With the Touch of a Button #FFTech

Have you ever considered all the ways technology has impacted our lives? Sure there’s the simple answer of keeping in touch with friends when you or they move away or being able to call family. What about other ways unique to you or lessons learned, but not expected? I thought I’d share some of my reflections with you on this sunny Friday afternoon. In no particular order…

Social Media

social media buttons

Twitter: Using Twitter has helped me develop better communication skills. How? Because limiting myself to 120-140 characters forces me to practice being concise. I look for new vocabulary words and share the most vital aspects of my thoughts. It also has taught me to be a better listener. Instead of mindless nodding while someone shares a story or scanning the page for the keywords, I need to really consider what has been put out there before responding if I don’t want to look generic and insensitive.

YouTube: For over 20 years I hated the sound of my voice and I really didn’t like the way I looked on camera. Then YouTube went and got all popular and since I enjoy giving into peer pressure I started making videos. Through trial and error I become more comfortable with myself and enjoyed being able to express things to others through sound and moving picture.

Instagram: What a fun and pleasant surprise. Learning about this application from IPhone users I didn’t see the purpose. Can’t I see pictures on Facebook or blogs or Flikr? Then it came to Android and I tried it reluctantly. Little did I know I would learn to see the world in new ways. Beaches, food, babies, anything is suddenly a new angle! I constantly challenge myself by asking “What am I not noticing about this”?

Facebook: Using Facebook for the past 10+ years has taught me to ask “How important is this”? With the ability to post all day long using my phone, it’s so easy to want to share every thought, picture, video or whatever else comes across my mind or feed. Then I realize while my feed is my own, it’s also a part of the rest of the world. Is my impact helping or harming? Solidarity through an image is amazing. Knowing what’s happening local or far away before the official news stations is beyond what I imagined growing up. Bad weather? I check Facebook before the news stations. Bad traffic? Same. Royal wedding…OK you get the picture.

Pinterest: Good lord I need a better camera and some picture taking lessons. Ha. Also I never KNEW there were so many ways to recycle, or upcycle.

Technology Tools

Tools

Phone: Currently I am using the HTC Rezound. Previously I was using the Droid Incredible and when it came time to upgrade with Verizon I learned 3G coverage was about to go away in my area. Well, not really ‘go away’, but I was told all efforts would be put into the 4G towers, so my service may not be so great. I decided to go for a phone with 4G. I knew I needed something where I could run tons of social media and my friend had the same phone and loved it. So far it’s been awesome in performance, maybe not too great with battery life. I recently bought a little power pack guy though and that’s been a life saver at conferences or long times without an outlet.

Computer:Long ago and far away (around 2009) I decided to buy a laptop. I’ve always been a sucker for “Black Friday” sales and one fateful day I received an email about a special before the big day. One of our first computers at my house was an Acer. We NEVER had issues with this thing. It was a grey/blue thing with big holes or what was probably vents on the side. I don’t know really, but I called it “the moon rock” and I loved using it for school projects or early encounters with AOL and message boards. My laptop now is an Acer and I continue my love affair with their products. The email announced a special computer only being released to Best Buy and it was a type of hybrid between a laptop and a notebook. As luck would have it I was working a half day or a late day or something so I was able to go to my local store. Under $300 later I had my first computer. If you ask my friends I complain a lot, but for the money I spent, my baby has towed the line for 4 years! 2.2 GHz processor, 2 GB DDR2, 160 GB HDD, DVD drive and lots of ports and other goodies. It also weighs about or fewer than 5 pounds. The mouse pad stopped working within the 1st month, but I like having a USB mouse better anyway. I’ve taken it on multiple trips and my only other complaint is battery life. It runs tons of programs with ease and looks great when watching media and plays games wonderfully too.

Ideally, my next computer will have touch screen, great battery life, great processing speed and every latest and greatest feature (including being lightweight). Then I look at what that’ll cost and I get sticker shock! Yikes! So, I’ll probably just remember to buy something basic and functional from Acer when I find another good sale.

Camera: I’ve always been a Canon girl. I currently use a basic point and shoot. The PowerShot SD1200 IS. I hate it. No seriously I do. I keep wishing something would happen to it so I have an excuse to get a new camera. It takes lovely pictures outside. It takes great action shots. It takes horrible pictures of people (especially me) and it doesn’t do well with indoor lighting. I’ve tried adjusting just about every aspect possible and it still doesn’t work well. If I have to adjust so much I might as well learn a DSLR or whatever.

You may be asking, how can you be a Canon girl and hate your camera? Well, previously I had a different Canon PowerShot and it was the best camera ever. I could do the worst set up for a photo and it would come back flawlessly. I swear it was possessed with magical features. It was bulky though and hard to carry with me on the go. Also eventually something went wrong and the lens no longer extended. Not to mention it used regular batteries and that became a pain.

