unstable by the addition of “balance pods” – this is similar technology to an inflatable stability ball or BOSU balance trainer. That's the BOSU to the left. In other words, the sole of the shoe has air pockets. It’s not flat. It’s difficult to walk on, and this forces your leg muscles to work differently in order to keep you balanced and to maintain a normal stride as you walk.
What does this mean for your ass?
According to Reebok’s studies, the Reetone series of shoes increase the work performed by the gluteus maximus (ass), hamstrings (back of the thighs) and calves (um... calves). Muscle activity in the glutes is increased by 28%, in the hamstrings by 11% and in the calves by 11% over walking in regular athletic shoes.
Sure. And cream is going to make my boobs look like I haven’t breastfed two kids, right? Nothing comes this easy, ladies.
The American Council on Exercise was as sceptical as you – but they have a team of researchers! Their study found the following:
“Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials. There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.”
The Reetone shoes have received lots of good reviews. They look good, they’re gimmicky, they promise to deliver fitness without increased effort – of course people like them! People also like leprechauns. But nobody believes they’re real...
The one plus that the Reetone series may offer is the added motivation wearers may feel to walk, run or stroll in order to achieve the promised toning effects. If you need to spend $245 on a new pair of shoes to feel motivated to walk, by all means, spend.
If not, my verdict is: