Puffin Picks – November

I’ve recently started training for my latest ultra, with a new dedication to actually do strength work, stretching, mobility work and cross training. As result, I’ve discovered not one, but two new apps to help me meet all my at-home workout needs.

Read prior Puffin Picks posts.

Note: Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links where I may be compensated if you purchase items or click on the links. Read my full affiliate policy. I only link to items I have, use, or want and would recommend regardless of potential reward.

My personal affiliate link guideline: Would I recommend this to my mom?

Puffin Picks – November

I’ve used the Nike Training Club (NTC) app for years for at home workouts. They had lots of free workout options, in a variety of disciplines and durations.

But… they’ve made a ton of changes to the app recently.

They took away the ability to layout or schedule workouts in advance. I try to plan in advance so I can avoid the ‘what workout do I feel like doing today’ conversation with myself, it’s too easy to talk myself out of a workout. They added in paid options so now they’ll show you 20 workouts, but free access is only available to maybe 2 of them. I hate the ‘look at all of this stuff you can’t access unless you give us money’ vibe.

I’m also trying to minimize my support of Nike in light of revelations about how they treat their female athletes (if you haven’t watched the video Mary Cain did with the New York times, do so immediately).

So while avoiding Nike isn’t making me happy, exploring new at-home workout app options is.

adidas Training by Runtastic

Adias has had a workout app for years. I remember trying it awhile back and not being too impressed. But they’ve recently made changes to their app, but unlike Nike, their changes have been for the better.

However, they’ve also changed the name of the app a few times, resulting in my complete inability to remember what the stupid thing is called.

The official name is: adidas Training by Runtastic (their capitalization), which isn’t terribly catchy if you ask me.

I’m in the midst of a ‘Toned Abs in 6 Weeks’ program, that not only sets up workouts in advance (take that Nike), but you can tweak the plan at the start of each week to adjust for how easy/hard the workouts are or how many times you’ll be able to workout.

In the program I’m doing, the workouts are short (10-15 minutes) and include optional warm-ups and stretching.

The workout layout is straightforward (and includes time to rest/adjust positions between moves), although I still can’t figure out how to make the moves auto-advance, so I have to go to the iPad and swipe up after each move. Little quibble, but annoying nonetheless.

The design of the homepages is a bit cluttered (they could benefit from a much sleeker design), but that’s a minor nit to pick.

There is still a lot I’ve yet to explore on this app, but so far I’m really liking it as an option.

Openfit

Why only test out one at-home workout app when you can test two?

I’ve been given access to Openfit, another workout app. Full disclosure: I was given free access to the app for a review, but the opinions are my own.

Openfit can be used in a few ways:

  1. There are on-demand workouts in a few disciplines (barre, yoga, HIIT, Tough Mudder, cardio/strength/dance workouts put together by female stunt women).
  2. Those on-demand workouts are also set up into 7 or 30 day workout programs.
  3. A few dozen live classes are held daily for strength, yoga, cardio. Many of the cardio workouts are designed to be used on the run/walk or on the treadmill for interval-type workouts.

I’m in the midst of the 7-day Xtend Barre On-Ramp program. The program is basically a 7-day intro to all the types of workouts available in the barre program. I’m loving the workouts so far.

I also took a foam rolling live class, just to see what the live class thing is about. The live classes are scheduled, and the instructor is live and can see you (if you allow access to your camera). The workout itself was great, though the live aspect felt a little odd. However, that just might be the newness of the format.

I’ll try a few more live classes to see if I get used to it.

They also have daily meal plan options and a few other wellness tools, but I haven’t even scratched the surface of those yet.

A full review of Openfit will be on the Blog soon.

Openfit is a paid/subscription app, but there is 14-day free trial. 

National Park Service Instagram Account

When I first came across this account, I thought it was a parody account. But it is the legit, verified account for the National Park Service.

Whoever writes the captions for this account deserves a raise. Their responses to comments are pretty funny too.

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Draw me like one of your French sea stars…⁣ ⁣ Oh là là! Also known as Blue Linckia or Blue Linckia Star, the Blue sea star can be found singly or in groups over shallow waters exposed to sunlight amongst dead coral, rocks, rubbles and sponges over algae and seagrass beds of reef slopes. They posses a cleverly evolved arsenal of hydraulic tube feet connected to an elaborate water-vascular system that encircles the animal's mouth and extends via five radial canals down the centre of each arm. Their mouth is underneath, but their prey is absorbed outside their mouths by forcing out their digestive organs from their stomach. Hmm…draw that? ⁣ ⁣ Image: Sea Star in repose waiting to be drawn or possibly waiting to eat. Where’s the mouth again? ⁣ ⁣ #FindYourPark #nationalparkservice #seastar #blue #pose #underthesea #americansamoa #thedodo #thisweekoninstagram @instagram

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Never inappropriate, but much snarkier (while still informative) than I’d expect from a government agency.

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Best Bison Quotes (Translated)⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ➡️”AAARARRRGWWWH."⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Translation: "I know I’m loud. I’m working on it.”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ⁣➡️”RRWWWGG”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Translation: "Read sign.”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ➡️”ROWWWWR”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Translation: "Contrary to the song “Home on the Range,” buffalo do not roam in the American West. Instead, they are indigenous to South Asia (water buffalo) and Africa (Cape buffalo), while bison are found in North America.”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ➡️”GRRROOWWRRR”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Translation: "What’s that smell? Oh, it’s me.”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ➡️”RAARRWWRARRRRRRR AWRARRRRRRR?”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Translation: “I can run up to 35 miles per hour. Can you?⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ➡️”UUUUUURRRRRAGH?”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Translation: “Grasses, weeds, and leafy plants again?⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ➡️”ARRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHH! ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Translation: “It’s called wallowing! It deters biting flies and help shed fur!”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ➡️”UGGGROWWWWR”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Translation: "Pet this.”⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Image: Bison breath on a cool morning. NPS / Jacob W. Frank⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ #FindYourPark #nationalparkservice #bison #yellowstonenationalpark #thisweekoninstagram @instagram

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Bonus points that they recently posted a ‘pick your ranger name’ graphic. Mine ranger name is ‘Buffalo McGee’ which is great and still makes me giggle.

I follow very few non-running Instagram accounts, but this one has quickly become one of my favorites.

Unspooled Podcast

I’m a huge podcast fan. Even while my unlistened to queue gets longer and longer, I’m forever on the hunt for new options.

Unspooled finds comedian/writer Paul Sheer and film critic Amy Nicholson watching every movie on the AFI’s top 100 movies list and discussing if the movies are actually any good, if they hold up, and if they deserve to be on (and remain on) the list.

It’s refreshing to listen to real conversations on the merits of a film – Nicholson is a legit, trained critic, not just a film lover who can only say ‘I love it’ or ‘it sucked’.

In most episodes, they also have a conversation with someone related to the film or a topic related to the film. For example, a behavioral scientist to discuss the legitimacy of the profiling aspects of the Silence of the Lambs or a primatologist to discuss King Kong.

They also ask the question of key importance when determining the cultural relevance of a thing – has the Simpsons done a take on this movie?

Like Sheer, I’m a film fan who has not watched many of the ‘classics.’ This podcast is a great incentive to watch more the AFI list movies. Many of the movies are on my ‘I should watch it sometime’ list, but never quite make it to the top.

Hopefully that will now change.

Sara is a runner, running coach, writer, blogger, and a lover of all things written.

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