Health

Quarantine fitness diary: Forming better habits with Peloton

It’s going to take a while before things really go back to normal and even beyond that, I’m happy having my personal trainers “with me” right here at home.

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I don’t think I can thank my Peloton bike enough for what it’s been doing for me during this pandemic. A few days before the German government called for social distancing, we’ve already decided to stay home and minimise contact with other people so as not to be unwilling helpers in spreading the virus. One of our concerns, of course, was to stay healthy and keep our mental health in check. My husband and I keep to these goals by making sure we use the Peloton bike or the app daily.

With the amount of baking we’ve been doing during this time, it’s rather imperative that I build a solid fitness routine, but it’s not as easy as fitness influencers make it out to be.

What’s a Peloton anyway?

In case you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll do a quick run-through. Peloton is — first and foremost — a fitness company. They’re about 7 years old now and have been producing exercise equipment you can use at home.

Their most popular product is their indoor exercise bike. The bike comes with a screen where you can stream spin classes and other exercise videos. They also have an app which makes working out when you’re away from your bike possible. Aside from spin classes, they also have strength training videos, yoga, meditation, and other cardio workouts.

The past few years, Peloton has evolved from being one of those fad-dependent fitness companies into a lifestyle for its members. It got so popular that the company went public last year.

Simply put — it’s having everything you loved about spin classes and having a personal trainer right at the comfort of your own home and without having to deal with other people. No more shouty classmates, no more sharing equipment. An introvert’s dream come true — or even an extrovert who doesn’t appreciate sweaty surroundings.

Getting the bike is easy, you just order it online as well as the accessories you might need. From the spinning shoes to even a heart rate monitor that can help track your progress if you don’t have a fitness band yet. The bike connects to a FitBit or Strava.

You get the bike delivered, sign up for the monthly subscription to have access to the workout videos, which are either live-streamed or on demand. These workouts can be accessed via the monitor with the built-in interface that your bike comes with or through the Peloton app. Sadly, the app isn’t available in Germany but reps tell us it’s already in the works. You can still access the workouts on your phone or laptop via your browser, though.

You create your profile on the Peloton network, follow your friends, and take classes with instructors who are literally fitness goals. There’s quite a lot of them that there’s one for every type of rider.

The interface is pretty straightforward and easy to use. Each spin class is ruled by three numbers you see on your screen as you pedal for your life. Your Resistance number indicates how gritty the ride will be, while Cadence is your speed. Put those two together and you have your Output score. I’m usually more concerned about my cadence and would normally complain when the instructor asks for higher resistance.

With all this information out of the way, let me go ahead and tell you how my four weeks in quarantine went with my new fitness BFF.

Week 1

I’ve had the Peloton since the second week of February. I don’t have lofty fitness goals, to be honest. I just want to get into a routine and lose a bit of the flabs I developed thanks to writing about food and having more excuses than usual to eat. I also want to gain just a bit more strength and produce more endorphins to keep me happy.

The first week of social distancing had me eating more than the usual but I tried my best to commit to working out every day to stop myself from gaining more weight. It’s already sad enough that I can’t go and meet my friends, so let me hold on to my Pop Tart habit.

Peloton offers various fitness classes that run for as little as 5 minutes up to an hour. This week, I’ve been doing lots of 15 and 20-minute spinning classes to ease myself into working out more. I do this in between work and spending time with my husband and our dog.

Since there’s no strict quarantine in Berlin, we still get to go out but we’ve limited it to walking our dog and just buying the essentials. I’m happy that I still get to add some steps into my daily routine while increasing my heart rate with the bike.

The anxiety over what’s going on and how it’s already affecting thousands of people everywhere is enough to dampen one’s mood. I find myself having to put more effort into peeling myself from my computer and getting on the bike.

“I need this,” is something I keep telling myself. Once I’m on the bike, however, I focus on the task at hand — meeting what’s required of me cadence and resistance wise — and forget about what’s happening even just for 20 minutes.

The first week, I just did the minimum when it comes to numbers as actually getting on the bike already felt like an achievement.

Week 2

A member of our extended family died after displaying symptoms of Covid-19. As someone who suffers from crippling anxiety, this was a huge blow to my mood.

After a mini breakdown, I forced myself to get on the bike and take a 45 minute class with Cody since he’s the instructor who really gets me smiling — sometimes even laughing out loud — during the ride. It was a great distraction and I was in a much better mood after.

I also had a quick chat with Pete who manages the Berlin store and he advised me to try out the meditation classes. These can be accessed on the bike, on the app, or via a browser. They have different kinds – from energizing, healing, and even those that help you to be more empathic or kinder. I find it hard to shut my mind and with a dog running around the apartment, I always thought that meditation wasn’t for me but the classes dedicated to sleep were a huge help.