Any suggestions on a new Canon? Should I try a new brand?

Real Life Experiences

Last but not least I wanna reflect on times where technology has impacted me and my crazy little life.

Anxiety: When I was dealing with INTENSE anxiety and palpitations before my heart procedure I would try to take deep breaths and pulled out my phone. I would scroll through Twitter or Facebook or Instagram and I would find by zoning out into the sea of friends and their lives I could calm myself down. I felt safe and I felt connected, which grounded me.

Crisis: When I had my medical procedures done it was my phone and social media that allowed me to feel connected to my running community even when I couldn’t set foot at training. When my friend had a stroke, Facebook told me, Facebook allowed her to know the hundreds of people who cared and Facebook let me know she was safe again.

Joy: Of course social media is there for watching friends and their children, but how has it been special to me? Without Facebook I wouldn’t have kept in touch with college classmates. You know the ones you have no problems with, but aren’t actually “let’s hang out” friends. Well, thanks to one of those friends, he knew I was job searching months after graduation, he knew his previous place of internship had posted a position and he emailed it to me. Thanks to this little piece of what some people consider “insincere friendship” I have a WONDERFUL job. For this point in my life, it is my dream job, a job where just today I was reflecting on all the ways I have grown in this position and may not have at another agency.

Sure this isn’t a complete list, but it’s so interesting to reflect upon I hope to maybe do another post down the line. What ways has technology changed you. What tools do you use? Do you think it brings us together or is it isolating? Is it simply a way to move your fitness journey along or is it a part of your every day life? Do you have any questions for me?

#WhatsBeautiful Progress not Perfection

It was a little more than 2 weeks ago ago I introduced you to the idea of Under Armour’s What’s Beautiful campaign round 3.0. And it was a little more than a month ago I shared with you my weekday workouts, specifically my weights routine.

I’ve been sitting here lately thinking about the campaign and watching my friends and fellow FitFluential pals work toward various goals. I keep getting caught up in finishing certain milestones or challenges, I forget the main purpose of this program is to explore who we are as female athletes and to not be defined in a specific set of words or images. At times I’ve rolled my eyes at the messages on my screen “Be beautiful with your own skin” “Be beautiful by smiling”, then I remember that IS the point. The point is to find our own beauty. If beauty for you is mental strength, go for it. If beauty for you is physical strength, go for it. If beauty for you is social strength, go for it. #IWill

UAWB

If I wrote this post and told you I didn’t care what other people think of me or my goals I’d be a liar. I do care. I sometimes wish I didn’t care, but other times it is that same caring which motivates me to push myself a little harder. So let’s talk about my goals and the progress I’ve made these last few weeks.

Progress toward making new PRs? Well, I haven’t been racing much, but I have been running again. The last race I did was the Memorial Day run and I ran my first mile under 10 minutes. My overall time wasn’t impressive, but it’s a step in the right direction. To make a new PR I need to keep up with 9 minute miles. I also joined in on the Runner’s World run streak. I’m pleased to say I’ve run every day so far! Yippie! There was slight pain and discomfort in my left leg on Sat/Sun, but I backed off and did a VERY easy 1 mile on Sunday. Emme is greatly enjoying this increase in running.

streak

PRs are my main goal, but I also want to look at how far I’ve come and all I will accomplish in the coming year, even if it isn’t a part of the current campaign. The other week I was sent the results from a health study I signed up for at work. I did the assessment in March and haven’t wanted to look at the paperwork. I reported very little cardio exercise and zero weight training. I reported terrible eating habits, restless sleep and much higher than normal stress levels. I was a mess. My paperwork confirmed this and told me my health age was years above my actual age. Never in my life has this been the case.

Looking back on the last three months I am SUPER proud of how far I’ve come. I started weight training 7 weeks ago, I’ve increased my cardio (I no longer get dizzy in Zumba), I’ve stopped with the pop and drink much more water, and I’ve been making strides with my counselor. Sure, there are times I still feel overwhelmed, but it’s part of the process of life. I’m still learning how to balance my plate and I need to learn how to say “No”. Check out these numbers for the weights: *note I was doing 3 sets of 15 reps, I’ve since increased weight and am doing 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Leg Press: I was at 40-50 pounds, I now easily can do 70-90 pounds.

Prone hamstring curl machine: Remember I couldn’t even do it at the lowest setting of 10? Now I’m doing 30 and should be increasing next week!

Leg extension machine: Was at 40 now I’m at 55, maybe it’s time to increase again?

Lateral pull down machine: Was at 25 pounds, now I’m up to 55.

Hip Adduction / Abduction Machine: Started around 75-85 pounds, now I’m at 100 – 110 pounds.

Seated push up machine: The machine I struggled with THE MOST. I couldn’t even do it at first, just a few reps at 10 pounds. Now I’m at full sets of 20 pounds.

