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7 home workouts you don’t need a gym membership for

Stay home, get fit — it’s a win-win

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Finding the right gym is tough. Many things factor in: distance, traffic, exercise crowd, costs, exercise specialties, available equipment — my concerns could go on. But, these shouldn’t stop you from exercising! (Girl, they’re not valid reasons to slack off and you know it!)

What if I told you that it’s possible to get a good workout, even in the comfort of your own home? Yep, it’s possible.

Whether it be a lazy day, or just because you’re not into working out in public, here are some moves to get you going. All for a healthier you!

Home HIIT

What you’ll need: An interval timer app and the resolve to push yourself to the limit during high intervals

Simply put, High-Intensity Interval Training is a method of working out that calls for intervals of rest and high energy which allow for effective exercise. Don’t believe me? Here’s a quick explanation:

That being said, you can actually design your own work out based on your preferences, so long as you exert enough effort during the high interval period.

Personally, I go for full fifteen minutes of home HIIT sessions with one-minute high-intensity activities and 50-second rest intervals. I usually do a combination of high knees, jumping jacks, and jump squats to get my heart going. Every now and then, I just change it around to keep myself from getting bored. Of course, you can’t expect me to time while I’m exerting so much physical effort, so I always have the Interval Timer app (Android, iOS) and my workout playlist going every time I do this.

Resistance band training

What you’ll need: Resistance bands and the whole world as your playground (or yeah, your house).

Think giant rubber bands you stretch and pull around to get your heart going. You use the bands as resistance for each movement which eliminates the need for weights or big gym machinery. It may sound simple enough but it’s real exercise, I swear!

Of all the workouts I’ve tried, I found resistance bands to be the most convenient. Not only are they cheap and easy to use, you can also bring them anywhere without a fuss (ideal for people who travel a lot, too). You can buy a variety of types and colors online. I got mine off Amazon for around US$ 10 — a legitimately small price to pay for fitness!

If you have no idea how these bands work, I gotchu:

More good news is that most resistant band brands also offer guides and videos. For example, Fit Simply has a curated list of moves you can do here. Another brand, Belus Active (which are bands that come in pink!), has a roster of personal trainers with exercise demos here and their Instagram account is updated with more mini-workouts you can do with their bands.

Speaking of Instagram…

Self-curated Instagram exercise routine

What you’ll need: A lot of random Instagram browsing time and will power to actually do the exercises

So let me tell you something you probably already know: There are a lot of fitness people on IG. That’s actually a great thing! There are so many mini-workout posts and all you need to do is try them.

When mindlessly browsing through Instagram (yes, I know you do this, too), keep an eye out for these mini-workout posts. When you see one you’d like to try, save it in a special “Workout” Instagram folder and just go back to it later on.

Just one of my workout folders

It helps to follow certain Fitness IG people. My personal favorites are @shona_vertue, @carlyrowena, @stef_fit, and @kayla_itsines. Following hashtags like #homeexercises or #homeworkout also give you more options.

Home Zumba

What you’ll need: Loud speakers on your phone or computer and a lot of dancing attitude

For those who have moves, Zumba is the way to go. This fitness routine burns a lot of calories without you even noticing. A combination of aerobics and Latin dance, this is definitely a fun way to get your blood pumping without even realizing you’re putting in effort to exercise.

Zumba itself has a number of routines online that you can learn. Time to get dancing!

Exercise app workout

What you’ll need: Chosen exercise app and the patience to find the workout sessions you want to try

These days, there are a number of great apps that can guide you through different workouts. From variation HIIT exercises and body weight exercises to weight training, there’s an app for that! My favorite one remains to be Nike+ Training Club. It not only gives a number of different exercise sets for varying fitness levels, it also walks you through each routine. Workouts are classified by specific fitness goals to make it easier for you to find your routine of preference.

Other notable free apps to check out are Workout for Women, Swortkit, and Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout.

Wearables’ built-in workouts 

What you’ll need: A snazzy fitness wearable that has this function

These days, even sports watches have full exercise programs built in, and all you need to do is wear the thing, start the program, and do what it tells you.