I also threw in some strength training — 10 minute arm or core exercises — especially on days when I end up taking a spin class that didn’t use weights. Sometimes, I forget to stretch and find that my feet and knees tend to ache if I don’t do this. So I made a reminder on my phone to remind me to stretch everyday.

For the classes on the bike, I tried going a little over the required resistance — maybe one to two points — passable output but nothing to write home about.

I also tried a couple more instructors and I really enjoyed German instructor Irene Scholz’ classes this week. I’m glad she’s got English classes! She’s one of the two Peloton instructors who conduct classes in German. She’s tough but her classes are also really enjoyable.

I feel a lot more energized these days and I love doing my workout right before going to bed. Showering after a good workout and going straight to bed also helped a lot in getting deeper sleep.

I tried a live class with my friend Nicole and we got to try the camera function. It was a little weird at first even though it’s basically just Facetiming but on the bike’s screen. It totally scared my dog but it was great seeing my friend sweating as much as me.

I used to go to spin studios a lot and while I wasn’t a fan of all the actual high fiving, the sweat flying around, and interacting with strangers while I’m dying on a bike, I must admit that I missed the feeling of seeing someone is sweating it out because the ride was difficult.  It was an Alex Toussaint spin class. He’s known for being one of the toughest instructors and someone you’d go for a ride with if you want to beat your last personal record for your output.

At one point, I decided to just let go of the numbers and enjoy. I got into the habit of hiding the leaderboard since the beginning of this week and I find that I have more fun this way.

Week 3

I tried dance cardio for the first time, another type of class you do off the bike. In these classes, you get two of the instructors teaching you dance moves.

This, however, is not your mom’s 80s-style dance workout. The steps are more modern and vary in difficulty. You also sweat a lot through the whole thing even if it seems rather easy.

I’m not a good dancer and I probably looked like a total loser but I had a ton of fun. It was just 20 minutes but it felt like such a good workout. Instead of low impact rides to recover from a tough ride the night before, I could probably stick to these instead.

Speaking of cardio, I want to give the running classes a try as well. I always found running boring so it was never my thing. However, their classes which you can do outdoors or on a treadmill might help in easing the boredom as it can feel like I have someone there with me, talking me through the whole thing.

I’m still wondering how people can have such high output scores. Are they pushing their legs much harder than I am? It’s so tough. A 30 minute Pop Ride leaves me so sweaty but at least I burn those Pop Tarts and baked goods, right?

I tried playing with the resistance knob by going much higher than expected on some rides. Still quite hard to sustain it but I noticed that I can now go for over 5 minutes without stopping to heave and wheeze. I smoked for a decade so I’m just happy I don’t need to completely stop to recover nowadays.

I gave more instructors a try and I’m really enjoying Hannah Marie Corbin’s classes lately. She’s the right amount of fun and positivity without being too perky — just a personal preference.

I’ve been wondering whether I should do multiple, shorter rides per day instead of one long ride. It feels like it’s taking forever for me to reach 100 rides. It’s a milestone that can earn you a shoutout from the instructor if you do a live spin class in time for it.

Next week, I’ll challenge myself to do more than one workout per day so hopefully, my schedule cooperates.

Week 4

The problem with working from home is that you technically never leave your “office”. So I must admit it’s been pretty difficult to squeeze one more workout in every single day. I have been trying, though – believe me.

I’d normally add a five-minute arm toning session or core workout after a ride if I have the time and energy left. Normally, I’d select the class I want from the Peloton bike’s monitor and choose the option to cast it to our smart TV in the living room. You can also follow along on your phone but it’s a lot easier from a bigger screen, of course.

Funny enough, I’ve been successful in getting a bit of my abs back but got a bit delayed in losing all of my bits that turn into what is popularly called a ‘muffin top’. I did not lose a lot of weight but somehow, my clothes fit better and there’s been some significant space in my jeans. I also feel like I have more energy throughout the day.

At this point, I’ve realised who my favourite instructors are and tend to stick to them — Cody, Irene, Denis, Ally, and Hannah Marie. I’m not that technical nor looking into a huge increase in my output during my rides. I ride for a lot of fun, positive energy, and a really sweaty cardio session. This doesn’t mean they’re easy instructors, though. I feel like dying after most rides.

I personally like how Denis builds up the difficulty of his rides, starting high on the cadence with a manageable resistance to warm you up before things get much tougher.

By this time, I was feeling a little confident and at the request of my friend Nicole, I took the Alex Toussaint class again which we did on week 2. Not gonna lie – it was still extremely tough. However, I find that I was wheezing less and I was actually able to set a new personal record – 6 points higher than the last time I took this class.

With Covid-19 and the lockdown in New York, new content and live rides have been pretty slow. At this point, Peloton has started letting their instructors do live rides from their homes. It feels different without the studio setup but with the same level of fun and energy.