Seated chest press: Previously 10-15 pounds, now I’m up to 30-40 pounds.

Back extension machine: Started at 45 pounds, “hurt” myself at 55 pounds. Now I’m easily doing 70-80 pounds.

Looking at these numbers, how can I not see the progress I’m making? Maybe I can’t see the muscles, maybe I haven’t lost weight, maybe my pants still don’t freaking fit, however, progress is being made. I am creating a strong and healthy foundation for my house. I have to keep believing I’m doing something right and eventually my hard work will pay off.

How are YOU doing with YOUR fitness goals. Have you signed up for the What’s Beautiful site? What’s holding you back?

BTW don’t forget to check out Monday’s post on the Drenched 5K for your chance at a free entry.

Under Armour What’s Beautiful 3.0

Do you remember last spring when I set out to discover how I define What’s Beautiful? Over the 8-10 weeks of the first round of Under Armour’s campaign, I fell in love with a brand’s message and rediscovered what it was for me to be a female athlete. We shared smiles, tears, and fears via pictures and videos.  I almost made it to 100 pushups! When I started I could barely do 3. Now, Under Armour is at it again!

UA_Costa Rica

When round 2 popped up I was not in a place to compete due to health issues, so when I saw there was going to be a round 3, I was over the moon! Thanks to FitFluential I also have the opportunity to promote the movement on a deeper level. You can find my profile here or make your own. Side note: Yes, there are a lot of us with FF promoting this event, if you feel in any way this makes our posts less truthful I may suggest following my friend Julie of Am I There Yet? She is also participating and is not affiliated.

UA_goal

In addition to liking their clothing. I am SERIOUSLY obsessed with my tech tees. I also support their message. A few weeks ago I was at the Under Armour outlet near my home and read a poster about the new #IWill tags. Did you know UA was founded in 1996? By a 23-year old! The women’s line debuted in 2003, the same year UA began using the motto “Protect this house”. The story goes, 0 years later a new generation of athletes have emerged and are responding by saying “I Will”. I will protect this house. I will achieve new goals. I will support others.

Under Armour continues to redefine what it is to be a female athlete and to reach out to all of you….all of us…to tell them what it means and what it means to be beautiful. Is it beautiful to run a new marathon PR? Is it beautiful to perfect your lotus pose? Maybe you want to became a coach for an organization such as Girls on the Run? Or you simply want to step up and be a part of a nationwide movement of support and happiness. If so I invite you to join me in the round 3 campaign.

If you visit the website you’ll see all the details, but I know many of you are asking, what IS the deal with all of this? Essentially it is a competition. Over the 8 week period you submit various videos or pictures on your profile to chronicle your journey toward a goal or set of goals. Some of what you submit is based upon prearranged “challenges” by UA such as the initial topic, “From the Mountain Top” when you first declare your goal.

UA_PROGRESS

With round 3 there is now a challenge archive where users can track current options as they are completed, as well as work toward previous challenges. For me, it is nice to look back on what I uploaded last year and try to improve. After the contest period ends,10 finalists will be announced. Of those 10, 3 will be selected as ultimate winners. What do they win?

Three winners will be flown to Costa Rica to attend a four-day yoga and surf retreat. In addition to the lessons led by world-class instructors, winners will be treated to transformative massages, spa treatments and healthy, locally-sourced meals prepared by personal chefs. All while staying in plush accommodations looking out at the ocean. A retreat worthy of the women who earn it.

The first time I did this promotion I knew I was too caught up in the idea of winning. I was jealous of friends completing goals. I stayed up at night thinking of ways to make my images or videos better. There was a side of me turning ugly for the sake of recognition. This time around, I honestly am not thinking of the prize. It not that I don’t think I’m “good enough”, but knowing I lost so much when I let the green eyed monster shine through helps me to keep a balance.

UA_together

Under Armour’s ‘What’s Beautiful’ campaign should be about coming together as a community and supporting each other to try new things and push to new limits. Within safety and reason.  UA must have recognized this because in this round of fun there is a teams feature! In addition to your own goal(s) you can join in with friends or strangers and create challenges and/or show support. I know I’ve already joined teams to support trail running, yoga, and new PRs. My personal goal happens to be a new PR in every category of running, but I love yoga so why not also be a part of that team? It’s about having fun and growing after all!

UA_Take back

I also need this campaign for my mental and emotional health. We know I’ve been struggling lately. A LOT. There are still good days and bad. There may be for a while. There may be forever. I want things to embrace on the good days though and this is one of those things.

I hope you’ll join as we all move forward in this campaign  Besides, you’ll probably be hearing a lot about it over the next few weeks so why not join?

For those who follow all various social media you can find this campaign on Twitter with the tag #WhatsBeautiful or #IWILL. You can also follow Under Armour or Under Armour Women on Twitter or visit/like their Facebook page.