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Tech Talk: What You Need to Know About Apple TV 4G

I did a TV detox for almost a year. Not intentionally, but with Netflix, Shomi, Crave and other online streaming options allowing us to watch our fave programs on our laptops, what was once one of the most used things in my household ended up sitting on a console collecting considerable amount of dust. Well, a lot has changed around here since getting Apple TV. Since it’s launch in 2010, it’s design had really not evolved and it was still using an interface dating back to the iPod days, quite possibly the reason why the device has consistently been eclipsed by it’s prodigy siblings, the iPad and iPhone. If you’re one of those people who prefer to wait for a later generation of a product so a brand has time to get all the kinks out, then now would be the time to try out the best version to date of Apple TV.

The latest version has powerful hardware, a significantly redesigned remote and an operating system worthy of an Apple product in 2016. Plus, there’s a legit app store now, which turns the device into a killer platform for entertainment, workouts and gaming right in the comfort of your own living room.

Apple TV Fitness Apps

The ultra sleek new Siri remote not only looks attractive when placed on your coffee table or TV console, but it’s also super functional. Say goodbye to endless button pushing kids. With the smooth touch surface, selecting and navigating is made so much easier with swipe capabilities. In addition to the menu and play/pause buttons, which the remote had before, there is now a home button and volume controls. Plus, since it’s wireless you don’t even have to point it directly at the Apple TV console. Worried about having to add yet another remote to your collection? We’ve trained the intelligent Siri remote to adapt to work as our television remote control.

Apple TV Fitness AppsHere’s what you will receive with you Apple TV purchase. *Note HDMI cable is sold separately

Once you’ve set up your Apple TV, which can be done simply on the corresponding app on your iPhone, the well laid out home screen makes it easy to search iTunes for movies, shows and music, and search/download from the app store etc. There aren’t any third-party apps installed by default, which is kind of a good thing in my personal opinion. This means, only the apps you love and use frequently are displayed on the home screen. The only downfall so far to be honest, is not having access to some of the new and amazing third-party apps that have been developed for 2016 that are not available in Canada *welp*. I frothed at the mouth thinking of all the potential binge watching I could do on HBO, Showtime and HULU and the workouts on Beach Body On Demand but nope – no dice for us Canadian residents. However, there are still a handful of apps making Apple TV a worthwhile purchase even if you reside south of the border…and let’s start with some that will get/keep you in shape:

Apple TV fitness apps

Fitness Focused Apps

Think you have no time to get to the gym after work? Can’t get out of bed extra early to make it to that yoga class? Or better yet, need some inspiration for some active mobility stretches before you run? I’ve combed the app store and online to find fitness apps that ticked all the boxes; high quality videos of varying lengths and forms of exercise, affordable prices, an app perhaps with an iOS version that sends me push notifications to nudge me when I haven’t worked out. Even a corresponding Apple Watch app component that will tap into the watch’s sensors to track my heart rate and cals burned. This may be too much of an ask, but I remained hopeful. After spending some considerable time trolling and testing, I’ve realized there is a HUGE potential for health and fitness apps on this platform and has even got me thinking of someday creating my own third-party app. With the updated version of Apple TV, tvOS has made it much easier for third-party apps to be created, so I suspect we will see a lot more comprehensive fitness apps popping up in the near future. Although there are some great options out there, I still think the fitness focused apps haven’t reached their full potential yet. Here’s a few of the contenders that were able to meet some of my tough criteria…

Zova:

Apple TV Fitness AppsPhotography by JessBaumung.com

One of the first tvOS fitness apps created, Zova also comes highly recommended by the peeps at Apple. It offers a ton of free video content, which is awesome, and is even equipped with Apple Watch integration so you’re able to see your heart rate on the TV screen while you workout. However, you have to pay $10+ a month to unlock the premium version. Still cheap in comparison to most others though, but I would have liked to see at least one option in the app store that was available free to users. Furthermore, majority of the videos are much shorter than I would have liked to see – 15 mins or less and no instruction. There’s just a model demonstrating each move sans voiceover. On the plus side, Zova is great for those who want to be led through a quick ab workout, short flow sequence to start the day or pre run stretch routine.

