A Non-Runner tries the Couch to 5K App: Review

Hey guys! Today I am sharing my review of the Couch to 5K app. There are a few different apps on the market, the specific one I used was the Couch to 5K Runner app (it’s yellow). The concept of each app is the same where they help the user go from not being able to run to running 5 km.

History with Running

Now let me give a little backstory about my relationship with running before getting into the app and the review. I was never a runner. My favourite sports when I was younger was hockey and swimming, two sports that don’t involve running. Whenever I went ‘running’ in the past it was walking with a bit of jogging. The most I’ve ever jogged I would estimate at 2 minutes.

The main reason why I never got into running wasn’t necessarily my cardiovascular abilities but the fact that I am prone to shin splints. If you don’t know what shin splints are consider yourself lucky because they are painful. They are pain that can be along the front or rear of your shin bone. I’ve been getting them for years. I usually get them when running or walking for long periods, but I’ve even got them from standing on the pool deck in flip flops for a long time.

Whenever I have tried to get into running in the past, I would do it for a week or two and then the pain would get so bad that I would stop. But with the pandemic going on I wanted to pick up running again. The nice thing is that I can do it outside and not have to deal with other people (and all the virus concerns that entails). I’ve heard many people talk about the Couch to 5K format so decided to give it a shot.

App Overview

The app is an interval training program that progressively increases the time that you run throughout the weeks. It’s pretty simple. Every run has a five-minute warm-up and cool down. Then within the main ‘run’ is a set of intervals between running and walking. The first run is 25 minutes long but only has 6 minutes of running in total. The intervals fluctuate to help increase the runner’s stamina over the week.

The app is pretty easy to use. I just swipe to pick the run and then hit “LET’S GO” to start the run. I can play my music and the app will give prompts over my music. It will let me know when it’s time to run and time to walk. It also gives little motivational prompts throughout the run as well. While running, the app tells the runner how far along they are, how much time is left and time until the next interval. The app will tell the runner when they are halfway through the run.

At the end of the run the app gave me a summary of the run included time, distance and calories burnt. It will also show a map of the route taken, distinguishing which parts were running and walking. All this data can be accessed in the History time to be referred back to.

The program is structured to be three runs a week for eight weeks. By the end of the eight weeks, you should theoretically be able to run 5km.

The app has a few free runs, but to access the full program the runner must pay. I got the premium 3-month subscription, which is $10.49 for three months (or around $3.49 per month).

My Progress

I thought I would share my progress and process using this app. My first run was on June 1 and I ran 1.7 km. My last run was October 8 (so yesterday) and I ran 4.5 km. So I took double the amount of time and was just under the 5km goal. But I am honestly SO proud of myself.

The first couple of weeks I was consistent in running around 3 times a week but I was repeating runs. I didn’t think it was smart to move onto the next set of intervals if I couldn’t finish one. So I repeated W1/D2 (week 1, day 2 – this is how they name the runs and how I will reference them), W1/D3 and W2/D3 twice. I was in pain. I went from not running to running. I found that I could have easily kept on running cardio wise but my shins were killing me so much that I had to stop. I ended up talking to my dad’s friend who is a physical therapist and he gave me a list of stretches to do before and after my runs. I also got myself a roller stick and that helps SO much.

Around week 3 my shins were starting to adjust and I was able to progress. Until I got to W4/D1. I did this run five times before I felt comfortable enough to move forward. This was the point where my cardio was the issue. It was a jump from 10 minutes of running to 14 minutes. It probably didn’t help that I also took a two-week break in the middle of this when I went to my cottage. That’s probably why it took me so many times haha.

Once I passed that W4/D1 hurtle though I had no further issues. I was able to progress throughout the rest of the program without having to repeat any runs. I also did start going back to yoga in late August, so I wasn’t running three times a week anymore. That’s probably why it took me two months to finish what should have been one month. But I wasn’t mad about my progress. I was running more then I have ever before in my life!

In my last three runs, the time and distance lined up pretty well. I was able to run 3.5km in 35 minutes, 4.0 km in 40 minutes and 4.5km in 45 minutes. So by that logic, I could probably run 5.0 km in 50 minutes. I’m not upset by the fact that I didn’t run 5km using this app because it helped me build the stamina to be able to do so. And either way, 4.5 km is still pretty good!

Would I recommend this app?

Yes, I would 100% recommend this app to anyone who isn’t a runner but wants to get into running.

If you are new to running and have no idea where to start, this is simply laid out for you. It’s easy to see what future runs will look like and it’s easy to track past progress. The app also recently got an update that will ask for your feedback after a run and will recommend whether or not to move onto the next run.