Exercise coaching on the Fitbit Ionic

Even if you’re clueless, these wearables will show you how to do each movement on their tiny screens; some would even vibrate to signal the end of an exercise. It’s literally a training coach on your wrist! Watches like the Samsung Gear Sport, Fitbit Ionic, and Fitbit Versa are equipped with this function.

Home Yoga

What you’ll need: A yoga mat, yoga pants, and YouTube

Aside from being meditative, Yoga is a great workout for those who prefer something more calming and less high energy. Not only does it improve muscle strength, flexibility (which is great for people with scoliosis, like me), and balance, it’s even proven to decrease stress.

There are tons of videos online that walk you through a session; all you really need is to follow along. Here’s one for newbies like me:

If you want more control over your Yoga practice, you can download any of these free apps, depending on what suits your needs: Simply Yoga, Yoga Studio, Fitstar Yoga, or Daily Yoga.

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C is the key: Explaining USB Type-C

What really makes this new standard special

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For years, people have grown accustomed to using USB ports for almost all of their devices. Whether you need to charge your phone using your computer or use a controller to play games, you can always count on a USB port to be readily available for you. But 2018 was the year of change and innovation, and the USB port you know and love welcomed change in a big way.

Introducing: USB Type-C, the newest port added to the family. Its round shape brought many new uses and functionalities to your ports. But, how different is it from its much older brothers? How have companies revolutionized its use in mainstream devices?

What is this USB Type-C port?

The USB Type-C (USB-C) port is a not-so-recent discovery in the world of tech. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) developed this USB port back in 2013, and launched it into mass production the following year. The connector is a reversible oval shape, much different from the usual rectangular shape of the previous generation. Its reversibility allows any orientation of the cable for transferring files or charging your device.

USB-IF developed USB-C following the USB 3.1 standard. Such a standard was particularly used because of its faster transfer speeds and charging capabilities. With a USB-C port, you can transfer an hour-long movie in less than 30 seconds, provided you have the appropriate connector for it.

Computer and smartphone manufacturers have incorporated the USB-C port in most of their devices. One of the early adopters of the new technology was Apple, with their redesigned 12-inch MacBook in 2015. Other computer manufacturers followed in the later years, especially with the release of the Thunderbolt 3 technology used for gaming machines.

It’s the younger, faster and more all-around sibling

USB-C has been around for the past four years, and it has gradually developed into an all-around port for users. Alongside Thunderbolt 3, the USB-C port posts the highest data transfer speed across all the available USB connections in existence. Not only that, USB-C ports these days can now connect your devices to external GPUs and displays, and charge your devices. Most USB-C ports even support fast charging for smartphones.

While the technology behind it is supported by a USB 3.1 standard, it’s still very much different from other USB ports that use the USB 3.1 protocol. For starters, the USB 3.1 standard found in USB-C ports are USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, which offer twice as much performance in data transfer as USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. Most of the Gen 1 ports also use an older USB Type-A standard, which works for most of your gadgets and peripherals today. However, you would need more adapters for other functionalities, like displaying to a monitor.

But the USB-C port is a far cry from the old USB 2.0 and 3.0 protocols, which have been in existence for 14 years (and counting). Data transfer speeds for those two protocols are significantly slower compared to the USB-C port. An hour-long movie would ideally take around one to two minutes on a USB 2.0 port. Also, older USB protocols don’t really allow you to power up devices that need more electricity. So, charging devices on them might not be as fast.

Supercharged with Thunderbolt 3

So, you’re probably wondering what really makes a USB-C port just that fast. It’s not so much that it’s round, or that it’s new; rather, it’s the technology inside it. Late 2015 saw the arrival of the new Thunderbolt 3 standard specifically for USB-C ports. It first started out in most Windows laptops before making it to the 2016 MacBook Pro and several gaming motherboards.

What Thunderbolt 3 does for USB-C ports is to significantly increase its capacity and capabilities by a mile. We’re talking faster file transfer, heightened gaming experiences, and being able to plug in 4K displays for clearer images. Thunderbolt 3 also allows much bigger devices to be charged at a controlled rate. This is mostly evident with the MacBook Pro, several high-end Ultrabooks, and most recently, the 2018 iPad Pro.

