Ask Laura: Should I Buy a Nike+?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 pm — Filed under:

Hi Laura:

I’m not a runner, but the idea of syncing my tunes up to how hard I’m working sounds excellent. Would I get any use out of the Sport kit even though I don’t run? (I mostly do treadmill or ArcTrainer, sometimes the bike, infrequently the Stairmill.)

Eh… not so much

Eh… not so much,

Nike + iPod Sport KitThe Nike+ Sport Kit tracks your workouts with a little sensor that you put in your expensive Nike shoes or a Shoe Pocket (like I did). That little pod is an accelerometer, which means that it tracks how quickly your foot is moving. That’s how it registers how far you’ve run.

If you use the Nike+ on the treadmill (like I do for about half my workouts), you’ll notice that it will give you a little different mileage than the treadmill says you’ve run. I’m okay with that difference because it’s all just an estimate anyway. I like the Nike+ on the treadmill because it tracks my workouts. They show up on the Nike+ website and I can see my progress. I’m all about the external validation, so when I see the little trophy for exercising three times a week, I feel motivated to earn another one.

The Nike+ might register something when you use a stair climber or elliptical trainer, but I don’t know how accurately it will rate your workout. Considering that you can turn the intensity up really high on those machines and your foot fall would be the same as if you had low intensity, it’s not as accurate of a measurement. I’ve never tried using the Nike+ with those machines, but I’m pretty sure it will measure something. And again, remember, it’s all just an estimate anyway.

Polar RS200sd Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Black)If you already have an iPod Nano, then the SportKit is only a $20 investment, so it might be worth your while. If you’re thinking of investing in a Nano just so you can use the Nike+, then you would probably be better served by a Polar Running Computer like this one here.

This unit costs $199 and comes with a heart rate monitor, watch, foot pod (accelerometer) and computer software to track your workouts. The reviews of the watch are very positive and technically, this will give you MORE information than the Nike+. Additionally, the calorie estimate will be more accurate because it’s based on your heart rate instead of the number of times your foot moves. It won’t talk in your ear like the Nike+ will. It won’t log your information on the Nike+ website and give you trophies for achieving your goals, but it might be a better option if you don’t already own a Nano.

Remember, tools such as the Polar and the Nike+ are just that: tools. They can’t force you to get to the gym, out of the house or on the treadmill. These things might be inspiring and motivating, but in the end, you can’t buy fitness.

Good Luck,

Problems with the New Nano and Nike+?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

The new iPod Nano

It looks like some people have had some troubles with the new Nano and the Nike+. Here are some responses from the Apple Support Board:

“I just got mine today….. the nano keeps freezing up with the nike sports kit….. according to all literature, you need a 1.2 nano update, but the 2Gen nanos come with 1.0.1 I’m not sure if that is why….but like I said, mine keeps freezing right before I start a workout and have to reset(using hold, menu + center) to get out the screen. There are no further updates available for the 2gen. Either I got a bad nano, or their are glitches.”

“My sport kit worked fine with my old Nano. I received my second gen Nano yesterday, and the Nano cannot connect with the sensor. My Nano doesn’t freeze; it just won’t connect with the sensor. I am also using firmware 1.0.1, which, according to Itune 7.0, is the latest for the new Nano. Any ideas? A new firmware, perhaps?”

It looks like some people have no troubles, though.

“I have nike+ipod, and new nano, nike+ shoes as well. they all work. don’t worry. only difference is if you connect adapter with new nano, nike+ipod menu appears. but if you remove it, it will be disappeared unlikely old nano which is stayed on.”

It looks like the problems are hit and miss right now, which is enough to make me wait to see what Apple does about them. Apple has a strange way of getting rid of affiliated companies that they don’t like (Motorola iPod Phone, anyone?). It may be that the Nike thing isn’t working out the best it could and Apple is subtly phasing them out of the picture.

I guess I’ll keep exercising with my borrowed Nano for now…


You Don’t Have To Kill Yourself To Win

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Sometimes I wonder what is going on in the heads of people who find this kind of stuff inspirational.

This video shows Julie Moss crawling across the finish line to take second place in the Ironman competition. She keeps falling and none of her coaches or anyone else with her has the sense to just tell her that she needs a doctor. No race is worth injury. What is the matter with runners when they find performances like this inspiring?

Guess what, you don’t have to kill yourself to win in the game of life.