And the app worked! I liked the interval training system because it helped me move from a non-runner to a runner. I would have loved if this app was free, but I think the money I spent was worth it. I also rationalized it that I wasn’t paying for a gym membership (because there were closed and then I had my account frozen). And I think it’s important to invest in ourselves and our health.

If you are someone who is just looking for a way to track their runs then I wouldn’t recommend this app. I think there are probably better (and cheaper) running tracking apps out there.

Which leads me into:

What I’m doing next

So now what? That’s the beauty of this app that now that I’m done this program I can do whatever I want. I know the app company has a 10k program but I think that’s a little too advance for me. I think I’m going to actually run 5km and then work on bringing my time down. I would love to run a 5k next year. A few of my friends have recommended Strava, so I will be checking that out. Let me know if you would like a review of that app as well!

So guys, I just want to end this year by saying that you can do anything if you work on and believe in yourself. I never thought I could be be a runner, but then I decided to download then app and said to myself “I am going to be a runner”. You can do it guys!

xoxo

Lea

Is Fabletics Worth It? A Honest Review

Hey guys! So if you are like me, you have probably seen some influencers talk about Fabletics online. Fabletics is an athletic clothing line created by Kate Hudson. They are known for their two leggings for $24.99 deal. But with all sponsored content, I wonder if people are giving their honest reviews, or are just being paid to hype up the products. So I decided to try Fabletics myself, and I am going to give you a full break down of my experience.

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First I just want to explain my expectations when it comes to athletic wear. My favourite leggings are the Lululemon Align Pants, which are $98 CAD – so not cheap. I like these leggings because they are high rise, super soft and feel like a second skin. They are meant for yoga, but can be worn for any workout really. The only thing is that they are expensive, so if I can find a cheaper dupe I am hear for me. For sports bra I am not super picky. I don’t need a ton of support, but I still need some. So with this criteria in mind, I selected three items from Fabletics.

Now what is interesting about Fabletics is that there is a retail price and a VIP price. The VIP price is $10-20 cheaper than retail price. The two leggings for $24.99 is also only available to VIP members. And finally there are some items that are only available to VIPs. So what strings are attached to this membership? You have to either order clothes or ‘skip’ the program for the month (by the 5th of the month). If you don’t skip or buy anything, they will charge your account $49.95. Now it is possible to cancel this subscription whenever, so it is possible to order once and then cancel the subscription. I will talk more about this when I give my final review.

So the three items I got were the Mila Pocket Capri in burgundy, the Mid-Rise PureLuxe Legging in Rosebloom, and the Devore Seamless Sports Bra II in burgundy. I got the capri leggings and the sports bra to be worn as a matching set to yoga. With the VIP deals I was able to save $75 USD, which is basically the price of one pair of Lululemon leggings.

Now for my actual thoughts of the products. I bought the Mila capris for yoga and the PureLuxe leggings to work out in, and after trying them would use them for the opposite reasons for why I purchased them. The Mila capris are much stiffer and less flexible, so it was harder to flow while doing yoga. But they were great for working out. They didn’t become see through when doing swats, and I really liked having a pocket to be able to hold my phone.

The PureLuxe leggings are a great dupe for the Lululemon Align Pants. I would say that I still like the Lulu ones more for two reasons. The Lulelemon ones are just a tough softer and have a higher waistline. I like the higher waistline for yoga because then it’s not rolling down on me. But these Fabletics ones are still pretty great. I also decided to get them in the rose colour to test how see-through they were. Sometimes light colours can become see-through, or they can overemphasize all your fat/cellulite. These ones were pretty thick that I didn’t notice it too much. But I think the darker colours would be no issue.

My least favourite item is probably the Devore sports bra. I have a few issues with this sports bra. First it’s actually pretty low cut, so I was afraid I was popping out when I wore it to yoga. The straps also cut very far in, so I was getting major side-boob when I was wearing this sports bra. I think it would be fine worn under a shirt, but it’s kind of disappointing because I bought a cute sports bra to be shown, not to be worn under a shirt.

So would I recommend Fabletics? Will I be ordering from them again? To answer the second yes, I did decide to skip buying anything in September because I had just received my first order at the end of August. I decided to not cancel my subscription because overall I thought that the quality was pretty decent, and I wouldn’t mind ordering from them again. I would only recommend ordering from Fabletics if you think you’re going to be ordering lots of athletic wear and/or you are good at remembering to skip months if you don’t want anything.

