Follow Your Dreams

I believe in always keeping an eye out for signs. And this one showed up right in front of my face just yesterday – Follow Your Dreams:

Follow Your Dreams

{This isn’t an actual photo of the sign. I made this graphic using a photo I took on vacation. But, I still wanted to pass the message on to you guys.}

I’m at the beach taking my first vacation of the year. I’ve been hoarding my vacation days, and I’m so ready to cash some in. The plan: spend a few glorious days at the beach with my family. On the agenda: eat good food, relax, sleep, think, rest, read books, veg out, chill, cook, and dream. I also brought along a couple books to get my wheels spinning on some analysis (on the blog and myself, mostly). Times like this where my mind isn’t so cluttered with work problems and what not from the daily grind are great for planning and soul-searching.

Anywho, this quote is something that I currently find both highly motivating and frustrating at the same time. I love hearing success stories of people who have followed their dreams, and I hope to have a success story of my own to share one day. My current dilemma is that in order to follow your dreams, you have to know what they are, and many of mine aren’t fully defined at the moment. I’ve always been a very goal-driven person, especially growing up. There were many levels of goals to work towards when I was training as a figure skater, and I was also very driven in school. But, my goals have gotten a little hazy since then.

What do you want to be when you grow up? I haven’t figured this out, though I do know at a high level that I want to live this: “Do what you love, love what you do.” Some other high level guidelines that motivate me are: to help others, make the world a better place than I found it, and lift those around me.

And though I may not have the big picture fully figured out, I have some small goals in mind.

One thing I’ve been wanting to do for awhile is create a web site to help people like me (and maybe you!?) find local restaurants that may have any or all of the following: support local farmers, use organic ingredients, are eco-friendly, use non-GMO ingredients, etc. I believe this site would help not just the locavores or organic eaters, but small business owners and farmers, too. I think about this site all the time when I’m looking for a new restaurant to check out in town or when I’m on vacation. In fact, this site/app would have been extremely useful on my current vacation. Why doesn’t this site exist yet so I can use it? Oh right, because I haven’t made it yet. Slacker.

Seriously, I blame much of my progress on lack of time, but if I’m being honest, I think I have a common problem that many of us face – fear of failure. I’ve done so much (educated myself, networked, attended conferences, and more), and yet something holds me back. I thought it was time for awhile, but the fear of failing makes a lot of sense.

So, what’s next? Get over the fear and get going. It’s easier said than done, but taking small steps will help.

Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.

~Saul Bellow

It’s time to get over the fear. To think positively. To take steps, no matter how small, towards the end goal. It’s time to heed the sign: Follow Your Dreams.

***

Do you think you’d be interested in using a web site/app to find local restaurants in your home town or when you’re traveling? I’d love to chat more! Leave me a comment or shoot me an email at thechiclife at gmail dot com.

Thanks for stopping by!

First Heart Rate Monitor Test

I decided to order a heart rate monitor last week, and I wanted to share the results of my first heart rate monitor test.

I actually wanted to purchase a heart rate monitor about five years ago, but these things aren’t cheap. Not only that, but I remember that the options were limited in the store I visited. Plus, the store employee helping me told me some of the non-traditional options (watch-only at the time) weren’t that accurate. He said the ones that do their calculations using the pulse on your wrist aren’t as good as the chest straps. So, I decided to wait, and then I got distracted and forgot about it, and now we’re here.

***

Calories Burned Estimation

I want to spend some more time researching heart rate monitors, but here’s some initial information you should know about using fitness tools, in general.

According to this article in the LA Times:

Arriving at a true count of how many calories you’re burning, i.e., your energy expenditure, is not as simple as 1-2-3. To get a direct count while, say, you’re ellipting along on an elliptical, you would have to be in a special room where precise measurements could be made of the heat released from your body. This method (based on the fact that burning calories releases heat) is possible but usually not practical.

What I’ve gathered from this and other similar articles (like this and this) is that fitness tools should be used for estimations only since they’re not 100% accurate. I’m cool with that.

My Heart Rate Monitor

I purchased the Polar FT4 from Amazon.com. It was $61.82 (down from 99.95 according to the site) and on prime shipping. After my Clarisonic debacle, I checked the Polar web site and found Amazon listed on their Where to Buy page for online, so I believe it’s legit this time. I did send an email to the customer service team to find out more.

At set-up, I was asked to enter:

  • Weight
  • Height
  • Date of Birth
  • Sex

I feel like the more information you enter, the more accurate your calculations, and this asked for more than other machines and tools I’ve seen.

My First Heart Rate Monitor Test

My First Heart Rate Monitor Test Results

So, my estimated calories do not actually match the photo above. Fail. Here are a couple reasons why:

  • I hit the wrong button. Yep, I ran my first test during a Zumba class I was actually teaching, so my focus wasn’t as much on my heart rate monitor as it was on my class. Just after class ended, a participant came up to chat. I quickly hit a button on the side thinking I’d stopped it. I guess I just hit a different view because I looked down a few minutes later to see the calories burned had jumped up. Doh!
  • After class, I sometimes lead my class in a free mini toning session. We do 3 toning songs and 1 stretch. I turned the heart rate monitor back on for this portion of the workout, which added more to the calories burned number. However, in doing a quick read through of articles on heart rate monitors, most said that you can’t really use them for calculating strength training / toning.

Luckily, I did happen to look at the estimated calories burned right after class ended. The number was 658. Not to shabby for just under one hour of a workout. Since this is my first test, and I haven’t tried calculating calories burned in any other way, I’m not sure how accurate (or inaccurate) this is. But, I still appreciate the estimation.

***

I’m looking forward to continuing to experiment with and learn more about my heart rate monitor. Even though the studies say the calculations aren’t 100% accurate, I still think the information is helpful as a general guideline. My first key number I’m most interested in is the calories burned. But, I’m also interested in paying more attention to the heart rate information and learning how to use that information. Hopefully, I can find some good resources to learn more about how to best use my heart rate monitor. Any suggestions?

***

Any heart rate monitor enthusiasts out there? What tips do you have for this newbie?

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