So many of us see productions like this from ABC Sports and think that we have to go overboard just to live a healthy life. We don’t need to crawl across the finish line. We need to make the small and healthy decisions every day. Life isn’t a race. It’s a journey. If your body is shutting down from the competition, you shouldn’t keep crawling across the finish line. You get help. Julie Moss shouldn’t be held up as a hero for crawling in second. Kathy McCartney should have been held up as the hero for pacing herself well enough to finish strong.

Via: Via YouTube: Julie Moss Competing in the 1982 Hawaii Ironman Triathlon » Complete Running Network


Question of the Week: Heroes

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

So many of our successes and failures can be attributed to our thoughts. What we think is so powerful and make or break us.

Who is your hero?

Describe that person, the good AND bad qualities that they have.

How do their good qualities help you?

How does emulating their bad qualities hinder you?

Our heroes are real people. We chose them as our heroes because they have done things that are important to us, but we need to remember that they are humans just like us.

The Question of the Week is meant to be an Inner Workout for you. Find some time during the week and allow yourself to write the answers to the questions posted. You can write them on paper, on a word processor or here in the comments section. Whatever works for you as long as you do it.

Keep writing until you find out something about yourself that you didn’t know before. I’ve also heard that it works to keep writing until you cry, but that doesn’t really work for me. Whatever works for you. Just keep writing until it feels right.


Should Fat Be Covered Under ADA?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects workers from being discriminated against because of their disabilites. Employers are required to list any specific requirements of a position (i.e. must be able to lift 50 pounds) in order to prevent arbitrary discrimination. If you are morbidly obese, should the ADA protect you from being fired?

According to a recent ruling, you must be able to prove that the obesity is caused by a physiological disorder in order for you to get protection under ADA.

What do I think about this?

On one hand, I’ve experienced discrimination in the workplace when I was fat. I was continually accused of being lazy despite high production rates.

On the other hand, too many people go running to the law courts when they run into troubles. I don’t think the government or law suits are the answer.

For me, I left the job. I didn’t want to work for a company so blind that they couldn’t see what a good employee I was. If all they could see was my fat, then I was going to take my fat and highly productive self to a company that appreciated me. Sometimes, I think that’s the answer. When companies discriminate, they end up limiting their supply of good employees. The people who won’t put up with discrimination leave. They die a death of their own making because they can’t keep good employees.

Should the ADA protect fat workers? I don’t know. I think it’s more important to protect ourselves.

Via: Big Fat Blog: Fat Not Covered Under ADA


DDRFitness.com – A DDR Fitness Website

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

It has been a long time since I’ve seen a website about DDR that was interesting at all. This website, DDRFitness.com, peaks my interest because they have a “What’s New in DDR” section with the latest in exergaming.

They have written this website in order to sell games and dance pads. When I looked at the prices, they seem reasonably well-priced, so they’re not trying to rip you off. Of course, I haven’t ordered anything from them, so I don’t know how reliable they are, but the news links are interesting.

They’re DDR buying guide is minimalist, but contains exactly enough information to get you started. It won’t help you learn how to play the game well, but it will tell you enough to be able to choose the correct game and pad.

One thing I would add is that the metal pads aren’t necessarily the best in comfort. It really depends how you play. I learned to play barefoot and have a hard time playing the game with running shoes. If I play barefoot on the arcade game (very similar to the metal pads), I get blisters very quickly. I could wear shoes, but then I would have to learn how to play all over again. For me, the high density pads are the best. They are also very reasonably priced through DDRFitness.

Go ahead and take a look at DDRFitness and see what you think.


Show Up

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

When I first started running, I signed up for a race to inspire me to run every day. Every race that I’ve ever run has been to inspire me to keep exercising every day so that I would keep myself healthy. The race was a by-product of the daily habit. I didn’t care how quickly I finished. Just showing up to the race was good enough for me.

Anne over at Complete Running Network suggests that going to a race with the idea of just finishing it is selling yourself short.

Anne believes that it’s not good enough to just show up:

“Runners shouldn’t show up at the starting line of a race planning to just finish. There’s far more challenge to reaching a realistic target time.”

I don’t agree with Anne. We all run races for different reasons. I run races for inspiration and weight loss. Other people run races to raise money for charitable events. Still others run races to create bonding family experiences for their children. There are as many reasons to run races as there are people who run races. Focusing on finish time is merely one way to keep score.

