Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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Echelon Fit

I loved spin class when I was a member at a gym (nothing is close enough now where we live) and my husband likes a stationary bike for exercise. Cardio is hard on his knees. So we’ve talked about buying one for at least a year now. Obviously there is a lot of hype around the Peloton and I have numerous friends who have one, so that was a great gauge. But my husband set out to do some comparisons as well.

And boy did he compare. He literally spent weeks comparing different bikes. He got it narrowed down to two – Peloton and Echelon Fit – then did a week or so more of comparing and contrasting. This is not a cheap purchase, so we wanted to be sure about out decision! There were obviously pros and cons for both, but ultimately we went with the Echelon Connect Ex-5 Bike. It was significantly cheaper then the Peloton and still had great reviews. The main complaints were about the app, but we figured we’d try it and at the very least subscribe to the Peloton app instead. And Echelon had a deal that included a free iPad, which we figured would be more useful than a screen connected to the bike. So here’s what we think.

We love it! The shipping took a little while – we pulled the trigger and ordered right when we started to work from home. But it came in one giant (and heavy) box pretty much ready to go. As with anything, it took a little while to put together and some instructions were a little vague, but it wasn’t bad. This was one difference between the Peloton is that they set it up for you. But we also didn’t want anyone in the house by then.

I have already been doing Beachbody for a while, so I don’t use it every day, but my husband uses it most days. He’s had a few issues with the app syncing the workout but overall we’ve loved it! He likes the scenic routes and I’ve done both scenic rides and on-demand classes. There are also live classes, which we have not done yet. The on-demand classes I’ve done so far are great. I’ve tried a handful with different instructors and enjoyed them!

Overall, we love the bike and am so glad it’s an option for at home exercise. Let me know if you have any questions about it!


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The Age of Social Distancing

Well, we’ve been home a month now. Actually 32 days as of this posting. And when I say I’ve been home, I have been home. Like many of us, I have a pre-existing condition, so if I were to catch this nasty virus, it could be really bad. So although my blog now is mostly books, I do have time to post more now! I thought I’d give you a glimpse into what this time looks like for us – married with 2 dogs and no children.

First off, I am very thankful for our situation. We both are still working (from home, obviously) and getting paid. We have a nice house that we bought a year ago (the townhouse would have been more of a struggle) with a fenced in yard in a nice, large walkable neighborhood. And we have each other. I understand that many people – too many – are in a much worse situation because of all this. And we are trying to help where we can.

So what does one do for 32 days at home when not working?

Puzzles. I have always loved puzzles. Did them growing up with my dad. And I actually was already on a puzzle kick before all of this started. I must have sensed something was coming. I have finished 2 since being at home. A friend and I did a puzzle trade and she had the BEST puzzles!

Reading. Again, I’ve been reader. My goal for this year is 50 books. But, I usually read a lot on the train to/from work and not necessarily at home. There are so many more options of things to do at home! So I’m actually one book behind schedule to finish my 50 this year, so I’m working to read more instead of watch tv. But I’ve finished 4 books since stay home day 1.

Movies and TV: We are obviously spending a lot – probably too much – time in front of the TV. There is literally an endless amount of content to watch through all of the streaming services. We don’t even have cable! My favorite movie so far was definitely Knives Out. We also watched Yesterday (it was cute), Clue (yes, the 1985 film based on the board game – it’s still great. It’s on Prime), The Farewell (it was good – dramatic comedy – about half is subtitled), The Zookeeper’s Wife (WWII film – not a happy pick me up but good, though not as good as the book), Aladdin (classic), and Overnight Delivery (we came across this on HBO, from 1998 – it was funny but a little too ridiculous). As far as TV, I’ve kept watching my usual handful of shows, which are one by one reaching their season finales, or in Modern Family‘s case, the full show finale after 11 seasons. But don’t worry – Love Is Blind and Tiger King made it into the mix already and both were binged in no time. Both ridiculous, on different levels, and VERY entertaining. We’re now halfway through season 1 of Community and it’s hilarious – I can’t believe I never watched it!

Get outdoors: I am very thankful that this is happening in spring and not the middle of winter (at least for us southerners). We have been able to get outside a lot and luckily what seemed like non-stop rain the first couple f months of the year has turned to more sunny days. Walks almost daily, both with and without the dogs. Yard work because there’s now no excuse. Even a couple trips to the neighborhood tennis courts so I can practice a new serve and give my better half some “lessons”.

Games: Again, we were already game people. But we’re trying to make a point of not just sitting in front of the tv every night. So we’ve been going through the games. Five Crowns, Wits End, Sequence, Murder Trivia Party and Guesspionage (both Jackbox games), Oregon Trail, and Mario Kart have all made an appearance so far.

