Monthly Archives: October 2014

Classes at REI

152For a long while I’ve been meaning to sign up for a class or two at REI, and when they opened up a store closer to me in Tyson’s Corner I started paying more attention to the schedule.

I was finally able to find some time to hit up their Camping Basics class last week.  The class was fun, though it was focused more on “car camping” or actually going to a site and staying for a while.  Granted, this isn’t really what I’ll be doing when I am hiking but it still gave me a good base of the kind of gear I’ll need.

As a bonus, my best friend came with me and now we’re planning to do some car camping, but outfit about half our gear as hiking/backpacking stuff and the other half (tent, stove) as car camping gear.  Then I’ll be able to start getting some experience with camping in less difficult circumstances than a long hike.  But we are thinking we won’t start that until spring.  Not really keen on going out in the winter as a first step.

The class was great, and the REI in Tyson’s is quite nice, so I’ll definitely be going back there, probably for a backpacking for beginners class.

Posted in classes.

Getting geared up

One of the tricks with starting to walk more regularly is that I’m starting to find all the gaps and problems in my wardrobe.  In general, I’m not much of a clothes person and there are a lot of reasons for that.  But I just don’t really own a huge selection of things in the first place.

Which became a problem kind of quickly.  People like to say that walking around is an exercise anybody can do for free.  That’s technically true, but I found out really quickly how miserable it can be.  I started this thing (this time around anyway) at the start of September, which is when it’s still quite hot in this area.  But there’s also starting to be hints of how bad winter is going to get.

Which means I figured out fast that I needed clothes that helped me cool off in the heat, keep warm in the winter, and stay dry when it starts raining.  And basically all I had were t-shirts and some ratty old tennis shoes I’ve owned for three years.

51pwfCn25jL._SL1500_When I first decided that I needed to get some actual athletic clothes, I hit all the online shopping places I usually go to when I need something new. Because the trick is, as a plus size woman, there’s almost nowhere that I can shop in person and actually find quality clothes that fit.

But then I discovered that none of my normal online stores carried active wear, or they didn’t carry it past a size 18 or so.  It was baffling to me, exactly what in the world are larger women supposed to do when they want to start getting fit?  I suppose the answer is “be uncomfortable until society deems them fit to rejoin them” or something.

Then I decided to actually go to the mall and try some stuff on and I got a big shock – actual athletic clothing manufacterers make clothes with normal sizing.  As in, not vanity sizing, and not the stupid stuff I’ve gotten used to.  Once I actually started trying on clothes at an Under Armour store, I realized that I could actually fit their stuff.

Of course, that made me go a little overboard, because finding a high quality brand that had stuff in my size is a bit of a shock.  But now I’ve started building up a nice wardrobe of a variety of styles and layers for different kinds of weather.  I also managed to snag some really good deals at the REI Outlet website.

It’s surprising how much better walking has gotten now that I have some proper shirts, and even more so that I have good socks.  Now to just get some new shoes to go with it, which is going to be painful because a good pair of walking shoes is really expensive, but I know my feet will thank me for it.

Posted in gear.

Joining FitBit

So, I’d basically stalled out, almost entirely.  If you look back over my blog, it’s just been a bit of a mess for the last year or so.

But then I read this book, and I won’t link to it or name it because I actually thought it was kind of a terrible book.  It was about habits, and it was actually kind of poorly written and full of bad science (or badly explained science).

The thing is though, it made me remember a few things that are important about fitness:

-I’m a sucker for anything that involves tracking, filling progress bars, and earning even meaningless rewards like “badges.”

-The social aspect of fitness and health can’t be overlooked.  It’s more than just a vague plan to sometimes walk with a friend (which is good) but having a person really on your side who is both encouraging and HELPING and actively beside you.

So I decided that in order to meet those two goals, I’d make an investment:

My FitBit Flex

My FitBit Flex

My best friend had a FitBit Flex and she liked it, so I finally caved and got one of my own. That was just under a month ago, and it’s been a big change since then. I have to say, that $100 has had the biggest impact on my health and wellness of any I’ve spent.

First thing I did was lower all of the default goals. I put in that I wanted to walk one mile a day, 5,000 steps, and only do 15 active minutes. That probably seems low to some people, but I was in a pretty bad spot so I wanted to start slow and build myself up.

Since then, I’ve met my step goal every single day. I figure at the end of October I’ll revisit all the goals and look at how I’ve done and if I need to increase them to make it a challenge. But for now, I’m just focused on meeting my goals. I did increase my distance goal, because 5,000 steps is over two miles, so I figured I may as well put that at two.

The social part also definitely helps, adding a few friends on the FitBit website has motivated me to stay at least midway on the leaderboard (I’ll never be first, my friends are too active!) and just to keep going because people who will motivate me can see my progress.  If I slacked off, they’d know, and they’re good friends so they’d say something.

So overall, I highly recommend FitBit, I love their dashboard.  It’s interface is very user friendly and simple, plus it looks nice.  If you’re having trouble getting yourself off the couch or away from the computer, there’s just something about wanting to fill that little light bar and have it buzz to tell you that you’re done.

I’ll start updating this more again now that I’m actually getting out.  But yeah, we’re back on plan for walking a set amount each day and then slowly increasing, with the help of some technology.

Feel free to friend me on FitBit!

Posted in FitBit.