1/24/2015

5K Runner: A Couch to 5K App That Actually Works Sucks Like The Rest of Them

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

Update 02-02-15

5K Runner Review W6D2 from Starling FitnessI’m kind of peeved today because this review was a TAD premature. I have now had THREE separate failures of this application. Each time, I was adjusting the volume or skipping a song and the app advanced the workout to the next activity. For example, today, I was in the middle of the W6D2 workout. This workout has a five minute warmup, ten minutes of running, three minutes walking, ten minutes of running and five minute cool down. I was in the fourth minute of the first run and a song came on that was a lot louder than the others and I pushed the volume button on my phone to turn it down. It advanced me all the way to the cool down. Definitely UNCOOL.

The worst part is that when I tried to start it again, it was at the beginning. I had already done almost ten minutes of my workout. I could advance it to the three minute walk, but basically, I was screwed. I did the workout on my treadmill and turned off the app. When I checked off that I had done it, it didn’t let me post to Twitter, like I usually do with the stats. That REALLY made me mad because I had done the workout and I didn’t get to brag about it.

So, not even this program is bug-free. AND the truly irritating part is that the program even has a “feature” of being able to advance to the next section. When you’re in a workout, you don’t want to easily skip the next ten minutes. The whole part of the workout is to DO it. The ONLY reason this program has that “feature” is so that the programmers can test the app without actually DOING the workout. Bad form, 5K Runner, bad form.

Oh, and you can bet I’m not buying the 10K runner or your stupid sit-up and pushup apps. Here I am, looking for another app to train with. Why do they all suck so hard?


Don’t get me started talking about Couch to 5K apps. I will rage and spew hatred for all the crappy apps out there. It will be an hour-long rant about how the MOST important thing about a Couch to 5K app are the audio cues.

5K Runner App Review on Starling FitnessSo, if you want to learn to start running and want an app to help you with that process, DO NOT SEARCH FOR COUCH TO 5K ON THE APP STORE!!! You will find SO many apps and they are ALL garbage. All of them, except 5K Runner.

With a Couch to 5K program, you learn to run by doing intervals. There are times when you run and times when you walk. This app will tell you when to run and tell you when to walk. It will also play your workout music in the background and gently break in to tell you when to run and walk.

5K Runner First Workout from Starling FitnessAll Couch to 5K apps say that they will tell you when to run and when to walk, but 5K Runner actually DOES it. It never misses an audio cue. You see, with those crappy programs, they will gladly tell you when to run, but then some bug happens and they forget to tell you to start walking, so you end up running WAY longer than you should. Or maybe they only work with the audio cues if you keep the screen on the entire run. Some of them only have trouble if your headphones accidentally get pulled out when you dropped your phone. Others break down when your halfway mark audio cue coincides with a cue to run or walk.

I have tested 5K Runner in every possible way to make it break and it has never once missed a cue. Without fail, it has ALWAYS told me when to run and when to walk. It has ALWAYS told me that I’ve reached the halfway mark. It has always given me a little extra incentive when I am in the middle of that last running interval of the day (I REALLY need that one).

5K Runner just WORKS the way it’s supposed to.

That’s how low a bar I set for this program and every other program I tested failed. They all missed an audio cue of some sort and left me walking too long or running too long (that was the worst).

5K Runner W4D2 Workout from Starling FitnessI do have ONE caveat, however. DO NOT LOOK AHEAD! Don’t look at the workout for next time. ESPECIALLY don’t look at the workout next week. It will scare you to think that the next time you run, you’ll have to run for FIVE minutes straight with only three minutes walking for a break. That happened to me. I just finished the W4D2 Run. Before I started, I was so terrified of that run this morning that I tried to avoid it because I had looked ahead.

The funny thing is, by the time you get there, you CAN do it. It might sound impossible, like running for five minutes with only three minutes to recover, but you WILL be able to do it when it comes time for that run. Don’t look ahead, just plug in your headphones and do what the nice lady tells you to do.

5K Runner Settings from Starling FitnessThat is ONE thing that I wish I could change. I wish I could record audio cues for myself. I would have the people I love record the “Motivate Me” sections. I would MUCH rather hear my husband tell me, “You can do this, we’re almost done.” Or my mom saying, “I’m proud of you for doing your workout today.” Even if it were just me, I wish I could record my own voice saying, “Keeping going, Laura. I know you can do this.”

I really like that you can just turn off the voices altogether and just have beeps telling you when to run and walk. I love that you can choose whether it tells you that you’re halfway done or whether you want motivation. Those settings will really come in handy after I have been using this app for several years, but I’m sick of the audio cues.

