Everything You Need, On Your Wrist!: Microsoft Band 2 & Subway

You know I love me some fitness gadgets–anything that keeps me accountable and helps me track my progress is something I am a fan of. But pair that with comfort, ease of use, and sync it with your cellphone for an even better experience and you have the Microsoft Band 2! Microsoft and Subway have paired up and graciously sent me the new Band 2 to try out, in addition to some Subway meals to go celebrate my new fitness band with a healthy meal! I’m loving this partnership and  love the focus on health and fitness in 2016–working towards a healthier lifestyle and promoting this throughout the community. You only get one body, so take care of it!

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So what exactly does the Microsoft Band 2 have to offer? Well, in my opinion its more of a ‘What doesn’t it have?’ type of device–its fun and integrates into your life seamlessly which I think is most important. When I started trying it out, I realized the band fits comfortable around your wrist and has a clasp that allows for a secure fit but is able to be adjusted easily for a close fit (it must fit appropriately for the heart rate monitor to work properly). Its definitely important though to order the right size band so that it fits you right and allows for the heart rate part of the band to hit your wrist at the right spot! The band is also super easy to navigate with its touch-screen and tiles, is able to be customized to make the color and style fit who you are, and connects to your phone and the associated Band 2 phone app via bluetooth.

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Here are some of the specific features of the Band 2 that I love:

-Microsoft Health: In the mobile app and web dashboard, you can see daily step counts, workouts, and sleep quality. Through Microsoft Health, you can use the following features: HR Monitor to track your HR for 24 hours a day, sleep tracking to analyze your restful vs light sleep/sleep efficiency, and number of times woken up, UV monitoring, exercise recovery, and calorie tracking. You can also sync to fitness apps such as MyFitnessPal and Strava.

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-Workouts: You can set goals and the Band 2 will help you track progress towards them. You can also set the band to track specific types of workouts including running, biking, golfing, and general exercise including strength training and crosstraining. Another fun and unique feature is that it (accurately) tracks floors climbed and steps taken which is pretty cool!

-Guided workouts:  Download workouts designed by fitness pros like Gold’s Gym, Shape Magazine, and more. You can also build your own custom Guided Workouts!

-Phone compatibility: The band works with all types of phones! And on the Band screen, you can see email previews, get calendar notifications (mine is synced with my Google calendar), review and reply to text messages (to reply, you can set standard responses or you can use voice dictation if you have a Windows Phone, which I sadly do not), view incoming calls and voicemail notifications, and you can even get the weather and get Facebook or Twitter notifications if you want. And for all you coffee enthusiasts, you can pay for coffee with your Starbucks Card from the Band right on your wrist!

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-GPS: The band has built-in GPS feature that you can use during running, golfing, biking, etc! The barometer also measures elevation gains and losses during these activities. The watch also features a timer and stopwatch for those interval workouts!

-Other features include: satin steel finish, vibrant full-color AMOLED display that’s bright and easy to read, Corning Gorilla Glass for screen protection, curved screen, watch mode which displays the time and date, and Bluetooth technology. It also has great battery life–get two days from Microsoft Band with normal use. If using the GPS, increasing display brightness, and working out multiple times a day, you’ll need to recharge more frequently. A 30-45 minute charge will get you through your day. A full charge takes about 2 hours.

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I’ve been using my new Microsoft Band 2 out on runs, walks, for indoor workouts, during the day when I’m at work, and also to sleep for sleep tracking. My favorite features so far are the GPS and run tracking, heart rate monitor, and sleep tracking. I’ve been so happy with how these features connect with the phone app–you literally get graphs and charts to help you better analyze your body during all your activities and you can track your activity from day to day if you want. It’s helped me figure out what times of the day I’m less and more active and motivated me to increase my movements throughout the day (especially at those times I see I’m not moving for long periods of time). Sometimes the watch even reminds me to get up which is nice, although sometimes I have to tell the Band that I’m watching a movie, although I don’t think it hears me when I say that 😉

The Microsoft Band 2 is very comfortable to wear, is very easy to use, and the display is intuitive for everyone. Not only can it help you track and monitor your fitness, but also keeps you in the loop with friends and family because it connects to my calendar and phone. The only thing I’ve noticed is that after wearing it continuously after a few days I need to take it off for a night to give my wrist a break because of the part on the wrist that is a HR monitor can get a little bothersome. But I guess after wearing anything for that long you need to give your skin a break!

Overall, I really love this watch and recommend it to anyone looking for a fitness and health watch. Thank you so much to Microsoft and Subway for sending me this band to use and for jump starting my 2016 goals!

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What feature are you most excited about on the Microsoft Band 2?

