Friday, April 24, 2015

Book review: I Was Here

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

First things first: this book deals with suicide. So, if that's something you shouldn't be reading, don't read this book. And maybe also check this out, if you need to.

And also maybe be careful who you recommend this too. (lookin at you Kate) (not because you wouldn't be careful, just a heads up)

Moving on: I Was Here is the story of Cody, who was left behind and shocked when her best friend committed suicide. She didn't see it coming, even a little bit, and begins to question everything about her friendship with Meg, her life, herself.

Parts of this book are really intense. Cody is so shocked that she takes a lot of steps to understand Meg's mindframe -- to try to find the why of Meg's suicide, and it takes her to really dark places. I related to Cody's questioning of how she could not have known this about her friend, questioning how well she actually knew her friend.

Some parts of the book, though, I felt were too light. The relationships that form in the wake of Meg's suicide felt shallow to me -- I wanted more from their development, wanted to see more how that was happening. I think death can bring people together in weird ways, but I Was Here seemed to make people close really quickly in the way that can happen after a death without acknowledging that it's kind of weird and quick and different from normal. So while a lot of the emotions were really intense for me, I didn't always buy the relationships.

I'm trying not to say too much so I don't give anything away. I liked the book, but I think it could have been better.

Have any of you read I Was Here? What did you think?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

App review: Nike Training Club

Hi friends!

A million years ago, Julie from PBFingers posted about the Nike Training Club app, and I immediately downloaded it. Ok, so a million years is an exaggeration, but it is not an exaggeration to say that it took me at least six months before I ever actually did a workout from the app.

Now, though, I've been using it for over a month. Not super consistently -- I've done about 7 workouts on the app -- but enough to know that I should have started using it forever ago. So I wanted to share it with you all in case you're looking for something to up your workout game.

Before I started using the app, I had been out of shape for all of those six months, but I was starting to get base level fitness back on the elliptical and bicycles in my apartment complex's little gym.

(RIP gym. Just found out they're closing it for the next month. So sad.)

I wasn't challenging myself in any way -- I was just putting the time in, but no effort -- and realized pretty quickly it wasn't doing much for me.

So, I tried the Nike Training Club app.

Nike Training Club has several workout categories. When you choose a category, it then asks you to indicate your fitness level. I chose beginner.

After that, you can scroll through workouts. The titles don't really tell you a whole lot, but they do show how long the workout is.

Once you choose a workout, it takes you to this screen that shows the time and any equipment you need. You can also click that center icon and see a list of all the exercises. I've found that the equipment list isn't always totally accurate. One of the workouts I've been doing requires a step for tricep dips, and I don't have a step.

When you're looking at the list of exercises, you can edit some of them, not all. So in the picture below, I can choose between burpees and froggers (both are awful) but there's not an alternate for the alternating side lunges.

Each individual exercise has both photos with instructions and a video you can watch to make sure you're doing the exercise right. You can look at all of them ahead of time (I recommend it!) but if you're in the middle of the workout and you forget what the move is, you can watch the video again.

Each individual exercise has a timeframe. There is audio to prompt you from one move to the next. The audio also gives you reminders and hints on how to complete the exercise -- like to keep your weight in your heels on lunges.

It sprinkles in 30-second recovery periods and sometimes gives you 10 seconds in between to get to the next position -- so to go from squats, where you're standing, to pushups, where you need to be on the ground.

I really enjoy using this app (using the word "enjoy" loosely). Yes, I could do all of these exercises without the app, but the app challenges me to do ones I wouldn't choose myself, it times me, and it makes me do more than I would naturally do in 30 minutes without direction. And it definitely got me to stop just putting in the time and start challenging myself again.

The one complaint I have is the lack of modifications. When I've taken fitness classes, often they'll says something like "If your legs are feeling really tight, bend at the knee a bit more" or "if your lower back is lifting off the ground, stabilize your back with your hands" or anything like that. And, as I said, there are a few where I (surprise!) didn't have the equipment. For most, I can modify on my own -- I've been working out long enough to know a few modifications, and I will sub in weights for a medicine ball, do the exercise without equipment, or sub in a different activity that works the same muscle group. So my experience with this type of workout does help.

There are a couple yoga workouts on here, but you have to have a pretty good grasp of yoga positions to do them, because if you need to watch the video while you're doing the workout, it pauses the workout -- so you can't follow along like you would with a DVD. There's also a 15-minute stretching routine I have yet to try, but might need eventually.

Finally, the biggest endoresement I can give is that these workouts make me sore every day. I think as I'm getting better, I'm able to push myself harder, so that means even though I've been using it a while, it'll keep challenging me -- do more push ups this time. Move from modified push ups to real push ups, etc.

Have any of you used this app or others to expand your workouts? I'd love more recommendations!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...