5K Runner Badges from Starling FitnessFinally, there are the badges. When you do workouts, you earn badges, which feels really good to have one pop up every week or two. Of course, all the motivational cues and badges in the world won’t work if the app crashes or forgets to tell you that you can walk now after a hard run. I love the badges, but they don’t mean anything to me if I am angry at the program for making me run too much.

I’m going to be BRUTALLY honest here. Up until now, my favorite option for Couch to 5K was the 5K app for Zombies, Run! I have been VERY positive about that app because I do love it so much, but even that program has betrayed me. Once it left me running, running, running, and the doctor never came back to tell me to walk. I didn’t hear from her again until she said, “Ok, Runner Five, it’s now time to run.” By then, I couldn’t breathe. I was very mad at the app for that, despite my love for it. THAT’S how important audio cues are when we are learning to run. And I said that I wouldn’t go on an hour-long rant about just that…

1/20/2015

This Is What You Miss

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

THIS! This is what you miss when you blow off your workout…

Beautiful Sky from Feel Good Inc

Feel Good Inc. was out in the cold the other morning and she saw this sunrise. This is the kind of thing that you miss when you listen to that voice in your head.

It’s too cold outside right now.

I’m so tired from exercising every day.

I’ll just do the workout later.

When you listen to that voice, you miss out on the good things like a beautiful sunrise and an invigorating workout. The next time you have that nagging voice in your head trying to talk you out of getting your butt out of bed and doing your workout, remember this gorgeous morning sunrise that you could be enjoying if you just do the next right thing.

1/9/2015

CES 2015: Virtuix Omni VR Home Gaming

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

I went to CES this year and the only really good exergaming thing I saw was the virtual reality thing from Virtuix Omni.

It is a virtual reality headset that works with first person shooter games on the PC. My first thought was, “If that thing worked with Animal Crossing, I would get SO much exercise!!” Then I realized that if it worked with Animal Crossing, then I would never play my game because it would be too much physical activity.

The way the it works is slippery shoes and a convex platform! It’s not a treadmill, like I thought it was. This video shows you how it works.

I don’t really want to play first person shooters, even if it’s cool like this, but if this worked with my Animal Crossing game, I think it would be awesome!

1/6/2015

Color Run Las Vegas – Join Me and Save Five Bucks!

By Laura Moncur @ 9:59 am — Filed under:

I am running the Color Run in Las Vegas on February 28th next month!

If you don’t know what the Color Run is, here is a video:

Color Run AmbassadorYes, it’s the race where they throw crap on you while you’re trying to run a 5K…

It actually looks like a lot of fun and according to my friends who have done it, it is. I am excited to run it and I’m hoping you can come along. Heck, it’s in Vegas at the BEST time of the year for that city, winter!

I joined the team, “Electric Sunshine.” I have no idea what team that is or what they stand for, but it sounded hopeful to me, so I joined that one. If you want to be on my team, join Electric Sunshine and you’ll save some money.

If you use this code: LASVEGAS You’ll get another five dollars off the race entry fee.

Come run with me in Las Vegas!

12/12/2014

Find Your Greatness

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

I saw this motivational poster on LiveToTheBeat and it made me say, “YES!”

Find Your Greatness from Starling Fitness

It reads:

Find your greatness.

I don’t want to see some genetically blessed person in my motivational posters. I wanna see THIS guy! This guy is inspiring! He’s sweating! He’s working hard!

The next time I think about blowing off my incredibly easy workout, I’m going to have THIS guy in my head. If he can do his workout, then so can I.

12/11/2014

Start Out PATHETICALLY Slow

By Laura Moncur @ 12:18 pm — Filed under:

Over the last year, I have lost 59.8 pounds by keeping my bingeing at bay and walking a slow twenty minutes a day.

But, I’m getting weak…

I talked about this a little over a month ago here:

So, I added some weight training every other day to my workouts. Here is my list:

Start out PATHETICALLY Slow from Starling Fitness

It is EMBARRASSINGLY trivial. It’s PATHETICALLY slow. It’s so little weight and so few reps and only ONE set! It takes nine minutes. But when I think about my weight training days, I don’t dread them anymore. I tell myself that it’s hilariously easy, so it’s no big deal.

For me, right now, it’s more important to be consistent than to challenge myself. I have challenged myself. It made me thinner, and then it made me binge. I’m going to try gentle and consistent and see if that works out better for me. It sure did with slow walking every day with the dog. Maybe it will with the weight training as well.

9/26/2014

I’m Lazy

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

I read this quote the other day and it really made me think:

I'm lazy. But it's the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn't like walking or carrying things. by Lech Walesa from The Quotations Page

It reads:

I’m lazy. But it’s the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn’t like walking or carrying things.

