Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fitness Tracking Gadgets and Apps

As a fitness enthusiast and professional, I've tried and tested my fair share or gadgets and apps to help me become more fit and active. Some I love, some I like and some I don't even know who would really use them. Instead of bashing some of the less used and liked gadgets and phone apps, I thought I'd brag about my favorite products for activity tracking to boost fitness levels.

**Obligatory blogger side note: I am not being paid to review these items, nor did I receive any for free. I just really like these products and want to share with everyone in case you're in the market for one of these gadgets and needing advice on what to purchase!**

Gadgets I love:
Polar Loop
I've been using my Polar Loop for two years now and I'm obsessed! I started using the FitBit back in 2011 when it was just a little machine that clipped onto my shorts or bra. In December 2013, I decided to try the Polar Loop because I liked my Polar FT4 heart rate monitor watch and the Polar Loop would sync to my heart rate monitor chest strap.

It's been a great product! I counts my steps and gives me an accurate calorie count based on my height, weight and daily activity. It also tracks my activity level based on laying, sitting, standing and running. Using the heart rate monitor chest strap, it can track your heart rate, analyze your training and put your training into your daily activity. I personally love it because it helps me to get up and moving on less active days and it really motivates me to push harder during my workouts. The Polar Loop also syncs to your computer and mobile phone with the Polar Flow app. You can see your activity at each part of the day and even how well you're sleeping!

Check out my Garmin Watch and Polar Loop (and my favorite Mizunos) from a training run last fall!


Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS
JP got my Garmin for me as a Valentine's gift back in 2011. I still run with the same exact watch to this day. That's over 4 years old with just one issue; my charger died so I had to get a new cable. That's it! This version of the watch is no longer produced by the manufacturer, but I'm sure the newer Garmin Forerunner models are equally as effective and efficient.

I love that with my watch I can see how long I've been running, how far and what pace I'm running at. This is incredibly helpful when training for races and you need to make sure you're running faster on your tempo days and slower on your long run days! You can also change the different stats that you see on the face of your watch. It also accurately tracks your calories based on height, weight, heart race and pace at which you're walking or running. The watch holds months worth of data from past activities, so you can go back and see if you're improving. It also syncs up to your computer for easy data storage.

Since this watch is discontinued, here are some great options for those of you interested in Garmin products:
Basic watch: Forerunner 10
Intermediate: Forerunner 210 or 220{similar to mine}
Advance: Forerunner 620

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Spotify
I started using Spotify when I began a full time career as a trainer and fitness instructor. I originally used my iTunes, but since I was constantly creating new play lists and trying to keep up with the latest and greatest music, I was spending more money than I wanted to a month on music. I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for Spotify for $10/month. It has been a lifesaver! I can create playlists for all of my classes and leave them on my phone in offline mode without taking up tons of memory space. As long as I'm connected to Wifi, I can access those playlists. If I know I won't have access to the internet, I can download them to my phone for however long I want. This is particularly great for when I'm running or walking outside and want to jam a little! You can also listen to radio stations, similar to Pandora, without any commercials with the paid subscription. I've been using Spotify for about 2 years now and love it!


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RunKeeper
Sometimes I don't feeling like wearing my Garmin watch. I may not necessarily care about my pace, but I still want to know my distance. In these instances I use the RunKeeper app on my iPhone! It links up to GPS and tracks your distance, pace and calories. It doesn't only track running workouts, but walking, cycling, swimming, hiking, etc. Once you've completed your workout, it stores in on the app and notifies you if you've hit new records like fastest time, farthest distance, most workouts recorded in a month and so on. You can also connect with friends who use the app and check out each other's progress. If you aren't ready to commit to spending a couple hundred dollars for a GPS watch, this app has everything you need...and it's free! There is now an upgraded pay version that also includes training plans and more if you're interested. One more thing, it now connects to My Fitness Pal and automatically adds your workouts to MFP for you! Just one less thing you have to add to your nutrition tracker each day!

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Gadgets I want to get my hands on:
Polar A300
This is Polar's new activity tracker. It's more like a watch then the Polar Loop, but it has very similar functionality including tracking steps, calories, distance and activity level, but now it will give you a slight vibration if you've been sitting for too long! It also connects to your Polar heart rate monitor and the Polar Flow app. The A300 seems to have a better interface. You can always see the time as well as some of your activity stats without having to constantly press the button to slide through your info. It seems to be a neat product and a great one up on the Polar Loop. It's something I want to check out a little more!

Polar M400
Most of the specs for the M400 seem similar to the A300, but with even more functionality. The M400 is also a GPS watch for multi-sport use! This would be a great upgrade for me from my Polar Loop and Garmin. One watch for both uses! It also has a sleeker design then my current Garmin watch and would probably fit my tiny wrist much better!

Apple Watch
Because it's an Apple product and I'm sure it's awesome, but let's be honest, I'm going to wait until the next version comes out. It seems that it's usually best to wait for version 2 of Apple products.

Fitbit
While I'm not necessary interested in getting a Fitbit product, I know plenty of people that use them and love them, my husband and clients included! Fitbit products are great and would be a good alternative brand of activity tracker for those of you that are interested. There are several different options to choose from based on how much you want to track and how much money you're willing to spend!

We definitely live in the age of technology and we all want the latest and greatest! I hope that this helps anyone looking for some new fitness activity gear! Happy hump day...now get out there and get moving!

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Chloe Grace: One Month Old



Happy Monday y'all! I'm a few days late, but today I'm celebrating Chloe's one month birthday! It's hard to believe that it's already been a month since I finally got to meet my little angel. She officially became a month old on Saturday while we were in College Station! It was a weekend of firsts for Miss Chloe.

First road trip out of the Houston area {Which means her first trip to Buc-ee's!}

Thanks to Timehop, I got this gem! We love Buc-ee's and I insist on stopping for every road trip!

First visit at Grandma & Grandpa Gougler's house


Grandma and grandpa were prepped and ready for us! They made sure that we had all of the necessities for Chloe Grace! They even got one of her favorite pillows {seen above}. The upstairs is all set up for our little family. We have beds, a couch, a microwave and a fridge stocked with drinks just for us! We also have a pack 'n play fully equipped with a diaper changing station, noise machine and bouncer. We are completely set! We're so excited to be heading up there for football in less than two weeks! We couldn't be more grateful for all the love and effort Jody and Phil have put into making everything perfect for us!


First visit to Texas A&M University




We had to show her some important places like Kyle Field & the MSC...





...and the Century Tree where Mom & Dad took some engagement pictures!




And we couldn't leave without a quick stop by the Fermier building where both Mom & Dad spent many hours in school! We were both Industrial Distribution majors {diet engineering/engineering for people persons!} and her Grandpa was an Engineering Technology major!





First time to meet her Great-Mimi & Papa


It was such a blessing to have four generations of Gouglers in the house this weekend! Mimi and Papa met Chloe for the first time Friday evening and they were able to see her again Sunday before we had to leave. I am so happy that Mimi was able to hold her great-granddaughter for the first time. You could see the love and joy that lit up both of their faces. I'm so lucky to have these two as grandparents since all of mine have passed away. Chloe is even luckier :) 

First run with Momma in her jogging stroller


We had been on many walks but no actual runs. Okay, I ran about 100 yards one time to see how it felt. But this time, I really ran. In fact, the weather was nice enough and the distance was short enough that I didn't even stop to walk! Granted, I'm a bit slower than I used to be, but I'm running with a jogging stroller and I only gave birth a month ago. I know I'll get back to my usual self in time. Until then, I'll enjoy not worrying about my pace and take walk breaks when needed.

First trip to Blue Baker {My favorite sandwich place in the whole world} & David Gardeners {The jewelry store we buy all of our expensive, shiny things from!}


I dream about Blue Baker. Their sandwiches are amazing, the cookies are delicious and the bread...oh the bread...I love bread. We'll leave it at that. JP was out and about doing Fantasy Football stuff with his buddies, so Jody, Phil, Chloe and I went to lunch followed by a pit stop at David Gardeners to pick out my push present/birthday present! I wanted a David Yurman bracelet with Chloe's birthstone on the ends. Unfortunately, the bracelet size I wanted doesn't come with Rubies and the Garnet is hard to find. However, we came to an even better conclusion. I should get pink stones for baby girl! The ends of the bracelet are tourmaline gems and it's perfect because I also have one on the side of my engagement ring!



First evening without Momma

I'm bummed because I didn't get a picture for this one! Saturday night, I went to a dinner with Phil! It was kind of like a father/daughter date and it was my first evening away from Chloe. Phil had a scholarship dinner with several of the students receiving scholarships from the class of '80 as well as some of the class representatives {Phil is a class rep}. We got dressed up and went to a nice Italian restaurant called Luigi's! It was a great evening with good conversation and delicious food. Chloe did great back at home with Dad and Grandma. She took her bottle like a champ and wasn't even hungry when I got home which meant pumping was mandatory before bed :) It was so worth it because I had such a wonderful night and it's always special to get to spend some extra time with my father-in-law!

Like I said, a weekend of firsts! It was such a fun adventure and now my baby girl is hitting milestone after milestone! It's hard to believe she's a month old, but I also forgot how life was without her.



The last 31 days were the most challenging, sleep deprived adventure and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm excited to see the changes, challenges and developments this next month brings us! Most of all, I'm excited to spend each and every day with my Chloe Grace.




My darling Chloe Grace,

Words cannot completely express the love I have for you. Everyone told me that you cannot understand a mother's love until you become a mom. They were right. I didn't know that my heart was big enough to love this much. You have become my everything and life before you is a distant memory.

Your daddy and I have enjoyed this first month with you more than we could even imagine! You are a light in our lives and have completed our family. Your puppies adore you. Maggie can't get enough of you and checks on you every time you cry. Then she covers you in kisses to make sure you're okay. Moose is starting to become more interested in you, but he's not always sure what to think.

Even though sleeping at night isn't always your favorite thing to do, I don't mind. If there was anyone I wanted to snuggle at 2am and again at 4am, it is you. I cherish our time together in the middle of the night, breastfeeding and when you're in your Moby wrap. I know that you won't always want or need me this much, so I want to soak up every moment.

I love you more than you will ever know Chloe Grace and every day I thank God for making me your Momma. I can't wait to see what each new day brings us!

I love you forever,
Your Momma


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Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Favorites: Baby, Training & Tailgating

It's time for a Friday Favorites post! There are so many things coming up that I am absolutely looking forward to: football & tailgating, marathon training season, fall & dressing up my baby girl, and so much more! Here are some of my current favorites that I have or I'm crushing on!


Friday Favorites 8-28-2015




Let's start from the left top to bottom:

  • Nursing Scarf: This is perfect for fall outfits and allows me to stylishly cover up while I'm feeding baby girl! I have one similar in grey and white chevron print. My mom bought this for me then my Aunt Dianne took some measurements and created two new ones for me! One has a beautiful floral print and the other is a fun and colorful stripy print.
  • Fall Baby Clothes: JP often says that he thinks one of my favorite things to do with Chloe is dress her up. Well he's not entirely wrong. I absolutely love picking out her outfits and dressing her up. Even just putting on adorable onesies or sleepers brightens my day. She's just so cute in everything that I put on her! I'm super excited for adorable fall baby clothes! She has so many cute jackets and sweaters. Of course it'll be a few more months before Houston is cool enough for those.
  • Fun Running Tanks: Anything that has a Texas on it is adorable and a wardrobe necessity in my book. Plus it's pink! I have some other cute ones in my collection with awesome sayings like "Will Run for Peanut Butter"!
  • The Perfect Running Shoes: I've talked about running shoes on here before. (here, here, here, here) Mizuno is by far my favorite and go to shoes for running. The Wave Rider 17s and 18s are the two pairs that I'm currently switching between, but I'll need some new ones soon. And you better believe I'll be sticking with Mizuno! Marathon training season, I'm ready for you! And Chloe is too (with her awesome jogging stroller!).
  • Tailgating Attire: Kendra Scott with maroon Aggie dresses are in my near future! I love all of my tailgating clothes from dresses made out of t-shirts to the cutest maroon outfits...bring on football and all the awesomeness that comes with it!

What I'm pretty much saying is that I am so ready for fall, football and getting back into running! We're heading to College Station this weekend to visit JP's parents and take Chloe to Texas A&M campus for the first time! She's super excited and already in some Aggie gear. We haven't told her yet, but she get to go to Bucee's for the first time too. I didn't want to overwhelm her with all the awesome firsts she's going to have today, so that will just be a surprise. ;)

Have a wonderful weekend y'all! And before I leave...an adorable face to brighten your day.


Chloe stop trying to grow out of your newborn clothes!


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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

iPhone Photo Dump!

I take so many pictures. I always have. Now I take even more than I thought was possible. They're pretty much all of Chloe along with a few other random things here and there. Okay the few other random things are object in the pictures with Chloe like her swing, her playmat, my arm, her bouncer, another human, etc.

Today has been a bit crazy and I can't think of anything exciting to write that's worth reading. Instead I will post tons of pictures. Because everyone likes pictures. It's true! That's why we have Instagram :)







There you have it...an overwhelming amount of cuteness. I'm kind of biased though! I promise I'll be back with more exciting, but possibly less adorable news later this week!

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Chloe's Birth Story: Part 2

Before I begin, in case you missed it, here's Chloe's Birth Story Part 1!

Now time for a warning. This is a loooong post, but I wanted to document and remember the whole day! There are tons of pictures and lots of words. I have some pictures from the delivery, but I promise they're all PG-13; no private parts are showing...besides Chloe's cute bootie!

We left off on Tuesday evening when I attempted to get a good night's sleep before the big day. Needless to say, I was uncomfortable and restless due to being super pregnant and pretty nervous! My alarm went off at 5:00am and I couldn't believe the day was here...




First things first (aside from the usual brush teeth, put on clothes, etc routine) was to take our very LAST bump pictures!




Of course my very active and nosy puppies had to get involved. They wanted to know what was going on! We took our last picture as a family of 4 and shockingly the dogs cooperated some what! Not that you can see Moose's face :)




We finished calmly gathering last minute items, double checked the car and then headed up to the Medical Center! We arrived at Methodist at 7:00am and they had me checked in and in a room in just minutes. I got to get all fancy in my sweet hospital gown, have all the monitors hooked up to me then it was time to get my IV and start the Pitocin! I was all set and officially started laboring around 7:30am.




Now let the waiting games begin! The contractions came pretty quickly. I had been having mild contractions already, so the Pitocin just amped them up. At first they really weren't painful at all. JP, Emily and I were the only ones in the room at this time, so we hung out, joked, played on our phones and the watched Divergent since it was on the hospital's movie channel!





My doctor came in to check me out and see how everything was going around 8:30. I was still 3cm dilated and almost completely effaced. She said that she was going to have her colleague come in an hour or so to break my water which would speed up the whole process.

About an hour later, my water was broken and I was about 3 1/2cm dilated already! By the way, having your water broken isn't necessarily painful, but it's one of the weirdest feelings! My doctor was due back to check on me mid afternoon, so the waiting continued!




Around 10:30-11:00 my parents and JP's mom arrived! I was thankful to have them there because I was starting to have more painful contractions at the time. We continued to just chat excitedly until 11:30 when JP, Emily and my dad went down to the cafeteria for lunch. I'm glad they did because my contractions started getting worse. It was nice just to have my mommas in there to support me through the pain. During this time Alison arrived and it was wonderful to have her there as well!




Everyone got back from lunch around 12:30 and I was hurting pretty bad. This is when I asked for the epidural. I probably waited a little longer than I should have, but I really wanted to experience everything! The pain was bad, but I could have endured it for a little longer. Here's why I think I waited too long...the worst part of the entire day was the epidural. Not trying to scare anyone, so let me explain. Remember that I was having very bad back pain leading up to all of this, it continued throughout my labor. This made getting in the proper position for an epidural very hard. Between the back pain and the contractions, I couldn't keep my back rounded properly. I was shaking, breathing poorly and in serious pain at this point. The anesthesiologist had to insert the needle 5 times before getting it in the right position. The first 4 times he hit bone. It wasn't his fault. Honestly, he was absolutely amazing and very comforting; I just couldn't stay in the proper position. However I survived and was lucky to have my amazing husband by my side cheering me on during the process.

Everyone then came back in the room as the epidural kicked in. It was weird though, it was completely numbing my left side but not my right. I had zero control over the left side of my body, but I could still move my right and had some feeling. Not a ton of feeling, but it was there and I could sense all pressure. At 2:00pm, my doctor was back! She checked me and I was 8cm dilated and completely effaced! So, so close. (I had been in labor for 6 1/2 hours at this point, not too bad!) She said she'd be back in about 2 hours and thought I'd be ready to push then.

30 minutes later, I was in so much pain yet again. Despite getting the epidural, I was still feeling a lot. It was a different kind of pain, but just as painful as the contractions I was having before the epidural. Instead of the cramping pain in my abdomen, it was an intense pressure down below. Really, really intense. I felt like I needed to push! I needed the anesthesiologist and my doctor again badly. Apparently, some women still feel all the pressure despite the epidural and need an extra bit to make it through labor and pushing. The anesthesiologist upped my dosage and it felt better,  but I still felt every contraction. This ended up being a blessing in disguise. Immediately after, I told my nurse that I was still convinced that I needed to push. I was checked again and crazy, I was fully dilated. It had only been an hour since my doctor checked me out. They told my doctor, had me do a practice push, and then it was time to get this little girl out!




Pushing is hard. Holding your breath is not fun especially when you're already so exhausted. Luckily, I only pushed for 20 minutes. I started at 3:00 and Chloe was born at 3:21pm! Since I was able to feel my contractions, I knew when to push, how to prepare myself and when to breathe. Maybe that's why it didn't take too long!