She did have some good advice toward the end of the article:

“Extreme weather on race day may mean quickly adjusting expectations. Or, you may get hurt or sick on the course and instantly modify plans. But don’t sell yourself short. Finish up by the time you said you would. And declare what that time will be on your blog (if you have one) and to your friends. Even if you finish dead last, if you hit your most conservative goal, you’ll have won.”

If I have trained enough to show up for a race and finish it, then I have won. I don’t need a finishing time to prove it. Just showing up at the race is more than most people ever dare to do. Focusing on the finishing time isn’t “selling myself short” it’s just short-sighted.

Remember: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Woody Allen


Picky Eater Solution: Just Eat It

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Valerie at iPortion sent this link to an article about feeding children. I was raised by my mother, who did rather well feeding me and my grandmother, who gave me a long list of worries and habits that eventually mutated into my bingeing behavior. This article is right on about preventing eating disorders in children.

Based on this article, the worst thing you can do to a child is label them a picky eater.

Nutritionist Rosemary Stanton said everybody was born with a taste for sweetness because breast milk was sweet. The worst thing a parent could do was brand their child as a fussy eater. “It leads to parents giving children junk food, saying it’s better than nothing. It’s almost never better than nothing; the child may go without food for a couple of days and it won’t hurt them in a non-famine situation,” Dr Stanton said.

Being a picky eater can haunt your child all through adulthood unless they conquer it themselves. I’ve seen adults say that they couldn’t eat vegetables (and many other healthy foods) for reasons other than, “I just can’t swallow them.” After suffering with a stomach disorder that limited my food choices almost arbitrarily, I had little sympathy for them.

If you have a child who is a picky eater, keep offering them healthy food. If they don’t want to eat it, they must not be hungry enough. Don’t offer them Pop Tarts, let them learn that eating healthy is the only option. After a dozen or so exposures, they should be more willing to eat the healthy stuff.

More importantly, if you’re a picky eater, treat yourself the same. Expose yourself to foods that you “just can’t swallow” regularly. You will eventually earn a taste for the healthier food. You can conquer your own picky eating habits.


The New iPod Nano

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

The new iPod Nano

If you have been thinking of buying an iPod Nano to exercise with, you’re in luck. Apple just remastered the Nano in rainbow colors!

I have been testing the Nike+iPod with a borrowed Nano for a couple of months now. I’ve been so happy with it, I have been considering buying one of my own. I’m so glad I waited because now I can get one in my favorite color.

The reason the iPod Nano is better for exercising than the Video iPod is because it is made with flash memory instead of a hard drive. The jarring action of running won’t damage the Nano like it would the Video iPod (or other hard drive MP3 players). Additionally, no matter how hard you run, it won’t skip. That’s why Apple created the Nike+ for the Nano only. They didn’t want to promote running with the other iPods.

Unlike the old Apple commercials, the new one doesn’t feature the white earbuds as prominently. It features the bright colors of the new Nanos. You can see it here:

Click here to see the video

Hey, I wonder if the ear buds come in Lime Green also…

Here are some articles explaining the Nike+iPod:

Stay tuned for another review of the Nike+iPod now that I’ve owned it for a couple of months.


Subungual Hematoma – Black Toenail

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Wendy Bumgardener over at About.com has an injured toe from hiking a trail with ill-fitting shoes.

Black toenail is a common injury among runners, but can be avoided with proper shoe fitting and lacing techniques. It is covered so often by running magazines that I’m surprised that I have never had trouble with it. I’ve worn Ryka running shoes ever since I first started running, so I’ve never had trouble. I’m also reluctant to change shoes because of black toenail horror stories.

Black toenail has nothing to do with fungus (that’s a different malady). It is an injury to your toe from constant pressure from shoes. It’s like a bruise under your toenail, except if it’s bad enough, you can lose the nail.

Here is a technical explanation of black toenail from Wikipedia:

If you want to avoid getting a black toenail, here are some resources:

After reading so many stories from people who have had black toenail, I’m surprised that I’ve never experienced it. I’ve had sore toes after hiking for too long in the wrong shoes, but I’ve been fortunate enough to not have this problem. If you have, don’t worry. It’s VERY common. As one runner said it:

“I use my toes to tell the seasons. If my first two toes are black then it is running season. If my little toe is black it is cross country skiing season. If I don’t have any black toes then I’m 10 pounds over weight. It is easy to run withseveral black toes than with 10 extra pounds.” – Jim Benike at UltRunR

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