Wednesday, 6 April 2016

REVIEW: Trying Out Daily Burn

While fitness is not a thing I would typically go out of the way to mention, having talked about signing up for Daily Burn throughout my Small Things posts and occasionally on Twitter and getting the odd interesting remark and comment, I thought I would come to share my first nine weeks using the program.

If you're not familiar with Daily Burn, what is it? Basically DB is an online fitness program, comprising 16 different programs from expert trainers alongside offering a live daily workout. DB also offers meal plans, recipes, supplement recommendations to lifestyle tips. Workouts tend to last between 15 to 45 minutes depending on the program. Streaming online and or through TV steaming services, currently the first month is free, then it's $12.99 monthly.

So tomorrow actually marks the final day in the True Beginner program that me and Joe have been working through for the last nine weeks. It's a program that takes you right back to the basics, and for someone who's never loved, enjoyed or even worked out really it's the best place it start. It combines and rotates between cardio, strength, mobility and core workouts, every couple of weeks inching up the challenge level. Without having access to scales for the first couple of weeks I can't say how much weight I've lost during this workout, which actually probably works out for the best. Yes, I've lost weight but it's also made me aware of other improvements, I feel stronger, I'm much more flexible, more stable and I can do exercises (planks, push ups) that I couldn't do before. But more importantly, it's made me feel awesome inside and out. In fact it's started an inner revolution for me. I never thought I'd come to enjoy exercise.

The last couple of weeks we've started exploring the Daily Burn 365 workouts. The 365 workout's is perhaps the part of DB you might have seen advertised - each day there's a brand spanking new 30 minute workout shown live (at 9am EST) and on demand throughout the day with a different trainer. These are far more intensive than the True Beginner workouts but it was time to try pushing ourselves, mix things up a little and they are certainly shows I'm going to try and join in live on weekdays because they make me feel great.

Like True Beginner there's a library of workouts that you can challenge yourself too, they typically seem to last between 16 days up to 3 months depending on which you choose and are at a variety of intensity levels from beginner to expert. Whether you like yoga, Pilates, what to work on your core or even dance workouts. There really is something for everyone, you can mix it up day to day, do it whenever you fancy and at your own pace. 

So I thought I'd string together a quick list of pros and cons about DB:

  • You don't need to be an expert - there is something for everyone regardless of fitness level, strength, experience and interest. 
  • Not needing lots of fancy equipment: basically (for the True Beginner and DB365 sessions) you need a sturdy chair, most likely a towel and maybe a yoga mat (which I ended up buying for like a cheap $8). You don't need fancy weights, lots of equipment. Just yourself.
  • Mixing it up - I know lots of people love YouTube for exercising, but I just could never stick to it. One on one with the trainer, not having that variety just wasn't working for me. Daily Burn offers that variety, it mixes it up for me, I don't have to remember what I did or didn't do yesterday or last week. It makes you feel included, makes it different.  

  • Modifications - workouts pretty much always offer a modification to work to your level of strength. While you're encouraged to push yourself, you're encouraged to do it to your own level and workouts nearly always come with various ways to achieve your goals.  
  • Positively: going on from the above, the trainers and community (which I'll speak to later) everyone is positive and not in a patronizing manner. You're encouraged, you're made to feel welcome, that you're worth this. This is a big big biggie for me.
  • Streaming options - I love that you can stream it through the website, on your phone, the app and steaming devices. It makes it so portable. But especially because you can stream it through devices like the Roku I can stream it full size on my TV. 
  • Website - the website is really easy to use which is pretty important when it's an online based service. The website is also full of interesting articles - offering tips on exercise, the aforementioned recipes and lifestyle tips.  
  • Community - the DB community seems to be pretty active through Facebook and through the webchats around the 365 program. You seen regular faces in the workouts and the trainers are pretty awesome in making you feel included and part of the team. 
  • Recipes - I can never have enough recipes I will be honest but I could probably do with some on the healthy side. The Daily Burn has a collection of recipe inspiration for all kinds of meals and drinks.
  • Improvements - nine weeks in, like I mentioned I'm feeling stronger, I've improved my balance, I can do exercises I couldn't before and I'm feeling positive. 
  • Can't use Paypal. Biggest issue of all for me. I rely on using Paypal pretty much constantly for being able to pay for apps online, to me it's just easier and I don't have the hassle or the fear of typing in card details. But Paypal sadly isn't an option for monthly payments. Sucks. 
  • Playing the wrong day - granted I'm not sure if is this more of an issue with DB or because we stream it through our Roku, but often loading the app through the Roku it'll want to reshow the work out from the previous day. Which all means logging on through the computer, clicking the correct show, loading it a little, logging back through the app on the Roku to get it streaming

