Austin, Texas Meetup

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

We are going to be in Austin, Texas from March 8-13th this year and we want to meet up with the readers of Starling Fitness. We want to hear your ideas about the site, what you like, what you hate and how we can be better.

Here’s the problem: We don’t really know the town. We’re hoping that you folks can tell us the best place and day to meet.

Please email us if you would like to come to the meetup here:

We are excited to meet our readers face to face and hear just what you want from us!

Question of the Week: Gadgets

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

In honor of CES, this week’s question of the week is about gadgets:

What weight loss or fitness gadgets have you purchased in the past?

Did they work the way they advertised?

Did they help you lose weight or get stronger?

Which gadgets made you feel ripped off?

Which gadgets were totally worth the money?

It’s impossible to “buy” fitness. If it were, I would have by now. I talked about this in the past:


Remember Running?

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

Remember? Remember what it felt like to run? Run when you were a kid and running was how you got from here to there? Remember when they said they knew a great place and let’s go there? How did we go there? You can only run to a great place! There’s no walking if we’re going to some place great!


Greenwashed Food

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

Cheetos by any other name are still junk food...We’re not talking about washing the e.coli off your spinach. We’re talking about the packaging that has cropped up in every food aisle in the grocery store. First it starts with some colors that aren’t quite as bright and jarring, maybe a softer hue of orange. Then they add a word that doesn’t mean anything anymore like natural or wholesome. Then draw a couple of barns or maybe a shaft of wheat and they suddenly have a more palatable package for their food.

They didn’t make the food any more healthy, they just changed the packaging.

The FDA has been able to regulate words like organic, low-fat and whole grain, but there are lots of words out there that marketing can use to fool you into thinking that what you’re buying is healthy. No matter what color the Cheetos bag is, it’s still junk food. Now, eating junk food when you KNOW you’re eating junk food is far different than eating something that you think is a healthy alternative, but is really junk food in a blandly colored bag. Make sure you check the food labels to verify the caloric, fat and nutrient contents any food you might think is “healthy.” Your best bets are fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Not food made with whole grains, but the grains themselves.

Now, if you’re going to eat something knowing that it’s not healthy and you want a “treat” that’s fine. You don’t need to stop eating processed foods entirely, but don’t fool yourself thinking that what you’re eating is healthy because they packaged it up to look healthy.

Via: Food manufacturers are greenwashing their packaging, using homey organic colors and themes to sell food that isn’t even necessarily organic or healthy (kottke.org)


The Nike+iPod Starling Fitness Weekly Challenge

By Laura Moncur @ 11:57 am — Filed under:

If you have a Nike+iPod setup, you can join my weekly challenge. The challenge starts every Friday. This running/walking challenge is for people who regularly log 12-35 miles a week. It is considered Level 3. If you would like to join this challenge, go to this thread on the Nike+ forum and ask to be added.

There are also lots of other challenges available. You can see them all here:

Check out Nike’s forums and find a challenge that is right for you or join the Level 3 challenge even if you’re Level 1 or 2. You can eventually work your way up to where the rest of us are!

Black Toenails: Final Update

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

Black Toenails

They look worst when they hurt the least. Now that the pain is just a dim memory, they are ugly and black, reminding me every day that I need to take EVERYTHING in moderation. Running, walking, eating, exercising, desserting, EVERYTHING. Okay, I really shouldn’t take poison in moderation. I think I’ll just avoid that altogether.

For the whole story on black toenails, read these:


CES 2007: Launchpad Golf Simulator

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

The crowd around Launchpad Golf Simulator

You are looking at the largest exergaming crowd on the Sands Convention Center at CES. The Sands is usually not very crowded at all, but what people who were there, were watching the Launchpad Golf Simulator for the Playstation 2.

Launchpad Golf SimulatorThey were playing Tiger Woods on a Playstation 2 with the Lauchpad controller. The difference between Launchpad and most other golf controllers is that you can use your own golf clubs, not some silly imaginary golf club. The only problem with it is the golf ball. It doesn’t move like a real golf ball because it connected to the controller. It’s just close enough to the real thing to throw off your game in the real world.

Of course, all the exercise of golf in the real world is walking the courses with thirty pounds of golf clubs on your back. Take away that aspect and you can barely call this exergaming. There were so few exergaming options, however, that Launchpad drew a big crowd.

Launchpad is available for the PC and Mac computers and Playstation 2 on Amazon.com right now. Unfortunately, it’s a little pricey for what you get, which is a controller for only golf games. If you are obsessed with golf, then this might be a fun option to while away the winter days. If you are looking for serious exergaming, however, keep looking.