And that is my review of Fabletics! While the PureLuxe leggings are pretty nice, I am still on the look out for a pair that I would love more than the Lululemon Align pants. Let me know in the comments any brands you would recommend/want me to try!

xoxo

Lea

I Did Kayla Itsines’ 12 Week Bikini Body Guide

Hey guys! So one of my New Year’s resolution was to get in shape this year. It hit me when I was down to Mexico this past Christmas. I was climbing a Mayan monument with my brother and was literally out of breath after 20 steps. I was fed up with feeling unhealthy and out of shape, and wanted to make a change. I have been working out on and off for years, but always had trouble sticking with it. I remember someone once mentioning to me the Bikini Body Guide (or BBG for short). After taking look at what the guide entailed, I decided to try it for myself.

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What is BBG?

BBG is a 12 week program created by Kayla Itsines. You can purchase the ebook or buy the Sweat with Kayla app (I found the pdf online……..). The first 8 weeks has 2-3 resistance training sessions (gym workouts) and 2-4 light cardio sessions. The last four weeks also includes HITT training.

The workouts are grouped together, so weeks 1 and 3 are the same thing. Every four weeks the workouts get more intense, but are similar to the past weeks. For example, week 1 is 15 push-ups, week 5 is 15 decline push ups and week 9 is 20 drop down push ups.

Each workout consists of two circuits with four moves each that you do twice. In total there are eight moves that you do twice each. The full workout is supposed to take around 30 minutes. There are three workouts for each week, focused on either legs, arms or abs.

What did I think of the BBG workouts?

I like to preface with saying that I was very out of shape when I started this guide. I 100% should have started with some basic exercising before starting this. I was exhausted by the end of the workout. After doing weeks 1-4 I decided to do them for another week in order to build up my strength more before moving forward. So it took be 14 weeks to complete the 12 week guide.

I really like the layout of the workouts. Since I’m not super in shape, it would take me around 10 minutes to complete a circuit. I could complete the workout in around 40 minutes.

I like that the workouts don’t need a ton of equipment so I could do some of them at home. But the moves I hated the most were the ones I had to do most often. There is a ton of push ups and burpees in this guide. By week 6 the burpees were starting to hurt my knees, so I reduced the amount that I was doing.

Overall I liked the leg workouts the most. I was able to master the majority of the moves and I felt satisfied after completing the workouts. I equally disliked the arms and abs workouts. Half of the arm exercises are some form of a push up, so as someone who isn’t good at doing push ups I was not pleased. Abs depended on the week because some weeks were harder than others.

For the cardio portion I did it twice a week. I tried a few times to do three times a week but that was too much for me. I would do yoga for one of my cardio sessions. For the other session I would either go swimming or go on a walk. Since I was going this in the dead of winter it was way too cold for me to run outside. I also never did the HITT workouts. I was going to do them, but I was so busy with school that I didn’t have time to add another work out.

Overall I am pretty proud of myself for doing all 12 weeks of the guide. There were a few weeks here and there that I would miss one cardio or workout, but for the most part I did it all. I think this is the longest I have ever consistently worked out in my life.

What changes did I notice in my body?

One of the biggest changes I noticed was the amount of energy I had. After not working out for months, I was shocked at how energized I was. I liked to work out before class, and the days that I did work out I was much more awake in class than the days I hadn’t. Since it was also winter, I noticed that working out really helped improve my mood. Winter can be depressing (like actually seasonal depression is a thing), and I noticed that overall I was in a better mood compared to past winters.

Another HUGE difference was my immune system. I have a relatively week immune system. Last winter I was sick the majority of the time, so I was so surprised that I didn’t get sick ONCE this winter. I had a few days where I might feel a little bit of a sore throat or a little congested, but it was gone the next day. I had no colds and no illnesses, which is absolutely shocking for me.

Physically I did get stronger. For example at the beginning I couldn’t do one sit up and by the end I was able to do ten. Visually I did not notice a difference. I did take before and after photos, but I don’t see a difference. To be fair, its only been 3 months, and it takes awhile to actually see changes. Finally, I did manage to lose 10 pounds over the three months. Unfortunately, I stopped working out during exams and then while I was away in Europe, so I have since gained those 10 pounds back (oops haha).

Would I do BBG again? Would I recommend BBG?

I have decided to group these questions together because I won’t be following BBG again BUT I would recommend.

First I have decided not to do BBG again because I hated half of the moves. But what I will be doing is taking the format and placing in my own moves. So for those who are curious, I am planning on working out at the gym three times a week and then doing cardio twice a week for the next three months. I will definitely update you guys about that in August!

While I am not doing BBG again, I think the structure is really great. I think BBG would be good for anyone who is in a rut or needing a routine that will keep them motivated to go to the gym. I think it is a good place to get started.

Overall I think BBG gave me the push I needed to get in shape. It helped me both physically and mentally, and now I can’t wait to do my own thing! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments, I’d be more than happy to answer them 🙂

xoxo

Lea