Opinion of a Fit Girl is a series I started to share my thoughts on all things hot in fitness at the moment, and this week I’m sharing my thoughts on group fitness apps, skipped food diaries, and protein bars.
I’ve been eating clean, working out, and maintaining a fit girl physique since I started hitting the gym in high school, and from years of trial and error, I know how to alter my diet or workouts to meet different goals depending on the time of year or situation. With that in my back pocket, I love to experiment with different classes, meal plans, and approaches. While everyone is different, I hope that sharing my fit girl opinions about what’s hot in fitness will help others figure out what will work best for them.
Skipped Food Diaries
You really wanted that jumbo cinnamon bun, but thankfully you passed. Keeping a food diary doesn’t have to just be about counting the calories you have left to enjoy (buzz kill); why not use it to give yourself credit for making good decisions? While I don’t recommend using the skipped food diary on a long term basis, I think it’s a great motivational tool for times when you’re tempted to overindulge while having crazy cravings, or if you’re trying to cut down for a few weeks to lose a few lbs. The rest of the time, I am a big promoter of building healthy habits and a taste for clean food to facilitate painless healthy choices.
The verdict: It’s a good fit girl habit, give it a shot. Try it in My Fitness Pal or download LifeSum (a similar app), and run one concurrently to the other if you track your actual intake on a daily basis.
Group Fitness Apps: ClassPass and Vint
What I don’t love:
- I was skeptical about ClassPass when I first got word of it last year. My gym at the time offered amazing classes, so why on earth would I pay another $100 a month for classes?
- I know from experience that set amount of resistance and cardio every week gives me the best body possible. With ClassPass, your workouts are limited to what is available, and you run the risk of not being able to follow such a routine.
- Thankfully I enjoy working out and have no problem getting myself to the gym, so the motivation factor wasn’t a great sell.
What I do love:
- With good planning, using group fitness apps it is possible to cover the right amount of resistance and cardio while challenging your body through different forms of exercise. For ultimate physique changes, be disciplined about the resistance training factor and don’t sub that out for pure cardio by not planning ahead.
- For those who need it, these apps are fantastic for little extra motivation. You’ve booked the session, and now you’re accountable.
- The ability to use group fitness apps try out a ton of classes (or trainers – see below) and pic your favorite studio for a full time membership is a big sell.
- For gals in NYC or SF, I recommend mixing it up during the week between spin studios for cardio, Barry’s BootCamp for HIIT and resistance, and Pilates or lighter forms of resistance training.
Vint: If you live in the Bay Area, give this app a shot. It connects you with personal workouts all over the city, by type and time. With a maximum of four participants per class, you can join boxing, pilates, or bootcamp in the park. The best part about Vint, is that you be sure to cover your resistance and cardio bases for the week with the wide selection of small group fitness workouts available. Meet up, sweat and “ensure you look good naked”, as the Vint tag line says. The great part is that you can pay per class, no need to feel guilty about not using a monthly membership! Use this link to get $10 off.
The Verdict: Works for some fit girls. If your gym doesn’t offer good classes, and you need motivation, put your gym membership on hold and try ClassPass for a month. Or better yet, pay as you go using drop-in or an app like Vint.
Protein Bars: Do or Don’t?
Protein bars have gotten a bad rep lately. Fillers, sugar alcohols, low quality proteins, high sugar content – you name it, there’s a bar that’s been accused of it. In response, new innovative protein bar blends have hit the market with higher quality ingredients. For example the Quest bar. These bars are crafted with high quality whey protein, soluble corn fiber as a base, and using mainly natural zero calorie sweeteners such as stevia, with only a little bit of sucralose. There is also the L’arabar, which is about as pure as you can get with a blend of fruit, nuts and spices with no added sugar.
What I don’t love:
- It’s hard to find good protein bars unless you figure out your favorite in advance, and pack them ahead.
- I believe that lifelong healthy eating habits are formed by developing an appreciation for whole foods like oats, lean meats, vegetables, and fruits and too often people are mistaken that protein bars as a replacement for these foods.
- If you have a sensitive stomach it’s hard to find bars without a lot of irritating ingredients (see my post on FODMAP foods) but I find Quest bars don’t bother me
What I do love:
- Hands down, when I am travelling and can’t whip up a salad or chop veggies (or find any to buy) having a high quality protein bar handy keeps my diet in check. I prefer Quest, because the protein and fiber fill me up, and the Double Chocolate Chunk flavor tastes better than a chocolate bar to me.
The verdict: Use protein bars when you don’t have access to whole foods, or time to prepare them. Buy in bulk ahead of time, and keep a few in your purse or suitcase at all times.
For my other Opinion of a Fit Girl posts:
And a popular fitness read:
What is your opinion on protein bars, group fitness apps, and skipped food diaries? I’ve love to hear in the comments below!