The charging capacity brought about by Thunderbolt 3 deals with a tweak to how USB power delivery works. USB power delivery standards state that each USB standard has specific conditions that must be met to power up devices. Early versions of USB ports only allow a small amount of electricity (2.5W) for delivery, while USB-C allows for the full 100W.  Basically, you went from just powering up your mouse and keyboard to charging your entire laptop.

What’s to come for USB-C?

At this point in time, you’re already living in the future that the USB-C port hopes to achieve. Suddenly, you can simply bring a USB-C cable around, plug it into a powerbank, and you can already charge your expensive MacBook. More and more devices are starting to adopt USB-C because of its potential to enhance your tech experience as a whole.

However, people still find it difficult to switch to USB-C, and for good reason. Most devices continue to use a USB Type-A or micro-USB connector, especially gaming controllers and peripherals. Also, they can argue that the old ports are more accessible. In a not-so-distant future, using a USB-C port could potentially replace a phone’s headphone jack.

The future of USB-C is still uncertain. Companies will iron out the new technology more so it can become mainstream for the future. Let’s just hope that by the time that happens, there won’t be a USB Type-D yet.

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Apple now sells 18W USB-C fast charger and clear iPhone XR case

More expensive than the ordinary, of course

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Apple has a couple of interesting new items available for iPhone owners out there.

After the month-long delay, the iPhone XR finally gets an official case. For the first time ever, Apple now offers a clear protective case. Instead of leather or silicone, you can protect your colorful iPhone XR with an optically clear polycarbonate and flexible TPU case.

It’ll be probably one of the most expensive TPU cases you’ll ever purchase for US$ 39. With its expensive price tag, hopefully, it won’t turn yellow over time like other cheap third-party clear cases.

18W USB-C Power Adapter | Image credit: Apple

Those who have been wanting a fast charger for their iPhones can finally get one without spending too much. The early solution wasn’t specifically designed for iPhones and it’s not cheap either.

Thankfully, Apple is now selling an 18W USB-C Power Adapter. Although, you’ll still have to purchase a USB-C to Lightning cable separately. The new iPhone fast charger is priced at US$ 29, while the USB-C cable is an additional US$ 19.

It’ll cost you US$ 48 to charge an iPhone faster, which should come out of the box like with flagship Android phones. Keep in mind that you should be using an iPhone 8 or later model.

The new 18W fast charger and clear case for the iPhone XR are now listed on Apple’s online store.

SEE ALSO: Apple gives away iPhone XR to everyone on The Ellen Show

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Pantone of the year Living Coral and where you’ve seen it before

Such a pretty shade! 🤩

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For the last 20 years, the Pantone Color Institute had been assigning a color to the year that’s to come. Symbolic of the incoming trends in culture, fashion, and design, among others; each shade that’s carefully picked represents a sentiment that embodies “our collective experience and reflect what is taking place in our global culture at a moment in time.”

This year, that color is Living Coral, or Pantone 16-1546.

As the name implies, it’s a color we mostly expect to see under the sea. It is, according to Pantone, a hue which “embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.”

But, we don’t just see this amazing color in submerged life forms. It’s a breathtaking shade we find in nature, in the beautiful world that surrounds us, and on our Instagram feeds. Here are a few breathtaking samples from our feed:

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Of course, makeup is all up in this color jam. Coral classics have always existed, and here are some crowd favorites in this year’s Pantone pick.

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Even on the runway, this mellow color has popped up. For the Spring 2019 collections, a number of designers like Marc Jacobs, Prada, Sies Marjan, and Zac Posen have worked in the shade.

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Coral also took center stage in celebrity news and pop culture in the form of a tiny bikini in what has been dubbed as “the battle of the coral bikini.” Basically, Kourtney Kardashian and Sofia Richie, the ex and at-that-time beau of Scott Disick, were both spotted in Mexico with swimwear that looked way too similar.

In terms of impact, this item would probably have the least on this list, but those coral bikinis are still looking pretty cute to me

Even in tech, we saw the rise of this color slowly creeping in and taking the place of traditional gold and black color schemes — thank goodness!

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The Pantone Institute justifies its color choice with the “innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits” that this color represents. They even go as far as saying that Living Coral symbolizes the  “authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy” — perfect at a time of fast-paced tech and the internet.

Rightly so, Panton explains that Living Coral is “a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.”

After writing this feature, I can’t say I disagree.

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