Product Recommendation- Lifespan Fitness SM-100 Magnetic Spin Bike

A whisper-quiet exercise!

I fell prey to American advertising, the first world problem of listening to American radio and podcasts where you hear adverts pushing products which you can only buy in the States. D’oh!

This time I was sucked into the concept of owning a Peloton exercise bike – imagine that! Exercising at home, while being a part of a virtual class and virtual community! So I convinced myself that the Peloton bike was what we needed in our apartment, but the next day I found out that you can only get one of these babies if you’re in North America…….And not to mention the $2.2K US and the monthly fee was a bit of a deal breaker as well.

So I started to search around to see what other spin bikes were out there – and after a bit of research I decided I wanted a magnetic spin bike, and I didn’t need a bike with all the bells and whistles, but a bike around the AUD $700 mark was about as much as I’d like to spend.

What I found was the Lifespan Fitness SM-100 Magnetic spin bike.

What drew me to it was the fact that it was a magnetic bike, and that the fly-wheel was not as heavy as others. As I was surprised that in cases the fly wheel was as heavy as 19kg, which seemed a bit too heavy-duty for our needs – so the lighter fly wheel at 13kg sounded just about right. Not to mention, Lifespan Fitness’ online store was offering us the bike for the purchase price of $399 (RRP $799) – who could pass on a bargain like that!?

So we ordered it, and here is my review of the purchasing experience and how I’ve found the bike thus far after Week 1.

The first thing to note when purchasing the bike online, is that you’ll attract a pretty hefty delivery charge – the cheapest option was standard shipping at $52, and if you want the premium experience (i.e. designated delivery day within a two-hour window, assistance to set-up and remove all packaging, and the willingness to deliver the bike to a second level), then you’ll have to be prepared to pay $160 for the privilege. Ouch! Definitely more than I’d like to spend on delivery alone.

So finding out that in the standard delivery you weren’t able to specify the day you wanted to receive the bike, I changed our shipping address to my parents’ place, as they’re at home more often than the common 9-5 worker who just can’t sit around at home for a week waiting for a delivery.

So the bike arrived in less than 3 business days, but then it took us another week to organise a time to move the disassembled bike from my parents’ place to our apartment. And be warned! Even with the bike being disassembled, it’s still quite heavy and irregular shaped to transport.

The entire bike assembled weighs 37kg, and the main part disassembled has to  weigh at least 25kg, so it’s not the lightest thing to pick up and move. The assembly from all accounts (by my dad) wasn’t difficult, but it did require some logic and careful study of the instruction booklet. All the tools to assemble the bike came with the bike – there are 2 tools, which play the role of a Phillips head screwdriver, a spanner for 3 different sized nuts, and an Allen key. So that is very helpful as like most Gen Ys, I don’t have a toolbox.

The bike assembled remarkably takes up very little space, and it’s not too much of an eye-sore, meaning that with its black and shiny chrome appearance, it fits in quite nicely with most modern apartment décor.

So what makes a spin bike different to an exercise bike? Is that a spin bike does not require plug in electricity and the resistance comes from the effort to turn a heavy metal fly wheel rather than any high tech electronics (and the reason why the spin bike is so heavy). And from all accounts a spin bike resembles more of the natural feel of riding a real bike, compared to riding an exercise bike.

And the reasoning behind going magnetic, rather than the typical spin bike which uses a compressed woollen clamp to add resistance to your exercise? It was purely because I wanted a whisper-quiet exercise – when we were kids we had an exercise bike (the ones with a replica bicycle wheel out front), and to increase the difficulty level you twist a nob which clamped the woollen tips onto the wheel, which added resistance, but it made this cringing brushing noise, which thinking about it now gives me the heebie jeebies. *Shudders*.

So what do I think after a week?

Its whisper-quiet! Literally it is soundless even though you’re slaving away on it, and the cycle motion is utterly smooth! Initially I thought it might require some effort to get the 13kg fly wheel turning, so perhaps we were getting something too advanced for our needs, which might deter us from using it – but it’s not that bad, not bad at all. And because it’s so easy now to fit in your exercise fix, as we have it right in front of the TV, I find myself jumping on whenever I feel like it- so I’ve been cycling twice a day at a minimum (all the while enjoying something on Netflix or an audio book). So it really doesn’t feel like much effort at all!