CES 2007: Xavix

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

Last year's Xavix booth...Last year, the Xavix booth was at the North Hall in the Las Vegas Convention Center. They took their place next to Epson Printers and Kodak Cameras. This year, finding Xavix was like following a treasure map. I showed up in the North Hall, expecting Xavix and their team of demonstrators to wow me with their newest technology, but they weren’t there.

That night, Mike looked them up on the CES website while I fretted, “I told all the readers on Starling Fitness that I would check out the Xavix booth and I didn’t even check to see if they were exhibiting.”

“No, they’re here. They’re in the Hilton,” Mike wrote down the booth number and I sighed a breath of relief.

Then next day, the entire team from The Gadgets Page (Matt, Christy, Mike and I) showed up at the Las Vegas Hilton on a quest to find Xavix. After looking at every booth on the Hilton floor, we were confused.

“What was the booth number for Xavix?” I asked Mike.


“Well that’s a totally different number than these booths.”

“Let’s talk to the information desk.”

The lady at the information desk was calm and clear, “1469, that’s a suite.”Follow the CES signs into the bowels of the Las Vegas Hilton

She rattled off directions to the hotel elevators and the four of us followed the CES signs to the hotel elevators.

Matt, chimed in, “Did you ever see that episode of Battlestar Galactica where they go to the planet that’s like Las Vegas and there are big insect aliens in the basement?”

We shook our heads and I felt a little wary as we walked down the hotel room halls. There were many exhibitors who had suites, but their doors were open and they were waiting at the door.

Room 1469, this year's home of Xavix... When we arrived at room 1469, the door was closed. Sure, there was a sign on the door, but there was no friendly person inviting us in. I knocked on the door. We heard scrambling inside and they finally came to the door. “Do you have an appointment?” The four of us shook our heads and I recovered enough to try to explain.

“We write for Starling Fitness. We saw your booth last year and it was so cool, so we were looking for it this year. I didn’t know we needed an appointment…”

They recovered quickly and let us into the hotel suite.

The Xavix Lifestyle ManagerThey were exhibiting all of the Xavix games in their suite, but I had covered them in detail last year. The only new product that they had was the Xavix Lifestyle Manager. It was pretty cool. It can store almost two weeks of weigh-ins for four people, but the scale that hooks up to the Xavix machine is only half the story. It also provides a daily check-in for behaviors that you might be trying to adjust. It actually is very similar to the Starling Fitness Journal Pages, except it added other healthy behaviors like limiting alcohol and cigarettes (which I didn’t even think about).

Sadly, they were demonstrating the Lifestyle Manager projected on the wall, so none of the pictures of the screen shots turned out. The Lifestyle Manager is a cool product and if you already own a Xavix, it might be a good addition. Based on the fact that they were showcasing it in a nearly unattended hotel suite, however, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to invest in a Xavix console.


PostSecret: Google Cupcakes

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

PostSecret: Google Cupcakes

It was a shock for me to see this week’s PostSecret. This postcard was staring at me. I could have written it. I had talked about craving cupcakes for MONTHS and looking at recipes, pictures and such online. I didn’t write this postcard, but this could have been my secret a couple of weeks ago.

I made so many cupcakes for that New Year’s Eve party. It only took four to be sick of them. We gave away over a dozen to my husband’s family. Why did I torture myself for so many months?

PostSecret‘s beneficiary is the National Hopeline Network. It is a 24-hour hotline (1 (800) SUICIDE) for anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows someone who is considering it.


Question of the Week: What Are You Craving?

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

If you have been faithfully following a New Year’s Resolution, you’re probably craving something right now. Maybe it’s a craving for a lazy day without exercise. Maybe it’s a craving for your favorite food. Let’s talk about those cravings right now.

What are you craving?

Why aren’t you allowing yourself this?

Have you caved into your craving before? What happened?

What would happen if you did?

Is it possible to cave into your craving in a controlled manner so that it won’t disrupt your goals? How?

Whatever it is, your assignment for this week is to write a full page about it and then find a way to work it into your schedule. Whether it’s a day of rest or a certain food, there HAS to be a way for you to enjoy that food in a controlled setting. Those cravings are there for a reason. Maybe you’ve been working out too hard or your body is missing a certain nutrient. Maybe that food or activity represents comfort to you. Are you really prepared to live a life without comfort? No? Then let’s find a way to work it into your life AND still be dedicated to exercising and eating healthy.

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