I signed up for the annual challenge that requires taking a total of 2000 minutes on the bike. I also went for some of this month’s challenges.

For April, there’s a Spring challenge that asks you to stay active for 30 days by doing any type of class. There’s also the usual challenge of the month that requires 5 days of being active and a cycling challenge that asks members to ride for at least 80.5 kilometers.

I find that they’re such a good way to keep you coming back on the bike and for the other classes as well. Not that I need any more convincing at this point — I’m practically addicted both to the spinning workouts and trying out the other classes on Peloton website. Once the app is available in Germany, gaining access to the other workouts would be a lot easier compared to going through the browser.

I’m progressing pretty well when it comes to the challenges, taking things at my own pace. My main focus is to make sure I don’t lose my 30-day (and counting) streak.

I have to say that in this time of restrictions, I feel like I gained a new type of freedom when it comes to dealing with my body issues and forming better habits for my fitness. I have the bike at home and seeing it everyday reminds me of goals I have set for my fitness. This has helped a lot in maintaining my streak.

Will I give this achievement up after quarantine? Is it even worth keeping my Peleton bike after this pandemic?

I personally think it is. It’s an investment in one’s physical health and because of the convenience it offers. It’s still going to take a while before things really go back to normal and even beyond that, I’m happy having my personal trainers “with me” right here at home.

This article is also available in German over at Mobile Geeks.

Accessories

LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier: Price, availability in Singapore

A must-have smart accessory during this trying times

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LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier

LG first unveiled the LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier at IFA 2020 and now it’s available for purchase in Singapore.

The the LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier can be your go-to mask as we navigate life under a pandemic. It employs two Total Care Filters similar to the HEPA filters used in the company’s home air purifier products. The filters not only purify air coming into the lungs, they also filter exhaled air just as effectively.

LG’s wearable air purifier allows users to take in clean, filtered air with its Dual Fans and patented Respiratory Sensor. Meanwhile, the Respiratory Sensor detects the cycle and volume of the wearer’s breath and adjusts the dual three-speed fans accordingly. The fans automatically speed up to assist air intake and slow down to reduce resistance when exhaling to make breathing effortless.

Watch our LG Puricare Wearable Air Purifier Video.

Pricing and availability

Pre-orders for the wearable air purifier are now available through official LG Lazada and LG Shopee stores for SG $229. The wearable air purifier will also be available at authorised retailers Best Denki and COURTS from January 15, 2021.

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Health

Lora DiCarlo brings in innovative, heated vibrators at CES 2021

Inspired by the human warmth

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Sex tech company Lora DiCarlo showcased a new lineup of innovative, heated vibrators at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021. Meet Drift, Tilt, and Sway, dubbed as “The Warming Collection”.

Inspired by human warmth, the new model mimics the heat we experience from our partners’ bodies. Lora DiCarlo used a nylon-based thermally conductive polymer and its WarmSense Technology, simulating body temperature.

Through this innovation, these gadgets internally heat up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and use three vibration patterns with seven intensity settings for one-of-a-kind pleasure. Despite the heating technology, these devices are completely waterproof up to one meter.

Drift

Perfect for beginners, Drift is a curved, handheld bullet vibrator with an ergonomic design, ideal for G-spot and clitoral exploration.

Tilt

Next in line is the dual vibration plug Tilt. It’s the versatile, middle child in the new lineup, designed to please all genders and anatomies. It simultaneously stimulates your G-spot and clitoris, or your P-spot and perineum.

Sway

Sway is a wand-shaped dual vibration warming massager. Its dual-ended design can be used internally or externally, with or without a partner.

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CES 2021

Skagen decks out the Jorn Hybrid HR smartwatch

Classic with a modern twist

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Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR

Fossil Group decked out the new Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR smartwatch. It evokes a classic appeal due to its traditional look, yet it’s packed with smartwatch functionality.

Skagen’s Jorn Hybrid HR focused on style and health, allowing customization through its dials, functions, and display while its heart rate sensor tracks your wellness and activity.

You can monitor your steps, distance, calories, sleep, and personal goals — all on your wrist. If you’re working out, the smartwatch detects your activity automatically, tracking the step frequency and velocity of your movement.

Despite looking stylish for a smartwatch, the Jorn Hybrid HR puts value on fitness. It allows you to dial-up your routine with friends or challenges your group with real-time progress tracking.

There’s also an option to track your outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and more. Monitor your route via tethered GPS functionality and take a snapshot of your routes through your phone.

Moreover, it has a two-week battery life and charges in just under an hour, so you can focus on your goals and living in the moment.

The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR smartwatch comes in five styles with two case sizes — 42mm or a smaller 38mm. It will retail for US$ 195.

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