Exercise: I was lucky to have already been exercising at home, so this wasn’t much a change for me. Although it does take a little more self-motivation to get up and do it knowing that you’re not leaving the house. But now, a month in, I feel I have finally gotten into a good routine. I’ve kept up with my BeachBody workouts (started a new program last week). And towards the beginning of all this we ordered an Echelon bike that we had been eyeing. We love it (sorry Peloton fanatics) and I’ll do a full post with a review soon.

There’s been FaceTimes and Zoom calls and even a Zoom birthday. Between working every day and all of this, we really can’t complain. Although it will be nice when things can go back to “normal” – even if it is a different normal that usual. We are hopeful that God has a plan in this and that we will all get through this together (but distanced). How are you surviving and keeping busy through all this? Would love to hear!


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Pure Barre

I’ll admit that I can get sucked into fitness trends. I like to switch it up and not do the same thing ALL the time. When I lived in Nashville, barre studios were opening like wildfire. And I hit them all up using various Groupons and Living Socials and first month cheap deals. It was a great workout.

So when Pure Barre opened a studio a mile from my condo in Brookhaven, of course I had to check it out. I think I got a pre-opening one month deal. But I didn’t continue after that because, to be honest, it’ not cheap. But then I got engaged. And who doesn’t want to look amazing on their wedding day?! My friend had done the pre-wedding Pure Barre regime and looked amazing so what did I have to lose?! I didn’t necessarily have weight to lose, I just wanted to be toned, feel healthy, and feel good about my body!

So I started with a pre-wedding package at Pure Barre Brookhaven a few months before my wedding. Right from the start, everyone was super nice and welcoming and every single class was challenging. And that can be hard to achieve at 5:30 in the morning. Yes, I’m a morning person and have to exercise in the morning or it just won’t happen.

Well after a few months I was hooked. And as with many things, the more you buy, the better the deal. So we worked it out in the budget and I committed to a year. Two to three months after that I reached 100 classes and got some cool socks.

And then this past weekend I hit 250 CLASSES (and got some more socks and a gift card)! Each class is about 50 minutes so that’s 12,500 hours of tucking, crunching, lifting, toning burning, shaking, and sweating. It truly is a full body workout.

The best part about it is that they celebrate achievements and do challenges to help push you. And challenges always have prizes. I have SO enjoyed my year+ at Pure Barre Brookhaven! And yes, every class is still hard and challenging. If you’ve never tried a barre class, you definitely should. No dance or ballet experience required. No formal exercise training required. The instructors will make sure you know what you’re doing and doing it correctly.

Sadly we are moving soon and I will not be close enough to a studio. But maybe I can still pop in from time to time to get my tuck fix. Thanks Pure Barre Brookhaven for an amazing workout and for helping me stay in shape! Here’s to my last 2 weeks!!


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#8. Yoga

#8 from my 30 before 30 list is done – I’m over halfway done! About 2 years ago I bought a Groupon for 20 classes to Red Hot Yoga. Luckily they accept them whenever – literally no expiration date – so I finally started to use it at the beginning on the year. Mostly thanks to another friend who wanted to go.

Yoga is great, especially if you typically hit the cardio and/or weights hard. Stretching is important – and I don’t do it nearly enough for as much as I run. And as I have discovered lately, training for a half marathon at 29 is definitely different than training at 24. I know it sounds silly but it is – if I don’t stretch now I pay for it. Insert yoga. Especially since I’m training for a half marathon right now, it feels great. And I am not flexible at all, so don’t use that as an excuse. It really does help you become more stretchy the more you do it! And actually the heat (this is hot yoga) helps even more. The heat is actually what scared me the most, but I go early morning and it actually feels awesome. This studio is great because you don’t feel like a fool – there are always other beginners and they are pretty good about making sure you are doing all the poses correctly (otherwise it’s kind of pointless).

I still have about 10 classes left on my groupon and we’ll see what I do when that is up but I’m hoping to keep going at least once a week! Now if I can only get in the habit of stretching on my own….

redhotyoga


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Exercise Perception

Another TED Talk listened to while running recently! Emily Balcetis, a social psychologist, looks at the factors that play into a person’s perception of exercise, which greatly influences their motivation to exercise. I am very lucky in that I am naturally motivated to exercise and be active (mainly running), but I know it does not come easy for a lot of people. Looking at physical markers (waist and hip size) as well as perception, Emily Balcetis discusses the factors that play into a person’s motivation to exercise.

The studies and results are interesting, but the main lesson learned is not necessarily that helpful – they learned that those people who kept their “eye on the prize” (i.e. focused on the finish line) viewed the distance to the finish line as shorter. But if you’re a trainer, for example, you can’t just tell your clients to focus on the finish line and expect their motivation to increase. It’s way more complicated than that.

But the ideas of varied perception are very interesting and have even been very relevant lately (dress being white/gold or black/blue). Knowing that people’s perception of exercise varies and knowing what factors correlate with different perceptions can be helpful to professionals who work with people in their plans for exercise and nutrition.