Saturday, August 22, 2009

Review and Giveaway: Break Pal CLOSED

I have to admit: I'm a self-proclaimed exercise phobe. I mean, I like going strolling with Nate on a beautiful day. And I like swimming in the pool or dipping in the ocean in the summer heat. I'm even up for nature hikes now and again. But my idea of regular cardio is vacuuming the living room. I'm more of a homebody at heart.

But it wasn't always that way. In college, I would exercise 5-6 days a week at the gym. Step aerobics, kickboxing, dance, weight training, Hatha yoga. I dabbled in a bit of everything. And I never felt better. I looked in the mirror and liked what I saw. I was so healthy, so alive. I was peppy and energetic. But as I approached graduation, my school projects became more time-consuming and intense. I secured a new full-time job at an advertising agency that stressed me out and sucked all of my energy from me. I visited the gym less and less and when we moved, I let my contract expire. A couple of years later, in the midst of my infertility battle, I again joined a gym. It was my outlet. A place to clear my head. I could relieve all of my anger and sadness through running and power walking. I figured if I couldn't get pregnant and stay pregnant, I might as well look hot. But coincidentally, I soon got pregnant and stayed pregnant. For fear of yet another miscarriage, I stopped working out entirely and placed myself on bedrest. I gave birth to Nate and just never fully got back into the swing of things. I've lost the pregnancy weight and the fertility treatment poundage, but I'm not toned. I'll refer to a term Kerri Walsh coined - I'm "skinny soft". Dieting isn't an option since I'm still breastfeeding and it wouldn't be the answer to firming up my tummy anyway. How could I regain the inspiration I once had when it came to fitness?

When I was approached to review a new exercise program called Break Pal, I was hopeful. With a tagline of "get fit while you sit", I couldn't pass up the opportunity. Maybe this was the answer to get me back in the saddle, so to speak.

Break Pal is a simple yet revolutionary idea:
Break Pal is successful because it utilizes the Japanese principle of Kaizen, or small continuous improvements over time. It takes a great deal of motivation to go to the gym or for a jog. However, a three minute exercise done right at your desk is easy to gear up for. Users say they can always motivate themselves to do an exercise if they know it will only be a few minutes. Motivation builds! What we have found is that once a person starts doing just a couple of these three minute exercises then they find themselves motivated to do more.
Break Pal is basically a widget that you install onto your computer. At predetermined intervals (I chose every 30 minutes), the widget pops up, reminding you to exercise and delivers an easy, 5-minute or less, non-impact micro-workout right to your desktop. Did I mention Break Pal works with both Mac and Windows machines? So there are no excuses - anyone can use this!

There are an endless variety of workouts, including Cardio, Kung Fu, Yoga, Aerobics and Tai Chi. Exercises range from beginner to advanced, allowing you to choose the skill level that you are most comfortable with. I haven't dared to attempt the advanced workouts - I guess I'm a bit intimidated with my current fitness level - but the beginner and intermediate levels were just right for me. My favorites were the yoga exercises, especially the Sun Salutation and the Cat Stretch. They were extremely relaxing and I could feel the tension melt away from me as I went through the motions. But I also enjoyed the Shou Shu Slide, which really got my blood flowing. I'm sure as I make progress and my confidence grows, I'll be ready to tackle the more advanced workouts.

They even offer chair exercises so you don't even have to stand up! You know, for when you're right in the middle of that novel new blog post *wink wink*. You might be thinking, how hard could a chair exercise possibly be? Let me tell you - they seem simple enough but they can actually kick your butt! The Pull Twist is a good example.. It literally made my abs ache and I didn't even have to stand up to do it!

New exercises are added daily, so you can diversify your routine. Or you can stick to your old reliables. Whatever works for you! Break Pal is flexible, convenient and doesn't require a ton of space to use. Liz, your instructor, is amiable and coherent with her direction. I have yet to encounter an exercise that I couldn't master with a little practice.

Perhaps the best feature is that Break Pal is built on a social network a la Twitter or Facebook. You earn points for every workout you do. But these points expire so you have to keep working out to maintain or build your total points. Others on the network can see if you are lagging behind and offer you support and motivation. Online workout buddies, if you will. This can be a source of friendly competitiveness as you strive to out-score your friends. No motivation like a little peer pressure, right? You can also post on your blog, write a status update or tweet right from your Break Pal account as you work out! Certainly can't do that from a treadmill. At least not safely.

With people spending more time in front of the computer than ever and obesity becoming a serious public health concern, I think Break Pal is the perfect option to improve your overall health - both physical and mental. Don't you just feel happier after a good workout? That's because of the endorphins released during exercise. These endorphins reduce stress hormones and well, who doesn't need to feel less stressed at work? Not to mention increased productivity. The creators of Break Pal cited a British study that found short exercise breaks at work led to a 15% increase in productivity. If that's not a reason for your company to invest in a corporate wellness program, I don't know what is.