The bike also enables 3 levels of adjustment, you can move the seat further forward or back, and you can raise and lower the seat so you can find a position which is right for your height. And you can also adjust the handlebars up and down, so you’re in your preferred riding position at all times.

It comes with a LCD computer screen which displays the time you’ve been peddling away, the speed in which you’re propelling yourself along your virtual road, the distance that you’ve travelled, the calories you’ve burnt, the number of beats per minute your poor heart is pumping away at, and like a motor vehicle, it also displays the total distance your bike has travelled during its existence! And to power this computer, is 2 AAA batteries, the device turning on as soon as the wheel is turned over.

The handlebars is also a highlight of the bike, as it’s configuration allows for 5 different hand holds, depending if you like to ride more upright, or if you like to lean further forward and ride like a ‘pro’. For me, I basically use the different hand holds to enable me to change positions while I’m riding, to ease out the cramps in my lower back and ease out the ache in my back-side. Haaha.

The pedals are pretty cool as well, which enables you to clip in riding shoes if you’re usually a road warrior, but using the spin bike on a particularly bad weather day. So some features which I can aspire to use one day.

And this last aspect is only minor, but for this day and age pretty important – on the bottom edge of the LCD screen, is a little ledge where you can place your smart phone! So while you exercise, you can plop your phone there and be watching videos or replying back on your socials as you exercise! Pretty cool hey?

The only negatives of the bike is the saddle, but I’ve been told that riding any bike you’re bound to get a sore butt. So I’m still trying to work through that ass-pect…most times I stop riding not due to being tired, but because my butt hurts too much to continue on. Haaha. I’m considering getting some padded riding shorts, but currently I’m staying away from online shopping, just in case if whatever I buy originates from China- so they have my money and then it’ll never be shipped due to the travel restrictions flying in and out of China ATM.

But all in all, I’m enjoying the bike, only after a week I feel that my legs have firmed up a little, my core is also stronger, and  hopefully after a month or two I’ll lose some of the Christmas belly fat which I’ve accumulated from the festive season.

If you’d like to read more or to purchase the Lifespan Fitness SM-100 Magnetic Bike, click HERE!

Product Recommendations- Lindt Fruit Sensation V Haigh’s Chocolate Berrychocs

Fruit-centred chocolate balls verses fruit-centred chocolate balls!

Ah Christmas! Don’t you love it when people gift you premium chocolates which you otherwise wouldn’t buy for yourself, as you’re too cheap!

This Christmas my sister gave us a hamper, which included a packet of Lindt Fruit Sensations- Mango & Passionfruit.

While my wife’s boss gave her a Haigh’s Christmas chocolate hamper, which included a packet of Berrychocs.

Thus with 2 types of balls in my hands, what better than to facilitate a Chocolate ball V Chocolate ball head-to-head battle!

Lindt Fruit Sensations- Mango & Passionfruit

Out of the blocks, Lindt’s chocolate stands out due to its dark chocolate flavour – the pairing of a bitter dark chocolate with a sweet fruit centre, definitely grabs your attention due to the opposing sweet and bitter flavours. The Lindt balls are a bit on the small side, being almost as small as a large pea? So it’s actually hard to tell if the fruit centre is genuine dried fruit covered in dark chocolate (this was my original expectation), or if it was merely an artificial jelly which happened to be flavoured like mango and passionfruit. Priced at $4.00 (100g), it’s more affordable, but it also tastes more commercial/mass produced. **Note: The fruit centre is a fruit puree incorporated with other binders.