For years, I have thought this to be true. I’ve thought that my laziness was a GOOD thing because it made me invent better ways of doing things. But when I look at it honestly, ONE important question comes to mind.

What EXACTLY have I invented?

Sure, I’ve found quicker ways to put away the dishes and clothes after they’ve been cleaned, but aside from that, laziness has done nothing but HARM me. It’s one of those character defects that I cling to with the flimsy excuse of finding a “better” way.

Guess what? There is NO better way to stay thin than to eat properly and exercise. You can’t escape it. There is no bare minimum to eat that won’t throw your body into starvation mode. There is no time when I will be so thin that I won’t have to exercise every day. It’s just not going to happen and clinging to that hope is just me living in denial and choosing laziness over recovery.

The next time you’re thinking of skipping your workout and deciding that there MUST be a better way, think about this. The next time you see an infomercial for an exercise machine or pill that promises a workout without the sweat, think about this. There is NO other way. Discard your laziness and come to the stark realization that a healthy body REQUIRES exercise, industriousness and work.

9/12/2014

An Extra 2,500 Steps A Day

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

So, I thought I would try to increase my exercise slightly. It might be my disease talking and if it is, I’ll keep an eye on it. I’ll talk to my sponsor about it. But, for now, I feel okay.

I signed up for a challenge on Lose It! that works with my FitBit. To do 12,500 steps a day.

FitBit Step It Up Challenge from Starling Fitness

It says 12,000 steps a day, but when I divide 375,000 steps by 30, I get 12,500.

ONLY 10K Steps from Starling FitnessEvery night, I’ve found myself hovering at the point where I used to feel proud of myself, which is 10,000 steps. The bad thing about this challenge is that they didn’t account for rest days. If you want to take a rest day, you have to do MORE than 12,500 steps on your “On” days. For example, if you want one rest day a week (or four days in the month), you have to do 14,424 steps a day to make your monthly goal. I’m struggling just to do my 12,500 a day, hopping on the treadmill to squeeze in a couple thousand steps right before I go to bed. I can’t imagine trying to do over 14K a day.

I might have set an unrealistic goal for myself. Maybe it’s time to call my sponsor…

9/9/2014

What Are Your Favorite Songs To Run To?

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

I laughed out loud when I saw this Facebook post on Imgur the other day.

What Are Your Favorite Songs To Run To? from Starling Fitness

It reads:

Montreal: Hey Facebook kids, what are your favourite songs to run to?

Friend Replied: I made my own song. It’s a mix of zombie noises, people saying, “I’m going to cut you,” “Come here little boy,” and police sirens. I’ve lost 10 lbs. 3 of which were in tears. I’ve also lost my wallet and my keys.

Montreal: Hey NORMAL Facebook kids, what are your favourite songs to run to?

I’ve talked about this concept before. The Primal Workout is a theory that you can trick your body into becoming more fit because it believes it’s in danger:

I don’t know how beneficial it is to do that workout every day, because it might cause enough stress on your body that it negates any benefits you might get from it. The more important question, however, is what music is good for working out and I have talked about that A LOT!

I could never narrow things down to one or two songs, so I literally have HUNDREDS of songs in my workout playlist. The good thing about that is that I can listen to my tunes with every workout and not get sick of them.

Via: Fitness, Health, And Confidence

9/1/2014

Exercise Is Totally Hard And Stuff

By Laura Moncur @ 7:29 am — Filed under:

I was looking at A New Leaf in Everfree and I found this animated GIF from the game, Animal Crossing.

Exercise Is Totally Hard and Stuff from Starling Fitness

It reads:

Cookie, the lazy dog, says, “Yeah, exercise is totally hard and stuff. I think I’m gonna go take a nap and read a book or whatever.”

It’s true. If you over-do it, like I did for YEARS, exercise is hard and stuff. I have lost 51 pounds NOT over-doing it. I have consciously tried to keep my exercise totally mellow and stuff. My only goal is to move for thirty minutes. The way I’ve achieved that goal is by taking the dog for a walk every day. We average a mere 2.7 mph because Nina is so busy smelling interesting smells. It’s a pathetic workout, one which Cookie could easily do without breaking a sweat.

AND IT WORKS!

Part of my problem was that I thought I had to hurt myself to make the workout work. I took to heart the slogan, “No pain. No gain,” when really I should have just enjoyed the view and smelled a few interesting smells.

The next time you are procrastinating your workout because you think you need to go all out or go home, just take a walk. Not a power-walk. Just a simple and easy walk. Make your workouts mellow and stuff and you’ll actually DO them instead of take a nap and read a book or whatever.

I’ve talked about Animal Crossing before here:

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