I wish I had known about Break Pal months ago when I was a WOHM, stuck at my desk for eight hours or more a day. But now, as a SAHM, I admit that I haven't been able to use Break Pal as much as I'd like. I'm constantly on the go, chasing after a toddler. We're going to the playground, out for playdates, to the pool, out for walks. I'm not tied to my computer as much as I used to be, except at night after Nate has gone to bed. And then, I'm on a mission to write my blog reviews or personal posts and catch up on emails. I have already worn myself out and it's too easy for me to just turn off or ignore the widget so I can concentrate (maybe they should develop a guilt-inducing pop-up if you make a swift exit?). For a more consistent workout routine these days, I think I need face-to-face interaction and accountability. But I'll definitely still be using this program for the times I'll knowingly be sitting at the computer for awhile. *cough* Twitter parties *cough* It's so nice not to feel like a sloth - like I can get up from my chair without breaking from the stiffness.

Bottom line: I highly recommend Break Pal for anyone who has a sedentary job or lifestyle that obligates them to spend hours at a desk in front of a computer. There truly is no better technology to reach this audience.

And don't worry that you'll look silly working out in your cubicle. Because once your coworkers find out about it, they'll be curious to try it too. Consider yourself the innovator.

BUY IT: There is a free version of Break Pal with 5 exercises so you can give it a test run and see if it is for you. The ad-free, premium membership is $9.95/month and includes access to all current and upcoming exercises. This is a real value compared to the cost of gym memberships. Better yet - no contracts to sign! You can join here on their website.

You can also become an affiliate and earn commissions by referring Break Pal to businesses. They offer free company trials to see if it would be a good fit for your workplace. Simply fill out this form and they promise to get you up and running quickly.

WIN IT: Break Pal has graciously offered a LIFETIME premium membership to one lucky Goodie Goodie Gumdrops reader! That's a $250 value!

MAIN COURSE: Leave me a comment telling me why you need Break Pal. It's that easy! Be sure to include your email address in your comment or have it visible in your profile so I can contact you if you win!

SUGAR ON TOP: To maximize your chances of winning, you may do any or all of the following. But make sure you complete the above mandatory entry or else your bonus entries will not count!

1.) Become a follower of Goodie Goodie Gumdrops. Already a follower? That counts! (1 entry)

2.) Subscribe to Goodie Goodie Gumdrops via email or reader. Already a subscriber? That counts! (1 entry)

3.) Follow me on Twitter @kris10chumley and tweet about this giveaway. (1 entry)

4.) Add my button to you site and leave a comment letting me know where to find it. Already have my button? That counts! (1 entry)

5.) Create an account at Break Pal and leave a comment with your username (5 entries!)

6.) Join the Break Pal Facebook group (2 entries!)

7.) Become a fan of Break Pal on Facebook (2 entries!)

Giveaway will end on September 7, 2009 at 11:59pm EST. Open nationwide. Winner will be chosen via and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.

Disclaimer: I was given a lifetime premium membership from Break Pal to facilitate my candid review. I was in no other way compensated for this review.


Anna D (Admin) said...

I want to get fit while I blog. I spend way too much time on the computer and USE to jog daily but now I rarely do...Hope it gets me moving, without having to decrease my computer work.

BloggerMommies AT gmails DOT com

Anna D (Admin) said...

I already follow you on Twitter, I am @BloggerMommies
BloggerMommies AT gmail Dot com

Anna D (Admin) said...

I just Tweeted about this giveaway!
BloggerMommies at gmail dot com

Anna D (Admin) said...

I'm now a follower of this blog. Can you tell I really want to win this?!
bloggermommies at gmail dot com

Anna D (Admin) said...

I just added your button to My blog! I hope you will grab my button too!

bloggermommies at gmail dot com

OG 529 said...

I work at a computer all day long, this would be great to have. I really need to get back into shape! :)


OG 529 said...

I follow!

OG 529 said...

I subscribe! :)


Anonymous said...

OMGosh - do I ever need this! Do to physical injuries, I'm limited in what I can do. These short workouts, would be a real blessing to me.
Please count me in, and thank you for the giveaway.


Shop with Me Mama said...

Oh heavens! I NEED this! This is something that I have been looking for! Eversince I started blogging, my bum has gotten so flabby :( Since I don't think they make butt bras, this would be my second choice, lol! Thanks for the chance ;)

Shop with Me Mama said...

I follow your blog :)

Shop with Me Mama said...

joined the fb group! Entry 1

Shop with Me Mama said...

joined fb group, entry #2

Robin said...

I need break pal because I work from home and am always online working, but never make the time to workout. I never lost the weight from either of my kids and my 5 year old told me I was "squishy" the other day. Yikes. That can't be good. Thanks for the opportunity!!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin