My Apple Watch is making me fall back in love with running again…

My Apple Watch is making me fall back in love with running again…

For anyone who’s known me since ninth grade, you know that running and I have a love and hate relationship.

I entered high school vowing to never do track. I ran track in middle school — specifically the 800m which for those who are not familiar with track, you have to run at the speed of a sprint but at a significant distance.

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I think this might have been one of my last long run before I took a hiatus. One of my favorite trails – right along the canal.

The only reason I ran track in middle school was because my hand-eye coordination is extremely poor. I’ve done my fair share of ball sports — my P.E. teacher always shouted to me, “keep your eyes on the ball,” and I have, it’s just that I innately can’t hit it. LOL

Anywho, I entered a new high school telling myself running is a no-no. However, when winter term came, I found myself in the distance winter track team. I don’t even know how that happened. I just looked through the Avolicious archives and found my winter break running routine. I sound insane – I don’t even know how I did that.

But long story short, I fell in love with running during freshmen and sophomore year. I loved the team, I loved the energy and support, but I loved the personal growth and strength you developed from running the most. However, because of my weak knees, I had a slew of injuries to the point that this year I’m not running.

One of the highlights of my weekend during high school was going on long runs with Serena. Whether it was to a park or to a canal (which we went this summer!!), catching up over the 7 miles was incredibly fun and refreshing. But with weak knees making me run less, I lost my stamina and strength and just fell out of running.

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Last XC race 😦

So for the past year or so, I stayed away from running. And the more I stayed away, the more I didn’t want to go back. But that changed with my Apple watch…

I received my Apple watch as a present sometime this spring. I’ve always been a watch enthusiast — Serena can attest to this. But the watches I used to wear were the regular analog leather watches. So getting this huge digital watch was definitely a transition.

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Please excuse the hand…but here’s the activity app. Everything is currently at zero because this was taken past midnight so the next day 🙂 You can see the Move, Stand and Exercise rings. You can customize these goals to be higher or lower than the default.

 

Of all the features of the Apple watch, my favorite has to be the Activity app and the Workout app. The Activity app has three “rings” it measures: move, stand and exercise. Move is essentially the calories you’ve burned, exercise is the amount of time your heart rate has risen, and stand is the amount of time you’ve stood up throughout the day.

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again, sorry for the grainy pic 😦

The Workout app is kind of like the Activity one in the sense that it tracks your movement, but for a specific activity. So I usually set mine to outdoor run or indoor run and it tracks your BPM, mileage and pace which is super neat. I can’t wait for my AirPods to come in the mail so I can leave my phone at home and listen to music from my Apple watch!

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What the rings look like stacked up on your iPhone app

For some one who’s competitive and extremely Type-A, I find it incredibly fun to close all my rings. The Apple watch does a cool animation of the ring closing with a ding sound. It’s a small sign, but it for some reason, does make my day.

So although I’m not fully back into my runner’s high, I can confidently say that my Apple watch has helped me find the joy and fun in running.

And frankly, you don’t even have to invest in an Apple watch to get this feeling. If you didn’t know, your iPhone actually automatically tracks your steps. If you go on the Health app, it shows your steps and distance walked. And you can also download the Nike running app which is great for running. But I think the Apple watch is a great investment as it makes tracking your runs and standard daily activity so much easier. I love the stand feature as it reminds during my long study sessions to take a break and give my legs a stretch.

This is definitely one of my longer posts, but the length just goes to show how much I love my Apple watch! If you have any questions about the Apple watch, leave a comment below!

Have you ever fallen back in love with running?

xoxo

Stephanie

 

5 Apps You Should Download

5 Apps You Should Download

Whether you want to admit it or not, we live in world where technology is very much part of our lives.

My mantra with technology is that you are in complete control of it. You have the power to turn on and turn off your phone. You have the power to put your phone hidden away from sight while working. You have the power to spend 10,000+ hours on Instagram and Facebook. On that same note, you have the power to make your phone as a tool rather than as a distraction.

Currently, (as you can probably tell from the sporadic posts over here on Avolicious) I’ve running around like a mad woman. However, some of these iPhone apps keep me sane and healthy when I frankly don’t have time to care about health or sanity when my to-do list is a million miles long.

Here are my top five apps that I can’t get enough of and some that I think are essential

 

1. iNotes//

I use this app so much and I truly appreciate all the improvements Apple has made to the iNote app for every single iOS launch. I use iNotes for my to-do list/schedule as well as my food journal.

As a Type-A person and someone who has to do a lot of things, be at a lot of places, and remember a gazillion more things, I rely on an hour-by-hour schedule to keep me on track. I usually create this schedule right before I go to bed in preparation for the next day. I can definitely do a separate post about how I create my schedule because there is nothing worse than knowing that you’ve ruined your schedule by getting behind.

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I’ve also shifted away from MyFitnessPal toward using a food journal. One of my main reasons from deleting MyFitnessPal was that the app objectives food. Whether it’s an avocado or a bag of chips, they are both 200 calories. MyFitnessPal also doesn’t account for your feelings – whether you’ve been happy all day surrounded with loving family and friends or that you’ve been discouraged by a series of bad grades or meetings. With the food journal on the other hand, food has become much more personal. Let me know in the comments if you like to see a separate post on this! I could spend days talking about the importance of having an holistic approach to food rather than a caloric one.

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*I meant “You are EATING way too much” at the very bottom*

 

2. Prescription Check by Warby Parker// 

This summer was quite a whirlwind for me in terms of eye sight. My left and right eyes are completely opposites in the sense that my left eye has horrible prescription while my right eye has near perfect vision. I kind of lived with these eyes with the occasional head aches here and there, but I managed to survive.  However, this summer, I got severe migraines, almost three every day.

Upon going to the eye doctor, I realized that my reading glass dosage was way off and that I should get contacts. After learning this summer that taking care of my eyes is super important, I was so excited when I found out Warby Parker’s new app allows an eye doctor to assess your vision and provide an updated glasses prescription.

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It’s literally like you’re talking to an eye doctor! The replies come back very quickly!

Check out this link to see an intro video for the app: https://www.warbyparker.com/prescription-check-app

 

3. Flo/

This is by far one of the best period tracking apps on the app store. When I first started my period, I had really irregular cycles so I needed an app that both logged dates but logged other factors like mood swings, increase in appetite, the hours of sleep I’ve been getting, any headaches and acne appearances. I love how the app looks at your period as a holistic process rather than simply the number of days you have your period.

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4. Minimalist// 

This is great productivity app. It follows the Pomodoro Method (25 min work and 5 min work cycle) and motivates you to stop reaching for your phone.

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Whenever you reach for your phone while in your work session, it vibrates and pauses the timer until you set your phone down again. I recommended this app to Serena during our exam week last spring and she is hooked on it as well!

5. Apple Health App// 

I’ve been using this health app since it first came out. I can never justify myself in buying a FitBit or wearable tracker so I resort to my phone instead. Besides, I have my phone with me pretty much 24/7, so the data on the health app is a pretty accurate representation.

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What are some of your favorite apps?

xoxo,

Stephanie

10 Health Foods I’m Currently Obsessed with…

10 Health Foods I’m Currently Obsessed with…

Today marks the halfway point of Serena’s and my two-week spring break. Being back at home definitely has its benefits, especially in the food realm. While I try my best to stay healthy by being creative in the school dining hall and bringing my own healthy snacks from home (i.e.: mom’s homemade granola bars and baggies of nuts), there’s only so much I can do.

 

The highlight of being back home for break is going grocery shopping with my mom. I seriously grin from ear to ear when pushing the cart down the aisles of Costco and Whole Foods. What’s new about this break than winter or Thanksgiving break is that I’ve found some health foods (some new, some old-favorites, but 10 to be exact) which I’m totally obsessed over now. So obsessed that it’s pretty much the only reason I don’t want break to end.

 

Here are the 10 food items I am currently obsessed about (in no particular order):

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1. Coconut Flakes | Okay, so I used to hate coconut. When I was young, from ages 3 to 7, I lived in the Philippines, which is coconut heaven. I remember when we went to restaurants, the servers would bring coconuts that fell right outside the restaurant with a straw stuck into it. My parents drank the coconut water, but despite being the kid who usually eats all things, coconut water was just off-limits to me.

I started drinking coconut water during winter break of last year because I heard of its benefits especially to hydration. I was skeptical on trying it, but once I took one sip of it, I was sold. I loved it so much that I wondered why hated it when I was young; I regretted not drinking the fresh coconut water when I had the chance. Anyways, when I came home for spring break, coconut water was first on my grocery list. However, while in Trader Joe’s the other day, I found coconut flakes and decided to try it in my yogurt. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.

 

 

2. Kombucha | You probably heard of Kombucha before because it’s been all the range recently in the media. All the fashion guru’s whether on YouTube or on blogs have been touting about drinking Kombucha. I first heard about it from Chriselle Lim, a famous YouTuber who said she drank a bottle of Kombucha every single day. However, I heard about Kombucha at the end of the winter break, and because it isn’t stocked in most grocery stores except Whole Foods, I didn’t get a chance to try it.