I guess only being able to think of two cons is pretty awesome.

I have a goal in mind for what I want to achieve with DB and I believe it's going to get me there. For me, the fact that the program has me excited for the next session when I'm worn out and tried after the day's workout, for me says something huge. For me, it means it's working and it's something I'm actually off to stick with.

So there you have it, i'm a full DB convert and I love it.

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Monday, 28 March 2016

LIFE: Photo an Hour March 2016

If you didn't think the year was flying by already, well it's rolled around to another Photo an Hour Link up, to remind you just how quickly the months are passing us by. Sundays are typically our lazy days, we may pretend to be adults and get dressed, poke some DIY, do the weekly shop. This week we were enchanted by the blue skies and headed to the zoo for a wander and then flopped back on the sofa and went back to being lazy.

Sunday began with a late start to the day (10am) the usual coffee, cereals and catching up on a couple of pages of my new read - The Witches, which as you probably might have guessed is all about the Salem Witch Trails of 1692. Then I finally got around to opening up the Easter package from the homeland - some yummy looking Harry Hopalot chocolate figures from Thorntons.

I lost track of time when we were actually at the Detroit Zoo when it came to live updating, but hey I was having too much fun. With blue skies and warm temp, it was a perfect day to visit, loads of animals were up and playing around, especially fun to watch the young Chimpanzee's climbing and jumping off rocks and rolling down hills.

Fun for hobby time - cross stitching a Michael Powell design titled Garden Shed that will eventually end up upon a birthday card, and of course coloring in one of my favorite books - Unicorns Are Jerks. Because Unicorns fart in elevators, on purpose, if you didn't know.

5pm was time for tea! Some yummy homemade egg fried rice with lots of veg and crab. Then watching Windows decide it wanted to update. Had I know this earlier, this would probably have been achieved hours earlier. Yawn.

Then we ended the day, well more like 7pm (because my phone was dying) at failing to do our workout. Failing because we were still too knackered and achy from doing two cardio/core workouts on Saturday. We tried. That's the important thing right?!

So that was pretty much our Sunday. If you like random stuff like this, tag along on Instagram, where I try and post more of the same, random shit! 

How was your Sunday?


Monday, 21 March 2016

LIFE: That Time a Brit Went to the Supercross

Saturday saw the Monster Energy Supercross come to Detroit which some of Joe's family came to see (and brought us tickets) to tag along and watch at Ford Field. Personally,  while I'm a country girl, the only time I can stand dirt under my nails is when I'm working in the garden. Country sports, like anything involving motorbikes is not really my thing, but I tagged along, and anytime I can try and squeeze a blog post about something oh so American, then why the hell not share my random British thoughts.

Random thoughts like - why do they play the American national anthem at every sports event?! (not something we really do, or would probably care to do in the UK). Why do they then try and turn said anthem into a pop song?! Why is everyone at this event, so very white?! I came to the conclusion early enough into it that I'm not really hillbilly, countryside enough for such things. I'm happy to wallow in suburban excess, happily. 