Haigh’s Chocolate Berrychocs

When you pull one out of the pack, it’s obviously larger than the Lindt ball – easily the size of a macadamia nut? Biting into it, the Haigh’s chocolate is definitely creamier and more premium tasting than the Lindt. Whereas if the Berrychocs were coated in a darker, more bitter chocolate? The Berrychocs would have easily won hands down (Haigh’s Berrychocs are a mixture of both milk and dark chocolate). The fruit centre is very soft, and when I was trying to work out what the fruity centre reminded me of, Cadbury’s Cherry Ripe came to mind. According to the Haigh’s web-site, the Berrychocs are:

“Strawberry and raspberry flavoured fruit centres with a white chocolate layer then pan coated in milk or dark chocolate”

With that description alone, it spells out artisan chocolatier! And how it justifies a more premium price of $10.50 for 200g.

So in this chocolate ball head-to-head, I do believe the Haigh’s chocolate Berrychocs has it! My measure? If I could only have one more choc-y ball, I’d reach for the Haighs! But if you’d like to check out either of these tasty chocolate products, click HERE for the Haigh’s Berrychocs, and HERE for the Lindt Fruit Sensations!

Product Recommendations- Pauls Bundaberg Rum Egg Nog

The festive season, brought to you by Aussie brands Pauls and Bundaberg!

Egg nog is such an American thing! Put up your hands if you’ve ever tried egg nog before? Not many raised hands right? But admittedly I’ve tried making it once, like more than 15 years ago. And I was serving up this thing, not having tried it before and not even knowing what it ought to taste like (I just remembered it being really creamy and alcoholic).

But if you want to purchase a piece of American season’s greetings! – dairy producer Pauls for Christmas 2019 has introduced a range of festive products including Pauls Bundaberg Rum Egg Nog 1L.

To tell you the truth, it reminds me of Baileys – as it’s milky, creamy, and alcoholic! Yum! Granted, it has an eggy flavour to it, and it is nice and frothy. But all that was running through my mind when I was consuming it was:

“It’s just like drinking Bailey’s, for a fraction of the price!” We bought ours for only $3.50 for a 1 litre carton.

So if you want to add some extra Christmas cheer to your next year’s (2020) Christmas party, or if you just want some cheap and tasty alcoholic beverages- check out Pauls Bundaberg Rum Egg Nog at your local grocery store! That is, if Pauls and Coles/Woolworths haven’t been done for selling alcohol to minors. Haaha.

Product Recommendations- What Arnott’s had never intended

Ok, I’m starting to realise that it’s probably impossible to discover a new and noteworthy product each fortnight- as I’m all out of new product recommendations for you. *Sad look*. So I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here, recommending this product to you, and what to do with it.

But the one product which I’m loving right now is Arnott’s Tim Tams. Yeah, for sure everyone knows about Tim Tams, even international markets know about the Aussie chocolate coated cookie! But have you tried them frozen?

We hadn’t either, until a friend insisted we try them sub-zero and literally took the Tim Tam packet  off the coffee table and placed it into a freezer, before we actually gave it a go.

Of course, there is some hesitation in trying a frozen Tim Tam- some don’t even like placing them in the fridge! Let alone the freezer! But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

My initial response was “I don’t want to break my teeth”, when offered a Tim Tam straight out of the freezer. But it’s actually not all that hard when frozen. Sure, you’d probably want to use your canine teeth rather than your front teeth to bite into it. But I have to admit, it’s not all that bad – quite good actually! The key difference when frozen, is that the cookie is drier and denser which results in a more crunchy and satisfying bite, and the chocolate remains solid throughout the entire experience! Not like when it comes out of the fridge, and by the time you get to the final third and the chocolate is getting all melty on you.

If you’re still umming and erring, not convinced…..Just give it a go! It’s def worth the experience even if you try it only once! Just chuck it into the freezer, and if anything your Tim Tams last longer! As it’s more substantial when frozen, and it’s out of direct sight and out of mind, thus you don’t demolish them as quickly compared when they’re always just under your nose in the fridge.

And contributing to the theme of doing what Arnott’s had never intended? I had a box of Arnott’s Jatz crackers in the pantry, but no dip at home. But I did have a tub of yoghurt though? So you’ve guessed it……..In went the Jatz, and I ended up with a savoury and sweet combination, again not all that bad, I’d def do it again when confronted with a similar scenario. Haaha.

Product Recommendation- TuneIn Premium

Now who in their right mind pays $14.95 per month for free to air radio?