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The Show-stopper: Introducing the ASICS fuzeX

ASICS has done it again! Ever since I got a sneak peak of the 2016 Spring Collection, I’ve been itching to tell you all about this shoe (but at the time, I wasn’t able to). It was the shoe I immediately gravitated towards out of all the options and couldn’t put down. I loved how lightweight it was and loved the neutral design. And now after no further ado, here it is: the brand spankin’ new ASICS fuzeX!

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The great people at ASICS sent me and the other ambassadors over a pair to try, and I have to say so far I’m loving them! They are the perfect lightweight, neutral shoe that doesn’t slow you down. While I usually run in the Gel Pursue for long training runs, this has just become my go-to for short training runs and speed-work! Its comfortable and only took a mile or two to break in. ASISC has really put a lot of thought into this shoe and I can’t wait for all this snow from Jonas to melt so I can take it to the streets full-time!

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Here’s some details about the fuzeX:

Introducing ASICS newest midsole technology,our proprietary fuzeGEL™ technology is a fusion of GEL® property and foam for the ultimate rearfoot shock absorption that transfers to the forefoot during takeoff. This exciting addition offers a unique ride with full ground contact and a quick responsiveness to keep you moving. It is a new line for ASICS and is a “shoe for any distance”. Runners can “run long, short, and anywhere in between with the perfect combination of lightness and cushioning with fuzeGel™ technology.

Some other features include:

-fuzeX shoes are for underpronator and neutral runners.
– Fusion Foam
– Lightweight
– Adaptive Comfort and Fit
– Seamless Construction
–Retail value of $110

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And ASICS is giving you a chance to win a pair of these new shoes AND an opportunity to win a grand prize trip to a run destination (destination TBD)!

Starting February 1st, here’s how you can enter to win a pair of shoes and enter the run trip:

1. Navigate. Go to ASICSamerica.com/fuzeX-contestdetails to find a participating retailer near you.
2. Try fuzeX. Head to a retail location and try on a pair of fuzeX shoes.
3. Share. Tell us where fuzeX shoes will take you:
a. In the try-on area at the store, find the floor mat featuring the fuzeX shoes arrows.
b. Place your foot wearing the ASICS fuzeX™ shoes onto the floor mat.
c. Upload your photo or “shoefie” to Instagram or Twitter and complete the caption “fuzeX shoes will take me____” paired with the #‎FuzeXplore hashtag.
4. Win: Be entered to win a pair fuzeX & a grand prize trip!

So mark your calendar for February 1st and head to your local ASICS retailer for a chance to win some awesome swag, and maybe even a trip! As for me, where will fuzeX take me? Well, fuzeX will take me running on my honeymoon in Costa Rica and to the start line of the 2016 NYC Marathon! Where will fuzeX take you?

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Filed under Asics Ambassador, Asics America, clothing, giveaway, product review

5K Training Guide & The Ultimate 20 Minute Workout

Hey everyone! As you know I blog on the Cal-EZ blog twice per month and recently I worked hard to bring two really great posts! Personally, my focus right now is on increasing my pace for shorter runs like 5Ks, doing lots of diverse workouts including intervals/HIIT, and doing lots of strength training to get tone and strong. Since I’m getting married in June, these goals are my focus until that time. I want to look and, most importantly, FEEL good on my wedding day.

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RUNNING A 5K

I know you all may have your own personal goals for this year and hopefully these two posts I wrote will be helpful in guiding you to achieve them! The first post is a training guide for training for/running a 5K. It is geared towards the 5K novice–someone who wants to get into running and doesn’t know how. In the running community we are all about recruiting and spreading the love, so this guide is a nice way to get introduced to the ins and outs of running, and also provides a training plan, ways to get started, and strategies to stay motivated.

Check out my complete beginners 5K guide by clicking here:

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The second post I wrote recently is one I’m calling the Ultimate 20 Minute At-Home Workout. The exercises are accessible for people who are more beginners in their fitness journey but also can be adapted for more advanced people with some modifications (which I’ve described in the workout). Since I have an affinity for HIIT (high intensity interval training), this workout combines standard exercises, strength training, but also exercises to get your heart rate up for heart health and fat burn. HIIT burns a ton of calories!

The guide I’ve written includes descriptions of all the exercises as well as photos so you can understand exactly what exercises are being used and how to perform them. You can also check the photos to ensure you’re using proper form! Form is CRUCIAL to this, which is why I always recommend going at your own pace in order to concentrate on your form.

Check out my Ultimate 20 Minute workout by clicking here. Here is the summary of all the exercises, but be sure to check out the full blog post for details and more information.

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Hope you all enjoy those posts! If you want to leave comments, please leave them on the Cal-EZ blog.

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Filed under Cal-EZ, core workouts, crosstraining, goals, health