Daily Burn:

Apple TV Fitness Apps

Daily Burn has been featured in Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Shape, Good Morning America and the Today Show because of the success of it’s subscribers and now I know why. With over 500 workouts in 20+ amazing programs from strength training, HIIT, weight training, yoga, dance and more – there is something for everyone. Plus, there is a new 30 minute Daily Burn 365 workout every single day at 9am EST that replays on demand for 24 hours, specifically designed for beginners. When you download the app on Apple TV, your eligible for a 30 day free trial – something that most apps should allow you to do so you can ensure you are getting what you’re promised prior to purchasing. Once your free month is up, the premium membership will run you $36.99/mth. Workouts average anywhere between 30-40 minutes making them great on their own but also works well when you add in a run or other cardio workout but the app does not sync with the Apple Watch to monitor calories burned and heart rate.

Grokker:

Apple TV fitness apps

This yoga focused app also provides users with nutritional plans and cooking videos for those who are looking for some food inspo. Grokker’s program ranges from one week to six weeks in length and the series are designed to save you time with over 70 goal oriented series to choose from. My suggestions, “Get Tight in 28“, “x5 Intensity“, “Daily Muscle Relief” and the “21 Day Relax Mindfulness Meditation“. Love that you can schedule workouts in the in-app calendar as a reminder of which series you should be doing next. Users can also easily track progress such as total minutes of exercise and calories burned to stay motivated. If you have an Apple Watch, you will be able to track your heart rate and active energy during both fitness and yoga workouts while also contributing to your Activity Rings. Free to download and use, but just like the rest of the more sophisticated fitness apps out there, you have to pay for the good stuff. A premium subscription enables you to download an unlimited number of premium videos per month and will cost you $14.99 or $119.99 monthly or annually respectively.

Cody:

Apple TV Fitness Apps

Cody is the priciest out of the bunch because you actually pay per plan, not by month – so if you’re looking for an affordable fitness app, this isn’t it! The cost depends mainly on which plan you pick but on average will cost you somewhere between $40-50 and there is no free trial option. Some may argue that it is in fact good value for money because the videos are super high quality plus Cody offers offline downloads so you can do your workouts on your iOS device while traveling. If you’re the type that likes a variety and prefers to switch things up each day, you may not love that the app forces you to stick within a program, however on the plus side, this is the best way to achieve results.

Honourable Mentions

I would be straight up lying if I told you this was my only use of my Apple TV at home. Let’s be honest here, there are a plethora of entertainment, news, music, food and television streaming apps to make you forget all about cable television. On heavy rotation at our place right now – Netflix, TED Talks, Shomi, CityTV, People Entertainment Weekly Network, The Scene, Kitchen Stories, Made to Measure (for all my fave fashion documentaries and movies), and RedBull TV.

Apple TV is available at Apple stores, Best Buy locations and online at Apple.com starting at $199.

4 Simple Tricks to Stay Motivated When You Work Out Alone #TasteVectory

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kellogg’s® Vector®. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you’ve just begun to work out or have been working out for years, there is one thing I’m sure everyone can agree on…it can be insanely challenging to work out alone. I am certain that more than half of the people that spend big bucks on trainers and pricey group classes do so because they need the motivation and accountability, not because they don’t know what they are doing.  Over the years I’ve learned some slightly tactical ways that not only help me avoid skipping solo workouts but also push me a bit more while doing them.

1. Find a Community Challenge:

Vector 21 Day ChallengePhotography by JessBaumung.com

Challenges are good. Finding a community is also good. Combining both is great motivation. I’ve seen both the Adidas and Nike Women community execute this so well over the years. One of my favourite aspects of social media is that other people’s posts can easily inspire you. You can discover new workouts, learn new recipes and even share your own progress if you want. In case you missed it,  I recently posted details regarding this summer’s Vector® Challenge which is perfect for those trying to stay on track with their solo workouts. The Vector® 21-day Challenge acts as a form of accountability in a way, as you must post an image of yourself on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook that shows how you push yourself physically or mentally using the hashtag #TasteVectory for 21 Days. Participating in the contest allows you to be eligible to receive Vector products delivered to your home for 21 days and also gives you an entry for the grand prize, a $1,000 fitness prize pack.

Vector 21 Day Challenge

*You can find full contest details at the end of this post.

2. Listen to Audiobooks or a Podcast:

It is much more easier to get bored on a relaxed, easy run than it is when you have an intense interval or speed workout. Even for those who don’t love running to music, you may be surprised at how many more kms you’re able to run when you are entertained by an entertaining podcast or an audiobook.