But anyway, AMA Supercross is an American motorcycle racing held between January and May in various venues (typically baseball and football stadiums). Founded in 1974, Supercross is an offshoot of Motocross - the difference being Supercross uses off road bikes on man made tracks with jumps, obstacles and tight turns (Motocross using natural terrains on closed courses). When the championship hits Detroit, it finds it's home at the Lion's Ford Field and becomes one of the few venues were the track layout runs into the stands. Various pre-races make up the afternoon and main event - various sizes of bike engine, even a kids race. You have the Monster Energy ladies with hardy anything on waving heat and time signs around and races that last up to 20 laps. 

I guess it was a different way to spend a Saturday night. I did get to cheer on a Brit in one race who was propping up the back, sigh. It was fun being inside Ford Field for the first time. Getting another sports team plastic cup to add to my every growing collection (alongside my Sparty and Harlem Globetrotter ones). Indoor fireworks and fireballs are always fun. Constantly coughing because of the smell of petrol/gas, feeling very small and anxious as 46k plus people are leaving, overpriced downtown Detroit parking spaces, not so much. 

While I'm coming more to grips and understanding American sports. I think I would have preferred watching the Lions getting their ass handed to them, or anything March Madness related. Guess I've left my countryside ways long ago.

How about you? A fan of Supercross?


Thursday, 17 March 2016

LIFE: Small Things #12

With the clocks jumping an hour forward last Sunday here in the US, there's a extra sense of spring in the air. The days are getting warmer and longer, bulbs are popping up everywhere and more and more birds are chirping and fluttering in to garden for a nosy. Oncoming spring also means the arrival of annoying weather like three hour long thunderstorm early Wednesday morning, I always forgot how hideously loud the bangs and booms are in Michigan. 

The promise of spring has created a little bit of inner peace within myself. This week in particular I feel I might be getting somewhere with my stress and there's lots of plan making to be doing. 

So without further-ado, here's an assortment in no particular order (order being overrated) of random small, but happy things.
  • Getting my Brit fix while popping to the store that has a decent British international section - this trip calling for Wetabix and salad cream. And no, sadly to everyone who thought I ate them together when I shared this on instagram, I don't. 
  • Talking about British food, those scotch eggs from One Eyed Betty's.
  • Finding Tubi TV on our Roku which has a sizable collection of British shows, even ones more recent then Netflix. Even better it's FREE!
  • Said Tubi TV also has a couple of Transformer shows on which makes the OH happy.
  • Speaking of TV, the second seasons of Happy Valley and Dinotrux popping up on Netflix - happy TV days indeed. 
  • Reading - Midnight in Perking and The Other Daughter. 
  • Starting out new tradition of (homemade) taco Tuesday, even making my own guacamole and taco sauce (playing with all the spices!!) for the first time. 
  • Talking of spices, turning an old spice rack into a nail polish holder. Sometimes those Pinterest craft ideas actually work.
  • Lots of spring bulbs popping up around my garden - tulips, daffodils and flowering crocuses. Especially excited for the bulbs showing in the two new flower beds I dug lining out front path last year. 
  • Cuddles on the sofa with Joe and Eddy - purrs all round.
  • Cats and paper bags, which are nearly as good as empty boxes. Also getting an empty box and now not being able to remove it from the living room because the cats love it.
  • Onto god knows what week of using Daily Burns True Beginner workout (for everyone who has asked, I will be doing a review/round up once we finish this program) and getting a lot stronger. We started kickboxing which week and it's AWESOME!
  • Also starting Pilates, which ached and killed me, but fun all the same. 
  • Finishing my crochet wreath! 
  • Ordering lots of seeds for the garden - herbs, flowers and even going to attempt to grow cacti!
  • 1940's radio. I'm sick of constant Trump & US election talk on the radio, so I spend most mornings chilling out to the 1940's UK radio station, which suits me perfectly. 

And everything I came remember, and if you made it to the end of the list, well congrats to you!

What's been rocking your world?