Well, the answer to that question would be……An overseas (non-American) sports fan! That’s who!

I think for an American to properly appreciate how fortunate they are as sports fans, is to try and live overseas for a year or two, and see for themselves how difficult it is to obtain access to live NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL games. The reality is that close to no games are shown on free to air TV outside of the United States, and if it is? You’re forced to watch 2 teams play a match which you’ll probably not care for, as they’re not teams that you like/support. And let’s not even go there with the time difference, as that can’t be helped.

But here is where a paid radio subscription makes sense. TuneIn Premium gives you access to every live radio broadcast of sporting events- from professional to collegiate; from mainstream to the obscure; from the US, UK to your local radio stations- I wouldn’t say it has it all! But there is so much content, your first world problem is……. There just isn’t enough time in a day to listen to a fraction of what’s on offer!

And not only do you get sports radio, but there’s Music, News, Talk and all the usual radio stations you receive on your local radio dial, all in this one single app. The total cost per month is $14.95, you can cancel your subscription at any time- but you are limited to only one device (on iOS, your account is linked to your iTunes account).

Right now as we’re in the business end of the NFL season, I study the upcoming week of games on the Wednesday, highlighting the games which I want to listen to at the given timeslot by requesting a notification to be sent to my phone at kick-off. And on game day, I’m buckled in for the next 9 hours listening to 3 games live! Pretty cool hey? Considering I’m half way around the world! Obviously this can only occur because I’m currently not working (time difference in Australia equates to NFL games being played between 5am – 4pm on a Monday). And if you find a team’s broadcast is too biased or you just feel like a change? You can simply switch over to the opposing team’s broadcast of the event! Or if you want a completely unbiased broadcast, switch over to the National broadcast if it’s a prime time event! And if the game is a blow-out, or too slow? Then you can switch to another game! There’s just so many choices!

And although paying for a premium subscription doesn’t excuse you from sitting through radio ads, but it’s kind of interesting listening to another state or country’s advertisements- it gives you a glimpse into the lives of others around the world.

Admittedly as soon as I go back to work I’m going to cancel my TuneIn Premium subscription, as the real value of TuneIn is its live events. And with the time difference, it’ll be impossible to get your money’s worth if you’re meant to be at work during the majority of live broadcasts. But while my career break lasts, TuneIn Premium has been a great companion app!

So why not at least give the free version of TuneIn a go? And if you’re curious to explore the differences between the free and the paid offering? TuneIn provides you with a 7 day free trial! For more information and details, click HERE!

Product Recommendation- Pro-Live Mango Lassi

I’m sure there is a time and place to consume Lassi – the tasty thick yoghurt drink found at most Indian restaurants. Methinks it’s usually consumed as a drink to cool your burning mouth when you’re having a particularly spicy curry? But we’ve taken to drinking it whenever we’re looking for something sweet, and when we want something healthier and less guilt-ridden then with ice creams and other guilty pleasures.

Australian producers Pro-Live stock their Mango Lassies to Costco Australia, known for its bulk purchases, although a 1 Litre bottle of Lassi didn’t seem like such a bulk buy? But I’ve been told, compared to the usual volume in which Lassi is usually sold in, 1L is quite a lot of tasty drinkable yoghurt. But being us, 1L is never enough so we always get 2 bottles when we’re at Costco.

To be honest with you, the taste of Pro-Live Lassi Mango Drink reminds me much of the mango flavoured tubbed yoghurt by Nestle. So it’s a very common, pure taste, which I’m sure appeals to all tastebuds. It’s creamy and smooth (be sure to shake well before pouring), while liquid enough to quench any thirst. And it’s quite filling as well, so if you’re in a rush a 250ml glass of Lassi could easily serve as a light breakfast on the go! For $4.50 Australian dollars for a 1L bottle, it’s much more economical to buy in bulk and consume at home, than to purchase when out. The only philosophical question which is left unanswered, is….. Which came first? The tasty yoghurt drink? Or the popular American TV show which aired from 1954-73? 

If you’re interested to purchase the Pro-Live Mango Lassi drink and not a Costco member, click HERE!