Nevertheless, when I came home for spring break, I got two bottles of Kombucha at Whole Foods. It doesn’t taste weird at all, but I guess it depends on the flavors as well. I got Trilogy and Gingerberry. It taste like cider but a bit more acidic. As it was just my luck, when I went to Costco the next day, I saw a box of 6 Kombucha and of course, I put it in the cart. The flavor is Gingerade, which I like too. To be honest, I can’t taste the difference between the flavors.

For those who don’t know what Kombucha is, to put it simply, it’s a drink with probiotics in it which helps cleans your gut.

 

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3. Larabar | Now while I love my mom’s homemade granola bar, they can get a bit bland so I was looking for some bars that had natural ingredients and sweet as well. And I found it in Larabars! The main ingredient of all Larabars are dates, which make the bar sweet. I’ve had so far Carrot Cake, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Cashew Cookie. I love Carrot Cake the best, but all three and all the Larabars have few ingredients, and all the ingredients are recognizable. Like Carrot Cake’s ingredients are: Carrots, dates, almonds, walnuts, raisins, pineapple and coconut.

The one downside about Larabars are that they are pricey. At Whole Foods they are $1.39 per bar and Trader Joe’s it’s $1.29 per bar. Would highly appreciate if anybody has some places they know that I can buy Larabar at a cheaper price!

I also am lost as to which flavors are good. I’ve gotten Cherry Pie, Apple Pie, and Peanut Butter Cookie to try in the future. Any flavor recommendations?

 

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This comes in a pack of 32, but it’s almost gone…shows how good they are

4. Aussie Bites | These were another discovery from YouTube, but from Becca Kay, a registered dietitian. While I was already happy from finding the 6-pack Kombucha, when I saw these Aussie Bites at Costco, can you imagine how happy I was?

These Aussie Bites have really simple ingredients, that I’ve seen a lot of blogs showing recipes for homemade Aussie Bites (as well as for Larabars). The main ingredients are: Rolled oats, dried apricots, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, honey, coconut, quinoa, chia seeds. The rest of the ingredients are also very clean and organic. They are seriously so good. They’re very sweet and are pretty much like muffins.

 

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5.Chia Seeds | My mom always bought chia seeds, so we’ve always had them in the house, but I wouldn’t really use them in any of my foods. However, after seeing someone on YouTube (yet again, YouTube is great for health inspiration) sprinkle chia seeds on top their avocado toast, I decided to try it. And ever since I tried it, I’ve been eating my avocado toast with chia seeds. They don’t change the taste of the avocado toast, but just adds a crunchier texture and a bunch of health benefits!

 

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6.Blueberries | I’ve tried blueberries before. But I think right now is blueberry season. They’re HUGE and they taste so so good. I’ve been eating them with every meal. It’s kind of obsessive, but it’s that good. It doesn’t hurt that they are antioxidants as well.

 

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7.(Fuji) Apple | Again, like the blueberries, I’ve had apples before, but I never get to eat Fuji Apples while at school. So my sweet mom bought a whole box of organic Fuji Apples and they are delicious. I’ve been eating them every morning without fail.

 

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8. Grapefruit | Like the blueberries and the apple, I’ve had grapefruit before, but I never get to eat them at school. Kind of seems like #6, 7, and 8 are all items I used to have at a regularly basis before boarding school but now never get to eat while at boarding school. I used to hate grapefruit thinking that it was too bitter, but now I love it. My mom loves it so much that she drinks the leftover grapefruit juice from the container; I’m not that obsessed with it. 🙂

 

9.Boba tea | This was something I really wanted to try. I’ve heard it from my friends and how it’s so good. So when my friends and I went to a Korean bakery shop that had it, I immediately rushed to the counter to order one.

The differentiating factor of Boba tea is that it has tapioca shells at the bottom. These tapioca shells are boiled which makes the chewy, jelly texture. They are seriously such a treat when you are slurping away and find one to chew on.

I am definitely having at least one more Boba tea before I leave for school. I had the Red Bean Boba tea and loved it. Any other flavor recommendations?

 

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10. Avocado | I mean what kind of post about obsessions would it be without avocado? My mom picked out the best avocados this break. They are so buttery and seriously melt in your mouth. Sometimes, avocados become so ripe that the end taste is bitter. However, the avocados I’ve had recently aren’t bitter  at all and are in the prettiest green. Ugh, I can’t even describe.

 

So those have been my latest 10 obsessions. What are yours?

xoxo,

Stephanie