3. Make Whatever You Do To Exercise Your Favourite Thing:

If you find an activity you love that counts as exercise, you are almost guaranteed to not miss a workout. And sorry loves, just because you love shopping – it unfortunately doesn’t count as cardio. I always giggle to myself when people say they hate running but have started doing it and find they struggle to stay motivated. Isn’t it a no-brainer that you will find every excuse in the book to get out of doing something you hate? Working out is a bit like a job. Find something you love and you will want to do it everyday. Just because everyone seems to be running or doing crossfit, don’t feel pressured to follow others. You may resonate more with rock climbing, kayaking, aerial/acro yoga or cycling.

4. Create Goals:

It’s not rocket science and definitely nothing new. When you work out day in and day out on your own with no coach or trainer to push you, it’s super easy to fall into a slump. Goals are something we should be setting for ourselves in all aspects of our lives and fitness should be of no exception. They can be big or small but in the best-case scenario, you are setting both. You may have a goal to do 10 pull-ups in a row without assistance or stopping or a goal of running a distance race (half-marathon or marathon). Whatever sounds fun and challenging to you and will make you proud of your accomplishment, set that as your target goal.

Vector 21 Day Challenge

To be eligible for the Vector® Challenge and make sure your entry is counted, please make sure that you tag the appropriate brand handles (Instagram/Facebook @Vector and Twitter @Vector_Ca) and ensure your profile is “public” on the platform you are posting on. Winners for the grand and secondary prizes will be chosen at random from those properly using the hashtag for the 21 days. *Contest is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec and ends September 5th. Click Try Vector®, Taste Vectory® for more detailed rules and regulations. Good luck!

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UPDATED: Get Inspired to Move This Summer With Me and Degree Women

*This post has been updated on July 1st, 2016. Scroll down for details on my #BeTheMovement challenge

One of the most valuable things my parents taught me is that it always “takes a village” to get anywhere worth going in life. A solid support system is critical in my life and the secret to my success to date has been to surround myself around people that inspire me and push me to be the best possible version of myself in both my personal and professional life.

#BeTheMotion Degree

#BeTheMotion Degree

A large part of my recovery to health has to do with exercise. Do I love waking up at 5:30am for a gruelling workout? No, not really. Would I much rather be nestled in the arms of my man in bed with our pup laying at our feet. Absolutely. Do I get sore for days after a hard session? Of course. Is it fun to run outside in -25 degrees during our Canadian winter? Nope, not really. My illness means I am in moderate to severe pain pretty much daily…some days are better than others but sometimes it’s challenging just to get out of bed in the morning to be honest. But here’s the thing folks, although it can be a bit difficult to get moving, what keeps me on track are all the physical and mental benefits of working out and leading an active, healthy lifestyle. Actually, my life depends on moving every single day and as hard as it can be to get that workout done, there is no better feeling than the endorphin high I get afterwards.

Every now and again I receive sweet emails from followers saying how much my personal story motivates you. Some of you have even shared your personal goals and achievements with me. Reading messages like these pushes me to keep going and forces me to continue to challenge myself every single day. I’m also extremely lucky to have an amazing supporting cast around me. Some special peeps that also help to inspire, motivate and keep me accountable.

#BeTheMotion Degree

#BeTheMotion Degree

My other half, Réjean Chiasson (Creative Director and Head Coach of Adidas Runners), on most days runs 20-30kms and seeing his drive and determination naturally rubs off on me. This is not a household for the weak and unmotivated. As a former Canadian marathon champion, clearly I am no where near his level, but he always has my back when I need a training partner. Working out with him is not only fun, but I have a tendency to push myself a little harder when he’s around just because I want him to be proud of me. Speaking of which, he has just asked me to join him in a pull-up and push-up challenge which makes me think that he too needs an accountability partner 😉 And if he’s not enough, I have the best friend a girl can ask for, Eva Redpath – Canada’s Nike Master Trainer. We often refer to her as the “Ultimate Accountability Partner“. This woman is unreal. Not a day goes by without her checking in to make sure I have knocked off all the items on my to-do list, pushes me during our weekly workouts together at Toronto’s Goldring High Performance Centre and has dug me out of more emotional holes than I would like to admit. My antiperspirant is just as important as my support team. Degree Women ActiveShield Dry Spray Antiperspirant has Motionsense technology that detects when I move from underarm friction causing it to release immediate odour protection and keeps me feeling fresh all day long.