Funny story (and a reason I love my OBGYN): After my practice push, I said that I hated holding my breath. (#truth) Without skipping a beat, my doctor walked into the room and said, "Too bad! Let's have a baby!" It was perfect timing and very light hearted and funny. I needed a little laugh before all the pushing!

As soon as she came out, she was immediately placed on my chest for skin to skin. It was the most beautiful and breath taking moment of my entire life. I didn't care what she was covered in or what was going on around me. I had my princess. She was mine. JP and I created her!





I couldn't stop staring at her or crying out of shear joy! All of us were mesmerized by this tiny little human that changed our lives in an instant.

After the nurses got Chloe wiped down a bit and me cleaned up (I did tear and needed some stitches!), it was time to breastfeed for the first time. I was terrified that I didn't know what I was doing. Would Chloe latch well? Would I know what to do? Luckily, my mom was there to help guide me and Chloe really knew what to do. As my mom said, "She has a perfect latch!" That helped ease a lot of my fears. We were learning together and it was perfect.







 The nurses got her cleaned up a little more and all the girls came in to say hi to our little Chloe!






After a little while, we told all the guys to come on in! (JP's dad and my brothers got there sometime after lunch and were hanging out in the waiting room!)




Aren't the cutest, happiest grandpa's in the entire world? They were so excited to meet their very first grand baby!





Everyone was so in love! I mean, why wouldn't they be? Babies are seriously the best medicine for sadness; they just bring so much joy!








After everyone said hi to baby girl, I FINALLY was able to eat. I hadn't eaten since about 8pm the night before. Y'all that is sheer torture for someone who is very passionate about food, has a fast metabolism and is eternally hungry. Just was showing me the menu and I was just too overwhelmed. I told him that he knows what I like and just to order something! It needed to contain carbs, something healthy and dessert. Let's just say, he did a great job. I got veggie lasagna, mac 'n cheese, broccoli, a roll, diet ginger ale, a brownie and some chocolate ice cream. JP for the win. The only problem was that it was going to take 30-45 minutes for it to arrive. That I could not handle.




Snacks for the win! (Lots of winners here today.) Alison fed me Chex mix while I continued nursing Chloe. That's pretty fitting considering the fact that Alison carries snacks in her purse everywhere we go incase her husband or I get a case of the hangries. That happens more often than I care to admit!




Clearly food was very important to me. In fact (aside from the actual getting the epidural) it was one of the things that bothered me the most. Not the contractions, not the pushing, not all the pain. The things I complained about the most were being hungry, my IV bothering me constantly, the blood pressure cuff restricting my motions and the catheter once they put that in. All the little things made me angry and uncomfortable. My mom and Jody told me that even when I was in pain, I handled everything very well. They thought my complaints about the little things despite what was really happening was kind of funny. I'm proud that I wasn't a terrible pregnant lady in labor!




To further distract me from the fact that I still wasn't eating my dinner, we decided to have a photo shoot!






Eventually my food did arrive and I was the happiest girl in all the land. Food is important y'all! The nurse swept Chloe up to do measurements, bath time and other procedures while I enjoyed my meal.




As you can see, I am no longer aware of any of my surroundings. All focus on food.




Chloe Grace Gougler was officially born on July 29, 2015 weighing 7lb 6oz and was 19 3/4 inches long! She was also born completely obsessed with her momma and didn't like being taken away. At least that's what I think the face below means!

I ended up being in labor for just 8 hours! My biggest fear about being induced is that I would be in labor for hours upon hours because my body wasn't as ready as my mind. I was terrified of the thought of a C-Section and really wanted to experience a vaginal delivery. I couldn't be happier with how the entire labor and delivery went!






The nurse measured and weighed her, took her footprints and did the other tests necessary before asking if Chloe's grandma's wanted to give her her first bath! They immediately said yes! Chloe wasn't very impressed with her bath at first. Can't blame her, it's cold out in the real world! She did love getting her hair washed though.






Eventually, we got to take our first "official" family photo!




After a few hours and more pictures, everyone trickled out, and we were on our own for our first night with our little girl! It was the most overwhelming and exciting day of my entire life. It was far less glamorous then our wedding day, but emotionally it topped it completely! I knew that I loved my husband more and more each year we've been married, but seeing him as a father has expanded that love once more. I never knew my heart was capable of feeling this strong and passionate, but it continues to grow! Chloe Grace has shown me more about myself in the past few weeks than I could imagine. She has made me a better person. More importantly, she made me a mommy!

More to come on the rest of our hospital stay adventures next week!

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