#BeTheMotion DegreePhotos by JessBaumung.com

Knowing how important it is to have that one person to help you stay on track, I want to be your accountability partner this summer. For the month of July, I’m going to challenge you to #BeTheMotion for a minimum of 30 minutes everyday. To some a half hour seems like it’s either too short of a time to do any good and conversely there may be some that think 30 minutes daily of exercise or movement is not attainable. It most definitely is and you would be surprised at what can get accomplished during this time. So if you’re down for a realistic challenge, I will act as your personal support team via social media with tips, tricks and feedback. It’s funny how it works but when you know someone is going to check in with you to make sure you’ve done what you said you were going to do – it significantly increases the chances of you getting shit done. To add yourself to my “Be The Motion Challenge” list, just tag me (@sashaexeter) on Instagram or Twitter and I will touch base with you daily to ensure your daily 30 minutes is in the bag and to encourage you throughout the next 31 days. Have a question or need some suggestions – just shoot me a DM, we’re in this together. Let’s do this!

Guilt Free Meal Ideas: Ahi Tuna Quinoa Poke Bowls with SOTO Sake

Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl

Shoyu like Tuna, you say?

Our crew here at SoSasha.com is always looking for guilt-free indulges when it comes to our food. Just because we want to eat clean and healthy doesn’t mean we should have to feel like we’re sacrificing anything, know what I mean? Enter my Ahi Tuna Poke Shoyu Bowl served with SOTO Sake. Shoyu (pronounced SHOW-YOU) is just another name for soy sauce and let’s be honest, a good use of word for a pun! Last year my boyfriend and I were lucky enough to travel to Hawaii.  If you’ve never been before, it should definitely be on your destination bucket list. The country is beautiful, the people are warm in nature and the food does not disappoint.  It wasn’t until our trip that I discovered that Hawaii has a huge Japanese influence, which largely impacts its cuisine.  This is likely where and when my obsession for Poke bowls started. By the way, “Poke” is pronounced POH-KAY and all it really means is to cut or chunks of raw fish…sorry for the pronunciation lesson guys!
Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl
adapted from IAmFoodBlog
 
I decided after digging through millions of Tuna Poke recipes on pinterest, that I would just doctor my own.  One that would be manageable, keeping in mind the ingredients I have access to. Side note: I get that using raw fish at home can be completely intimidating. For the longest time I thought it was sketchy and you needed some special kind of fish.  This is not entirely the case.  All you need to find is a fish monger with great reviews and no funky smells.  Reviews and blogs can be really helpful when sourcing out these types of shops.  When you go to buy your tuna, just make sure you ask for sushi grade.  This means that by wholesale standards you are getting the highest quality of fish available. Check out this link for more info and guides on how to shop for sushi grade. My Tuna Poke bowl is a little off the traditional path, but none the less delicious and healthy.
What you’ll need…
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
  • 1 lb. fresh ahi (sashimi grade) tuna, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • smoked sea salt, to taste
  • toasted sesame seeds, to taste
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • radishes
  • cabbage (next time I will be adding Kimchi instead)
  • cucumbers
  • sprouts
  • crispy shallots
Directions
  • In a small bowl combine soy sauces, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. 
  • In a separate small bowl, gently toss together the tuna, green onions, and diced onion. Add the soy sauce mixture to the ahi and toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Remove Poke from fridge and taste to see if you need too adjust any seasoning (soy sauce, sesame oil, and smoked sea salt). 4. Scoop quinoa into bowls and add your toppings of choice.  Add a generous amount of poke to the bowls and sprinkle on sesame seeds. 

Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl

Ok, so what are we doing to wash down this bowl of deliciousness? SOTO Sake. We are kinda crushing hard these days on SOTO for various reasons. I am passionate about quality ingredients, so I love it for it’s dry finish and mild taste. It’s a super premium sake, using only the very best ingredients – finely polished rice and fresh mountain water. If you were to ask Sasha why she loves it, I have no doubt that besides the taste, she would mention the fact that it’s gluten free and has no preservatives or additives.  The best part, each bottle comes with this chic, decorative square piece of denim over the cork, as a nod to the Japanese craftsmanship of their beloved denim. SOTO Sake is currently available in both New York and Miami but will be made available in additional markets soon. For a full list of establishments and retailers carrying the brand click here.
Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl
Photography by Nathalia Allen www.amillionminds.ca
For more recipe ideas and inspiration (we all need some from time to time), follow me on Instagram @KristenVanderHoeven. Mahalo!
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